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Valley of Nacoochee, Georgia, April, 1848

I now write from the most charming valley of this southern wilderness. The river Nacoochee is a tributary of the Chattahoochee, and, for this country, is a remarkably clear, cold, and picturesque stream. From the moment that it doffs the title of brook and receives the more dignified one of river, it begins to wind itself in a most wayward manner through a valley which is some eight or ten miles long, when it wanders from the vision of the ordinary traveler and loses itself among unexplored hills. The valley is perhaps a mile wide, and, as the surrounding hills are not lofty, it is distinguished more for its beauty than any other quality; and this characteristic is greatly enhanced by the fact, that while the surrounding country remains in its original wilderness the valley itself is highly cultivated, and the eye is occasionally gratified by cottage scenes which suggest the ideas of contentment and peace. Before the window where 1 am now writing lies a broad meadow, where horses and cattle are quietly grazing, and from the neighboring hills comes to my ear the frequent tinkling of a bell which tells me that the sheep or goats are returning from their morning rambles in the cool woods. And now for the associations connected with the valley of Nacoochee. Foremost among them all is a somewhat isolated mountain, the...

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Letter from Rev. William Hall to Henry R. Schoolcraft

Letter from Rev. William Hall to Henry R. Schoolcraft Allegany Mission, Sept. 8th, 1845 DEAR SIR: Your inquiries in relation to the state of religion, education, &c., among the Indians of this reservation, if I rightly understand them, are briefly answered as follows: Christianity very much prospered here during the four years next preceding the past. The number of church members during that period, was nearly tripled, and very encouraging additions were made to their know ledge and zeal. But the past year has been one of stupidity and drought. There has, however, been four additions from the Indians, made to the church, by profession of faith, and two whites. The present number of Indian members is about one hundred and fifteen. The number of whites is eight. Seven of the Indian members are under censure. I have sustained three schools during the past summer, in which about eighty Indian children have been more or less taught. One of these schools, whose whole number is only about thirty, gives an average attendance of nearly twenty-five. In this neighborhood the population is sufficiently compact for a farming community, and the younger parents are partially educated. In the other neighborhoods, the population is very sparse, and the parents very ignorant. The consequence is, that the daily attendance falls short of one half the whole number of scholars, and cannot be called...

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Letter from Rev. William McMurray to H. R. Schoolcraft

Letter from Rev. Wm. McMurray to H. R. Schoolcraft Dundas, November 11th, 1845. MY DEAR SIR I have just received the vocabularies, with the Indian words, from the Rev. Adam Elliot, of Tuscarora, to whom I sent them for the translation. The cause of the delay was his severe illness, and the difficulty of getting suitable persons to give him the Indian. He says, before you publish, if you will send him, through me, the proof sheets, he will have them corrected for you, and forwarded without delay. He is an amiable and most excellent man. Yours, most faithfully, WILLIAM...

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Letter from Rev. Asher Bliss to Henry R. Schoolcraft

Letter from Rev. Asher Bliss to Henry R. Schoolcraft. Cattaraugus Mission Sept. 4th, 1845. DEAR SIR Agreeably to your request I forward you some facts in regard to the establishment and progress of the gospel among the natives of this reservation. The Cattaraugus Mission Church was organized July 8th, 1827, (which is a little more than 18 years.) It consisted of Mr. William A. Thayer, the teacher, his wife, and 12 native members. There have been additions to it from time to time, until the whole number who have held a connection with this church is one hundred and eighteen. Thirteen of these have been white persons and most of them connected with the mission family. Of the one hundred and five native members seven or eight have come by letter from other reservations, so that the number who have united on profession of faith is a little short of one hundred. Twenty-five of these have gone to their final account. Some have died in the triumphs of faith, and we humbly hope and trust that they are among the blessed, in the kingdom of our common Father. A number (as it was natural to expect from converts out of heathenish darkness) have apostatized from Christianity, and returned to their former courses. The proportion of these is not probably more than one in ten. Between sixty and seventy are...

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Letter from Mr. Richard U. Shearman to Henry R. Schoolcraft

Letter from Mr. Richard U. Shearman to Henry R. Schoolcraft. Vernon, October 4th, 1845. SIR: I completed the enumeration of the Oneida Indians some days ago, but delayed sending a return to you to ascertain the Indian names. It doubtless contains all the information you require at this particular time. Several families are included in the marshal’s enumeration of the inhabitants of the town of Vernon. The remainder reside in Madison county. The houses of these Indians are generally much better than the log houses of the whites, being constructed of hewn, even jointed logs, with shingle roofs and good windows. There are three good frame houses belonging to them; one of these is a very handsome one, belonging to Skenado. I noticed in it some tasty fringed window curtains and good carpets. The Indians whom you met at Oneida were the flower of the tribe, being mostly farmers, who raise a sufficiency of produce for their comfortable support. There are several heads of families in my list, who cultivate no land of their own, but gain subsistence by chopping wood and performing farm labor for others. The whole number of families, I make, as you will perceive, 31. The whole number of houses I believe is but 28, but in each of these houses I found two families. The number of persons is 157. The count of last...

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Letter from L. T. Morgan, Esq., to H, R. Schoolcraft

Letter from L. T. Morgan, Esq., to H, R. Schoolcraft. Rochester October 7, 1845. Sir: You have doubtless seen a notice of the great council of the Six Nations, recently held at Tonawanda. We call it great, because we never saw any thing of the kind before, and perhaps never will again. Three of us started in season, and spent the whole of last week in attendance, and were also joined by Mr. Hurd, a delegate from Cayuga. We were there before the council opened, and left after the fire was raked up. Our budget of information is large, and overthrows some of our past knowledge, and on the whole, enlarges our ideas of the vastness and complexity of this Indian fabric. We are a great way from the bottom yet; we may never reach it, but what we do bring up to the surface, remunerates richly for the search. We learn that at the establishment of the confederacy, fifty sachem-ships were founded, and a name assigned to each, which they are still known by, and which names every sachem of the several sachemdom, from the beginning to the present time, has borne. There were also fifty sub-sacheins, or aids; that is, to every sachem was given a sub-sachem to stand behind him in a word, to do his bidding. These sachemships are still confined to the five nations;...

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Letter from J. V. H. Clark to Henry R. Schoolcraft

Manlius, Oct. 6th, 1845. H. R. SCHOOLCRAFT, ESQ., DEAR SIR Agreeable to your request I have been upon the grounds in our vicinity once occupied as forts and places of defense. So devastating has been the hand of time and the works of civilized men, that little can now be possibly gleaned by observation. Our main reliance in these matters must depend almost entirely upon the recollections of early settlers and traditions. Many of these accounts, as you are aware, are differently related by different individuals, and not infrequently in material points contradictory. From careful investigation and inquiry I have been enabled to add a little to what I had previously gathered and referred you to, in the New York Spectator. A locality in the town of Cazenovia, Madison co., near the county line, and on Lot 33, Township of Pompey, Onondaga co., called the “Indian Fort” was not described in that paper. It is about four miles southeasterly from Manlius village, situated on a slight eminence, which is nearly surrounded by a deep ravine, the banks of which are quite steep and somewhat rocky. The ravine is in shape like an ox-bow, made by two streams, which pass nearly around it and unite. Across this bow at the opening, was an earthen wall running southeast and northwest, and when first noticed by the early settlers, was four or...

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Letter from Frederick Follet to Henry R. Schoolcraft

Letter from Frederick Follet to Henry R. Schoolcraft Batavia, Oct. 25, 1845. Dear Sir My private and public duties together prevented my making a visit to “Fort Hill,” until the 22d inst. and I proceed to give you my ideas of that formation. The ground known as “Fort Hill” is situated about three miles north of the village of Le Roy, and ten or twelve miles northeast from Batavia, the capitol of Genesee county. The better view of “Fort Hill” is had to the north of it, about a quarter of a mile, on the road leading from Bergen to Le Roy. From this point of observation it needs little aid of the imagination to conceive that it was erected as a fortification by a large and powerful army, looking for a permanent and almost inaccessible bulwark of defense. From the center of the “Hill,” in the northwesterly course, the country lies quite flat immediately north, and inclining to the east, the land is also level for one hundred rods, when it rises nearly as high as the “Hill,” and continues for several miles quite elevated. In approaching the “Hill” from the north it stands very prominently before you, rising rather abruptly, though not perpendicularly, to the height of eighty or ninety feet, extending about forty rods on a line east and west, the corners being round or truncated,...

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Letter from C. Dewey to Henry R. Schoolcraft

Letter from C. Dewey to Henry R. Schoolcraft, Fort Hill. This is celebrated as being the remains of some ancient work, and was supposed to have been a fort. Though the name is pronounced as if hill was the name of some individual, yet the place is a fort on a hill, in the loose use of the word. The name designates the place as Fort Hill, to distinguish it from the hills which have no fort on them. Neither is it a hill, except as you rise from the swale on the north, for it is lower than the land to which it naturally belongs. As you pass towards Fort Hill in the road from LeRoy village, which is about three miles to the south, you descend a little most of the distance to this place. The road passes a little west of the middle of the space nearly north and south. The shape is quadrangular, and is shown in the diagram or ground plot. On the right and east side is the deep water course of Allen s Creek, cut down through the rocks for a mile or more, perhaps one hundred and thirty feet deep; on the north is that of Fordham’s Brook, of nearly the same depth, which drains a wide swale from the north and northwest; and on the west is a short and deep...

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Letter from Greenwood Leflore – February 18, 1834

WASHINGTON CITY, February 18, 1834. SIR: The undersigned respectfully represents, that in many instances complaints have been made of the course pursued by the present locating agent of the Choctaws, granted to them by the treaty of Dancing Rabbit creek, and particularly with regard to the 14th article, the 19th article, and the supplement treaty. He therefore prays that William Armstrong, whom he hereby recommends as a suitable person, may be appointed an agent to examine an adjust those -claims, consisting of the claims of Capt. Red Dog, or Offehoma, and Capt. James Shields, these claims having been sold by the government: the claim of Capt. Shields was located by the locating agent; afterwards the location was set aside by said agent and the land sold, which it is believed was done in violation of the provisions of the treaty. The case of Capt. Red Dog, or Offehoma, was never located, though fully embraced by the treaty. It is believed that injustice has been done in the case of David Coconona, who was entitled to one section of land under the 19th article of the treaty, to be governed by sectional lines, and half of which has been awarded to another person. The case of Consha is also a claim requiring examination, being secured to her under the 19th article; but of which she has been deprived by the...

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Letter Thomas D. Wooldridge – October 10, 1833

Mississippi, Lowndes County, October 10, 1833. DEAR SIR: I am requested to write you as agent for John McGilry and Taner McGilbry, who have taken citizenship as Choctaws under the provisions of the treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creekk agreeable to the fourteenth article of said treaty. Application was made through me to Mr. Dowsing, who is acting as agent for locating reservations of said treaty: the location was wished by the Indians to adjoin the parent by a connection of one-half mile, and connect one on the other in that way throughout. This was objected by the acting agent set contrary to his instructions from the principal agent, Col. Martin. I have consulted several men, learned in law, who give it as their opinion that they were entitled to run their land in any way so as to adjoin the location of the parent. Is there any doubt as regards this location? If there is, is it not a well-founded doubt on the part of the Choctaws? I will refer you to that clause of the treaty where it is expressed, “that where any well-founded doubt arises as to the construction of the treaty, tile most favorable shall be given to the Choctaw:” this does certainly give this right claimed by the Choctaws.” If you are not the proper officer of the government that should be applied to on...

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Letter from Department of War, September 28, 1833

DEPARTMENT OF WAR, Office Indian Affairs, September 28, 1833 SIR: In the absence of the Secretary of War, I beg leave to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 20th instant, addressed to him, and to thank you for the information which you have given in relation to Indian contracts for the sale of their reservations they have suffered extremely by imposition and fraud practiced upon them by unprincipled white men, and it is the duty of us all to protect them, if possible, from further injury. If unfavorable impressions exist against you on the part of any of your friends, I trust, that your future good conduct will erase it, and conciliate the esteem of all who know you. Very respectfully, &c., ELBERT HERRING. To WILLIAM S. COLQUHOUN, Dunfries, Virginia. DEPARTMENT OF WAR, September 28, 1833. SIR: I transmit a copy of a letter addressed to the locating agent under the Choctaw treaty, and would suggest the propriety of giving corresponding instructions to the proper registers and receivers. I would also suggest whether it would not be well to remove the injunctions heretofore laid upon those officers to keep secret the fact of the necessity of withholding from sale, should such necessity be found to exist, any tracts required for the location of Choctaw reservations, and when that duty cannot be performed before the day fixed for...

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Letter from Department of War, 31 March 1834

DEPARTMENT OF WAR, Office Indian Affairs, 31 March 1834. SIR: Colonel Greenwood Leflore represents, in a letter to the Secretary of: War, (a copy of which is herewith enclosed,) that, in several cases therein specified, errors have been committed, and consequent injustice done by the locating agent in his location of the Choctaw reservations under the treaty of Dancing Rabbit creek. The agent has been instructed to report fully to the department the circumstances and proceedings in those respective cases for its decision; and, until that decision be communicated to you, I am instructed to request you to suspend all further proceedings in those cases. Very respectfully, &c., ELBERT HERRING. To ELIJAH HAYWARD, Esq., Com. of the General Land Office. DEPARTMENT OF WAR, Office Indian Affairs, March 1, 1834. SIR: A letter (a copy of which is enclosed) has been presented by Col. Greenwood Leflore to the Secretary of War, stating that in a variety of instances therein mentioned, errors have been committed, and injustice done by you as locating agent. I am therefore instructed to require you to report fully your proceedings therein, that, if error exist, or injustice has been done in any of them, the injury may be redressed. In the meantime, let there be a suspension of all further proceedings in those cases, until the final decision of the department shall be communicated to you....

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Letter from Department of War, October 11, 1833

DEPARTMENT OF WAR, October 11, 1833. SIR: I have received your letter of the 15th and 22d ultimo, together with a printed notice enclosed in the former. I perceive the embarrassments under which you labor, and am satisfied you will proceed in the execution of your duty in the best manner the means of information in your power will permit. You doubtless, ere this, have received a copy of the register prepared by Major Armstrong. This will furnish you with an authentic list of all the claims to which any of the Choctaws are entitled, and you will be guided by it and by the treaty in making the locations. I perceive you have selected certain persons to aid you in the receipt of applications. The full effect you mean to give to these applications, I do not understand. I presume, however, it is merely to guide you in reserving from sale the proper tracts. You will, under no circumstances, allow a reservation to a person whose right is not recognized in the register of claims prepared by Major Armstrong, or by name in the treaty. If, however, you should find that this mode of receiving claims would aid you in the execution, you are at liberty to pursue it, taking care that a very small compensation is promised to the persons employed, as their labor must be comparatively...

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Letter from Department of War, November 1, 1833

DEPARTMENT OF WAR, November 1, 1833 SIR: I have received your letter of the 10th ultimo, and, in answer, have to inform you that it has already been decided that, in locating the reservations granted by the Choctaw treaty, when a section is granted, an entire surveyed section must be taken. When a hall’ section is granted, the surveyed half of an entire section roust be taken, and so with a quarter section. It is not, conceived that ally well-founded doubt can exist upon this subject, and the locating agent has been directed to execute his duties accordingly. A copy of Mr. Felder’s letter has been transmitted to Colonel Martin, to whom I refer you for further information respecting it. Very respectfully, &c., LEWIS CASS. To THOMAS D. WOOLDRIDGE, Lowndes County, Mississippi. DEPARTMENT OF WAR, Office Indian Affairs, November 1, 1833. SIR: Your letter Of the 29th September last, addressed to the Secretary Of War, has been referred to this office, and, in reply, I have to state that your name is among the number returned by the agent as having signified their intention to become citizens of the United States within the period stipulated in the treaty. The whole duty of locating the reservations under the Choctaw treaty has been confided to G. W. Martin, Esq., and copies of the registers have been forwarded to him. You can...

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