Topic: Seneca

Senecas Embassy of Peace to the Cherokees

In the course of the long and fierce war between the Six Nations and the Cherokees, it happened, said Oliver Silverheels, that eight Senecas determined to go on an embassy of peace. Among them was Little Beard, the elder, and Jack Berry. They met some Cherokees on the confines of the Cherokee territories, to whom they imparted their object. Intelligence of this interview was sent for ward to their village, where the ambassadors were duly received, and after this preliminary reception, they were introduced to the ruling chiefs, and favorably received by the Cherokee council. All but one of the Cherokee chiefs agreed to the terms of peace He also would consent, if, prior to the treaty, the eight Seneca delegates would first consent to go to war against their enemies, situated south of them. [Who their enemies were is not mentioned.] They consented, and set out with a war party. A fight ensued in which the leader of the Senecas, called Awl, was taken prisoner. The other seven escaped. The fate of Awl was decided in the enemies camp, where it was determined that he should be burned at the stake. Preparations were made for this purpose, but as they were about to bind him, he claimed the privilege of a warrior, to sing his death song and recite his exploits by striking the post. Pleased with the...

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Vestiges of an Ancient Elliptical Work at Canandaigua

The Senecas deduce their descent from a noted eminence, bearing the title of “Fort Hill” at the head of the sylvan expanse of Canandaigua Lake. The term of Fort Hill, is however, not confined to that spot, but is, as in the work under consideration, one of common occurrence, in sundry parts of the ancient and extended area of the Six Nations. The subjoined sketch denotes the vestiges of an ancient stronghold of the Senecas, of an elliptical form, on elevated lands about a mile northerly from the village. This work has been nearly obliterated by the plough. The...

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Industry and Home Life on the Reservations

Farming is the chief employment of the Six Nations Indians, and the products are typical of the varying soils of the different reservations. While more land is under cultivation than heretofore, the barns are mainly old and in had condition. This is largely true of similar buildings upon the adjoining farms of the white people, as farming has not of late netted an amount sufficient for repairs. The Indians, with no cash capital us a rule, have been compelled to lease their lands to the white people for cash rent or work them on shares. The death of influential men left large estates under pecuniary burdens without ready money to develop the land. The general failure to maintain fencing has been partly due to crop failures and scant returns, but in a large degree to the improvidence of the farmers themselves. Men who work their lands and seldom rent them; and who maintain buildings and fences and take fair care of their implements, keep steadily on the advance. In nearly all directions valuable agricultural implements are exposed to the weather, and no economy attends farm work generally. With the exception of Tuscarora, old orchards are on the decline, and more than one-half of the 4,823 apple trees of Cattaraugus are, not in condition, through age and neglect, to bear large crops. A few new orchards have been started, but...

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Tonawanda Reservation Map and Occupants, 1890

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...

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Cattaraugus Indian Reservation Map and Occupants, 1890

The Cattaraugus Reservation, in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Erie Counties, New York, as delineated on the map, occupies both sides of Cattaraugus creek. It is 9.5 miles long on a direct east and west line, averages 3 miles in width at the center, dropping at is eastern line an additional rectangle of 2 by 3 miles. A 6-mile strip on the north and 2 “mile blocks” at diagonal corners are occupied by white people, and litigation is pending as to their rights and responsibilities. The Seneca Nation claims that the permit or grant under which said lands were occupied and...

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Cornplanter Reservation and Occupants, 1890

This reservation, in Warren County, Pennsylvania, nominally a tract of 640 acres, owned by Cornplanter‘s heirs, lies on both sides of the Allegheny River, and is about 2 miles long and half a mile wide, including Liberty and Donation Islands, which are formed by the forking of the river. The land surface, including the riverbed and some worthless shoals, contains about 760 acres. It was a donation to the celebrated chief Gy-ant-wa-hia, “The Cornplanter“, March 16, 1796, by the state of Pennsylvania, in consideration, states Judge Sherman, “for his many valuable services to the white people, and especially that most important one, in preventing the Six Nations of New York from joining the confederacy of western Indians in 1790-1791″. The war ended in the victory of General Wayne in 1794. In 1871 under act of May 16, partition or allotment of these lands was made to the descendants of Cornplanter and recorded in Warren County by the court having jurisdiction, special commissioners having been appointed by the state June 10, 1871, to effect the distribution. The power to sell the lands thus allotted is limited to the heirs of Cornplanter and other Seneca Indians. These Indians also have an interest in the Allegany and Cattaraugus lands of the Seneca Nation, and draw annuities with them. The record of the orphans’ court of Warren county, Pennsylvania, gives the names of Cornplanter‘s heirs,...

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Oil Spring Reservation Map

Oil Spring reservation, in Cattaraugus County, New York, as indicated on the Allegany reservation map, contains 640 acres in 2 towns and counties. It was by oversight included in the treaty made at Big Tree, in the sale by the Seneca Nation of 3,500,000 acres to Robert Morris, and passed with his title to the Holland Land Company. A suit for the recovery of this land was brought in 1856, and resulted in favor of the Seneca Nation. On the trial Governor Blacksnake, as he was named by Washington when he visited the capital in company with Cornplanter, testified,...

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Allegany Reservation Map and Occupants, 1890

Allegany Reservation, lying in Cattaraugus County, New York, has remarkable features in very respect, and of great social and political concern. Besides resting under the burden of the Ogden Land Company pre-emption right to purchase whenever the Seneca Nation shall agree to sell its lands, it is already occupied in part by white people, who, in large numbers, hold duly legalized leases, running until May, 1892, and subject by recent act of Congress to renewal upon the consent of the parties thereto for a term not exceeding 99 years. Upon location of the New York, Lake Erie and Western...

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Treaty of May 20, 1842

Articles of a treaty made and concluded at Buffalo Creek, in the State of New York, on the twentieth day of May in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-two, between the United States of America, acting herein by Ambrose Spencer their Commissioner, thereto duly authorized, on the one part, and the chiefs, headmen and warriors of the Seneca nation of Indians, duly assembled in council, on the other part. Whereas a treaty was heretofore concluded, and made between the said United States, and the chiefs, headmen, and warriors of the several tribes of New York Indians, dated the fifteenth day of January in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight (Treaty of January 15, 1838), which treaty having been afterwards amended, was proclaimed by the President of the United States, on the fourth of April one thousand eight hundred and forty, to have been duly ratified. And whereas on the day of making this treaty, and bearing even date herewith, a certain indenture was made executed and concluded by and between the said Seneca nation of Indians and Thomas L. Ogden, and Joseph Fellows, assignees under the State of Massachusetts, in the presence, and with the approbation of a Commissioner appointed by the United States, and in the presence and with the approbation of Samuel Hoare, a superintendent on the part of the commonwealth of Massachusetts,...

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Treaty of June 13, 1802

This Indenture, made the thirtienth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and two, between the Sachems, Chiefs, and Warriors of the Seneca nation of Indians, of the first part, and Wilhem Willink, Pieter Van Eeghen, Hendrik Vollenhoven, W. Willink the younger, 1. Willink the younger (son of Jan) Jan Gabriel Van Staphorst, Roelof Van Staphorst, the younger, Cornelis Vollenhoven, and Hendrik Seye, all of the city of Amsterdam, and republic of Batavia, by Joseph Ellicott, esquire, their agent and attorney, of the second part. Whereas at a treaty held under the authority of the United States with the said Seneca nation of Indians, at Buffalo creek, in the county of Ontario, and state of New-York, on the day of the date of these presents, by the honorable John Taylor, esquire, a commissioner appointed by the President of the United States to hold the same, in pursuance of the constitution, and of the act of the Congress of the United States, in such case made and provided, a convention was entered into in the presence and with the approbation of the said commissioner, between the said Seneca nation of Indians and the said Wilhelm Willink, Pieter Van Eeghen, Hendrik Vollenhoven, W. Willink the younger, 1. Willink the younger (son of Jan) Jan Gabiel Van Staphorst, Roelof Van Staphorst the younger, Cornelis Vollenhoven, and...

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Treaty of July 22, 1814

A treaty of peace and friendship between the United States of America, and the tribes of Indians called the Wyandots, Delawares, Shawanoese, Senecas, and Miamies. The said United States of America, by William Henry Harrison, late a major general in the army of the United States, and Lewis Cass, governor of the Michigan territory, duly authorized and appointed commissioners for the purpose, and the said tribes, by their head men, chiefs, and warriors, assembled at Greenville, in the state of Ohio, have agreed to the following articles, which, when ratified by the president of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof, shall be binding upon them and the said tribes. Article 1. The United States and the Wyandots, Delawares, Shawanoese, and Senecas, give peace to the Miamie nation of Indians, formerly designated as the Miamie Eel River and Weea tribes; they extend this indulgence also to the bands of the Putawatimies, which adhere to the Grand Sachem Tobinipee, and to the chief Onoxa, to the Ottawas of Blanchard’s creek, who have attached themselves to the Shawanoese tribe, and to such of the said tribe as adhere to the chief called the Wing, in the neighborhood of Detroit, and to the Kickapoos, under the direction of their chiefs who sign this treaty. Article II. The tribes and bands abovementioned, engage to give their...

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Dawes Act

General Allotment Act or Dawes Act An Act to Provide for the Allotment of Lands in Severalty to Indians on the Various Reservations (General Allotment Act or Dawes Act), Statutes at Large 24, 388-91,      Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in all cases where any tribe or band of Indians has been, or shall hereafter be, located upon any reservation created for their use, either by treaty stipulation or by virtue of an act of Congress or executive order setting apart the same for their use, the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, authorized, whenever in his opinion any reservation or any part thereof of such Indians is advantageous for agricultural and grazing purposes, to cause said reservation, or any part thereof, to be surveyed, or resurveyed if necessary, and to allot the lands in said reservation in severalty to any Indian located thereon in quantities as follows: To each head of a family, one-quarter of a section; To each single person over eighteen years of age, one-eighth of a section; To each orphan child under eighteen years of age, one-eighth of a section; and To each other single person under eighteen years now living, or who may be born prior to the date of the order of the President...

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Seneca Ceremony, 1731

Throughout the greater part of the region once occupied by the Five Nations are- discovered their ancient cemeteries, often situated near the sites of their former villages. Some have been examined, and these usually reveal the human remains, now rapidly disappearing, lying in an extended position. Few accounts of the ceremonies which attended the death and burial of these people have been preserved, but one of the most interesting relates to the Seneca, as enacted during the month of June, 1731. True, the two persons who were buried at this Seneca village were not members of the tribe, but, nevertheless, the rites were those of the latter. The relation is preserved in the journal of a Frenchman who visited the Seneca at that time, accompanied by a small party of Algonquian Indians. During the visit one of the Algonquian women was killed by her husband and he in turn was executed by the Seneca. The double funeral which followed was described by the French traveler, who recorded many interesting details. Re first referred to a structure where the bodies were kept for several days after death and there prepared for burial, and when he arrived at this cabin it was already crowded with men and women, “all seated or rather squatting on their knees, with the exception of four women, who, with disheveled locks, were lying face downward, at...

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Treaty of October 22, 1784

Articles concluded at Fort Stanwix, on the twenty-second day of October, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-four, between Oliver Wolcott, Richard Butler, and Arthur Lee, Commissioners Plenipotentiary from the United States, in Congress assembled, on the one Part, and the Sachems and Warriors of the Six Nations, on the other. The United States of America give peace to the Senecas, Mohawks, Onondagas and Cayugas, and receive them into their protection upon the following conditions: Article 1. Six hostages shall be immediately delivered to the commissioners by the said nations, to remain in possession of the United States, till all the prisoners, white and black, which were taken by the said Seneca, Mohawk, Onondaga and Cayuga, or by any of them, in the late war, from among the people of the United States, shall be delivered up. Article 2. The Oneida and Tuscarora nations shall be secured in the possession of the lands on which they are settled. Article 3. A line shall be drawn, beginning at the mouth of a creek about four miles east of Niagara, called Oyonwayea, or Johnston’s Landing-Place, upon the lake named by the Indians Oswego, and by us Ontario; from thence southerly in a direction always four miles east of the carrying-path, between Lake Erie and Ontario, to the mouth of Tehoseroron or Buffaloe Creek on Lake Erie; thence south to the north boundary...

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Agreement of April 24, 1792

George Washington, President of the United States of America, To all who shall see these presents, greeting: “Whereas an article has been stipulated with the Five Nations of Indians, by, and with the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States, which article is in the words following, to wit:” “The President of the United States, by Henry Knox, Secretary for the Department of War, stipulates, in behalf of the United States, the following article, with the Five Nations of Indians, so called, being the Seneca, Oneida, and the Stockbridge Indians, incorporated with them the Tuscarora, Cayuga, and Onondaga, to wit: the United States, in order to promote the happiness of the Five Nations of Indians, will cause to be expended, annually, the amount of one thousand five hundred dollars, in purchasing for them clothing, domestic animals, and implements of husbandry, and for encouraging useful artificers to reside in their villages.” In behalf of the United States: H. Knox, Secretary for the Department of War. Done in the presence of Tobias Lear, Nathan Jones. “Now, know ye, That I, having seen and considered the said article, do accept, ratify, and confirm the same. “In testimony whereof, I have caused the seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed, and signed the same with my hand. “Given at the City of Philadelphia, the twenty-third day of April,...

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