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Laws of North Carolina 1827-1831

“An act concerning the lands formerly occupied by the Tuscarora tribe of Indians lying in Bertie County, on the north side of Roanoke river. “Whereas the Tuscarora Indians have for more than a century been the firm and un-dividing friends of the white people of this country, insomuch that the people of North Carolina not only render to them full and complete Justice, but also to exercise towards them that spirit of generosity which their conduct has merited: Therefore, Article I. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, that William R. Smith of Halifax, Simon J. Barker, of Martin and William Brittin of Bertie, be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners for the purpose of advertising and selling in manner hereinafter directed, the above named tract of land bounded as follows, to wit: beginning at the mouth of Quitsnoy swamp; running up the swamp 430 poles to a scrubby oak, near the head of said swamp by a great spring; thence north 10 degrees east 850 poles, to a persimmon tree, on Raquis Swamp; thence along the swamp and Pocasin main course north 57 degrees west 2,640 poles, to a hickory on the east side of Falling Run on Deep Creek, and down the various courses of said Run to Roanoke River; then down the river to the first station. Article II. And be it further enacted, That the title so to be sold by said commissioners shall be understood to extend only to the reversion of the State in said lands after...

Osteological Remains

“In the town of Cambria, six miles west of Lockport, a Mr. Hammon, who was employed with his boy in hoeing corn, in 1824, observed some bones of a child, exhumed. No farther thought was bestowed upon the subject for a time, for the plain of the Ridge was supposed to have been the site of an Indian village, and this was supposed to be the remains of some child who had been recently buried there. Eli Bruce, hearing of the circumstance, proposed to Mr. Hammon that they should repair to the spot, with suitable instruments, and endeavor to find some relics. The soil was a light loam, which would be dry and preserve bones for centuries without decay. A search enabled them to come to a pit but a slight distance from the surface. The top of the pit was covered with small slabs of the Medina sandstone, and was twenty-four feet square, four and a half feet deep, planes agreeing with the four cardinal points. It was filled with human bones of both sexes and ages. They dug down at one extremity and found the same layers to extend to the bottom, which was the dry loam, and from their calculations, they deduced that at least four thousand souls had perished in one great massacre. In one skull two flint arrow-heads were found, and many had the appearance of having been fractured and cleft open by a sudden blow. They were piled in regular layers, but with no regard to size or sex. Pieces of pottery were picked up in the pit, and had also been plowed up...

School Operations among the Tuscarora Indians

For the earlier part of the history of school operations among the Tuscarora Indians, I can do no better than to give the report of Rev. John Elliot to the Secretary of War, in the year 1832, viz.: “To the Secretary of War : “This will show the operations of the schools from their organization in 1805, to September 30, 1832. “The first school among the Tuscarora was taught by Rev. Mr. Homes, the first missionary. This, according to the best information, was in 1805. What amount has been expended, either from the fund of the society or by the Government, to sustain its operation, I am wholly unable to state. The Indians converted their Council House into one for public worship, and also one for school operations, until 1828, when, with a little assistance from abroad, they completed a convenient chapel, 28 x 38 feet, for public worship. In 1831 they raised and finished a frame school house 24 x 20 feet, at an expense probably of $200. This sum, with the exception of $8, the Indians obtained by contributions among themselves. “We have but one teacher, whose whole time is engrossed in the concerns of the school (Mrs. Elliot and myself are occasionally employed). Her name is Elizabeth Stone, and the compensation she receives is only the means of support, the same that we receive. Ninety scholars have, to our certain knowledge, entered the school since its commencement. One of the numbers is the principal Chief and stated interpreter, who can communicate in three languages. Eighty of this number have attended the school within the last six...

The New Religion

About the year 1800 a new religion was introduced among the Six Nations, the exponent of which alleged to have received a revelation from the Great Spirit, with a commission to preach to them the new doctrine in which he was instructed. This revelation was received in circumstances so remarkable, and the precepts he sought to inculcate contained in themselves such evidences of wisdom and beneficence that he was universally received among them, not only as a wise and good man, but as one commissioned by the Great Spirit to become their religious teacher. The new religion, as it has ever since been called, embodied all the precepts of the ancient faith, recognized the ancient mode of worship giving it a new sanction of the Great Spirit, and also comprehend such new doctrines as came in aptly, to lengthen out and enlarge the original system without impairing it. Charges of imposture and deception were at first preferred against him, but disbelief of his divine mission gradually subsided, until at the time of his death the whole unchristianized portion of the Six Nations had become firm believers in the new religion, which to the present day has continued to some extent as a prevailing faith. This singular person who was destined to obtain such a spiritual sway over the descendants of the ancient Iroquois was Ga-ne-o-di-yo, or “Handsomelake.” a Seneca sachem of the highest class, he was born at the Indian village of Ga-no-wau-ges, near Avon, about the year 1735, and died at Onondaga in 1815, where he happened to be on one of his pastoral visits. By birth he...

Massacre of German Flats, New York

We again hear of the Tuscarora by history, concerning a massacre of the German Flats, N. Y., in November, 1757. A narrative communicated to the author of the Documentary History of New York, vol. 2, page 520, viz: A few days after this massacre and desolation had been perpetrated, Sir William Johnson dispatched Geo. Croghan, Esq., Deputy Agent, with Mr. Montour, the Indian interpreter, to the German Flats, where he understood several of the Oneida and Tuscarora Indians were assembled, in order to call upon them to explain why they had not given more timely notice to the Germans of the designs and approach of the enemy, it having been reported that no intelligence had been given by the Indians until the same morning the attack was made, and as these Indians might naturally be supposed, from their situation and other circumstances, to have had an earlier knowledge of the enemy’s design and march. Before Mr. Croghan could get up to the German Flats the aforesaid Indians were on their road homewards, but he was informed that the Chief Sachem of the Upper Oneida town, with a Tuscarora Sachem (which is supposed to be Solomon Longboard) and another Oneida Indian, were still about four miles from Fort Harkeman, upon which he sent a messenger to acquaint them that he was at the said fort. The aforesaid Indians returned, and on the 30th of November, at Fort Harkeman, Conaghquieson, the Oneida Sachem, made the following speech to Mr. Croghan, having first called in one Rudolph Shumaker, Hanjost Harkman and several other Germans who understood the Indian language, and desired them...

Miss Mary Thayer Labors as a Missionary Teacher

In the year of 1850 there was another school house built by the natives under the proposition of Miss Mary J. F. Thayer. I have here a brief history of her labors among the Tuscarora, from her own writings, which is very interesting, to wit: At the invitation of Rev. G. Rockwood (then the ordained missionary at Tuscarora) Miss M. J. F. Thayer commenced her labors among the Tuscarora as teacher on April 30, 1849, in the old school-house opposite Mr. Rockwood’s house, receiving from the American Board one dollar and fifty cents per week, besides her board. There were but few scholars, and these were very irregular in their attendance. Miss T. visited the parents and tried to get them interested. She finally came to the conclusion that time and money were thrown away on that little day school, and drew up a paper, which was read to the Tuscarora at their New Year’s feast, January 1, 1850, in which she detailed her plans and wishes, asking their aid in executing them. Their response was cordial and hearty. They resolved to build a new school-house; the site was selected on a corner near Isaac Miller’s, and the people, as one man, went to work with great alacrity, under the leadership of one of their chiefs, Wm. Mt. Pleasant, and had, before the next New Year’s, a snug house, 18 x 24 feet, well finished, furnished with two stoves, and a large pile of wood prepared. Miss Thayer commenced teaching at the new station (which she was pleased to call Mt. Hope) Jan. 14, 1851, having forty scholars the...

The Iroquois, National Traits of Character

In all the early histories of the American Colonies, in the stories of Indian life and the delineations of Indian character, these children of nature are represented as savages and barbarians, and in the mind of a large portion of the community the sentiment still prevails that they were blood-thirsty, revengeful, and merciless, justly a terror to both friends and foes. Children are impressed with the idea that an Indian is scarcely human, and as much to be feared as the most ferocious animal of the forest. Novelists have now and then clothed a few with a garb which excites your imagination, but seldom has one been invested with qualities which you would love, unless it were also said that through some captive taken in distant war, he inherited a whiter skin and a paler blood. But I am inclined to think that Indians are not alone in being savage not alone barbarous, heartless, and merciless. It is said they were exterminating each other by aggressive and devastating wars, before the white people came among them. But wars, aggressive and exterminating wars, certainly, are not proofs of barbarity. The bravest warrior was the most honored, and this has been ever true of Christian nations, and those who call themselves Christians have not yet ceased to look upon him who could plan most successfully the wholesale slaughter of human beings, as the most deserving his king’s or his country’s laurels. How long since the peen died away in praise of the Duke of Wellington? What have been the wars in which all Europe, or of America, has been engaged, That...

Laws of North Carolina, A.D. 1780

“An Act to amend an act, entitled an act for quieting and securing the Tuscarora Indians, and others claiming under the Tuscarora, in the possession of their lands. Article I. Whereas, By the said act there is no penalty imposed on the jurors or witnesses duly summoned, and failing to attend. ” Attendance of Jurors. Article II. Be it enacted, &c., That the commissioners by the said act appointed, or any three of them, assembled for the purpose of holding a court, shall, and may inflict fines on jurors or witnesses so failing to attend, not exceeding one hundred pounds, at their discretion; and unless sufficient excuse be to them afterwards shown, cause the same to be levied and applied towards defraying the county expenses of Birtie; and witnesses and jurors who shall attend on the trial of any dispute between the said Tuscarora and others, shall have and receive ten dollars per day for their attendance, to be paid by the party cost with all other cost: and such trials may hereafter be had on the part of the lands belonging to said Tuscarora, Birtie County, which commissioners shall direct.” Read three times and ratified in general assembly, the 10th day of May, A. D. 1780. Signed by Alex. Martin, S. S. Thomas Benbury. S. C.   Laws Of North Carolina, A. D. 1801, Chapter 608, Page 965, Vol. 2, By Potter, Taylor & Yancey. “James Turner, Esq., Governor. “At the general assembly begun and held at Raleigh, on the fifteenth day of November, in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and two, and in...

Tuscarora Immigration

In the year 1846, on the 16th day of May, about forty of the Tuscarora immigrated from the reservation to their new homes in the Indian Territory, and in one year about one-third of them died on account of the sufferings they endured. They were destitute of everything, and the Government was to have sustained them for one year, and to build houses for them, and provide all the necessaries of life, but they failed in fulfilling their promises on account of the misconduct of Dr. A. Hogeboom, the moving agent of the emigration party. By reference to official documents in the Indian department it appears that a petition from a small party of discontented emigrationists at the Tuscarora village, dated March 4th, 1845, was sent to the President of the United States, expressing a desire to remove to the West. It also further appears that a letter had been received by the department from a certain D. G. Garnsey, dated May 8th, 1845, stating that a portion of the Seneca, and others of the Six Nations in western New York, were now ready to remove. The Government, justly fearing that there might be persons so anxious to possess themselves of the moneys appropriated by law for the removal and support of emigrating Indians, as to resort to fraudulent means for the purpose, by letters warned the Indian agent at Buffalo to be on his guard against such imposition. Afterwards, several petitioners from small fragments of the Seneca and other tribes, were prevailed on to sign memorials to the President, asking to be removed, and begging appropriations for that...
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