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Allegany Reservation Map and Occupants, 1890
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Allegany Reservation, lying in Cattaraugus County, New York, has remarkable features in very respect, and of great social and political concern. Besides resting under the burden of the Ogden Land Company pre-emption right to purchase whenever the Seneca Nation shall agree to sell its lands, it is already occupied in part by white people, who, in large numbers, hold duly legalized leases, running until May, 1892, and subject by recent act of Congress to renewal upon the consent of the parties thereto for a term not exceeding 99 years. Upon location of the New York, Lake Erie and Western and then of the Atlantic and Great Western railroads through the Allegany reservation, leases were obtained from the Indian owners of the soil. By a decision of the supreme court of the state of New York these leases were declared to be illegal and void. By act of Congress approved February 19, 1875, all leases to said railroad companies were ratified and confirmed.
Three commissioners were designated by the President under said act to survey, locate, and establish proper boundaries and limits to the villages of Carrolton, Great Valley, Red House, Salamanca, Vaudalia, and West Salamanca, including therein as far as practicable all lands now occupied by white settlers, and such other lands as in their opinion may be reasonably required for the purposes of such villages, also declaring “the boundaries of said villages so surveyed, located, and established to be the limits of said villages for all purposes of the act”. The Seneca Nation, however, was prohibited from leasing in said villages any land of which, by the laws and customs of said nation, any individual Indian or Indians or any other person claiming under him or them has or is entitled to the rightful possession. This last provision is simply the recognition of that practical title in severalty by which, on either of the reservations, any Indian may, by occupation and improvement, gain the equivalent to a title in fee simple, transmissible to his heirs, or subject to legal sale by himself to any other Indian of his tribe.
A curious result followed the location of the corporation of Red House. Just at the foot of a sharp hill, with less than 200 feet of space to the river and the bridge crossing, widening gradually southward into a space of ground sufficient for a handle factory, store, and blacksmith shop, and practically monopolizing the whole space, is a tract about 400 by 600 feet, which constitutes the corporation of Red House. The subsequent location and completion of the Rochester and Salamanca railroad westward to Kinzua, on the other side of the river, soon induced settlement, so that the largest store adjoining any New York reservation, doing an annual business of several hundred thousand dollars, and quite a spacious hotel and many other houses, occupied by white people, are upon the new but illegal Red House site, while the handle factory and all else that gave value to the real Red House is neglected and in decay. Ninety-six persons, whose names appear in the general schedule, are lessees or occupants of adjoining lands. The enlargement of the corporate limits of Red House is now the only legal way to settle the difficulty.
The reservation, on both sides of the Allegany River, with a varying width of from 1 to 2.5 miles and nearly 35 miles in length, contains 30,469 acres, and is carefully defined upon the accompanying map. The entire tract was included in a sale made by the state of Massachusetts to Robert Morris May 11, 1791, under a convention between Massachusetts and New York, held at Hartford, Connecticut, December 16, 1786, where disputed issues as to lands in New York were compromised, and New York, reserving its claim to “government sovereignty and jurisdiction, ceded, granted, and confirmed to Massachusetts and the use of the commonwealth, its grantees and their heirs and assigns forever, the right of pre-emption of the soil from the native Indians, and all other estate, right, title, and property (the right and title of government, sovereignty, and jurisdiction excepted) which the state of New York bath in and to the described lands”. The Senecas, by their treaty at Big Tree September 15, 1797, conveyed to Robert Morris, for less than 3 cents an acre, all except 9 small reservations, and subsequently disposed of these, except the reservations of Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Tonawanda, which they still own. By a treaty between the United States and the Tonawanda band, dated November 5, 1857, and ratified June 4, 1858, the pre-emption right of the Ogden Land Company was extinguished by the payment to said company of $100,000. The pre-emption right of said company still holds binding force as to the lands of the other 3 reservations named.
Of this large area of land, embracing 47.5 square miles, only 2,948 acres are cultivated by Indians and 2,175 are used as pasture. This is the land claimed as owned by individuals, and includes the small tracts leased to white people. The narrow belts along the valley are fairly fertile, but the soil is thin and soon wears out. Very few parts are loam or truly rich soil. Frequent floods, bearing sand and gravel over the bottoms and washing out much that has been gained by partial cultivation, have dispirited tenants, so that in the summer of 1890 14 houses were found vacated by occupants, who took possession with a view to profitable farming. These were all eastward of Salamanca. The tillable land, Ito never, embraces 11,000 acres, of which 7,000 may be properly classed as arable. The hills were stripped of their best timber during the period when rafting logs on the Alleghany River and down the Ohio was profitable. Hundreds of acres at the foot of the hills, and perfectly level, bear the stump marks of -this bygone occupation, and are now covered with thickly-set brush, with small second-growth timber. In fact the soil does not invite farmers to invest largely, even if the Indians had both choice and freedom to sell. The cultivated lands have been fairly fenced, but the fences are not kept up with care. The supply of water from springs and innumerable mountain streams is adequate for all purposes.
We have carefully copied the names listed on the map in hopes it will provide a better record but also help you in your search for ancestors
Section A – Green
Henry Huff Jr. Henry Pierce
Abel Pierce Sr.
Abel Pierce Jr.
The Friends Industrial School
John P. Jimerson
Abram S. Huff
H. Huff Jr.
Henry Huff Sr
Heber F. Jackson
Section B – Blue
Widow Wilaon Jimerson
A. F. Seneca
R. T. Jimerson
Old S. M.
Wm. C. Horgen
Alfred T. Jimerson
Section C – Red
J. B. Lewis
Andrew John Jr.
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