ABSTRACT

This short piece investigates the life history of a Catholic rosary from Conestoga Town, an eighteenth-century Susquehannock town and trading center in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The rosary was either acquired or modified by Susquehannock Indians, incorporating two unusual elements: blue trade beads and a medal depicting the Protestant King George II and Queen Caroline, indicating political alliance with the English. The object’s appearance shows familiarity with the form and power of Catholic devotional objects, probably learned through interaction with Jesuit missionaries. Yet its modifications and presence in an infant’s grave at Conestoga Town suggest connections to Susquehannock notions of sacred power as orenda.

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