From all accounts, the Susquehannock were fierce warriors. They were enemies of the Iroquois. Colonial records detail many wars and uprisings. In the end, many Susquehannock died as a result of warring, while many others succumbed to smallpox brought to the New World by the Europeans.
The Susquehannock lived in approximately 20 fortified villages along the Susquehanna River and its tributaries. The villages were large with palisades to keep enemies at bay. While little is known about the politics or social customs of these people, we do know that, according to Allsop that, "...men, women and children in both summer and winter went practically naked; that they painted their faces in red, green, white and black stripes; that their skins were naturally light in color, but were changed to a dark cinnamon hue by the several dyeings of roots and barks; that the hair of the head was black, long and coarse, but that the hair growing on other parts of the body was removed by pulling it out hair, by hair; that some tattooed their bodies, breasts and arms with outlines of beasts and other objects."
Susquehannock farmed, similar to other Iroquois peoples, planting the Three Sisters – corn, beans and squash. During the summer months, they would move closer to the sea to fish, returning in the fall to harvest and hunt.
A matrilineal people, the Susquehannock had clan groups. Within some of the surviving sources, clan names of Turtle, Wolf and Fox are mentioned. Women in the clans chose the chiefs and medicine men, they also decided when to harvest, as well as when to go to war.