Samuel Gardner Drake.

The aboriginal races of North America; comprising biographical sketches of eminent individuals, and an historical account of the different tribes, from the first discovery of the continent to the present period ... and a copious analytical index online

. (page 101 of 131)
Online LibrarySamuel Gardner DrakeThe aboriginal races of North America; comprising biographical sketches of eminent individuals, and an historical account of the different tribes, from the first discovery of the continent to the present period ... and a copious analytical index → online text (page 101 of 131)
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| No one presumes to pronounce Father Hennepin an infidel, and he denies, (after living
much among the Indians,) that they have any notion, or belief, of what Christians call Deity.
Rut Mr. Beverly (Hist. Virginia, 169.) says, "Baron Lahonlan, on the other hand, makes
them have such refined notions, as seem almost to confute his own belief of Christianity."

6 CEuvres de C. F. Volney, t. 6. 129. (Paris, 1826.)

|| There was a chief of the same name among the Miamis in 1818, who is mentioned in
ihe treaty made with those Indians on 6 October, at St. Marys. The passage hi the treaty
is ns follow*: To Meshenoqua or the Little-turtle, one section of land on the south side of
:he Wabash. where the poriajre path strikes thr same/' Indian Treaties, 314.


tinction suited to his character." * He was, generally, in his time, styled the
Messissago chief,* and a gentleman who saw him soon after St. Claims de-
feat, at Montreal, says he was six feet high, " ahout 45 years of age, of a
very sour and morose countenance, and apparently very crafty and subtle.
His dress was Indian moccasins, a blue petticoat that came half way down
his thighs; an European waistcoat and surtout ; his head was bound with
an Indian cap that hung half way down his back, and almost entirely filled
with plain silver broaches, to the number of more than 200; he had two
ear-rings to each ear, the upper part of each was formed of three silver
medals, about the size of a dollar; the lower part was formed of quarters
of dollars, and fell more than 12 inches from his ears one from each ear
over his breast, the other over his back ; he had three very large nose jewels
of silver, that were curiously painted. The account he gave of the action
[with the Americans, 4 Nov.] was, that they killed 1400 of them, with the loss
of nine only of their party, one of whom killed himself by accident." The
person who gave this account said this chief was in Canada for the purpose
of raising all the Indian force he could to go out again in the spring against the

31 r. Dawson relates a pleasant anecdote of Little-turtle, which happened
while he was sitting for his portrait in Philadelphia. A native of the
Emerald Isle was sitting for his at the same time, who prided himself upon
his ability at joking. Little-turtle was not backward in the same business,
n:id they passed several meetings very pleasantly. One morning, Little-
turtle did not take much notice of his friend, and seemed rather sedate,
which was construed by the Hibernian into an acknowledgment of victory
on the part of the chief, in their joking game, and accordingly began to
intimate as much. When Little-turtle understood him, he said to the inter-
preter, " He mistakes ; I was just thinking of proposing to this man, to paint us
both on one board, and there I would stand face to face with him, and blackguard
him to all eternity"

Among the chiefs associated in command, in the wars of which we have
been speaking with the famous Mishikinakwa, was another of nearly equal
note, familiarly called Blue-Jacket by the whites, but by his own nation, We-
yapiersenwaw. He was the most distinguished chief of the Shawanese, and
we hear of him at Fort Industry, on the Miami of the Lake, as late as 1805.
By some particular arrangement, the chief command seems to have devolved
on him of opposing General Wayne. He was more bloody and precipitate
than Mishikinakwa, and possessed less discrimination and judgment. He
was among the last of the chiefs who came in to treat with General Waynt.
The Shawanese held out as long as they could, and came in very slowly.
On the 24 June, a boy, who had been a captive among them, (having been
lately retaken,) confidently asserted that the Shawanese would not make peace.
But one month after, 23 July, Blue-Jacket made his appearance, and it was duly
noticed by a gentleman at the time, who kept a journal of important matters
at Greenville. He then adds, " deputations from all the late hostile tribes
north of the Ohio are, consequently, now at this place."!

We find this notice of Blue-jacket in August, 1792. "By a gentleman im-
mediately from Montreal, we learn that about four weeks since, the famous
Indian partisan, known by the name of Captain Blue-Jacket, was at Detroit,
with about 2000 men, waiting for the Americans to come out into the woods:
it is believed at Montreal, that in case the Americans do not go out, they
will bs divided into small parties to harass our frontiers."! The tribes
which furnished warriors to oppose the Americans were the Wyandots,
Miamis, Pottowattomies, Delawares, Shawanese, Chippeways, Ottaways,
and a few Senecas. Blue-Jacket was the director and leader of this mighty
band of warriors.

In the treaty of 29 September, 1817, at the "Foot of the Rapids" of the
Miami of the Lakes, with the Wyandots, Senecas, Delawares, Shawanese,

* Those of this tribe in the vicinity of Lake Ontario, are of a much darker complexion thai:
\he o'.her Indians oi'lhe west. \Veld, Travels in America. 451.
t See Elliot's \Yorks, 141, H2. t Curry's .Muslim, x'l H3


&c. there is a paragraph which it is presumed has reference to a daughter
of this chief Jt proposes to give "ToAflnci/ Stewart, daughter oi' the late
Sliauanee chief Jiluc-Jackct, one section of land, to contain six hundred and
40 acres, on the Great Miami river below Lewistown, to include her present
improvements, three quarters of the said section to be on the S. II. side of
the river, and one quarter on the N. W. side thereof."^

I'rom the time General St. Clair was defeated, in 1791, murders wen; con-
tinued upon the frontier, and all attempts on the part of government to effect
a peace, proved of no avail; and lastly the ambassadors sent to them were
murdered, and that too while the army was progressing towards their

After building Fort Greenville, upon the Miami, six miles above Fort Jef-
ferson, General Wayne took possession of the ground where General t.
Clair had been defeated, and there erected a fort, to which he gave the name
of Recovery, in which the army spent the winter of 17 ( J3-4. Many censures
were passed upon the general for his slow progress ; but he knew much
better what he was doing than newspaper writers did what they were
writing, when they undertook to censure him, as the event proved.

It was the 8 August, 1794, when the army arrived at the confluence of the
rivers An Glaize and Maumee, where they built Fort Defiance. It was the
general's design to have met the enemy unprepared, in this move ; but a
fellow deserted his camp, and notified the Indians. He now tried again to
bring them to an accommodation, and from the answers which he received
from them, it was some time revolved in his mind, whether they were for
peace or war ; so artful was the manner in which their replies were formed.f
At length, being fully satisfied, he marched down the Maumee, and arrived
at the rapids, 18 August, two days before the battle. His army consisted of
upwards of 3000 men, 2000 of whom were regulars. Fort Deposit was
erected at this place, for the security of their supplies. They now set out to
meet the enemy, who had chosen his position upon the bank of the river,
with much judgment. They had a breastwork of fallen trees in front, and
the high rocky shore of the river gave them much security, as also did the
thick wood of Presque Isle. Their force was divided, and disposed^, at
supporting distances for about two miles. When the Americans had arrived
at proper distance, a body was sent out to begin the attack, " with orders to
rouse the enemy from their covert with the bayonet ; and when up, to deliver
a close fire upon their backs, and press them so hard as not to give them time to
reload." \ This order was so well executed, and the battle at the point of attack
so short, that only about 900 Americans participated in it. But they pursued
the Indians with great slaughter through the woods to Fort Maumee, where
the carnage ended. The Indians were so unexpectedly driven from their
strong hold, that their numbers only increased their distress and confusion ;
and the cavalry made horrible havoc among them with their long sabres.
Of the Americans, there were killed and wounded about J30. The loss of
the Indians could not be ascertained, but must have been very severe. The
American loss was chiefly at the commencement of the action, as they
advanced upon the mouths of the Indians' rifles, who could not be seen until
they had discharged upon them. They maintained their coverts but a shon
time, being forced in every direction by the bayonet. But until that was
effected, the Americans fell fast, and we only wonder that men could be
iound thus to advance in the face of certain death.

This horrid catastrophe in our Indian annals is chargeable to certain white
men, or at least mainly so ; for some days before the battle, General Wayne
.sent a flag of truce to them, and desired them to come and treat with him.
The letter which he sent was taken to Colonel J\TKee, who, it appears, was
their ill-adviser, and he, by putting a false construction upon it, increased the
rage of the Indians: he then informed them that they must forthwith fight
the American army. Some of the chiefs, learning the truth of the letter, were
for peace ; but it was too late. Little-turtle was known to have been in favor
of making peace, and seemed well aware of the abilities of the American

* Indian Treaties, 90. t Marshall's Washing-ton, v. 41 . ed. 4lo. J Sdioolcraft


general ; but such was the influence of traders among them, that no argu-
ments couid prevail. Thus, instances without number might be adduced,
where these people have been destroyed by placing confidence in deceiving
white men.

The night before the battle, the chiefs assembled in council, and some pro-
posed attacking the army in its encampment, but the proposal was objected
to by others; finally the proposition of fighting at Presque Isle prevailed.

In this battle all the chiefs of the Wyandots were killed, being nine in
number. Some of the nations escaped the slaughter by not coming up until
alter the defeat. This severe blow satisfied the western Indians of the folly
of longer contending against the Americans: they therefore were glad to get
what terms they could from them. The chiefs of twelve tribes met commis-
sioners at Fort Greenville, 3 August, 1795, and, as a price of their peace,
gave up an extensive tract of country south of the lakes, and west of the Ohio ;
and such other tracts as comprehended all the military posts in the western
region. The government showed some liberality to these tribes, on their re-
linquishing to it what they could not withhold, and as a gratuity gave them
20,000 dollars in goods, and agreed to pay them 9000 dollars a year forever ;
to be divided among those tribes in proportion to their numbers.*


Life of THAYANDANECA, called by the whites. BRANT His education Visits Eng-
land Commissioned there His sister a companion to Sir Win. Johnson His
letter to the Oneidas Affair icith Herkimer at Unndilla Cuts off Herkimer and
200 men at Oriskana Anecdote of Herkimer Burns Springfield Horrid affair
of Wyoming Incidents Destroys Cherry Valley Barbarities of the lories Sul-
livan s depredations among the Five Nations Brant defeated by the Americans at
JVewtoicn Destruction of Minisink, and slaughter of 100 people Destruction of
Harper sjield Brant's letter to M' Causland Marriage of his daughter Her hus-
band kilted Brant becomes the friend of peace Visits Philadelphia His 'marriage

Lands granted him by the king His death His son John Traits of charncter

One of his sons killed by him, in an attempt to kill his father Account of Brant's
arrival in England Some account of his children.

COLONEL JOSEPH BRANT was an Onondaga of the Mohawk tribe, whose In-
dian name was Thayendaneca,] or Tayadanaga,\ signifying a brant. But as he
was seldom called by that name after he became known to the whites, it was
generally forgotten. He received a very good English education at "Moor's
charity school," at Lebanon, in Connecticut, where he was placed by Sir
William Johnson, in July, 1761. His age, at this time, we have not learned.

The story that he was but half Indian, the son of a German, has been
widely spread, but is denied by his son, and now believed to be a falsehood,
ignorantly circulated. This error might have arisen either from the known
fact of his being of rather a lighter complexion than his countrymen in general,
or from his having married a woman who was a half-breed. ||

Brant went to England in 1775, in the beginning of the great revolutionary
rupture, where he was received with attention, and doubtless had there his
mind prepared for the part he acted in the memorable struggle which ensued.

* The terms of this treaty were the same as were offered to them before the battle, which
should be mentioned, as adding materially to our good feeling's towards its authors. It is
i^unerally denominated IVayne's treaty. It is worthy of him.

f Careifs Museum, v. 18. \ Annals Tryon County, 15.

Generally written Brandt by those who are unacquainted with the meaning of his In-
dian name.

|| It has been mentioned to me by a gentleman, (the editor of WASHINGTON'S WRITINGS,;
that he had no doubt of the fact that Brant was the son of Sir William Johnson. I am not
satisfied upon the subject, and, therefore, note the opinion of one which claims primary con-
sideration on all subjects connected with our history. The only author, that I recollect, who
has circulated a printed opinion of this kind, is Chapman. See'Hist. Wyoming, 121

49 2M


He had a colonel's commission in the Knirlish army upon tlic frontiers, which
c.onHsvd ol'sncli of tli. 1 Six .Nations and lories, as took part against the coun-
try. General Sir H'illiain Johnson was agent of Indian alfiirs, and had irreath
ingratiated himself into the esteem of the Six .Nations. He lived at the place
since named Iroin him, upon the north hank of tin- .Mohawk, ahout 40 miles
from Alhany. Here lie had an elegant seat, and would often entertain seve-
ral hundreds of his red friends, and share all in common with them. The\
so much respected him, that, notwithstanding they had the full liberty of his
house, yet they would take nothing that did not belong to them. The belter
to rivet their esteem, he would, at certain seasons, accommodate himself t,/
their mode of dress, and, being a widower, took as a kind of companion a
sister of Brant, by the name of Molley. He had received honors and emolu-
ments from the British government, and the Indians received also, through
his agency, every thing which, in their opinion, conduced to their happiness.
Hence it is not strange that they should hold in the greatest reverence the
name of their " great father," the king, and think tliefew rebels who oppose,!
his authority, when the revolution began, most ungratefully wicked, and in-
worthy all mercy. Sir William died in 1774, about a year before the battl
of Bunker's Hill."

The Butlers, John and Walter, whose names are associated with the recollec-
tion of the horrid barbarities upon Cherry-valley and Wyoming, lived at Caug ! ,-
newaga, four miles south-easterly from the village of Johnston, and upon the
same side of the Mohawk.

In 1775, in a letter to the Oneidas, our chief subscribes himself "secretary
to Guy Johnson." This was early in the summer of that year, and hence he
wus immediately from England. Colonel Guy Johnson was son-in-law of
Sir William. The letter was found in an Indian path, and was supposed to
have been lost by the person who was intrusted with it. It was in the Mo-
hawk language, the translation of which commences thus : " Written at Guy
Johnson's, May, 1775. This is your letter, you great ones or sachems. Guy
Johnson says he will be glad if you get this intelligence, you Oneidas, how it go<s
with him now, and he is now more, certain concerning the intention of the Boston
people. Guy Johnson is in great fear of being taken prisoner by the Bostonians.
We Mohawks arc obliged to watch him constantly," &c.

. After this, Brant accompanied Guy Johnson when he fled to Canada. The
two Butlers were also in the train. Being now in a place of safety, and the
means in their hands, plots of destruction were put in execution in rapid

Having had some disagreement with Johnson, Brant came again to the
frontiers. Some of the peaceable Mohawks had been confined, to prevent
their doing mischief, as were some of the Massachusetts Indians in Philip's
war. Brant was displeased at this, for he said, if the distant Indians should
come down, they would destroy them indiscriminately with the whites. He
was accompanied by a band of 70 or 80 warriors, who, in their rambles,
visited Unadilla, where they assembled the inhabitants, and told them that
they stood in need of provisions, and if they did not give them some, they
should take it by force; a refusal, therefore, would have been worse than
useless. Brant further observed, " that their agreement with the king was strong,
and that they were not such villains as to break their covenant with him" General
Herkimer marched up to Unadilla, in July, with 380 men, where he found
Brant with 1-30 of his warriors. Here he had an interview with him, in which
lie held the following language : " That the Indians were in concert with th*
king, as their fathers and grandfathers had been. That the king's belts wtre y^i
lodged with them, and they could not falsify their pledge. That General Herki-
mer and the rest had joined the Boston people against their king. That Boston
people were resolute, but the king would humble them. That Mr. Schuyler, or
general, or what you please to call him, was very smart on the Indians at the treaty
at German Flatts ; but was not, at the same time, able to afford them the smallest
article of clothing. TJiat the Indians had formerly made war on the white, people
all united ; and now they were divided, the Indians were not frightened." Colonel
Cox, who accompanied Herkimer. said, if war was his determination, the
matter was ended. Brant then spoke to his warriors, and they shouted, and


ran to their place of encampment, seized their arms, fired several gnus, and,
after giving the war-whoop, returned in warlike array. General Herkimer
then told Brant he did not come to fight, and the chief motioned for his men
to remain quiet Perhaps, as a worthy author observed upon a transaction
in Philip's Avar, it is better to omit the cause of the conduct of Herkimer,
than too critically to inquire into it. His men vastly outnumbered the Indians,
and his authority was ample ; but his motives were no doubt pure, and his
courage must not now be called in question, as will appear from what is to
be related. To put the most favorable construction upon his neglecting to
break down the power of Brant, is to suppose that he was impressed with
the belief that the Indians would not join with the English in committing
hostilities ; if this were the case, he too late discovered the error of his

After the general had said that he did not come to fight, Brant, with an air of
importance, said, " If your purpose is war, I am ready for you" A tempest,
which came up suddenly, separated the parties, and each retired peaceably.
This is said to be the last talk held by any of the Americans with the Six
Nations, previous to hostilities, except with the Oneidas ; all, save a very
few of whom remained neutral.

Towards the autumn of this year, (1777,) Brant was under the direction of
General St. Leger, who detached him with a considerable body of warriors
tor the investment of Fort Stanwix. Colonel Butler was commander-in-chief,
with a band of tories. The inhabitants in the valley of the Mohawk deter-
mined to march for the relief of Colonel Gansevoort, who commanded the
fort, which they did, in two regiments, with General Herkimer at their head.
As is usual with militia, they marched in great disorder, and when the gene-
ral ordered scouting parties to march, as security against surprise, upon the
flanks of the main body, they accused him with cowardice, which, most
unwarrantably, had. more influence upon his mind, than the safety of his
army. A catastrophe ensued, which, though not so momentous in that day,
as was that of Lothrop in 1676, nor so complete a victory on the part of the
Indians, yet it was a severe fight, in which 200 Americans were slain.* The
place of attack was selected by Brant or Butler, and was a ravine of a broad
bottom, nearly impassable, except a rough track covered with logs of from
12 to 15 feet in length, laid transversely,! which extended across it. General
Herkimer arrived at this place about two hours before mid-day, August 6.
He might reasonably have expected an ambush, but his firs* intimations of
the vicinity of an enemy were the terrifying yells of the Indians, and the
still more lasting impressions of their rifles. The advanced guard were all
cut off! Such as survived the first fire, were hewn down with the tomahawk.
The fatal causeway was semicircular, and Brant and his forces occupied the
surrounding heights. These are the principal events in the battle of Oriskana.
A surgeon, Dr. Moses Younglove, was taken prisoner in this battle, and after
his return from captivity, he wrote a poem upon the affair, from which we
extract the following :

" The time and place of our unhappy fight,
To you at large were needless to recite:
When in the wood our fierce inhuman foes,
With piercing yell from circling ambush rose,
A sudden volley rends the vaulted sky 5
Their painted bodies hideous to the eye,
They rush like hellish furies on our bands,
Their slaughter weapons brandish'd in their hands."

Running down from every direction, they prevented the two regiments
from forming a junction, one of them not having entered the causeway ;
and a part of the assailants fell upon those without, and the remainder
upon those within it. The former fared worse than the latter, for in such

* Their whole loss was about 400, says Marshall, Life Washington, v. 261.
t Ail who have travelled, even within a few years, in this part of the state of New York,
rannot but well remember the " Corduroy" roads. Such was me road over this memorable



cases a flight has almost always been a dismal defeat. It w;is now the
case. The other regiment, hemmed in as they were, saw, in a moment,

To fight, or not to fight, was death.

They, therefore, bark to back, forming a front in every direction, fougUt like
men in despair. This, Dr. Younglove thus forcibly depicts :

" Now, hand to hand, the contest is for life,
With bay'net, lom'hawk, sword, and scalping knife:
Now more remote the work of death we ply,
And thick as hail the show'ring bullets fly ;
Full many a hardy warrior sinks supine ;
Yells, shrieks, groans, shouts and thundering volleys join ;
The dismaJ dm the ringing forest fills,
The sounding echo roars along the hills."

The poet thus presents to our view the attacking parties :

" Of two departments were the assailing foes;
Wild savage natives lead the first of those;
Their almost naked frames, of various dyes,
And rings of black and red surround their eyes:
On one side they present a shaven head ;
The naked half of the vermilion red;
In spots the party-color'd face they drew,
Beyond description horrible to view;
Their ebon locks in braid, with paint o'erspread ;
The silver'd ears depending from the head ;
Their gaudry my descriptive power exceeds,
Tn plumes of feathers, glitt'ring plates and beads."

He thus speaks of the tories :

" These for the first attack their force unite,
And most sustain the fury of the fight ;
Their rule of warfare, devastation dire,
By undistinguish'd plunder, death and fire ;
They torture man and beast, with barbarous rage
Nor tender infant spare, nor rev'rend sage."

And Butler is noticed as follows :

" O'er them a horrid monster bore command,
Whose inauspicious birth disgrac'd our land ;
By malice urg'd to ev'ry barb'rous art ;
Of cruel temper, but of coward heart.''

With such bravery did they fight in this forlorn condition, that the Indian?
began to give way ; and, but for a reinforcement of tories, under Major WoA-
son, they would have been entirely dispersed.* This reinforcement is thus
characterized by the surgeon :

Online LibrarySamuel Gardner DrakeThe aboriginal races of North America; comprising biographical sketches of eminent individuals, and an historical account of the different tribes, from the first discovery of the continent to the present period ... and a copious analytical index → online text (page 101 of 131)