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Topic: Iroquois

Indian Wampums

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now The Indians, having no written language, preserved and handed down their history to future generations through tradition, much of which could have been obtained a century and a half ago, and even a century ago, which was authentic and would have added much to the interest of the history of the continent of which we boast as our inheritance, though obtained by the extermination of a race of people whose wonderful history, had it been obtained as it once could have been, would have been very...

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Mound Builders

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now The types of the human skulls taken from those ancient mounds said to have been erected by a prehistoric race, and now called “Mound Builders” a race claimed to be far superior to our Indians are characteristic, not only of the ancient Mexicans, Peruvians and other ancient tribes of South America, but also of the ancient Natchez, Muskogee’s, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, Seminoles, Yamases and others of the North American continent. And it is a conceded fact that all Indians ever found in North and South America...

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Indian Mounds throughout North America

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Charlevoix and Tantiboth speak of Indians who inhabited the region of country around Lake Michigan, who were well skilled in the art of erecting mounds and fortifications, Charlevoix also states that the Wyandots and the Six Nations disinterred their dead and took the bones from their graves where they had lain for several years and carried them to a large pit previously prepared, in which they deposited them, with the property of the deceased, filling up the pit with earth and erected a mound over it. A string of sleigh-bells much...

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Early Exploration and Native Americans

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now De Soto and his band gave to the Choctaws at Moma Binah and the Chickasaws at Chikasahha their first lesson in the white man’s modus operandi to civilize and Christianize North American Indians; so has the same lesson been continued to be given to that unfortunate people by his white successors from that day to this, all over this continent, but which to them, was as the tones of an alarm-bell at midnight. And one hundred and twenty-three years have passed since our forefathers declared all men of every nationality to be free and equal on the soil of the North American continent then under their jurisdiction, except the Africans whom they held in slavery, and the Native Americans against whom they decreed absolute extermination because they could not also enslave them; to prove which, they at once began to hold out flattering-inducements to the so-called oppressed people of all climes under the sun, to come to free America and assist them to oppress and kill off the Native Americans and in partnership take their lands and country, as this was more in accordance with their lust of wealth and speedy self-aggrandizement than the imagined slow process of educating, civilizing and Christianizing them, a work too con descending, too humiliating; and to demonstrate that it has been...

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The Discovery Of This Continent, it’s Results To The Natives

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now In the year 1470, there lived in Lisbon, a town in Portugal, a man by the name of Christopher Columbus, who there married Dona Felipa, the daughter of Bartolome Monis De Palestrello, an Italian (then deceased), who had arisen to great celebrity as a navigator. Dona Felipa was the idol of her doting father, and often accompanied him in his many voyages, in which she soon equally shared with him his love of adventure, and thus became to him a treasure indeed not only as a...

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The Narrative of Francesco Giuseppe Bressani – Indian Captivities

The Italian Jesuit missionary Father Bressani was born in Rome, 6 May, 1612. At the age of fourteen he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. Becoming zealous to serve as missionary among the American Indians, he went to Quebec in the summer of 1642, and the following year he was sent among the Algonquins at Three Rivers. In April, 1644, while on his way to the Huron country, where a mission had been established, he was captured by the Iroquois, who at that time were an exceedingly fierce and even cannibal nation, perpetually at war with nearly the whole known continent. By them he was subjected to tortures, but finally was made over to an old squaw to take the place of a deceased relative. From her he was ransomed by the Dutch at Fort Orange (the modern Albany), and by them he was sent to France, where he arrived in November, 1644. Despite his terrible experiences among the savages, and his maimed condition, the indomitable missionary returned to Canada the next spring, and labored with the Hurons until their mission was destroyed by the Iroquois four years later. In November, 1650, Bressani, in broken health, went back to his native land. Here he spent many years as a preacher and home missionary. He died at Florence, 9 September, 1672. The following account of Father Bressani’s sufferings among the Indians is translated from two of his own letters in his book Breve Relatione d’alcune Missioni nella Nuova Francia, published at Macerata in 1653.

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The Illinois Indians – Indian Wars

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Some years ago there was deposited in the Archives of the “Historical Society” of Chicago a record in reference to the history of the Illinois Indians, a portion of which is interesting as connected with this matter. It was deposited by Judge Caton, who became a citizen of Chicago thirty-nine years ago, when the whole country was occupied as the hunting grounds of the Pottowattomie tribe. Their chief, Shabboni, died in 1849, the only remnant of this once powerful tribe. Of him it could be truth-fully said he was the last of his race. Comparatively not long since the surrounding country was mainly occupied by the Illinois tribe, an important people, ranging from the Wabash River to the Mississippi, and from the Ohio to Lake Superior. They lived mostly in Northern Illinois, centering in La Salle County. Then near Utica stood the largest town ever constructed by Northern Indians, and their great cemeteries attest the extent of the populous hordes of Indians who roamed the forests and prairies at will. La Salle, the Pioneer, discovered them before the great Iroquois Confederation had reached them, after their battle-fields had strewn their victims all along from the Atlantic Coast to the Wabash and from the lakes, and even north of them to the Alleghanies and the Ohio. The...

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John Gyles Captivity Narrative – Indian Captivities

John Gyles captivity narrative provides a stunning display of Abenaki culture and lifestyle, as it was in the 1690’s. John was 10 years old when he was taken captive in the attack on Pemaquid (Bristol Maine) and his narrative provides an accounting of his harrowing treatment by his Indian captors, as well as the three years exile with his French owners at Jemseg New Bruswick. His faith in Christ remains central in the well-being of his mind throughout his ordeal.

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From Hudson to Albany along the Hudson River

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Directly opposite Hudson, and connected with it by ferry, is the classically named village of Athens. An old Mahican settlement known as Potick was located a little back from the river. We are now in the midst of the great Ice Industry “Ice Industry,” which reaches from below Staatsburgh to Castleton and Albany, well described by John Burroughs in his article on the Hudson: “No man sows, yet many men reap a harvest from the Hudson. Not the least important is the ice harvest, which is eagerly looked for, and counted upon by hundreds, yes, thousands of laboring men along its course. Ice or no ice sometimes means bread or no bread to scores of families, and it means added or diminished comforts to many more. It is a crop that takes two or three weeks of rugged winter weather to grow, and, if the water is very roily or brackish, even longer. It is seldom worked till it presents seven or eight inches of clear water ice. Men go out from time to time and examine it, as the farmer goes out and examines his grain or grass, to see when it will do to cut. If there comes a deep fall of snow the ice is ‘pricked’ so as to let the water up...

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Iroquois Trails in Pennsylvania

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Leaving To-ri-wa-wa-kon and the grave of Shikellamy, the Mohawks traveled up the great river Susquehanna until they arrived at Lewisburg. Here they visited an ancient Indian village site which was an earlier residence of the noted Oneida chief Shikellamy. Continuing still north up the river the warriors arrived at still another of Shikellamy’s towns. Here the great chief also resided, just south of the Village of Milton, Pennsylvania. From this village site the Mohawks traveled over a road that was once called, The Sheshequin Path. This...

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The County Clerk and the wolf-scalp

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now A Seneca hunter killed a wolf just within the bounds of Cattaraugus County, close to the Pennsylvania line, and took the scalp to Meadville, Pennsylvania, for the bounty. Being questioned where the animal was killed, he honestly told the officer that he had come across it and shot it, as near as he could tell, within the territory of New York, very near the state and county lines. On this, the clerk told him that it would be contrary to law to pay him the bounty. “That is a bad law!” replied the red man. ” Why V said the magistrate “we cannot pay for scalps taken out of the county.” “It is bad,” replied the hunter, “because you require that the wolf should know the county lines. Had this wolf seen a flock of sheep just within the Pennsylvania lines, I dare say he would not have stopped for the county lines.” On this, the magistrate paid him the bounty of five dollars. 1N. T. Strong, Esq. Footnotes:   [ + ] 1. ↩ N. T. Strong,...

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Iroquois Forays into the Country of the Cherokees and Catawbas

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Nothing is more distinct or better settled in the existing traditions of the Iroquois, than their wars with some of the southern tribes, particularly the Cherokees. I found this subject first alluded to among the Oneidas, who were hotly engaged in this southern war; after wards among the Onondagas, the Senecas of Tonawanda, the Tuscaroras, and with still increasing particularity, among the Senecas of Buffalo, Cattaraugus, and Teonigono. But I was never able to fix the era of its commencement, or to find an adequate cause for it. It seems almost incredible that a war of this kind should have been carried on, at such a great distance from their central council fire at Onondaga, yet nothing is better established in their reminiscences. They first came into contact, as Tetoyoah told me was his opinion, in the western prairies. The Iroquois are known to have hunted and warred far and wide in that quarter. The two nations seem to have been deeply and mutually exasperated. Tetoyoah spoke of an act of horrid treachery, the breaking of a peace pledge, and the murder of a peace deputation. The war, however, instead of calling out the banded energies of the confederacy, appears to have been almost entirely one of a partisan character. It is memorable rather for partial enterprises and...

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Iroquois Indians and Witchcraft

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now The belief in witchcraft prevailed extensively among the North American tribes. It is known that even in modern times, it was one of the principal means used by the Shawnee prophet to rid himself of his opponents, and that the venerable Shawnee chief Tarhe and others were sacrificed to this diabolical spirit. Among the Iroquois the belief was universal, and its effects upon their prosperity and population, if tradition is to be credited, were at times appalling. The theory of the popular belief, as it existed in the several cantons, was this. The witches and wizards constituted a secret association, which met at night to consult on mischief, and each was bound to inviolable secrecy. They say this fraternity first arose among the Nanticokes. A witch or wizard had power to turn into a fox or wolf, and run very swift, emitting flashes of light. They could also transform themselves into a turkey or big owl, and fly very fast. If detected, or hotly pursued, they could change into a stone or rotten log. They sought carefully to procure the poison of snakes or poisonous roots, to effect their purposes. They could blow hairs or worms into a person. While in Onondaga, James Gould, one of the original settlers on the Military Tract, told me that he...

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Who were the Eries?

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now 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. 1Vide Appendix. 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...

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War with the Kah Kwahs

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Some inquiries have been made in a prior paper, on the strong probabilities of this people, being identical with the Ererions or Eries. While this question is one that appears to be within the grasp of modern inquiry, and may be resumed at leisure, the war itself, with the people whom they call Kah-Kwahs, and we Eries is a matter of popular tradition, and is alluded to with so many details, that its termination may be supposed to have been an event of not the most ancient date. Some of these reminiscences having found their way into the newspapers during the summer in a shape and literary garniture, which was suited to take them from the custody of sober tradition, and transfer them to that of romance, there was the more interest attached to the subject, which led me to take some pains to ascertain how general or fresh their recollections of this war might be. My inquiries were answered one evening at the mission house at Buffalo, by the Allegany chief, Ha-yek-dyoh-kunh, or the Wood cutter, better known by his English name of Jacob Blacksnake. He stated that the Kah-Kwahs had their chief residence at the time of their final defeat, on the Eighteen-mile creek. The name by which he referred to them, in this last...

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