Conestogas, Or Gandastognes, a tribe of Indians formerly on the Susquehanna river, commonly called by the French Andastes, by the people of Virginia and Maryland Susquehannas, and by the Dutch and Swedes Minquas. They were of the same family as the Hurons and Iroquois, and their name Gandastogues meant nation of roof poles. Before 1600 they nearly exterminated the Mohawks in a ten years' war, and were still at war with them in 1608, when Capt. Smith met a party of Susquehannas on Chesapeake bay. They held in subjection all the neighboring Algonquin tribes, and were at war with those of Maryland. Acquiring firearms and cannon from the Swedes, they were so troublesome to Maryland that Gov. Calvert proclaimed them public enemies in 1642. They were friends and allies of the Hurons of Upper Canada, and offered to aid them with 1,300 warriors. In 1652 they ceded to Maryland lands on the Patuxent, Choptank, and Elk. In 1656 they were involved in war with the Iroquois, and though much reduced by smallpox, they fought desperately, gaining many victories over superior forces, but were completely overthrown in 1675. A part submitted to the Iroquois; others, retreating into Maryland, were attacked by Maryland and Virginia troops, who put five chiefs to death.
The desperate Indians then ravaged the frontiers till they were cut off. In 1701 Canoodagtoh, their king, made a treaty with William Penn. They appear in a treaty in 1742, but were then fast disappearing. In 1763, during a period of excitement against the Indians, the remnant of the Cones-togas took refuge in the jail at Lancaster, Pa., where they were cruelly butchered by an organization called the Paxton boys. The most distinguished of their chiefs was Logan, the famous orator. A vocabulary of their language was preserved in the works of the Swedish missionary Campanius, Nye Sverige and Lutheri Gatechismus (Stockholm, 1696). A brief English account of them is in Alsop's "Maryland" (London, 1666; New York, 1869).