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List of Occupants of the Onondaga Reservation, Onondaga County, New York

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Onondaga Reservation Map, 1890

Onondaga Reservation, 1890
Onondaga, County, New York

The Onondaga reservation, lying in Onondaga County, forms a rectangle of a little more than 2.3 miles by 4 miles, commencing about 5 miles southward from the city of Syracuse, and contains about 6,100 acres: Onondaga castle, with hotel, store, post office, and a few houses, is at the “entrance gate “. The blue limestone quarries belonging to the Onondaga Nation furnish excellent building material, but the deep strata, which will measure from 18 to 20 inches in thickness, are 20 feet below the ground surface, requiting laborious and expensive stripping. Only 3 derricks are now worked, each paying to the nation an annual rental of $100. The leases, made by ruling chiefs, pass under the keen supervision of the state agent for the Indians.

The Onondaga reservation, lying in Onondaga County, forms a rectangle of a little more than 2.3 miles by 4 miles, commencing about 5 miles southward from the city of Syracuse, and contains about 6,100 acres: Onondaga castle, with hotel, store, post office, and a few houses, is at the “entrance gate “. The blue limestone quarries belonging to the Onondaga Nation furnish excellent building material, but the deep strata, which will measure from 18 to 20 inches in thickness, are 20 feet below the ground surface, requiting laborious and expensive stripping. Only 3 derricks are now worked, each paying to the nation an annual rental of $100. The leases, made by ruling chiefs, pass under the keen supervision of the state agent for the Indians.

For nearly three-quarters of a mile after leaving Onondaga castle the road runs through the land of a man who, by inheritance from the late “Aunt. Cynthia” (long honored by the Onondagas and also by the white people) and by other acquisitions, has become one of the wealthiest and most influential of his people. His leases to white men bring him a cash income of from $600 to $900 per annum. His example has been followed by others. Only 2,522.25 acres are cultivated, or less than half the acreage of the reservation, 423.5 acres being classed by the owners as pasture land. As a fact, the greater portion of the cultivated land is leased to white men under sanction of the laws of New York, with the concurring consent of the ruling chiefs. As a general rule, the rental is at a fair rate, and whether legally or, as on some of the reservations, illegally leased, affords support to Indian landowners, many of whom would be otherwise helpless and destitute.

More than 1,000 acres are so stony and mountainous that they have little value except for a poor grade of pasturage. There is still sufficient timber for fencing, and the best cultivated farms are fairly fenced, but the fences are not generally well maintained and are only repaired sufficiently to protect crops during their maturity. The supply of timber is ample for the present. While no timber has been sawed, and but little wood cut except for home use, it is to the credit of the people that, to a greater extent than found upon ‘any other reservation, even the poorer families had a visible supply of wood laid up in advance for winter use.

With the exception of the land lying in the angle of the roads below Onondaga castle, no large farms in. well shaped tracts lie upon the east side of the Cardiff road. The lower range of hills comes within a few hundred feet of the road, nearly through the reservation, and for the last mile touches the road. Between First creek, 1 mile from Onondaga castle, and the fork leading to South Onondaga, there are a few good farms of 20 to 40 acres. The land on the west side of the road is uniformly good. The bottom lands on the west side of the creek, although cut by spurs from the hills which press closely upon the creek, are also fertile.

A second road from Syracuse cuts the 300 acre “Webster tract” and afterward follows the western reservation line until it joins the South Onondaga road at a fine farm belonging to a widow. This is also leased to a white man, and the owner lives on the main road in a modern house adjoining the Methodist Episcopal Church. North of this farm are two others worthy of notice, both leased to white men.

The lands along the stony wretched roads, on the upper waters of Lafayette creek, are broken sharply by spurs from the mountain, which occupies so large a portion of the south half of the reservation. More than 20 small, steep hills, almost as distinct as mounds, fringe the creek, leaving only small garden patches for culture. One man has made a success of strawberries, but substantial farming is impracticable. Northward along the bench land and slope of the hills which rise eastward toward the reservation line are several tracts of land with good farming properties. The entire reservation is a narrow valley between two strips of bench land, each of which is at the foot of high outside hills belonging to the white people of New York. No artificial irrigation is needed, as the hills are full of unfailing springs and the water is of the best.

Occupants of Onondaga Reservation

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 on Map

Section B – Blue on Map

Section C – Yellow

Section D – Red