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Circular Fort at Deoseowa, Erie County

Chapter 30
Page 120

Site of an ancient battlefield, with vestiges of an entrenchment and fortification on the banks of the Deoseowa, or Buffalo creek.

The following sketch conveys an idea of the relative position of the several objects alluded to. Taken together they constitute the distinguishing feature in the archaeology of the existing Indian cemetery, mission station, and council-house on the Seneca reservation, five or six miles south of the city of Buffalo. As such, the site is one of much interest, and well worthy of further observation and study. The time and means devoted to it, in the preparation of this outline, were less than would be desirable, yet they were made use of, under favorable circumstances, as the current periodical business and deliberations of the tribe brought together a large part of them, including the chief persons of education and intelligence, as well as many aged persons who are regarded as the depositories of their traditions and lore.

Tradition, in which all concur, points out this spot as the scene of the last and decisive battle fought between the Senecas and their fierce and inveterate enemies the Kah-Kwahs, a people who are generally but erroneously supposed to be the same as the Eries.1 It is not proposed in this place, to consider the evidences on this point, or to denote the origin and events of this war. It is mainly alluded to as

1. This is a French pronunciation of a Wyandot or Huron term. Vide Hennepin, Amsterdam, ed. 1698.

Circular Fort at Deoseowa, Erie County
Page 121

a historical incident connected with the site. It is a site around which the Senecas have clung, as if it marked an era in their national history; although the work itself was clearly erected by their enemies. It has been the seat of their government or council fire, from an early period of our acquaintance with them. It was here that Red Jacket uttered some of his most eloquent harangues against the steady encroachments of the white race, and in favor of retaining this cherished portion of their lands, and transmitting them with full title to their descendants. It was here that the noted captive, Dehewamis, better known as Mary Jemison, came to live after a long life of most extraordinary vicissitudes. And it is here that the bones of the distinguished Orator, and the no less distinguished Captive, rest side by side, with a multitude of warriors, chiefs and sages. Nor can we, on natural principles of association, call in question the truthfulness or force of the strenuous objections, which, for so many years, the whole tribe has opposed to the general policy of its sale. But these events are now history; the tribe has come into arrangements to remove to reservations owned by their brethren, in more westerly parts of the State, and there will soon be no one left whose heart vibrates with the blood of a Seneca, to watch the venerated resting places of their dead.

It was suitable, before the plough was put into these precincts, and the last trench and mound of the tribe were obliterated, that some memorial of the locality should be preserved, and I can only regret that the labor itself has not been better or more successfully accomplished.

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Iroquois General Ethnology - Table of Contents
Iroquois General Ethnology of Western New York

Notes About the Book:

Source: Notes on the Iroquois or, Contributions to the Statistics, Aboriginal History, Antiquities and General Ethnology of Western New York, By Henry R. Schoolcraft, 1846, Senate Document, Twenty-Four.

Online Publication: The manuscript was scanned and then ocr'd. Minimal editing has been done, and readers can and should expect some errors in the textual output.

This site includes some historical materials that may imply negative stereotypes reflecting the culture or language of a particular period or place. These items are presented as part of the historical record and should not be interpreted to mean that the WebMasters in any way endorse the stereotypes implied.


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