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Tonawanda Reservation Map and Occupants, 1890
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The Tonawanda Reservation, in the counties of Erie, Genesee, and Niagara, New York, as originally surveyed in 1799, and as reserved by the treaty at Big Tree, covered 71 square miles. Coincident with a treaty between the United States and this band of Seneca Indians, March 31, 1859, promulgated November 5, 1859, the claim of the Ogden Land Company was extinguished, and the present reservation limits embrace 7,549.73 acres, lying partly in each of the counties of Erie, Genesee, and Niagara.
One heavy dirt road, almost impassable in the spring or an ordinarily wet season, runs out from the center of Akron, sending a fork into the reservation at a distance of more than 3 miles. A second road, running northeasterly from Akron, enters the reservation at a distance of about 25 miles, at the point where the West Shore railroad enters the reservation, as indicated on the map. Up to this point the road is very well maintained. Half a mile from this point lies a triangular piece of land, which is occupied by the Indian Baptist Church, the Indian Methodist Church, an old council house, schoolhouse No. 2, and the new house of Eliza, with of David Moses, a chief of the Wolf tribe, and a prominent member of the christian party.
From this central triangle 3 roads take their departure. The first runs northwest, leaving the reservation by a bridge across Tonawanda creek, near the canal feeder. The last farm on the left, one of the best on the reservation, belongs to an elder in the Indian Presbyterian Church, and a man in high repute. The road running, southwardly from the central triangle passes off by the southeastern corner of the reservation into the town of Pembroke by “Indian Village”. The third road from the triangle runs almost parallel with the railroad through the reservation to Alabama Center. Reference is made to the map for the crossroads, all of which are poor, and some of which are mere trails through woods and brush.
About half this reservation is under fence, but as a rule the fences, except on the main roads diverging from the center, are not well maintained. New houses and new roofs indicate improvements in many quarters. The same maybe said of the Onondaga, but not as emphatically as of other reservations. The number of acres cultivated by the Tonawanda, Indians during the census year was 2,200, but nearly as large an acreage, or about 1,700 acres, has been cultivated by the white lessees, or on shares.
The northeastern portion of the reservation, marked as public domain, is covered with brush and small timber. Nearly all the land of the reservation, except about 500 acres, can be farmed, and the supply of water is abundant. Some portions are swampy, but not low, and when drained will be most profitable and fertile. Improvidence in the early years of settlement wasted valuable timber, but the supply for fencing and fuel is adequate.
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 – Red
Niagara and Erie Counties
Cultivated Tract Called the Green Farm
Thomas Jones (Genesee County)
Warren Sky (Genesee County)
Section B – Blue
Erie and Genesee Counties
Wm A. Nick
Sally Smith’s Heirs
Old Council House
Old Fair Ground
C. Doctor (vacant)
F. Doctor (vacant)
Peter S. Smith & Louisa Sundown
Mary Doxstator & Samuel Poodry
Section C – Orange
Site of Ancient Council House
William R. Moses
Julia Smith Abram
School House #1
Proposed Farm School
Edward M. Poodry’s Farm
John Griffins Farm
Section D – Green
Old Site of Council House
Maria Parker & Freddie Parker
Widow & Jno. Kennedy
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