Topic: Six Nations

Historical Outline of The Six Nations

By Henry B. Carrington The retirement of the Indian westward within the United States has been qualified by two historical factors. The first grew out of the unlimited and conflicting sweep of British land grants, which involved subsequent conflicts of jurisdiction and corresponding compromises. The second was incidental’ to the passage of the ordinance of July 13, 1787, which organized the Northwest Territory. The first, especially in the adjustment of the claims of Massachusetts and New York to the same lands, dealt with Indian titles and rights, which neither party could wholly ignore. The white men had overlapped and...

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The Six Nations of New York

The uncertainty and doubt surrounding most North American Indian history are partially removed from the Six Nations. They, of all American Indians, have best preserved their traditions. Besides, their system was so complete, and their government so unique and so well fitted to the people, that from the earliest European arrival they have been constantly written about. Their small numbers, compared with the enormous country they occupied and the government they originated with their deeds of daring, will always excite surprise. Their league, tribal and individual characteristics and personal strength of will, together with their great courage and prowess,...

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Tarenyawagon or Hiawatha

I will now resume the history of the sixth and last family, the Tuscarora On-gwe-hon-wa, that were left at the Neuse river, or Gan-ta-no. Here they increased in numbers, valor and skill, and in all knowledge of the arts necessary in forest life. The country was wide and covered with dense wilderness, large rivers and lakes, which gave shelter to many fierce animals and monsters which beset their pathways and kept them in dread. Now the Evil Spirit also plagued them with monstrous visitations. They were often induced to change their locations; sometimes from fear of enemies and sometimes from epidemics, or some strange visitations. I will now relate a few of the monsters that plagued them: The first enemy that appeared to question their power or disturb their peace was the fearful phenomenon of Ko-nea-rah-yah-neh, or the flying heads. The heads were enveloped in beard and hair, flaming like fire; they were of monstrous size, and shot through the air with the speed of meteors. Human power was not adequate to cope with them. The priests pronounced them a flowing power of some mysterious influence, and it remained with the priests alone to expel them by their magic power. Drum and rattle and enchantments were deemed more effective than arrows or clubs. One evening, after they had been plagued a long time with fearful visitations, the flying head...

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Captain David Abeel, Revolution Patriot

Capt. David Abeel Capt. David Abeel, Patriot of the Revolution, eldest son of Col. James and Gertrude (Neilson) Abeel, was born Jan. 13, 1763, died Oct. 31, 1840. He early evinced a taste for a seafaring life, and volunteered to serve with Captain Barry (afterwards Commodore Barry, U. S. N.) on the ship “Governor General,” which sailed under letters of marquee during the Revolution. He made a voyage to St. Eustatia in 1780, which lasted several months.  He next sailed as midshipman on the frigate Alliance, which took Col. Lawrence, our American minister, to France, in the early part of 1781. After leaving France and cruising near the West Indies, the Alliance was attacked on the 28th of May, 1781, by the British sloops-of-war Atalanta and Tripassa. All three vessels were becalmed at the beginning of the action, the Alliance in consequence of her position being at a great disadvantage. Captain Barry was wounded early in the action and carried below, and the British made demand for the surrender of his ship, but a sudden breeze coming up at the moment the Alliance ran between the two British vessels, pouring a broadside from her starboard and larboard guns at the same time, disabling her antagonists and compelling their surrender. Midshipman Abeel was wounded in the thigh during the action by a musket ball. On reaching New York he received...

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Descendants of Captain David Abeel

Capt. David Abeel Capt. David Abeel, son of Johannes and Catharine (Schuyler) Abeel (brother to Christoffel, the father of John, father of Corn Plant), was born at Albany, N. Y., April 27, 1705, died Oct. 20, 1777. At an early age, after his father’s death, he was sent to New York and apprenticed to Mr. Schuyler in the dry goods business, and soon after reaching his majority he engaged in the flour and provision business, which he carried on successfully for many years. He held the position of Captain of the company of militia of foot of the city and county of New York, for many years until 1772. His commission was signed by Leonard Lispenard, Colonel. He married, Feb. 24, 1726, Mary Duyckink, born Oct. 4, 1702, daughter of Garret Duyckink, and Mary Abeel. Children: David, Jr., born 1727, married July 2, 1752, Neiltje Van Bergan Van Katckel. James, born May 12, 1733. See further. Garret, born May 2, 1734. Annetti, bap. March 1, 1753. Col. James Abeel Col. James Abeel, Patriot of the Revolution, second son of David and Mary (Duyckink) Abeel, was born in Albany, N. Y., May 12, 1733, died in New Brunswick, N. J., April 20, 1825. He enlisted early in the War of the Revolution and was Captain 1st Battalion, New York City Militia, Col. John Lasher, Sept. 14, 1775, Major of same...

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Cornplanter (Corn Plant) Chief of the Seneca

Son of John Abeel and the Indian Princess, Alquipiso Corn Plant, KI ON-TWOG-KY (usually, but improperly spelled Cornplanter) was one of the most unique characters in American history, and it appears somewhat strange that after a lapse of a century or more the true history of his parentage should now for the first time be brought to light, proving beyond a doubt that he was a grandson of one of Albany’s most distinguished mayors. There may have been an effort on the part of those interested to cover up the facts at the time by permitting a misspelling the...

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Line of David Abeel

David Abeel, Patriot of the Revolution, eldest son of Capt. David and Mary (Duyckinck) Abeel, was born in Albany, 1727. He married July 2, 1752, Neiltje, daughter of Garret Van Bergen and Annatje Meyer. He settled in Catskill as early as 1754. In 1771 he obtained a patent for one thousand acres of land “on the west side of and adjoining the brook called the Caterskill, at a place called the Bak-Oven.” This estate was within the bounds of the Catskill Patent, and was formerly owned by Abeel’s father-in-law. They had issue: Annatie, born in Albany, March, 1753; died in infancy. Anthony, born in Catskill, Oct. 9, 1754; died Feb. 25, 1822; married Oct 6, 1797, Catharine Moon. Garret. See further. Annatje, born April 8, 1760; married Jacobus B. Hasbrouck. Catharine, born in Catskill, Sept. 28, 1765; died Aug. 24, 1829.  During the War of the Revolution there were living at the Bak-Oven, David Abeel, Neiltje, his wife, and their four children: Anthony, Gerrit, Catharine, Anna. The men of the household were zealous patriots, and between them and the few Tories in the neighborhood a bitter feud existed. One of these Tories, Jacobus Rowe, was especially malignant. He harbored the Indians when they came into the valley of the Catskill, and guided the Indians in their depredations throughout that neighborhood. On a Sunday evening in 1780, a party of Indians with Jacobus Rowe...

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Descendants of Johannes Abeel

Johannes Abeel Eldest son of Christopher Janse (Croom) Abeel, was born in Albany, March 23, 1667, died Jan. 28, 1711. He was a prosperous merchant, and was elected mayor of Albany, 1694-5. He removed to New Amsterdam and lived there for a time and on his return to Albany was elected a member of the Assembly in 1701; and in 1709 was again elected mayor of Albany. He married April 10, 1694, Catharine, daughter of David Schuyler, who, with his brother Pieterse, came from Amsterdam in 1650, and settled at Fort Orange. David Schuyler, the younger of the two, married Oct. 13, 1657, Callyntje, daughter of Abraham Isaacsen Ver Planck, the owner of Paulus Hook, now Jersey City. Johannes Abeel, by his wife Catharine (Schuyler) Abeel, had issue: Cataline, bap. New York, Oct. 23, 1691 Neiltje, bap. Albany, April 14, 1698 Christoffel, bap. Dec. 16, 1696 David, bap. April 29, 1705 Jannette, bap. at Albany, June 6, 1705 A copy of the inventory of his goods and personal estate includes a painted picture of himself; also one of his wife and daughter. Christoffel Abeel Son of Johannes and Catalina (Schuyler) Abeel (elder brother of David), was bap. at Albany, Dec. 16, 1696. He married Sept. 23, 1720, Margueritta Breese, Issue: Johannes (John). See further. Anthony Breese, bap. April 11, 1725; David, bap. Aug. 13, 1727 (settled at Bak-Oven, near...

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Abeel and Allied Families

Recent discoveries relating to the Abeel family, of which little has hitherto been known, have brought to light certain facts which have an important bearing on the Revolutionary period of our country’s history. The Genealogy of the Williamson and Abeel families, compiled by James A.Williamson, proves conclusively that the famous “Cornplanter” of the Seneca Tribe of the Six Nations was a direct descendant of Christopher Janse Abeel, the founder of this old Holland family in America. The faithful mother, who so carefully provided for her son’s welfare, little dreamed of the influence that would be exerted by him and...

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Six Nations Trading Relations with Whites

The consciousness of unsatisfied pecuniary obligation does not, as a rule, weigh heavily on the Indian mind, nor does it usually awaken, or offer food for, burdensome reflection. The Indian Act, which decrees his minority, disables him from entering into a contract of any kind, though it scarcely needs any statement from me to assure my hearers that the law does not secure, nor does the majestic arm of that law exact, from him, the most rigid compliance. The Indian will make and tender to a white creditor his promissory note with a gleeful complacency. There are usually two elements contributing, in perhaps equal degree, to produce in him this complacent frame of mind: The first, that, for removing from his immediate consideration a debt, he is adopting a temporizing expedient, which in no way vouches for, and in no sense bespeaks, the ultimate payment of the debt; the other, that his act records his sense of rebellion against a restrictive law, ever welling up in his breast, and seeking such-like opportune vent for its relief. In trading with a merchant, who, appreciating the wiliness of his customer, felt a natural concern about trading upon as safe a basis as might be secured, it was, until quite recently, customary with the Indian to anticipate his interest-money, in paying for his goods. That the merchant might have a guarantee that...

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Reflections as to the Possible Effect upon Indians of Enfranchisement

We cannot estimate the transforming power that his enfranchisement might exert over the Indian character. The Indian youth, who is now either a listless wanderer over the confines of his Reserve; or who finds his highest occupation in putting in, now and then, desultory work for some neighboring farmer at harvest-time; who looks even upon elementary education as useless, and as something to be gone through, perforce, as a concession to his parents’ wish, or at those parents’ bid, would, if enfranchisement were assured to him, esteem it in its true light, as the first step to a higher training, which should qualify him for enjoying offices or taking up callings, from which he is now debarred, and in which, mayhap, he might achieve a degree of honor and success which should operate, in an incalculable way, as a stimulus to others of his race, to strive after and attain the like station and dignity. There can, I think, be no gainsaying of the view that the Indian, if he were enfranchised, would avail much more generally than he does now, of the excellent educational facilities which surround him. The very consciousness, which would then be at work within him, of his eligibility for filling any office of honor in the country, which enfranchisement would confer, would minister to a worthy ambition, and would spur him on to develop...

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Sir William Johnson, Johnstown, New York

Sir William Johnson was the first official representative of the British Crown to the Iroquois Confederacy. This man, strong in body and friendly in manner, attended and showed an interest in the Mohawk Councils. He also took an active part in the Indian sports and games and learned the Mohawk language. Johnson’s fair dealing with the Six Nations became recognized by the Confederacy. His appointment as Superintendent of Six Nation Affairs, won the approval of the Chiefs, Warriors and Women of the Six Nations. Colonel Johnson was given the highest honour the Six Nations could give a leader or...

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Native American Oratory

As it is at his meetings of Council, and during the discussions that are there provoked, that the Indian’s powers of oratory come, for the most part, into play, and secure their freest indulgence, that will appropriately constitute my next head. We are permitted to adjudge the manner and style of the Indian’s oratory, whether they be easy or strained; graceful or stiff; natural or affected; and we may, likewise, discover, if his speech be flowing or hesitating; but it is denied to us, of course, to appreciate in any degree, or to appraise his utterances. I should say the Indian fulfils the largest expectations of the most exacting critic, and the highest standard of excellence the critic may prescribe, in all the branches of oratory that may (with his province necessarily fettered) fitly engage his attention, or be exposed to his hostile shafts. The Indian has a marvelous control over facial expression, and this, undeniably, has a powerful bearing upon true, effective, heart-moving oratory. Though his “spoken” language is to us as a sealed book, his is a mobility of countenance that will translate into, and expound by, a language shared by universal humanity, diverse mental emotions; and assure, to the grasp of universal human ken, the import of those emotions; that will express, in turn, fervor, pathos, humor; that, to find its complete purpose of unerringly revealing...

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Six Nations Indian’s Physical Mien and Characteristics

It will be interesting, perhaps, to notice the particulars, as to physical conformation, in which the Indian differs from his white brother. He maintains a higher average as to height, to fix which at five feet ten would, I think, be a just estimate. It is rare, however, to find him attain the exceptional stature, quite commonly observed with the white, though, where he yields to the latter in this respect, there is compensation for it in the way of greater breadth and compactness. There are, of course, isolated cases, in which he is distinguished by as great height as has ever been reached by ordinary man, and, in these instances, I have never failed to notice that his form discloses almost faultless proportions, the Indian being never ungainly or gaunt. I think, on the whole, that I do no injustice to the white man, when I credit the Indian with a better-knit frame than himself. I am disposed to ascribe, in great measure, the evolving of the erect form that the Indian, as a rule, possesses, to the custom in vogue of the mother carrying her child strapped across the back, as well as to the fact of her discouraging and interdicting any attempts at walking on the part of the child, until the muscles shall have been so developed as to justify such being made. To this...

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