Samuel W Durant.

History of Oneida County, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers online

. (page 16 of 192)
Online LibrarySamuel W DurantHistory of Oneida County, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 16 of 192)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Guyasutha commanded at the siege of Fort Pitt, and
also in the desperate battle of Brush (or Bushy) Run, in
Westmoreland Co., Pa., where the savages were totally de-
feated, after a two days' battle, by Colonel Henry Bouquet,
Aug. 5 and 6, 1763.

There had for years been a feeling of intense jealousy
growing among the Indians at the continual encroachments
of the whites upon their territory, and several treaties were
concluded with them at the close of Pontiac's war. It was,
no doubt, greatly owing to the influence of Sir Wm. John-
son that the Six Nations abstained generally from partici-
pating in the great conspiracy of the Ottawa chieftain. It
is well known that at the time of General Braddock's ex-
pedition towards Fort Duquesne, in 1755, the bitter feeling
among the Indians had prevented their taking up arms
against the French. Had they done so, the latter would
have been closely besieged within their fortress, and Brad-
dock could have made the march at his leisure from Vir-
trinia to the Ohio River. Their indifference cost the English
government a fine army and the ravages of a savage ludian
war upon the frontiers.

In the early summer of 1764, Colonel Bradstreet was
sent from Albany, by order of General Gage, the British
commander-in-chief in America, with a force of 1200 men,
to either conclude a treaty of peace with the Western In-
dians, or, in conjunction with Colonel Bouquet, moving from
Fort Pitt (now Pittsburgh, Pa.), to carry the war into the
enemy's country and compel him to terms.

Bradstreet arrived at Oswego in the latter part of June,
when he was joined by Sir William Johnson and a large
party of warriors from the Six Nations. Early in July
the whole force proceeded to Niagara, where, after much

J Of various orthography.



delay, a treaty of peace was concluded with the belligerent

In July, 1766, there was a grand council of all the na-
tions interested at Oswego, and the great Ottawa cliief,
Pontiac, came in state, and shook hands with Sir William
Johnson, and a treaty of peace was concluded.*

The claims of the Six Nations, or Iroquois, to their
country in North America are thus set forth by Sir Wil-
liam Johnson in a letter to the Lords of Trade, of date
Nov. 13, 1763:

" As original proprietors, this Confederacy claim the
country of their residence south of Lake Ontario to the
Great Ridge of the Blue Mountains, with all the western part
of the Province of New York, towards Hudson's River, west
of the Caatskill; thence to Lake Champlain; and from Re-
gioghne, a rock at the east side of said lake, to Oswegatohie,
or La Galette, on the River St. Lawrence ; thence up the
River St. Lawrence and along the south side of Lake On-
tario to Niagara. ,,

" In right of conquest they claim all the country (com-
prehending the Ohio) along the great Ridge of Blue
Mountains at the back of Virginia; thence to the head of
Kentucky River, and down the same to the Ohio above the
Rifts ; thence northerly to the south end of Lake Michigan ;
thence along the eastern shore of said lake to Michilimacki-
nac ; thence easterly across the north end of Lake Huron
to the great Ottawa River (including the Chippeway, or Country) ; and thence down the said river to
the Island of Montreal."

In order to a settlement of those claims and difBculties,
and to define the particular line of boundary between the
Indians and the whites, a great council was called at Fort
Stanwix in September, 1768.

On the 19th of that month Sir William Johnson, ac-
companied by the Governor of New Jersey and other gen-
tlemen, and 20 boats loaded with goods, set out for the place
of meeting. The Virginia commission were already on the
ground, and on the 21st Lieutenant-Governor Penn arrived
with the commissioners from Pennsylvania.

The Indians wore very slow in collecting, but by the 1st
of October 800 were present. On the 15th of October
Governor Penn was called home, and was not present at the
treaty. On the 22d of October there had arrived 2200
Indians, and more were reported coming.

The congress was formally opened on the 24th. Pres-
ent, — Hon. Sir William Johnson, Bart., Superintendent ;
His Excellency William Franklin, Esq., Governor of New
Jersey ; Thom:is Walker, Esq., Commissioner for Virginia ;
Hon. Frederick Smyth, Chief-Justice of New Jersey ; Rich-
ard Peters and James Tilghman, Commissioners for Penn-
sylvania; George Croghan, Esq., Daniel Claus, Esq., and
Guy Johnson, Esq., Deputy Agents for Indian Affairs (the
latter acting also as secretary) ; and John Butler, Esq.,
Andrew Montour, and Philip Phillips, interpreters.

Twenty-seven chiefs were present, of whom seven were
Mohawlcs, four Oiioiulagas, two Seiiecas, five Oneidas, throe
Cayugas, three Tuscaroras, one Shawanese, and two Dela-

» Albach's Annals of tho West sLites that this treaty was helJ early
in the spring, at the German Flats.

At this treaty the boundary line (subsequently known as
" The Line of Property") was established substantially as
follows : " Beginning at the mouth of the Tennessee Rivei- ;
thence up the Ohio River to Fort Pitt ; thence up the Al-
legheny River to Kittanning ; thence nearly east over the
Allegheny mountains to Bald Eagle Creek ; thence down
said Creek and northeast along Burnett's hills to the east
branch of the Susquehanna River ; thence northeast to the
mouth of the east branch of the Delaware River ; thence up
the west or Muhock branch of the Delaware ; thence up the
Unadilla River to the head ; and thence by a direct line to
the mouth of Canada Creek, or east branch of Fish Creek."
Beyond this point to the northward the line was not de-
fined, and we are in the dark regarding its continuation ;
but it appears that at about the close of the colonial period
they claimed " from the ' Line of Property,' reversed, and
continued from the Canada Creek till it comes to certain
mountains, called Esoiade, or Ice Mountain, under which
that Canada Creek opposite to old Fort Hendrick heads ;
from thence running westwardly to an old fort which stood
on the creek called Weteringhra Guentere,'[ and which
empties itself into the river St. Lawrence, about twelve miles
below Carlton, or Buck's Island, and which fort the Oneidas
took from their enemies a long time ago ; from thence running
southerly to a rift upon the Onondaga River, called Ogon-
tenagea, or Avguegonteneagea [a place remarkable for eels],
about five miles from where the river empties out of Oneyda
Lake."J — [Census of New York, 1855.]

This treaty was signed on the 5th of November by the
contracting parties. The chiefs who affixed their signatures
on behalf of the Six Nations were Ty-o-rluin-sere, or " Abra-
ham," for the Mohawlcs ; Cun-agh-qui-e-son for the Onei-
das; Se-quar-u-se-ra for the Tuscaroras; Otsia-oghi-ya-ta
for the Onondagas ; Te-ga-a-ia for the Cayugas ; and
Gu-as-tritx for the Senecas.

" In 1777, when New York became an independent State,
the native owners of Long Island and the country border-
ing upon the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers had mostly con-
veyed their title to the Crown of England, or to persons or
associations authorized by the colonial government to
acquire it.

" At the commencement of the war the Iroquois had
ceded but a comparatively small part of their lands, and the
hostile course which most but the Oneidas and Tuscaroras
pursued during the war placed them in an unfavorable po-
sition, with regard to their claims, upon the return of peace.
Popular hati-ed, sustained by the recollection of the recent
horrors of Indian warfare, to some extent found expression
in the councils of the new government ; and while the latter
appeared anxious to reward those who had lately been their
allies, or who had remained neutral, by liberal concessions,
it evinced a not less fixed determination of holding the
hostile portion responsible for the policy it had adopted.

" The first law of the State government on this subject

f French Creek, at the present village of Clayton.

X It would seem that this boundary must have extended from the
head-waters of Canada Creak — the branch of Fish Creek spoken of
— to those of one of the large Canada creeks (either East or West),
and thence in an imaginary straight line to the mouth of French
Creek, in the present county of JciTcrson.



was enacted October 23, 1779, in which, after reciting the
mischief done by the Indians, and their infidelity and abuse
of former favors, — naming especially the Mohawks^ Onon-
dagasj Cayugas^ and SenecaSj — it empowered the Governor
and four commissioners* to execute, if possible, a treaty of
pacification, and to ask, demand, and by every way and
means in their power to obtain, an engagement not only for
securing the St;ite and its subjects from further hostilities,
but for indemnifying the public for injuries already com-
mitted, by exacting such compensation and retribution as
might be deemed proper. These commissioners were to act
in behalf of the State in any treaty which the United States
might hold, and their proceedings were to be reported to
the Legislature.

" On the 25th of March, 1783, the Grovernor and council
of appointment were authorized to appoint three commis-
sionei'S'j' of Indian afiairs to superintend the business of
the Indians generally, and to examine into and ascertain the
territorial claims of the Oneidas and TuscaroraSj with the
view of adopting such measures as might secure their con-
tentment and tranquillity.


" Tlie first general treaty with the Six Nations after the
war was made at Fort Stanwix, Oct. 22, 1784, by Oliver
Wolcott, Richard Butler, and Arthur Lee, commissioners
plenipotentiary, appointed by Congress for that purpose.
It required, under the pledge of hostages, the immediate
surrender of all prisoners, and secured to the Oneidas and
Tiiscaroras the quiet possession of their lands. The Six
Nations ceded all their lands west of a line from Lake On-
tario, four miles east of the Niagara River, to Buffalo Creek,
and thence south to Pennsylvania ; thence west to the end
of Pennsylvania ; and thence south along the west bounds
of that State to the Ohio River."J

The MohawJcs took no part in this council. The stipu-
lations of this treaty were renewed at Fort Harmar (in
Ohio) on the 9th of January, 1789, and the Six Nations
secured their possessions east of the line above mentioned,
excepting a reservation six miles square at Oswego, and the
lands ceded in Pennsylvania.

Lafayette. — At the treaty of 1784 there were present
the Marquis de Lafayette, M. de Marbois, Consul-Greneral
of France, and the Chevalier de Caraman,§ who attended
the council in a body. During the introductory proceed-
ings Lafayette made the following address to the Indians
assembled :

f In meeting my children, I give thanks to heaven, which has
conducted me to this place of peace, where you smoke together the
pipe of friendship.

* The commiaaionera were Anthony Van Schaiok, Levi Pawling>
Peter Schuyler, and Colonel Jacob Klockj and they seem to have
bad simply powers to conclude treaties.

I Abram Cuyler, Peter Schuyler, and Henry Glen were appointed
to this-office, June 27, 1783. On the 6th of April, 1784, the Governor
was authorized to associate with this commission such other persons
as he might deem proper.

% On the 23d of October, before this council broke up, the Six
Nations and others ceded all their lands remaining in Pennsylvania
to the commissioners.

g The Indiana gave this gentleman the name Swjanah-Huassy
(great warrior).

"If you remember the voice of Kny-en ?a-a,[| call to mind, also hia
advices and belts \vhich he has often sent you. I come to thank the
faithful children, the sachems, the warriors, and auch as have been
my messengers; and if paternal memory did not sooner forget ill
than good, I might be disposed to punish those who, in opening their
ears, have shut their hearts, and who, blindly taking up the hatchet,
have been in danger of striking their own fathers.

"That the American cause is just, I formerly told you; that it is
the cause of humanity ; that it is your cause in particular; that you
ought at least to remain neutral; and that the brave Americans
would defend both their liberty and yours; that your fathers, the
French, would take them by the hand ; that the ' white birds'^ would
cover the shores; that the great Onontio, like the sun, would dispel
the clouds iVhich surrounded you; and that the adverse projects
would vanish like a scattering fog.

" Not to listen to Kay-en-la-a was the advice given jou from
another quarter, and you were also told that the Northern army**
would enter Boston in triumph ; that the Southern army would con-
quer Virginia; that the great chief warrior, Washington, at the head
of your fathers and your brothers, would be forced to abandon the
country. Those who put their hand before your eyes have not failed
to open their own. Peace has ensued. You know the conditions of
it. And I shall do a favor to some of you by forbearing, through
pity, a repetition of them.

" My predictions have been fulfilled. Open your ears to the new
advice of your father, and let my voice, be heard among all the

"What have you ever gained, my children, — what have you not
lost, — in European quarrels ? Be more wise than the white men.
Keep peace among yourselves, and, since the great council of the
United States is, in its goodness, disposed to treat with you, profit
by these good dispositions. Forget not that the Americans are the
intimate friends of your fathers, the French. This alliance is as
desirable as it has been successful. The great Onontio has given
forever his hand to your brothers, who offer you theirs, and by this
means we shall form a salutary chain. To satisfy yourselves of it,
trade with the Americans, and with those of your fathers who may
cross the great lake.ff The manufactures of France are known to
you, and your experience will lead you to prefer them. They will
be to you a token of the alliance.

"In selling your lands, do. not consult the keg of rum, and give
them away to the first adventurer, but let the American chiefs and
yours, united around the fire, settle on reasonable terms. At present,
my children, you know that if some have a title to the acknowledg-
ments of Congress, there are many whose only resource is in their
clemency, and whose past faults call for reparation. If you hearken
well, my children, I have said enough to you. Repeat my words,
one to another.

" Whilst on the other side of the great lake, I shall hear of you
with pleasure, and until we shall again smoke our pipes together,
and be together under the sabae huts, I wish you good health, suc-
cessful huntings, union, plenty, and the fulfillment of all dreams
which promise you happiness.

[True translation.]


A general treaty was held at Canandaigua, Nov. It,
1794, under the direction and management of Colonel
Timothy Pickering, at which the separate treaties which
had been made by the Oneidas, Onondagas, and Cayugas
with the State of New York were confirmed, and goods to
the value of $10,000 were delivered to the Indians, besides
the annual sum of $3000, in addition to the $1500 pre-
viously allowed.§§

1] Name given him by the Indians.

^ Birds of peace or good omen.

*** Burgoyne's;

If The Atlantic Ocean.

XX Craig's Olden Time, Pittsburgh, 1847.

g§ President Washington, on the 23d of April, 1792, recommended
a plan, which was confirmed by the Senate, in which the Senecas,
Oneidae (and Stockbridge Indians incorporated with them), the



The original Constitution of New York restricted the
right of purchasing lands from the Indians to the State in
its sovereign capacity, and an act passed March 18, 1788,
imposed a penalty of $250, and further punishment by
fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the courts, for
violation of this provision. It also adopted measures for
preventing intrusion and protecting the rights of the
natives. These, or similar restrictions, have been continued
to the present time, and all treaties for the purchase of
Indian lands, until a recent period, have been made by the
Governor, or commissioners authorized by special acts for
the purpose. On the 25th of May, 1841, the commissioners
of the land-office were authorized, with the consent of the
Governor, to treat with the Indians for the purchase of
lands, and to pay off the principal of the annuities of cer-
tain tribes at their discretion. With the exception of a
few of the earlier treaties, each tribe has negotiated sepa-
rately with the State in the cession of its lands, and in
more recent periods sectional and local parties acted inde-
pendently in these negotiations.*

On the 28th of June, 1785, a treaty was made at Fort
Herkimer with the Oneidas and Tascaroras by Governor
Clinton and the Commissioners of Indian Affairs, in which
the former ceded the country between the Unadilla and
Chenango Rivers for $I1,5U0 in goods and money. After
this cession the Tascaroras^ who were then occupying the
region, emigrated to the country of the Senecas^ who made
them a grant of land, which was subsequently increased by
the Holland Company.

A treaty was made at Fort Stanwix (Schuyler) in Sep-
tember, 1788, with the Oneida nation, at which they ceded
nearly all their lands to the State. The following account
of this treaty, which we give in full, as a very important
one in the history of Oneida County and the Oneida na-
tion, is from Dr. Hough's history of Jefferson County,
for which it was transcribed from the records at Albany :

"At a treaty held at Fort Schuyler, formerly called Fort Stanwix,
in the Shite of New York, by his Excellency, George Clinton, Gov-
ernor of the said State, and William Floyd, Ezra L'Hommedieu,
Kicbard Varick, Samuel Jones, Egbert Benson, and Peter Giinsevoort,
Junior (Commissioners authorized for that purpose by and on behalf
of the State of New York), with the tribe or nation of Indians called
the Oneiilau, it is, on the 22d day of September, 1788, covenanted
and concluded as follows : Firtit, the Oneidaa do cede and grant all
their lands to the people of the State of New York forever. Secondly,
of the said ceded lands the following tract, to wit: Beginning at the
Wood Creek, opposite to the mouth of Canada Creek, and where the
* Line of Property' comes to the said Wood Creek, and runs thence
southerly to the northwest corner of the tract, to be granted to John
Francis Pearchc [Perache?]; thence along the westerly bounds of
said tract to the southwest corner thereof; thence to the northwest
corner of the tract granted to James Dean ; thence along the westerly
bounds thereof to the southwest corner of the last-mentioned tract j
thence due south until it intersects a due-west line from the head of
the Ti-en-a-da-ha, or Unadilla River j thence from the said point of
intersection due west until the Deep Springf bears due north; thence
due north to the Deep Spring; thence by the nearest course to the
Can-e-ae-ia-ga Creek; and thence along the said creek, the Oneida

Tusearoraa, Gnyugas, and Onoudagns were to receive annually
$1500, to be expended in purchasing clothing, domestic animals, and
implements of husbandry, and for encouraging artificers to reside in
their villages.

* Census Report, 1855.

"j" Now in the town of Manlius, Onondaga County.

Lake, and the Wood Creek to the place of beginning, shall be re-
served for the following uses, that is to say : The lands lying to the
northward of a line parallel to the southern line of the said reserved
lands, and four miles distant from the said southern line, the Oaeidas
shall hold to themselves and their posterity forever, for their own
use and cultivation ; but not to be sold, leased, or in any other man-
ner aliened or disposed of to others. The Oncxdas may from time
to time forever make leases of the lands between the said parallel
line (being the residue of the said reserved lands) to such persons,
and on such rents reserved, as they shall deem proper; but no lease
shall be for a longer term than twenty-one years from the making
thereof, and no new lease shall be made until the former lease of the
same lands shall have expired. The rents shall be to the use of the
Oiieidan and their posterity forever. And the people of the State of
New York shall, from time to time, make provision by law to compel
the leasees to pay the rent, and in every other respect enable the
Oneidas and their posterity to have the full benefit of their right bo
to make leases, and to prevent frauds on them respecting the same.
And the Oneidaa and their posterity forever shall enjoy the free
right of hunting in every part of the said ceded lands, and of fishing
in all the waters within the same, and especially there shall forever
remain ungranted by the people of the State of New York one-half
mile square at the distance of every six miles of the lands along the
northern bounds of the Oneida Lake, one half-mile in breadth of the
lands on each side of Fish Creek, and a convenient piece of land at
the fishing-place in the Onondaga River, about three miles Irora where
it issues out of the Oneida Lake, and to remain as well for the Oneidaa
and their posterity as for the inhabitants of said State to land and
encamp on; but notwithstanding any reservation to the Oneidat,
the people of the State may erect public works and edifices as they
shall think proper, at such place or places at or near the confluence
of Wood Creek and the Oneida Lake as they shall elect, and may
take or appropriate for such works or buildings lands to the extent
of one square mile at each place. And further, notwithstanding any
reservation of lands to the Oneidaa for their own use, the New Eng-
land Indians (now settled at Brotherton, under the Rev. Samson
Occum), and their posterity forever, and the Stockbridge Indians,
and their posterity forever, shall hold and enjoy the settlements on
lands heretofore given them by the Oneidaa for that purpose, — that
is to say, a tract of two mifes in breadth and three miles in length
for the New England Indians, and a tract of six miles square for the
Stockbridge Indians. J Thirdly, in consideration of the said cession
and grant, the people of the State of New York do at this treaty pay
to the Oneidaa two thousand dollars in money, two thousand dollars
in clothing and other goods, and one thousand dollars in provisions;
and also five hundred dollars in money to be paid towards building a
grist-mill and a saw-mill at their village (the receipt of which money,
clothing, goods, and provisions the Oneidaa do now acknowledge);
and the people of the State of New York shall annually pay to the
OneidaSf and their posterity forever, on the first day of June in
every year, at Fort Schuyler aforesaid, six hundred dollars in silver ;
but if the Oneidaa, or their posterity, shall at any time hereafter
elect that the whole or any part of the said six hundred dollars shall
be paid in clothing or provisions, and give six weeks' previous notice
thereof to the Governor of the said State for the time being, then so
much of the annual payment shall for that time be in clothing or
provisions as the Oneidaa and their posterity shall elect, and at the
price which the same shall cost the people of the State of New York,
at Fort Schuyler aforesaid ; and as u, further consideration to the
Oneidaa, the people of the State of Now York shall grant to the said
John Francis Pearche a tract of land, — beginning in the 'Line of
Property' at a certain cedar-tree near the road leading to Oneida,
and runs from the said cedar-tree southerly along the Line of Property
two miles ; thence westerly at right angles to the said Line of Prop-
erty, two miles; then northerly at right angles to the last course,
two miles ; and thence to the place of beginning ; which the said
John Francis Pearche hath consented to accept from the Oneidaa in
satisfaction for an injury done to him by one of their nation. And
further, the lands intended by the Oneidaa for John T. Kirkland and
for George W. Kirkland being now appropriated to the use of the

f This tract, reserved for the Stockbridge Indians, was situated
on both sides of Oneida Creek. That on the east side of the creek
formed a portion of Oneida County until 1836, when most of it was
annexed to Madison County.



Otieidas, the people of the State of Now York shall, therefore, by a

Online LibrarySamuel W DurantHistory of Oneida County, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 16 of 192)