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Who were the Eries?

Louis Hennepin, who was a Recollect, remarks in the original Amsterdam edition of his travels of 1698, that Canada was first discovered by the Spanish, alluding doubtless to the voyage of Cortereal and that it received its first missionaries under the French, from the order of Recollects. These pioneers of the cross, according to this author, made themselves very acceptable to the Hurons or Wyandots, who occupied the banks of the St. Lawrence, and who informed them that the Iroquois pushed their war parties beyond Virginia and New-Sweden, and other parts remote from their cantons. They went, he says, in these wars, near to a lake, which they called Erige or Erie.1 Now, if they went “beyond Virginia and New Sweden,” they were very remote from Lake Erie, and the assertion implies a contradiction or some ignorance of the geography of the country. This name in the Huron language, he informs us, signifies the Cat, or Nation of the Cat a name, he says, which it derived from the fact that the Iroquois in returning to their cantons, brought the Erige or Erike, captives through it. The Canadians softened this word to Erie. It would appear then, that the Eries either did not occupy the immediate banks of the lake, or else they lived on the upper or more remote parts of it. To be brought captives through it, they must have been embarked at some distance from its lower extremity. This vague mode of expression leaves a doubt as to the actual place of residence of this conquered and, so called, extinct tribe. Whether extinct or not, is...

Erie Indians

Erie Tribe: Meaning in Iroquois, “long tail,” and referring to the panther, from which circumstance they are often referred to as the Cat Nation. Also called: GA-quA’-ga-o-no, by L. H. Morgan (1851). Erie Connection. The Erie belonged to the Iroquoian linguistic family. Erie Location. All of northern Ohio, except possibly the northwestern corner, and in portions of northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York. In the southeastern part of the State they perhaps reached the Ohio River. (See also Indiana, New York, and Pennsylvania.) Erie Villages: The names of but two villages are known, Gentaienton and Riqué. There are supposed to have been several subdivisions, but their names have not been preserved. Erie History. Little is known of this tribe until the final struggle which resulted in its destruction as a nation at the hands of the Iroquois and the incorporation of most of the remnants among the conquerors. The war lasted from 1653 to 1656 and seems to have been unusually bloody, the victory of the Iroquois having been determined probably by the fact that they possessed firearms. Some of the so-called Seneca of Oklahoma may be descended from Erie refugees. Erie Population. Hewitt (1907) considers 14,500 a conservative estimate of Erie population at the time of the last war, but Mooney (1928) allows only 4,000. Connection in which they have become noted. The historical prominence of the Erie tribe itself is confined to the war in which it was destroyed. Its claim to present remembrance arises from the adoption of the name for one of the Great Lakes; for an important city in Pennsylvania upon its shores; counties...

Erie Tribe

A populous sedentary Iroquoian tribe, inhabiting in the 17th century the territory extending south from Lake Erie probably to Ohio river, east to the lands of the Conestoga along the east watershed of Allegheny river and to those of the Seneca along the line of the west watershed of Genesee river, and north to those of the Neutral Nation, probably on a line running eastward from the head of Niagara river (for the Jesuit Relation for 1640-41 says that the territory of the Erie and their allies joined that of the Neutral Nation at the end of Lake Erie), and west to the west watershed of Lake Erie and Miami river to Ohio river.

Tuscarora Incorporated into the Confederacy

From the conquered nations they exacted tribute, and drew conscripts for their armies. The Tuscaroras, who resided in Carolina, were incorporated into the confederacy in 1715, and thereafter they were known as the Six Nations. From the extent of their conquests, the number of their subject nations, and the tribute and military aid rendered them by the latter, they have been called the “Romans of the New World.” When we reflect that of their own warriors they could bring into the field barely 2,000 braves, and with this number subjugated nations numerically more than twice as large, and spread terror and consternation among the French settlements in Canada, threatening their utter extinction, the magnitude of their achievements may be faintly comprehended. Their great successes, however, are scarcely referable to the perfection of their military organization, which, though unquestionably better than that of their neighbors, was wretchedly poor. Occasionally, though rarely, they acted in concert as a great confederacy; but usually their wars were carried on by detached parties, small in numbers, or at best by individual nations, by whom their great conquests were mostly made. They were in a chronic state of warfare, and were easily diverted from other pursuits whenever an opportunity offered to avenge their enemies. The inveterate wars waged by them against their kinsmen, as for instance the Hurons, Eries and Andastes, all mighty and valorous nations, is one of the unexplained passages in their history. Any of their warriors who was desirous of avenging a personal insult, rebuking a tribal or national affront, or ambitious to distinguish himself by some deed of valor, might take...

The Adirondacks

The Iroquois were not always the same fierce, rapacious and blood-thirsty people which they are now familiarly known to have been, but were once engrossed in the peaceful pursuits of the husbandman. Colden graphically relates the circumstances which led them in a measure to forsake that occupation, and involved them in a war with the Adirondacks, in which they were engaged when the French first settled Canada. We quote: “The Adirondacks formerly lived three hundred miles above Trois Rivers, where now the Utawawas are situated; at that time they employed themselves wholly in hunting, and the Five Nations made planting of corn their business. By this means they became useful to each other, by exchanging corn for venison. The Adirondacks, however, valued themselves, as delighting in a more manly employment, and despised the Five Nations, in following business, which they thought only fit for women. But it once happened that the game failed the Adirondacks, which made them desire some of the young men of the Five Nations to assist them in hunting. These young men soon became much more expert in hunting, and able to endure fatigue, than the Adirondacks expected or desired; in short they became jealous of them, and, one night, murdered all the young men they had with them. The Five Nations complained to the chiefs of the Adirondacks of the inhumanity of this action; but they contented themselves with blaming the murderers, and ordered them to make some small presents to the relatives of the murdered persons,1 without being apprehensive of the resentment of the Five Nations; for they looked upon them as men...

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