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Title: Notes on the Iroquois - or, Contributions to the Statistics, Aboriginal History, - Antiquities and General Ethnology of Western New-York
Author: Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe
Language: English
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         *       *       *       *       *


  Hon. Mem. of the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries, Copenhagen;
  Hon. Mem. of the Royal Geographical Society of London; Vice-President
  of the American Ethnological Society at New-York; Member of the
  American Philosophical, of the American Antiquarian, and of the
  American Geological Societies; Hon. Mem. of the New-York Historical,
  of the Georgia Historical, and of the Rhode-Island Historical
  Societies, &c., &c., &c.

         *       *       *       *       *




In giving a more permanent form to the original edition of this
document, a more convenient reference title has been prefixed to it.

The aboriginal nation, whose statistics and history, past and present,
are brought into discussion in the following report, stand out
prominently in the foreground of our own history. They have sustained
themselves, for more than three centuries and a half, against the
intruding and progressive races of Europe. During the period of the
planting of the colonies, their military exploits gave them a name
and a reputation which are coeval with Europe. These events are
intermingled, more or less, with the history of each of the colonies,
and impart to them much of their interest. But while we have made an
extraordinary progress in population and resources, and gone far to
build up a nationality, and commenced a national literature, very
little, if any, progress has been made in clearing up and narrowing
the boundaries of historical mystery, which shroud the INDIAN
PERIOD prior to 1492. This forms, indeed, the true period of
American Ethnology.

It was a desideratum in American statistics, that a complete census of
one of these primary stocks, who had lived in our neighborhood all this
time, and still preserved their nationality, should be taken. This task
New-York executed in 1845. It appeared desirable to the agent appointed
to carry the act of the legislature, embracing this feature, into
effect, that the opportunity should not be lost of making some notes
of the kind here indicated; and it is in this feature, indeed, if any
thing, in the report now presented, that it aspires to the character
of research, though it be intended only to shadow forth outlines to be
filled up hereafter.

_New-York, Feb. 7, 1846._


  Letter from the Secretary of State, laying the result of the
    census before the Senate,                                        1

  Statistical report, communicating the census returns,              3

  Letter transmitting supplemental report on their past and
    present history,                                                21

  I. HISTORICAL AND ETHNOLOGICAL MINUTES,                           25
      _a._ Sketch of the Iroquois Groups of Aboriginal Tribes,      25
      _b._ Ethnological suggestions,                                33
      _c._ Indian Cosmogony,                                        36
      _d._ Gleams of their ancient general history,                 38

      _a._ Mohawks,                                                 43
      _b._ Oneidas and the Oneida stone, (with three engravings,)   46
      _c._ Onondagas, (with a figure,)                              54
      _d._ Cayugas,                                                 57
      _e._ Senecas and their origin,                                59
      _f._ Tuscaroras, and their flight from North Carolina,        64
      _g._ Necariages,                                              69
      _h._ St. Regis colony,                                        70

      _a._ Considerations,                                          73
      _b._ Era of the confederacy,                                  73
      _c._ Principles of their government and Totemic Bond,         76
      _d._ Ancient worship and system of astronomy,                 85
      _e._ Witchcraft, its theory and practical evils,              87
      _f._ Wife’s right to property—limited nature of marriage
             contract,                                              88

  IV. ARCHÆOLOGY,                                                   91
      _a._ Vestiges of an ancient French fort in Lenox,
             (with a plan,)                                         93
      _b._ Ancient site of the Onondagas at Kasonda,
             (with a sketch,)                                       96
      _c._ Antiquities of Pompey, Camillus, &c.,                   103
      _d._ Ancient fort of Osco at Auburn, (with a plan,)          106
      _e._ Vestiges of an ancient elliptical work at Canandaigua,
             (with an outline,)                                    109
      _f._ Fort-Hill, Genesee county, (with a plan,)               111
      _g._ Rock-citadel of Kienuka, in Niagara county,
             (with a plan,)                                        116
      _h._ Circular fort at Deoseowa, Erie county,
             (with an outline,)                                    120

  V. ANCIENT STATE OF INDIAN ART,                                  125

      Class 1. Nabikoagunä, [medals,]                              134
      Class 2. Medäekä, [amulets,]                                 137
      Class 3. Attejegunä, [implements of art,]                    139
      Class 4. Opoagunä, [pipes,]                                  140
      Class 5. Minäce, [beads,]                                    142
      Class 6. Peägä, [wampums,]                                   143
      Class 7. Mudwämina, [jingling dress ornaments,]              143
      Class 8. Otoaugunä, [ear jewels,]                            144
      Class 9. Æs, [shells,]                                       144
      Class 10. Ochalis, [nose jewels,]                            145

      _a._ Ancient shipwreck of a vessel on the coast,             147
      _b._ Forays into the Cherokee and Cataba country,            148
      _c._ Exploit of Hiadeoni,                                    150
      _d._ Seneca embassy of peace to the Cherokees, and exploit
             of Awl,                                               153
      _e._ Grave-yard serpent and corn giant                       154
      _f._ Allusion to the siege of Fort Stanwix and battle of
             Oriskany,                                             155
      _g._ Defeat of the Kah-Kwahs,                                155
      _h._ Epoch of the confederacy,                               156
      _i._ Some passages of their wars with monsters and giants,   156

  VIII. TOPICAL INQUIRIES,                                         163
      _a._ Who were the Eries?                                     164
      _b._ Building of the first vessel on the upper lakes,        166
      _c._ Who were the Alleghans?                                 168
      _d._ War with the Kah-Kwahs and their retreat down the
             Allegany,                                             176

  IX. MISCELLANEOUS TRAITS,                                        181
      _a._ Infant Atotarho,                                        181
      _b._ Red Jacket and the Wyandot and Delaware claim to
             supremacy,                                            182
      _c._ Brant and the Buffalo church,                           183
      _d._ The county clerk and the wolf scalp,                    184
      _e._ Specimen of Iroquois picture writing,                   132


  ABSTRACT OF CENSUS RETURNS,                                      191

  DEAF AND DUMB, IDIOTS, LUNATICS AND BLIND,                       201


  Benton,                                                          203

  Extracts from author’s private journal,                          206

  Clark,                                                           233

  Cusick,                                                          237

  Goodwin,                                                         241

  Follett,                                                         243

  Dewey,                                                           246

  Rockwood, with Tuscarora vocabulary,                             250

  Bliss,                                                           261

  Hall,                                                            263

  McMurray, with Mohawk and Cayuga vocabulary,                     264

  Shearman, with Oneida vocabulary,                                278

  Walker,                                                          282

  Van Schaack,                                                     283

  Morgan,                                                          284


  No. 24.


  January 22 1846.


    From the Secretary of State, transmitting the report of Mr.
    Schoolcraft, one of the agents appointed to take the census or
    enumeration of the Indians, &c.

  SECRETARY’S OFFICE,          }
  _Albany, January 17th, 1846_.}


  _President of the Senate_:


    In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 15th
    instant, I transmit herewith a report of one of the agents
    appointed to take the census or enumeration of the Indians
    residing upon several of the reservations in the State, and
    an abstract of all the census returns, taken pursuant to the
    fifteenth section of the act chapter 140 of the laws of 1845,
    and of the statistical information required by the act, and
    also a report relating “to their past and present condition.”

  I am, very respectfully,
  Your obedient servant,


    Of Mr. Schoolcraft, to the Secretary of State, transmitting the
    census returns in relation to the Indians.


  _New-York, October 31st, 1845._


In conformity with your instructions of the 25th June last, I proceeded
to the several Iroquois reservations therein named, and I have
the honor herewith to transmit to you the census returns for each
reservation, numbered from I to VIII, and distinguished by the popular
name of each tribe, or canton.

I. The question of the original generic name, by which these tribes
were denoted, the relation they bear to the other aboriginal stocks of
America, and the probable era of their arrival, and location within the
present boundaries of this State, is one, which was naturally suggested
by the statistical inquiries entrusted to me. Difficult and uncertain
as any thing brought forward on these subjects must necessarily be, it
was yet desirable, in giving a view of the present and former condition
of the people, that the matter should be glanced at. For, although
nothing very satisfactory might be stated, it was still conceived to be
well to give some answer to the intelligent inquirer, to the end, that
it might, at least, be perceived the subject had not escaped notice.

A tropical climate, ample means of subsistence, and their consequence,
a concentrated and fixed population, raised the ancient inhabitants of
Mexico, and some other leading nations on the continent, to a state
of ease and semi-civilization, which have commanded the surprise and
admiration of historians. But it may be said, in truth, that, in their
fine physical type, and in their energy of character, and love of
independence, no people, among the aboriginal race, have ever exceeded,
if any has ever equalled, the Iroquois.

Discoveries made in the settlement of New-York, west of the DE O
WAIN STA, or Stanwix Summit, have led to the belief, that there
has been an ancient period of occupation of that fertile and expanded
portion of the State, which terminated prior to the arrival of the
Iroquois. Evidences have not been wanting to denote, that a higher
degree of civilization than any of these tribes possessed, had, at a
remote period, begun to develope itself in that quarter. But, hitherto,
the notices and examinations of the antiquities referred to, although
highly creditable to the observers, and abounding in interest, have
served rather to entangle, than reveal, the archæological mystery which
envelopes them. Some of these antiquarian traits, not appearing to
the first settlers to be invested with the importance, as industrial
or military vestiges, now attached to them, have been nearly or quite
obliterated by the plough. The spade of the builder and excavator has
overturned others; and at the rate of increase, which has marked our
numbers and industry, since the close of the revolutionary war, little
or nothing of this kind will remain, in a perfect state, very long.

To gratify the moral interest belonging to the subject, by full and
elaborate plans and descriptions, would require time and means, very
different from any at my command the past season; but the topic was
one which admitted of incidental attention, while awaiting decisions
and obviating objections which some of the tribes urged to the general
principles and policy of the census. And while the subject of a full
archæological and ethnological survey of the State is left as the
appropriate theme of future research, facts and traditions, bearing on
these subjects, were obtained and minuted down, at various points.

In availing myself of the liberty extended to me in this particular, by
your instructions, I have, in fact, improved every possible means of
information. Notes and sketches were taken down from the lips of both
white and red men, wherever the matter itself and the trustworthiness
of the individual appeared to justify them. Many of the ancient forts,
barrows and general places of ancient sepulchre were visited, and of
some of them, accurate plans, diagrams or sketches made on the spot,
or obtained from other hands. A general interest was manifested in
the subject by the citizens of western New-York, wherever it was
introduced, and a most ready and obliging disposition evinced, on all
hands, to promote the inquiry.

The result of these examinations, and collections made by the
wayside, it is my intention to report in the form of _Historical and
Ethnological Minutes_, which will be engrossed without loss of time
from my original notes. These minutes, when properly arranged and
copied, will constitute a document supplementary to the report here
offered. It is not to be inferred, however, that they will exhibit
a compact and full digest of Iroquois history. Attention has rather
been given to the lapses in their history, and to the supplying of
data for its future construction. Little more has ever been thought
of. This part of my investigations will be communicated, therefore,
as a contribution to the historical materials of the State, touching
its aborigines. Satisfied that the New-York public regard the subject
with decided approbation, and well aware of the munificence which has
marked the State policy, with regard to the acquisition of historical
documents from abroad, I may, I trust, be permitted to indulge the
hope, that the Legislature will likewise extend its countenance to this
portion of the labor which, as the State Marshal under the act, I have

II. The present being the first time[1] that a formal and full census
of a nation or tribe of Indians has been called for, with their
industrial efforts, by any American or European government exercising
authority on this continent, the principles and policy of the measure
presented a novel question to the Iroquois, and led to extended
discussions. As these discussions, in which the speakers evinced no
little aptitude, bring out some characteristic traits of the people, it
may be pertinent, and not out of place here, briefly to advert to them.

[1] It forms no contradiction to the precise terms of this remark, that
the Legislature of Virginia directed the numbering of the Powhatanic
tribes, within its boundaries, in 1788. Vide Jefferson’s Notes on

As a general fact, the policy of a census, and its beneficial bearings
on society, were not understood or admitted.[2] It seemed to these
ancient cantons to be an infringement on that independence of condition
which they still claim and ardently cherish. In truth, of all subjects
upon which these people have been called on to think and act, during
our proximity to them of two or three centuries, that of political
economy is decidedly the most foreign and least known to them, or
appreciated by them, and the census movement was, consequently, the
theme of no small number of suspicions and cavils and objections.
Without any certain or generally fixed grounds of objection, it was yet
the object of a fixed but changing opposition. If I might judge, from
the scope of remarks made both in and out of council, they regarded it
as the introduction of a Saxon feature into their institutions, which,
like a lever, by some process not apparent to them, was designed, in
its ultimate effects, to uplift and overturn them. And no small degree
of pith and irony was put forth against it by the eloquent respondents
who stood in the official attitude of their ancient orators.
Everywhere, the tribes exalted the question into one of national
moment. Grave and dignified sachems assembled in formal councils, and
indulged in long and fluent harangues to their people, as if the very
foundations of their ancient confederacy were about to be overturned
by an innovating spirit of political arithmetic and utilitarianism.
When their true views were made known, however, after many days and
adjourned councils, I found there was less objection to the mere
numbering of their tribes and families, than the [to them] scrutinizing
demand, which the act called for, into their agricultural products,
and the results of their industry. Pride also had some weight in the
matter. “We have but little,” said one of the chiefs, in a speech in
council, “to exhibit. Those who have yielded their assent, have their
barns well stored, and need not blush when you call.”

[2] To this remark, the Tuscaroras, who met the subject at once, in
a frank and confidential manner, and the Onondagas, who appeared to
be governed therein by the counsels of a single educated chief, form

Another topic mixed itself with the consideration of the census,
and made some of the chiefs distrustful of it. I allude to the long
disturbed state of their land question, and the treaty of compromise
which has recently been made with the Ogden Company, by which the
reversionary right to the fee simple of two of their reservations has
been modified. In this compromise, the Tonewandas, a considerable
sub-tribe or departmental band of Senecas, did not unite; yet the
reservation which they occupy is one of the tracts to be given up.
They opposed the census, from the mere fear of committing themselves
on this prior question, in some way, not very well understood by them,
and certainly not well made out by their speakers. It is known that
for many years, the general question of ceding their reservations,
under the provisions of an early treaty of the State with the Six
Nations, had divided the Senecas into two parties. A discussion which
has extended through nearly half a century, in which Red Jacket had
exhibited all his eloquence, had sharpened the national acumen in
negotiation, and produced a peculiar sensitiveness and, suspicion of
motive, whenever, in latter times, the slightest question of interest
or policy has been introduced into their councils. This spirit evinced
itself in the very outset of my visit, on announcing to certain bands
the requirements of the census act. Some of them were, moreover,
strongly disposed to view it as the preliminary step, on the part
of the Legislature, to taxation. To be taxed, is an idea which the
Iroquois regard with horror. They had themselves, in ancient days, put
nations under tribute, and understood very well the import of a State
tax upon their property.

“Why,” said the Tonewanda chief, Deonehogawa, (called John Blacksmith,)
“why is this census asked for, at this time, when we are in a
straitened position with respect to our reservation? Or if it is
important to you or us, why was it not called for before? If you do not
wish to obtain facts about our lands and cattle, to tax us, what is the
object of the census? What is to be done with the information after you
take it to Governor Wright, at Skenectati?”[3]

[3] The aborigines are very tenacious of their geographical names. This
ancient name of the seat of government I found to be used, on every
occasion, among the Senecas, when it was necessary to allude to Albany.
Its transference on the conquest of the province, in 1664, to the banks
of the Mohawk, in lieu of the aboriginal name of _Onigarawantel_, never
received, at least, their sanction.

Hoeyanehqui, or Sky-carrier, a Buffalo chief, in answer to a question
as to their views of the abstract right of the State to tax the tribes,
evaded a direct issue, but assuming the ground of policy, compared the
Iroquois to a sick man, and said, “that he did not believe the State
would oppress one thus weak.”

Kaweaka, a Tuscarora chief of intelligence, speaking the English
language very well, in which he is called William Mount-Pleasant, gave
a proof, in yielding to the measure promptly, that he had not failed
to profit by the use of letters. “We know our own rights. Should the
Legislature attempt to tax us, our protection is in the Constitution
of the United States, which forbids it.” This is the first appeal, it
is thought, ever made by an Iroquois to this instrument. The clause
referred to, relates however, wholly to representation in Congress,
[Vide Art. 1, Sec. II, 2d.] from the privileges of which it excludes
“Indians not taxed,” clearly implying that such persons might be
represented in that body if “taxed.” Civilization and taxation appear
to be inseparable.

III. Having detailed the steps taken in procuring the census, it only
remains to subjoin a few remarks, which I beg leave to add, on the
general features of the statistics and the results of their agriculture
upon their condition and prospects.

The printed queries being prepared exclusively for a population in a
high state of prosperity and progress, embrace many items for which
there was no occasion, among pseudo hunters, herdsmen, or incipient
agriculturists. Neither privileged to vote, nor subject to taxation,
nor military service, or covered by the common school system, or
bearing any of the characteristic tests of citizenship, the questions
designed to bring out this class of facts remained mere blanks. Others
required to institute comparisons between a civilized and quasi
savage state, were left by the tenor of your instructions, to my own
discretion. I should have been, I am free to confess, happy to have
extended these comparative views, much more fully than I have, going
further into their vital statistics, their succedaneous modes of
employment and subsistence, some parts of their lexicography, besides
that affecting the names of places, and a few kindred topics, had not
the Legislature omitted to make provision for the expenses incidental
to such extended labors, and the department to which I applied giving
me little encouragement that the oversight would be remedied. I have,
however, proceeded to render the comparative tables effectual, and,
I trust, satisfactory, and to this end, I have assumed obligations
of a very limited pecuniary character, and incurred others for travel
and some few kindred objects, which I trust the Legislature, with whom
alone the subject rests, will meet.

It cannot be said that the Iroquois cantons of New-York have as yet,
any productive commerce, arts and manufactures. They are, to some
extent, producers; furnish a few mechanics, and give employment to,
and own a few lumber mills; but it is believed, while some of the
bands, and at least one of the entire cantons, namely, the Tuscaroras,
raise more grain and stock, than is sufficient for their own full
subsistence, the average of the agricultural products of the whole
people is not more, at the most favorable view, than is necessary for
their annual subsistence. If so, they add nothing to the productive
industry of the State. But it is gratifying to know that they are
at least able to live upon their own means; and their condition and
improvement is (certainly within the era of the temperance movement
among them,) decidedly progressive and encouraging. They have reached
the point in industrial progress, where it is only necessary to go
forward. Numbers of families are eminently entitled to the epithet of
good practical farmers, and are living, year in and year out, in the
midst of agricultural affluence. That the proportion of individuals,
thus advanced, is as considerable as the census columns denote it
to be, is among the favorable features of the enquiry. There would
appear to be no inaptitude for mechanical ingenuity, but hitherto,
the proportion of their actual number who have embraced the arts, is,
comparatively, very limited, not exceeding, at most, two or three to a
tribe, and the effort has hitherto been confined to silversmiths,[4]
blacksmiths, carpenters and coopers. A single instance of a wheelwright
and fancy wagon maker occurs.

[4] The Iroquois, in adopting our costume, have transferred their
ancient love of silver amulets, frontlets, and other barbaric
ornaments, to their guns and tomahawks, which are frequently richly
inlaid with the shining metal, worked with great skill into the richest
devices. They also fashion beautiful ear rings of silver for their

Viewed in its extremes, society, in the Iroquois cantons, still
exhibits no unequivocal vestiges of the tie which bound them to the
hunter state; and even, among the more advanced classes, there is too
much dependence on means of living which mark either the absolute
barbaric state, or the first grade of civilization. Hunters they are,
indeed, no longer; yet it was desirable to ascertain how much of their
present means of subsistence was derived from the chase. This will
be found to be denoted in appropriate columns. It is gratifying to
observe, that the amount is so small, nor is it less so, to the cause
of Indian civilization, to remark, that the uncertain and scanty reward
of time and labor which the chase affords, is less and less relied
on, in the precise ratio that the bands and neighborhoods advance in
agriculture and the arts. In cases where the cultivation of English
grains and the raising of stock have thoroughly enlisted attention, the
chase has long ceased to attract its ancient votaries, and in these
instances, which embrace some entire bands, or chieftaincies, it has
become precisely what it is, in civilized communities, where game yet
exists, _an amusement_, and not a means of reward.

That delusive means of Indian subsistence, which is based on the
receipt of money annuities from the government, still calls together
annually, and sometimes oftener, the collective male population of
these tribes, at an expense of time, and means, which is wholly
disproportioned, both to the amount actually received, and the not
unimportant incidental risques, _moral_ and _physical_, incurred by the
assemblage. I have denoted both the gross sum of these annuities, and
the distributive share to heads of families, obtained from the office
of the local government agent at Buffalo. These are believed to be
authentic in amount. Estimated at the highest rate which can be taken,
the sum, per capita, of these annuities, will not, on an average of
crops and prices, for a series of years, equal the cash value of seven
bushels of wheat—a product, which, as a means of actual subsistence
to the Indian family, would be of double or treble value. But this is
far from being the worst effect of both the general and _per capita_
cash distribution. Time and health are not only sacrificed to obtain
the pittance, but he is fortunate who does not expend the amount in the
outward or return journey from the council house, or in the purchase of
some showy but valueless articles, while attending there.

A still further evil, flowing from these annual gatherings for the
payment of Indian annuities, is the stimulus which it produces in
assembling at such places traders and speculating dealers of various
kinds, who are versed in this species of traffic, and who well know
the weak points of the native character, and how best to profit by
them. In effect, few of the annuitants reach their homes with a dime.
Most of them have expended all, and lost their time in addition.
Health is not unfrequently sacrificed by living on articles, or in
a manner not customary at home. The intemperate are confirmed in
intemperance; and the idle, foppish and gay, are only more enamoured of
idleness, foppishness and pleasure. That such a system, introduced at
any early day, when it was policy for governments on this continent,
_foreign_ and _domestic_, to throw out a boon before wandering,
hostile, and savage tribes, to display their munificence, and effect
temporary interests, should have been continued to the present day,
is only to be accounted for, from the accumulated duties, perpetually
advancing jurisdiction, and still imperfectly organized state of
that sub-department of the government, which exercises its, in some
respects, anomalous administrative functions, under the name of the
Indian Bureau. So far as the Iroquois are affected by the policy
adverted to, their interests demand an immediate consideration of
the subject on enlarged principles. It behooves them to meditate
whether, as a people, now semi-civilized, and exercising, in their
internal polity, the powers of an independent government, some more
beneficial appropriation of the fund could not be made. Perhaps nothing
would better serve to advance and exalt them, as a people, than the
application of these annuities to constitute a confederate school fund,
under some compact or arrangement with the State, by which the latter
should stipulate to extend the frame-work of the common school system
over their reservations.

Horticulture, to some extent, and in a limited sense, was always an
incident to the hunter state among these tribes, so far, at least,
as we are acquainted with their history. They brought the zea maize
with them, we must concede, on their early migration to the banks of
the Mohawk, and the Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga and Seneca basins; for
this grain is conceded, on all hands, to be a tropical, or at least
a southern plant, and if so, it reveals the general course of their
migration. It is of indigenous origin, and was not known to Europe
before the discovery. We learned the mode of cultivation from them,
and not they from us. This grain became the basis of their fixity of
population, in the 14th or 15th centuries, and capacity to undertake
military enterprises. It was certainly cultivated in large fields,
in their chief locations, and gave them a title to agriculturists;
but it is equally certain that they had a kind of bean, perhaps the
same called _frijoles_ by the early Spaniards, and some species of
_cucurbita_. These were cultivated in gardens.

The tables will show a general and considerable advance, or any
probable assumed basis, of the cultivation of corn. We cannot consider
this species of cultivation, however, as any characteristic evidence
of advance in agriculture, while the more general introduction of it,
and the harvesting of large fields of it, by separate families, is
undoubtedly to be considered so. Taking the item of corn as the test,
another and an important result will be perceived. In proportion as the
cereales are cultivated, the average quantity of corn is diminished;
and these are the very cases where, at the same time, the degree of
civilization is most apparent in other things.

The condition of herdsmen is deemed by theorists and historians to
be the first step in the progress from the hunter state. But we are
in want of all evidence to show that there ever was, in America, a
pastoral state. In the first place, the tribes had tamed no quadruped,
even in the tropics, but the lama. The bison was never under any
subjection, nor a fleece ever gathered, so far as history tells us,
from the Big-horn or Rocky Mountain sheep. The horse, the domestic cow,
the hog and the common sheep, were brought over after the discovery;
and the Iroquois, like most of their western brethren, have been very
slow, all advantages considered, in raising them. They have, in fact,
had no pastoral state, and they have only become herdsmen at the time
that they took hold of the plough. The number of domestic animals now
on their reservations, as shown by the tables, bears a full proportion
to their other industrial field labors. It will be seen, that while
horses, neat cattle and hogs are generally raised, sheep come in, at
more mature periods of advance, and are found only on the largest and
best cultivated farms. Sheep, therefore, like the cereales, become
a test of their advance. With this stage, we generally find, too,
the field esculents, as turnips, peas, &c. and also buckwheat. I
have indicated, as a further proof of their advance as herdsmen and
graziers, the number of acres of meadow cut. The Iroquois cultivate no
flax. They probably raise no rye, from the fact that their lands are
better adapted to wheat and corn.

The potato was certainly indigenous. Sir Walter Raleigh, in his
efforts at colonizations, had it brought from Virginia, under the
original name of _openawg_.[5] But none of the North American tribes
are known to have cultivated it. They dug it up, like other indigenous
edible roots from the forest. But it has long been introduced into
their villages and spread over the northern latitudes, far beyond the
present limit of the zea maize. Its cultivation is so easy and so
similar to that of their favorite corn, and its yield so great, that it
is remarkable it should not have received more general attention from
all the tribes. With the Iroquois, the lists will denote that, in most
cases, it is a mere item of horticulture, most families not planting
over half an acre, often not more than a quarter of an acre, and yet
more frequently, none at all.

[5] By the Algonquins of the present day, this plant is called, in the
plural, _opineeg_. The inflection in _eeg_ denotes the plural.

The apple is the Iroquois banana. From the earliest introduction of
this fruit into New-York and New-France, from the genial plains of
Holland and Normandy, these tribes appear to have been captivated
by its taste, and they lost no time in transferring it, by sowing
the seed, to the sites of their ancient castles. No one can read the
accounts of the destruction of the extensive orchards of the apple,
which were cut down, on Gen. Sullivan’s inroad into the Genesee
country in 1779, without regretting that the purposes of war should
have required this barbaric act. The census will show that this taste
remains as strong in 1845, as it was 66 years ago.

Adverse to agricultural labor, and always confounding it with slavery,
or some form of servitude, at least, deeming it derogatory, the first
effort of the Iroquois to advance from their original corn-field and
garden of beans and vines is connected with the letting out of their
spare lands to white men who were cast on the frontiers, to cultivate,
receiving for it some low remuneration in kind or otherwise, by way
of rent. This system, it is true, increased a little their means of
subsistence, but nourished their native pride and indolence. It seems
to have been particularly a practice of the Iroquois, and it has been
continued and incorporated into their present agricultural system. I
have taken pains to indicate, in every family, the amount of land thus
let, and the actual or estimated value received for it. These receipts,
I was informed, low as they are in amount, are generally paid in kind,
or in such manner as often to diminish their value and effect, in
contributing to the proper sustenance of the family.

I have been equally careful to ascertain the number of families who
cultivated no lands, and insert them in the tables. The division of
real property among this people appears to fall under the ordinary
rules of acquisition in other societies. But it is not to be inferred
in all cases, that the individual returned as without land has
absolutely no right to any, or having this right, has either forfeited
or alienated it, although the laws of the tribes respecting property,
permit one Iroquois to convey his property in fee to another. It is
only to be inferred, in every case, that they are non-cultivators. In a
few cases the persons thus marked are mechanics, and rely for support
on their skill. In the valley of the Allegheny, some of them are pilots
in conducting rafts of lumber or arks down that stream. It would have
relieved the industrial means of this band of the Senecas, extended
as they are for forty miles along both banks of this river, could the
amount received for this species of pilotage have been ascertained,
together with the avails derived from several saw-mills owned by them,
and from the lumber trade of that river generally. But these questions
would have remained a blank in other tribes.

Not a few persons amongst the Onondagas and Tuscaroras, and the
Tonewandas and other bands of Senecas, living in or contiguous to the
principal wheat growing counties, labor during the harvest season as
reapers and cradlers, for skill and ability in which occupations they
bear a high reputation, and receive good wages in cash. There are a
few engaged some parts of the year, as mariners on the lakes. It will
be sufficient to denote these varied forms of incipient labor and
strength of muscle and personal energy among these tribes, which it
was, however, impracticable to bring into the tables.

Individual character vindicates its claims to wealth and distinction
among these tribes in as marked a manner as among any people in the
world. Industry, capacity and integrity, are strongly marked on the
character and manners of numbers in each of the tribes. The art of
speaking, and a facility in grasping objects of thought, and in the
transaction of business, separate and distinguish persons as fully as
physical traits do their faces. And it is to be observed that these
intellectual traits run very much in certain families. That there are
numbers, on the contrary, who are drones in the political hive, who do
not labor, or labor very little; others who are intemperate; others
who neither work nor own land, or would long remain proprietors of
them, were new divisions and appropriations made, and all of whom are
a burden and drawback upon the industrious and producing classes, it
requires little observation to show. Admitting what reforms teaching
and example may accomplish among these, it is yet certain that of this
number there are many who do not assimilate, or appear to constitute
material for assimilation, in tastes and habits with the mass, nor
appear likely to incorporate with them in any practical shape where
they now reside, in their advances in agriculture, government and
morals. The hunter habit in these persons is yet strong, but having
nothing to stimulate it, they appear loth to embrace other modes of
subsistence. Others stand aloof from labor, or at least all active
and efficient labor, from a restless desire of change, or ambition
to do something else than plough and raise stock; or from ill-luck,
penury, or other motives. The proportion of the population who thus
stand still and do not advance in civil polity, are a strong draw-back
on the rest. It is conceived to be a pertinent question whether this
class of the population would not find a better theatre for their
progress and development by migrating to the west, where the general
government still possess unappropriated territory at their disposal.
It is believed by many that their migration would result in benefit
to both parties. The question is one which has been often discussed
by them in council, and is not yet, I should judge, fully settled.
A point of approach for the Iroquois has already been formed in the
Indian territory by the Senecas and Shawnees from Sandusky in Ohio,
who, at the last accounts (vide President’s Message to Congress,
1844,) number in the aggregate 336 souls. They are located on the
Neosho river, (a branch of the Arkansas,) west of the western boundary
of the State of Arkansas, where the reports of the government agents
represent them as raising horses, cattle and other stock, and being
producers of grain. In any view, the subject of the several classes
of persons represented in the accompanying tables, as semi-hunters
and non-cultivators, or individuals without lands, is one entitled to
attention. They should not be permitted to live within the boundaries
of the State without lands. The State should cherish all who choose to
remain as vestiges of a once powerful race, to whose wisdom and bravery
we owe the preservation of the domain. It would be unjust to expect the
industrious and forehanded Iroquois to redivide their lands with the
poor, and, to some extent, thriftless numbers of the cantons; while it
may, at the same time be observed, that it would be very difficult,
if not impossible, to provide by legislation, suitable guards against
their deterioration and depopulation in their present locations without
destroying wholly the fabric of their confederation, chieftainships and

IV. Whether the Iroquois have advanced in population since they
have laid aside the character of warriors and hunters, and adopted
agriculture as their only means of support, we have no accurate data
for determining. That their ancient population was overrated, and _very
much_ overrated, at all periods of our history, there can be little
question. We may dismiss many of these rude conjectures, of the elder
writers, as entitled to little notice, particularly that of La Houton,
who estimates each canton at 14,000 souls. Still, after making every
abatement for this tendency in the earlier authors to exaggerate their
actual numbers, it could have been no small population, which, at
one time, attacked the island of Montreal with twelve hundred armed
warriors, and at another (1683) marched a thousand men against the

[6] Colden’s Five Nations.

Smith puts the whole number of fighting men, in 1756, with a moderation
which is remarkable, compared to others who had touched the subject,
at about twelve hundred. Giving to each warrior a home population of
_five_, which is found to hold good, in modern days, in the great
area of the west, we should have an aggregate of 6,000—a result,
which is, probably, too low. Douglass, four years afterwards, gives
us data for raising this estimate to 7,500. Col. Bouquet, still four
years later, raises this latter estimate by 250. It must be evident
that their perpetual wars had a tendency to keep down their numbers,
notwithstanding their policy of aiding their natural increase by the
adoption and incorporation into the cantons, in full independence, of
prisoners and captives.

Mr. Jefferson estimates the population of the Powhatanic confederacy or
group of tribes, at one individual to the square mile.[7] Gov. Clinton,
who ably handled the subject in a discourse in 1811, estimates that,
if this rule be applied to the domain of the Iroquois in New-York, an
aggregate of not less than 30,000 would be produced;[8] but he does not
pass his opinion upon an estimate made so completely without reliable

[7] Notes on Virginia.

[8] Coll. N. Y. Hist. Soc. vol. 2.

At a conference with the five cantons at Albany, in 1677, the number
of warriors was carefully made out at 2,150, giving, on the preceding
mode of computation, a population of 10,750, and this was the strength
of the confederacy reported by an agent of the Governor of Virginia,
who had been specially despatched to the conference for the purpose
of obtaining this fact. Either, then, in the subsequent estimates of
1756, ’60, and ’64, the population had been underrated, or there had,
on the assumption of the truth of the above enumeration, which is
moderate, been a decline in the population of 3,000 souls in a period
of eighty-seven years. That there was a constant tendency to decline,
and that the cantons were aware of this, and made efforts to keep it
up, by the policy of their conquests, is apparent, and has before been

During the American revolution, which broke out but eleven years after
the expedition and estimate of Bouquet, when he had put the Iroquois
at 1,550 fighting men, it is estimated that the British government had
in their interest and service 1,580 warriors of this confederacy. The
highest number noticed of the friendly Oneidas and a few others, who
sided with us in that contest, is 230 warriors, raising the number
of armed men engaged in the war, to 1,810, and the gross population
in 1776 to 9,050 souls. This estimate, which appears to have been
carefully made, from authentic documents, is the utmost that could
well be claimed. It was made at the era when danger prompted the pen
of either party in the war to exhibit the military strength of this
confederacy, in its utmost power; and we may rest here, as a safe point
of comparison, or, at least, we cannot admit a higher population.

By the census returns herewith submitted, the aggregate population of
the three full, and four fragmentary cantons, namely, the Oneidas and
Cayugas, &c. still residing within the State, are denoted to be as
follows, namely:

  Senecas,               2,441
  Onondaga,                398
  Tuscaroras,              281
  Oneidas,                 210
  Cayugas,                 123
  Mohawks,                  20
  St. Regis Canton,        360

By a statement submitted to Congress, on the 3d of December, 1844,[9]
the number of Oneidas, settled in Wisconsin, is put at 722; the number
of Senecas, who have removed from Ohio into the Indian territory
west of the Mississippi, at 125, and the number of mixed Senecas and
Shawnees, at the same general location, at 211. Deducting one-half of
the latter, for Shawnees, and there is to be added to the preceding
census, in order to show the natural increase of the Iroquois, 953
souls. The number of the St. Regis tribe, who are based, as a tribe, on
the Praying Indians of Colden,—a band of Catholic Mohawks originally
located at Caughnawaga is shewn by the present year’s census to be
360. There are, at the village of Cornplanter, within the bounds
of Pennsylvania, as numbered by me, the present year, 51 Senecas.
Supposing that the Mohawks and Cayugas who fled to Canada _at_ and
_after_ the revolutionary war, and who are now settled at Brantford
on Grand river, Canada West, have merely held their own, in point of
numbers, and deducting the number of Cayugas, namely, 144, found among
the Senecas of Cattaraugus, and herewith separately returned, and
taking Dalton’s estimate of the Mohawks and Cayugas in 1776, namely,
300 warriors for each tribe, there is to be added, to the census, to
accomplish the same comparative view, two thousand eight hundred and
fifty souls. From this estimate, there must be deducted, for a manifest
error, in the original estimates of Dalton, in putting the Cayugas
on the same footing of strength with the Mohawks, not less than 150
warriors or 750 souls, leaving the Canadian Iroquois at 2,106—say
2,000 souls.

[9] Vide Doc. No. 2, Ho. of Reps., 28th Congress, 2d Session.

Adding these items to the returns of the present census, and the rather
extraordinary result will appear, that there is now existing in the
United States and Canada a population of 6,942 Iroquois, that is to
say, but 2,108 less than the estimated number, and that number placed
as high as it well could be, at the era of the revolution in 1776. Of
this number, 4,836 inhabit the United States, and 3,843 the State of
New-York. I cannot, however, submit this result without expressing the
opinion, that the Iroquois population has been _lower_, between the
era of the revolutionary war and the present time, than the census now
denotes; and that for some years past, and since they have been well
lodged and clothed and subsisted by their own labor, and been exempted
from the diseases and casualties incident to savage life, and the
empire of the forest, their population has recovered and IS NOW ON

I have thus brought to a close, so far as relates to their population
and industrial efforts, the inquiry committed to me respecting this
nation. It would perhaps have gratified statistical curiosity and
philosophical theory, to have exhibited fuller data on the subject
of their longevity and vital statistics generally, but it may be
considered in the light of an achievement to have accomplished thus
much. The general result indicates five, with a large fraction, as the
average number of the Iroquois family. Throughout each canton, the
number of females predominates over the males. This is a fact which has
been long known to hold good with respect to wandering, predatory and
warlike tribes, but was not anticipated among peaceful, agricultural
communities. But few years, however, have supervened since they dropped
the hatchet and took hold of the plough; and in this time, it is
apparent that the proportion of males to females has approached nearer
to an equilibrium. The effects on vitality of agricultural labor and
a cessation from war, are likewise favorable, so far as we can judge,
compared with the known results among the sparse, ill fed, warring
and errating hunters of the western forests and prairies. The average
number of the Iroquois family is not higher than the common average
of the hunter state. The number of children borne by each female is a
considerable fraction over four. Of a population of 312 Tuscaroras,
five have reached to and passed the age of 80, or over 1-3/4 per cent.
Among the Senecas and Cayugas of Cattaraugus, the per centage is 1-1/2,
with a smaller fraction, 12 persons in 808 having passed that limit.
Local causes have diminished this to one per cent nearly on the Buffalo
reservation. On the contrary, it is found to be increased in the valley
of the Alleghany to full two per cent. The ruling chief of that tribe,
TEN WON NY AHS, of Teonegono, commonly called _Blacksnake_, is
now in his ninety-sixth year, and is active and hale, and capable of
performing journies to the annual assemblies of his people at Buffalo.

I should not have fulfilled the principal object in view, without
directing some attention to the effects of the labors of past years
in the introduction, into the Iroquois cantons, of education, letters
and Christianity. So much of this branch of the inquiry as admits of
arithmetical notice, will appear, either under the ordinary heads
of the census, or the additional columns which have been prepared
under the headings of “statistics of occupation and of morality.”
The residue, comprising some remarks on the schools and churches,
the present state of Iroquois society and manners, and the general
condition and prospects of the cantons, will be included in the
supplementary report and documents. I shall also defer to the same
time, a particular notice of their annuities, and the extent of their
ancient domain, and the periods of its cession to the State or general

In closing this report, it may be well to notice the fact that there
are yet remaining in the State, some vestiges of the Algonquin race,
who, under various distinctive names, occupied the southern portion
of the State at the era of its discovery and colonization. As the
language of the census act refers to such Indians only as live on
the “reservations,” I have not felt it to be within the scope of my
appointment to search out and visit these scattered individuals,
although I should have been gratified to make this inquiry. It is
believed that they are comprised by about twenty of the Shinecock
tribe, who yet haunt the inlets and more desolate portions of Long
island, and by a very few lingering members of the ancient Mohegans,
who, under the soubriquet of Stockbridges, yet remain in Oneida county.
The bulk of this people, so long the object of missionary care,
migrated to the banks of Fox river and Winnebago lake, in Wisconsin,
about 1822. They were followed to that portion of the west, about the
same time, or soon after, by the small consolidated band of Nanticokes,
Narragansetts, and other early coast tribes, who, in concentrating in
the Oriskany valley, after the close of the revolutionary war, dropped
their respective languages, learned the English, and assumed the name
of Brothertons. Both these migrated tribes were in an advanced state
of semi-civilization, and were good farmers and herdsmen at the era of
their removal.

  I am, sir,
  With respect,
  Your ob’t servant,
  _Marshal under the 15th section of the census act_.

  _Secretary of State_.


Of Henry R. Schoolcraft to the Secretary of State.


  _New-York, January 7th, 1846._

SIR:—I have now the honor to submit a supplementary report,
embracing minutes and remarks on the aboriginal history, antiquities
and general ethnology of Western New-York, made in accordance with an
expression permitting the collection of such materials in your general
instructions of the 26th of June last.

To these details I have prefixed some general considerations on the
early period of the Iroquois history, the affinities of the several
tribes, and the era and principles of their confederation; the
antiquarian remains and general archæology of the western countries;
the ancient state of Indian art; some traits of their traditions and
religion; and a few connected topics which, it is hoped, will tend to
render the report more acceptable and valuable.

I regret, indeed, that time has not permitted me to enter more fully on
some of the topics introduced, and that of others, I have been obliged
to cut them short or omit them altogether, including the subject of
their languages, geographical terminology, and personal names, the
latter of which is a very curious inquiry of itself. I confess it would
have fallen in with my inclinations, as well as my conceptions of
the true nature and extent of the inquiries confided to me, to have
extended them to other parts of the State, and given a more complete
view of our ethnology, had it been practicable to do so before the
meeting of the Legislature.

I cannot, however, close this note without expressing the hope that the
Legislature will authorize you to take further measures for completing
the work. There are a large number of the class of antique, circular
and elliptical works scattered over the western and southwestern part
of the State, of an age anterior to the discovery, which it would be
important to examine and describe. These chiefly lie west of Cayuga,
and upon the sources of the Susquehanna. Interspersed amid this system
of common ring-forts of the west there are some of a still earlier
period, which exhibit squares and parallelograms, yet without any
defensive work in the nature of bastions.

The area of early French occupancy, or attempt at colonization, within
the State, extends east and west between the waters of the Cayuga and
Oneida lakes, as general boundaries, having the county of Onondaga
as its chief and central point. This area will comprehend the most
striking part of the numerous remains of implements of art, and
other antiquities of European origin, which have heretofore excited
attention. How far these evidences extend north is not known. But
any examination of either the aboriginal or foreign remains would be
incomplete which did not extend also along the line of the St. Lawrence
and the waters of Lake Champlain.

The valley of the Hudson, and the southern part of the State generally,
although it has not been explored with this view, is known to have some
antiquarian features worthy examination. And were there none others
than the artificial shell mounds and beds on the sea coast and the
fossil bones of the valley, so remarkable in themselves, these would
alone be entitled to the highest interest in studying the ancient
history of the races of man in this area.

Geological action subsequent to the period of the habitation of the
globe, has not been examined with this view, but is believed to be
important in denoting eras of former occupancy; it is known that
various parts of the State have yielded, at considerable depths below
the surface, many curious evidences of artificial remains, along with
relics of the animal and vegetable kingdoms.

There is an apparent extension of the system of works which
characterize the fort and mound period of the Ohio valley, reaching
from the Alleghany waters in Chautauque and Cattaraugus, along the
southern shore of Lake Erie, indefinitely eastward, which it would be
interesting to trace.

One of the most reliable proofs of eras and races of men is found in
the remains of art.

There are some striking coincidences in this respect between the
antiquities of New-York and the Mississippi valley, which denote
precisely the same state of arts and the same eras of occupancy.
Such are the Minace Alleghanic which occurs alike in the Grave Creek
mound and the simple places of sepulture in Onondaga, the Nabikoaguna
Antique, which has been found at Upper Sandusky and at Onondaga; and
the Medaëka Missouri, from the valley of the Sciota, in Ohio, and the
Kasonda in New-York.

Accurate descriptions of the whole class of our antiquarian remains
could not, if thoroughly executed, but throw much light on, and
introduce precision in, periods of remote history in this State, and
indeed the continent, which are now either involved in obscurity, or
constitute themes of mere conjecture.



[_a._] A Sketch of the Iroquois Groupe of Aboriginal Tribes.

On the discovery of North America, the Iroquois tribes, were found
seated chiefly in the wide and fertile territory of western and
northern New-York, reaching west to the sources of the Ohio;[10] north,
to the banks of Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence; and east, to the
site of Albany. They had as much nationality of character, then, as any
of the populous tribes, who, in the 4th century wandered over central
and western Europe. They were, in a high degree, warlike, handling the
bow and arrow with the skill and dexterity of the ancient Thracians and
Parthians. They were confederated in peace and war, and had begun to
lay the foundations of a power, against which, the surrounding nations,
in the Mississippi valley, and along the St. Lawrence, the Hudson,
and the Delaware, could not stand. The French, when they effectually
entered the St. Lawrence in 1608,[11] courted their alliance on the
north, and the Dutch did the same in 1609, on the Hudson. Virginia had
been apprised of their power, at an early day, and the other English
colonies, as they arrived, were soon made acquainted with the existence
of this native confederacy in the north. By putting fire-arms into
their hands, they doubled the aboriginal power, and became themselves,
for more than a century, dependant on their caprice or friendship.

[10] They always denominated the Alleghany river by the name of Ohio.
This I found to be the term constantly used for that river in 1845.
They give the vowel i, in this word, the sound of i, in machine.

[11] They actually discovered this river, in 1535.

The word Iroquois, as we are told by Charlevoix, who is a competent
and reliable witness on this point, is founded on an exclamation,
or response, made by the sachems and warriors, on the delivery to
them, of an address. This response, as heard among the Senecas, it
appeared to me, might be written _eoh_; perhaps, the Mohawks, and
other harsher dialects of this family, threw in an r, between the
vowels. It is recorded in the term Iroquois, on French principles
of annotation, with the substantive inflection in _ois_, which is
characteristic of French lexicography. It is a term which has been
long, and extensively used, both for the language and the history
of this people; and is preferable, on enlarged considerations, to
any other. The term Five Nations, used by Colden, and in popular use
during the earlier period of the colony, ceased to be appropriate
after the Tuscarora revolt in North Carolina, and the reunion of this
tribe with the parent stock, subsequent to 1712. From that period they
were called the Six Nations,[12] and continued to acquire increased
reputation as a confederacy, under this name, until the termination
of the American Revolution in 1783, and the flight of the Mohawks and
Cayugas to Canada, when this partial separation and breaking up of the
confederacy, rendered it no longer applicable.

[12] In 1723, they adopted the NECARIAGES, as a Seventh
Nation, as will be noticed under the appropriate head.

The term NEW-YORK INDIANS, applied to them in modern days,
by the eminence in their position, is liable to be confounded, by
the common reader, with the names of several tribes of the generic
Algonquin family, who formerly occupied the southern part of the State,
down to the Atlantic. Some of these tribes lived in the west, and owned
and occupied lands, among the Iroquois, until within a few years. And,
at any rate, it is too vague and imprecise a term to be employed in
philology or history.

By the people themselves, however, neither the first nor the last of
the foregoing terms appear ever to have been adopted, nor are they now
used. They have no word to signify “New-York” in a sense more specific,
than as the territory possessed by themselves—a claim which they were
certainly justified in making, at the era of the discovery, when they
are admitted, on all hands, to have carried their conquests to the sea.

The term _Ongwe Honwe_, or a people surpassing all others, which Colden
was informed they applied proudly to themselves, may be strictly true,
if limited, as they did, to mean a people surpassing all other red men.
This they believed, and this was the sense in which they boastfully
applied it. But it was a term older than the discovery, and had no
reference to European races. The word _Honwe_, as will appear by the
vocabulary hereto appended, means man. By the prefixed term _Ongwe_,
it is qualified according to various interpretations, to mean real,
as contradistinguished from sham men, or cowards; it may also mean
strong, wise, or expert men, and, by ellipsis, men excelling others in
manliness. But it was in no other sense distinctive of them. It was
the common term for the red race of this continent, which they would
appear, by the phrase, to acknowledge as a unity, and is, the word as I
found it, used at this day, as the equivalent for our term “Indian.”

Each tribe had, at some period of their progress, a distinctive
appellation, as Onondaga, Oneida, &c. of which some traditionary matter
will be stated, further on. When they came to confederate, and form
a general council, they took the name of KONOSHIONI, (or as
the French authors write it, _Acquinoshioni_), meaning literally,
People of the Long House, and figuratively a UNITED PEOPLE,
a term by which they still denominate themselves, when speaking in a
national sense. This distinction, it is well to bear in mind, and not
confound. This Long House, to employ their own figure, extended east
and west from the present site of Albany to the foot of the great
lakes, a distance, by modern admeasurement, of 325 miles, which is now
traversed by railroad. An air palace, we may grant them, having beams
and rafters, higher and longer than any pile of regal magnificence, yet
reared by human hands.

Thus much may be said, with certainty, of the name of this celebrated
family of red men, by which they are identified and distinguished
from other stocks of the hunter tribes of North America. Where they
originated, relatively to their position on this continent, the
progress of ethnology does not, at this incipient period of that
science, enable us to determine, nor is it proposed, save with the
merest brevity, now to inquire. Veiling their own origin, if anciently
known, in allegory, or designing by fancy to supply the utter want
of early history, to the intent, perhaps, that they might put forth
an undisputed title to the country they occupied, the relations
of their old sages affirm that they originated in the territorial
area of western New-York. Their tradition on this point, as put on
record by the pen of one of their own people, (see extracts from
Cusic’s historical and traditionary tract, hereto appended,) fixes
the locality of their actual origin at an eminence near the falls
of the Oswego river. To cut short the narration, they assert that
their ancestors were called forth, from the bowels of a mountain, by
TARENYAWAGON, the Holder of the Heavens. It represents them
as one people, who moved first towards the east, as far as the sea,
and then fell back, partly on their own tracks, towards the west and
southwest. So far, and so far only, the tale appears credible enough,
and as there is no chronology established by it, although dates are
freely introduced, and consequently nothing to contradict it, their
track of migration and countermigration from the Oswego, may be deemed
as probable.

The diversities of language, and the separation into tribes, are
represented to have taken place, according to known principles of
ethnological inference.

Ondiyaka, an Onondaga sage, and the ruling chief of the confederacy,
who died on an official visit to the Oneidas in 1839, at the age of
ninety, confirmed these general traditions of the Tuscarora scribe. He
informed Le Fort, who was with him in that journey and at his death,
that the Onondagas were created by NEO,[13] in the country
where they lived; that he made this island or continent, “Hawoneo,”
for the red race, and meant it for them alone. He did not allude to
or acknowledge any migration from other lands. This, Le Fort, himself
an Onondaga, a chief, and an educated man, told me during the several
interviews I had with him, the present year, at the Onondaga Castle.

[13] The term “Neo,” God, is generally used reverently, with a syllable
prefixed in the different Iroquois dialects, as Yawa-Neo, in the
Tuscarora, Howai-Neo in the Seneca, Hawai-Neo, Onondaga, Lawai-Neo,
Mohawk, &c.

Ondiyaka proceeded to say, as they walked over the ancient ruins in the
valley of the Kasonda,[14] that this was the spot where the Onondagas
formerly lived, before they fixed themselves in the Onondaga valley,
and before they had entered into confederation. In those days they
were at enmity with each other; they raised the old forts to defend
themselves. They wandered about a great deal. They frequently changed
their places of residence. They lived in perpetual fear. They kept
fighting, and moving their villages often. This reduced their numbers,
and rendered their condition one of alarms and trials. Sometimes they
abandoned a village, and all their gardens and clearings, because they
had encountered much sickness, and believed the place to be doomed.
They were always ready to hope for better luck in a new spot. At
length they confederated, and then their fortifications were no longer
necessary, and fell into decay. This, he believed, was the origin of
these old ruins, which were not of foreign construction.[15] Before the
confederacy, they had been not only at war among themselves, but had
been driven by other enemies.[16] After it, they carried their wars
out of their own country, and began to bring home prisoners. Their
plan was to select for adoption from the prisoners, and captives, and
fragments of tribes whom they conquered. These captives were equally
divided among each of the tribes, were adopted and incorporated with
them, and served to make good their losses. They used the term,
WE-HAIT-WAT-SHA, in relation to these captives. This term
means a body cut into parts and scattered around. In this manner, they
figuratively scattered their prisoners, and sunk and destroyed their
nationality, and built up their own.

[14] Butternut Creek, which runs through parts of the towns of Pompey,
Lafayette and De Witt, Onondaga county.

[15] This remark must be considered as applied only to the class of
simple ring forts, so frequent in western New-York. These forts are
proved by antiquarian remains, forest growth, &c. to be the most
ancient of any works, in Onondaga county, in the shape of forts.

[16] Colden represents them as driven by the Algonquins, on the
discovery of Canada.

At what period they confederated, we have no exact means of deciding.
It appears to have been comparatively recent, judging from traditionary
testimony.[17] While their advancement in the economy of living, in
arms, in diplomacy and in civil polity, would lead conjecture to
a more remote date. Their own legends, like those of some other
leading stocks of the continent, carry them back to a period of wars
with giants and demons and monsters of the sea, the land, and the
air, and are fraught with strange and grotesque fancies of wizards
and enchanters. But history, guiding the pen of the French Jesuit,
describes them first as pouring in their canoes through the myriad
streams that interlace in western New-York, and debouching, now on the
gulf of the St. Lawrence, now on the Chesapeake—glancing again over
the waves of Michigan, and now again plying their paddles in the waters
of the turbid Mississippi. Wherever they went, they carried proofs of
their energy, courage, and enterprise.

[17] Vide Pyrlaus.

At one period we hear the sound of their war cry, along the straits
of the St. Mary’s and at the foot of Lake Superior. At another under
the walls of Quebec, where they finally defeated the Hurons under the
eyes of the French. They put out the fires of the Gahkwas and Eries.
They eradicated the Susquehannocks. They placed the Lenapees, the
Nanticokes, and the Munsees under the yoke of subjection. They put the
Metoacks and the Manhattans under tribute. They spread the terror of
their arms over all New-England.

They traversed the whole length of the Appalachian chain, and descended
like the enraged Gish and Megalonyx, on the Cherokees and the Catawbas.
Smith encountered their warriors, in the settlement of Virginia, and
La Salle on the discovery of the Illinois. Nations trembled when they
heard the name of the KONOSHIONI.

They possessed a fine physical structure—they lived in a climate
which imparted energy to their motions. They used a sonorous and
commanding language, which had its dual number, and its neuter,
masculine, and feminine genders. They were excellent natural orators,
and expert diplomatists. They began early to cherish a national pride,
which grew with their conquests. They had, like the Algonquins,
in the organization of the several clans, or families, which
composed each tribe, a curious _heraldic_ tie, founded on original
relationship, which exercised a strong influence, but which has never
been satisfactorily explained. They were governed by hereditary
chieftaincies, like others of the aboriginal stocks, but contrary to
the usage of these other stocks, the claims of their chiefs, were
subjected to the decision of a national council. The aristocratic and
democratic principles, were thus both brought into requisition, in
candidates for office. But in all that constituted national action,
they were a pure Republic. So far was this carried, that it is believed
the veto of any one chief, to a public measure, was sufficient to
arrest its adoption by the Council.

In the development of their nationality, they have produced several men
of energy and ability, who were equal, in natural force of character,
to some of the most shining warriors and orators of antiquity. Few war
captains have exceeded Hendrick, Brant or Skenandoah. The eloquence and
force of Garangula, Logan and Red Jacket, in their public speeches,
have commanded universal admiration. Mr. Jefferson considered the
appeal of Logan to the white race, after the extirpation of his
family, as without a parallel; and it has been imitated in vain, by
distinguished poets and orators.

Such were the aboriginal people who occupied western New-York, and
their memory will forever live in the significant names which they have
bestowed upon Niagara and Ontario, and a thousand lesser waters, which
beautify and adorn the land. Viewed as one of the Indo-American stocks,
they possessed some very striking traits.

Few barbarous nations have ever existed on the globe, who have shown
more native energy, and distinctiveness of character. Still fewer who
have evinced so firm a devotion to the spirit of independence. Yet all
their native manliness and energy of character and action, would have
failed, or become inoperative, had they not abandoned the fatal Indian
principle of tribal supremacy, or independent chieftainships, and made
common cause in a national confederacy. The moment this was done, and
each of the component clans or tribes, had surrendered the power of
sovereignty to a general council of the whole, the foundation for their
rise was laid, and they soon became the most powerful political body
among the native tribes of North America, this side of the palace of

In visiting the descendants of such a people, after a lapse of more
than two centuries and a quarter from the discovery, it was the impulse
of the commonest interest, to make some inquiries into their former
history, and antiquities. These have been pursued under favorable
circumstances, for the most part, at all points of my journey, and
have been resumed, when broken off, whenever practical. The only method
pursued, was to obtain all the facts possible, from red or white men,
of reliable testimony. There was no time and no intention, to digest
them, into a connected history. They were collected in the pauses which
intervened, in the obtaining of the statistics of the census, and they
are contributed herewith, in the simple garb and freshness of the
original minutes. Those who related the traditions, did not suppose
themselves to be delivering the important lore of their history.
They were related, along the road, or seated around the evening
circle, as the current belief of the people. Sometimes the fields or
hills, disclosing the localities of old forts, were the scene of the
narrations; sometimes the Indian burial ground; sometimes more formal
interviews. He who gleans popular traditions among this race, must have
his ear ever open, his memory under notice “to retain,” and his pen or
pencil ever ready.

Historical and biographical notices, names of places, and sketches
of antiquarian remains, were thus entered on or dropped, as time or
occasion prompted. To make minutes of what occurred, was all that time
permitted me; but it was a rule, to make them promptly and on the spot.
This much seemed necessary in despatching this portion of my report,
with the miscellaneous details accompanying it; and having accomplished
this object, my present task is terminated.

[_b._] Ethnological Suggestions.

Where we have nothing else to rely upon, we may receive the rudest
traditions of an Indian nation, although they be regarded as mere
historical phenomena, or materials to be considered. Whether such
materials are to be credited or disbelieved wholly, or in part, is
quite another thing. Our Indians, like some of the ancient nations of
Asia, whom they resemble in many points of character, were prone to
refer their origin to myths and legends, under which they doubtless,
sometimes meant to represent truths, or at least, to express opinions.
The Indian tribes, very much like their ancient prototypes of the
old world, seemed to have felt a necessity for inventing some story
of their origin, where it is sometimes probable there was little or
nothing of actual tradition to build it upon. They were manifestly
under a kind of self-reproach, to reflect that they had indeed no
history; nothing to connect their descent from prior races; and if they
have not proved themselves men of much judgment in their attempts to
supply the deficiency in their fabrications and allegories, they must
often come in, it must be confessed, for no little share of imagination.

There appears, throughout the whole race, to be the vestiges of a
tradition of the creation and the deluge, two great and striking points
in the history of man, which, however he wandered, he would be most
likely to remember. They uniformly attribute their origin to a superior
and divine power. They do not suppose that they came into existence
without the act of this pre-existing almighty power, who is called
NEO, or OWANEO. This is the third great and leading point in their
traditions. And these three primary vestiges of the original history of
the race are to be found among the rudest tribes, between the straits
of Terra del Fuego and the Arctic Ocean, notwithstanding the amount
of grotesque and puerile matter which serves as the vehicle of the

Between the creation and the deluge and the present era of the world,
there is nearly an entire blank. Ages have dropped out of their memory,
with all their stirring incidents of wars and migrations, and the first
reliable truth we hear is, that at such a time they lived on the banks
of the Mississippi, the Ohio, the Lakes, or the St. Lawrence, &c.
Nothing but this kind of _proximate_ origin could indeed be expected
to be retained. They acknowledge relationship to no prior race of man.
We see that they are sui generis with, and much resemble some of the
eastern nations in color and features. Physiologists have never been
able to detect a bone or muscle, more or less, than the Caucasian race
possess. Philologists listen to their speech and admit that in one
tribe or another they possess all the powers of articulate utterance
known to that race. We know by this kind of evidence, physical and
moral, that they are a branch of the original Adamic stock, without
reference to the pages of revelation, where we learn the same truth,
and are told in so many words, that “God out of one flesh, formed all
men.” And we must perforce infer, that the Indian race is of foreign
origin, and must have crossed an ocean to reach the continent.

Ask not the red sage to tell you how? or when? or where? He knows it
not, and if he should pretend to the knowledge, it would be the surest
possible evidence, philosophically considered, that his responses
were fabulous. Three hundred and fifty-three years only has America
been known to Europe, and yet should we strike our history out of
existence, what should we know of the leading facts of the discovery
and the discoverer from Indian tradition? Still the inquisitive spirit
of research leads us to ask, where were this race eighteen hundred and
forty-five years ago? or at the invasion of Britain by Julius Cæsar?
or at the outpouring of the Gothic hordes under Alaric or Brennus?
Scandinavian research tells us they were here in the 10th century.
The Mexican picture writings inform us that some of them reached the
valley of Mexico in the 11th century. Welsh history claims to have
sent one of her princes among them in the 12th century. The mounds
of the Mississippi valley do not appear to have had an origin much
earlier. The whole range of even historical conjecture is absolutely
limited within eight or nine hundred years. Nothing older, of their
presence here certainly, is known, than about the time of the crowning
of Charlemagne, A. D. 800, unless we take the Grecian tradition of

That we have nothing in the way of tradition older than the dates
referred to, is no positive proof that the tribes were not upon the
continent long prior. There are some considerations, in the very
nature of the case, which argue a remote continental antiquity for
these tribes. It is hardly to be supposed that large numbers of the
primitive adventurers landed at any one time or place; nor is it more
probable that the epochs of these early adventurers were very numerous.
The absolute conformity of physical features renders this improbable.
The early migrations must have been necessarily confined to portions
of the old world peopled by the RED RACE—by a race, not only of red
skins, black hair and eyes, and high cheek bones, who would reproduce
these fixed characteristics, _ad infinitum_, but whose whole mental as
well as physiological development assimilates it, as a distinct unity
of the species. While physiology, however, asserts this unity, in the
course of the dispersion and multiplication of tribes, their languages,
granting all that can be asked for on the score of original diversity,
became divided into an infinite number of dialects and tongues. Between
these dialects, however, where they are even the most diverse, there
is a singular coincidence in many of the leading principles of concord
and regimen, and polysynthetic arrangement. Such diversities in sound,
amounting, as they do in many cases, for instance, in the stocks of
the Algonquin and Iroquois, to an almost total difference, must have
required many ages for their production. And this fact alone affords a
proof of the continental antiquity of the American race.

[_c._] Indian Cosmogony.


Iroquois tradition opens with the notion that there were originally
two worlds, or regions of space, namely, an upper and lower world.
The upper was inhabited by beings similar to the human race; the
lower by monsters, moving in the waters. When the human species were
transferred below, and the lower sphere was about to be rendered fit
for their residence, the act of their transference or reproduction is
concentrated in the idea of a female, who began to descend into the
lower world, which is depicted as a region of darkness, waters and
monsters. She was received on the back of a tortoise, where she gave
birth to male twins, and expired. The shell of this tortoise expanded
into the continent, which, in their phraseology, is called an “island;”
and is named by the Onondagas, AONAO. One of the infants was called
INIGORIO, or the Good Mind; the other, INIGOHATEA,
or the Bad Mind. These two antagonistical principles, which are such
perfect counterparts of the Ormuzd and Ahriman of the Zoroaster, were
at perpetual variance, it being the law of one to counteract whatever
the other did. They were not, however, men, but gods, or existences,
through whom the “Great Spirit,” or “Holder of the Heavens,” carried
out his purposes. The first labor of Inigorio was to create the sun
out of the head of his dead mother, and the moon and the stars out of
other parts of the body. The light these gave, drove the monsters into
deep water, to hide themselves. He then prepared the surface of the
continent, and fitted it for human habitation, by diversifying it with
creeks, rivers, lakes and plains, and by filling these with the various
species of the animal and vegetable kingdoms. He then formed a man and
woman out of earth, gave them life, and called them “Ea-gwe-ho-we,” or,
as it is more generally known to Indian archæologists, Ong-we-Hon-we;
that is to say, a real people. [D.]

Meanwhile the Bad Mind created mountains, waterfalls, and steeps and
morasses, reptiles, serpents, apes, and other objects supposed to
be injurious to, or in mockery of mankind. He made attempts also to
conceal the land animals in the ground, so as to deprive man of the
means of subsistence. This continued opposition to the wishes of the
Good Mind, who was perpetually busied in restoring the effects of
the displacements and wicked devices of the other, at length led to
a personal combat, of which the time and instruments of battle were
agreed on. They fought for two days, the one using deer’s horns, and
the other flag roots, as arms.[18] Inigorio, who had chosen horns,
finally prevailed; his antagonist sunk down to a region of darkness,
and became the Evil Spirit, or Kluneolux,[19] of the world of despair.
Inigorio, having obtained this triumph, retired from the earth.

[18] By reference to the Algonquin story of the combat between
Manabozho and his father, the West Wind, as given in Algic Researches,
vol. 1, p. 134, it will be seen that the weapons chosen by the parties
were the same as those employed by Inigorio and Inigohatea, namely,
deer’s horns and flag roots.

[19] Oneida.

This piece of ingenuity, or philosophy of the Indian mind, much of
which is pure allegory, under which truths are hid, stands in the
remote vista of Iroquois tradition, and it seemed necessary to notice
it, in preparing to take up their more sober traditions. It is picked
out of a mass of incongruous details, published by a native, [see
App. D.] which only serve, peradventure, to denote its genuineness,
for divested of absurdity, in the original, we should not ascribe
much antiquity to it, or be prone to attribute it to an ignorant,
superstitious, pagan people, living in all their earlier times without
arts, letters or civilization. Futile as it is, it will be found
veritable philosophy, compared with most of the earlier theories of
the renowned nations of antiquity. Take, as an instance, the account
Sanconeathus gives of the theology of the Phœnicians.[20]

[20] Gowan’s Ancient Fragments, 1 vol. 8vo., N. Y., 1835.

[_d._] Gleams of their General Ancient History.

    ITEMS: Indians claim to be the offspring of an
    independent act of creation. The Iroquois name themselves in
    proud allusion to their supposed supremacy. Tribes on the St.
    Lawrence and the lakes live in disputes. War with a race of
    giants called Ronongweca: the fiend Shotrowea,—contests with
    the great Kwiss Kwiss, or Mastodon,—the Big Elk,—and the
    Horned Serpent. A meteor falls in the camp. Northern tribes
    confederate; send an unfortunate embassage to a great chief
    south,—war with him,—war with each other, and the country
    thereby depopulated and left to its original desolation.

When we come to draw the minds of the sages and chroniclers of the
Iroquois cantons, to the facts of their early history and origin, they
treat us with legendary fables, and myths of gods and men, and changes
and freaks in elementary matter, which indicate that such ideas, were
common to their progenitors, whatever part of the world they occupied.
We have adverted to their notions on this head, in the preceding
remarks on their cosmogony, tinctured, as it strongly is, with the old
Persian philosophy.

They deny, as do all the tribes, a foreign origin. They assert, that
America, or AONAO, was the place of their origin. They begin by laying
down the theory, that they were the peculiar care of the Supernal Power
who created all things, and who, as a proof of his care and benevolence
of a race whom he had marked by a distinct color, created the continent
for their especial use, and placed them upon it. None of the tribes
pretend to establish dates, nor have they any astronomical data, to
fix them. But they all give to the story of their origin, or creation,
a locality, which is generally fixed to some prominent geographical
feature near to their present respective place of abode, or at least, a
spot well known. This spot, among the Iroquois cantons, is located in
the northern hemisphere.

The term, Ongwe Honwe, is used by these tribes, very much in the
manner in which the ancient Teutons called themselves, Allamanna, or
Ghermanna, from which we have the modern terms, Allemand and German. If
they did not literally call themselves “all-men,” as did these proud
tribes, they implied as much, in a term which is interpreted to mean,
real men, or a people surpassing all others. It is the common term for
the red race, as contradistinguished from all other races, and the true
equivalent of the phrase, “Indian.”

By their earliest traditions, we are told that a body of the Ongwe
Honwe, encamped on the banks of the St. Lawrence, where they were
invaded by a nation few in number, but of giant stature, called
Ronongweca.[21] After a war, brought on by personal encounters
and incidents, and carried on with perfidy and cruelty, they were
delivered at length, by the skill and courage of Yatontea,[21] who,
after retreating before them, raised a large body of men and defeated
them, after which they were supposed to be extinct. They next suffered
from the malice, perfidy, and lust of an extraordinary person called
Shotrowea,[21] who was finally driven across the St. Lawrence, and came
to a town south of the shores of lake Ontario, where, however, he only
disguised his intentions, to repeat his cruel and perfidious deeds.
This person, who assassinated many persons, and violated six virgins,
they point to as a fiend in human shape.

[21] I abbreviate these words from the originals, for the sole purpose
of making them readable to the ordinary reader.

At this time the Big Quisquis[22] invaded the country, who pushed
down the houses of the people, and created great consternation and
disturbance. After making ineffectual resistance, they fled, but were
at length relieved by a brave chief, who raised a body of men to battle
him, but the animal himself retired. In this age of monsters, their
country was invaded by another monster called the “Big Elk,” who was
furious against men,[23] and destroyed the lives of many persons, but
he was at length killed after a severe contest.

[22] Kwis Kwis is the name of a hog in modern Iroquois.

[23] Carnivorous—but this is not a characteristic of the Elk.

A great horned serpent next appeared on Lake Ontario, who, by means of
his poisonous breath, produced diseases, and caused the death of many,
but he was at last compelled to retire by thunderbolts. This fourth
calamity was not forgotten, when a fifth happened. A blazing star fell
into a fort situated on the banks of the St. Lawrence, and destroyed
the people. Such a phenomenon caused great panic and dread, and they
regarded it as ominous of their entire destruction. Prior to this, a
confederation had taken place among these northern tribes, situated
north of and along the banks of the great lakes, and they had a ruling
chief over all. This ruler repaired to the south to visit a ruler of
great fame and authority, who resided at a great town in A LODGE
OF GOLD. But it only proved to be an embassy of folly, for this
great ruler, exercising an imperial sway, availing himself of the
information thus derived, of a great country full of resources, built
many forts throughout the country, and almost penetrated to the banks
of Lake Erie. The people who had confederated on the North resisted. A
long war of a hundred years standing ensued, but the northern people
were better skilled in the use of the bow and arrow, and were more
expert woodsmen and warriors. They at length prevailed, and taking all
these towns and forts, left them a heap of ruins.

But the prediction of the blazing star was now verified. The tribes
who were held together by feeble bands, fell into disputes, and wars
among themselves, which were pursued through a long period, until they
utterly destroyed each other, and so reduced their numbers, that the
land was again overrun by wild beasts. [D.]


The first period of Indian history having thus terminated in discords,
wars, and the mutual destruction of each other, tradition does not
denote how long the depopulation of the country continued. It begins
a second period by recollections of the Konoshioni, or Iroquois.
They do not indicate what relation they bear to the ancient, broken
down confederacy glanced at, in the preceding paper; but leave us to
suppose that they may have been fragmentary descendants of it. That
such a conclusion should not be formed, however, and in order to prove
themselves an original people in the land, they frame a new myth, to
begin their national existence. They boldly assert, that they were,
through some means, confined in a mountain, from whose subterraneous
bowels they were extricated by Taryenyawagon, the Holder of the
Heavens. They point to a place at or near the falls of the Oswego
river, where this deliverance happened, and they look to this divine
messenger, who could assume various shapes, as the friend and patron of
their nation.[24]

[24] Where the Indians dwelt for a long time, it is customary for them
to affirm in their metaphorical language, that they originated, or
were created. When they date from such a spot, we find they frame a
story, saying that they came out of a hill, &c. at that spot. In 1791,
an extensive work, consisting of ditches, &c. was found about 40 miles
south of Oswego, which is not remote from the probable place of origin
their traditions refer to; and it may be worthy of examination with
this particular view. Some account of this old fort appeared in the N.
Y. Mag. 1792.

As soon as they were released, he gave them instructions respecting the
mode of hunting, matrimony, worship, and other points. He warned them
against the Evil Spirit, and gave them corn, beans, squashes, potatoes
and tobacco, and dogs to hunt their game. He bid them go towards the
east, and personally guided them, until they entered a valley called
Tenonanatchi, or the Mohawk. They followed this stream to its entrance
into the Sanatatea, or, as called by the Mohawks, Kohatatea, which they
pursued to the sea.

From this point they retraced their steps towards the west, originating
as they went, in their order and position, the Mohawks, the Oneidas,
the Onondagas, the Cayugas, and the Senecas. They do not omit the
Tuscaroras, whom they acknowledged, after a long period of wandering
and a considerable change of language, and admitted as the Sixth tribe
of the confederacy.

The Tuscaroras affirm, that, after reaching the lake waters, they
turned southwest, to the Mississippi river, where a part of them
crossed on a grape vine, but it broke, leaving the remainder east.
Those who went west, have been lost and forgotten from their memory.
The remainder, or eastern Tuscaroras, continued their wanderings,
hunting, and wars, until they had crossed the Alleghanies and reached
the sea again, at the mouth of the Cautoh, or Neuse river, in North

Each tribe was independent of the others. They increased in numbers,
valor and skill, and in all sorts of knowledge necessary in the forest.
But they began to fight and quarrel among themselves, and thus wasted
and destroyed each other. They lived a life of perpetual fear and built
forts to defend themselves, or to protect their women and children.
Besides this, the country was wide and covered with large forests and
lakes, and it gave shelter to many fierce wild animals and monsters,
who beset their paths and kept them in dread. The evil spirit also
plagued them with monstrous visitations. They were often induced to
change their villages, sometimes from the fear of such enemies, and
sometimes from sickness or bad luck. In this manner, and owing to their
perpetual hostility, their population was often reduced. How long they
wandered and warred, they do not know. At length it was proposed by
some wise man that they should no longer fight against each other,
but unite their strength against their enemies, the Alleghans, the
Adirondacks, the Eries, and other ancient and once powerful tribes, who
figure in the foreground of their early history, and who, if accounts
be true, once greatly excelled them both in war and arts, the skill of
making implements, canoes and utensils, &c.

To this league, which was formed on the banks of Onondaga lake, they in
time, gave the name of the Long House, using the term symbolically, to
denote that they were tied and braced together by blood and lineage,
as well as political bonds. This house, agreeably to the allusion so
often made by their speakers, during our colonial history, reached from
the banks of the Hudson to the Lakes. At its eastern door stood the
Mohawks, at the west the Senecas, who guarded it with vigilance.

[_a._] The Mohawks.

The Mohawks are supposed to be the eldest brother, in the symbolical
chain of the Six Nations. Their own tradition assigns them this rank,
and it appears to be consonant to other traditions.

When Tarenyawagon, their liberator from their subterranean confinement,
bid them travel east, he gave them his personal conduct and care until
they had entered the Mohawk valley. Some of their western brethren
call this stream Tenonanatche, or a river flowing through a mountain.
In due time, they went on into the valley of the Hudson, and thence,
if we credit their annals, to the sea. The seat of their power and
growth was, however, in the genial valley where they had at first
located. Here they lived when the country was discovered, and here
they continued to live and flourish until the events of the American
revolution, and the determined cruelty which they exercised, under the
authority and influence of the British crown, drove them out of it, and
lost them the inheritance.

It does not appear, from any thing history or tradition tells us, or
from any monumental remains in the valley or its immediate vicinity,
that it had before been occupied by other nations. They do not speak
of having driven out or conquered any other tribe. There are no old
forts or earthen walls, or other traces of military or defensive
occupancy, of which we have heard. Their ramparts were rather their
own brawny arms, stout bodies and brave hearts. From the earliest
notices of them, they were renowned for wielding the war club and
arrow with great dexterity. They raised corn on the rich intervales,
and pursued the deer, bear and elk in the subjacent forests. Their
dominion extended from the head waters of the Susquehanna and Delaware
to Lake Champlain. They had pursued their forays into the territorial
area of New-England, as far, at least, as the central portions of the
Connecticut, and had made their power felt, as temporary invaders,
among the small independent tribes who lived about the region of the
present city and harbor of New-York. Wherever they went, they carried
terror. Their very name, as we learn from Colden, was a synonyme for
cruelty and dread.[25] No tribe, perhaps, on the continent, produced
better warriors, or have ever more fully realized, as a nation, the
highest measure of heroism and military glory to which hunter nations
can reach.

[25] The word Mohawk itself, is not a term of Mohawk origin, but one
imposed upon them, as is believed, by the Mohegan race, who inhabited
the borders of the sea. Among this race the Dutch and English landed,
and they would naturally adopt the term most in vogue for so celebrated
a tribe. The Dutch, indeed, modified it to Maaquas—a modification
which helps us to decypher its probable origin, in Mauqua (by kindred
tribes, Mukwa, &c.) a bear. By others, it may be traced to mok, wa, a
wolf, and awki, a country.

In passing over the country which they once occupied, there is little
to stimulate historical interest, beyond the general idea of their
power and military renown. Their history is connected with the rise and
influence of one of our most distinguished anti-revolutionary citizens,
Sir William Johnson. The influence he obtained over them was never
exceeded, if equalled by that of any other man of European lineage.
He moulded them to his purposes in peace and war. They followed him
in his most perilous expeditions, and sustained him manfully, as we
know, in the two great contests to whose successful issue he owed his
laurels, namely, Lake George and Niagara. So completely identified
were they in feeling and policy with this politic and brave man, that
after his death, which happened at the crisis of ’76, they transferred
their attachment to his family, and staking their all on the issue,
abandoned their beloved valley and the bones of their fathers, and fled
to the less hospitable latitudes of Canada, from which they have never
permanently returned.

Some twenty or more persons of this tribe are mingled as residents of
the villages of their brethren, the Senecas, Tuscaroras, and Oneidas.
A much greater number exist with intermixture of other kindred tribes,
in the St. Regis canton of St. Lawrence county; but the greater number
of the parent tribe reside on lands appropriated for their use by the
British government, at Brantford, on the Grand river of Canada West. To
this place at the close of the war, they followed their distinguished
leader, Thayendanegea, the Jephtha of his tribe, who, against the
custom of birth and descent, and every other obstacle, after the
failure of the line of wise and brave chiefs to lead them to battle,
was made their Tekarahogea and leader, and displayed a degree of energy
and firmness of purpose, which few of the aboriginal race in America
have ever equalled.

What light the examination of the old places of burial of this tribe in
the valley would throw on their ancient history or arts, by entombed
articles, cannot be told without examinations which have not been
made. Probably the old places of Indian interment about Canajoharie,
Dionderoga, and Schenectady, would reveal something on this head,
conforming at least, in age and style of art, with the stone pipes,
tomahawks and amulets of the Onondaga and Genesee countries. The valley
of the Schoharie and that of the Tawasentha, or Norman’s kill, near
Albany, might also be expected to reward this species of research.
[Vide B.] A human head, rudely carved in stone, apparently aboriginal,
was sent to the New-York Historical Society early in 1845, which was
represented to have been found in excavating a bank at Schenectady. If
this piece of sculpture, which denoted more labor than art, be regarded
as of Mohawk origin, it would evince no higher degree of art, in this
respect, than was evinced by similar outlines cut in the rock, but not
detached, by some of the New-England tribes.[26]

[26] Rude carvings of this kind are represented to exist on the banks
of the Connecticut, at Bellows’ Falls, &c.

[_b._] Origin and History of the Oneidas.

This canton of the Iroquois nation, deduces its origin in a remote age,
from the Onondagas, with the language of which, the Oneida has the
closest affinity. According to a tradition which was related to me, and
which is believed to be entitled to respect, they are descended from
two persons, who, in their obscure ages, and before a confederation
had been thought of, went out from the people at Onondaga, and first
dwelt at the head of the Oneida river. After increasing in numbers,
they removed to the outlet of the Oneida creek, which flows into Oneida
lake. Here they fortified themselves, and farther increased in numbers
and power. Remains of this fortification are said still to exist.
Their next removal was up the Oneida creek valley, to the storied
locality of the Oneida stone, from which, by a figure of speech, they
represent themselves to have sprung. This stone is in the town of
Stockbridge, Madison county. It lies on a very commanding eminence,
from which the entire valley, as far as the Oneida lake, can be seen
in a clear atmosphere. The day of my visit being hazy at a distance,
the lake could not be seen, although the view down the valley, was
both magnificent and picturesque. This eminence was formerly covered
with a butternut grove. Old, and partly decayed trees of this species,
still remain in a few places. The ancient town extended in a transverse
valley, south of this ridge of land, covered as it was, with nut wood
trees, and was completely sheltered by it, from the north winds. A
copious and clear spring of water issued at the spot selected for their
wigwams. Here in seclusion from their enemies, the tribe expanded
and grew in numbers. When it was necessary to light their pipes, and
assemble to discuss their national affairs, they had only to ascend the
hill, through its richly wooded grove, to its extreme summit, at the
site of the Oneida stone. This stone, represented on the succeeding
page, became the national altar.


Standing at its side, at a probable elevation of 400 or 500 feet
above the Stanwix summit, they could survey the whole valley of the
Oneida; and a beacon fire lighted here, was the signal for assembling
their warriors, from all the surrounding lateral plains and vallies.
Time and usage rendered the object sacred, and as they expanded into
nationality and power, while located around it, their sages asserted
with metaphorical truth, that they sprang from this rock. Stone in this
language is Onia. They called themselves, Oniota-aug, people of, or who
sprung from the stone. There is some variety in the pronunciation. The
Mohawks call them Onéota. The French wrote it Aneyoute, the English and
Dutch, Oneida, which latter has prevailed. Neither retained the plural
inflection in _aug_, which carries the idea of people.

With a knowledge of these traditions, I approached the spot with deep
interest. It occupies the extreme summit, as shown in the print. The
first feeling, on approaching it, was one of disappointment at its
size, but this feeling soon subsided in the interest of its antiquity
and national associations. It is a large, but not enormous boulder
of syenite,[27] of the erratic block groupe, and, consequently,
geologically foreign to the location. There are no rocks of this
species in situ, I believe, nearer to it, in a northerly or easterly
direction, than the Kayaderosseras or the Adirondack mountains.[28] The
summit upon which, partly embedded, it reposes, is now a cleared field,
in grass. A few primitive and secondary boulders, all of lesser size,
are strown about the ridge, and several of weight and magnitude rest
upon its flanks, and in the vallies at its base. One of the largest of
these is the White Stone at the spring, which has been spoken of, I
think, in some early notices of the Oneidas, as the true Oneida Stone;
but this opinion is erroneous, by the concurrent testimony of red and
white men, cognizant of the facts, whom I consulted. This white stone,
figured below, has been removed, by the proprietor of the land,[29]
from its ancient position near the spring, to constitute part of a
stone fence; it is a carbonate of lime.

[27] A specimen of the rock before me, brought thence, consists of
flesh colored feldspar, quartz and hornblende.

[28] If the passage of the Mohawk through the Astorenga or Astogan
hills, at Little Falls, discloses syenite, I am not aware of the fact.

[29] Mr. Job Francis.



       *       *       *       *       *

TSHEJOANA, one of the Oneidas, who served as my guide in
visiting this interesting location, took me to see still another stone,
of note, lying a mile or more distant, in a southerly direction, on a
farm of Gen. Knox. This stone, of which a figure is annexed, I found
to be a large boulder of dark, compact limestone, with organic remains.

It was observable that the encrinites contained in this mass, were red.
My Indian guide would have this color to be the result of the ancient
Indian war paint. But the most striking characteristic of this rock,
aside from its massy and flattened size and channelled centre, consists
in the evidences it affords of the action of water, in rounding and
polishing it. In several places, my guide would have this wearing
effect to have been produced by the rubbing and sharpening of the
Indian war axes; for he averred that it was customary for war parties
who went out south against the Cherokees, to come and sharpen their
axes upon this stone, and paint themselves for war. Whatever there
was in this custom, I think he was probably mistaken in his locality;
yet it is a question in which others may differ. At any rate, geology
had been quite beforehand with the Oneida legendary and philosopher,
in producing and accounting for these two phenomena, namely, the
red color and smoothed and channelled surfaces. Geology having been
mentioned, I may add the following incident. I told Skanawadi, one
of my guides, while standing at the Oneida stone, lying on its proud
ancient elevation, that there was no stone like this, in place, till we
went north to the Adirondacks or Tehawas, or great lakes, and that this
block of syenite had been brought here by the ocean, when it covered
the whole land, and left on its recession. He replied, after a moment’s
reflection, that “he believed this.”

At the time the Oneidas came to fix their location at this stone, the
Konoshioni or Iroquois had not confederated. This people, in the early
eras of their history, like the Algonquins, sent out individuals and
bands, who became powerful, and assumed the character of separate and
independent tribes, making war and peace ad libitum. If this mode of
multiplication be compared to the lower orders of creation, it had some
striking analogies with it. Like the bear and the hawk, the moment the
young member was ready to quit the parent lair or nest, it had not
only to forage for subsistence, but to defend itself against other
bears and hawks, and all other claimants to the food of the forest.
To make war is, in fact, the first and the last act of sovereignty of
the pettiest of all our aboriginal tribes. War is with them the road,
and the only road to fame, and the readiest way to secure a supply of
spontaneous food. They fight to increase or defend the boundaries of
their hunting grounds. Thus, doubtless, arose the first difficulties
between the Oneidas and the other branches of the Iroquois. As soon as
they were important enough to be noticed, and bold enough to defend
themselves, they had to raise barriers around their villages, and when
these were carried, as they probably were, or were threatened to be,
at two points, on the Oneida waters, they fled to the hill country, at
the site of the Oneida stone. How long they abode here, and made it the
seat of their council fire, we can only conjecture. They cannot and
do not pretend to tell. Wisdom, at length, taught the Iroquois sages,
that they had enemies enough, without fighting with each other, and the
idea of a confederation was suggested. Tradition has preserved the name
of Thaunowaga as the original suggester: but it has preserved nothing
more of his biography. The delegate from the Oneidas was Otatschechta.
That he came from, and lived at, the locality of the stone, and was
renowned for his deeds and wisdom, is probable. This comprises the
brief biography of two celebrated aboriginal sages and statesmen. Three
periods of transference, of their council fire, have been named, all
of which were probably prior to the confederation. Their fourth remove
was down the valley to the present site of Oneida Castle—a place which
then, as now, they called KUNAWALOA, meaning a man’s head on a pole.
At this place they lived and held their council fire, when the Dutch,
in 1609, discovered and ascended the Kohatatea, or, Hudson river.
Such are the accounts of their sachems and wise men. It is a general
confirmation of them, that the other members call them Younger Brother.

By another and older Indian tradition, an earlier date is assigned
to the Oneida canton, which is regarded as one of the original
subdivisions of the generic stock. It represents this stock as moving
from the west to the east, and at another period, returning towards the
point of sun-setting, leaving the several separate tribes, or cantons,
in their order as they passed. In this migration, the Oneidas are named
as the second in geographical position and order of chronology.

They located themselves, says the Tuscarora annalist,[30] at a
stream called Kaw nah taw te ruh, or Pineries, a tributary, of the
Susquehanna, which originates according to this authority, in Allen’s
lake, ten miles south of Oneida Castle. They were called Ne haw
retahgo,[31] or Big-Tree, a name, it may be remarked, which does not
occur as the patronymic for this tribe in other authors, nor has it
been retained by them. The distance and course denoted, coincide very
nearly with that of the Oneida stone. It is not known, however, that
any tributary of the Susquehanna exists in that vicinity.

[30] Cusick.

[31] In Tuscarora.

The two traditions may indeed be reconciled to truth, by supposing the
latter the more ancient one, and that the Onondaga families before
mentioned, constituted a subsequent accession to, and union with a
band who had seated themselves at a prior era, at the spot denoted;
or this band may have remained there, on the general passage of the
people eastward, and thus been the nucleus of the tribe, on the general
return of the people west. In any view, however, they were called and
are still called by the Iroquois, “Younger Brother,” which must be
considered conclusive, that their nationality is of a period subsequent
to that of the Mohawks, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. This fact
too, is adverse to the theory, which has too much the aspect of a
mere theory, that the re-migration of the Iroquois westward from the
Atlantic, proceeded like a marching army, leaving tribes here and there
as they went, in a regular chronological order, each of which took a
name, and “altered,” as his phrase is, the language. The writer seems
all along, to have had the Jewish Tribes in his mind. The truth is,
ethnologically speaking, no tribe or nation, alters by an authoritative
decision, or pre-thought, its language or idioms. Such alterations
flow from time and circumstances. Least of all, do wandering savage
tribes gravely determine to “alter” their dialects. Accident, usage, or
caprice, little by little, and at long intervals, is the parent of new
dialects and languages.

A few deductions may be added. By data before introduced, it will have
been seen that it is probable the present confederation, whatever had
preceded it, did not take place till about 1539, or seventy years
before the arrival of Hudson. It may be considered as probable, that
the Oneidas did not remove from the Oneida stone, into the valley
and plains of Oneida Castle, until after the event of the final
confederation between the Five Tribes, gave them security against
internal enemies. The date of this transfer of the council fire, is
rather remote, but not very ancient. A new forest has grown upon the
old cornfields which were once cultivated at their ancient settlement
at the Oneida stone. The appearance of corn hills in rows, is still
clearly perceptible in some parts of this forest. To an inquiry how
such a preservation of the outlines of corn hills could be possible,
my informant, who was an Oneida, answered, that in ancient times,
the corn hills were made so large, that three clusters of stalks or
sub-hills were raised on each circle or hill. There being no ploughs
or other general means of turning up the earth, the same hill was used
year after year, and thus its outlines became large and well defined.
In a black walnut tree, standing on the site of one of these ancient
corn-fields, which was partly cut, and partly broken off, I counted on
the cut part, one hundred cortical layers, and measuring the broken
part, estimated it to have 140 more. Allowing a year for each ring, the
commencement of the growth was in 1555, or 16 years after the supposed
date of the confederacy, and 290 years from the present date.

The remaining history of the Oneidas can only be glanced at, but has
some points of peculiar interest. They are the only tribe of the
ancient Konoshioni who adhered to us, at least the better part of
them, in our life and death struggle of the revolutionary war, saving
some portion of the Tuscaroras; whose aid, however, is justly due
to the Oneida influence. It was by the Oneidas that the Tuscaroras
were brought off from the south. The Oneidas had long distinguished
themselves in their war excursions against the southern Indians. Their
traditions are replete with accounts of these war parties against
the Oyada, or Cherokees. They had found allies at the south in the
Tuscaroras, who were themselves engaged in desperate wars, at various
periods, against the Catabas, and Cherokees, and others. Besides this,
Iroquois tradition claims the Tuscaroras as one of their original
cantons, or rather as a band of the original Eagwe Heowe, who had,
in early times gone south.[32] And when a crisis happened in their
affairs, they nobly went to their relief, and seated them on their
western confines, between themselves and the Onondagas, where they
remained during the revolution. The Oneidas bore their full share in
the long and bloody wars waged by Iroquois for more than two centuries,
against the French in the Canadas, and against the distant Algonquins,
Hurons and Illinese. And he who scans the ancient records of treaties
and councils, will find that their sachems were represented in the
conferences assembled on this continent, by the kings and potentates of
Europe, who planted colonies at various times, between the respective
Gulphs of Mexico and the St. Lawrence. After the flight of the Mohawks,
in 1776, they were in the van of the Konoshioni, and to use their
symbolic phraseology, stood in the eastern door of the Long House. When
the mixed Saxon population of New-York and New-England began, after the
war of 1776, to move westward, the Oneidas first felt the pressure upon
their territory. By siding with the colonists, they had secured their
entire ancient domain, from which they ceded to the State, from time
to time, such portions as they did not want for cultivation, taking in
lieu money annuities. Nor did they fail to profit, in a measure, by
the example of industry set before them in agriculture and the arts.
For a while, it is true, they reeled before the march of intemperance,
and sunk in numbers, but many of them learned the art of holding the
plough. From the earliest times they were noted, along with their
more western brethren, for the cultivation of Indian corn, and the
planting of orchards. They also became tolerable herdsmen, and raised
in considerable numbers, neat cattle, horses and hogs.

[32] Vide Cusick’s pamphlet.

To preserve their nationality, their sachems, about the year 1820, sent
delegates west to look out a location for their permanent residence.
They purchased a suitable territory from the Monomonees of Wisconsin,
a wandering and non-industrious race, seated about Green Bay, and
expended a part of their annuities in the payment. This turned out
a wise measure. They soon began to remove, and have at this time a
very flourishing settlement on Duck river, in that territory. At that
location they have established schools, temperance societies and a
church. They bear a good reputation for morals and industry, and are
advancing in civilization and the arts.

By an official return of the date of 1844, they numbered 722 persons
at that settlement. Two hundred and ten are still seated within the
boundaries of New-York, mostly in Oneida county. They are a mild
people, of a good stature, and easy manners, and speak a soft dialect
of the Iroquois, abounding in the liquid _l_, which, together with a
mild enunciation, imparts a pleasing character to their speech.

[_c._] Onondagas.

Onondaga was, from the remotest times, the seat of the Iroquois
government. Granting credence to the account of their own origin, on
the high grounds or falls of the Oswego, they had not proceeded far up
the course of the widely gathered waters of this stream, when a portion
of them planted their wigwams in this fertile region. Whatever was the
cause of their migrating from their primary council fire, nothing was
more natural than that, by pursuing this stream upward, they should
separate into independent tribes, and by further tracing out its far
spread forks, gradually expand themselves, as they were found by
the discoverers and first settlers, over the entire area of western
New-York. On reaching the grand junction of Three River Point, a part
went up the Seneca river, who subsequently dividing, formed the Senecas
and Cayugas. The bands who took the eastern fork, or Oneida river,
pushed forward over the Deowainsta, or Rome summit, into the first
large stream, flowing east, and became the Mohawks. The central or
Onondaga fork was chosen by the portion who, from the hill country they
first located in, took this name; and from them, the Oneidas, pursuing
in fact the track of the Mohawks, were an off-shoot. That such was
the general route, and causes of their separation, appears as evident
as strong probabilities, in coincidence with their own traditions and
modern discovery, can make it. That the whole of the original number
who started from the south banks of Lake Ontario, did not keep together
till they reached the valley of the Hudson and the sea, and then go
back to the west,—for so their general tradition has it, is also both
reasonable and probable to suppose. Large bodies of hunters cannot keep
long together. They must separate to procure food, and would separate
from other causes. The first effect of their separation and spread into
various rich vallies, abounding in game, nuts and fish, was a rapid
increase in population. The next, to become overbearing, quarrel about
territory, and fight. They were compelled to build forts to defend
their stations, or secure their women and children, at night, and
by this system, kept down their population to about its first point
of increase. It is altogether probable that they did not more than
maintain, for ages, a stationary population, which occasionally went
down by disease and other calamities, and again revived, as we know
that natural causes, in the laws of vitality, will revive a people
quickly, after the scourge of pestilence.

The idea of a confederation was, it is believed, an old one with this
people, for the very oldest traditions speak of something of this kind,
among the lake and St. Lawrence tribes of older days. When the present
league was formed, on the banks of the Onondaga lake, this central
tribe had manifestly greatly increased in strength, and distinguished
itself in arms, and feats of hunting and daring against giants and
monsters, for in such rencontres their traditions abound.


Most distinguished, however, above all others, east or west, was a
leader of great courage, wisdom and address, called Atotarho; and
when they proposed to form a league, this person, who had inspired
dread, and kept himself retired, was anxiously sought. He was found,
by the Mohawk embassy, who were charged with the matter, sitting as
he is represented in the annexed cut, composedly in a swamp, smoking
his pipe, and rendered completely invulnerable, by living serpents.
These animals extended their hissing heads from all parts of his head
and body. Every thing about him, and the place of his residence, was
such as to inspire the utmost fear and respect. His dishes and spoons
were made of the skulls of enemies, whom he had slain in battle. Him,
when they had duly approached with presents and burned tobacco in
friendship, in their pipes, by way of frankincense, they placed at the
head of their league, as its presiding officer. They collected a large
quantity of wampum, and invested him with a broad belt of this sacred
article. I found the original drawing of this personage, from which the
above is reduced, in the summer of 1845, in the house of a Seneca on
the Cattaragus reservation. The owner of this curious pictorial relic,
on being asked, proceeded to a chest and carefully took it from its
envelope, and allowed me to make a copy. It represents Atotarho, at the
moment of his discovery, by the Mohawk delegation.

The right thus awarded to the Onondagas, to furnish a presiding officer
for the league, has ever been retained, and is still possessed by that
canton. To the Mohawks, at the same time, was awarded the Tekarahogea,
or chief war captain—an office, however, of the general recognition of
which, there is a disagreement amongst interpreters.

A singular tradition may be here added. It is said that the XIIIth
Atotarho reigned at Onondaga when America was discovered. [D.]

Giving to each Atotarho[33] a rule of fifteen years, and taking
Hudson’s voyage as the period the Indians allude to, we should have
A. D. 1414, as the era of the present confederacy, in place of 1539,
before mentioned on the authority of a general tradition recorded
by Pyrlaus. We cannot, however, place much reliance upon Cusick’s

[33] Incidental circumstances have led to the substitution of the above
head for the original figure.

[_d._] Cayugas.

The history of this canton does not stand out prominently among the
Iroquois while it will be found that as one of the inclusive tribes who
carried their name and fame so high among the aborigines, they have
performed their due part, and produced warriors, sages and speakers of
eminence. Were every thing else, indeed, blotted out of their history,
the fact of their having produced a Logan[34] would be sufficient to
rescue their memory from oblivion. In their early search after a place
to hunt, fish and plant corn, as an independent tribe, they, on the
assumption of their own traditions, passed up the Seneca river, into
the sylvan and beautiful lake which bears their name. In visiting this
lake the present year, in search of their ancient sites, it was not
without a melancholy interest, that I surveyed, within the boundaries
of Aurora, the remains of one of those apple orchards, which were
ruthlessly cut down by a detachment of the army of Gen. Sullivan, in
his severe but necessary expedition in 1778. Many vestiges of their
ancient residence still remain in Cayuga county, nor has local memory,
in its intelligent and hospitable inhabitants, dropped from its scroll
the names of several of its distinguished chiefs, and their places
of abode. They point to a spot at Springport, now trenched on by the
road, where lie the remains of Karistagea, better known by his English
appellative of Steeltrap, one of their noted chiefs and wise men,
who extended the hospitalities of his lodge to the first settlers on
the “Military Tract.” The nation itself, although they had fought
strenuously under the Red Cross of St. George in the Revolutionary
war, appeared to be composed of mild and peaceable men, of friendly
dispositions towards the settlers. They brought venison, fish and wild
fruits for sale to the doors of families, whose elder branches yet
dwell upon the shores of the Cayuga.

[34] Logan was the son of Skellelimus, a Cayuga, and went early to the
Ohio valley, if he were not born there.

Yet their history is a melancholy one, and their decline, on the
settlement of Western New-York, was probably one of the most striking
instances of the rapid depopulation of a tribe in modern days. Their
first cession of land to the State was in 1789. This was confirmed
at the general treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1790, and such had been the
pressure of emigration into that quarter, that in 1795, at a treaty
held at Cayuga bridge, they ceded their reserve of one hundred miles
square in the valley of the Seneca outlet and the basin of Cayuga
lake, reserving but four miles square. In these treaties they deemed
themselves wise to change into large money annuities,[35] a territory
which was no longer useful for hunting, and which they did not

[35] A perpetual annuity of $2,300 was secured by one of these treaties.

Experience has shown, however, throughout America, that Indian tribes,
who live on annuities, and not by agricultural labor, are in the most
dangerous condition of rapid decline. To render the danger eminent, it
needs but the close proximity of a European population, who present
the means of indulging selfish gratifications. Among these means, so
seductive to the Indian mind, ardent spirits have ever been the most
baneful. It proved so at least with the Cayugas, for within sixteen
years after the treaty of Fort Stanwix, they had all emigrated west.
Some of them had rejoined their brethren, who followed Brant and the
Mohawks to Canada. Some had migrated to Sandusky, in Ohio, and others
found a refuge among the Senecas, near Buffalo. With the Senecas they
have ever been on most intimate terms. Whilst they lived on the Cayuga
lake, and the latter on the Seneca, they were separated by a midland
range of forest, little more than 16 miles broad. They intermingled
freely in their hunting parties, and even in their villages. The
inhabitants still point to a large tree near Canoga, on the banks of
Cayuga lake, where the celebrated orator Red Jacket was born.

In investigating the Indian population of New-York, under the
provisions of the census act, I found 114 Cayugas residing in twenty
families, on the Cattaragus reservation. These families cultivate 316
acres of land, and during the year 1845, they raised 1,970 bushels
of corn, 1,622 of oats, 210 of wheat, 955 of potatoes, and 277 of
buckwheat, besides esculents and small articles. They were found to
possess 43 milch cows, 39 horses, 40 sheep, and 109 hogs. Besides
the Cayugas residing on the Cattaragus, there were found, dispersed
among the other cantons, 83 persons; making the whole number within
the boundaries of New-York, 197. The style of their dwellings is,
generally, that of squared timber, plainly but comfortably furnished,
with glass windows, and plain common furniture. Sixteen of the number
are members of Protestant churches. The males dress exclusively in the
European fashion, and their condition and prospects are, like those of
the Senecas, among whom they dwell, in a high degree encouraging to
the friends of humanity. Of the number out of the bounds of the State,
there have been no accurate means of judging. The vocabulary of their
language (vide appendix O) will denote its close affinities with other
tribes of this family.

From a remark made to me, by a daughter of Brant, (the late Mrs. Kerr,)
at her house near Wellington square, Canada, in 1843, I am inclined
to think, that in the early wars waged by the Iroquois against the
Virginia Indians, the Cayugas defeated and made prisoners the remnant
of the Tuteloes, whom they brought and settled among them, in the
Cayuga country.

[_e._] History and origin of the Senecas.

One of the first traits which strikes an observer on entering the
territory of this tribe, is the fact that they are called by a name
which is not known in their vocabulary, and which they only recognize
from having long been thus designated by others. Identical as it is in
its present orthography, with the name of the Roman moralist, it is yet
wholly improbable that it had any such origin; it must be regarded as
an accidental coincidence of sound in some other Indian tongue. That
this tongue is the Mohawk, a people who stood first in position east
on the Iroquois borders, is probable, but not certain. The earlier
authors spelt it with a _k_, with the _a_ final, which probably had the
usual broad sound. It occurs on a map of 1614, which was brought over
from Holland recently, by the historical agent of the State, and has
been laid, by that gentleman, before the New-York Historical Society,
with the proofs of its genuineness, thus bringing the use of the word
within five years of the voyage of Hudson.

The term by which they call themselves is NUNDOWAGA, or the
People of the Hill. A name which leads us at once to consider the
accounts of their own origin. Various relations of this story have been
given, differing in some of their details, but all coinciding in the
main events, namely: that they originated and lived on a well known
hill, at the head of Canandaigua lake, where they were put in eminent
peril of utter destruction by a monstrous serpent, which circled itself
about the fort and lay with its mouth open at the gate. The following
is given from a native source, and has some novel details to recommend

While the tribe had its seat and council fire on this hill, a woman
and her son were living near it, when the boy, one day caught a small
two-headed serpent, called Kaistowanea, in the bushes. He brought it
home as a pet to amuse himself, and put it in a box, where he fed it
on bird’s flesh and other dainties. After some time it had become so
large that it rested on the beams of the lodge, and the hunters were
obliged to feed it with deer; but it soon went out and made its abode
on a neighboring hill, where it maintained itself. It often went out
and sported in the lake, and in time became so large and mischievous
that the tribe were put in dread of it. They consulted on the subject
one evening, and determined to fly next morning; but with the light of
the next morning the monster had encircled the hill and lay with its
double jaws extended before the gate. Some attempted to pass out, but
were driven back; others tried to climb over its body, but were unable.
Hunger at last drove them to desperation, and they made a rush to pass,
but only rushed into the monster’s double jaws. All were devoured but
a warrior and his sister, who waited in vain expectancy of relief.
At length the warrior had a dream, in which he was showed that if he
would fledge his arrows with the hair of his sister, the charm would
prevail over their enemy. He was warned not to heed the frightful heads
and hissing tongues, but to shoot at the heart. Accordingly, the next
morning he armed himself with his keenest weapons, charmed as directed,
and boldly shot at the serpent’s heart. The instantaneous recoiling of
the monster proved that the wound was mortal. He began in great agony
to roll down the hill, breaking down trees and uttering horrid noises,
until he rolled into the lake. Here he slaked his thirst, and tried
by water to mitigate his agony, dashing about in fury. At length he
vomited up all the people whom he had eaten, and immediately expired
and sunk to the bottom.[36]

[36] If this be viewed as an allegory, it may admit of this
interpretation. Internal feuds created by somebody brought up in their
own lodges, originated hatred and hot blood. In a long and bloody war,
the nation was nearly exterminated; at length the affections of a woman
prevailed. Harmony was restored, and a new era of prosperity began, by
removing the council fire to another place.

The fort was immediately deserted, and all who had escaped went with
their deliverer to, and fixed their council fire on, the west shores of
Seneca lake, where Geneva now stands.

The general course of the migration and conquests of the Senecas has,
however, been towards the west. Taking their own general and ancient
traditions of the parent stock, to wit, their origin in the valley of
the Oswego, they may be supposed to have followed the Seneca branch
of those outspread waters to the banks of the Seneca and Canandaigua
lakes, and thence into the rich valley of the Genesee. At an early day
they were limited to the region east of this capital stream, which,
crossing the country in a transverse direction, formed a natural
boundary. There lived west of it, in ancient times, a tribe who are
known as Alleghans, Andastes and Eries, or, as the Senecas call them,
Kah-Kwahs. They had their council fires at or near Buffalo, extending
west and also east. The people called by the French the Neuter
Nation, had placed themselves, so far as we can learn, on the waters
of Oak-Orchard creek, which draws its tributaries in part from the
fertile districts of Genesee, Niagara and Orleans counties. From the
accounts of the Tuscaroras, [D.] this people were governed in early
times by a queen, who ruled over twelve forts in that quarter. North
of them, embracing the Niagara ridge and the country below it, dwelt a
branch of the Algonquin nation, who are called by the same authority,
TWANKANNAH. Other names occur, which are believed to be either
synonymes for these, or minor divisions of the three principal tribes
named, of which some further notice will be taken in a subsequent paper
on the antiquarian remains of the country.

That these Trans-Genesean people were populous and warlike, not only
maintaining their grounds against the Senecas, but often defeating
them and driving them back, is proved not only by the traditions
of the Senecas themselves, but by the striking evidences of their
military strength and skill, denoted by the remains of forts and
intrenchments and cemeteries, yet existing throughout the extensive
area, included between the Genesee and the Niagara, extending up the
southern shores of Lake Erie to Chautauque and the other principal
known Indian routes to the waters of the Alleghany and Ohio. There is,
at least, one authority[37] for believing that the Eries themselves
were remotely descended from the Senecas, and we have living tradition
to prove [VIII.] that, at the time of their final defeat and so called
extermination, some of them fled west, whilst the remainder of them,
scattered, cut up and depressed, were incorporated in the Seneca canton.

[37] Cusick.

To the Twankannas, the Neuter Nation, and other tribes and bands, not
being Eries, who lived in this portion of the State, the Iroquois
applied the general term of Adirondacks,[38] a bold, warlike, northern
race, who spread over many degrees of latitude and longitude in
former days, covering, by generic affiliation with other tribes, all
New-England and the Atlantic coast, to North Carolina, and who are
still, in their numerous and subdivided descendants, in the upper lakes
and the west, the most numerous of any of the aboriginal stocks yet
existing east of the Mississippi and Missouri. So long as the Iroquois
remained divided, the Eries and their Algonquin allies kept their
ground; and there is no reason to believe that they began to decline
until a considerable period after the era of the Onondaga league. That
league was at first but little more than an agreement to stand by each
other, and to send delegates and forward news to a central council;
but it put an end to intestine wars, and its popular capacities soon
developed themselves, and made it formidable to their neighbors. Thus
much by way of prelude to their wars, to be noticed hereafter.

[38] Called Algonquins by the French.

The Senecas were from the earliest times the most powerful of the
Iroquois, nearly doubling, in its best estate, the Mohawks. Their
population in past days has been variously estimated, and often
exaggerated. Perhaps Dalton, who puts it at 400 warriors, or 2,000
souls, during the American war, verges to the opposite extreme,
and actually underrates it. Be this as it may, I found the entire
Seneca population, within the State, to be 2,383, residing on four
reservations in the counties of Niagara and Genesee, Erie, Chautauque,
Cattaraugus and Alleghany. They were found to be divided into 538
families, who cultivated, in the aggregate, 8,416 acres of land. The
produce of this land, as near as it could be obtained, as some declined
stating it, was 21,341 bushels of corn, 3,745 of wheat, 20,039 of
oats, and 12,469 of potatoes, besides buckwheat, turneps, peas, and
smaller articles. They possess 1,537 neat cattle, 510 milch cows, 626
horses, 335 sheep, and 2,269 hogs. Other details of their advance in
agriculture were equally flattering. They cut large quantities of
meadow land, possess an adequate supply of farming utensils, carts,
wagons, including many tasty buggies and sleighs. Very little of their
means of subsistence, even in the most unfavored positions, is derived
from the chase. Upwards of 4,000 fruit trees were counted. The style of
their buildings, fences and household furniture, as well as the dress
of the males, is not essentially different, and little, often nothing
at all, inferior to that of their white neighbors. Temperance and
temperance societies exist in a good state in each canton. Fifteen of
their youth have received a collegiate or academic education. A number
of these have studied professions. About 350 of the children attend
private or missionary schools, and so far as I could obtain returns,
some 250 adults are enrolled as members of Protestant churches. Of
this number, there are several catechists and intelligent educated
translators and interpreters of the language. On the four reservations,
there are fifteen native mechanics and three physicians.

Thus it appears that the energies once devoted by their ancestors to
war and hunting, are in good earnest now directed to husbandry and
the arts; and there is every encouragement to hope, and reason to
believe, that by a continuance in the best measures, they will be
wholly reclaimed and added to the number of useful, intelligent and
moral citizens. In viewing the condition of such a people, hardy, well
formed and active, and pressing forward, as they are, in the great
experiment of civilization, humanity consoles itself with the hope,
that the energy and firmness of purpose which once carried them, in
pursuit of warlike glory, far and wide, will develope itself, as it
has already signally commenced to do, in the labors of the field and
the workshop. Their rude picture-writing upon the bark of trees, has
given place to the school. Their prophets’ lodges have been converted
into churches; their midnight orgies, at the Indian dancing house,
into societies to promote temperance. It is but applying present
experience to future results, to predict that these results may become
general. The eloquence thrown out by a Red Jacket, in opposition to
the further curtailment of their territory may shine out, in some of
his descendants, to enlighten his people in agriculture, morals and
political economy. Nor ought we to doubt that the desk and the forum
are yet to resound with Seneca eloquence.

[_f._] Tuscaroras.

The traditions of this canton affirm, that they are descendants of
the original family of Iroquois, who began their existence, or their
nationality, at least at or near the falls of the Oswego. After the
migration of the parent tribe towards the sea, and their return west
and separation into tribes, this band went on west till they reached
Lake Erie. From hence they travelled southwest till they reached
the Mississippi. Part of them crossed the river, and they were thus
divided. Those who went over, became, in time, the enemies of such as
remained on its eastern banks, and were finally lost and forgotten from
their memory.

Terenyawagon, the Holder of the Heavens, who was the patron of the
home bands, did not fail, in this crisis, to direct their way also.
After giving them practical instructions in war and hunting, he guided
their footsteps in their journies, south and east, until they had
crossed the Alleghanies, and reached the shores of the sea, on the
coasts which are now called the Carolinas. They were directed to fix
their residence on the banks of the Cau-tan-o, that is, a Pine in the
water, now called Neuse river, in North Carolina. By this time their
language was altered, but not so much but that they could understand
each other. Here Terenyawagon left them to hunt, increase and prosper,
whilst he returned to direct the remaining Five Nations to form their
confederacy. Thus far the Tuscarora annalist. History picks up the
Tuscaroras precisely where tradition and fable leave them. On the
settlement of Virginia and the Carolinas, they were found to be the
first nation of any stability of purpose, after passing the Powhatanic
tribes, in proceeding south. The intervening coast tribes were petty
chieftaindoms, few in numbers and disunited in action or policy. They
were essentially ichthyophagi. They soon fell before the two-fold
influence of idleness and rum, and have left little or no history, or
traits worth preserving. Such is the history of the Chowanokes,[39]
the Maratocks, and the Mangoacks, who, in one hundred and twenty years
from the date of Raleigh’s patent, had dwindled from 6,000 to forty-six

[39] Mr. Jefferson thinks (vide Notes, p. 152, London ed. of 1787,)
that this tribe was connected with the Tutelos, Nottaways and Meherrins
of Virginia.

[40] Williamson.

The Tuscaroras, who lived in the game country, on the skirts of the
mountains, showed themselves at the mouths of Cantano or Neuse,
Contentny, and Taw rivers. They were, at the time, numerous and
warlike, and as inimical to the inhabitants of the Carolinas, as they
were numerous. They were at war with the Catabas, the Cowetas and the
Cherokees. Numbers, bravery and success, and abundance of animal food,
made them haughty, and they evinced the disposition of their northern
brethren, by trying to subjugate and break down their neighbors. What
they had done with red men, very effectually, it must be confessed at
least with the Catabas, they thought they might do with the Hugenots of
France, the cavaliers of England, and the protestants of the baronetcy
of Graffenried in Germany. It is not improbable, indeed, that, at a
prior era, the Tuscaroras were the very people who had exterminated
the colony left on Roanoke island, under the first attempts of Sir
Walter Raleigh to colonize Virginia. But, if such were the fact—a mere
conjecture at best—they mistook their present neighbors and their own
position in attempting to repeat the act.

This scheme was, however, deeply laid, although it appeared to be a
matter hastily executed. They had long felt a growing jealousy of
the encroaching settlements, and gave vent to it, the first occasion
that offered, by seizing Lawson the surveyor-general of the Province,
on a trip up the Neuse, and after a kind of trial before a council,
putting him to death. The Baron Graffenried, who was with him, and
was also condemned, but saved, on an appeal on the ground of his being
a man of rank and not an Englishman; but they kept him a prisoner,
while they proceeded to execute their ill-advised and nefarious plot,
which was nothing less than the massacre of the entire colony in one
day. The day fixed for this tragedy was the 22d of September, 1711.
Williamson[41] thinks it was an impulsive movement arising from the
killing of Lawson, who being a public officer, they felt themselves
committed in a war, and resolved to proceed with the bloody work.
For this purpose they divided themselves into small bands of six or
seven, and entering the settlements at various points, they struck
down with the tomahawk on one day one hundred and thirty persons. To
conceal their intentions, they had left their arms, and relied on their
hatchets alone. In this plot, they were assisted by the sea-coast
bands of Corees, Mattamuskeets and Bear-river Indians, some three or
four tribes, denoting a league and maturity in the attempt. But the
plan did not succeed to their wishes, for besides that the colony
consisted then of nearly two thousand men, much spread, it must needs
have happened that many at the time of attack, would be absent from
their homes. The colonists rallied, and prepared to carry the war home
to their subtle assailants. They asked the aid of South Carolina,
which came gallantly to their rescue. The Legislature of that Province
having granted four thousand pounds, placed Col. Barnwell at the head
of a small detachment of armed men, supported by a large body of
Cherokees, Creeks and Catabas, the deadly enemies of the Tuscaroras.
He killed, in various actions, thirty Tuscaroras, and fifty of the
sea-coast auxiliaries, and took two hundred women and children of the
latter prisoners, and returned. The war thus commenced was continued,
with various results for some few years. The aid of Virginia, as well
as South Carolina was invoked the next year. The Tuscaroras also made
vigorous exertions. They were well provided with arms and ammunition,
and despatched runners to the Senecas for aid. Their auxiliaries, the
Mattamuskeets, Corees and others killed or made prisoners the next
winter, forty inhabitants of the Island of Roanoke or Croatan. The
Tuscaroras prepared to maintain their power by entrenching themselves
behind a picketed work on the river Taw. This work, called fort
NAHARUKE, stood on a plain beside a creek, and consisted of
a rampart of earth, covering the whole ground occupied, defended with
palisades. To protect themselves from artillery, they had dug within
this wall, square pits of earth, six feet deep, covered with poles, and
connected by a wall of earth. They were well provided with corn and
ammunition, and had the means of standing a siege, had they made a wise
provision for water. To obtain this necessary article, they relied on
an artificial ditch leading to the stream.

[41] Hist. North Carolina.

To this aboriginal fort Col. Moore of South-Carolina, drove them from
the lower country with 40 musketeers and 800 Indians, in the early
part of the winter of 1713, after having been detained on his march
by a deep snow. He immediately saw the mistake of the water trench,
and placed cannon to rake it. He then fortified the only passage or
point of land, where the Indians would be likely to escape, and began
regular approaches to the work, which he entered on the 26th of March,
1713, taking 800 Tuscaroras prisoners. It is not said how many were
killed. He had lost of his army, during the siege, 22 white, and 36 red
men killed, and 29 of the former, and 50 of the latter wounded. The
Cherokees and their allies claimed the prisoners, who were taken to
the south, and sold as slaves, a part, as we are left to infer, being
offered by the southern Indians, to appease the spirit of retaliation
for prior losses by them.

This brought the tribe to terms, and they entered into preliminaries
of peace, by which they agreed to deliver up twenty men, who were the
contrivers of the plot, and who took Lawson and Graffenried; to restore
all prisoners, horses and cattle, arms and other property; to treat
and pursue the Mattamuskeets and their other allies, as enemies; and
finally, to give two hostages for the peaceable conduct of each of
their towns.

During the following summer, the chief called “King Blount,” brought in
thirty scalps from his miserably treated allies; “but the greater part
of the nation,” says the historian before quoted, “unable to contend,
and unwilling to submit, removed to the northward, and joined the
Seneca, and other confederate tribes on the frontiers of New-York.[42]
Those who remained, were to have settled between the Neuse and Taw
rivers; but an Indian war having broken out in the southern colonies
in 1715, only three months after the peace, with the Corees and their
other former allies, the Tuscaroras, now the remains of a broken down
tribe, feeble in numbers and power, obtained permission to settle on
the _north_ side of the Roanoke river, on a reservation, where some of
them were living in 1803.

[42] Williamson.

The whole number of Indians living in North Carolina in 1708,
estimating their fighting men, were 1,608, of whom, the Tuscaroras
constituted 1,200, which would give them, on the ordinary principle
of estimating their population, 6,000 souls. Two thirds of the whole
number of their fighting men were captured at the taking of fort
NAHARUKE in 1713. How many were killed on other occasions is
not certainly known; but it is probable that in this short war of but
three years duration, and owing to the desertion of families, death by
sickness, want, and other casualties consequent upon the surrender of
Naharuke, they sunk to almost immediate insignificance. Those who fled
to their kindred in western New-York, were never counted. They were
estimated, perhaps high, at 200 warriors, in 1776. They were located at
first, immediately west of, and in juxtaposition to the Oneidas, along
with whom, they are mentioned as being secured in their rights, by the
treaty of Fort Stanwix, in 1784. But in fact, they had no independent
claim to territory, living merely as guests, although the confederacy
had admitted them as an integral member, after their disastrous flight
from North Carolina, calling themselves no longer the FIVE,
but the SIX NATIONS. The Senecas gave them lands on the
Niagara Ridge, after the American revolution; these were subsequently
secured to them in a reservation made by the State, in the present
bounds of Niagara county. Here they have continued to dwell, having
added to their possessions, by an early purchase from the Holland Land
Company, made with the avails of the sale of their reservation north of
the Roanoke, in North Carolina.

But if the Tuscaroras have erred in policy, and sunk in numbers,
with a rapidity and in a ratio unequalled by any other members of
the confederacy, if we except the Onondagas and Cayugas, they may be
said to have grown wise by experience. Low as their present numbers
are, they hold an exalted rank among their brethren for industry,
temperance, and their general advance in arts, agriculture and morals.

I found, on making the enumeration, 283 persons living in 53 families,
of whom 151 were males and 167 females. These families cultivated the
past year 2,080 acres of land, on which they raised 4,897 bushels of
wheat, 3,515 of corn, 4,085 of oats, 1,166 of potatoes, besides limited
quantities of peas, beans, buckwheat and turnips. They possess 336 neat
cattle, 98 milch cows, making 7,537 pounds of butter, 153 horses, 215
sheep, and 596 hogs.

When it is considered that this enumeration gives an average of six
neat cattle, three horses, (nearly) two milch cows, (nearly) 10 hogs,
and 92 bushels of wheat, 966 of corn to each family, their capacity
to sustain themselves, and their advance as agriculturists will be
perceived. Fifty-nine ploughs were found amongst fifty-three families.
They cut 195 acres of meadow to sustain their cattle. They have over
1,500 fruit trees, and dwell in excellent frame or square-timber
houses, well finished, and for the most part well furnished. I noticed
one edifice of stone, in the process of building, seated on rising
grounds, amidst shade trees, which denotes both wealth and taste. Other
results of civilization are to be already observed. Among these there
are no slight indications of classes of society, arranging themselves,
as rich and poor, intelligent and ignorant, industrious and idle, moral
and immoral.

Of the entire population, 63 are church members, and 231 members of
temperance societies, which is a far higher proportion than is found in
any other of the cantons.

[_g._] Necariages.

The Tuscaroras were probably admitted into the confederacy about 1714.
Nine years afterwards the Iroquois received the Nicariages. Under
this name the long expatriated Quatoghies, or Hurons, then living at
Teiodonderoghie or Michilimackinac, were taken into the confederacy as
the Seventh Tribe, or canton. This act was consummated in the reign of
George II., at a public council held at Albany on the 30th May, 1723,
on their own desire. A delegation of 80 men, who had their families
with them, were present. Of this curious transaction but little is
known. For although done in faith, it was not perceived that a tribe
so far separated from the main body, although now reconciled, and
officially incorporated, could not effectually coalesce and act as
one. And accordingly, it does not appear, by the subsequent history
of the confederacy, that they ever came to recognize, permanently,
the Necariages as a Seventh Nation. The foundation for this act of
admission had been laid at a prior period by the daring and adroit
policy of Adario, who had so skilfully contrived to shift the atrocity
of his own act, in the capture of the Iroquois delegates on the St.
Lawrence, on the Governor-General of Canada.

It has been mentioned, in a preceding page of this report, that
the Iroquois recommended their political league as a model to the
colonies, long before the American revolution was thought of. And
it is remarkable that its typical character, in relation to our
present union, should have been also sustained, in the feature
of the admission, if not “annexation,” of new tribes, who became
equal participants of all the original rights and privileges of the

[_h._] St. Regis Colony, or Band.

This community is an off-shoot of the Iroquois stock, but not a member
of the confederacy. It originated in the efforts commenced about the
middle of the 17th century, by the Roman Catholic church of France, to
draw the Iroquois into communion with that church. It was, however, but
a part of the public policy, which originated in the reign of Louis
XV., to colonize the Iroquois country, and wrest it from the power of
the British crown. When this effort failed,—replete as it was with
wars, intrigues and embassies, battles and massacres, which make it the
heroic age of our history, the persons who had become enlisted in the
ritual observances of this church, were induced to withdraw from the
body of the tribes, and settle on the banks of the St. Lawrence, in
the area of the present county of St. Lawrence. It was, in effect, a
missionary colony. Its members were mostly Mohawks, from Caughnawaga,
with some Oneidas, and perhaps a few of the Onondagas, amongst whom
there had been Catholic missions and forts established, at early dates.

The exertions made to organize this new canton were, politically
considered, at direct variance with the colonial policy of New-York,
and were therefore opposed by the persons entrusted by the crown with
Indian affairs, and also by the councils of the confederacy.

Those persons who composed it assimilated in faith, and almost as a
necessary consequence, they soon did so in politics.[43] They went off
in small parties, secretly, and after they had become embodied and
located, they were regarded, in effect, as foreign Indians, and were
never recognized or admitted to a seat in the confederacy. The feeling
caused by this separation, among the tribes themselves, amounted to
bitterness, and it is a feeling which, I had occasion to observe on one
occasion, is not forgotten by the existing cantons even at this day.

[43] Some exceptions to this existed. The noted chief called Col.
Louis, who rendered the American cause such essential service, during
the siege of Fort Stanwix, in 1777, was of the St. Regis tribe,
agreeably to information given to me, at Oneida Castle, the present
year, by Abraham Dennie.

The St. Regis colony increased rapidly, but had some extra stimulants
to promote its growth, its success being equally dear to the political
and ecclesiastical policy of France. It became a thorn to the frontier
towns and settlements of New-England, during the whole of the old
French war, so called, and of the American revolution. Some of the
forays of this band into the Connecticut valley were productive of
thrilling and heart rending events, as those must have realized who
have had their youthful sympathies excited by narrations of the
touching captivities of the Hows and the Williams, of that valley.

When the 54° parallel came to be drawn, under the provision of the
treaty of Ghent, it cut the St. Regis settlement unequally in two,
leaving the church and the larger portion of the Indian population
within the bounds of Canada. Those who reside within the limits of
New-York, numbered, the past summer, three hundred and sixty souls.


[_a._] Considerations.

Something on this head appears desirable, if it be only to mitigate,
in some degree, our historical ignorance, and want of accurate or
precise information, touching it. The question of the principles of
their social and political association, is one of equal interest and
obscurity, and would justify a more extended inquiry than is here given.

[_b._] Era of the Confederation.

Chronology finds its most difficult tasks in establishing dates among
our aboriginal tribes. Pyrlaus, a missionary at the ancient site of
Dionderoga or Fort Hunter, writing between 1742 and 1748, states, as
the result of the best conjectures he could form, from information
derived from the Mohawks, that the alliance took place “one age, or
the length of a man’s life, before the white people came into the
country.”[44] He gives the following as the names of the sachems of the
Five Nations, who met and formed the alliance:

[44] Trans. Hist. and Lit. Com. Am. Philo. Soc. vol. 1, p. 36.

TOGANAWITA, _for the Mohawks_.
OTATSCHECHTA, _for the Oneidas_.
TATOTARHO, _for the Onondagas_.
TOGAHAYON, _for the Cayugas_.
GANIATARIO, }_for the Senecas_.

The name of THANNAWAGE is given as the first proposer of such
an alliance. He was an aged Mohawk sachem. It was decided that these
names should forever be kept in remembrance by naming a person in each
nation, through succeeding generations, after them.

Taking 1609, the era of the Dutch discovery, and estimating “a man’s
life” by the patriarchal and scriptural rule, we should not at the
utmost have a more remote date than 1539,[45] as the origin of the
confederacy. This would place the event 18 years after the taking of
Mexico by Cortes, and 47 years after the first voyage of Columbus.
Cartier, who ascended the St. Lawrence to Hochelaga, the present site
of Montreal, in 1535, demonstrates clearly, by his vocabulary of words,
that a people who spoke a branch of the Iroquois language, was then at
the place. This people is usually supposed to have been the Wyandots,
or Hurons. But he makes no remark on a confederacy. He only denotes the
attachment of the people to an old and paralytic sachem, or head chief,
who wore a frontlet of dyed porcupine’s skin.[46]

[45] For other data on this topic, see the subsequent paper, entitled
“Onondagas,” in which an earlier date is assigned. See also the article
“Oral Traditions.”

[46] Oneota, p. 172.

Curious to obtain some clue to this era, or test of the preceding
data, I made it a topic of inquiry. The Onondagas, the Tuscaroras,
and the several bands, unite in a general tradition of the event of
a confederacy, at the head of which they place Atotarho, (the same
doubtless whose name is spelt Tatotarho above,) but amongst neither
of these tribes is the era fixed. The dates employed by Cusick,
the Tuscarora legendary, giving an extravagant antiquity to the
confederation, are more entitled to the sympathy of the poet than the
attention of the historian, although other traditions stated by him
debarring the dates, may be regarded as the actual traditions of his
tribe. Were the dates moderate, which he generally employs to confer
antiquity on his nation, they might inspire respect. But like the
Chinese astronomers, he loses no little as a native archæologist, by
aspiring after too much.

Atotarho, who by these traditions was an Onondaga, is the great
embodiment of Iroquois courage, wisdom and heroism, and in their
narrations he is invested with allegoric traits, which exalt him to
a kind of superhuman character. Unequalled in war and arts, his fame
had spread abroad and exalted the Onondaga nation to the highest
pitch. He was placed at the head of the confederacy, and his name,
like that of King Arthur of the Round Table, or those of the Paladins
of Charlemagne, was used after his death as an exemplar of glory and
honor; while like that of Cæsar, it became perpetuated as the official
title of the presiding chief. What is said by Pyrlaus respecting the
mode of the transmission of the names of the first delegates to the
council forming the confederacy, appears to be probable. It is true,
so far as is known, but it seems that not only the name of the ruling
chief, but the title of each minor officer in the council, as he who
presents the message; he who stands by the chief or Atotarho, &c.
is preserved to this day by its being the name of an individual who
exercises a similar office.

The best light I could personally obtain from tradition of the date of
the event, viz. the era of the confederacy, came through a tradition
handed down from Ezekiel Webster, an American, who at an early day
settled among the Onondagas, learned their language, married the
daughter of a chief, and became himself a man of great influence among
them. Mr. Tyler of Seneca-Falls, son of one of the first settlers in
the present county of Onondaga, informed me in a casual interview
at Aurora, on the 13th of August, that his father had received this
account from Webster’s own lips, namely, that the confederation, as
related by the Onondagas, took place about the length of one man’s
life before the white men appeared. A remarkable confirmation of the
statement of Pyrlaus.[47] It must be admitted, however, that we cannot,
without rejecting many positive traditions of the Iroquois themselves
[D.] refuse to concede a much earlier period to the first attempts
of these interesting tribes to form a general political association.
For eighty years before the American Revolution they, in friendly
recommendation, held up their confederacy as a political model to
the English colonies. (See Colden.) Their own first attempts to form
themselves into one nation may have borne the same relation to them and
their subsequent condition as our early confederation of States bears
to the present Union; and this, instead of lasting a few years, as did
ours, may have continued even for centuries, among so rude a people,
before it could ripen into the bonds of empire.

[47] A Seneca tradition which is hereafter noticed, places the event
of the confederation four years before the appearance of Hudson in his
ship, in the bay of New-York.

Two elementary powers existed at an early day in the Iroquois cantons,
namely, the civil and war chieftainships. There is abundant evidence,
both in their own traditions, and in existing antiquarian remains, to
show that they were at variance, in the early periods of their history,
and fought against each other, and built fortifications to defend
themselves. Partial leagues would naturally fail. League after league
probably took place. When they came to see the folly of such a course,
and proposed to confederate on enlarged principles, and direct their
arms exclusively against others, the question doubtless arose, how
they should be represented in the general council. It is clear, from
the preceding remarks on the era of the confederation, whatever age we
assign to the era itself, that the Rakowanas,[48] or leading chiefs of
each of the five cantons, did not assemble. Power was assigned to, and
concentrated on one individual, who stood as the federal representative
of his canton in its sovereign capacity. It was only to the Senecas
that two representatives, of this senatorial dignity, were assigned; a
conclusive evidence that they were, at this era, estimated at double
the numerical strength of the highest of the other four cantons. By
these six men, who appear rather in the capacity of ambassadors,
forming the principles of a treaty, or league, the modern confederacy,
as known to us, was organized. Tradition says that this treaty of
alliance was held at Onondaga, where the central council fire of the
confederacy, organized under it, was also originally fixed, and has
permanently remained. Of the nature and powers of this general council,
or congress of sachems, acting for the whole cantons, some views are
expressed in the following paper.

[48] Mohawk.

[_c._] Principles of the Iroquois Government.

No one has attended to the operations of the Iroquois government
and polity, as they are developed in their councils and meetings
for general consultation and action, without perceiving a degree of
intricacy in its workings, which it is difficult to grasp. Or rather,
the obscurity may be said to grow out of the little time and the
imperfect opportunities which casual observers have to devote to the
object. For, maturely considered, there is no inherent difficulty in
the way. It seems clear that they came together as independent tribes,
who, at an early age, had all proceeded from the same parental stock,
but who, after an indefinite period of fightings and wars, became
convinced of the short-sightedness of such a course, and fell on the
plan of a confederation which should produce general action, and yet
leave the several members free, both in their internal polity, and
in the exercise of most of their co-tribal powers. It was clearly a
confederation for common purposes of defence and offence, and not a
perfect union. Each tribe, or more properly speaking, canton, was still
governed by its own chiefs, civil and military. They came together in
general councils, by sachems, exercising the power of delegates.

These delegates or sages came in their hereditary or elective
character, as the case might be, or as the customs and laws of the
tribe in its popular character had decided. But their voices were,
in all cases, either prompted by prior expressions of the warriors
and wise men, or were to be ratified by these known powers. However
invested with authority they but spoke the popular will. The relative
power of the cantons is denoted, and appears as a question that
was already settled, at the first formal general council for the
purpose of confederating. For we there see precisely the same tribal
representation, which has obtained ever after and still prevails; that
is to say, the Mohawks, the Oneidas, the Onondagas, and the Cayugas,
had each one chief, and the Senecas two, making six supreme dignitaries
or state counsellors. That their powers were merely advisory and
interlocutory, and that they aimed to come to harmonious results, by
the mere interchange of opinion, without any formal or solemn vote, is
evident, from all that we know, or can gather from their still existing
institutions. There appeared to have been no penalties—no forfeiture
of rights—no binding or coercive power, to be visited on tribes or
chiefs beyond that of OPINION. Popular disapproval was the
Iroquois penalty here and elsewhere. It is equally clear, however,
that a single negative voice or opinion, was of the highest efficacy.
A unanimous decision, not a decision on the majority principle, was
required. The latter was a refinement, and an advance in polity, which
they had not certainly reached, although they seem inclined now to
follow it; and herein we may perceive the great power and efficacy of
their old decisions. These decisions were, in their effects, clothed
with all the power of the most full popular will. For what each of the
senatorial chiefs or delegates, and all the cantons, pronounced proper,
there was no one, in a patriarchal community, to lisp a word against.

So little power was abstracted from each tribe, and conceded to the
federative council as a fixed government, that it seems not without
scrutiny, that we can perceive there is _any_. This is, however,
certain. One of the six primary sachems, was selected to preside over
the general councils. His power was, however, exclusively of a civil
character, and extended but little beyond that of a moderator, but he
was a moderator for life, or during the time he retained the right
and full use of his faculties, or until just cause of dissatisfaction
should bring the question of a successor before the council. This head
officer, had also authority to light the council fire,—that is to
say, he could send messengers, and was if so desired, bound to send
messengers to assemble the general council. The act, and the symbol of
the act were both in his hands. He summoned the chiefs, and actually
lit the sacred fire, at whose blaze their pipes were lighted. Thus
limited, and having no other administrative power, but to appoint his
own Har-yar-do-ah, aid or pipe-bearer, and messengers, he enjoyed his
executive dignity; but had little more power when the sessions were
closed, than belonged to every leading chief of the component tribes.
He was himself bound to respect the messages of the tribal chiefs,
and receive the runners who were sent to him from the frontiers with
news, and he thus performed merely and exactly the will of each tribe,
thus expressed. He was never in advance of the popular will. The whole
hereditary machinery was made subservient to this. And he was limited
to the performance of these slender, and popular duties. He might,
it is true, if a man of eloquence, talents or bravery, be also the
ruling civil chief of his tribe, and furthermore, its war captain in
the field. And such is known to have actually been the character and
standing of Atotarho, the first presiding chief in their federative
councils. He was a man of energy and high renown. And such was the
estimation in which he was held in his life time, and the popular
veneration for his character after death, that as above denoted,
his name became the distinctive title for the office. Thus much is
preserved by tradition, and the office and title of the Atotarho as
presiding sachem, is not yet extinct, although the tribes have no
longer wars to prosecute, or foreign embassadors to reply to.

But how, it may be asked, is a government so purely popular, and so
simple and essentially advisory in its character, to be reconciled with
the laws of hereditary descent, fixed by the establishment of heraldic
devices, and bringing its proportion of weak and incompetent minds
into office, and with the actual power it exercised, and the fame it
acquired? To answer this question, and to shew how the aristocratic
and democratic principles were made to harmonize, in the Iroquois
government, it will be necessary to go back, and examine the law of
descent among the tribes, together with the curious and intricate
principles of the TOTEMIC BOND.

Nothing is more fully under the cognizance of observers of the manners
and customs of this people, than the fact of the entire mass of a
canton or tribe’s being separated into distinct clans, each of which
is distinguished by the name and device of some quadruped, bird, or
other object in the animal kingdom. This device is called, among
the Algonquins, (where the same separation into families or clans,
exists,) TOTEM, and we shall employ the term here, as being
already well known to writers. But while the Algonquins have made
no other use of it, but to trace consanguinity, or at least, remote
affinities of families, and while they have also separated into wild
independencies and tribes, who have assumed new tribal names, and
wandered and crossed each other’s track and boundaries in a thousand
ways, the Iroquois have turned it to account by assuming it as the very
basis of their political and tribal bond. How far fixity of territorial
possession and proximity of location may have favored or led to the
establishment of this new bond, need not be inquired into here, but,
while we express no opinion favorable to the remote antiquity of their
residence in the north, it must be evident that this tie would have
lost all its binding force if the Alleghanies, the Great Lakes, or
any other very wide geographical areas, had been interposed between
them, and thus interrupted frequent and full intercourse and united
action. A government wholly verbal, must be conceded to have required
this proximity and nearness of access. The Senecas may be selected as
an example of the influence of the Totemic bond. This canton is still
the most numerous of the existing Iroquois tribes. By the recent
census, the results of which accompany these papers, they number over
two thousand four hundred souls. This population is, theoretically,
separated into eight clans or original families, who are distinguished
respectively by the totems of the wolf, the bear, the turtle, the deer,
the beaver, the falcon, the crane and the plover. Theory at this time,
founded doubtless on actual consanguinity in their inceptive age, makes
these clans brothers. It is contrary to their usages that near kindred
should intermarry, and the ancient rule interdicts all intermarriage
between persons of the same clan. They must marry into a clan whose
totem is different from their own. A wolf or turtle male cannot marry a
wolf or turtle female. There is an interdict of consanguinity. By this
custom the purity of blood is preserved, while the tie of relationship
between the clans themselves is strengthened or enlarged.

But by far the most singular principle connected with totems, the
sign manual of alliance, is the limitation of descent exclusively to
the line of the female. Owing to this prohibition, a chieftain’s son
cannot succeed him in office, but in case of his death, the right of
descent being in the chief’s mother, he would be succeeded not by one
of his male children, but by his brother;[49] or failing in this, by
the son of his sister, or by some direct, however remote, descendant
of the maternal line. Thus he might be succeeded by his own grandson,
by a daughter, but not by a son. It is in this way that the line of
chieftainships is continually deflected or refreshed, and family
dynasties broken up.

[49] Thus Hendrick, who fell at the battle of Lake George, in 1755, was
succeeded, in the Mohawk canton, by his brother Abraham, and not by his

While the law of descent is fully recognized, the free will of the
female to choose a husband, from any of the other seven clans,
excluding only her own, is made to govern and determine the
distribution of political power, and to fix the political character
of the tribe. Another peculiarity may be here stated. The son of a
chief’s daughter is necessarily destined to inherit the honors of the
chieftainship; yet the validity of the claim must, on his reaching the
proper age, be submitted to and recognized by a council of the whole
canton. If approved, a day is appointed for the recognition, and he is
formally installed into office. Incapacity is always, however, without
exception, recognized as a valid objection to the approval of the

Had this law of descent prevailed among the Jews, whose customs have
been so often appealed to, in connection with our red race, neither
David nor Solomon would ever have sat on the throne. It would be easy,
did the purposes of this paper require it, to show by other references
the futility of the proofs, derived from the supposed coincidence of
customs, which have been brought forward with so much learning, and
so little of the true spirit of research, to prove the descent of the
American aborigines from that ancient and peculiar people. But if
theorists have failed on this ground, what shall we say of that course
of reasoning which lays much stress on the most slender evidences of
nativity, in the instance of the great Mohawk sachem, to prove the
superior chances of recurring talent in the line of hereditary descent,
and the legitimacy of his actual claims to the chieftainship, on the
score of paternal right?[50] Vide Appendix C., notes at Oneida Castle.

[50] This remark is not made to depreciate the literary merits of the
esteemed and lamented author of the Life of Brant, but as being simply
due to the cause of truth. Few men have better earned the respect and
remembrance of the public than William L. Stone, whose whole life was
an example of what energy and talents can achieve. It was not, indeed,
to be expected that the incessant duties of the diurnal press should
permit historical scrutiny into a matter, very obscure in itself, and
of which the details are only to be gleaned after laborious search at
remote points.

What was true of the totemic organization of the Senecas, was equally
so of the Mohawks, and of each of the other cantons. Each canton
consisted, like the Senecas, of the clans of the wolf, bear, turtle,
beaver, deer, falcon, plover and crane. But each of these clans were
increments of re-organizations of one of the eight original clans.
They were brothers, and appealed to their respective totems as a proof
of original consanguinity. They were entitled to the same rites of
hospitality, in the lodges of their affiliated totems abroad, that
they were entitled to at home. The affiliated mark on the lodge was
a sufficient welcome of entrance and temporary abode. It results,
therefore, that there were but eight original family clans, estimating
at the maximum number existing in six cantonal departments, or tribes,
and that the entire six tribes were bound together politically by these
eight family ties. As a matter of course, each clan was not equally
numerous in each tribe. This would depend on accidental circumstances
and natural laws; but it is an argument in favor of the antiquity of
the people, or the confederacy, that each of the tribes had organized
in each of the respective clans. For we cannot suppose that at first
there was a systematic, far less, an equal division of the clans,
or that their original separation into separate tribes, or cantons,
was the result of a considerate formal public act. This would be to
reverse the ordinary progress of tribes and nations who, in early ages,
separate from circumstances and causes wholly casual, such as the
ambition or feuds of chiefs, the desire of finding better places to
live, easier means of subsistence, &c.

In the condition of a people, living in a government so purely
patriarchal, following game for a subsistence, and making wars to
enlarge or defend their hunting grounds, the oldest and most respected
man of his clan or totem, would necessarily be its sachem or political
head. We must assume that to be a fixed and settled principle of their
simple constitution and verbal laws, which appears, from all we know,
to have been so. Letters, they had none, and their traditions on this
head are to be gleaned from scattered and broken sources which do not
always coincide.

If each clan had its leading sachem or chief, there were eight
principal chiefs in each canton. Consequently, when the confederacy
consisted of five cantons, there were forty Rakowanas,[51] or head
chiefs. These were the recognized leaders and magistrates in the
villages; but in effect, in a community thus constituted, each Rakowana
or ruling chief of a clan, has a number of aids, Mishinawas[52] and
minor officials, who were also regarded as semi-sachems, or chiefs.
This number is always indefinite and fluctuating, but may be supposed
to be, in relation to the ruling Rakowana, as at least five to one.

[51] Mohawk.

[52] Algonquin.

This would give to each canton forty inferior chiefs, and to the five
cantons, two hundred, denoting a distribution of power and civil
organization, which acting in union must have been very efficacious;
and the more so, when we consider that all their political movements
were entirely of a popular cast, and carried with them the voice of
every man in the canton.

This appears to have been the standing civil organization; but it was
entirely independent of the military system. War chiefs appear ever to
have derived their authority from courage and capacity in war, and to
have risen up as they were required in each canton. The Tekarahogea,
or war captain, founded his rights and powers in the Indian camp, on
former triumphs and present capacity; but the office does not appear
to have been a general one recognized by their constitution. All males
were bound to render military service by custom and opinion, but by
nothing else. Disgrace and cowardice were the penalties, but they were
penalties more binding than oaths or bonds among civilized communities,
and always kept their ranks full. All war parties were, of course,
volunteers. It seems that all able-bodied males over fourteen were
esteemed capable of taking the war path; the early development of
martial power being considered of all traits the most honorable. No
title was more honored than that of Roskeahragehte,[53] or Warrior.

[53] Mohawk.

There was no baggage to encumber the march of an Iroquois army.
The decision of Alexander and the policy of Bonaparte were alike
unnecessary here. Each Iroquois warrior supplied and carried his own
arms and provisions. He joined the war dance, the analogous term for
enlistment, for the particular expedition in hand. If it failed, or
another force was required, other captains called for other volunteers,
and sung their war songs to inflame the ardor of the young. Taunts
and irony of the deepest character were, on these occasions, flung at
the character of the enemy. The war chief lifted his tomahawk as if
actually engaged in combat, and in imagination he stamped his enemy
under foot, while he symbolically tore off his scalp, and uttered his
sharp Sasakwon,[54] or war whoop.

[54] Algonquin.

If it be inquired why this people, with so comparatively small a
population, carried their wars to such an extent, and acquired,
probably in no great time, so wide a sway and power over the other
tribes of the continent, the reply will appear, in a great measure, in
this efficient war organization. It may be said that other tribes had
the same principles. But these eastern and western tribes had feeble
or divided counsels. Each tribe was a sovereignty by itself, and their
powers were tasked by home wars, without attempts at remote conquest.
There is nothing to denote that the number of war chiefs was ever
settled or fixed. Time and chance determined this, as we observe it in
the Algonquin and other American stocks. Fixity, in the number of the
civil chiefs, was indeed rather a theory than an actuality, and the
number must have been perpetually fluctuating, according to obvious

But while the theory of the Iroquois government thus distributed
its powers between two classes of chiefs, one of which ruled in the
council, and the other in the field, there was a third power of
controlling influence in both, which respected, it is true, this
ancient theory, but which annulled, confirmed, originated, or set
aside all other power. I allude to the popular will as exercised by
the warriors. Whatever was proposed had to come under the voice of
the armed men, who had the free right, at all times, to assemble in
council, and put their approval or veto on every measure. Practically
considered, a purer democracy, perhaps, never existed. The chiefs
themselves had no power in advance of public sentiment, or else it was
their policy, as we see it at this day, to express no such power, but
rather to keep in abeyance of, or be the mere agents of the popular
will. In all negociations such absolute power is disclaimed by them.
Acting on principles of the highest diplomacy, they invariably defer
general answers, until a reference can be had to the warriors or men.
They risk nothing by taking grounds in doubtful positions in advance,
and the consequence is that the results of most Indian councils are

There was yet a reserved power in the Iroquois councils which deserves
to be mentioned. I allude to the power of the matrons. This was an
acknowledged power of a conservative character, which might, at all
times, be brought into requisition, whenever policy required it. And
it exists to-day as incontestibly as it did centuries ago. They were
entrusted with the power to propose a cessation of arms. They were
literally peace-makers. A proposition from the matrons to drop the war
club could be made without compromitting the character of the tribe for
bravery; and accordingly, we find, in the ancient organization, that
there was a male functionary, an acknowledged speaker, who was called
the representative or messenger of the matrons. These matrons sat in
council, but it must needs have been seldom that a female possessed
the kind of eloquence suitable to public assemblies; and beyond this
there was a sentiment of respect due to the female class, which led the
tribes, at their general organization, to create this office.

Councils, so organized—so perpetually and truly swayed by popular
will, gave the greatest scope for eloquence. Eloquence, in the
aborigines, takes the place entirely of books and letters. It is
the only means of acting on the multitude, and we find that it was,
from the earliest times, strenuously and successfully cultivated by
the Iroquois. By far the best and most abundant specimens of native
eloquence we possess are from this stock. And their history is replete
in proofs that they employed it, not only in their internal affairs
and negociations, but in teaching to appreciate their rights and the
principles of their government.

[_d._] Ancient Worship.


It was a striking peculiarity of the ancient religious system of the
Iroquois that, once a year, the priesthood supplied the people with
sacred fire. For this purpose, a set time was announced for the ruling
priest’s visit. The entire village was apprized of this visit, and
the master of each lodge was expected to be prepared for this annual
rite. Preliminary to the visit, his lodge fire was carefully put out
and ashes scattered about it, as a symbolic sign of desolation and
want. Deprived of this element, they were also deprived of its symbolic
influence, the sustaining aid and countenance of the supreme power,
whose image they recognized in the sun.

It was to relieve this want, and excite hope and animation in breasts
which had throbbed with dread, that the priest visited the lodge.
Exhibiting the insignia of the sacerdotal office, he proceeded to
invoke the Master of Life in their behalf, and ended his mission by
striking fire from the flint, or from percussion, and lighting anew
the domestic fire. The lodge was then swept and garnished anew, and a
feast succeeded.

This sacred service annually performed, had the effect to fix and
increase the reverence of the people for the priestly office. It acted
as a renewal of their ecclesiastical fealty; and the consequence was,
that the institution of the priesthood among these cantons was deeply
and firmly seated. Whether this rite had any connection with the
period of the solstices, or with the commencement of the lunar year,
is not known, but is highly probable. That men living in the open air,
who are regardful of the celestial phenomena, should not have noted
the equinoxes, is not probable. They must have necessarily known the
equinoxes by the observation of capes and mountains, which cast their
shadows from points and describe angles so very diverse at the periods
of the sun’s greatest recession, or return. Yet we know not that the
time of such extreme withdrawal and return marked and completed the
circle of the year. Their year was, in all the Algonquin tribes, a
lunar year. It consisted of thirteen moons, each of which is distinctly
named. Thirteen moons of 28 days each, counting from visible phase to
phase, make a year of 364 days, which is the greatest astronomical
accuracy reached by the North American tribes.

That the close of the lunar series should have been the period of
putting out the fire, and the beginning of the next, the time of
relumination, from new fire, is so consonant to analogy in the tropical
tribes, as to be probable.

The rite itself offers a striking coincidence, with that solemn
performance at the close of each year, by the Aztec priests, in the
valley of Mexico, and may not unreasonably be supposed to denote a
common origin for the belief. The northern tribes had, however, dropped
from the ritual, if it ever was in it, that of their remote ancestors,
the horrid rite so revolting in the Aztec annals, of _human sacrifice_.
For although prisoners were burned at the stake, this was not an act
of the priesthood. It was a purely popular effervescence of revenge
for losses of friends in war, or some other acts done by the enemy.
Such sacrifices appeased the popular cry—all classes, young and old,
rejoiced in them. They were looked on alone as an evidence of their
nation’s power; and by it the warriors also shewed their regard for
the relations of the bereaved. The widow of the warrior dried her
tears. The children rejoiced—they hardly knew why—it was the triumph
of the nation. And they were thus educated to regard the public burning
of prisoners as a proper and glorious deed. Women, indeed, rejoiced in
it apparently more than men. It seemed a solace for the loss of their
progeny. And all authors agree in attributing to the older females the
most extravagant and repulsive acts of participation and rejoicing in
these warlike rites.

[_e._] Witchcraft.

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 wizzards 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 wizzard 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. [D.]

While in Onondaga, James Gould, one of the original settlers on the
Military Tract, told me that he had been intimate with Webster, the
naturalized Onondaga, who told him many things respecting the ancient
laws and customs of this people. Amongst them there was a curious
reminiscence on the subject of witchcraft. Webster had heard this from
an aged Onondaga, whom he conversed with during a visit which he once
made to Canada. This Onondaga said that he had formerly lived near the
old church on the Kasonda creek, near Jamesville, where there was in
old times a populous Indian village. One evening, he said, whilst he
lived there, he stepped out of his lodge, and immediately sank in the
earth, and found himself in a large room, surrounded by three hundred
witches and wizzards. Next morning he went to the council and told the
chiefs of this extraordinary occurrence. They asked him whether he
could not identify the persons. He said he could. They then accompanied
him on a visit to all the lodges, where he pointed out _this_ and
_that_ one, who were marked for execution. Before this inquiry was
ended, a very large number of persons of both sexes were killed. He
said ——[55] hundred.

[55] Having doubts, I omit to fill this blank.

Another tradition says that about fifty persons were burned to death at
the Onondaga castle for witches. [D.]

The delusion prevailed among all the cantons. The last persons executed
for witchcraft among the Oneidas, suffered about forty years ago.
They were two females. The executioner was the notorious Hon Yost of
revolutionary memory. He entered the lodge, according to a prior decree
of the Council, and struck them down with a tomahawk. One was found in
the lodge; the other suffered near the lodge door. [B.]

[_f._] Wife’s Right to Property.

Marriage, among the Iroquois, appears to be a verbal contract between
the parties, which does not affect the rights of property. Goods,
personal effects, or valuables of any kind, personal or real, which
were the wife’s before, remain so after marriage. Should any of these
be used by the husband, he is bound to restore the property or its
worth, in the event of separation. It is not uncommon at present to
find a husband indebted to a wife for moneys loaned of her, derived
from payments or property, which she owned, and still owns, in her own
right; and it is a cause of union in some cases where, without this
obligation, a separation would probably ensue.

Marriage is therefore a personal agreement, requiring neither civil nor
ecclesiastical sanction, but not a union of the rights of property.
Descent being counted by the female may be either an original cause or
effect of this unique law.


In considering the subject of American antiquities it may facilitate
the object, to erect separate eras of occupancy, to which the facts
may be referred. Such a division of the great and almost unknown
period, which preceded the arrival of Europeans, will at least serve
as convenient points to concentrate, arrange and compare the facts and
evidences brought forward; and may enable the observer, the better to
proceed in any future attempts to generalize.

There appear to have been three eras in the aboriginal occupancy of the
continent, or more strictly speaking, three conditions of occupancy,
which may be conveniently grouped as eras, although the precise limits
of them, may be matters of some uncertainty. To make this uncertainty
less than it now is, and to erect these eras on probable foundations,
the proofs drawn from monuments, mounds, fortifications, ditches,
earth-works, barrows, implements of art, and whatever other kind of
evidence antiquity affords, may, it is thought, be gathered together in
something like this shape, namely:

1. Vestiges and proofs of the original era of the aboriginal migration
from other parts of the globe. These, so far as arts or evidences of
a material character are denoted, must necessarily be exceedingly
limited, if any, of undoubted authenticity, shall indeed now be found.
The departments of physiology, and philology, which have heretofore
constituted the principal topics of research, are still an attractive,
and by no means a closed field.

2. Proofs and vestiges of their continental migrations, wars,
affinities and general ethnological characteristics, prior to the
discovery of the continent. Such are the grouping of languages; the
similarity, or dissimilarity of arts, modes of defence, and means of

3. Proofs and vestiges of occupancy, change, and progress, subsequent
to the Columbian period.

With regard to the first era, it is almost wholly the subject of
general and profound scientific and philosophical investigations, which
require a union of great advantages for successful study. The second
and third eras, fall within the compass of ordinary observation. Both
kinds of proof may exist at the very same localities. They do not
necessarily imply diverse or remote geographical positions. We know
that some of the leading tribes, the Cherokees, (till within a few
years,) and the Iroquois, for instance, have continued to live in the
very same positions in which they were found by the first explorers.

As their chiefs and warriors died, they carried to their places of
burial, (such was the result of ancient and general custom,) those
kinds of ornaments, arms and utensils, which were the distinguishing
tokens of art, of the several eras in which they lived.

The coming of European races among them introduced fabrics of metal,
earths, enamels, glass, and other materials more or less durable, and
capable of resisting decomposition. These would necessarily take the
place of the aboriginal articles of stone and shell, before employed.

If, then, places of sepulture were permanent, the inquirer at the
present day would find the various fabrics of the second and the third
era, in the same cemeteries and burial grounds, and sometimes in the
same barrows and mounds.

Modes of defence would also alter by the introduction of the second
period. The simple ring-fort, with palisades, crowning a hill, which
would serve as a place of excellent defence, against bows and arrows
and clubs, would prove utterly useless, as the Tuscaroras found at
Naharuke in 1712, after the introduction of artillery. A trench to
obtain water, from a spring or creek, leading from one of the works
of the older period, might have been so covered as to afford full
protection from the simple aboriginal missiles. Besides this, the
combination of several tribes, as the Iroquois, the Algonquins,
the Eries, Alleghans and others, might render these simple forts,
defended with ditches, mounds, and otherwise, no longer necessary,
in the interior of their territory, after the time of such general
combinations or confederacies. And in this case, these works would be
deserted and become ruins, long before the period of the discovery.

It is affirmed by their traditions, that, in the older periods of their
occupancy of this continent, they were even obliged, or their fears
suggested the measure, to build coverts and forts to protect themselves
and families from the inroads of monsters, giants and gigantic animals.
We are not at liberty to disregard this, be the recitals symbolic or
true. Such places would afford convenient shelters for their women and
children, at the particular times of such inroads, while the warriors
collected to make battle against the common enemy. Whether this enemy
carried a huge paw or a spear we need not determine. The one was quite
as much an object of aboriginal terror as the other. Whatever be the
character of the antiquarian object to be examined, it will be well to
bear in mind these ancient and changing conditions of the aboriginal
population. If no absolute historical light be elicited thereby,
we shall be the more likely to get rid of some of the confessed
darkness enveloping the subject, and thus narrow the unsatisfying and
historically hateful boundaries of mystery.

In applying these principles to the antiquarian remains of the area
of western New-York, which has been a theme of frequent allusion and
description, at least since the life time of De Witt Clinton, it is
merely proposed to offer a few contributions to the store of our
antiquities, in the hope that other and abler hands may proceed in the

[_a._] Vestiges of an Ancient Fort or Place of Defence in Lenox,
Madison county.

Some years have elapsed since I visited this work,[56] and the plough
and spade may have further obliterated the lines, then more or less
fully apparent. But in the meantime no notice of it has been published.
The following outlines denote its extent and character.

[56] 1812.


A. indicates the lines of a picketed work. B. is an extensive plain,
covered with wild grass and some shrubbery, which had once been in
cultivation. The northern edge of this plain is traversed by a stream,
which has worn its bed down in the unconsolidated strata, so as to
create quite a deep gorge, C. This stream is joined from the west, by a
small run, having its origin in a spring, D. Its channel, at the point
of junction, is as deep below the level of the plain as the other.[57]
The point of junction itself forms a natural hornwork, which covered
access to the water. The angle of the plain, thus marked, constituted
the point defended. The excavations E. may have once been square.
They are now indentations, disclosing carbonaceous matter, as if from
the decay of wood. No wood, or coal, however, existed. Their use in
this position is not apparent, connected with the designated lines of
palisades, unless it be supposed that they were of an older period than
the latter, and designate pits, such as the aborigines used in defence.
This idea is favored by the ground being a little raised at this
point, and so formed that it would have admitted the ancient circular
Indian palisade. If such were the case, however, it seems evident that
the spot had been selected by the French, at an early period, when,
as is known, they attempted to obtain a footing in the country of
the Oneidas. The distance is less than ten miles northwest of Oneida
Castle. It probably covered a mission. The site, which my informant,
living near, called the OLD FRENCH FIELD, may be supposed to
have been cultivated by servants or traders connected with it.

[57] Some few miles below this stream is the site of an iron cupola or
blast furnace, where the red or lenticular oxyd is reduced.

The oak and maple trees, which once covered it, as denoted by the
existing forest, F. F., are such, in size and number, as to have
required expert axmen to fell.

With the exception of two points, in the Oneida Creek valley, where
there are still vestiges of French occupation, supported by tradition,
this work is the most easterly of those known, which remain to testify
the adventurous spirit, zeal and perseverance which marked the attempt
of the French crown to plant the flag and the cross in western New-York.

The bold nature of this scheme to colonize the country, and bring
the Iroquois to acknowledge their dependence upon France, and the
importance of the experiment and the issue, cannot be well conceived
without reference to the history of those times. Pending the famous
expedition of the Chevalier de Vandreiul, 1696, into the Iroquois
country, it is known that the Jesuit Milet was stationed among the
Oneidas, over whom he had so much influence, that soon after the
termination of this vain display of power, thirty Oneidas deserted to
the French, and desired that Milet might be appointed their pastor.[58]

[58] Colden’s Five Nations, p. 193.

[_b._] Ancient site of the Onondagas in the valley of the Kasonda, or
Butternut creek of Jamesville.

The fact that the ruins of a square fort, with extensive sub-lines
in the nature of an enclosure, had existed on the elevated grounds
on the right banks of this stream, a mile or two from Jamesville, at
the period of its first settlement, led me to visit it. There was the
more interest imparted to this well attested tradition of the present
inhabitants, by the accounts of the Onondagas, that this valley, in its
extent above and below Jamesville, was one of their earliest points
of settlement, prior to the era of their establishing their council
fire at Onondaga Hollow. The subjoined sketch, although not plotted
from actual measurement, will convey an idea of the relative position
and former importance of the principal features, geographical and
artificial, denoted.


A. indicates the site of the fort, which, at the time of my visit, was
covered with a luxuriant field of wheat, without a feature to denote
that it had ever been held under any other jurisdiction but that of
the plough. The farm which embraces it, is owned and occupied by Isaac
Keeler, who remarks that, at the time he came to settle here, the site
of the old fort was an extensive opening in the forest, bearing grass,
with some clumps of wild plumb trees, and a few forest trees. On this
opening, the first regiment of militia that ever paraded in Onondaga
county, met. It was commanded by MAJOR DE WITT, after whom the
township is now named.

About the year 1810, he felled an oak, near the site of the fort,
measuring two feet six inches in diameter. In recutting it for fire
wood, after it had been drawn to his door, a leaden bullet was found,
covered by one hundred and forty-three cortical layers. From its
position, embedded as it was in the compact wood, it was still some
distance to the heart of the tree. He thinks this tree may have been a
sapling when the bullet was fired. Whether this conjecture be true or
not, one hundred and forty-three years appear to have elapsed since the
bullet assumed its position. This would give A. D. 1667 as the era.

In 1666, the Governor of Canada concluded a treaty with the Onondaga
Iroquois, as is seen from the “Paris Documents” obtained by Mr.
Broadhead. Colden’s history of the Five Nations, which has been the
principal source of information heretofore, after a brief summary
of traditionary matter,[59] in the first chapter, opens with the
transactions in 1665. This matter is more fully and satisfactorily
stated by Charlevoix in his history of New France, from whom it is
presumable, Colden drew his information of the former power and
pre-eminence of the Adirondacks.

[59] The States General of Holland surrendered New-York to the English
crown in 1664.

During this year De Traci came out as viceroy of New-France, and
the same year Monsieur Coursel, who is notorious for his perfidy in
executing the Iroquois sachem, Agariata, arrived with the commission
of Governor-General of Canada. But there is little to be found bearing
directly on the subject before us.

It would appear from the journal of the Jesuit, Father Le Moyne, as
given in the missionary “Relacions,” that the country of the Onondagas
was not discovered and explored until the year 1653. Facts disclosed
by him in the same letter denote, however, prior negociations with
the French authorities, and we are probably to understand only that
as yet, no missionaries from his or any other order, had visited,
or been established amongst this tribe. In this view, and from the
incidental light which he throws on some other topics, such as the
new breaking out of the war with the Eries, the discovery of the salt
springs, and the existence of the buffalo in the country, this letter
is important to the early Iroquois history, and a translation of it is
hereto appended. It is certain that no mission or fort had then been
introduced. A footing may, however, have been gained by the French
within the next fourteen years, that is, at the time of the apparent
date of the existence of the old fort on the right banks of the

[60] Fire-arms began to be first introduced among the Iroquois in 1609,
the very year that Hudson explored the river now bearing his name. In
this year, Champlain, heading the Algonquins, with some regular troops,
in lake Corlear, (since called Champlain,) defeated the Mohawks by the
use of fire-arms.

Where history fails, we may appeal to tradition and to the proofs
drawn from antiquarian remains. Isaac Keeler, who is above mentioned,
exhibited to me one-half of the brass circle of a dial plate, three
inches (less two-tenths) in diameter, which had been ploughed up by
him on the site of the fort, or from that general area. This circle
had engraved, in good Roman characters, the numbers II, III, IV, V,
VI, VII, VIII. He likewise exhibited the box of a small brass pocket
compass, with a screw lid one inch and two-tenths in diameter. From
this instrument the needle had been removed and its place supplied by
vermillion, the highly prized war pigment of the Indians. When plowed
up and found at the bottom of a furrow, it was encrusted with oxide,
but restored by washing and friction to its original color and even
surface. On being opened, it was found to contain the pigment, of
which I examined a portion. It appeared to me to have been, not the
Chinese vermillion of the trade, but the duller red article, which is,
I believe, a peroxide of lead prepared by the Dutch.

Among the articles which he had preserved were the following:

1. A crucifix of brass of two inches in length, ornamented by a human
figure, and having a metallic loop for suspending it.

2. An octagonal medal, four-tenths of an inch, of the same material,
bearing a figure with the name “St. Agatha,” and the Latin word
“ora”—a part of the Gregorian chant.

3. A similar medal, five-tenths of an inch in length, with a figure,
inscribed “St. Lucia,” and the same fragment of a chant.

4. A rude medal of lead, an inch and four-tenths long, ovate, with the
figure of the Savior, as is supposed, being that of a person suspended
by the outstretched hands, however, and the figure of a serpent, as if
this form of temptation had been presented during his advent. On the
reverse, is a sitting figure, which bears most resemblance to a common
and characteristic position of one of the native priests or prophets.
Should this conjecture be correct, this figure may have been intended,
adopting the Indian method, to teach the office of the Savior by a
symbol. He is thus shown, however, to be merely the priest and prophet
of men—an idea which does not coincide with Catholic theology, and
which, if not enlarged and corrected by verbal teaching, would convey
no conception of his divine character and atonement, and thus leave
the Onondaga neophyte as essentially in the dark as before. To figure
the Savior as the great Jesukeed of men, as is done in this medal, is
indeed the most extraordinary and audacious act of which the history of
missions among rude nations affords any parallel. The novelty of this
feature in this apparently home-wrought model, gives it a claim to be
hereafter figured.

5. An iron horse-shoe, four and a half inches long nearly, and five
inches, lacking two-tenths, broad, with three elongated nail holes in
each side, and a clumsy steel cork, partially worn. The peculiar fabric
of this shoe, its clumsiness and spread, and the little mechanical
skill which it evinces in the hammering and general make, denote it to
be very clearly the workmanship of a Canadian blacksmith, such as a
rude Canadian blacksmith is still to be witnessed, in the lake country,
and to have been, at the same time, intended for the unfarriered hoofs
of the Canadian horse.

6. A pair of iron strap hinges, common and coarse. These my informant
had turned to account, by employing them to hang the little gate which
led, through a small flower plat, to his dwelling house. See figure F.

These articles have been selected for notice from many of more common
occurrence, such as beads of coarse paste, enamel and glass, of various
sizes and colors, which are evidently of European make. My informant
further stated that a blacksmith’s anvil, vice, horn, and almost every
other article of a smith’s shop, had been from time to time found on
the site or in the vicinity, but there was nothing of this kind in his
possession. On the south declivity of the hill, near the present road
leading east to Pompey hill, there is a spring still sheltered with
shrubbery, which he supposes furnished the fort with water.

This fort constitutes but a part of the very marked evidences of former
occupancy by man in a civilized state, and in a forgotten age, which
occur in this portion of Onondaga, chiefly in the present towns of
Pompey, Lafayette, Dewitt, Camillus and Manlius. For such of these
evidences as did not pass under my personal notice, reference is made
to letter C in the documentary appendix. Other observed localities and
facts derived from other witnesses, illustrating the character of this
fort, and of the ancient Indian settlements in the Kasonda valley, are
marked H in the annexed sketch.

In this plate B denotes the site of an ancient Onondaga town or
village, immediately on the banks of the stream, where water could be
readily obtained for all purposes. C is the locality of the cemetery
used at the period, on the ascending grounds on the north banks of the
stream. It constitutes a well marked transverse ridge. Immediately west
of it rises a natural mound, marked D, of large size, nearly conical
in its shape, and terminating in a flat surface or plain, of an ovate
border, some twelve by seventeen paces. James Gould, the proprietor
of the land, who, from his residence, guided me to the spot, remarks
that this conical hill, was formerly covered with a hard wood forest,
similar in its species to those of the surrounding country, with the
exception of a spot, some four or five paces diameter on its apex. This
spot was, however, completely veiled from sight by the overtopping
trees until the arcanum was entered. From the peculiar character of
this eminence, and its relative position to the village and burial
ground, it may be supposed to have been the site of the seer’s lodge,
from which he uttered his sacred responses.

Speaking of the old fort of Kasonda, this informant remarked, that when
he came into the country, its outlines could still be traced, that it
was a square fort, with bastions, and had streets within it. It had
been set round with cedar pickets, which had been burned to the ground.
Stumps of these ancient palisades were struck by the plough. It is on
this testimony, which at the same time, denotes a violent destruction
of the work, that the geometrical figure of it, represented in A, is
drawn. He had, I think, been in the revolutionary army, and drawn his
bounty lands, as many of the original settlers on the military tract
had done. He knew therefore, the import of the military terms he

In a collection of aboriginal antiquarian articles at his house, he
permitted me to make drawings of any taken from the fort grounds, or
disinterred from ancient Indian graves, which appeared to me to merit
it. Of these, but a few are pertinent to the present inquiry. These are
as follows:

Number 1, represents an antique collar or medal, [Nabikoágun,] wrought
out of sea shell. It is crossed with two parallel, and two horizontal
lines, ornamented with dots, and dividing the surface into four equal
parts. An orifice exists for introducing a string to suspend it about
the neck. This species of article, is found in Indian graves of the
period preceding the discovery of the continent, or not extending more
than one or two generations into the new period. It was probably an
elegant ornament when bright and new, and exhibiting the natural color
and nacre of the shell. Inhumation has so far served to decompose
the surface, as to coat it with a limy or chalky exterior, which
effervesces in mineral acids. By scraping deep into it, the shelly
structure is detected. This kind of ornament, varying much in size,
was probably soon replaced by the metallic gorget and medal introduced
by the trade, and has long been unknown both to Indians and traders.
I found it first in Indian cemeteries of the west, without, however,
for some time suspecting its real nature, supposing it some variety of
altered pottery, or enamel paste; but have since traced it over the
entire area of the ancient occupation of western New-York, and, so far
as examined, of Canada.

No. 2. A stone ring, one inch and two-tenths in diameter, made
of a dark species of somewhat hard steatite or slaty rock. Its
characteristic trait is found in its adaptation to the middle finger,
(of a male) and its having eleven distinct radiating lines.

No. 3. A globular bead or amulet, [Minace,] of sea shell one inch and a
half in diameter, solid and massy, having an orifice for suspending it.
It is slightly ovate. Its structure from shell, is distinctly marked.
Like the flat medal-shaped Nabikoágun (No. 1.) of the same material,
it has a limy coating from the effects of partial decomposition. In
the remaining features of the sketch, referred to, letters G. G.,
denote ancient remains of a European character in the contiguous part
of the town of Pompey, which are more particularly described in the
documentary appendix.

E. represents the Twin Mounds, two natural formations of fine gravel
and other diluvial strata, situated on the south side of the creek, on
the farm of Jeremiah Gould. These mounds are conspicuous features in
the landscape, from their regularity, and position on elevated grounds,
as well as from their connection with the ancient Indian history of
the valley. These pyramidal heaps of earth are connected, by a neck of
earth, in the manner represented. They exhibit the appearance of having
been cleared of the forest, almost entirely, at an ancient date. The
surface exhibits numerous pits or holes, which excite the idea of their
having served as a noted locality for the Indian Assenjigun, or pit for
hiding or putting _en cache_, corn or other articles, to preserve it
from enemies, or as a place of deposit during temporary absences from
the village. There can, I think, be little question that this was the
true use and relation these geological eminences bore to the ancient
town on the Kasonda, marked B. Such, too, is the general impression
derived from local tradition. Some years ago, a skeleton was exhumed
from one of these _caches_.

[_c._] Antiquities of Pompey and adjacent parts of Onondaga county.

No part of western New-York has furnished a larger number of
antiquarian remains, or been more often referred to, than the
geographical area which constituted the original town of Pompey. There
is, consequently, the less need of devoting elaborate attention to
the details of this particular locality. It was first visited and
described by De Witt Clinton, in 1810-11,[61] and the plough has since
rendered it a task less easy than it then was, to examine the lines of
its ancient works and its archæological remains. It is quite evident,
from the objects of art disclosed at and about these antique sites of
security and defence, that civilized man dwelt here in remote times,
and there must be assigned to this part of the State a period of
European occupancy prior to the commonly received historical era of
discovery and settlement, or, at least, if falling within it, as there
is now reason to believe, yet almost wholly unknown, or forgotten in
its annals. Sismondi has well remarked, that only the most important
events come down to posterity, and that fame, for a long flight,
prepares to forget every thing which she possibly can. That no accounts
should remain of obscure events, in a remote part of the country, at
an early date, is not surprising. As it is, we must infer both the
dates and the people, from such antiquarian remains of works of art and
historical comparisons as can be obtained.

[61] Trans. of Philo. and Lit. Society of New-York.

There appear to have been two or three nations, who supplied very early
visitors or residents to ancient Onondaga, namely, the Dutch, French
and Spanish, the latter as merely temporary visitors or explorers.
Both the Dutch and the French carried on an early trade here with the
Iroquois. It is most probable, that there are no remains of European
art, or have ever been any disclosed, in this part of the country,
one only excepted,[62] which are not due to the early attempts of the
Dutch and French, to establish the fur trade among these populous and
powerful tribes. To some extent, missionary operations were connected
with the efforts of both nations. But whatever was the stress laid
on this subject, by Protestants or Catholics, neither object could
be secured without the exhibition of firearms and certain military
defences, such as stockades and picketed works, with gates, afforded.
No trader could, in the 16th and 17th centuries, securely trust his
stock of goods, domestic animals, (if he had any,) or his own life, in
the midst of fierce and powerful tribes, who acknowledged no superior,
and who were, besides, subject to the temporary excitement created by
the limited use of alcohol. For we can assign absolutely no date to
the early European intercourse with these tribes, in which there was
no article of this kind, more or less, employed. Probably we should
not have been left, as we are, to mere conjectures, on this subject,
at least between the important dates of 1609 and 1664, had not the
directors of the State paper office in Holland decided, in 1820, to
sell the books and records of the Dutch West India company, as waste

[62] Antique stone with an inscription, Albany Academy.

[63] Vide Mr. Brodhead’s report.

In examining the archæology of this part of New-York, we are,
therefore, to look for decisive proofs of the early existence of this
trade in the hands of the two powers named. The Dutch were an eminently
commercial people, at the epoch in question, and pursued the fur trade
to remote parts of the interior, at an early date. They had scarcely
any other object at the time but to make this trade profitable.
Settlements and cultivation was a business in the hands of patroons,
and was chiefly confined to the rich vallies and intervales of the
southern parts of the State. They were, at the same time, too sagacious
to let any thing interrupt their good understanding with the natives;
and on this account, probably, had less need of military defences
of a formidable kind than the French, who were a foreign power. It
was, besides, the policy of New-France,—a policy most perseveringly
pursued,—to wrest this trade, and the power of the Indians, from the
hands of the Dutch and their successors, the English. They sought
not only to obtain the trade, but they intrigued for the territory.
They also made the most strenuous endeavors to enlist the minds of
the Indians, by the ritual observances of the Romish church, and to
propagate among the Iroquois its peculiar doctrines. They united in
this early effort the sword, the cross, and the purse.

Were all the libraries of Europe and America burned and totally
destroyed, there would remain incontestible evidences of each of the
above named efforts, in the metallic implements, guns, sword-blades,
hatchets, locks, bells, horse-shoes, hammers, paste and glass beads,
medals, crucifixes and other remains, which are so frequently turned up
by the plough in the fertile wheat and cornfields of Onondaga.

Looking beyond this era, but still found in the same geographical area,
are the antiquities peculiar to the Ante-Columbian period, and the
age of intestine Indian wars. These are found in various parts of the
State, in the ancient ring forts, angular trenches, moats, barrows, or
lesser mounds, which constituted the ancient simple Indian system of

This era is not less strongly marked by the stone hatchets, pestles,
fleshing instruments, arrow-heads and javelins of chert and hornstone;
amulets of stone, bone and sea-shells, wrought and unwrought; needles
of bone, coarse pottery, pipes, and various other evidences of antique
Indian art. The practice of interring their favorite utensils,
ornaments and amulets with the dead, renders their ancient grave-yards,
barrows and mounds the principal repositories of these arts. They are,
in effect, so many museums of antiquity.

The field for this species of observation is so large and attractive to
the antiquarian, that far more time than was at my command, would be
required to cultivate it. Early in the present year, Mr. Joshua V. V.
Clark visited some of the principal scenes mentioned. Subsequently, at
my suggestion and solicitation, he re-visited the same localities and
extended his inquiries to others of an interesting character, in the
county of Onondaga, descriptions of which are presented under letter
[C] of the documentary appendix.

[_d._] Ancient fortification of Osco,[64] at Auburn, Cayuga County.

[64] This ancient name for the site of Auburn, was communicated to me
by the intelligent Onondaga Taht-kaht-ons, or Abraham Le Fort. It is
descriptive of the ford or crossing place, which anciently existed
above the falls, near the site of the present turnpike bridge. This
was crossed by stepping stones, &c. The barks, which made a part of a
rude Indian bridge, were, at the time the name was bestowed, nearly
overflowed; the crossing was very dangerous, as it was just above the
brink of the falls, and it was an act of daring to pass over. The name
bestowed at this time became perpetual, although there may have been
but little danger in crossing afterwards.

The eminence called “Fort Hill,” in the southwestern skirts of the
village of Auburn, has attracted notice from the earliest times. Its
height is such as to render it a very commanding spot, and crowned,
as it was, with a pentagessimal work, earthen ramparts and palisades
of entire efficacy against Indian missiles, it must have been an
impregnable stronghold during the periods of their early intestine
wars. The following diagram, drawn by James H. Bostwick, surveyor, and
obligingly furnished by S. A. Goodwin, Esq. exhibits its dimensions:


The site of this work is the highest land in the vicinity, and a visit
to it affords one of the best and most varied views of the valley of
the Owasco, and the thriving and beautiful inland town of Auburn, with
its public buildings, prison,[65] and other noted public edifices. The
ellipsis enclosed by the embankments, with their intervening spaces,
has a circumference of 1200 feet. Its minor dimensions are as follows,

[65] One of the most striking evidences of that tendency of the surface
limestone stratification of western New-York to assume a fissured
character, marked by the cardinal points, is seen in the banks of the
Owasco, a short distance below the State prison.

  From A. to M.,  310  feet.
    “  B. to L.,  416   “
  Opening at A.,  166   “
     “       B.,   66   “
     “       C.,   78   “
     “       D.,   60   “
     “       E.,   50   “
     Wall at F.,  275   “
     “       G.,  145   “
     “       H.,  278   “
     “       I.,   52   “
     “       K.,   30   “

Viewed as a military work, the numerous breaks or openings in the wall,
marked from A. to C., constitute rather its characteristic trait. They
are of various and irregular widths, and it seems most difficult to
decide why they are so numerous. If designed for egress or regress,
they are destitute of the principle of security, unless they were
defended by other works of destructible material, which have wholly
disappeared. The widest opening [of 166 feet,] opens directly north,
the next in point of width [78 feet,] directly south; but in order to
give these or any of the other spaces the character of entry or sally
ports, and, indeed, to render the entire wall defensible, it must have
had palisadoes.

Immediately below the openings at E. D. C., and a part of the
embankment F., there are a series of deep ravines, separated by acute
ridges, which must have made this part of the work difficult of
approach. In front of the great (north) opening, the ground descends
gradually about seventy feet, when there is a perfect acclivity. The
hill has its natural extension towards the east, for several hundred
yards, in the course of which, a transverse depression in the surface
separates the eastern terminus of the ridge from its crown at the site
of the fort.

It is not known that excavations have been made for antiquarian
remains, so that there is no accessory light to be derived from this
source. The entire work conforms to the genius and character of the
red races who occupied the Ohio valley, and who appear to have waged
battle for the possession of this valuable part of the country, prior
to the era of the discovery of America, and ere the Iroquois tribes had
confederated and made themselves masters of the soil. That the art of
defence by field works was cultivated by the ancient American tribes,
is denoted by their traditions, as well as by the present state of our
antiquarian knowledge. This art did not aspire to the construction of
bastions, at the intersection of two right angled lines, by means of
which a length of wall might have been enfiladed with arrows. Even
where the works were a square or parallelogram, of which there are
one or two instances among the oldest class of forts, such an obvious
advantage in defence does not appear to have occurred. Fire, and the
coal chisel, or digger, were the ready means of felling trees and of
dividing the trunks into suitable lengths for palisades. To heap a pile
of earth _within and without_ such lines, was the mode adopted by the
Tuscaroras at the siege of Naharuke, in 1712, and it is probable that
this _then_ powerful and warlike nation had inherited much of the skill
in fort building possessed by their northern predecessors.

The chief point, in addition to its numerous breaks in the wall,
before noticed, in which this work differs from the generality of
antique native forts of the oldest period in this State, is its very
well preserved elliptical form. A circle is the usual form of the
antique forts of Indian origin in western New-York; and these works are
generally placed on the apex of a hill, covered by ravines as a natural
moat, or they occupy an eminence which commanded other advantages. For
the original communication and survey, above referred to, see letter
E., documentary appendix.

[_e._] 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 strong-hold
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 only portions
of the ancient wall yet remaining, are indicated by the letters B.
B. At A, a dwelling house has been erected, flanked by gardens. C,
is a turnpike or rectangular town road, passing over the apex of the
elevation. The dotted angular lines denote fields in cultivation,
and the dotted ellipses, through these grounds, are laid down from
tradition, rather than from any well defined vestiges in these fields
of the original wall yet visible. D,D, represents a native forest.
Judging from the curves of the portions of wall entire at B,B, in
connection with the era pointed out by the occupant, this work may have
had a circumference of one thousand feet. It occupied a commanding
site. The sections of the wall remaining, denote the labor of many
hands, and if this rampart was crowned with palisades, and secured in
the usual manner with gates, it must not only have furnished a garrison
to a large body of warriors, but have been a work of much strength.

In excavating the grounds for the road, in the approach to the village,
human bones were found, in considerable quantities, on the descent
of the hill, together with some of the usual vestiges of ancient
Indian art, as evinced in the manufacture of stone and clay pipes and
implements. Nothing of this kind had, however, been preserved, which
appeared worthy of particular description.

[_c._] Ancient entrenchments on Fort Hill, near Le Roy, Genesee county.

The following diagram of this work has been drawn from a pen-sketch,
forwarded by the Rev. Mr. Dewey, of Rochester.


The work occurs on an elevated point of land formed by the junction of
a small stream, called Fordham’s brook, with Allen’s creek, a tributary
of the Genesee river. Its position is about three miles north of the
village of Le Roy, and some ten or twelve northeast of Batavia. The
best view of the hill, as one of the natural features of the country,
is obtained a short distance north of it, on the road from Bergen to Le

To attain a proper conception of its susceptibilities and capacity,
as the site of a work of defence, it is essential to conceive the
country, for some distance, to have had the level of the extreme plain,
forming the highest part of the fort. The geological column of this
plain, after passing down through the unconsolidated strata, appears
to be composed of various strata of corniferous limestone, Onondaga or
hydraulic limestone, and perhaps Medina sandstone. Geological causes,
originating, so far as we can immediately perceive, in the two streams
named, have cut down this series of stratifications, on the north,
east and west, unequally, to the depth of some eighty or ninety feet,
isolating the original plain, on three sides, by the vallies of Allan’s
creek and Fordham brook. Availing themselves of this heavy amount of
natural excavation, the ancient occupants of it further strengthened
its position, by casting up a wall and ditch along the brow of the two
vallies, at the points of their junction, from A. to B., 60 rods; from
A. to D., 30 rods; and from B. to C. 15 rods. This is as much of the
embankment as now remains; but tradition adds, that, on the earliest
occupancy of the county, there were evidences that the work had been
continued south from the extreme points, C. and D., and connected by
an enclosure, parallel to A. B., which would have given it a regular
quadrangular shape. The encroachments of the respective vallies, at C.
and D., now terminate the trench. And if we concede that geological
changes of this kind must have required some time for their production,
by the present power of action possessed by the streams named, it is
an argument for the antiquity of the work. But, however antique, it
was still the effort of a rude, and at best half civilized people, at
an epoch when bows and arrows, clubs, spears and stones, and the stone
_casse-tete_,[66] were the principal weapons of defence. For these are
the chief objects of antiquarian interest dug from the ground. There
are also disclosed by the place or its vicinity, the amuletum archæus
and other amulets of sea shell, bone and fossil stone, which were
so much prized by the ancient red races of this continent, by whom
they were manufactured, and exclusively used before the era of the
discovery. That the spot continued, however, whether a ruin or not, to
be visited or occupied, after this era, is proved by some remains of
art, which were found here and described by Mr. Follet, in a letter,
which constitutes a valuable part of the materials employed in this
description. [See appendix.] But the most remarkable and distinctive
trait connected with its archæology is the discovery of human bones
denoting an uncommon stature and development, which are mentioned in
the same communication. A humerus or shoulder bone, which is preserved,
denotes a stature one-third larger than the present race, and there is
also a lower jaw bone, preserved by a physician at Batavia, from the
vicinity, which indicates the same gigantic measure of increase.

[66] I find the French word casse-tete more exactly descriptive of the
probable and exclusive uses of the antique stone tomahawk, than any
other which has been met with. The shape of this warlike instrument
resembled strongly the ancient crossbill. It presents the figure of
a crescent, tapering gradually to the ends, which are rounded, and
proceed to a sharp point. In the concave centre of the crescent is
an orifice for a helve. It is an instrument denoting skill, and the
possession of some mechanical tool for carving it harder than the
dark silecious slate, from which it is generally made. One of these
instruments, sent to me by Mr. Follet, of Batavia, and which, from an
inscription, was found “in that vicinity by Jerome A. Clark, Esq. on
the 16th May, 1844,” is worthy the chisel of a sculptor.

To supply the fort with water, a trench was continued about fifteen
rods, from B at the northeast angle to E, in order to reach a spring
below the declivity. In the isolated portion of the hill, marked F.
haiks of moderate sized round stones have been found, which were
probably one of the ancient means of defence. This spot, from the
remains found, appears also to have been an ancient place of burial.
Among the articles exhumed, were several curious pipes of stone and
earthenware. One of these was formed out of granular limestone; another
was of baked clay in the form of a man’s head and face, the nose, eyes
and other features being depicted in a style resembling some of the
figures in Mr. Stephens’ plates of the ruins of Central America. The
top of the head is surrounded by a fillet; on the occipital part are
also two fillets. The neck has a similar ornament, and there is another
on the breast. The orifices of the ears are denoted, and the whole
evinces no little degree of art. This is the most curious relic found.

Another pipe of reddish baked clay is ornamented with dots; two rows of
which extend round it, and another in festoons, like a chain looped up.

Other parts of the topography are denoted by the plot. Q, W, is Allen’s
creek. H, I, K, Fordham’s brook. L, P, M, a branch of Fordham’s brook.
R, N, V, denote the road, which passes through the centre of the work.
A former road led from U down the ravine to T. There was formerly a
bridge at N, to cross the ditch. This trench was estimated by early
observers at from eight to ten feet deep, and as many wide. The earth
in making it, had been thrown either way, but much of it inwards.
Forest trees were standing, both in the trench and on its sides. In
size and age they appeared to be equal to the general growth of the
forest. Prostrate upon the ground, there were found numerous trunks
of the heart-wood of black cherry trees of large size. These were
evidently the remains of a more antique forest, which had preceded
the existing growth of beech and maple. They were in such a state of
soundness as to be employed for timber by the first settlers.

There were no traditions among the Indians of the country respecting
the use and design of this work. It was to them, as to the first
settlers, an object of mystery. About half a mile below the hill,
Allen’s creek has a fall of some eighty feet. It is a perpendicular
fall of much beauty. At this place the hydraulic limestone is seen to
be the underlying rock. This rock had also been struck in excavating
the north line of the trench, on “Fort Hill,” and some portions of it
had been thrown out with the earth.

Such are the interesting facts communicated to me, by the gentlemen
whose names have been mentioned. The notice of the present altered
state of the site, and the following just reflections naturally
springing from the subject, may be stated in the exact words of Dr.

“The forest has been removed. Not a tree remains on the quadrangle, and
only a few on the edge of the ravine on the west. By cultivating the
land, the trench is nearly filled in some places, though the line of
it is clearly seen. On the north side the trench is considerable, and
where the road crosses it, is three or four feet deep at the sides of
the road. It will take only a few years more to obliterate it entirely,
as not even a stump remains to mark out its line.

“From this view it may be seen or inferred,

“1. That a real trench bounded three sides of the quadrangle. On the
south side there was not found any trace of trench, palisadoes, blocks,

“2. It was formed long before the whites came into the country. The
large trees on the ground and in the trench, carry us back to an early

“3. The workers must have had some convenient tools for excavation.

“4. The direction of the sides may have had some reference to the four
cardinal points, though the situation of the ravines naturally marked
out the lines.

“5. It cannot have been designed merely to catch wild animals to be
driven into it from the south. The oblique line down to the spring is
opposed to this supposition, as well as the insufficiency of such a
trench to confine the animals of the forest.

“6. The same reasons render it improbable that the quadrangle was
designed to confine and protect domestic animals.

“7. It was probably a sort of fortified place. There might have been a
defence on the south side by a _stockade_, or some similar means, which
might have entirely disappeared.

“By what people was this work done?

“The articles found in the burying-ground at F, offer no certain reply.
The axes, chisels, &c. found on the Indian grounds in this part of the
State, were evidently made of the greenstone or trap, of New-England,
like those found on the Connecticut river in Massachusetts. The pipe
of limestone might be from that part of the country. The pipes seem to
belong to different eras.

“1. The limestone pipe indicates the work of the savage or aborigines.

“2. The third indicates the age of French influence over the Indians.
An intelligent French gentleman says such clay pipes are frequent among
the town population in parts of France.

“3. The second and most curious, seems to indicate an earlier age and

“The beads found at Fort Hill are long and coarse, made of baked clay,
and may have had the same origin as the third pipe.

“Fort Hill cannot have been formed by the French as one of their posts
to aid in the destruction of the English colonies. In 1689, or 156
years ago, the French in Canada made serious attempts to destroy the
English colony of New-York. If the French had made Fort Hill a post as
early as 1660, or 185 years ago, and then deserted it, the trees could
not have grown to the size of the forest generally in 1810, or in 150
years afterwards. The white settlements had extended ‘only twelve miles
west of Avon’ in 1798, and some years after 1800, Fort Hill was covered
with a dense forest. A chestnut tree cut down in 1842, at Rochester,
showed 254 concentric circles of wood, and must have been more than 200
years old in 1800. So opposed is the notion that this was a deserted
French post.

“Must we not refer Fort Hill to that race, which peopled this country
before the Indians, who raised so many monuments greatly exceeding the
power of the Indians, and who lived at a remote era?”

[_g._] Antique rock citadel of Kienuka, in Lewiston, Niagara county.

In the preceding sketches, evidences have been presented of the
readiness and good judgment of the aboriginal fort builders of western
New-York,[67] in availing themselves of steeps, gulfs, defiles, and
other marked localities, in establishing works for security or defence.
This trait is, however, in no case more strikingly exemplified than in
the curious antique work before us, which is called, by the Tuscaroras,
KIENUKA. The term Kienuka is said to mean the stronghold or
fort, from which there is a sublime view. It is situated about three
and a half or four miles eastward of the outlet of the Niagara gorge at
Lewiston, on a natural escarpment of the ridge.

[67] It is not without something bordering on anachronism, that
this portion of the continent is called New-York, in reference to
transactions not only before the bestowal of the title, in 1664,
but long before the European race set foot on the continent. Still
more inappropriate, however, was the term of New-Netherland, i. e.
New-Lowland, which it bore from 1609 to 1664, many parts of the State
being characterized by lofty mountains, and all having an elevation
of many hundreds of feet above the sea. In speaking of these ancient
periods, a title drawn from the native vocabulary would better accord
with the period under discussion, if not with the laws of euphony. But
the native tribes were poor generalizers, and omitted to give generic
names to the land. The term of Haonao for the continent, or “island,”
as they call it, occurs, but this would have no more pertinence
applied to New-York, than to any other portion of it. The geographical
feature most characteristic of the State, is NIAGARA, and
next in prominence, ONTARIO, and either would have furnished
a better cognomen for the State, had they been thought of in season.
But it is too late now to make the change, and even for the remote era
alluded to, the name under which the country has grown great, is to be
preferred. It is already the talismanic word for every honorable and
social reminiscence.

This ridge, which rises in one massy, up-towering pile, almost
perpendicularly, on the brink of the river, developes itself, as we
follow its course eastward for a mile or two, in a second plateau,
which holds nearly a medium position in relation to the altitude of the
ridge. This plateau attains to a width of a thousand yards or more,
extending an unexplored distance, in the curving manner of the ridge,
towards Lockport. Geologically considered, its upper stratum is the
silurian limestone, which in the order of superposition, immediately
overlies the red shaly sandstone at the falls. Its edges are jagged and
broken, and heavy portions of it have been broken off, and slid down
the precipice of red shaly under grit, and thus assumed the character
of debris. Over its top, there has been a thin deposit of pebble drift,
of purely diluvial character, forming, in general, not a very rich
soil, and supporting a growth of oaks, maples, butternut, and other
species common to the country. From the ascent of the great ridge,
following the road from Lewiston to Tuscarora village, a middle road
leads over this broad escarpment, following, apparently, an ancient
Indian trail, and winding about with sylvan irregularity. Most of
the trees appear to be of second growth; they do not, at any rate,
bear the impress of antiquity, which marks the heavy forests of the
country. Occasionally there are small openings, where wigwams once
stood. These increase as we pass on, till they assume the character of
continuous open fields, at the site of the old burying ground, orchard
and play ground of the neighboring Tuscaroras. The soil in these
openings appears hard, compact and worn out, and bears short grass. The
burial ground is filled almost entirely with sumach, giving it a bushy
appearance, which serves to hide its ancient graves and small tumuli.
Among these are two considerable barrows, or small elliptic mounds,
the one larger than the other, formed of earth and angular stones. The
largest is not probably higher than five feet, but may have a diameter
of twenty feet, in the longest direction.

Directly east of this antique cemetery, commences the old orchard and
area for ball playing, on which, at the time of my visit, the stakes or
goals were standing, and thus denoted that the ancient games are kept
up on these deserted fields, by the youthful population of the adjacent
Tuscarora village. A small ravine succeeds, with a brook falling into a
gulf, or deep break in the escarpment, where once stood a saw mill, and
where may still be traced some vestiges of this early attempt of the
first settlers to obtain a water power from a vernal brook. Immediately
after crossing this little ravine, and rising to the general level
of the plain, we enter the old fields and rock fortress of Kienuka,
described in the following diagram.


To obtain a proper conception of this plan, it is necessary to advert
to geological events, in this part of the country, whose effects are
very striking. The whole country takes an impress, in some degree, from
the great throe which worked out a passage for the Niagara, through
seven miles of solid rock, severing, at its outlet, the great coronal
ridge, at its highest point of elevation. Nothing, we think, is more
evident to the observer, in tracing out the Kienuka plateau, than the
evidences which exist of Lake Ontario having washed its northern edge,
and driven its waters against its crowning wall of limestone. The fury
of the waves, forced in to the line of junction, between the solid
limestone and fissile sandstone, has broken up and removed the latter,
till the overlying rock, pressed by its own gravity, has been split,
fissured or otherwise disrupted, and often slid in vast solid masses
down the ragged precipice. Kienuka offers one of the most striking
instances of this action. The fissures made in the rock, by the partial
withdrawal of its support, assume the size of cavern passages; they
penetrate, in some instances, under other and unbroken masses of the
superior stratum, and are, as a whole, curiously intersected, forming a
vast reticulated area, in which large numbers of men could seek shelter
and security.

A. denotes the apex of this citadel of nature. At this point, heavy
masses of the limestone, rest, in part, upon the fissures, and serve as
a covering. From these primary fissures, others, marked C. C. C. C. C.,
proceed. The distance from G. to H. is 227 paces. The cross fissure at
I., thirty-seven paces.

Most of these fissures which extend in the general parallel of the
brink appear to have been narrow, and are now covered with the sod, or
filled with earth and carbonaceous matter, which gives this portion
of them the aspect of ancient trenches. D. denotes a small mound or
barrow. E. F., a brook, dry at midsummer. B. the site of an abandoned
saw-mill, at the head of an ancient lake inlet or gorge. The arrow
head denotes the site of habitations, which are marked by remains of
pottery, pipes, and other evidences of the ancient, rude arts of the
occupants. The parallel dots at B. mark the road, which, at this point,
crosses the head of the gorge. Trees, of mature growth, occupy some
portions of the brink of the precipice, extending densely eastward,
and obscure the view, which would otherwise be commanding, and fully
justify the original name. Directly in front, looking north, at the
distance of seven or eight miles, extends the waters of Lake Ontario,
at a level of several hundred feet below. The intermediate space,
stretching away as far as the eye can trace it, east and west, is one
of the richest tracts of wheat land in the State, cultivated in the
best manner, and settled compactly, farm to farm. Yet such to the eye
is the effect of the reserved woodlands on each farm, seen at this
particular elevation, that the entire area, to the lake shore, has the
appearance of a rich, unbroken forest, whose green foliage contrasts
finely with the silvery whiteness of the lake beyond. It requires the
observer, however, at this time, to ascend the crown of the ridge, to
realize this view in all its beauty and magnificence.

[_h._] Site of an ancient battle-field, with vestiges of an
entrenchment and fortification on the banks of the Deoseowa, or Buffalo

The following sketch conveys an idea of the relative position of
the several objects alluded to. Taken together they constitute the
distinguishing feature in the archæology of the existing Indian
cemetery, mission station, and council-house on the Seneca reservation,
five or six miles south of the city of Buffalo. As such, the site
is one of much interest, and well worthy of further observation and
study. The time and means devoted to it, in the preparation of this
outline, were less than would be desirable, yet they were made use
of, under favorable circumstances, as the current periodical business
and deliberations of the tribe brought together a large part of them,
including the chief persons of education and intelligence, as well
as many aged persons who are regarded as the depositories of their
traditions and lore.

Tradition, in which all concur, points out this spot as the scene of
the last and decisive battle fought between the Senecas and their
fierce and inveterate enemies the KAH-KWAHS, a people who are
generally but erroneously supposed to be the same as the Eries.[68]
It is not proposed in this place, to consider the evidences on this
point, or to denote the origin and events of this war. It is mainly
alluded to as a historical incident connected with the site. It is a
site around which the Senecas have clung, as if it marked an era in
their national history; although the work itself was clearly erected
by their enemies. It has been the seat of their government or council
fire, from an early period of our acquaintance with them. It was here
that Red Jacket uttered some of his most eloquent harangues against
the steady encroachments of the white race, and in favor of retaining
this cherished portion of their lands, and transmitting them with
full title to their descendants. It was here that the noted captive,
Dehewamis, better known as Mary Jemison, came to live after a long
life of most extraordinary vicissitudes. And it is here that the bones
of the distinguished ORATOR, and the no less distinguished
CAPTIVE, rest side by side, with a multitude of warriors,
chiefs and sages. Nor can we, on natural principles of association,
call in question the truthfulness or force of the strenuous objections,
which, for so many years, the whole tribe has opposed to the general
policy of its sale. But these events are now history; the tribe has
come into arrangements to remove to reservations owned by their
brethren, in more westerly parts of the State, and there will soon be
no one left whose heart vibrates with the blood of a Seneca, to watch
the venerated resting places of their dead.

[68] This is a French pronunciation of a Wyandot or Huron term. Vide
Hennepin, Amsterdam, ed. 1698.

It was suitable, before the plough was put into these precincts,
and the last trench and mound of the tribe were obliterated, that
some memorial of the locality should be preserved, and I can only
regret that the labor itself has not been better or more successfully


A. denotes the site of the mission house; B, of the council house;
D, of the battle field, or that portion of it where the result was
consummated; F, the grave yard. At C, there are still the remains of a
mound, which tradition asserts was raised over the incinerated bodies
of victor and vanquished slain in battle. These bodies were piled
together, interspersed with the carcasses of deer and other game, which
had been hunted with the special view, that it might be offered as a
sacrifice with the bodies, or to appease their spirits in the land of
the dead. In making partial excavations into this mound, which has been
frequently plowed over in modern times, I procured several partially
charred or blackened bones, supposed to represent parts of the human
and brute species; a proof, it would seem, of the truth of this curious
part of the tradition.[69] Mixed in the funeral pile, there were set
vessels of pottery, with drinks offered as libations to the dead.
And it is certain, also, that pieces of reddish coarse pottery were
obtained at the same time, in making these partial examinations.

[69] The Indian name of Buffalo creek, which gives name to the city,
has been variously written. In the treaty of 1784, at Fort Stanwix, it
is called “Tehoseroron,” which is the Mohawk term, the final _n_ being
probably designed to convey a nasal sound. The word, as pronounced
to me by the late Mrs. Carr of Wellington square, Canada, who was a
daughter of the celebrated Brandt, I have written TEHOSERORO,
meaning Place of the Linden tree. The letters _d_ and _t_ are
interchangeable between the Mohawks and Senecas. The latter, who at the
same time do not use the letter _r_, and have some peculiarities in the
use of the vowels, pronounce it in a manner which I thought should be
written Deoseowa, as above. Mr. Wright, in his “Mental Elevator” and
“Seneca Spelling Book,” makes it a word of four syllables, and uses
the sound of _y_ as heard in “yonder,” for the vowel _e_ in his second
syllable. Every practised ear is acute to satisfy its own requisitions
of sound, which is not easy in unwritten languages; and there is
besides a marked difference in the pronunciation of Indians from
different localities, or uttered under different circumstances. Mr.
Ellicott, on his original plat of Buffalo, writes it “Tushuway.” Others
have spelt it still differently. The meaning of the word has excited
but little difference of opinion. It denotes a locality of the linden
or basswood tree, a species found upon the rich bottom lands of this
stream, whose bark was highly valuable to these tribes for covering
their lodges, and for the tough and fibrous inner coat, which at an
early time served them to make both twine and ropes.

Whence then, it may be asked, is the origin of the word Buffalo, since
it is not found in the Indian term? Tradition denotes that the range of
this animal once extended to the banks of the great lakes. There was
a current opinion among the early travellers along the shores of Lake
Erie, that the bison had been seen and killed on this creek. Whether
the impression arose from, or was traceable, in part or wholly, to a
deception of certain hunters in bringing in “other flesh,” under the
denomination of Buffalo meat, as has been said, it would be difficult
to determine. From whatever cause, it is certain that the stream
acquired the popular name it now bears at an early day, whilst the
aboriginal name was neglected.

The dotted lines are designed to show the probable figure and
extent of the work, from the accounts of the Indians. That it was a
circular work, appears to be denoted by the only parts of the wall
yet remaining, which are drawn in black. The site itself was elevated
moderately above the plain. There is no reason to suppose that this
elevation of the surface was artificial. The relative position of
the creek is denoted by G. H marks the position of a stone, which
is connected with the history of their domestic arts, before the
discovery of the country. It was not practicable to obtain accurate
admeasurements of distances; the design being merely to present a
pencil sketch.


To denote the state of art among the aboriginal race, it is necessary
closely to examine such monuments of it, as exist. The word “monument”
is used to denote any remains of art. Such are their relics in the form
of worked shells and amulets, pottery, carved implements and utensils
of stone, and other antiquarian remains found in their mounds, graves,
fortifications, and other places of ancient occupancy in our latitudes.
Of architectural ruins in stone, which constitute so striking a portion
of aboriginal antiquities, in central and South America, particularly
in the ruins of their temples and teocalli, (the only form of such
architecture indeed, which survives,) we have no remains north of
the latitude of the mouth of the Mississippi, unless they shall be
disclosed in some of the large mounds yet unopened, or in portions of
the country north of such a line, which yet remains unexplored, west of
the extreme sources of the Red river and the Rio Del Norte.

From this inquiry, we may peremptorily exclude, all articles and
remains of metal (not gold, silver or native copper) and all sculpture
and inscriptions (not picture writing) which have been found and
commented on, with an air of wonder, in various places, but which are
one and all, undoubtedly of European, or to give the greatest scope
to conjecture, of trans-atlantic origin. Such are, to begin with the
highest object, the Grave creek inscription in apparently Celtiberic
characters, the stone with a rude inscription in Roman letters and
Arabic figures found in Onondaga county, and now deposited in the
Albany Academy; the amulets of coarse enamel colored pastes and glass,
of the imperfect fabric of the 15th and 16th centuries, found in Indian
graves; or old village and fort sites, together with the flattened
gun barrels, broken locks, artists’ tools and other articles of
iron, brass, or semi-vitrified earthenware, which are found over so
considerable an extent of country in western New-York. The latter are
undoubtedly, evidences of either earlier, or more systematic attempts
to settle, if not to found colonies, amongst the RED RACE from
abroad, than we are yet prepared fully to comprehend. But there need be
no question as to the general era and character of art to which they
belong; they are too clearly European in every instance to admit of

The introduction of the fabrics of European art, among the tribes of
this continent, had the inevitable and speedy effect to destroy the
prior Indian arts. It is astonishing to find how soon the aborigines
of our latitudes, lost the art of making culinary vessels of clay; of
carving amulets and pipes out of steatites and other fissile mineral
bodies; of perforating, dissecting and forming sea shells into the
various shapes of wampum, gorgets, pendants, necklaces, belt and pouch
ornaments, and other ornamental fabrics. They no sooner obtained the
light brass, copper, iron, and tin kettle, than they laid aside the
more clumsy and frail AKEEK, or clay pot; their women relieved
from the labor of selecting and tempering the clays, and forming it
into pots and dishes, were advanced one step in the art of housewifery,
and took the first lesson in European civilization.

The maker of arrow and javelin heads, for this was a distinct art,
was superceded by the superior efficacy of fire arms; and his red
descendant at this day, as well as the gleaner of antiquities, is
alike at a loss to find, where the ancient artist in chert and
hornstone procured his materials of so suitable a quality and
fracture, and how he obtained the skill to chip and form them into
such delicate and appropriate patterns. The small and slender axe of
iron, with a steel edge, and pipe-head, at once took the place of the
crescent-shaped stone tomahawk, which had alone been appropriated to
war; while the larger half-axe, so called, supplanted the clumsy stone
AGAKWUT before employed rather as a gouge to detach coal
in the process of felling trees by fire, than an axe proper. By the
application of the common lathe and turning chisel, those species of
thick sea shells, which the natives had, with so much labor, converted
into seawan and wampum, were manufactured with such superior skill,
expedition and cheapness, (although this is an article which the
trader always held comparatively high) that the old Indian art of
the _wampum-maker_, sunk, like that of the _arrow-maker_, never to be
revived. But of all the exchanges made between civilized and savage
life, the gift of the steel-trap, in replacing the Indian trap of wood,
was the most eagerly sought, and highly prized by the hunter, although
it hastened the period of the destruction of the whole class of furred
animals, and thus in effect, brought to a speedy close the Indian

Pottery was an art known universally among all the tribes from
Patagonia to the Arctic ocean, but was practised with very different
degrees of skill. The northern tribes who bordered on the great lakes,
and thence reached down to the Atlantic, made a rude article, which
just answered the simple purposes of the culinary art. The clay, or
argillaceous material used for it, was such as is common to diluvial
and tertiary soils. It was tempered with silex, in the form of pounded
quartz, or often quartz and field-spar, as it exists in granite, in
quite coarse particles. This mixture prevented shrinkage and cracks in
drying, and enabled the mass to withstand the application of heat—an
art which has resulted, and would very soon result, in any given case,
from experience. There were no legs to the Indian _akeek_, or pot. It
was designed to be used, to use a chemical phrase, as a sand-bath.
Being set on the ashes, a fire was built around it. It might also admit
of suspension, by a bark cord tied below the lip, which flared out
well, and thus could be attached to the ordinary Indian cooking-tackle,
namely; a long-legged tripod, tied at the top with bark.

There is no evidence in the structure of any of this species of
pottery, at least, in these latitudes, that it had been raised or
formed on a potter’s wheel. The fact that prepared clay placed on a
revolving horizontal circle, would rise, by the centrifugal force, if
resisted by the hand, or a potter’s stick or former, was not known to
these tribes; although it is admitted to be one of the oldest arts in
the world. Some skill was consequently required to form the mass and
shape the vessel, without machinery. It was essential to its utility,
and to prevent unequal shrinkage in drying, that the body should be
of uniform thickness; and this art was also, if we may judge from
fragments, and one or two entire vessels examined, very well attained.

It is believed that this art, in this quarter, was in the hands of
females; but every female or mistress of a lodge, was not adequate
to it. It must have been the business of a class of persons in each
village, who were professed potters. Tradition says that it was the
practice to mingle some blood in wetting and tempering the clay.

It was impossible that this art, so rude and laborious, and so
ill-suited to perform its offices when done, could survive and continue
to be practised for any length of time after the tribes had been made
acquainted with the products of the European potteries, rude as these
were comparatively speaking, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Architecture, as it existed in the north and west, was confined, we
may suppose, to earthen structures, crowned with wood, in the shape
of beams and posts. And it is only as it exhibited a knowledge of
geometry, in the combination of squares and circles, to constitute a
work of defence, that it is deserving of notice. The knowledge of the
pyramid and its durability, is one of the most ancient geometrical
discoveries in the world, and it is quite clear, in viewing the mounds
and teocalli of North America, that the aborigines possessed, or had
not forgotten it. In most of the works of defence, in the western
country, the circular pyramid, or mound of earth of various sizes,
formed a striking feature; whilst in relation to the mounds used for
religious ceremonies, as we must suppose the larger mounds to have
been, its completeness of plan and exact truncation, parallel to the
plain or basis, denotes the prevalence among them, of this ancient
architectural idea. We detect also, in a survey of the old works, the
square, the parallelogram, the circle, and the ellipsis. And these
figures were variously employed in the arrangement of masses of earth,
to produce a rampart and a moat.

The domestic economy required implements to perform the arts which we
express by the words sewing and weaving.

The awl and needle were made from various species of animal bones of
the land and water. The larger awl used to perforate bark, in sewing
together the sheathing of the northern canoe, made from the rind of
the betula, was squared and brought to a tapering point. A very close
grain and compact species of bone was employed for the fine lodge awl
used for sewing dressed skins for garments. After this skin had been
perforated, a thread of deer’s sinew was drawn through, from the eye of
a slender bone needle. There was, besides this, a species of shuttle
of bone, which was passed backwards and forwards, in introducing the
bark woof of mats and bags; two kinds of articles, the work of which
was commonly made from the scirpus læustris or larger bulrush. It was
only necessary to exhibit the square and round awl, and gross and
fine needle of steel, to supercede these primitive and rude modes of
_seamstress-work_ and _weaving_.

In an examination of Indian antiquarian articles, taken from the graves
and mounds, there is some glimmering of the art of design. There is no
other branch of art to which we can refer the numerous class of carved
ornaments and amulets, or their skill in symbolical or representative
drawing, evinced in their picture writing.

Amulets and neck, ear and head ornaments, constituted a very ancient
and very important department in the arcanum of the Indian wardrobe.
They were not only a part of the personal gear and decorations which
our old British writers sometimes denote “braveries,” but they were
connected with his superstitions, and were a part of the external
system of his religion. The aboriginal man, who had never laid aside
his oriental notions of necromancy, and believed firmly in witchcraft,
wore them as charms. They were among the most cherished and valued
articles he could possibly possess. They were sought with great
avidity, at high prices, and, after having served their office of
warding off evil, while he lived, they were deposited in his grave,
at death. Bones, shells, carved stones, gems, claws and hoofs of
animals, feathers of carnivorous birds, and above all the skin of the
serpent, were cherished with the utmost care, and regarded with the
most superstitious veneration. To be decked with suitable amulets was
to him to be invested with a charmed life. They added to his feeling
of security and satisfaction in his daily avocations, and gave him new
courage in war.

But if such were the influence of pendants, shells, beads and other
amulets or ornaments, inspired by children who saw and heard, what
their parents prized, this influence took a deeper hold of their minds
at and after the period the virile fast, when the power of dreams and
visions was added to the sum of their experimental knowledge of divine
things, so to call them. To fix it still stronger, the Indian system
of medicine, which admits the power of necromancy, lent its aid. And
thus, long before the period which the civilized code has fixed on, to
determine man’s legal acts, the aboriginal man was fixed, grounded and
educated in the doctrine of charms, talismans, and amulets.

To supply the native fabric in this particular branch, was more
difficult. Christianity, in a large part of Europe, certainly all
protestant Europe had, in 1600, religiously discarded all such, and
kindred reliances on amulets, from its ritual and popular observances,
where they had taken deep root during the dark ages; and hence the
first English and Dutch voyagers and settlers who landed north of
the capes of Florida, regarded the use of them as one of the strong
evidences of the heathenishness of the tribes, and made light of their
love of “beads and trinkets.” It was necessary, however, to the success
of their traffic and commerce—the great object of early voyages,
that this class of articles should be noticed; and they brought from
the potteries and glass-houses of Europe various substitutes, in the
shape of white, opaque, transparent, blue, black, and other variously
colored beads, and of as many diverse forms as the genius of geometry
could well devise. We see, what it is somewhat difficult as an inquiry
of art otherwise to reach, that they also brought over a species of
paste-mosaic, or curious oval and elongated beads of a kind of enamel
or paste, skilfully arranged in layers of various colors, which, viewed
at their poles, represented stars, radii, or other figures. These were
highly prized by the natives, (ignorant as they were of the manner of
making them,) and were worn instead of the native amulets. In place
of their carved pipes of steatite, or clay pipes ornamented with the
heads of birds, men, or animals, they supplied them with a somewhat
corresponding heavy, plain, or fluted pipe-bowl, which was designed,
like the native article, to receive a large wooden stem, such as we
see among the remote interior tribes, at the present day. The jingling
ornaments of native copper or deer hoofs, were replaced from European
work-shops, by the article of brass, called “hawks-bells,” an article
which, like that of wampum, still retains its place in the invoices of
the Indian trade.

But by far the most attractive class of fabrics which the commerce
of Europe supplied in exchange for their rich furs and peltries, was
arm-bands, wrist-bands, ear-rings, gorgets, and other ornaments, both
for the person and dress, of silver. This metal was esteemed, as it is
at this day, above all others. Its color and purity led them to regard
it as pre-eminently _the_ noble metal, and its introduction at once
superceded the cherished Nabikoagun Antique, and other forms of medals
and gorgets made from compact sea-shells.

In this manner the introduction of European arts, one after another,
speedily overturned and supplanted the ancient Indian arts, and
transferred them, at the end of but a few generations, from useful
objects to the class of antiquities. It is unnecessary to pursue the
subject to the department of clothing, in which woollens, cottons,
linens and ribbons, took the place of the dressed skins of animals and
birds, and the inner barks of trees, &c. Such objects are no part of
the antiquities to be studied here. They are wholly perishable, and
if any thing is to be gleaned from their study in the unburied cities
of Pompeii and Herculaneum, where stone and marble offered objects of
temporary resistance to currents of flowing lava, they offer no facts
to guide the pen of the antiquarian here. The European and the Indian
fabrics of the 16th century have alike submitted to the inevitable laws
of decomposition; but were it otherwise, could we disinter from the
Indian graves the first duffils, strouds, osnaburgs, and blankets, that
were given to the race, they would only prove that the latter quickly
laid aside the inferior when they could get the superior article. It
would prove that guns and gunpowder, brass kettles and iron axes, had
caused the manufacture of stone darts and clay kettles to be thrown
aside and forgotten, and in like manner the labors of the spindle and
loom had given the Indian, even before Columbus descended to his grave,
a new wardrobe.

To denote what the Indian arts were, at the beginning of the 16th
century, we must resort to their tombs, mounds, and general cemeteries.
The melancholy tale that is told from the dust and bones of these
sacred repositories is to be our teacher and schoolmaster. Its
whispers are low and almost inaudible. There are pauses and lapses
which it is difficult to make out. It requires great care—nice
attention—examination and re-examination. We must not hastily compose
the thread of the narrative. We must doubt and reject where doubt
and rejection are proper. We must discriminate the various epochs of
art from the objects disinterred. If objects of various ages lie in
the same cemeteries we must not confound them. Carefully to labor,
patiently to study, cautiously to conclude, is the province of the
antiquarian; and if, after all, he has but little to offer, it is,
perhaps, because there is but little to glean.


    The following specimen of Iroquois picture writing should
    have been placed under the article “Onondagas,” where the
    omission is supplied, by a head from an ancient pipe, hereafter
    described under the class of relics named Opoaguna. It
    represents the first Iroquois ruler, under their confederacy,
    named Atotarho.



[Antique insignia, amulets, implements and ornaments.]

It will tend to render the work of antiquarian examination exact, and
facilitate comparison, if names descriptive of the general classes
and species of each object of archæological inquiry be introduced.
No science can advance if the terms and definitions of it be left
vague. The mere inception of this design is here announced; it is not
proposed, at present, to do more than submit a few specimens from
a large number of antiquarian articles, the result of many years’
accumulation. The figures and descriptions introduced are confined
exclusively to the geographical area under examination.

To establish the classes of articles, names are introduced from the
Indian vocabulary. These are qualified by specific terms, adjective or
substantive, from the same class of languages, or from the English;
rarely from other sources. A nomenclature derived from such sources,
appeared preferable for these simple objects of savage art, to one
taken from the ancient languages, whose prerogative it has so long been
to furnish terms for science and art.

[Illustration: AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES—Plate I.]


[70] From the Algic, denoting a medal, a breast-plate or collar.

Objects of this kind were worn as marks of honor or rank. So far as
known, they were constructed from the most solid and massy parts of the
larger sea shells. Few instances of their having been made from other
materials, are known, in our latitudes. The ruins and tombs of Central
and South America have not been explored, so far as is known, with this
view. Nor have any insignia of this character been found of stone.

Nabikoáguna Antique. Fig. 1., Plate I. This article is generally found
in the form of an exact circle, rarely, a little ovate. It has been
ground down and re-polished, apparently, from the sea conch. Its
diameter varies from three-fourths of an inch to two inches. Thickness,
two-tenths in the centre, thinning out a little towards the edges. It
is doubly perforated. It is figured on the face and its reverse, with
two parallel latitudinal, and two longitudinal lines crossing in its
centre, and dividing the area into four equal parts. Its circumference
is marked with an inner circle, corresponding in width to the cardinal
parallels. Each division of the circle thus quartered, has five circles
with a central dot. The latitudinal and longitudinal bands or fillets,
have each four similar circles and dots, and one in its centre,
making thirty-seven. The number of these circles varies, however, on
various specimens. In the one figured, they are fifty-two. The partial
decomposition of the surface renders exactitude in this particular
sometimes impossible. This article was first detected, many years ago,
in a medal, one and a half inches diameter, found in an ancient grave
on the Scioto, in Ohio, and was supposed to be a kind of altered enamel
or earthen ware. The structure of the shell is, however, present in all
cases, in its centre. Its occurrence, the present year, in the ancient
fort grounds and cemeteries of Onondaga, identifies the epochs of the
ancient Indian settlements of Ohio and western New-York, and furnishes
a hint of the value of these investigations. A medium specimen was
examined, in the possession of I. Keeler, jr., Jamesville, very much
obliterated; another, of the minimum size, at James Gould’s, Lafayette.
The largest specimen seen, is one sent by I. V. V. Clarke, from Pompey
and Manlius. The Indians have no traditions of the wearing of this
species of shell medal, so far as known. It must be referred to the era
preceding the discovery.

Nabikoáguna Iroquois. Fig. 2, annexed. This article consists of a
metal, which is apparently an alloy. It is slightly ovate, and is
perforated in the rim, so as to have been hung transversely. Its
greatest diameter is two and four-tenth inches. There are no traces of
European art about it, unless the apparent alloy be such. Locality,
valley of Genesee river.

[Illustration: AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES—Plate II.]

Nabikoáguna Cameo, Fig. 3, 4. Plate III. This well sculptured article,
was discovered in the valley of the Kasonda creek, Onondaga county.
The material is a compact piece of sea shell. It still possesses, in a
considerable degree, the smoothness and lustre of its original finish.
Fig. 4 shews the prominence of the features in profile. At the angles
of the temples are two small orifices, for suspending it around the
neck. The entire article is finished with much skill and delicacy.
[Mifflin Gould.]


Nabikoáguna Mnemonic. Fig. 1, plate IV. This is the head of an infant
represented in the fine red pipe-stone from the Missouri. Locality,
site of the ancient fort of the Kasonda valley. [I. Keeler, junior.]

[Illustration: AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES—Plate IV.]


This class comprises the amulets proper. All the objects of this class
are supposed to have been worn on various parts of the person, as a
defence against witchcraft, sorcery, or spells, or to propitiate good
luck by superstitious means.

Medäeka Missouri. See Fig. 1, Plate V, with the illustration of the
manner of its being worn on the breast. This article varies moderately
in length, breadth and figure. It is generally the frustum of an acute
pyramid, perforated in its length, to admit being suspended from
the neck, or ears. The figure exhibited is three inches in length
by two-tenths in breadth at its superior, and nine-tenths at its
inferior extremity. Sometimes, as in the figure given, it has a raised
surface in the direction of the perforation. It is formed of the red
pipe-stone of the Coteau Des Prairie, west of the Mississippi; and its
disinterment from Indian graves in western New-York, denotes an early
traffic or exchange of the article, or rather the material of its
construction, with the tribes in that quarter. This stone is fissile,
and easily cut or ground by trituration with harder substances to any
figure. It bears a dull gloss, not a polish, which was produced by
rubbing the surface with the equisetum, or rush, which has a silicious
gritty surface. It is of the period anterior to the introduction of
European arts. The specimen figured is from Onondaga county, [I. V. V.
Clarke.] It occurred also at Oswego, in removing the elevation of the
old fort. [J. McNiel.] Also, at Lower Sandusky, Ohio. [L. Cass.]

[Illustration: AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES.—Plate V.]

Medäeka Dental. Fig. 4, 5. Plate VI. Fossil specimens of the bear’s
tooth. A power against charms or spells was often attributed to amulets
of this kind. The two species, very different in size, and of course
the age of the animal, were obtained from a single grave. Valley of the
Genesee river. [E. Trowbridge.]

Medäeka Okun. Fig. 3, Plate VI. This species is made from a compact
kind of bone, squared and perforated. Valley of the Genesee river. [E.
Trowbridge.] From an ancient grave.

[Illustration: AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES.—Plate VI.]


[71] From the Algonquin JEEGUN, an instrument, an implement,
or any artificial contrivance, or invention.

Under this class are grouped a great variety of implements and
instruments of utility, war, hunting and diversion. The material
is chiefly stone. Without plates, however, it is impossible to
give that exactitude to the description of this numerous class of
antiquarian remains which is desired. But a single figure has been
prepared—ATTAJEGUNA DEOSEOWA. This relic of Indian art was
pointed out to me by Mr. Wright, missionary on the Seneca reservation,
near the city of Buffalo. It consists of a block of limestone, having
two spherical basin-shaped depressions. It is the tradition of this
people that in this ancient mortar, the female potters of olden time
pounded the stone material with which they tempered the clay for the
ancient akeek or cooking vessel. The original stone had been broken.
From the portion of which the annexed is a figure, the entire mass must
have been one of considerable weight.

[Illustration: AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES.—Plate VII.]


The class of antique pipes. Smoking pipes, constitute a branch of
Indian art, which called forth their ingenuity by carvings of various
forms of steatite, serpentine, indurated clay, limestone, sandstone and
other bodies. A very favorite material was the red sedimentary compact
deposit, found on the high dividing ridge between the Missouri and
Mississippi, called the Coteau du Prairie. Pipes were also made from
clay, tempered with some siliceous or felspathique material, similar to
that used in their ancient earthenware.

[Illustration: OPOAGUNA ALGONQUIN.—Fig. 1. AM. ANT.
Plate VIII.]

The composition of this pipe is a compact brown clay, tempered with a
fine siliceous matter, and dried in the sun, not baked in a potter’s
oven. The exterior is stained black, and bears a certain gloss, not a
glazing. The bowl has been formed by hand, and is rude. The principal
point of skill is evinced in the twist ornamenting the exterior of the
bowl. Locality, Genesee river valley.

       *       *       *       *       *

OPOAGUNA AZTEC. Fig. 3, plate VIII. The material is a species
of Terra Cotta, or reddish earthenware. Its fracture discloses very
minute shining particles, which appear to be mica. Probably the
ingredient used to temper the clay, was pounded granite. The features
resemble, very strikingly, those of Mexico and central America, figured
by Mr. Catherwood & Stephens. Onondaga county.


       *       *       *       *       *

OPAGUNA IBERIC. Fig. 1. Plate IX. Material, a slate coloured
ware. Features, thin and sharp. Neck, acute in front, with an angular
line extending from the chin downwards. Onondaga.

[Illustration: AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES.—Plate IX.]

       *       *       *       *       *

OPOAGUNA ETRUSCAN. Fig. 2. Plate X. Material similar to O.
Aztec. Figure double headed—heads alike, placed back to back, like the
Grecian deity Janus, connected by five parallel fillets,—bowl rudely
formed, by hand. Onondaga.

[Illustration: AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES.—Plate X.]


[72] From Meen, a berry; and ace, a diminutive; hence minas or minace,
a bead, or an ornament for the neck.

Articles of this kind hold the relative character of modern beads or
necklace ornaments. They are made of shells, bones, fissile minerals,
sometimes pieces of calcareous or fissile crystal. The substitutes of
the European period are glass and pastes.

       *       *       *       *       *

MINACE ALLEGHANIC. Fig. 6, Plate I. This article was first
disclosed on opening the Grave Creek mound, in the Ohio valley, in
1839, and received the false designation of “ivory.” It is figured
and described in the first volume of the Transactions of the American
Ethnological Society, published at New-York in 1845, where its
character is determined. It has often the appearance of having been
formed of solid masses of horn. It is believed to be, however, in any
case, a product of massy sea-shell. Decomposition gives its surface a
dead white aspect and limy feel. The powder scraped from the surface
effervesces in acids. It is generally, not uniformly, an exact
circle, and resembles extremely a very thick horn buttonmould. It is
characteristic of the orifice, that it appears to have been perforated
with an instrument giving a spiral or circular line. This ancient
ornament was also disclosed in my visit to the Beverly bone deposits of
Canada in 1843. Its occurrence, in Onondaga, denotes the universality
of the art, during the ante-European period.


[73] From _Peag_, one of the sea-coast terms of the Algonquins, for

The ancient species of this article are numerous, and not exclusively
confined to sea shells. The Indian cemeteries denote it in the form of
bone and mineral.

       *       *       *       *       *

PEÄGA IOWAN. Fig. 7, Plate 2. The material in this species
is the red pipe stone of the west, so much valued. It is perforated
longitudinally, and was evidently worn about the neck and breast like
the modern article of wampum.


Ornament alone appears to have been the object of this numerous class
of remains. Generally the object was the production of a jingling sound
in walking. It was generally used to decorate some part of the dress.
It assumed a great variety of shapes, and was made from as many species
of material, including native copper. Another object was to inspire
fear by the tread.

       *       *       *       *       *

MUDWÄMINA MISKWABIC.[74] Fig. 11, Plate I. The article figured
is three-fourths of an inch in length, bell shaped, and composed of
native copper, beat very thin. Onondaga.

[74] Copper.

       *       *       *       *       *

MUDWÄMINA OSSINIC.[75] Fig. 8, Plate 2. Material, red pipe
stone, perforated. Onondaga.

[75] Stone.

       *       *       *       *       *

MUDWÄMINA WASSÄABIC. Fig. 9, Plate 2. Material, a crystal,
perforated. Traces of its iridescence. Probably a crystal of strontian.


The name is derived from _Otowug_, meaning implements of, or relating
to the ear. It is a noun inanimate in _a_. Under this head all pendants
and ornaments for the ear are comprised.

       *       *       *       *       *

OTOAUGUNA STATUESQUE. Fig. 3, Plate IV. This pendant for the
ear is made out of sea shell. It bears eight perpendicular and four
transverse dots. Locality, old fort, site near Jamesville. Onondaga.


       *       *       *       *       *

OTOAUGUNA PYRAMIDAL. Fig. 2, Plate I. This article varies
in size, in the specimens examined, from nine-tenths to one and
five-tenths inch, in the greatest length. It is an inequilateral
triangle, generally, as here shown, varying to a very acute truncated
prism reversed. Thickness from four to six lines. Perforated. Material,
red pipe stone. Locality, Onondaga county.

       *       *       *       *       *

OTOAUGUNA BIFURCATE. Fig. 4, Plate I. Length eight-tenths
inch. Perforated. Red pipe stone. Onondaga county.

       *       *       *       *       *

OTOAUGUNA QUADRALATERAL. Fig. 5, Plate 2. Material, red pipe
stone. Onondaga county.


[76] Æs, a generic name for a shell—Algonquin.

The number and variety of sea and sometimes fresh water shells worn by
the ancient aborigines, has not been ascertained, but is large. They
are uniformly found to be univalves.

       *       *       *       *       *

ÆS MARGINELLA. Fig. 10, Plate I. This species was first
detected in the Grave Creek mound. It is a marginella. The figure is,
incidentally, inexact. Onondaga.


[77] From the Shawanoe word _Ochali_, a nose.

This class of ornaments were worn as pendants from the inner cartilage
of the nose. The material of nose-jewels in modern times, when worn,
is, generally, silver or some metal. Anciently bone or shell were the
chief substances.

       *       *       *       *       *

OCHALIS ODÄ-Ä.[78] Plate 1, Fig. 3. The material is a part
of some massy species of sea shell. The outer coating is partially
decomposed, exhibiting an opaque, limy appearance. Length, eight-tenths
of an inch—rounded, heart-shaped. Onondaga. [J. V. V. CLARKE.]

[78] Heart-shaped, or like.


This department of the inquiry constitutes one of deep and varied
interest. It is found, however, that no little time is required to
study, compare and arrange such parts of the matter as have claims
to be considered historical, whilst those which are symbolical or
fictitious, take so wide a range as hardly to justify, in this report,
the space which they would occupy. Specimens drawn from both classes
of matter are introduced in the following papers, which, together with
those inserted under the first head of “Minutes,” will serve to convey
a proper idea of this species of lore.

[_a._] Ancient Shipwreck of a vessel from the old world on the coast.

Whilst the northern tribes lived under the ancient confederacy before
named, on the banks of the St. Lawrence and its waters, and before
they had yet known white men, it is affirmed that a foreign ship came
on the northern coasts, but being driven by stress of weather, passed
southward, and was wrecked in that quarter. Most of the crew perished,
but a few of them, dressed in leather, reached the shore, and were
saved with some of their implements. They were received by a people
called the Falcons,[79] who conducted them to a mountain, where,
however, they remained but a short time, for their allies, the Falcons,
disclosed an unfriendly and jealous spirit, and threatened them. In
consequence they immediately selected another location, which they
fortified. Here they lived many years, became numerous and extended
their settlements, but in the end, they were destroyed by furious

[79] One of the totems and clans of the Iroquois, is the hawk, or

This tradition is divested of some of the symbolic traits which it
possesses in the original, and by which the narrators may be supposed
to have concealed their own acts of hostility or cruelty, in the
extirpation of the descendants of the Europeans thus cast on their
shores. To this end, they represent in the original, the saving of
the crew to have been done through the instrumentality of carnivorous
birds, and attribute the final destruction of the colony to fierce
animals. It is one of the well known facts of history that none of the
vessels of Columbus, Cabot, Verrizani, Sir Walter Raleigh, or Hudson,
were _wrecked_ on the American coasts: and there is hence a bare
presumption that some _earlier_ voyage or adventure from the old world
is alluded to.

Can we suppose that in this dim tradition there is light cast on
the lost colony of Virginia, which was first left on the island of
Roanoke? The Tuscaroras,[80] who preserve the tradition, came to
western New-York from that quarter. They were a fierce, powerful
and warlike nation, having in 1712 resolved on the massacre, on a
certain day, of all the whites in the Carolinas. What is once done by
natives, barbarous or civilized, is often the reproduction of some
prior national act, and especially if that act had been attended with
success; and it is by no means improbable that in this desperate and
bloody resolve of 1712, the Tuscaroras meant to repeat the prior
tragedy of “Croatan.”[81] Whether, however, the incident be of
ante-Columbian or post-Columbian date, it is worthy preservation, and
may be assigned its place and proper importance when we have gleaned
more facts from the dark abyss of American antiquity.

[80] This tribe have also the clan of the hawk or falcon.

[81] Vide Hackluit.

[_b_.] Forays into the country of the Cherokees and Catawbas.

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; afterwards
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 partizan
character. It is memorable rather for partial enterprizes and personal
exploits, than for exhibiting the grander features of the military
policy of the Iroquois. Warriors tested their bravery and heroism by
going against the Cherokees. There were, it seems, no great armies,
no grand battles. All was left to individual energy and courage. The
great object of every young Iroquois, as soon as he was old enough to
take the war path, was to go against the Cherokees. A march from the
Oneida stone, the Kasonda creek, or the Genesee valley, to the southern
Alleghanies, was regarded as a mere excursion or scouting trip. This
long journey was performed without provisions, or any other preparation
than bows, arrows and clubs. The fewer there were in one of these
partizan enterprizes, the greater was their chance of concealment and
success. They relied on the forest for food. Thousands of miles were
not sufficient to dampen their ardor, and no time could blot out their
hatred. They called the Cherokees, by way of derision, WE YAU
DAH, and O YAU DAH, meaning a people who live in caves.
These are the terms I found to be in use for the Cherokee nation, in

[c.] Exploit of Hi-a-de-o-ni.

The following incident in the verbal annals of Iroquois hardihood and
heroism, was related to me by the intelligent Seneca TETOYOAH,
(William Jones of Cattaraugus) along with other reminiscences of the
ancient Cherokee wars. The Iroquois thought life was well lost, if they
could gain glory by it.

       *       *       *       *       *

HI-A-DE-O-NI, said he, was the father of the late chief Young
King. He was a Seneca warrior, a man of great prowess, dexterity, and
swiftness of foot, and had established his reputation for courage and
skill, on many occasions. He resolved, while the Senecas were still
living on the Genesee river, to make an incursion alone into the
country of the Cherokees. He plumed himself with the idea, that he
could distinguish himself in this daring adventure, and he prepared for
it, according to the custom of warriors. They never encumber themselves
with baggage. He took nothing but his arms, and the meal of a little
parched and pounded corn.[82] The forest gave him his meat.

       *       *       *       *       *

[82] One table spoonful of this mixed with sugar and water will sustain
a warrior twenty-four hours without meat.

HI-A-DE-O-NI reached the confines of the Cherokee country in
safety and alone. He waited for evening before he entered the precincts
of a village. He found the people engaged in a dance. He watched his
opportunity, and when one of the dancers went out from the ring into
the bushes, he despatched him with his hatchet. In this way he killed
two men that night, in the skirts of the woods, without exciting alarm,
and took their scalps and retreated. It was late when he came to a
lodge, standing remote from the rest, on his course homeward. Watching
here, he saw a young man come out, and killed him as he had done the
others, and took his scalp. Looking into the lodge cautiously, he saw
it empty, and ventured in with the hope of finding some tobacco and
ammunition, to serve him on his way home.

While thus busied in searching the lodge, he heard footsteps at the
door, and immediately threw himself on the bed from which the young
man had risen, and covered his face, feigning sleep. They proved to be
the footsteps of his last victim’s mother. She, supposing him to be
her son, whom she had a short time before left lying there, said, “My
son, I am going to such a place, and will not be back till morning.”
He made a suitable response, and the old woman went out. Insensibly
he fell asleep, and knew nothing till morning, when the first thing
he heard was the mother’s voice. She, careful for her son, was at the
fireplace very early, pulling some roasted squashes out of the ashes,
and after putting them out, and telling him, she left them for him to
eat; she went away. He sprang up instantly, and fled; but the early
dawn had revealed his inroad, and he was hotly pursued. Light of foot,
and having the start, he succeeded in reaching and concealing himself
in a remote piece of woods, where he laid till night, and then pursued
his way towards the Genesee, which, in due time he reached, bringing
his three Cherokee scalps as trophies of his victory and prowess.

Such are the traditionary facts which are yet repeated by the Iroquois,
to console their national pride in their decline. The incident reminds
one strongly of the class of daring personal deeds of the noted
Adirondack PISKARET, as related by Colden; and it demonstrates
how soon the daring traits of one ruling tribe may be adopted and even
surpassed by another.

The Tonawandas, who are Senecas, appear to have preserved more distinct
recollections of the origin of this war. HOHOEEYUH,[83]
stated to me, as did TETOYOAH, that it originated from the
contact of their hunting parties on the plains of the southwest. But
the latter affirms, that the Cherokees were the original offenders, by
robbing and plundering a Seneca hunting party, and taking away their
skins. Retaliation ensued. Tragic scenes of surprise and treachery soon
followed. The Five Nations took up the matter in all their strength.
They, contrary to what is above intimated, raised large war-parties,
and marched through the country to the Cherokee borders, and brought
away scalps and prisoners. There are now, he added, descendants of the
Cherokees in the third degree living on the Tonawanda reservation. Le
Fort, an Onondaga chief, speaking on the same subject, said that there
was, some years ago, a chief of pure Cherokee blood, by father and
mother, living among them. He had been taken captive when a mere child.
The fact being revealed to him after he had obtained the chieftaincy,
he went to seek his relatives in the south, and to live and die among
them; but after every inquiry, he was unable to find them. The memory
of the event of his loss was forgotten. He lingered a time, and then
came back to the Senecas, and died among them—an example of that
severe principle in the policy of this people, which has been before
referred to, under the term of WE HAIT WA TSHA, _i. e._ flesh
cut in pieces, and scattered amongst the tribes.

[83] J. A. Sandford.

Iroquois tradition on this subject is the same now that it was in 1794.
During this year, the interpreters told Col. Timothy Pickering, who was
a commissioner on the part of the United States, that there were then
living, warriors of the Six Nations, who had marched the whole distance
to the Cherokee county, and attacked the latter. In proof of the former
wars, they showed him a chief, who was a native Cherokee, born in the
Cherokee country, who had been captured when a boy, and invested with
this honor in mature life by the Senecas.[84] While the foregoing
tradition of living Iroquois is strengthened by this coincidence, we
are, at the same time, furnished by the latter with a proof that the
Iroquois policy was favorable to the rise of talent and bravery, and
that whatever be the checks provided by the TOTEMIC SYSTEM, on
the descent of chiefs, the elective feature was ever strongly marked
upon their entire government and policy.

[84] Yates and Moulton, p. 232.

[_d._] Embassy of Peace to the Cherokees, and Daring Feat of a Seneca.

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 forward 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 spirit of his
request, and his noble air and words, his suit was granted, and they
put a tomahawk into his hands, that he might go through the ceremony.
He began by relating his exploits in the north. He recited his feats
against the western Indians, adding, with the usual particularity,
times and places, and the number of scalps taken. They were pleased and
interested in these recitals, and quite forgot the prisoner, in the
warrior. At last he came to the late battle, in which he was taken. He
told how many of the Catabas, Apalaches, or Muscogees (if these were
the tribes) he had killed. He kindled with redoubled ardor as he struck
the post with his tomahawk, exclaiming, “so many of your own people, I
have killed,” and suiting his actions to his words, “so many I will yet
kill.” With this he struck down two men, bounded through the ring and
ran. Consternation, for a moment, prevented pursuit, which gave him a
start. Being swift of foot he outran his pursuers, eluded them in the
woods, and reached the Cherokee camp, where he found and joined his
seven companions.

They concluded the peace, and returned in safety to the Seneca country.

[_e._] The Graveyard Serpent and Corn Giant.

Seneca tradition states that they formerly lived on the Chippewa river,
near Niagara Falls, Canada. One year, while thus located, they were
visited by a calamitous sickness, and their corn was blighted. Their
prophet dreamt, one night, that a great serpent laid under the village,
with his head to the graveyard, and that it devoured all the bodies
buried. This gave a most offensive breath, which was the cause of the

He also dreamt that there was a great giant under the cornfield, who
ate up the corn.

When he revealed these dreams to the chiefs, they determined to abandon
the town, and immediately removed to Buffalo creek. The serpent soon
followed them, and entered the mouth of the creek; but the Great
Spirit, whose especial favorites they ever were, sent lightning to
destroy it. The monster, however, proceeded up the stream, until the
arrows from above fell so thick, that he was obliged to turn. His great
size made him press against the shores, and break off the ground, and
this is the cause of the expanse of the river three miles above its
mouth. Before he reached the mouth of the stream, however, the arrows
had cut him apart and thus they escaped this scourge.

When they went back to visit their old town on the Chippewa river, they
found the giant who had eaten up the corn, hanging by one leg from the
crotch of a high lodge pole, with his body on the ground. He was very
meagre, and had very long and thin legs, with scarcely any flesh on
them. [_W. I. C. Hosmer._]

[If the above is to be regarded, as it clearly must, as an allegory of
sickness and famine, it would have put Greek fancy to the task, to have
concentrated the matter in a smaller compass, or to have exhibited it
in a more striking light.]

[_f._] Allusion to the siege of Fort-Stanwix and the Battle of Oriskany.

Seneca tradition is rife on this subject. Tetayoah says that they lost
thirty-three chiefs in the battle of Oriskany.

Jacob Blacksnake adds, that he has seen a book in which it was stated
that the Senecas had burned eight officers taken at this battle, in
revenge for their losses. This he contradicts, on the authority of his
father, Governor Blacksnake, who was there. The officers had been asked
for after the battle, by the British; but they were refused, on account
of their great losses. They were not, however, burned at the stake. It
was decided that they should run the gauntlet, and they were killed by
clubs, &c. in this ordeal.

[_g._] Defeat of the Kah-Kwahs on Buffalo creek.

Some of the Senecas affirm, that it is ninety years since the battle
with the Kah-Kwahs, on the site of the grave yard, on the Buffalo creek
reservation, was fought. This would place the event in 1755, a date
so modern, and so well known, in our colonial history, as to prove
what a poor figure they make in attempts to adjust chronology. If 190
years [and, perhaps, such should be the tradition,] be taken, the event
(allowing two years for their defence) would assume the precise time
[1655] indicated for it, by one of Le Moyne’s missionary letters, in
which he says, that the war with the Eries had broken out afresh in

[_h._] Era of the Confederation.

There is a tradition among portions of the Senecas, that the present
confederation took place four years before Hudson sailed up the
river bearing his name. This gives A. D. 1605. This question has
been examined in its general bearings in a prior paper. All other
authorities _indicate an earlier_ date.

[_i._] Some passages of the traditions of their wars with monsters,
giants and supernatural phenomena.

It is proposed to narrate a few passages of their early wars with
monsters and giants, the two prominent objects in the foreground of
their traditions. If it be thought, in perusing them, that mythology
and superstition mingle too freely with real events or actions, to
which the mind makes no exception, that is a matter upon which we
have nothing to offer. Let it rather be considered as a proof of
the authenticity of the narrative; for certainly there could be no
stronger indication of a contrary character, than to find the Indian
narrator relating a clear, consistent chain of indisputable facts and
deductions, to fill up the foreground of his history. What is said of
such creations tallies admirably with their belief, at the present day,
and harmonizes with itself, and with that state of proud heathendom,
adventurous idolatry, and wild and roving independence in which they
lived. Who but an Aonaod? who but an Iroquois? could enact such a
part, or believe that his ancestors ever did? To be great, and admired
and feared, they roved over half America in quest of beasts and men.
Surely, the man should be allowed to tell his own story in his own way,
with all the witchcraft and spirit-craft he has a mind to bring to bear
upon it.

No people in the world have ever, probably, so completely mingled
up and lost their early history, in fictions and allegories, types
and symbols, as the red men of this continent. Making no sort of
distinction themselves, between the symbolic and the historical, they
have left no distinctions to mark the true from the false. Their
notions of a Deity, founded, apparently, upon some dreamy tradition
of original truth, are so subtile and divisible, and establish so
heterogenous a connection, between spirit and matter, of all imaginable
forms, that popular belief seems to have wholly confounded the possible
with the impossible, the natural with the supernatural. Action, so
far as respects cause and effect, takes the widest and wildest range,
through the agency of good or evil influences, which are put in motion
alike for noble or ignoble ends—alike by men, beasts, devils or gods.
Seeing some things mysterious and wonderful, he believes all things
mysterious and wonderful; and he is afloat, without shore or compass,
on the wildest sea of superstition and necromancy. He sees a god in
every phenomenon and fears a sorcerer in every enemy. Life, under
such a system of polytheism and wild belief, is a constant scene of
fears and alarms. Fear is the predominating passion, and he is ready,
wherever he goes, to sacrifice at any altar, be the supposed deity
ever so grotesque. When such a man comes to narrate events, he stops
at nothing, be it ever so gross or puerile. He relates just what he
believes, and unluckily he believes every thing that can possibly be
told. A beast or a bird, or a man, or a god, or a devil, a stone, a
serpent, or a wizzard, a wind or a sound, or a ray of light—these are
so many causes of action, which the meanest and lowest of the series,
may put in motion, but which shall, in his theology and philosophy,
vibrate along the mysterious chain through the uppermost skies; and
life or death may, at any moment, be the reward or the penalty. If
there be truth, mingled in the man’s narrations, as there sometimes is,
it must be judged of by the lights of reason, common sense, science,
sound philosophy and religion. It is a gordian knot for the modern
historian to untie; or it is a mass of traditionary chaff, from which
we may, perhaps, winnow a few grains of wheat. Herodotus had, probably,
just such materials to work upon, and he made the best possible use
of them, by letting the events stand as they were given, without
exercising any inductive faculty upon them, or telling us the why and
the wherefore; or if he ever deviates from the rule, as in the case of
the fishes descending the Nile, it is a species of labor which might as
well have been omitted.[85]

[85] It was designed, when these preliminary remarks were penned, to
add some wilder legends than are here presented, which are, at present,

By the figure of a long house, the Iroquois meant to denote the
confederated frame work of the league; by a great tree planted, they
symbolized its deep seated natural power, one in blood and lineage,
and its overshadowing influence and permanency. To assail such a
combination of stout hearts, nature they thought must send forth the
stoutest and most appalling objects of her creation.

The first enemy that appeared to question their power, or disturb their
peace, was the fearful phenomenon of Ko-nea-rau-neh-neh, or the Flying
Heads. These heads were enveloped in a beard and hair, flaming like
fire; they were of monstrous size, and shot through the air with the
velocity of meteors. Human power was not adequate to cope with them.
The priests pronounced them an emanation of some mysterious influence,
and it remained with the priests alone, to exorcise them by their arts.
Drum and rattle and incantation, were deemed more effective, than arrow
or club. One evening, after they had been plagued a long time with
this fearful visitation, the Flying Head came to the door of a lodge
occupied by a single female and her dog. She was sitting composedly
before the fire roasting acorns, which, as they become done, she
deliberately took from the fire and eat. Amazement seized the flying
head, who put out two huge black paws, from beneath his streaming
beard. Supposing the woman to be eating _live_ coals he withdrew, and
from that time he came no more among them.[86]

[86] For a poetic use of this tradition of the Heads and Stonish
Giants, see Hoffman’s Wild Scenes, vol. 1, page 82. New-York edition of

The withdrawal of the Ko-nea-rau-neh-neh, was followed by the
appearance of the great ONYARE,[87] or Lake Serpent, which
traversed the country, and by coiling himself in leading positions near
the paths, interrupted the communication between the towns. He created
terror wherever he went, and diffused a poisonous breath.

[87] Mohawk.

While this enemy yet remained in the land, and they were counselling
about the best means of killing him, or driving him away, the
country was invaded by a still more fearful enemy, namely: the
OT-NE-YAR-HEH, or Stonish Giants. They were a powerful tribe
from the wilderness, tall, fierce and hostile, and resistance to them
was vain. They defeated and overwhelmed an army which was sent out
against them, and put the whole country in fear. These giants were not
only of prodigious strength, but they were cannibals, devouring men,
women and children in their inroads.

It is said by the Shawnees, that they were descended from a certain
family, which journeyed on the east side of the Mississippi, after the
vine broke, and they went towards the northwest. Abandoned to wandering
and the hardships of the forest, they forgot the rules of humanity, and
began at first, to eat raw flesh, and next men. They practiced rolling
themselves in the sand, and by this means their bodies were covered
with hard skin, so that the arrows of the Iroquois only rattled against
their rough bodies, and fell at their feet. And the consequence was,
that they were obliged to hide in caves, and glens, and were brought
into subjection by these fierce invaders for many winters, (or years.)
At length the Holder of the Heavens, visited his people, and finding
that they were in great distress, he determined to grant them relief,
and rid them entirely of these barbarous invaders. To accomplish this,
he changed himself into one of these giants, and brandishing his heavy
club, led them on, under the pretence of finding the Akonoshioni. When
they had got near to their strong hold at Onondaga, night coming on,
he bid them lie down in a hollow, telling them that he would make the
attack at the customary hour, at day-break. But at day break, having
ascended a height, he overwhelmed them with a vast mass of rocks, where
their forms may yet be seen. Only one escaped to carry the news of
their dreadful fate, and he fled towards the north.

They were thus relieved, and began to live in more security, but the
great ON-YAR-HE, or Lake Serpent, was yet in the country.
Alarmed by what Tarenyawagon had done to relieve his people, and
fearing for himself, he withdrew to the lakes, where he and his brood
were destroyed with thunder bolts, or compelled to retire to deep water.

The Five Families were so much molested with giants and monsters, that
they were compelled to build forts to protect themselves. The manner of
doing it was this: they built fires against trees, and then used their
stone axes to pick off the charred part; in this way, by renewing the
fire, they soon felled them; and the fallen trunks were burned off in
suitable lengths, in the same way, and then set up according to the
size and plan of the fort, a bank of earth being piled outside and
inside. They left two gates, one to get water, and the other as a sally
port. [D.]

For some time after the great ON-YAR-HE had left the country,
they had peace; but in after years a still more terrific enemy came.
It had a man’s head on the body of a great serpent. This terrific foe
took his position on the path between the Onondagas and Cayugas, and
thus cut off all intercourse between their towns, for this was also
the great thoroughfare of the five families, or nations. The bravest
warriors were mustered to attack him with spears, darts and clubs. They
approached him on all sides with yells. A terrible battle ensued; the
monster raged furiously, but he was at last pierced in a vital place,
and finally killed. This triumph was celebrated in songs and dances,
and the people were consoled. They hunted again in peace, but after
a time rumors began to be rife of the appearance of an extraordinary
and ferocious animal in various places, under the name of the great
O-YAL-KHER, or mammoth bear. One morning, while a party of
hunters were in their camp, near the banks of a lake, in the Oneida
country, they were alarmed by a great tumult breaking out from the
lake. Going to see the cause of this extraordinary noise, they saw the
monster on the bank rolling down stones and logs into the water, and
exhibiting the utmost signs of rage. Another great animal of the cat
kind, with great paws, came out of the water, and seized the bear. A
dreadful fight ensued; in the end the bear was worsted and retired,
horribly lamed. The next day the hunters ventured out to the spot,
where they found one of the fore legs of the bear. It was so heavy that
two men were required to lift it, but they found it was palatable food
and made use of it, for their warriors believe that it inspires courage
to eat of fierce and brave animals.

After a while, a great pestiferous and annoying creature of the insect
tribe, appeared about the forts at Onondaga, in the guise of the
GE-NE-UN-DAH SAIS-KE, or huge musquito. It first appeared in
the Onondaga country. It flew about the fort with vast wings, making
a loud noise, with a long stinger, and on whomsoever it lighted, it
sucked out his blood and killed him. Many warriors were killed in
this way, and all attempts made to subdue it were abortive, till
Tarenyawagon, or the Holder of the Heavens, was on a visit one day to
the ruler of the Onondagas. The giant musquito happened to come flying
about the fort, as usual at this time. Tarenyawagon attacked it, but
such was its rapidity of flight that he could scarcely keep in sight
of it. He chased it around the border of the great lakes, towards
sun-setting, and round the great country at large, east and west. At
last he overtook it and killed it near Gen-an-do-a, or the salt lake
of Onondaga. From the blood flowing out on this occasion, the present
species of small musquitoes originated.


The state of the book trade, and the importation of books into this
country, but a few years ago, were such as to offer but scanty
advantages to the pursuit of historical letters. There were but few
libraries deserving of notice, and these were placed at remote points,
spread over a very extensive geographical area, where access became
often difficult or impossible. By far the largest number of American
libraries were limited to a few thousand volumes, often a few hundreds
only, and these were chiefly made up of common or elementary works
on arts, sciences and general literature. Writers were compelled to
consult works at second hand, and could seldom get access to scarce and
valuable originals; and the difficulties of making original inquiries
into archæology, antiquities, philology, and other more abstruse,
or less popular topics, increased at every step, and were in fact
insurmountable to men of ordinary means. This state of things will
sufficiently account for the low state of historical letters up to
within a comparatively short period, without impugning the judgment
or sagacity of early observers, on our local and distinctive history;
and offers also a rational plea why the aboriginal branch of our
antiquities, and the just expanding science of ethnology, has been
left enshrouded in so much darkness and historical mystery. We have,
in fact, not had the means of making such inquiries. The libraries at
Harvard, the public collection set on foot by Franklin at Philadelphia,
the library of Congress, and that of the New-York Historical Society,
and perhaps the growing library of the State Capitol at Albany,
are some of the chief collections yet made in the Union; and these
might be conveniently stowed away, _en masse_, in one corner of the
“Bibliotheque Royal” at Paris, without exciting notice.

[_a._] Who were the Eries?

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 Corte-Real 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.[88] 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 on the upper or more remote parts of it. To be brought
captives through it, they must have been embarked at some distance
from its lower extremity. This vague mode of expression leaves a doubt
as to the actual place of residence of this conquered and, so called,
extinct tribe. Whether extinct or not, is not certain. The name is only
a Wyandot name. They had others.

[88] Vide Appendix.

From inquiries made among the Senecas, they are, some believe, the same
people whom this nation call KAH-KWAHS. But we do not advance
much by changing one term for another. The inquiry returns, who were
the Kah-Kwahs? Seneca tradition affirms that they lived on the banks of
Lake Erie, extending eastward towards the Genesee river, and westward
indefinitely; and that they were finally conquered in a war, which was
closed by a disastrous battle, the locality of which is not fixed;
after which they were chased west, and the remnant driven down the
Allegheny river. [See the subsequent paper _d_.]

Cusick, the Tuscarora archæologist, who writes the word “Squawkihows,”
intimates that these were an affiliated people, and that the remnant
after their defeat, were incorporated with the Senecas. [D.]

Colden states that after the war with the Adirondacks broke out, say at
the end of the 16th century, the Iroquois, to try their courage, went
to war against a nation called Satanas,[89] who lived on the banks of
the lakes, whom they defeated and conquered, which raised their spirits
so much, that they afterwards renewed the war against the Adirondacks
and Hurons[90] on the St. Lawrence, and finally prevailed against them.
[Hist. Five Nations, p. 23, Lond. ed. 1767.]

[89] This word appears to be an English _soubriquet_, derived from the
Dutch language, and is from Satan, a synonyme for Duivel. [See Jansen’s
new Pocket Dictionary, Dortracht 1831.] The plural inflection in _a_,
if this derivation be correct, is duplicated in its meaning, by the
corresponding English inflection in _s_, a practice quite conformable
to English orthœpy, which puts its vernacular plural to foreign
plurals, as Cherubims for Cherubim, &c.

[90] Called Quatoghies by the Iroquois.

Satanas, it appears from the same author, is a name for the Shaouanons,
Shawanoes, or Shawnees, as the term is variously written; a tribe, it
may be further remarked, who are called _Chât_ by the modern Canadian

A letter of the missionary Le Moyne, published in the Missionary
“Relacions,” and hereto appended, proves that the war with the Eries,
whatever may have been its origin or former state, had newly broken out
in 1653, and there are references of a subsequent date to denote that
by the year 1655, this war had terminated in the disastrous overthrow
of this people. They appear to have been then located where the
existing traditions of the Senecas place them, namely, west of Genesee
river, and at or near Buffalo. We may suppose that up to this period,
the Senecas were limited to the eastern banks of the Genesee. And it
was probably the results of this war that transferred their council
fire from the present site of Geneva or Canandaigua to the Genesee

When La Salle reached the Niagara river in 1679, but twenty-four years
after the close of this Erie war, he found the entire country on its
eastern or American banks in the possession of the Senecas. [J.] The
history and fate of the Eries was then a tradition.

We may here drop the inquiry to be resumed at a future period.

[_b._] Building of the first vessel on the upper lakes.

The enterprise of La Salle, in constructing a vessel above the falls
of Niagara, in 1679, to facilitate his voyage to the Illinois and the
Mississippi, is well known; but while the fact of his having thus been
the pioneer of naval architecture on the upper lakes, is familiar
to historical readers, the particular _place_ of its construction,
has been a matter of various opinions. Gen. Cass in his historical
discourse, places it at Erie; Mr. Bancroft in his history, designates
the mouth of the Tonawanda. Mr. Sparks in the biography of Marquette,
decides to place it on the Canadian side of the Niagara. These
variances result in a measure from the vague and jarring accounts of
the narrators, whose works had been consulted in some instances in
abridged or mutilated translations, and not from doubt or ambiguity in
the missionary “Letters.”

Literary associations in America, who aimed to increase the means
of reference to standard works, began their labors in feebleness.
The New-York Historical Society, which dates its origin in 1804, and
has vindicated its claims to be the pioneer of historical letters
in America, published Tonti’s account of the Chevalier La Salle’s
enterprise, in one of the volumes of its first series. It is since
known, however, that this account was a bookseller’s compilation from,
it is believed generally correct sources, but it was disclaimed by
Tonti. It is at least but an abbreviation, and cannot be regarded as an
original work.

In 1820, the American Antiquarian Society published in their first
volume of collections, an account of Hennepin discoveries, which is
known to bibliographers to be a translation of a mere abridgment of
the original work, reduced to less than half its volume of matter.
There was also an edition of this author, published in London in 1698;
but still clipped of some of its matter, or otherwise defective; the
tastes and wants of an English public being constantly consulted in
the admission of continental books of this cast. The original work
of Hennepin was published in French, at Amsterdam in 1698. Being of
the order of Recollects, and not a Jesuit, there was much feeling and
prejudice against him in France, of which Charlevoix, the accomplished
historian of New-France, partook in no small degree. Yet whatever
may have been the justice or injustice of these impeachments of the
missionary’s veracity, there could be no motive for disagreement in a
fact of this kind.

Hennepin was the camp missionary of the party on the way to Illinois,
and the companion of La Salle and Tonti on the occasion. By adverting
to his narrative, in the appendix, the most satisfactory and
circumstantial details on this subject will be found. The vessel,
according to him, was built “two leagues above the falls,” that is,
about three miles above the present site of fort Schlosser, on Cayuga
creek. There is no stream, at this distance, on the Canadian side.
They reached the spot on the 22d of January, set up the keel on the
26th, and, after laboring all winter, amidst discouragements, during
which the Senecas threatened to burn it, at one time, and refused to
sell corn to support the workmen, at another, it was launched in the
spring, and named the Griffin, “in allusion to the arms of the Count
de Frontenac, which was supported by two griffins.” The figure of a
griffin adorned the prow, surmounted by an eagle, the symbolic type
of the embryo power, which was destined, in due time, to sway the
political destinies of the continent. There were seven small cannon,
and thirty persons, including the crew. With great difficulty, and by
the use of the _cordelle_, they ascended the rapids, the present site
of Black-Rock, and finally, after many delays, they set sail, freighted
with merchandize, on the 7th of August, 1679, just six months and
twelve days after they had laid the keel. Thus the honor of furnishing
the first vessel on our great chain of inland lakes, above the falls,
is due to the present area of Niagara county, New-York. How this
initiatory step has been followed up, in the course of one hundred and
sixty-seven years, until these lakes are whitened by the canvass of the
republic, and decorated with its self-moving palaces of wood and iron,
under the guise of steamboats, it would be interesting to note. But we
have no statistics of this kind to turn to. As an increment in such an
inquiry, I subjoin, in the appendix, lists kept at my office, in the
west, of the various species of vessels, which entered and departed
from the remote little harbor of Michilimackinac, during the sailing
seasons of 1839 and 1840, respectively.

[_c._] Who were the Alleghans?

This is an inquiry in our aboriginal archæology, which assumes a deeper
interest, the more it is discussed. All the republic is concerned
in the antiquarian knowledge and true etymology and history of an
ancient race, to whom tradition attaches valor and power, and who have
consecrated their name in American geography upon the most important
range of mountains between the valley of the Mississippi, and the
Atlantic. But the inquiry comes home to us with a local and redoubled
interest, from the fact, that they occupied a large portion of the
western area of the State, comprising the valley of the Alleghany river
to its utmost source, and extending eastwardly an undefined distance.
Even so late as 1727, Colden, in his history of the Five Nations,
places them under the name of “Alleghens,” on his map of this river.
It is not certain that they did not anciently, occupy the country as
far east and south as the junction of Allen’s creek, with the Genesee.
A series of old forts, anterior in age to the Iroquois power, extends
along the shores of lake Erie, up to the system of water communication
which has its outlet into the Alleghany through the Conewongo. There
are some striking points of identity between the character of these
antique military works, and those of the Ohio valley, and this
coincidence is still more complete in the remains of ancient art found
in the old Indian cemeteries, barrows and small mounds of western
New-York, extending even as far east as the ancient Osco, now Auburn.

The subject is one worthy of full examination, who this ancient race
were? whence they came? and whither they went? are inquiries fraught
with interest. We should not be led astray, or thrown off the track of
investigation by the name. All the tribes, ancient and modern, have
multiform names. This one of the Alleghans, probably fell upon the ears
of the first settlers, but it is far from certain that it was their own
term, while it is quite certain that it was not of the vocabulary of
the bold northern race, the Iroquois, who impinged upon them. It has
the character of an Algonquin word. Their descendants, whoever their
ancestors were, may yet exist, under their own proper name, in the far
west. The Iroquois, who pushed their conquests down the Alleghany and
Ohio rivers after them, did not found a claim to territory further
south on the Ohio river, than the mouth of the Kentucky. They pushed
their war parties to the Catawba and Cherokee territories across the
Alleghanies, and as far west as the Illinois. They swept over the whole
region included between lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron, north. In the
latter case we know it was a war against the tribes of the Algonquin
stock, including one branch of another, and that their own generic
stock, namely, the Quatoghies or Hurons.

The following communication on this subject, addressed to the Secretary
of the Maryland Historical Society, is added in this connection.
Although written to vindicate a question of antiquarian research, in a
sister society, and partaking perhaps a little of a polemic cast, the
facts are of permanent interest, and are thrown together in a brief and
concentrated form.

  _New-York, May 28th, 1845._


    [91] Addressed to the Editors of the New-York Evening Post and
    National Intelligencer.

    My attention has been called by a literary friend, to your
    notice of Mr. Brantz Mayer’s report on the subject of a
    national name, or distinctive synonyme for our country. Mr.
    Mayer having chosen to reflect upon the antiquarian value of
    the historical research involved in the inquiry, I feel called
    upon, as a member of the committee of the New-York Historical
    Society, before whom this question was discussed, to say a few
    words in reply.

    “The following quotation from my ‘Glossary of Anglo-Indian
    Words,' will best set forth my personal connection with the
    subject as a member of the society, and a humble laborer
    in the field of aboriginal antiquities, who is ready at all
    suitable times, to give authority for the use of whatever
    Indian terms he may employ.

    ”_Alleghan_, an obsolete aboriginal noun proper, applied
    adjectively both in French and English, to an ancient and long
    extinct people in North America, and likewise to the most
    prominent chain of mountains within the regions over which they
    are supposed to have borne sway.”

Our authorities respecting the ancient Alleghans, are not confined
to the very late period, _i. e._ 1819,[92] which is alone quoted,
and exclusively relied on by the learned secretary of the Maryland
Historical Society. Nor do they leave us in doubt, that this ancient
people, who occupy the foreground of our remote aboriginal history,
were a valiant, noble and populous race, who were advanced in arts
and the policy of government, and raised fortifications for their
defence. (N. Y. Hist. Col. vol. 2, p. 89, 91.) While they held a
high reputation as hunters, they cultivated maize extensively, which
enabled them to live in large towns; (Davies’ Hist. Car. Isds.) and
erected those antique fortifications which are extended over the entire
Mississippi valley, as high as latitude 43°, and the lake country,
reaching from Lake St. Clair (Am. Phil. Trans.) to the south side of
the Niagara ridge (the old shore of Lake Ontario) and the country of
the Onondagas and Oneidas (Clinton’s Dis. N. Y. Hist. Soc. vol. 2.)
Towards the south, they extended as far as the borders of the Cherokees
and Muscogees.[93] From the traditions of Father Raymond, they were
worshippers of the sun, had an order of priesthood, and exercised a
sovereignty over a very wide area of country. (His. Carib. Isds. Paris,
1658. London ed. of 1666, p. 204, et seq.)

[92] Trans. Hist. and Lit. Com. Am. Phil. Soc. Vol. 1, Philadelphia,

[93] Seneca tradition, N. Y. Hist. Col. vol. 2.

At what era the Alleghan confederacy, thus shadowed forth, existed
and fell in North America, we do not know. Our Indian nations have
no certain chronology, and we must establish data by contemporaneous
tradition of the Mexican nations, or by internal antiquarian evidence.

The “Old Fort” discovered by Dr. Locke in Highland Co. Ohio in 1838,
denoted a period of 600 years from its abandonment,[94] that is, 284
years before Christopher Columbus first sailed boldly into the Western
ocean. The trees on Grave Creek mound denote the abandonment of the
trenches and stone look-outs in that vicinity to have been in 1338.
(Trans. Am. Ethnological Society, vol. 1, N. Y. 1845.) The ramparts
at Marietta had a tree decayed in the heart, but the concentric outer
circles, which could be counted, were 463. (Clinton’s Dis.) The live
oaks on the low mounds of Florida, where one of the Algonquin tribes,
namely, the Shawnees, aver that they once lived and had been preceded
by a people more advanced in arts (Vide Arch. Am. vol. 1.) denote their
abandonment about 1145. But even these data do not, probably reach back
sufficiently far, to denote the true period.

[94] Cincinnati Gazette.

If we fix upon the twelfth century as the era of the fall of the
Alleghan race, we shall not probably over estimate the event. They
had probably reached the Mississippi valley, a century or two before,
having felt, in their original position, west and south of that stream,
the great revolutionary movements which preceded the overthrow of the
Toltec and the establishment of the Aztec empire in Mexican America.

There are but two words left in our geography, supposed to be of the
ancient Alleghan language. These are Alleghany, and Yioghiogany, the
latter, being the name of a stream which falls into the Monongahela, on
its right bank, about twenty miles above Pittsburgh.

Tradition, not of the highest character, gives us the words Talligeu,
or Talligwee, as the name of this ancient nation, although it is
nearly identical in sounds with the existing and true name of the
Cherokees, which, according to the late Elias Boudinot, (a Cherokee,)
is TSALLAKEE. Col. Gibson, a plain man, an Indian trader and
no philologist, who furnished Mr. Jefferson with Indian vocabularies
of the dialects of his day, to be used in answer to the inquiries
of Catherine the Great, (vide Trans. Royal Academy, Petersburgh,)
expressed an opinion that this ancient people did not use a T before
the epithet, but were called Allegewee. Tradition has, however,
strictly speaking, preserved neither of these terms, although both
appear to have strong affinities with them. The word Alleghany has
come down to us, from the earliest times, as the name of the great
right-hand fork of the Ohio, and also as the name, from the same remote
period of antiquity, of the chain of mountains of which the stream
itself may be said to be the most remote northeasterly tributary.
In this form it is evidently a local term, applied geographically,
according to the general principles of the Indian languages, like
_hanna_ in the Susquehanna, and _hannock_ in the Rappahannock, which
appear to denote, in each case, a river, or torrent of water. By
removing this local inflection, we have Alleghan as the proper term for
the people, and I have felt sustained, by this inductive process, in
regarding Alleghan as the original cognomen of the “_mound builders_”
of North America.

Having thus given my views with respect to the particular word which
awakened this discussion, permit me now to turn to the other matters,
so confidently brought forward by the secretary of the Maryland
Historical Society.

The Iroquois affirm that they formerly lived in the area of the
Cherokee country. (Clin. Dis. N. Y. H. Soc., vol.) Captain Smith met a
war party of this nation, in exploring one of the rivers of Virginia
in 1608. So late as the era of the settlement of North Carolina, they
brought off to the north the last of their cantons, in the tribe
of the Tuscaroras. They sold the lands as far south as Kentucky
river. (Imlay’s Hist. Kent.) They _quitclaimed_ the soil in northern
Virginia and Maryland, and they quite forbid all sales of land by the
Delawares. All authorities, indeed, concur in showing the track of
their migration, prior to 1600, to have been from the south to the
north and northeast. Affiliation of language is also thought to denote
their origin in the south. (Vide Gallatin, 2 vol. Archa. Amer.) The
Hurons, who are of the same stock, affirm that they were originally the
first of all the nations, and call the Lenapees, who have assumed the
same distinction, _nephews_, denoting inferiority in the chronological
and ethnological chain. In this term of nephews, so applied to the
Delawares, all the Iroquois tribes concur. (Vide Oneota.)

Algonquin tradition, recorded by Mr. Heckewelder in the Am. Phi. Trans.
in 1819, on the part of the Lenapees, denotes that a confederation of
these two stocks, namely, the political uncles and nephews, defeated
the Alleghans, and drove them from the country. This tradition is
referred to a time when the Delawares or Lenapees, were shorn of all
power and consequence, “having been degraded,” according to their
phrase, to assume the petticoat, and found a refuge in a new country,
to them, on the Muskingum, where they were taken under the care,
as they had previously been east of the mountains, of the Moravian
brethren. In their reminiscences they would consequently be prone to
give prominence to such events as would reflect the most favorable
lights on their history. They are speaking of events which we see
by the preceding references, must have transpired 500 or 600 years
before, and in a very distant quarter of the Union. Yet they add some
particulars which written history alone could preserve; and they
ascribe to themselves such a degree of foresight, prudence, wisdom,
valor and sense of Christian justice, as no Indian tribe in America
ever evinced. These traditions are recorded by Mr. Heckewelder in
a spirit of Christian kindness on his part, but he does not vouch
for them; they are to be judged, like other traditions, by their
probabilities and their conformity to other and known traditions. It is
on this account that I have adduced the preceding data. Every Indian
nation is prone to exalt itself, and if we would admit fully the claims
of each, the rest would be sorry persons indeed.

The first thing to be borne in mind is, that the tradition is a very
ancient one, and must have come down shorn of many particulars, which
there appears to have been great carefulness to re-state. The scene
also is remote from the place of narration. No such fact as the
principal one of the crossing, on which great stress is laid by Mr.
Mayer, on the part of the Maryland Historical Society, could have taken
place in the Ohio valley, or within one thousand miles of Pittsburgh,
where alone, it must be remembered, we have any evidence in the
existing names of the country of the residence of the Alleghans.

The Algonquins, (we include the Lenapees in their proper groupe,)
attempting to cross the Mississippi, into the territories of a foreign
nation, with a large body of men, are defeated and driven back. They
show themselves pacifically, in a moderate number, and the foreigners
say, come! but turning out a multitude, are assailed. Whether this was
an original stratagem, or an after thought, we are left to infer, but
in either case, it would be quite conformable to Indian policy. For the
sake of clearness, we will locate this event in the section of this
great river, between the Chickasaw bluffs and Natchez, its probable
site. On this defeat they form an alliance with their uncles, the
Iroquois, who were already east of the Mississippi, and were located
north of the Alleghans. A long war begins, in the course of which the
latter erect the fortifications which have excited so much curiosity in
the Mississippi and Ohio valleys, and after proving themselves valiant
men, are finally overpowered and driven off. The Lenapees are in 1819
the historians of their enemies, and berate them as faithless. The
Maryland Historical Society, twenty-six years later, endorse the whole
story, and pronounce the Alleghans pusillanimous, not so much it would
seem for their heroic struggle and defence, as for the cause of it,
namely, not letting the Algonquin hordes march into or through their
country, as the superior forecast and judgment of the latter might, on
further progress, dictate.

Does any sound historian? does any one acquainted with Indian life,
character or history, as it exists, and has always existed in North
America, believe that the pacific and Christian request, put forth
by Mr. Heckewelder, as the chronicler of his Delaware converts at
Gnadenhutton, namely, that they might be allowed to explore a country
east of them, to select it out and dwell therein, or that they had
previously had the prudence, energy and forecast to send spies,
like Moses, to spy it out—as if they were seeking a country for an
agricultural settlement, with flocks and implements of husbandry—I
repeat it, does any one, who reads this detailed part of the tradition
as told to and believed by the good old missionary, credit a syllable
of it? If he does, his good-natured credulity must be greater than that
of the committee of the New-York Historical Society, whose suggestive
report on the discussion of a distinctive national name has been the
theme of so much misconception—may I not add, of so truly Pickwickian
a degree of patriotism.

The truth is, this suggestion of a peaceful passage for the great
Algonquin army, is to be found originally in the 20th chapter of
Numbers, in the demand made, by divine direction, by the Jewish leader
for a safe passport through the land of Edom, for the faithful
performance of which there was a divine guaranty. And when the kind
father had taught this historical lesson to his peaceable disciples on
the banks of the Muskingum, he did not perceive, in afterwards putting
down the traditions of his favorite Delawares, how completely they had
adapted a sacred event to the exigencies of savage life, in a host of
lawless invaders in the American wilderness, in the 12th century.

But we are not only to take this entire tradition of 1819, of an event
happening 600 years before, in extenso, with all its moral exactness of
motive, in the original actors, without any abatements or corrections
required by other traditions or history, but the good father, whose
moral excellence is pure and unimpeachable, but who was no philologist,
aims to make the existing lexicography of the Delaware _prove_ the
tradition; and we have, in a footnote, a forced etymology of the name
of the river Mississippi, to demonstrate that this is a Delaware name.
Now, the name of this river is not “Namaesa Sipu,” that is, sturgeon,
trout, or as he gives it, “fish river,” but MISSI-SIPPI—a
derivative from the adjective _great_, in an aboriginal sense, and
sippi, a river. Mr. Gallatin (Archa. Am. vol. 2) is inclined to believe
that it should be translated “the whole river,” or a unity of waters,
but neither he nor any other commentator, has been able to make
“fish” out of “missi.” The merest tyro in the Indian languages, must
perceive that the etymology does not bear the meaning of Fish river,
and if it did, it would prove, contrary to their reputation, that the
Indians give the most inappropriate geographical names, of all men in
existence. Fish river would be the most malappropriate name for the
Mississippi. Its turbid waters and rushing channel, surcharged with
floating trees, and subject to a thousand physical mutations every
season, is absolutely forbidding to the larger number of species, and
favorable only to the coarser kinds which are rejected from the table
of the epicure.

A single remark more. The Delawares have never lived, or held an acre
of land on the Mississippi, in its whole course between Itasca lake
and the Balize. When Penn came to America, they lived on the Delaware,
in central Pennsylvania. They were ordered to quit the sources of
the Delaware river by the Iroquois in 1742, and go to Wyoming or
Shamoken.[95] They found their way across the Alleghanies, in time to
burn Col. Crawford at the stake,[96] and oppose the settlement of the
Ohio valley, prior to the revolution; they settled on the Muskingum,
and after some afflictions and mutations, chiefly brought upon
themselves, they accepted lands, and began to recross the Mississippi
in 1818[97]. They are now located on the west banks of the Missouri,
on the Konza. Yet the etymology adverted to attributes to this tribe,
not only the naming of the river upon which they never lived, and never
held any lands, but presupposes, that the Illinois and other Algonquin
nations living on its banks, above the influx of the Ohio and the
Missouri, to whom, with the influence of the French, the actual name is
due, preserved the Delaware term “Namæsa Sepu,” although it is neither
used by their descendants nor by Europeans.

[95] Colden’s Hist. Five Nations, vol. 1. p. 31.

[96] Metcalf’s Indian Wars in the West.

[97] This is the first time that this tribe ever by history, or
tradition, other than their own, saw this river.

[_d._] War with the Kah Kwahs.

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[98] 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.

[98] See Buffalo Com. Adv. 12th July, 1845, article “Indian Tradition.”

My inquiries were answered one evening at the mission house at Buffalo,
by the Allegany chief, HA-YEK-DYOH-KUNH, or the Woodcutter,
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 place of their residence, might be written perhaps
with more exactitude to the native tongue, Gah Gwah-ge-o-nuh—but as
this compound word embraces the ideas of locality and existence along
with their peculiar name, there is a species of tautology in retaining
the two inflections. They are not necessary in the English, and besides
in common use, I found them to be generally dropt, while the sound of G
naturally changed in common pronunciation into that of K.

Blacksnake commenced by saying, that while the Senecas lived east of
the Genesee, they received a challenge from the Kah-Kwahs, to try their
skill in ball playing and athletic sports. It was accepted, and after
due preliminaries, the challengers came, accompanied by their prime
young men, who were held in great repute as wrestlers and ball-players.
The old men merely came as witnesses, while this trial was made.

The first trial consisted of ball playing, in which, after a sharp
contest, the young Senecas came off victorious. The next trial
consisted of a foot race between two, which terminated also in favor of
the Senecas. The spirit of the Kah-Kwahs was galled by these defeats.
They immediately got up another race on the instant, which was hotly
contested by new runners, but it ended in their losing the race. Fired
by these defeats, and still confident of their superior strength, they
proposed wrestling, with the sanguinary condition, that each of the
seconds should hold a drawn knife, and if his principal was thrown, he
should instantly plunge it into his throat, and cut off his head. Under
this terrible penalty, the struggle commenced. The wrestlers were to
catch their hold as best they could, but to observe fair principles of
wrestling. At length the Kah-Kwah was thrown, and his head immediately
severed and tossed into the air. It fell with a rebound, and loud
shouts proclaimed the Senecas victors in four trials. This terminated
the sports, and the tribes returned to their respective villages.

Some time after this event, two Seneca hunters went out to hunt west
of the Genesee river, and as the custom is, built a hunting lodge of
boughs, where they rested at night. One day, one of them went out
alone, and having walked a long distance, was belated on his return.
He saw, as he cast his eye to a distant ridge, a large body of the
Kah-Kwahs marching in the direction of the Seneca towns. He ran to his
companion, and they instantly fled and alarmed the Senecas. They sent
off a messenger post-haste to inform their confederates towards the
east, and immediately prepared to meet their enemies. After about a
day’s march, they met them. It was near sunset when they descried their
camp, and they went and encamped in the vicinity. A conference ensued,
in which they settled the terms of the battle.

The next morning the Senecas advanced. Their order of battle was
this. They concealed their young men, who were called by the narrator
burnt-knives,[99] telling them to lie flat, and not rise and join the
battle until they received the war cry, and were ordered forward.
With these were left the rolls of peeled bark to tie their prisoners.
Having made this arrangement, the old warriors advanced, and began the
battle. The contest was fierce and long, and it varied much. Sometimes
they were driven back, or faltered in their line—again they advanced,
and again faltered. This waving of the lines to and fro, formed a
most striking feature in the battle for a long time. At length the
Senecas were driven back near to the point where the young men were
concealed. The latter were alarmed, and cried out “now, we are killed!”
At this moment, the Seneca leader gave the concerted war whoop, and
they arose and joined in battle. The effects of this reinforcement,
at the time that the enemy were fatigued with the day’s fight, were
instantaneously felt. The young Senecas pressed on their enemies with
resistless energy, and after receiving a shower of arrows beat down
their opponents with their war clubs, and took a great many prisoners.
The prisoners were immediately bound with their arms behind, and tied
to trees. Nothing could resist their impetuosity.

[99] A term to denote their being quite young, and used here as a cant
phrase for prime young warriors.

The Kah-Kwah chiefs determined to fly, and leave the Senecas masters of
the field. In this hard and disastrous battle, which was fought by the
Senecas alone, and without aid from their confederates, the Kah-Kwahs
lost a very great number of their men, in slain and prisoners. But
those who fled were not permitted to escape unpursued, and having been
reinforced from the east, they followed them and attacked them in their
residence on the Deoseowa (Buffalo creek) and Eighteen mile creek,
which they were obliged to abandon, and fly to the Ohio, [the Seneca
name for the Alleghany.].

The Senecas pursued them, in their canoes, in the descent of this
stream. They discovered their encampment on an island in numbers
superior to their own. To deceive them, the Senecas, on putting ashore,
carried their canoes across a narrow peninsula, by means of which they
again entered the river above. New parties appeared to the enemy, to be
thus continually arriving, and led them greatly to over-estimate their

This was at the close of day. In the morning not an enemy was to be
seen. They had fled down the river and have never since appeared. It is
supposed they yet exist west of the Mississippi.[100]

[100] We may here venture to inquire, whether the Kah-Kwahs were not
a remnant, or at least allies of the ancient Alleghans, who gave name
to the river, and thus to the mountains. The French idea, that the
Eries were exterminated, is exploded by this tradition of Blacksnake,
at least if we concede that Erie and Kah-Kwah, were synonyms, which is
questionable. A people who were called Ererions by the Wyandots, and
Kah-Kwahs by the Iroquois, may have had many other names, from other
tribes. It would contradict all Indian history, if they had not as many
names as there were diverse nations, to whom they were known.

Two characteristic traits of boasting happened in the first great
battle above described. The Kah-Kwah women carried along, in the rear
of the warriors, packs of moccasins, for the women and children, whom
they expected to be made captives in the Seneca villages. The Senecas,
on the other hand, said, as they went out to battle, “let us not fight
them too near for fear of the stench”—alluding to the anticipated
heaps of slain.

[_22nd August_, 1845.]


    A few traits are thrown in, under this head, in the shape of
    anecdotes, which are thought to be illustrative of Indian

[_a._] Infant Atotarho of the Onondaga.

While I was engaged in taking the census of the Onondagas, at their
council house, at the Castle, where a large number of all ages and both
sexes were assembled, the interpreter, who spoke English very well,
taking advantage of a pause in the business, said to me, pointing to
a fine boy who sat on a bench, near a window, “that is our king!” I
had, a short time before, requested that this boy should be sent for.
His mother had now, unperceived by me, brought him, dressed out in his
best clothes, and evinced, by the expression of her eyes and bearing, a
conscious pride in bringing him to my notice. And truly, she had every
reason to be proud of so finely formed, bright and well-looking a boy.
In addition to these advantages, it is to be remembered that descent,
amongst the Onondagas and the other Iroquois, is counted by the female,
which constituted a further motive of satisfaction and pride to the
mother, in showing her pretty Hux-sa-ha, or boy. She made no remark,
however, on my noticing him, but sat with modesty and ease near him,
but with an eye beaming with too much pride and self-complacence to be

The lad was but three years old, but tall for that age, and offered a
fine model of form. I could not help noticing, what had often impressed
me in similar instances, that the infusion of European blood, derived
from his grandfather by the father’s side, had served to heighten and
improve physical development, and fulness and beauty of muscle. His
eyes were full, large, black and sparkling. His dark hair also was a
true trait of his race. His countenance was of a bright brown, showing
the blood, and rather formed on the Grecian mould, with a good nose
and pretty lips. Yet, over all, there was a physiological dash of the
muscular expression, hue and air of the true Konoshioni.

There was nothing peculiar in his dress, which was of good materials
and well made, agreeably to the nation’s fashion for boys, except it
might be the lining of the under brim of a light straw hat, which the
mother had carefully decorated with a piece of light figured cotton
goods, looking as if it had been cut from a printed handkerchief.

I did not think to ask the name of this promising young candidate for
the seat and honors of the Atotarho, or chief magistracy of his nation.
His father’s name is TSO-HA-NEEH-SA, which, according to the
curious principles of naming persons, and the still more curious rules
of the Indian syntax, means a road, the receding parallel lines of
which intermingle by atmospheric refraction. This, apparently to them,
mysterious uniting and separating of the lines in such a vista, is the
idea described by this compound term. The boy, however, inherits, or
has the right of inheritance of the Atotarho, not “a king,” through the
mother, who was a daughter of the principal Ho-ai-ne, or chief. This
daughter was married to Ezekiel Webster, an American, a New-Englander,
a Vermonter, I think, who either by freak, taste or fortune, wandered
off among the Iroquois soon after the close of the American revolution,
and finally fixed himself in the Onondaga valley, where he learned the
language, established a trade in the gensing root, and became a man
of note and influence in the tribe. He died in old age, and is buried
in this valley, where he has left sons and daughters, all of whom,
however, are recognized as members of the ancient Onondaga canton, or
People of the Hills.

[_b._] Red Jacket and the Wyandot claim to supremacy.

At a great council of the western tribes, assembled near Detroit,
prior to the late war, the celebrated Seneca orator, Red Jacket, was
present, when the question of the right of the Wyandots to light the
council fire, was brought up. This claim he strenuously resisted, and
administered a rebuke to this nation in the following terms:

“Have the Quatoghies forgotten themselves? Or do they suppose we have
forgotten them? Who gave you the right in the west or east, to light
the general council fire? You must have fallen asleep, and dreamt
that the Six Nations were dead! Who permitted you to escape from the
lower country? Had you any heart left to speak a word for yourselves?
Remember how you hung on by the bushes. You had not even a place to
land on. You have not yet done p——g for fear of the Konoshioni. High
claim, indeed, for a tribe who had to run away from the Kadarakwa.[101]

[101] Hon. Albert H. Tracy.

“As for you, my nephews,” he continued, turning to the Lenapees, or
Delawares, “it is fit you should let another light your fire. Before
Miqùon came, we had put out your fire and poured water on it; it would
not burn. Could you hunt or plant without our leave? Could you sell
a foot of land? Did not the voice of the Long House cry, go, and you
went? Had you any power at all? Fit act indeed for you to give in to
our wandering brothers—you, from whom we took the war-club and put on

[102] For similar language to this, addressed to the Delawares, see
Colden’s Fire Nations, for a speech of an Iroquois chief, in council,
at Lancaster.

[_c._] Anecdote of Brant.

When this chief was in London, he received ten pounds sterling, to be
given, on his return to America, to any person or persons, among his
people, whom he found to be doing most to help themselves. On coming
to the Seneca reservation on Buffalo Creek, they had just finished the
church, at an expense of seventeen hundred dollars. He gave the money
to these Indians to buy stoves to warm it, which are still used for
this purpose. He said he had seen no people who were doing so much to
help themselves.[103]

[103] Rev. A. Wright.

[_d._] The County Clerk and the wolf-scalp.

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?” 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.[104]

[104] N. T. Strong, Esq.


The gospel was preached to the Iroquois as well as to the several
tribes of Algonquin origin, who lined the banks of the Hudson and the
Delaware, early in the 17th century. The Reformed Church of Holland
does not appear to have underrated its duties in this respect, while
the Holland States, under a hereditary President or Stadtholder, were
extending their civil jurisdiction and commercial enterprise on this
continent, notwithstanding the want of any direct evidence, that the
conversion of the Indians constituted a fixed part of the policy of the
servants and governors of the West India Company, to whose lot it fell
to introduce the arts and commerce of the mother country. It was the
common impression of those times, not only in Holland, the centre of
theological discussion, but in the reformed churches generally, that
civilization and the arts must precede the introduction of Christianity
among barbarous and idolatrous nations, and it was under such views,
that the gospel was first carried to India and to Iceland by the pious
zeal of the German reformers.

The impulse which had been imparted to the subject through the zeal
and devotion of Xavier and Loyola, and the energetic spirit of making
proselytes and converts, which characterized the particular order of
the Romish church, which they founded, impressed the rulers of Spain,
France and Portugal, with a deep sense of the importance of carrying
the gospel to the aborigines of the countries which they discovered.
Hence it was put forth, and really became one of the cardinal points
of attention in their early attempts to found new colonies. And while
the governors and servants of these countries did not prosecute the
objects of trade and politics with less determination and success,
nay, with a more unscrupulous disregard of the means, as the history
of South America alone testifies, they carried missionaries in every
early enterprise, and set forth to the world, the conversion of the
native inhabitants as the great object of their aim, as it was indeed
often the shield and cover to the reckless avarice and ambition of the
Cortezes and the Pizarros who carried their flags.

It was not consonant to the genius of Christianity, as interpreted by
Luther and his successors, to proceed in the work of spiritual conquest
with so noisy and gorgeous a display, or with hand locked arm in arm
with the State; and if the States of Holland did not put forth the
object, in their first charters and commissions to the new world, it
was, perhaps, because the Church was actuated in, and was guided by,
the general policy of the Protestant European churches. England and
Sweden, who planted colonies here, did the same.

It was not, indeed, until the new impulse which arose in the middle
of the 17th century, and which brought Oliver Cromwell to the English
throne, that different views and a deeper obligation of national duties
in this respect began to prevail. And hence, when the English pilgrims,
who had been sheltered awhile in the tolerant domains of Holland, set
their faces towards the New World, it was with a pre-determination
not only to carry out the principles of the gospel, in their own
settlements, but to extend its benign influences among the aborigines.
This was averred, and the well known prominency of the fact stamps
the efforts to convert and civilize the North American Indians, with
a moral force and grandeur, which cannot be claimed for England, in
her royal capacity as administrator of patents and honors here, or for
any other protestant king or potentate, who sent her poor, bold or
enterprising children to the American wilds.

This much can be said, without disparagement to the piety of the
Netherland church, which had her pastors and teachers at Manhattan,
Fort Orange, and various other incipient points of her settlements
at an early day. Whatever had been her policy, (and we have paid but
little attention to this,) in sending teachers among the Mohegans, the
Maquaas and other tribes who resorted to her forts and factories at
Albany, and other points of early contact with these simple and warlike
men; the English, after the conquest of 1664, appear to have followed
in her footsteps, and pursued the same general, gradual and persuasive
means, attaching high and deserved value at all points to the influence
of European arts and the value of fixed industry.

Churches were founded at an early day, among the Mohawks at Caghnawaga,
and at Dionderoga at the mouth of Schoharie Creek, better known as Fort
Hunter, the latter of which received a present of a set of plate for
the communion service, from Queen Ann.

Unfortunately for the conversion and civilization of the Indians,
they had not a fixed population—they drew their supplies mainly
from the chase, gave up a large portion of their time and means to
war, and besides moving periodically, at least twice a year, _from_
or _to_ their hunting and planting grounds, they were in a general
progress of recession before a civilized population. They shrank before
the determined spirit of progress of civilized arts and industry,
which elicited resources where the Indian had seen none, and made an
industrious use of every acre of tillable ground. But while the silent
influence of this progress did much to teach him, by denoting the
use of tools and implements of art and agriculture, to improve him
in his domicil and its fixtures, and his costume, and to harmonize
and fix his mental habits and character, he was not proof against
the leading temptation of the times, namely, the free and inordinate
use of ardent spirits. From the partial paroxysms of this pernicious
indulgence, he rose with less energy to pursue the chase, or follow
the war path. The policy of land sales, the distribution of presents
as boons from the crown, and the distribution of small sums of coin to
the heads of families in the shape of annuities. A system founded in
all but the last feature, under James VI, and confirmed under the old
confederation, stepped in, as it were, to aid and reinforce him in his
means of living, but which in effect, held him away from his hunting
grounds, paralyzed his home industry, and supplied him new means of
indulging his propensities for liquor and luxuries. That the gospel
should not have made a very marked progress under these circumstances,
is not surprising.

Some years before the breaking out of the American revolution, Mr.
Kirkland planted the gospel standard among the Oneidas, at a time when
the broad and sylvan fields and glades of Kun-a-wa-loa, or Oneida
Castle, were still beyond the pale of European civilization.[105] And
he is to be regarded as the apostle to the Iroquois. For many years,
in perils and dangers, he preached the gospel to the Oneidas, at their
once celebrated castle; and by the purity, firmness and excellence
of his character, won the confidence and the heart of their leading
sachem. Skenandoah, gave his attention to this new scheme of acceptance
with his Maker, admitted it, and became a consistent professor and
practicer of its precepts, and of him, it can be confidently said,
that he lived and died in the faith. To gain the influence of the most
powerful man in the canton, was to gain the whole canton; and when the
war broke out, the tribe, wavering, as it did for a time, and assailed
with all the arts of British intrigue and promise, so profusely put
forth, adhered to the colonies. Kirkland, in the inception and progress
of these movements, became the principal agent in disseminating the
doctrines of peace and neutrality among the six cantons. Washington
and the continental congress, reposed the highest trust in his virtue,
judgment, and intelligence. He took from the lips of the father of his
country, words of peace and good counsel, which coincided admirably,
with the precepts of the gospel. He traversed the then wilderness of
Genesee and Niagara on this mission, and has left enduring monuments of
his faithfulness and zeal.

[105] Herkimer, the nearest point east, was about 40 miles distant.

But the spirit of war prevailed—that spirit which the great body
this people had so long served, under the guidance of their native
priesthood. All but the Oneidas, some few of the Tuscaroras, who
were then settled in their western precincts, and some one or two
individuals, from St. Regis, joined the ranks of the mother country,
under their bold and politic leader Brant. Seven years of battles,
expeditions, ambushes, and murders, terminated not only in their
political overthrow as a confederacy, but plunged many of them who
had before listened to the voice of Christianity, back into the arms
of their native priests and forest habits. The Mohawks, part of the
Cayugas, and some Onondagas and Tuscaroras, fled the country, and
settled chiefly in Canada. The Oneidas, the body of the Onondagas
and Senecas, and some parts of the Cayugas and Tuscaroras, remained.
But they had fought for a phantom. All the rich promises of glory
and conquest, emanating from Johnson Hall and fort Niagara, and the
Canadas had failed; and their delegates came to the treaty of Fort
Stanwix in 1784, poor, crest fallen, and defeated. And by their first
public act, after the drama of the revolution, they put their hands to
a treaty, ceding away the larger portion of their ancient domain.

Thus they were thrown back an immeasurable distance in the work of
civilization and Christianity, and the effort to introduce the gospel
was to be commenced almost anew.

Time will not permit any notice in detail, of this second period in
their history. Kirkland, true to his original purpose, continued
his ministry and useful labors, and died in the Oneida country.
The venerable Skenandoah followed him at some few years later, and
requested to be buried by his side. New missions were projected and
carried into effect, at distinct times, among the remaining cantons. A
review of these, it is impossible to make within the period allotted to
this report; and besides, were the time ample, the data furnished to me
are not in all respects complete, and in some cases wholly deficient.
Communications have been received from the Rev. Gilbert Rockwood
and Rev. James Cusick of Tuscarora; from the Rev. Asher Bliss at
Cattaraugus, and from Rev. William Hall at Alleghany, which are printed
in the appendix, and are referred to as giving the latest and most
authentic information on the progress of Christianity, letters, and
morals among these respective tribes. So far as relates to the progress
of this people in agriculture and the arts, the results of the census,
hereto prefixed, although it denotes striking depopulation, afford
the most definite, and at the same time, most favorable view of the
remains of these cantons, which has, perhaps, ever been presented, of a
whole Indian nation in America. The reluctance, which was felt in some
quarters, has rendered it less complete than it might have been made.
Still, with every proper abatement and qualification, applicable to the
reservations as departmental bodies, and to the whole as a mass, there
are strong encouragements to the friends of Christianity to persevere.
The seeds of industry are well sown; letters have been generally
introduced, and, in some instances, they have produced men of talents
and intelligence, who have taken an honorable part in the professional
and practical duties of life. Very gratifying evidences exist of the
adoption, on a large scale, of the improved arts and conveniencies of
polished life. In manners, costume and address, the Iroquois people
offer a high example of the capacities and ready adoptive habits of the
race. It only needs a reference to the statistical tables mentioned, to
show that they are not behindhand in implements of husbandry, vehicles,
work cattle, horses and the general features of their agriculture. They
are abundantly able to raise sufficient for their own consumption, and
some of the communities have a surplus which is added to the productive
resources of the State. From those who have done so well, and who have
shown such unequivocal capacities for improvement, we may expect more.
From the tree, which has produced blossoms, we may expect fruit; and
from the bearing tree which has produced good fruit, we may expect more
fruit. Under all circumstances, we may regard the problem of their
reclamation as fixed and certain. They have themselves solved it. And
whatever an enlightened people and legislature should do to favor them,
ought not to be omitted. Churches and societies, who have granted
their peculiar aids, should continue those aids; and the heart of the
philanthropist and the statesman has cause to rejoice, that after all
their wars and wanderings, mistakes and besetments, the Iroquois, made
wise by experience, are destined TO LIVE. The results of
the census, herewith submitted, demonstrate this. The time is indeed
propitious for putting the inquiry, whether the Iroquois are not worthy
to be received, under the new Constitution, as CITIZENS OF THE


_Of the Enumeration of the Indians on the several Reservations, with
the other statistical information required by law to be obtained in the
said Reservations._

               1                2       3      4     5     6     7
     RESERVATIONS.  |   A   |   B   |   C   |  D  |  E  |  F  |  G
  1. Oneida,        |   157 |    71 |    86 |  24 |   3 |  47 |
  2. Onondaga,      |   368 |   173 |   195 |  63 |  19 |  73 |   5
  3. Tuscarora,     |   312 |   148 |   164 |  18 |  10 |  11 |   6
  4. Buffalo,       |   446 |   200 |   246 |  73 |  47 |  61 |   3
  5. Cattaraugus,   |   808 |   393 |   415 |  89 |  40 |  30 |  10
  6. Cayugas on the |       |       |       |     |     |     |
       Cattaraugus  |       |       |       |     |     |     |
       Reservation, |   114 |    56 |    58 |  16 |   6 |   5 |   2
  7. Alleghany,     |   783 |   390 |   393 | 127 |  33 | 168 |   6
  8. Tonawanda,     |   505 |   224 |   281 | 101 |  45 |  69 |   4
  9. St. Regis,     |   260 |   126 |   134 |  44 |   5 |  67 |
    Total,          | 3,753 | 1,781 | 1,972 | 555 | 208 | 531 |  36
  A: Total Population.
  B: Number of male persons in the Reservation.
  C: Number of female persons in the Reservation.
  D: Number of married females, under the age of 45 years, in the
  E: Number of unmarried females, between the ages of 16 and 45, in the
  F: Number of unmarried females, under 16 years of age, in the Reservation.
  G: Number of marriages, during the year preceding, in the Reservation.

                            8               9          10   11    12   13    14
                    |      H        |      I        |     |    |     |     |
                    +———---+———----—+——---—+——----——+     |    |     |     |
                    |      |        |      |        |     |    |     |     |
  RESERVATIONS.     |Males.|Females.|Males.|Females.|     |    |     |     |
                    |      |        |      |        |  J  | K  |  L  |  M  |  N
                    +———---+———----—+——---—+——----——+     |    |     |     |
  1. Oneida,        |   8  |    5   |   1  |   ..   |  155|  1 |   1 |  59 |  20
  2. Onondaga,      |   6  |   10   |  11  |   12   |  364| .. |   1 | 169 |  40
  3. Tuscarora,     |   5  |    5   |   1  |    3   |  286| .. |  30 |  63 |  43
  4. Buffalo,       |   3  |    7   |  14  |    7   |  433|  1 |   6 | 117 |  57
  5. Cattaraugus,   |  17  |   11   |  11  |   13   |  789| .. |   7 | 121 |  86
  6. Cayugas on the |      |        |      |        |     |    |     |     |
       Cattaraugus  |      |        |      |        |     |    |     |     |
       Reservation, |   4  |    1   |   3  |    3   |  114| .. |  .. |  21 |  14
  7. Alleghany,     |  13  |    6   |  13  |   13   |  752| 35 |  .. | 227 | 162
  8. Tonawanda,     |   5  |    8   |   4  |    3   |  496| .. |  11 | 126 |  40
  9. St. Regis,     |  ..  |    7   |   5  |    3   |  125| .. | 135 |  81 |
    Total,          |  61  |   60   |  63  |   57   |3,514| 37 | 191 | 984 | 462
  H: Number of births in the Reservation during the year preceding.
  I: Number of deaths in the Reservation during the year preceding
  J: Number of persons in the Reservation born in the State of New-York.
  K: Number of persons in the Reservation born in any of the other States of the Union.
  L: Number of persons in the Reservation born in G. Britain or its possessions.
  M: Number of children in Reservation between the ages of 5 & 16 years.
  N: Number of children in the Reservation attending private or select unincorporated schools.

                           15            16              17             18            19
                    | ACRES     |                 |               |             |
                    | OF LAND.  |      BARLEY.    |       PEAS.   |    BEANS.   |  BUCKWHEAT.
  RESERVATIONS.     |   O       |     P   |   Q   |   R     |  S  |  T     | U  | V      | W
  1. Oneida,        |   421     |  10     |   200 |   3-1/2 |  35 |  3-1/4 | 11 |        |
  2. Onondaga,      | 2,043-1/4 |   2-1/2 |    70 |   7-3/4 |  91 | ..     | .. |  2-1/2 |   50
  3. Tuscarora,     | 2,079-1/2 |  20     |   430 |   5     |  65 | ..     | .. | 18     |  245
  4. Buffalo,       | 1,914     |  ..     |  .... |  18-1/2 |  .. | ..     | .. |  3     |
  5. Cattaraugus,   | 2,123     |  96-1/4 | 1,300 |  ..     | 301 | ..     | .. |  6-1/2 |  420
  6. Cayugas on the |           |         |       |         |     |        |    |        |
     Cattaraugus    |           |         |       |         |     |        |    |        |
     Reservation,   |   316     |  ..     |  .... |  ..     |  23 | ..     | .. | ..     |  227
  7. Alleghany,     | 2,163-1/2 |   6     |    35 |  18-1/4 |  90 | ..     | .. | 18-1/4 |
  8. Tonawanda,     | 2,216     |  42     |   550 |  30     | 200 |  1     | 15 |  5     |  112
  9. St. Regis,     |   591-1/4 |     3/4 |  .... |  27     | 105 | 11     | 18 |  8     |
  Total,            |13,867-1/2 | 177-3/4 | 2,585 | 110     | 910 | 15-1/4 | 44 | 61-1/4 |1,054
  O: Number of acres of improved land in the Reservation.
  P: Number of acres of barley under cultivation.
  Q: Quantity of barley raised therefrom during the preceding year.
  R: Number of acres of peas under cultivation.
  S: Number of bushels raised.
  T: Number of acres of beans.
  U: Quantity raised.
  V: Number of acres of buckwheat.
  W: Quantity raised.

                        20            21                 22                  23
                   |  TURNEPS. |   POTATOES.  |         WHEAT.       |      CORN.
    RESERVATIONS.  |   X   | Y |   Z   |  AA  |  BB   |  CC   |  DD  |   EE    |  FF
  1. Oneida,       |..     | ..| 32-1/4|   841| 14    | 13    |   325|   60-1/2| 1,458
  2. Onondaga,     |   3/4 | 30| 21    |   840| 87-3/4| 87-3/4| 1,156|  189-1/2| 4,492
  3. Tuscarora,    | 2-1/2 | 55| 31    | 1,166|405-1/2| ..    | 4,897|  152    | 3,515
  4. Buffalo,      |..     | ..| 33    | 1,444| ..    | ..    |......|  163-1/2| 2,925
  5. Cattaraugus,  | 5-1/4 |179| 53-3/4| 6,237|169-1/2| ..    | 1,822|  473-1/4| 7,966
  6. Cayugas on the|       |   |       |      |       |       |      |         |
     Cattaraugus   |       |   |       |      |       |       |      |         |
     Reservation,  |..     | ..| 38    |   955| 14-1/2|  4    |   210|   62-1/2| 1,970
  7. Alleghany,    |25-3/4 | 29|146-1/2| 3,638| 46    | ..    |   503|  407    | 8,565
  8. Tonawanda,    | 3     | 60| 40    | 1,150|200    | ..    | 2,400|  170    | 3,950
  9. St. Regis,    | 13/16 | ..| 20-5/8|   410| 42-1/2| ..    |   195|   65-1/2|   658-1/2
    Total,         |38-1/16|353|416-1/8|16,681|979-3/4|104-3/4|11,508|1,743-3/4|35,499-1/2
  X: Number of acres of turneps.
  Y: Quantity raised.
  Z: Number of acres of potatoes.
  AA: Quantity raised.
  BB: Number of acres of wheat sown.
  CC: Number of acres of wheat harvested.
  DD: Quantity of wheat raised.
  EE: Number of acres of corn sown.
  FF: Quantity harvested.

                       24           25                   26
                   |  RYE. |       OATS.      |      NEAT CATTLE.
  RESERVATIONS.    |GG |HH |  II   |   JJ     | KK  |LL |MM |NN | OO
  1. Oneida,       | ..| ..| 28-1/2|   720    |   50|  .| ..| 28| 1,140
  2. Onondaga,     | ..| ..|107    | 2,110    |  189| ..| ..| 82| 1,150
  3. Tuscarora,    | ..| ..|205-1/2| 4,085    |  336| ..| ..| 98| 7,537
  4. Buffalo,      | ..| ..|115-1/2| 4,251    |  270| ..| ..| 87| 4,888
  5. Cattaraugus,  | ..| ..| 58    | 8,922-1/2|  387| ..| ..|166| 2,426
  6. Cayugas on the|   |   |       |          |     |   |   |   |
    Cattaraugus    |   |   |       |          |     |   |   |   |
    Reservation,   | ..| ..| 30    | 1,622    |   63| ..| ..| 43|
  7. Alleghany,    | ..| ..|212-1/4| 4,366    |  585| ..| ..|169|
  8. Tonawanda,    |  4| 60|100    | 2,500    |  305| ..| ..| 88| 3,200
  9. St. Regis,    | ..| ..| 51    |   290    |   90| 17| 16| 42|
    Total,         |  4| 60|907    |28,866-1/2|2,275| 17| 16|803|20,341
  GG: Number of acres of rye sown.
  HH: Quantity harvested.
  II: Number of acres of oats sown.
  JJ: Quantity harvested.
  KK: Number of neat cattle.
  LL: Under one year old.
  MM: Over one year old.
  NN: Number of cows milked.
  OO: Number of pounds of butter made during the preceding year.

                      27      28     29      30      31    32
                   |HORSES.| SHEEP.|HOGS.|         |   |
    RESERVATIONS.  +———-+—-+—-+——-+         |   |
                   |  PP   |QQ |RR | SS  |   TT    |UU |   VV
  1. Oneida,       |   17  | ..| ..|   46|   17    |  8|  $173 00
  2. Onondaga,     |   64  | 49| 43|  327|  116-1/4| 17| 1,100 00
  3. Tuscarora,    |  153  |215|180|  596|  195    | 59|    61 00
  4. Buffalo,      |  123  | 41| 30|  369|  174-1/2| 53|   210 00
  5. Cattaraugus,  |  223  |365|168|  882|  201    | 87|   399 75
  6. Cayugas on the|       |   |   |     |         |   |
    Cattaraugus    |       |   |   |     |         |   |
    Reservation,   |   39  | 40| 30|  109|   50    | 17|    37 00
  7. Alleghany,    |  149  | 79| ..|  627|  416-1/2| 80|   557 00
  8. Tonawanda,    |  130  | 50| 40|  390|  180    | 60|   300 00
  9. St. Regis,    |   50  | ..| ..|  112|   ..    | ..|    .....
    Total,         |  948  |839|491|3,458|1,350-1/4|381|$2,837 75
  PP: Number of horses.
  QQ: Number of sheep.
  RR: Number of fleeces.
  SS: Number of hogs.
  TT: Number of acres of meadow cut.
  UU: Number of ploughs.
  VV: Value of garden and horticultural products.

                                  33                34     35    36  37
                   |     LANDS LET TO OTHERS.    |     |       |   |
    RESERVATIONS.  +—————————-+————-+     |       |   |
                   |   WW    |   XX    |   YY    | ZZ  |  AAA  |BBB|CCC
  1. Oneida,       |   89    |av. $2 91|  $259 00|   44| $85 00|  2| 10
  2. Onondaga,     |1,410-1/2|     2 63| 2,404 00|  640| 131 25|  3| 21
  3. Tuscarora,    |  183-1/2|     3 25|   550 75|1,574|  42 50|  5|  2
  4. Buffalo,      |  533    |     ....| ........|  259|  61 00|  4| 13
  5. Cattaraugus,  |  453    |     ....|   790 00|1,340|  69 60| 12| 83
  6. Cayugas on the|         |         |         |     |       |   |
    Cattaraugus    |         |         |         |     |       |   |
    Reservation,   |    8    |     ....|    25 00|  278|   8 38|  1| 10
  7. Alleghany,    |  238    |     ....|   686 68|1,483| 427 00| 15| 15
  8. Tonawanda,    |  600    |     2 50| 1,500 00|1,250|  50 00| 25|  6
  9. St. Regis,    | ....    |     ....| ........| ....|.......| ..|
    Total,         |3,515    |         |$6,215 43|6,868|$874 73| 67|160
  WW: Number of acres let.
  XX: Annual value per acre received.
  YY: Total value of land let.
  ZZ: Number of bearing fruit trees of all descriptions.
  AAA: Value of avails derived from the chase.
  BBB: Number of persons who have attained the age of 80.
  CCC: Number of persons who possess no lands.

    RESERVATIONS.  +—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-
  1. Oneida,       | ..| ..| ..| ..|  1|  4| ..|  1|  1|  .|  7
  2. Onondaga,     |  1| ..| ..| 23|  4|  .| ..|  1|  .|  4| 33
  3. Tuscarora,    |  2| ..| 13| ..|  .|  .| ..| 18|  .|  .| 33
  4. Buffalo,      | 21| ..|  6| 19|  .|  .| ..|  2|  .|  .| 48
  5. Cattaraugus,  | 54| ..| 42|  1|  .|  .| ..| ..|  .|  .| 97
  6. Cayugas on the|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    Cattaraugus    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    Reservation,   | ..| ..| ..| ..|  .|  .| ..| ..|  .|  .|
  7. Alleghany,    |  5| 64|  3| 29|  .|  .| 13| ..|  .|  .|114
  8. Tonawanda,    | ..| ..|  3| ..|  .|  .| ..|  1|  .|  6| 10
  9. St. Regis,    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    Total,         | 83| 64| 67| 72|  5|  4| 13| 23|  1| 10|342
  DDD: Cayugas.
  EEE: Undetermined tribes.
  FFF: Onondagas.
  GGG: Oneidas.
  HHH: St. Regis.
  III: Stockbridge or Mohegans.
  JJJ: Cornplanter village in Pennsylvania.
  KKK: Mohawks.
  LLL: Lenapees or Delawares.
  MMM: Tuscaroras.
  NNN: Total.

                   |  STATISTICS OF OCCUPATION.
    RESERVATIONS.  +—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-
  1. Oneida,       | 18|  1|  .|  6|  .|  .|  .|  3
  2. Onondaga,     | 47|  2|  .| 25|  1|  .|  3|  1
  3. Tuscarora,    | 60|  1|  .|  8|  3|  3|  3|  5
  4. Buffalo,      | 23|  1|  1|  6|  5|  1|  1|  7
  5. Cattaraugus,  | 80|  6|  1| 32|  7|  .|  6|  7
  6. Cayugas on the|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    Cattaraugus    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    Reservation,   | 17|  1|  .|  8|  1|  1|  .|  2
  7. Alleghany,    | 96|  6|  .| 46|  1|  1|  2|  7
  8. Tonawanda,    | 30|  2|  .| 20|  2|  1|  2|  3
  9. St. Regis,    |
    Total,         |371| 20|  2|151| 20|  7| 17| 35
  OOO: Number of farmers.
  PPP: No. of mechanics.
  QQQ: Number of lawyers.
  RRR: No. of semi-hunters or who derive support in part from the chase.
  SSS: Number of persons educated at colleges or academies.
  TTT: No. of physicians.
  UUU: No. of teachers, catechists or ministers.
  VVV: No. of interpreters or translators of the Iroquois.

                               40               41                    42
                   | STATISTICS OF MORALITY.  |     |              ANNUITIES.
                   +—-+——-+———+—-+——-+     +—————+——————+——-+——————
                   |WWW| XXX | YYY  |ZZZ|AAAA |BBBB |   CCCC   |   DDDD     |EEEE | FFFF
  1. Oneida,       | 1 |  133| 31   | 35| 1   |  164|   ...    |            |     |
  2. Onondaga,     | 1 |  330| 38   |128| 1   |  368|   ...    |$2,430 00   | ... | $6 60-1/3
  3. Tuscarora,    | 2 |  249| 63   |231| 2   |  312|   ...    |    ...     |
  4. Buffalo,      | 1 |  436|  5[106]| 28| 2   |  446|   ...    |    ...     |$4 80|
  5. Cattaraugus,  | 1 |  768| 40   | 75| 4   |  808|$12,765[107]|   500 00{A}| 4 80|
  6. Cayugas on the|
    Cattaraugus    |
    Reservation,   | . |   97| 16   | 15| 1   |  114|   ...    |   600 00   | 4 80|
  7. Alleghany,    | 1 |  603|117   |158| 2   |  783|   ...    |    ...     | 4 80|
  8. Tonawanda,    | 1-|  465| 40   |200| 1   |  505|   ...    |    ...     | 4 80|
  9. St. Regis,    | . |   ..| ..   | ..| .[108]|  260|   ...    | 2,131 69   | ... |8 19-226/260
    Total,         | 8 |3,081|350   |870|14   |3,760|
      Deduct seven Oneidas,                   |    7|
      Total, as in first column,              |3,753|
  WWW: Churches.
  XXX: Number of persons who adhere to their native religion.
  YYY: No. of church members of all denominations.
  ZZZ: Number pledged to temperance.
  AAAA: Schools.
  BBBB: Aggregate population.
  CCCC: United States.
  DDDD: New-York.
  EEEE: U. S. Distribution—Share.
  FFFF: N. Y. Distribution—Share.

[106] Incomplete.

[107] These sums are the total of the annuities paid by the United
States and the State of New-York to the Indians of the Tonawanda,
Buffalo, Cattaraugus, including the Cayugas and Alleghany Reservations.

[108] The church of this tribe is north of the boundary line, in Canada.

NOTE.—It has not been ascertained in what manner the $500
and $600 annuities paid to the Senecas and Cayugas are divided among
themselves—whether the Senecas receive any portion of that paid to the
Cayugas, and the Cayugas any part of that paid to the Senecas.


I could not learn that there ever was a child born blind among the
Iroquois. The traditions of the people do not refer to any instance of
the kind. They believe none has occurred. It is certain, from inquiries
made on the several reservations, that no such person now exists. Yet
it is a subject which, from the importance of the fact in aboriginal
statistics, deserves to be further investigated.

Among the Oneidas, prior to the removal of the principal body of this
tribe to Wisconsin, there was one lunatic—a young man who was kindly
taken care of, and who accompanied them on their removal to the west.
There is also an instance of a deaf and dumb child, among those of the
tribe who remain in the State. This person, who is a female, now under
12 years of age, was recently taken to the Onondaga reservation by her
relatives, and is now at that location.

There is one idiot among the Onondagas, a young man under 21 years of
age. He is supported by his relatives and friends.

I also found one idiot among the Tuscaroras.

My inquiries on the several reservations of the Senecas, at Tonewanda,
Buffalo, Cattaraugus and Alleghany, did not result in detecting a
single person who was either deaf and dumb, an idiot or a lunatic. As
the Senecas are seven-fold more numerous than the highest in number
among the other cantons, this result, if it should be verified by
subsequent and fuller inquiries, after more thoroughly explaining
the object of the information sought for to each band, would offer a
remarkable exemption from the usual laws of population. There are no
means of instruction for this class of persons on the reservations. The
care of the three individuals above designated, calls for the same
disproportionate tax on time, which is elsewhere necessary, and the
admission of these persons to the State Lunatic Asylum, and the Deaf
and Dumb Institute at New-York, free of expense, would seem to be due
to them.

Among the St. Regis, which is the only tribe I did not visit and take
the enumeration of, it is not known whether there be any persons of
either class.

One or two additional facts may be added to the preceding statistics in
this connection.

I found three saw mills, with twenty-one gangs of saws, on the
Alleghany reservation, and also two council houses and two public
schools, constituting public property, belonging exclusively to this
reservation, which were valued by the appraisers, under the treaty of
1842, at $8,219.00.

On the Cattaraugus reservation, there is the church, council house and
farms, connected with the schools, being the property of the Indians
and not the missionary society, which were valued together, by the same
appraisers, at $3,214.50.

There is on the Buffalo creek reservation, a saw mill, valued at
$404.75, a church built originally at an expense of $1,700, valued at
$1,200, and a council house, valued at $75; making a total amount of
public property, including all the preceding, of $13,113.25.

The total amount of private valuations on the Buffalo and Tonewanda
reservations, under the treaty of 1842, was not exactly ascertained,
but it is about $80,000. This is entirely Seneca property and funds.
Its payment to individuals, in the sums awarded, is based on their
removal to Cattaraugus and Alleghany, agreeably to the terms of the
compromise treaty of 1842.

The Onondagas possess one saw mill, well built and in good repair,
which is of some value to them, and might be rendered more so, under a
proper system of management.



Letter from the Secretary of State to Henry R. Schoolcraft, &c.

  _Albany, June 25th_, 1845.}


SIR—I have deemed it proper to appoint you to take the enumeration of
the Indians residing on the following reservations, to wit: The Oneida,
Onondaga, Tuscarora, and the Reservations of the Senecas, one or more
in each of the counties of Allegany, Cattaraugus and Erie, and also of
the Tonewanda Indians in the county of Genesee.

Your duties are summarily defined in the fifteenth section of the act
of the Legislature, which authorizes me to make this appointment, and
to which I invite your attention.

On calling at this office you will be furnished with the proper blanks
to enable you to perform the duties of the important trust committed to
your hands, which will indicate with sufficient precision the method
of ascertaining the numbers, ages, sex, condition and classification
of the remnants of this interesting race. You will find, on running
through and examining the blanks for these returns, full scope for all
the information that can be of any practical use.

I desire you will be very particular and minute in your inquiries in
respect to every matter which relates to agricultural and statistical
information, as well as of all other information called for by the
returns, which will be furnished to you.

It is believed, from the information which has been received at this
office, that there may be found, at the different reservations, Indians
who were not originally of the tribe or stock to which they now
profess, perhaps, to belong. You will, as far as may be in your power,
and without exciting the jealousy and distrust of the Indians, endeavor
to ascertain the number of their people, now living at the different
reservations, who are not of the original stock or tribe with whom they
are now sojourning.

It is important that you do not consolidate or bring into one return
any more than the inhabitants of one reservation, and a sufficient
number of blank returns will be furnished to enable you to accomplish
this object without any difficulty, and you can use some one of the
columns which will otherwise be found useless, to denote or mark the
number who derive their subsistence from the chase.

It is expected that you will complete the enumeration, and file the
several returns in the Secretary’s office by the first day of September
next, that I may be able to prepare abstracts and copies to be
submitted to the Legislature at the next session.

You will no doubt experience some difficulties in the performance of
the duties devolved upon you, owing to the jealousy of the Indians and
the novelty of these proceedings; this, it is believed, being the first
effort of the kind ever attempted by the State. You will assure our
red brethren, that, in taking this enumeration of them, and making the
inquiries into their present condition and situation, the Legislature,
the Governor of the State, or any of the officers, have no other
objects in view but their welfare and happiness.

The Indians within our State are under its guardian care and
protection, and it is a high duty that is now to be performed of
sending a competent and well qualified citizen to visit them, and
inquire particularly into their situation. We have no connection with
the government of the United States, or any land company, which prompts
to these inquiries into their present social condition.

You will be at liberty to extend your inquiries to the early history
and antiquarian remains of the Indians in the central and western parts
of the State, but it is desired that these may be as brief as the
nature of these inquiries will allow.

With these views of the subject I commit this important trust to your
hands, confidently expecting and anticipating a very satisfactory

  I have the honor to be, with great respect,
  Your ob’t ser’t,
  _Secretary of State_.

P. S. Please to advise me of your acceptance, and also state when you
will probably call here to receive the blanks and commence your duties.

[_a._] Fifteenth Section of an Act relative to the Census or
Enumeration of the Inhabitants of the State, passed May 7, 1845.

§ 15. It shall be the duty of the secretary of state to appoint
suitable persons to take the enumeration of the Indians residing on
the several reservations in this state, who shall in respect to such
reservations perform all the duties required of marshals by this
act; and shall also return the number of acres of land cultivated by
such Indians, and such other statistics as it may be in their power
to collect, and as the secretary of state in his instructions shall
prescribe; for which service they shall be paid out of the treasury
upon the warrant of the comptroller such suitable compensation, not
exceeding two dollars per day, as the secretary shall certify to be
just. All expenses incurred by the secretary of state in executing this
act shall be paid by the treasurer upon the warrant of the comptroller.

[_b._] Attorneys or Agents of Indians appointed by the State.

         TRIBE.       |      ATTORNEY OR AGENT.     | RESIDENCE.|  COUNTY.
    Oneida Indians,   | Spencer H. Stafford, Att’y, | Vernon,   | Oneida
    Seneca Indians,   | Cephas R. Leland,      do   | Hanover,  | Chautauque
    Onondaga Indians, | Wm. W. Teall, Agent,        | Syracuse, | Onondaga

[_c._] Reservations

    Reservation on the Allegany river,
    Oil Spring reservation.

    Buffalo creek reservation,
    Part of Cattaraugus reservation.

    Part of Oil Spring reservation in this county.

    The Tonawanda reservation is principally in this county.

    Onondaga reservation.

    Tuscarora Indian reservation.

    Oneida reservation.


Extracts from a Rough Diary of Notes by the way.

    Such parts only of these notes and memorandums are retained,
    as have been referred to, as original materials, of which
    there is some particular fact or statement, which has not been
    exhausted. Sometimes the note itself was chiefly of a mnemonic
    character, and designed to recall further particulars entrusted
    to the memory.



Localities to be examined, namely:
    1. POMPEY, Onondaga.
      Vestiges of a town, 500 acres.
      Three circular walls, or elliptical forts, 8 miles apart.
      These formed a triangle, enclosing the town.

    2. CAMILLUS, Onondaga.
      Two forts.
      One 3 acres on a high hill.
      East, a gate, west, spring 10 rods off.
      Shape elliptical.
      Ditch deep.
      Wall 10 feet high.
      Second fort, half a mile distant.
      Lower ground.
      Constructed like the other.
      About half as large.
      Shells, testaceous animals—plenty.
      Fragments, pottery.
      Pieces of brick.
      “Other signs” of ancient settlement, found by first settlers.

      Six miles south of Cross and Salt lakes.
      Forty miles south of Oswego.
      Discovered 1791, New-York Magazine, 1792 with picture writing,
        on a stone 5 feet by 3-1/2, and 6 inches thick, evidently
      Two hundred and twenty yards length.
      Fifty-five yards breadth.
      Bank and ditch entire.
      Two apertures middle of parallelogram, one towards the _water_,
        other _land_.
      Second work, half a mile south.
      Half-moon. Outwork.
        extremities of the crescent from larger fort.
      Bank and ditch of both, large old trees.
      Pottery well burned, red, indented.
      East, these works traced 18 miles east of Manlius square.

  4. OXFORD, Chenango county.

      East banks Chenango river.
      Great antiquity.
      North to Sandy creek, 14 miles from Sacketts Harbor, near one
        which covers 50 acres.
      Fragments of pottery.
      West in great numbers.


  6. SCIPIO.

  7. AUBURN, two forts.

  8. CANANDAIGUA, three forts.

  9. Between Seneca and Cayuga lakes—several.

  10. RIDGEWAY, Genesee:
      Several forts and places of burial.

  11. ALLEN’S RESIDENCE, 1788.
      Two miles west.
      A flat.
      Deserted Indian village.
      Junction of Allen’s creek with Genesee.
      Eight miles north of Kanawageas.
      Five miles north of Magic Spring.
      Six acres.
      Six gates.
      Ditch eight feet wide.
      Six feet deep.
      Circular on three sides.
      Fourth side, a high bank.
      A covered way, near two hundred years old.
      Second, half a mile south, on a greater eminence.
      Less dimensions.
      But deeper ditch.
      More lofty and commanding.

  12. JOAIKA:
       Twenty-six miles west of Kanawageas.
       Six miles further.
       Tegatainedaghgwe, or double-fortified town.
       A fort at each end.
       First about four acres.
       Two miles distant another.
       Eight acres.
       Ditch about first five or six feet deep.
       Small stream one side.
       Traces of six gates.
       Dug way to the water.
       Large oaks two hundred years old or more.
       Remains of a funeral pile—bones.
       Mound six feet by twenty—thirty diameter—(sixty to ninety.)


       Still another.

       A fort one thousand years old, by trees.

       Cattaraugus creek to Pennsylvania line, fifty miles.
       Two to four miles apart—some half a mile.
       Some contain five acres.
       Wall and breast-works of earth.
       Appearance of ancient beds of creeks.
       [Note the geological change.]
       Lake Erie retired from two to five miles.

       A chain of parallel forts.
       Two table grounds.
       Recession of lake.

All these vestiges denote long periods of time, and probably different
eras of occupation. Who preceded the Iroquois? Who preceded their
predecessors? Do these vestiges tell the story? How shall we study
them? By antiquities; by language; by comparison with other races of
America, Asia, Africa, Europe.

       *       *       *       *       *

ALBANY, _July 5th_.—Examine the site of ancient Mohawk
residence in 1609, on the island and its vicinity at the mouth of
Norman’s Kill. Look for their ancient burial places. Bones, pieces
of pottery, and other objects of art may tell something bearing on
their history. Is the Oasis opposite the turnpike gate, the site of
their ancient burial-ground? Is this the spot denoted by their name of
Tawasentha, or is it to be sought in other places, at the mouth, or up
the valley of this stream?

       *       *       *       *       *

UTICA.—The Mohawk valley appears to have no monumental, or
other evidences of its having been occupied by races prior to the

       *       *       *       *       *

VERNON.—Who were the original race that first set foot in
Oneida county? When did the Oneidas come? Where did they originate, and
how? They are said to be the youngest of the Six Nations.

L. Hitchcock Esq. says that he was present, when a boy, some forty
years ago, when the last executions for witchcraft among the Oneidas
took place. The suspected persons were two females. The executioner was
Hon Yost. They were dispatched unawares, by the tomahawk.

Sachan, a strong wind, or tempest, was the Oneida name for Col. L. S.

The principal tributary to the Oneida creek which traverses this rich
grazing town, is called after the noted chief, (to adopt the common
pronunciation,) SCANADO. It means a deer. The old orthography,
for this word is Skenandoah.

Mr. Tracy, of Utica, whose authority on this point is good, gives
Tegesoken, as the Indian name of Fish creek. It means, _between the

Cowassalon creek, _i. e._, bushes hanging over the water.

Canastota. One pitch pine tree.

Aontagillon. Brook of the pointed rock.

Kunyonskota. White creek (on Dean’s patent.)

Kanaghtarageara. Place of washing the penis. This is a dark ravine.
This word appears to be Mohawk.

Sa-da-quoit. Smooth pebbles in the bed of the stream—creek at
New-Hartford. All these are in Oneida county.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ot, Judge J. says, means water in the Oneida tongue.

Otsego, he adds, is from Ot, water, and Sago, hail, welcome, how d’ye
do? This I don’t believe. It is not in accordance with the Indian
principles of combination.


  The Oneidas call a man, Lon gwee.
        “          a woman, Yon gwee.
        “          God, Lonee.
        “          Evil Spirit, Kluneolux.

Some of their words are very musical, as Ostia, a bone; ahta, a shoe;
kiowilla, an arrow; awiali, a heart; loainil, a supreme ruler.

The French priests, who filled the orthography of this language with
the letter R, committed one of the greatest blunders. There is no sound
of R, in the language; by this letter, they constantly represent the
sound of L.


In a conference with Abraham Denne, an aged Oneida, he stated that
Brandt was brought up by his (Denne’s) grandfather, at Canajoharie;
that he was a bastard, his mother Mohawk, and did not come of a line of
chiefs. Says, that Scanado was a Tory in the war, notwithstanding his
high name; that he acted against us at the siege of Fort Stanwix. The
anecdote of an Indian firing from a tree, he places, while they were
repairing the fort; says that after the man got up, he drew up loaded
rifles with a cord; that both Scanado and Brant were present.

Says Scanado was adopted by the nation, when quite young; came from the
west; does not know of what tribe, but showed himself smart, and rose
to the chieftaincy by his bravery and conduct. Says, that the (syenite)
stone on the hill, is the true Oneida stone, and not the white stone
at the spring; was so pronounced by Moses Schuyler, son of Hon Yost,
who knew it forty years ago; that the elevation gave a view of the
whole valley, so that they could descry their enemies at a distance
by the smoke of their fires; no smoke, he said, without fire. They
could notify also, from this elevation, by a beacon fire. The name of
the stone is O-ne-a-ta; auk, added, renders it personal, and means an
Oneida. The word Oneida is an English corruption of the Indian.


Abraham Schuyler, an Oneida, says that the Oneidas originated in two
men, who separated themselves from the Onondagas. They first dwelt at
the outlet of Oneida lake. Next removed to the outlet of Oneida creek,
on the lake, where they fortified. Williams says he was born there, and
is well acquainted with the old fort. They then went to the head of the
valley at the Oneida stone, from which they were named. Their fourth
remove was to the present site of Oneida Castle, called a skull on a
pole, where they lived at the time of the discovery of the country and
settlement of the colony by the Dutch, (i. e. 1609 to ’14.)

_Site of the Oneida Stone, Stockbridge._


Asked several Oneidas to pronounce the name for the Oneida stone. They
gave it as follows:


The terminal syllable, _aug_, seems to be a local particle, but carries
also with its antecedent _ta_, the idea of life or existence, people or

Onia is a stone. The meaning clearly is, People of the (or who have
sprung from the) Place of the _Stone_.

Adirondack, Jourdain, pronounces Lod-a-lon-dak, putting l’s for r’s and
a’s. It means a people who eat trees—an expression ironically used for
those who eat bark of trees.

For Cherokees, he gives We-au-dah.

For Delawares, Lu-na-to-gun.

What a mass of fog philologists are fighting with, who mistake, as
the eminent Vater and Adelung have, in some cases done, the different
_names_ of the same tribes of American Indians for different _tribes_.

       *       *       *       *       *


Counted one hundred cortical layers in a black walnut—centre broke so
as to prevent counting the whole number, but by measuring estimated one
hundred and forty more. If so, the field was deserted in 1605.

The present proprietor of the farm comprising the Oneida stone, spring,
butternut grove, &c. is Job Francis. He first hired the land of
Hendrick’s widow; afterwards he and Gregg were confirmed by the State.

The white stone at the spring, a carbonate of lime, is not the _true_
Oneida stone.

The Oneida stone is a _syenite_—a boulder.


Abraham Le Fort says, that Ondiaka was the great chronicler of his
tribe. He had often heard him speak of the traditions of his father.
On his last journey to Oneida he accompanied him. As they passed south
by Jamesville and Pompey, Ondiaka told him that in ancient times, and
before they fixed down at Onondaga, they lived at these spots. That it
was before the Five Nations had confederated; but while they kept up a
separate existence, and fought with each other. They kept fighting and
moving their villages often. This reduced their numbers, and kept them
poor and in fear. When they had experienced much sickness in a place,
they thought it best to quit it and seek some new spot where it was
hoped they should have better luck. At length they confederated, and
then the fortifications were no longer necessary, and fell into disuse.
This is the origin, he believes, of these old works, which are not of
foreign origin.

Ondiaka told Le Fort that the Onondagas were created by Ha-wä-ne-o,
in the country where they lived. That he made this entire “island”
HA-WHO-NAO, for the red race, and meant it for them alone. He
did not allude to, or acknowledge any migrations from foreign lands.

Their plan, after the confederation was to adopt prisoners and
captives, that fragments of tribes who were parted amongst them and
thus lost. They used the term We-hait-wa-tsha, in a figurative sense,
in relation to such tribes. This term means a body cut and quartered
and scattered around. So they aimed to scatter their prisoners among
the other nations. There is still blood of the Cherokees in Onondaga. A
boy of this nation became a chief among the Cherokees.

I called Le Fort’s attention to the residence of the Moravian
missionary, Zœisberger. He said there was no tradition of such
residence—that the oldest men remembered no such mission; that they
were ever strongly opposed to all missionaries after the expulsion of
the Jesuits, and he felt confident no such person, or any person in the
character of a preacher, had lived at Onondaga Castle; that there must
be some mistake in the matter.

ONONDAGA. [Jackson’s.]

Ondiaka told Le Fort that the Onondagas formerly wandered about,
without being long fixed at a place, frequently changing their villages
from slight causes, such as sickness, &c. They were at war with the
other Iroquois bands. They were also at war with other tribes. Hence
forts were necessary, but after they confederated, such defensive
works fell into disuse. They lived in the present areas of De Witt,
Lafayette, Pompey and Manlius, along Butternut creek, &c. Here the
French visited them, and built a fort, after their confederation.

Ephraim Webster stated that the Indians were never as numerous as
appearances led men to think. This appearance of a heavy population
happened from their frequent removals, leaving their old villages,
which soon assumed the appearance of ancient populous settlements.

He told Jas. Gould, that being once on a visit to Canada, he became
acquainted with a very aged Indian, who, one day, beginning to talk of
the Onondaga country, told him that he was born near the old church,
near Jamesville, where there was a very populous village. One evening,
he said, he stepped out of his lodge, and immediately sank in the
earth, and found himself in a large room, surrounded by three hundred
witches and wizzards. Next morning he went to the council, and told the
chiefs of this extraordinary fact. They asked him whether he could not
identify them. He said he could. They then accompanied him on a visit
to all the lodges, when he pointed out this and that one, who were
immediately killed. Before this inquiry ended, and the delusion was
stayed, he says that three hundred persons were killed.

Nothing is more distinct or better settled in the existing traditions
of the Iroquois, than their wars with the Cherokees. I found this
alluded to at Oneida, Onondaga, &c., in the course of their traditions,
but have not been able to trace _a cause_ for the war. They seemed
to have been deeply and mutually exasperated by perfidy and horrid
treachery in the course of these wars, such as the breaking of a peace
pledge, and murder of deputies, &c. Their great object was, as soon as
young men grew up, to go war against the Cherokees. This long journey
was performed without provisions, or any other preparation than bows,
clubs, spears and arrows. They relied on the forest for food. Thousands
of miles were not sufficient to dampen their ardor, and no time could
blot out their hatred. The Oneidas call them _We au dah_.

Jeremiah Gould went with me to view the twin mounds. They exhibit
numerous pits or holes, which made me at once think of the Assenjigun,
or hiding pit of the western Indians. Gould, in answer to my inquiry,
said that it was a tradition which he did not know how much value it
was worth, that the Tuscaroras were brought from the south by the
Oneidas, and first settled in this county. They warred against the
Onondagas. The latter, to save their corn, buried it in these mounds or
hills, then hid by the forest. In one of these excavations, dug into
forty years ago, they found a human skull and other bones belonging to
the human frame.

James Gould went with me over the stream (Butternut) to show me a
mound. It is apparently of geological formation, and not artificial.
Its sides were covered with large trees, the stumps of which remain.
There was a level space at the top, some four or five paces in
diameter, trees and bushes around. The apex, as paced, measures one
way 17, the other 12 paces; is elongated. It seemed to have been the
site of the prophet’s lodge. Near it is the old burying ground, on an
elongated ridge, where the graves were ranged in lines.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Pottery._—Webster gives the Indian tradition of this ancient art
thus. The women made the kettles. They took clay and tempered it with
some siliceous or coarse stone. This they first burnt thoroughly, so as
to make it friable, (probably they plunged it while hot into water,)
and then pounded it, and mixed it with blood.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Charred corn, &c._—In Ellisburgh is found much charred corn beneath
the soil, and numerous remains of occupancy by the natives. Is this the
evidence of Col. Van Schaack’s expedition into the Onondaga country
during the revolutionary war? His battle with the Indians, tradition
here says, took place near Syracuse. Bones, supposed to be of this era,
were discovered, in ditching the swamp near Cortland House.


Mr. I. Keeler says that he cut a large oak tree, near the site of
the old fort, two and a half feet through. In re-cutting it, at his
door, a bullet was found, covered by 143 cortical layers. It was still
some distance to the centre. If this tree was cut in 1810, the bullet
was fired in 1667. Consult “Paris Documents,” 1666, treaty with the
Onondaga Iroquois.

The Goulds say that the fort was a square, with bastions, and had
streets within it. It was set round with cedar pickets, which had been
burnt down to the ground. Stumps of them were found by the plough.

Nearly every article belonging to the iron tools of a blacksmith shop
have been ploughed up at various times—an anvil, horn, vice screw,
&c.; Indian axes, a horse shoe, hinges, the strap hinge. A pair of
these hangs the wicket gate to his house.

A radius of five to six miles around the old fort would cover all
the striking remains of ancient occupancy in the towns of De Witt,
Lafayette and Pompey.

Webster told the Goulds that the French who occupied this fort, and had
the nucleus of a colony around it, excited the jealousy and ire of the
Onondagas by the hostility of some western tribes in their influence.
Against these the Onondaga warriors marched. The French then attacked
the red men, &c. This led to their expulsion and massacre. All were
killed but a priest who lived between the present towns of Salina and
Liverpool. He refused to quit peaceably. They then put a chain around a
ploughshare, and heating it, hung it about his neck; he was thus, with
the symbol of agriculture, tortured to death. His hut was standing when
the county was settled.

The attempt to settle western New-York by the French was in the age of
chivalry, (the 16th century,) and was truly Quixotic.


Pompey and its precincts were regarded by the Indians as the ground of
blood, and it brought up to their minds many dark reminiscences, as
they passed it. Some twenty years ago, there lived an aged Onondaga,
who said that many moons before his father’s days, there came a party
of white men from the east in search of silver. From the heights of
the Onondaga hills, they descried the white foam of Onondaga lake, and
this was all the semblance they ever found of silver. One of the men
died, and was buried on Pompey hill, and his grave was marked by a
stone.[109] The others built a fort on the noted ground, about a mile
east of Jamesville, where they cultivated the land; but at length the
Indians came in the night, and put them all to death. But there was a
fearful and bloody strife, in which the Indians fell like leaves before
the autumn wind. This spot is the field of blood.

[109] QUERY.—Is not this the inscription stone now deposited
in the Albany Academy?

  _L. Birdseye._

AURORA: August. See Rev. Mr. Mattoon.

Vestiges of the Cayugas—villages—orchards—old forts. Get a
vocabulary of their language from Canada. Get diagram of forts.

Karistagea, or Steeltrap, thought to have been unfairly dealt with at
his death. Buried in the road.

Fish Carrier’s Reserve at the bridge. Four miles square.

Red Jacket born on the opposite banks of the lake at Canoga.

Historical reminiscences of Mr. Burnham. Letter stating the first
settlements on the Military Tract at Aurora.

Address before the G. O. I. Folly of keeping the society secret.

Horticultural meeting. Dr. Thompson. Mr. Thomas.

Anniversary of Academy. Salem Town.

Intelligence, moral tone, hospitality of the place.

Cars at Cayuga bridge.

Logan was the son of a Cayuga.

Did the Cayugas conquer the Tutelos of Virginia, and adopt the remnant?

Cayugas scattered among the Senecas, in Canada and west of the
Mississippi. How many left? What annuities.

       *       *       *       *       *

GENEVA: Ancient site of the Senecas. Origin of the word
Seneca. Is it Indian or not Indian?

Examine old forts said to exist in this area. Are there
any vestiges of Indian occupancy at the “Old Castle”—at

       *       *       *       *       *

CANANDAIGUA: In visiting Fort-hill on the lake, see what
vestiges. Another site bearing this name, exists to the north of
Blossom’s. What antiquities? What traditions? Ask old residents.
Enquire of Senecas west.

       *       *       *       *       *

ROCHESTER: Nothing left here of the footprints of the
race—all covered deep and high with brick and stone. Whole valley of
the Genesee worthy examination, in all its length and branches. Wants
the means of an antiquarian society to do this.

Truly the Iroquois have had visited upon them the fate with which they
visited others. They destroyed and scattered, and have, in turn, been
destroyed and scattered. But their crime was the least. They destroyed
as _heathens_, but _we_ as _Christians_. In any view, the antiquarian
interest is the same—the moral interest, the same.

The Iroquois had noble hearts. They sighed for fame. They took hold of
the tomahawk as the only mode of distinction. They brought up their
young men to the war dance. They carefully taught them the arts of war.
We have other avenues to distinction. Let us now direct their manly
energies to other channels. The hand that drew a bow, can be taught to
guide a plough. Civilization has a thousand attractions. The hunter
state had but one. The same skill once devoted to war would enable them
to shine in the arts of peace.

Why can not their bright men be made sachems of the pen, of the press,
of the pulpit, of the lyre?

       *       *       *       *       *

BATAVIA, _July_.—There are still traces of a mound on
Knowlton’s farm, a mile from Batavia, up the Tonewanda. Bones and glass
beads, have been ploughed out of it. Other traces of former aboriginal
occupancy exist in the vicinity, a stone pestle, axes, &c. having been

The Indian name of Batavia is Ge-ne-un-dah-sais-ka, meaning musquito.
This was the name by which they knew the late Mr. Ellicott.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Tonewanda falls 40 feet at a single place, within the Indian
reservation. It heads on high ground about 40 miles above Batavia. On
the theory of the former elevation of lake Erie, Buffalo itself would
be the highest ground, between Batavia and the lake, in a direct line.
Attica, is perhaps more elevated in that direction.

TONEWANDA RES. [Winsor & Richards.]


The Senecas call themselves NUN-DO-WAW-GAW, or people of the
hill. The term Seneca is taken from the lake, on the banks of which
they formerly lived, and had their castle. It is _not_ a name of Indian
origin. They are called NUN-DO-WAW-GAW, from the eminence
called Fort-Hill, near Canandaguia lake. [Ho-ho-ee-yuh, or J. A.


They call the Cherokees O-YAU-DAH, which means a people who
live in caves. Their enmity against this people, the tradition of which
is so strong and clear, is stated to have originated from the contact
of war and hunting parties, in the plains of the southwest. The Senecas
affirm that the Cherokees robbed and plundered a Seneca party and took
away their skins. Retaliation ensued. Tragic scenes of treachery and
surprise followed. The Five Nations took up the matter in all their
strength, and raised large and strong war parties, who marched through
the country to the Cherokee borders, and fought and plundered the
villages, and brought away scalps and prisoners. There are now, (1845)
descendants of Cherokees in the third degree, living on the Tonewanda
reservation. [Ho-ho-ee-yuh.] Some years ago, a chief of this blood,
pure by father and mother, lived among them, who had been carried
off captive when a boy. The fact being revealed to him, after he had
obtained the chieftaincy, he went south to seek his relations and live
and die among them, but he was unable to find them. He came back to the
Senecas, and died among them. [Le Fort.]


The most curious trait, of which we know but little, is that respecting

Asked the chief called Blacksmith, his name in Seneca. He replied,
De-o-ne-hoh-gah-wah, that is, a door perforated, or violently broken
through, not opened. Says he was born on the Tonewonda reservation,
and wishes to die there; will be 60 years old, if he lives till next
winter, 1846.

Says the Senecas call the Fort Stanwix or Rome summit, De-o-wain-sta,
meaning the place where canoes are carried across the land from stream
to stream; that is, a carrying place.

Says, Te-to-yoah, or Wm. Jones of Cattaraugus, can relate valuable
Seneca traditions.

He says there are eight Seneca clans; they are the Wolf, Bear, Turtle,
Deer, Plover, Beaver, Hawk and Crane. He is of the Wolf clan. This was
also Red Jacket’s clan.

These clans may be supposed to have arisen from persons who had
greatly distinguished themselves at an early period as founders, or
benefactors, or they may have held some such relation to the original
nation, as the Curiatii and Horatii, in Roman history. It is not
only the Iroquois, who ascribed this honor to the clans of the Bear,
the Turtle and the Wolf. They are equally honored among most of the
Algonquin tribes.


In the town of Cambria, six miles west of Lockport, (1824,) a Mr.
Hammon, who was employed with his boy in hoeing corn, observed some
bones of a child, exhumed. No farther thought was bestowed upon the
subject for some time, for the plain on the ridge was supposed to have
been the site of an Indian village, and this was supposed the remains
of some child, who had been buried there. Eli Bruce, hearing of the
circumstance, proposed to Mr. H. 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, by
four and a half in depth—the planes agreeing with the four cardinal
points. It was filled with human bones of both sexes and all ages. They
dug down at one extremity and found the same layers to extend to the
bottom, which was the same 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
ploughed up in the field adjacent. Traces of a log council house were
plainly discernable. For, in an oblong square, the soil was poor, as if
it had never been cultivated, till the whites broke it up; and where
the logs of the house had decayed, was a strip of rich mould. A maple
tree, over the pit, being cut down, two hundred and fifty concentric
circles were counted, making the mound to be anterior to as many years.
It has been supposed by the villagers that the bones were deposited
there before the discovery of America, but the finding of some metal
tools with a French stamp, places the date within our period. One
hundred and fifty persons a day visited this spot the first season,
and carried off the bones. They are now nearly all gone, and the pit
ploughed over. Will any antiquarian inform us, if possible, why these
bones were placed here? To what tribe do they belong? When did such a
massacre occur?

None of the bones of the men were below middle size, but some of them
were very large. The teeth were in a perfectly sound state.


1. Rent of land from twelve shillings to three dollars per acre.

2. Sale of timber, fire wood, hemlock bark, staves, saw-logs.

3. Fishing and hunting. Very little now.

4. Raise corn, cattle, horses, hogs, some wheat, &c. &c., cut hay.
Young men hire themselves out in harvest time.


At Barnegat is an ancient ridge, or narrow raised path, leading from
the river some miles, through low grounds; it is an ancient burial
ground, on an island, in a swamp.

Bones of the human frame, bone needles, and other ancient remains, are
ploughed up at an ancient station, fort or line, in Shelby.

A human head, petrified, was ploughed up by Carrington, sen., in a
field in Alabama, Genesee county, and is now in the possession of Mr.
Grant, at Barnegat.

Petrified tortoises are said to be ploughed up in many places.


De-o-ne-ho-ga-wa is the most influential chief of the Tonewandas. He
is of the Wolf tribe—born on the forks of the Tonewanda, and is 59
years old. Being interrogated as to the Seneca history, he says, that
the tradition of the tribe is clear—that they lived on the banks of
the Seneca and Canandaigua lakes. They were called Nun-do-wau-onuh, or
People of the Hill, from an eminence now called Fort Hill, at the head
of Canandaigua lake. They are now called, or, rather, call themselves,
Nun-do-wau-gau. The inflection onuh, in former times, denoted
residence, at a hill; the particle agau, in the latter, is a more
enlarged term for locality, corresponding to their present dispersed

The word Seneca, he affirms, is not of Indian origin. While they lived
in Ontario, there was a white man called Seneca, who lived on the banks
of the lake of that name. Who he was, where he came from, and to what
nation he belonged, he does not know. But wherever he originated, he
was noted for his bravery, wisdom and strength. He became so proverbial
for these noble qualities, that it was usual to say of such, and such a
one, among themselves, he is as brave as Seneca, as wise as Seneca, as
noble as Seneca. Whether the lake was called after him, or he took his
name from the lake, is not known. But the name itself is of European
origin. The tribe were eventually called Senecas from their local
residence. The idea, he says, was pleasing to them, for they thought
themselves the most brave and indomitable of men. Of all the races
of the Ongwe-Hon-we, they esteemed themselves the most superior in
courage, endurance and enterprize.

He refers to Te-to-yoah of Cattaraugus for further information.

On reference to Te-to-yoah, some time afterwards, he had no tradition
on this particular subject. The probability is, that Blacksmith meant
only to say, that the name was not Seneca. So far is true. What he says
of a great man living on Seneca lake, &c., in older times, is probably
a reproduction, in his mind, of an account of Seneca, the moralist,
which has been told him, or some Indian from whom he had it, in days

As the name of Seneca is one of the earliest we hear, after 1609, it
was probably a Mohawk term for that people. It is spelt with a _k_ in
old French authors.

LEWISTON. [Frontier House.]

The Tuscarora clans are the following:

The Turtle.

The Wolf.

The Bear.

The Beaver.

The Snipe, or Plover.

The Eel. This is not an Iroquois totem.

The Land Tortoise.

They have lost the Falcon, Deer and Crane, perhaps in their
disastrous wars of 1713. By this it appears they have lost one clan
entirely—probably in their defeat on the Taw river, in N. Carolina.
Two others of the clans are changed, namely, the Falcon and Deer, for
which they have substituted the Land Tortoise and Eel.

Descent is by the chief’s mother and her clan, her daughter or nearest
kin, to be settled in council. The adoption of chiefs was allowed,
where there was failure of descent.

Curious barrow, or mound, on Dr. Scovill’s place—to be examined. Two
others, near the old mill and orchard.

Old fort of KIENUKA, to be visited.

Get vocabulary of Tuscarora, to compare.

This tribe has gone through a severe ordeal, their history is full of
incident. The following list shews their number in North Carolina, and
all other Indians of that colony in 1708.

  Tuscaroras, living in 15 towns,    1,200 men.
  Waccons, in 2 towns,                 120
  Maramiskeets,                         30
  Bear Rivers,                          50
  Hatteras,                             16
  Neuse, in 2 towns,                    15
  Pamlico,                              15
  Meherrin,                             50
  Chowan,                               15
  Paspatank,                            10
  Poteskeets of Carrituk,               30
  Nottoways,                            30
  Connamox, in 2 towns,                 25
  Jaupim,                                2

Visited James Cusick, the brother of DAVID, the Indian
archæologist, preacher to the Tusks, pictures in the house, old deeds
from Carolina.

Sunday. Attended Mr. Rockwood’s meeting, admirable behavior of all,
dress well, good singing. W. Chew interprets.

Females, however, adhere to their ancient costume.

Women more pertinacious in their social habits and customs than men.

Tuscaroras raise much wheat, cattle, horses, quite in advance of the
other tribes in agriculture.

They own the fee simple of about 5,000 acres, besides their
reservation, which they purchased from the Holland Company.


This name is Mohawk. It means, according to Mrs. Kerr, the Neck, the
term being first applied to the portage, or neck of land, between lakes
Erie and Ontario.


Whence this name? The Indian term is Te-ho-so-ro-ro in Mohawk, and
De-o-se-o-wa in Seneca. Ellicott writes it Tu-she-way. Others, in other
forms. In all, it is admitted to mean the place of the linden, or
bass-wood tree.

There is an old story of buffaloes being killed here. Some say a horse
was killed by hungry _Frenchmen_, and palmed off for buffalo meat at
the camp. How came a horse _here_?

A curious bone needle was dug up this year, in some excavations made in
Fort Niagara, which is, clearly, of the age prior to the discovery.

Bones and relics must stand for the chronology of American antiquity.

America is the tomb of the red man. All the interest of its
anti-Columbian history, arises from this fact.


By Father Le Moyne’s letter of 1653, [vide Relacions,] the war with the
nation of the Cat or Eries was then newly broke out. He _thanks_ the
Onondagas, Senecas, Cayugas and Oneidas, for their _union_ in this war.

On the 9th August, 1653, we heard a dismal shout, among the Iroquois,
caused by the news, that three of their men had been killed by the

He condoles with the Seneca nation, on the capture of their great
chief, AU-REN-CRA-OS, by the Eries.

He exhorts them to strengthen their “defences” or forts, to paint their
warriors for battle, to be united in council.

He required them never to lay in ambush for the Algonquin or Huron
nations, who might be on their way to visit the French.

We learn, from this, that the Eries or Cat nation, were not of the
Wyandot or Huron, nor of the Algonquin nations. It would seem that
these Eries were not friends of the French, and that by exciting them
to this new war, they were shielding their friends, the Algons and
Hurons, from the Iroquois club and scalping knife. That they were the
same people called the “Neuter Nation,” who occupied the banks of the
Niagara, there is but little reason to believe. The Senecas called them
Gawgwa or Kah-Kwah.

Cusick states that the Senecas fought against a people, west of the
Genesee river, called Squakihaw, _i. e._ Kah-Kwah, whom they beat, and
after a long siege took their principal fort, and put their chief to
death. Those who recovered were made vassals and adopted into the tribe.

He states that the banks of the Niagara river were possessed by the
Twa-kenkahor, or Missasages, who, in time, gave it up to the Iroquois
peaceably. Were not these latter the Neuter Nation?

To discuss the question of the war with the Eries, it is necessary
to advert to the geographical position of the parties. The Senecas,
in 1653, as appears by French authorities, lived in the area between
the Seneca lake and the Genesee river. The original stock of the
Five Nations appears to have entered the area of western New-York in
its central portions; and, at all events, they extended west of the
Genesee, after the Erie war, and possessed the land conquered from the


Seventy-four Seneca chiefs attended the general council held here.
Putting their gross population at 2,500, this gives one chief to every
thirty-three souls. This makes them “captains of tens.”

The Seneca language has been somewhat cultivated. Mr. Wright, the
missionary, who has mastered the language, has printed a spelling book
of 112 pages, also a periodical tract for reading, called the “Mental
Elevator.” Both valuable philological data.

The Senecas of this reservation are on the move for Cattaraugus and
Alleghany, having sold out, finally, to the Ogden company. They leave
their old homes and cemetery, however, with “longing, lingering looks.”

Here lie the bones of Red Jacket and Mary Jemison.

Curious and interesting reminiscences the Senecas have. Jot down their
traditions of all sorts. Can’t separate fiction from fact. They must
go together; for often, if the fiction or allegory be pulled up, the
fact has no roots to sustain itself.


Mr. Wright showed me an ancient triturating stone of the Indians, in
the circular depressions of which they reduced the siliceous material
of their ancient pottery.

The Seneca language has a masculine, feminine and neuter gender. It has
also an animate and inanimate gender, making five genders.

It has a general and dual plural.

It abounds in compound descriptive and derivative terms, like the

They count by the decimal mode. There are names for the digits to ten.
Twenty is a compound of two and ten, and thirty of three and ten, &c.

The comparison of adjectives is effected by prefixes, not by
inflections, or by changes of the words, as in English.

Nouns have adjective inflections as in the Algonquin. Thus _o-a-deh_ is
a road, _o-a-i-yu_ a good road. The inflection, in this last word, is
from _wi-yu_, good.


It is a maxim with the Iroquois, that a chief’s skin should be thicker
than that of the thorn locust, that it may not be penetrated by the

Indian speakers never impugn each other’s _motives_ when speaking in
public council. In this, they offer an example.

Mr. Strong says, Silversmith of Onondaga, has the tradition of the war
with the Eries.


It is observed by a report of the Canadian Parliament, that the number
of Indians now in Canada is 12,000. Of these, 3,301 are residing in
Lower Canada, and the remainder 8,862, in Canada West. The number
of Indians is stated to be on the increase, partly from the access
of births over the deaths, and partly from a numerous immigration
of tribes from the United States. This report must be taken with
allowances. It is, at best, but an estimate, and in this respect, the
Canadians, like ourselves, are apt to over estimate.

The Indian is a man who has certainly some fine points of character;
one would think a man of genius could turn him to account. Why then are
Indian tales and poems failures? They fail in exciting deep sympathy.
We do not feel that he has a heart.

The Indian must be _humanized_ before he can be loved. This is the
defect in the attempts of poets and novelists. They do not show the
reader that the red man has a feeling, sympathising heart, and feeling
and sympathies like his own, and consequently he is not interested in
the tale. It is a tale of a statue, cold, exact, stiff, but without
_life_. It is not a man with man’s ordinary loves and hopes and hates.
Hence the failure of our _Yamoydens_, and _Ontwas_, and _Escatlas_, and
a dozen of poems, which, although having merits, slumber in type and
sheepskin, on the bookseller’s shelf.


One seems here, as if he had suddenly been pitched into some of the
deep gorges of the Alps, surrounded with cliffs and rocks and woods, in
all imaginable wildness.


Reached the Indian village on the reservation at this place, at 9
o’clock in the morning.

Indians call the place Te-o-ni-gon-o, or De-o-ni-gon-o, which means
Cold Spring.

Locality of the farmer employed by Quakers, at the mouth of a creek,
called Tunasassa; means a clear stream with a pebbly bed.

Allegany river they call Oh_e_o, making no difference between it, and
the stream after the inlet of the Monongahela.

Gov. Blacksnake absent; other chiefs, with his son Jacob meet in
council; business adjusted with readiness.

Allegany river low; very different in its volume of water and
appearance from what it was 27 years before, when I descended it, on my
way to the WEST.

Lumbering region; banks lined with shingles, boards, saw logs. Indians
act as guides and lumbermen.

Not a favorable location for the improvement of the Senecas. Steal
their timber; cheat them in bargains; sell whiskey to them.

Had the imaginative Greeks lived in Allegany county, they would have
pictured the Genesee and Allegany rivers, as two girls, who having
shaken hands, parted, the one to skip and leap and run eastward to find
the St. Lawrence, and the other to laugh through the Ohio valley, until
she gradually melted into the ocean in the gulf of Mexico.


The counties of Cattaraugus, Chautauque and Allegany, and part of
Wyoming and Steuben, constitute a kind of Switzerland. The surface of
the country resembles a piece of rumpled calico, full of knobs and
ridges and vallies, in all possible shapes and directions. It is on the
average elevated. Innkeepers and farmers encountered on two trips over
it, say that there is considerably more moisture in the shape of rain
and dews and fogs, than in the Genesee country. It is less valuable
for wheat, but good for corn, grass, and raising stock. Nothing can be
more picturesque. The hills are often cultivated to their very tops. It
is healthy. Such a region is a treasure in a State so level and placid
as much of western New-York; and had it the means of ready access to
markets, and to the Atlantic, it would, in a few years, be spotted
with gentlemen’s seats from the seaboard. There are some remarkable
examples of the east and west, and north and south fissures of rocks
(a trait also noted at Auburn,) in these counties. At one place, the
fissures are so wide, and the blocks of rock between so large, that
the spot is sometimes called CITY OF ROCKS. The rock here
is conglomerate, i. e. the bed of the coal formation; a fact which
denotes the elevation of the country. It is to be hoped, when this
country is further subdivided into counties and towns, that some of the
characteristic and descriptive names of the aborigines will be retained.


This bright, busy, thriving place, is a curiosity from the fact, that
the Cattaraugus creek, (a river it should be called) splits in exactly,
or nearly so, in two parts, the one being in ERIE, the other
in CATTARAUGUS. Efforts to get a new county, and a county
seat, have heretofore been made. These conflict with similar efforts,
to have a county seat located at Irving, at the mouth of the creek.


This is a fine natural harbor and port of refuge. Its neglect appears
strange, but it is to be attributed to the influence of capitalists at
Silver-Creek, Dunkirk, Barcelona, &c.


Here are vestiges of the Indians old forts, town sites, &c. Time and
scrutiny are alone necessary to bring out its antiquities.


_The Chief, Capt. Cole._—The noted Onondaga Chief, Capt.
COLE, died at his residence, among his people, a few days
since, aged about seventy-five years. This Indian was well known here,
having, for many years, made his home upon the reservation adjoining
the city. He took the field, in defence of the country, during the last
war, under the late Gen. PORTER, who was often heard to speak
of his bravery and usefulness, in the various battles along the Niagara

       *       *       *       *       *

COLE was of the “old school” of his race—a primitive,
unadulterated Indian, equally uncontaminated in mind as in habits,
by intercourse with the whites. Probity and justice were the leading
features of his character; and to direct these he had an intellect
which won for him a high control and extended influence among his tribe.

Some years since COLE was selected by our townsman, young
WILGUS, as the finest specimen he had ever met, of the race
to which he belonged; and he immediately took means to secure him as
a sitter. The result was the half length portrait of the Chief which
WILGUS executed, and which has been so often seen and admired
alike by our citizens and by strangers.

An incident connected with the history of this piece, seems appropriate
here, as illustrative of its excellence. When WILGUS left
for Porto Rico, where he now is, he took the portrait of Cole with
him. It was seen, upon that island, by a gentleman from Amsterdam, who
declared it the first piece he had seen which gave him the slightest
ideas of the peculiar characteristics of the Indian race; and he became
so interested in the picture that he asked and obtained permission to
take it with him, to Europe, for the inspection of his friends. The
piece was, by him, carried to Amsterdam, where the admiration of it
was universal, and where it would have been retained, at almost any
price, had it been for sale. But it was not: the gentleman had promised
to return the painting safe to Buffalo; and he has done so, it having
arrived here this spring; and it now stands, unostentatiously enough,
in the bookstore of the artist’s father, upon Main-street.


The Tonewandas at length consent to have their census taken.


Go with Mr. Goodwin to visit Oswaco lake—Gov. Throop’s place—Old
Dutch Church overlooking the lake, &c.

_Fort-Hill._—Extensive vestiges of an elliptical work—Curious
rectangular fissures of the limestone rock on the Owasco outlet—north
and south.

The Indian name of the place, as told by an Onondaga chief—Osco; first
called Hardenburgh’s Corners, finally named after Goldsmith’s “Deserted
Village”—so that the poet may be said to have had a hand in supplying
names for a land to which he once purposed to migrate.

It would have pleased “poor Goldsmith” could he have known that he was
the parent of the name for so fine a town—a town thriving somewhat on
the principle laid down in the concluding lines of the poem—

    “While self-dependent power can time defy,
     As rocks resist the billows and the sky.”


Pity a better name could not have been found for so fine, central,
capital a site. The associations are now all wrong. What had Dionysius
or Archimedes to do here? It was Atotarho Garangula, Dekanifora,
Ontiyaka, and their kindred, who made the place famous. Onondaga
would have been a far better appellation. The Indians called the lake
and its basin of country together Gan-on-do-a. Salt Point, or the
Saline, sounded to me as if, abating syllibants, it might be written


There was a ford in the Mohawk here. It was the site of Fort
Schuyler—a fort named after Major Schuyler, a man of note and military
prowess in the olden time, long before the days of General Philip
Schuyler. Some philological goose, writing from the Canadas, makes
Utica an Indian name!


Mr. Brayton says, that in digging the turnpike road, in ascending
Kiddenhook hill, on the road to Bethlehem, many human bones, supposed
to be Indian, were found. They were so numerous that they were put in a
box and buried. This ancient burial ground, which I visited, was at a
spot where the soil is light and sandy. On the hill, above his house,
is a level field, where arrow-heads have been found in large numbers.

Mr. B., who has lived here sixteen years, does not know that the
isolated high ground, east of the turnpike gate, contains ancient
bones—has not examined it with that view. Says Mr. Russell, in the
neighborhood, has lived there fifty years, and will ask him.

Nothing could be more likely, than that this oasis on the low land
should have served as the cemetery for the Mohawks, who inhabited the
island, where the Dutch first landed and built a fort in 1614.

The occupancy of this island by the Indians could never have been any
thing but a _summer residence_, for it is subject to be inundated every
year by the breaking up of the river. This was probably the cause why
the Dutch almost immediately abandoned it, and went a little higher,
to the main land, where Albany now stands. The city, however, such are
the present signs of its wealth and progress, has extended down quite
half way to the parallel of the original site of “Het Casteel” under
Christians, and should these signs continue, within twenty years South
Pearl-street will present lines of compact dwellings and stores to the
bridge over the Tawasentha, and Kiddenhook be adorned with country


Whatever else can be done for the red race, it is yet my opinion,
that nothing would be as permanently beneficial, in their exaltation
and preservation, as their admission to the rights and immunities of


At a council of the Six Nations of Indians, held upon the Tonawanda
Reservation, on Wednesday, Oct. 1st, there were present the Mohawks,
Onondagas and Senecas, confederate brothers on the one part, and the
Oneidas, Cayugas and Tuscaroras, brothers on the other part.

The Masters of the grand ceremonies were Deatgahdos, Hahsant
(Onondagas) and Oahgwashah, (Cayuga.) The speakers were Hahsauthat,
(Onondaga,) Shosheowaah, (Seneca,) and Oaghwashah, (Cayuga.)

After the grand ceremonies were performed, the following were appointed
Grand Sachems, Sachems and Chiefs.

Desha-go-gaah-neh was appointed Grand Sachem, in place of
Ga-noh-gaith-da-wih, deceased.

Ga-noh-la-dah-laoh was appointed Grand Sachem, in place of Gah-no-gaih,

Deyawa-dah-oh was appointed Grand Sachem in place of Ganyo-daiyuh,

The above are Seneca Indians.

Of the Onondagas—O-jih-ja-do-gah was appointed Grand Sachem in place
of Hononiwedoh, (Col. Silversmith, an Onondaga resident among the
Senecas) deposed.

So-dye-a-dolik was appointed Chief of the Onondagas, in place of
Sha-go-ga-eh, (Button George,) deposed.

Deyushahkda was appointed Sachem of the Tuscaroras, and
Ga-yah-jih-go-wa was appointed a Chief as runner for
De-yus-hahkdo.—_Buff. Pilot._



A grand council of the confederate Iroquois was held last week, at
the Indian Council House on the Tonawanda Reservation, in the county
of Genesee. Its proceedings occupied three days—closing on the 3d
instant. It embraced representatives from all the Six Nations—the
Mohawk, the Onondaga, the Seneca; and the Oneida, the Cayuga and the
Tuscarora. It is the only one of the kind which has been held for
a number of years, and is, probably, the last which will ever be
assembled with a full representation of all the confederate nations.

With the expectation that the council would commence on Tuesday, two
or three of us had left Rochester so as to arrive at the Council House
Monday evening; but owing to some unsettled preliminaries, it had been
postponed till Wednesday. The Indians from abroad, however, had arrived
at the Council Grounds, or in their immediate vicinity, on Monday;
and one of the most interesting spectacles of the occasion, was the
entry of the different nations upon the domain and hospitality of the
Senecas, on whose ground the council was to be held. The representation
of Mohawks, coming as they did, from Canada, was necessarily small. The
Onondagas, with the acting Tod-o-dah-hoh of the confederacy, and his
two counsellors, made an exceedingly creditable appearance. Nor was
the array of Tuscaroras, in point of numbers at least, deficient in
attractive and imposing features.

Monday evening we called upon and were presented to Blacksmith, the
most influential and authoritative of the Seneca sachems. He is about
60 years old—is somewhat portly, is easy enough in his manners, and is
well disposed and even kindly towards all who convince him that they
have no sinister designs in coming among his people.

Jemmy Johnson is the Great High Priest of the confederacy. Though now
69 years old, he is yet an erect, fine looking, and energetic Indian,
and is both hospitable and intelligent. He is in possession of the
medal presented by Washington to Red Jacket in 1792, which, among other
things of interest, he showed us.

It would be incompatible with the present purpose to describe all the
interesting men who there assembled, among whom were Capt. Frost,
Messrs. Le Fort, Hill, John Jacket, Dr. Wilson and others. We spent
most of Tuesday, and indeed much of the time during the other days of
the week in conversation with the chiefs and most intelligent Indians
of the different nations, and gleaned from them much information of
the highest interest in relation to the organization, government and
laws, religion, customs of the people, and characteristics of the
great men, of the old and once powerful confederacy. It is a singular
fact, that the peculiar government and national characteristics of the
Iroquois is a most interesting field for research and inquiry, which
has never been very thoroughly, if at all, investigated, although the
historic events which marked the proud career of the confederacy, have
been perseveringly sought and treasured up in the writings of Stone,
Schoolcraft, Hosmer, Yates and others.

Many of the Indians speak English readily; but with the aid and
interpretations of Mr. Ely S. Parker, a young Seneca of no ordinary
degree of attainment, in both scholarship and general intelligence,
and who, with Le Fort, the Onondaga, is well versed in old Iroquois
matters, we had no difficulty in conversing with any and all we chose

About mid-day on Wednesday, the council commenced. The ceremonies
with which it was opened and conducted were certainly unique—almost
indescribable; and as its proceedings were in the Seneca tongue,
they were in a great measure unintelligible, and in fact profoundly
mysterious to the pale faces. One of the chief objects for which the
council had been convoked, as has been heretofore editorially stated
in the American, was to fill two vacancies in the sachemships of the
Senecas, which had been made by the death of the former incumbents;
and preceding the installation of the candidates for the succession,
there was a general and dolorous lament for the deceased sachems, the
utterance of which, together with the repetition of the laws of the
confederacy—the installation of the new sachems—the impeachment and
deposition of three unfaithful sachems—the elevation of others in
their stead, and the performance of the various ceremonies attendant
upon these proceedings, consumed the principal part of the afternoon.

At the setting of the sun, a bountiful repast, consisting of an
innumerable number of rather formidable looking chunks of boiled fresh
beef, and an abundance of bread and succotash, was brought into the
council house. The manner of saying grace on this occasion was indeed
peculiar. A kettle being brought, hot and smoking from the fire, and
placed in the centre of the council house, there proceeded from a
single person, in a high shrill key, a prolonged and monotonous sound,
resembling that of the syllable _wah_ or _yah_. This was immediately
followed by a response from the whole multitude, uttering in a low
and profoundly guttural but protracted tone, the syllable _whe_ or
_swe_, and this concluded grace. It was impossible not to be somewhat
mirthfully affected at the first hearing of grace said in this novel
manner. It is, however, pleasurable to reflect that the Indian
recognizes the duty of rendering thanks to the Divine Being in some
formal way, for the bounties and enjoyments which He bestows; and were
an Indian to attend a public feast among his pale faced brethren, he
would be affected, perhaps to a greater degree of marvel, at witnessing
a total neglect of this ceremony, than we were at his singular way of
performing it.

After supper, commenced the dances. All day Tuesday, and on Wednesday,
up to the time that the places of the deceased sachems had been
filled, every thing like undue joyfulness had been restrained. This
was required by the respect customarily due to the distinguished dead.
But now, the bereaved sachemships being again filled, all were to
give utterance to gladness and joy. A short speech from Capt. Frost,
introductory to the enjoyments of the evening, was received with
acclamatory approbation; and soon eighty or ninety of these sons and
daughters of the forest—the old men and the young, the maidens and
matrons—were engaged in the dance. It was indeed a rare sight.

Only two varieties of dancing were introduced the first evening—the
trotting dance and the fish dance. The figures of either are
exceedingly simple, and but slightly different from each other. In the
first named, the dancers all move round a circle, in a single file, and
keeping time in a sort of trotting step to an Indian song of yo-ho-ha,
or yo-ho-ha-ha-ho, as sung by the leaders, or occasionally by all
conjoined. In the other, there is the same movement in single file
round a circle, but every two persons, a man and a woman, or two men,
face each other, the one moving forward, the other backward, and all
keeping step to the music of the singers, who are now, however, aided
by a couple of tortoise or turtle shell rattles, or an aboriginal drum.
At regular intervals, there is a sort of cadence in the music, during
which a change of position by all the couples takes place, the one who
had been moving backward taking the place of the one moving forward,
when all again move onward, one-half of the whole, of course, being
obliged to follow on by _advancing backwards_!

One peculiarity in Indian dancing would probably strongly commend
itself to that class among pale faced beaux and belles denominated the
bashful; though perhaps it would not suit others as well. The men, or a
number of them, usually begin the dance alone; and the women, or each
of them, selecting the one with whom she would like to dance, presents
herself at his side as he approaches, and is immediately received into
the circle. Consequently, the young Indian beau knows nothing of the
tact required to handsomely invite and gallantly lead a lady to the
dance; and the young Indian maiden, unannoyed by obnoxious offers, at
her own convenience, gracefully presents her personage to the one she
designs to favor, and thus quietly engages herself in the dance. And
moreover, while an Indian beau is not necessarily obliged to exhibit
any gallantry as towards a belle, till she has herself manifested her
own good pleasure in the matter, so, therefore, the belle cannot
indulge herself in vascillant flirtations with any considerable number
of beaux, without being at once detected!

On Thursday the religious ceremonies commenced; and the council from
the time it assembled, which was about 11 o’clock, A. M., till 3 or 4
o’clock, P. M., gave the most serious attention to the preaching of
Jemmy Johnson, the Great High Priest, and the second in the succession
under the new revelation. Though there are some evangelical believers
among the Indians, the greater portion of them cherish the religion
of their fathers. This, as they say, has been somewhat changed by the
new revelation, which the Great Spirit made to one of their prophets
about 47 years ago, and which, as they also believe, was approved
by Washington. The profound regard and veneration which the Indian
has ever retained towards the name and memory of Washington, is most
interesting evidence of his universally appreciated worth; and the
fact that the red men regard him not merely as one of the best, but as
the very best man that ever has existed, or that will ever exist, is
beautifully illustrated in a singular credence which they maintain even
to this day, viz: that Washington is the only white man who has ever
entered Heaven, and is the only one who will enter there, till the end
of the world.

Among the Senecas, public religious exercises take place but once a
year. At these times, Jemmy Johnson preaches hour after hour, for
three days; and then rests from any public discharge of ecclesiastical
offices the remaining 362 days of the year. On this, an unusual
occasion, he restricted himself to a few hours in each of the last two
days of the council. We were told by young Parker, who took notes of
his preaching, that his subject matter on Thursday abounded with good
teachings, enforced by appropriate and happy illustrations and striking
imagery. After he had finished, the council took a short respite.
Soon, however, a company of warriors ready and eager to engage in the
celebrated “corn dance,” made their appearance. They were differently
attired. While some were completely enveloped in a closely fitting
and gaudy colored garb; others, though perhaps without intending it,
had made wonderfully close approaches to an imitation of the costume
said to have been so fashionable in many parts of the State of Georgia
during the last hot summer, and which is also said to have consisted
simply of a shirt collar and a pair of spurs. But in truth, these
warriors, with shoulders and limbs in a state of nudity, with faces
bestreaked with paints, with jingling trinkets dangling at their knees,
and with feathered war-caps waving above them, presented a truly
picturesque and romantic appearance. When the center of the council
house had been cleared, and the musicians with the shell rattles had
taken their places, the dance commenced; and for an hour and a half,
perhaps two hours, it proceeded with surprising spirit and energy.
Almost every posture of which the human frame is susceptible, without
absolutely making the feet to be uppermost, and the head for once, to
assume the place of _the understanding_, was exhibited. Some of the
attitudes of the dancers, were really imposing, and the dance as a
whole, could be got up and conducted only by Indians! The women in the
performance of the corn dance, are quite by themselves—keeping time to
the beat of the shells, and gliding along sideways, without scarcely
lifting their feet from the floor.

It would probably be well, if the Indian every where, could be
inclined to refrain at least from the more grotesque and boisterous
peculiarities of this dance. The influence of these cannot be
productive of any good; and it is questionable whether it will be
possible, so long as they are retained, to assimilate them to any
greater degree of civilization or to more refined methods of living
and enjoyment, than they now possess. The same may be said of certain
characteristics of the still more vandalic war dance. This, however,
was not introduced at the council.

A part of the proceedings of Friday—the last day of the council, bore
resemblance to those of the preceding day. Jemmy Johnson resumed his
preaching; at the close of which the corn dance was again performed,
though with far more spirit and enthusiasm than at the first. Double
the numbers that then appeared—all hardy and sinewy men, attired
in original and fantastic style, among whom was one of the chiefs
of the confederacy, together with 40 or 50 women of the different
nations—now engaged and for two hours persevered in the performance
of the various, complicated and fatiguing movements of this dance. The
appearance of the dusky throng, with its increased numbers, and, of
course proportionably increased resources for the production of shrill
whoops and noisy stamping, and for the exhibition of striking attitudes
and rampant motions, was altogether strange, wonderful and seemingly

After the dance had ceased, another kind of “sport,” a well contested
foot race, claimed attention. In the evening, after another supper
in the Council House, the more social dances,—the trotting, the
fish—and one in which the women alone participated, were resumed.
The fish dance seemed to be the favorite; and being invited to join
it by one of the chiefs, we at once accepted the invitation, and
followed in mirthful chase of pleasure, with a hundred forest children.
Occasionally the dances are characterised with ebullitions of merriment
and flashes of real fun; but generally a singular sobriety and decorum
are observed. Frequently, when gazing at a throng of 60 or perhaps an
hundred dancers, we have been scarcely able to decide which was the
most remarkable, the staid and imperturbable gravity of the old men
and women, or the complete absence of levity and frolicsomeness in the

The social dances of the evening—with occasional speeches from the
Sachems and Chiefs, were the final and concluding ceremonies of this
singular but interesting affair. Saturday morning witnessed the
separation of the various nations, and the departure of each to their
respective homes.

The writer would like to have said a word or two in relation to the
present condition and prospects of the Indians, but the original design
in regard to both the topics and brevity of this writing having been
already greatly transcended, it must be deferred. The once powerful
confederacy of the Six Nations, occupying in its palmy days the greater
portion of New-York State, now number only a little over 3,000.[110]
Even this remnant will soon be gone. In view of this, as well as of the
known fact that the Indian race is every where gradually diminishing in
number, the writer cannot close without invoking for this unfortunate
people, renewed kindliness and sympathy and benevolent attention.
It is true, that with some few exceptions, they possess habits and
characteristics which render them difficult to approach; but still,
they are only what the Creator of us all has made them. And, let it be
remembered, it must be a large measure of kindliness and benevolence,
that will repay the injustice and wrong that have been inflicted upon

[110] 3,753, vide preceding census.

  R. S. G.

_Rochester, Oct. 7_, 1845.


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

  _Manlius, Oct. 6th_, 1845.


DEAR SIR—Agreeable to your request I have been upon the
grounds in our vicinity once occupied as forts and places of defence.
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 unfrequently 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 five feet high, straight, with something of a ditch in front, from
two to three feet deep. Within this enclosure may be about ten or
twelve acres of land. A part of this ground, when first occupied in
these latter times, was called the “_Prairie_,” and is noted now among
the old men as the place where the first battalion training (military)
was held in the county of Onondaga. But that portion near the wall,
and in front of it, has recently, say five years ago, been cleared of
a heavy growth of black oak timber. Many of the trees were large, and
were probably 150 or 200 years old. Some were standing _in_ the ditch
and others _on the top_ of the embankment. There is a considerable
burying place _within_ the enclosure. The plough has already done much
towards leveling the wall and ditch; still they can be easily traced
the whole extent. A few more ploughings and harrowings and no vestige
of it will remain. The specimens of dark brown pottery I send with
this are from this locality. I picked them up at this visit. These
specimens are somewhat numerous upon this ground now. Almost every
variety of Indian relic has been found about here, but so fastidious
are the holders of them, that I have not been able to procure any for
you, and cannot, except _at a price_. However, they can be of little
consequence, as they are described in the article above referred to.
One fact, will, I think, apply to this locality, that does not belong
to any other of the kind in this region, that I know of. Two cannon
balls, of about 3 lbs. each, were found in the vicinity, showing that
light cannon were used, either for defence, or in the reduction of
this fortification. There is a large rock in the ravine on the south,
on which are inscribed the following characters, thus, _IIIIIX_, cut
three-quarters of an inch broad, nine inches long, three-quarters of an
inch deep, perfectly regular, lines straight. Whether it was a work of
fancy, or had significance, I know not. Perhaps you may determine.

On the site of the village of Cazenovia, I am told there was a fort
or embankment; some persons say it was “_roundish_;” others that it
was “_angular, with sides at right angles_.” Recollections respecting
it are very imperfect. Many relics have been found here, indicating
an earlier occupancy than those usually found in this county. This
was on the Oneida’s territory. There is a singular coincidence in the
location of these fortifications which I have never observed until
my recent visit. They are nearly all, if not quite all, situated on
land rather elevated above that which is immediately contiguous,
and surrounded, or partly so, by deep ravines, so that these form a
part of the fortification themselves. At one of these (on the farm
of David Williams, in Pompey,) the banks on either side are found to
contain bullets of lead, as if shot across at opposing forces. The
space between may be about three or four rods, and the natural cutting
twenty or twenty-five feet deep. This only goes to show the care these
architects had in selecting the most favorable situations for defence,
and the fear and expectation they were in of attacks.

I do not believe any of the fortifications in this neighborhood are
more ancient than the period of the French settlement of missionaries
among the Onondagas, during the early part of the 17th century. But the
more I investigate, the more I am convinced that there were many more
of the French established here among the Indians, by far, than has been
generally supposed, and their continuance with them longer.

The nature of the articles found, utensils of farmers and mechanics,
hoes, axes, horseshoes, hammers, &c., go to prove that agriculture
was practised somewhat extensively, as well as the mechanic arts.
The Indian name by which it was anciently called, and is now, by the
natives, I think goes to substantiate this fact: “Ote-que-sah´-ē-ēh,”
an open place with much grass, an opening, or prairie. The timber
has a vigorous growth, and although in many places large, there is a
uniformity in the size and age, which shows that it has all grown up
_since_ the occupancy; because under the trees are not only found the
relics, but among them in many instances, corn hills can be traced in
rows at considerable distances.

The presentation of medals, I believe to have been a very common custom
among the missionaries and traders. Several have been found. A valuable
cross of pure gold, sold for $30, was found on the farm of Mr. David
Hinsdale, west part of Pompey. The significant “IHS” was upon it. Brass
crosses are frequently found, and so are medals of the same metal. One
recently found on the last named farm, about the size of a shilling
piece. The figure of a Roman Pontiff in a standing position, in his
hand a crosier, surrounded with this inscription, “_B. virg. sin. P.
origi. con_,” which I have ventured to write out, “_Beata virgo sine
peccato originali concepta_,” or as we might say in English, “the
blessed virgin conceived without original sin.” On the other side was
a representation of the brazen serpent, and two nearly naked figures,
looking intently upon it. This is by far the most perfect one I have
seen. The letters are as perfect as if struck but yesterday. It was
undoubtedly compressed between dies. It is oval in shape, and bored
that it might be suspended from the neck. A silver medal was found near
Eagle village, two miles east of this, about the size of a dollar, but
a little thinner, with a ring or loop at one edge to admit a cord by
which it might be suspended. On one side appears in relief, a somewhat
rude representation of a fortified town, with several tall steeples
rising above its buildings, and a citadel, from which the British flag
is flying. A river broken by an island or two, occupies the foreground,
and above, along the upper edge of the medal, is the name Montreal.
The initials D. C. F., probably those of the manufacturer, are stamped
below. On the opposite side, which was originally made blank, are
engraved the words Canecya, Onondagoes, which are doubtless the name
and tribe of the red ruler on whose dusky breast, this ornament was
displayed. A valuable token of friendship of some British governor of
New-York, or Canada, to an influential ally among the Six Nations.
There is no date on this, or any of the medals. But this must be at
least older than the revolution, and probably an hundred snows at
least, have fallen on the field where the plough disinterred it, since
the chief whose name it has preserved, was laid to rest with his

I have sent with this, such relics and Indian trinkets, as I could
prevail upon our people here to part with. They are less than I
expected to obtain. The gun lock, spear head, axe, piece of gun barrel,
and lead ball, are all of the size and patterns usually found. They are
from the farm of Mr. David Hinsdale, in the town of Pompey, west part.
All the gun barrels, or parts of them, are found flattened similar to
this. Not a perfect one has been found. The two parts of the axe, want
about two inches between the broken portions to make the “_bit_” of
the ordinary length. The stone axes, I thought might interest you. I
have no doubt they were used in flaying animals slain in the chase, as
well as in cleaving wood. I did intend to send you a beautiful gouge
of hornblende, but to my surprise, it is not to be found; the like are
frequently found here. It proves conclusively, that the natives were at
an early day acquainted with the virtues of the maple, and possessed
the art of making sugar. I have sent, as you will see, fragments of
pipes of many varieties. The patterns are as various as the articles
are numerous. The specimens of glass are different from any I have seen
from any other quarter. I think some of the beads may have been used in
rosarys, for the native proselytes. I have lately seen a fragment of
a bell, which, when whole, would have weighed probably 200 lbs., the
metal is very fine, and from appearance, this article must have been of
considerable value; time and exposure has not changed it in the least.
When found, some 20 years since, it was broken up and the pieces found,
enough to make it nearly entire.

I am aware, that I am corresponding with one far more experienced in
these matters, than myself, and therefore, forbear obtruding my views
and opinions further. If you have not a particular desire to place
these things in your own cabinet, they might perhaps, be profitably
disposed of, among the rare things of the New-York Historical Society.
Dispose of them as you think best, I am sorry I could not obtain more.

  I am, with sentiments of high regard,

  Your ob’t,

  J. V. H. CLARK.


Letter from Mr. Cusick to Henry R. Schoolcraft.

  _August 4th_, 1845.

It appears to me, very great difficulties are in the way of finding
out and becoming acquainted with the discovery of all ancient
traditions, and what original stock we came from. So far as our
recollections extend according to our traditions of many centuries, the
aborigines who inhabited the vast wilderness in this great continent,
now North America, were guided and led by a certain man, who stood
highest in dignity, and next to the Supreme Being, who is called
THARONYAWAGO, that is to say, being interpreted, the Holder
of Heavens. He was the great leader of the Red Men, and he regulated
and taught how to divide the country and rivers, and mode of their
living, and manners of costume and ceremonies, in many centuries.
The Tuscaroras were descended from the Iroquois; they emigrated from
the Five Nations to the Southern Country in North Carolina, and when
the Iroquois used to send expeditions and war parties to go to war
with other Indian tribes in that quarter, these parties went to the
Tuscarora towns in North Carolina, and found a resting place and
refreshment, and they used to be in the habit of intermarriage with
each other, they have never been to war against each other, and they
were always on terms of good friendship and connexion. And therefore
we considered that the Tuscarora nation belonged to the Six Nations
from ancient times. Before the discovery by Columbus the Tuscaroras
consisted of six towns, and they were a most powerful nation,
numbering more than twelve thousand warriors. But many combinations
and causes fell upon the Tuscarora nation, and they became diminished
in their numbers, by wars and pestilence, and were poisoned by ardent
spirits. The Tuscaroras had many years of enjoyment and peaceful
possession on the Roanoke river, until the Colony was planted near the
settlement; something brought up disturbances, and their right was
disputed to their territory. In 1712 the Indians of the Tuscaroras in
North Carolina, with their accustomed secrecy, formed the design of
exterminating in one night, the entire white population; the slaughter
on the Roanoke was great, Capt. Barnwell appointed, and sent troops,
who suddenly attacked the Tuscaroras, he killed 300, and took 100
prisoners, the survivors retreated to Tuscarora town, within a wooden
breast-work, where at last they sued for peace.

The Tuscaroras, soon after abandoned their country, and united
themselves with the Iroquois, and became the Sixth Nation. When we
first came into this country, we lived with the Oneida nation, (now
Oneida county,) and we called the Oneidas the Elder Brother, the second
is the Cayugas, the youngest Brother Tuscaroras.

When the first missionary was sent to the Tuscarora nation, 1807,
Eld. Elkanah Holmes, from the New York Missionary Society, labored
several years with success, among them. This Mr. Holmes belonged to the
Baptist Missionary Society. Afterwards, when Mr. Holmes was removed,
another missionary was sent to the Tuscaroras by the American Foreign
Mission, namely, the Rev. Mr. Grey, who remained until last war. After
his dismissal in 1816, another missionary was sent by the Board of the
New York Missionary Society, the Rev. James C. Crane. I will state
briefly, those missionaries who afterwards came to the Tuscaroras,
Rev. B. Lane, Rev. John Elliot, Rev. Joel Wood, Rev. Mr. Williams, the
last who is now missionary, was the Rev. Gilbert Rockwood. In 1836, a
portion of the Tuscarora nation thought expedient to become Baptists,
according to the dictates of their own conscience, and free enjoyment
of their religion in this republican government. And consequently a
Baptist church was built and organized among the Tuscaroras; and they
were called in council with several Baptist churches in this county.
In 1838, they were admitted into the Niagara Baptist Association at
Shelby. And have now in good standing fifty members of the church. In
a ministerial council, June 14th, 1838, Mr. James Cusick was examined
touching his Christian experience, and called to preach the gospel
by Providence and the council; they decided on that question, and
gave him ordination as a native preacher, deciding that he was well
qualified by a knowledge of theology. And now he has labored with
several tribes among the Six Nations. Under his instrumentality,
three Baptist churches have been formed, numbering 200 members, and
he established a temperance society in 1830 of more than 100 members.
In 1845 he established another temperance society among the Indians,
numbering 50 members. Intemperance is one of the greatest and most
destructive evils, and many more begin to be intemperate, especially
among the young men. Among the females of the Tuscarora nation there is
more virtue and sobriety and good morals than among the males. I hope
the white citizens will try to assist them and promote the melioration
of the Indian condition in order to qualify him for life and lead him
to appreciate its true end, and to encourage intermarriages in their
future generations and to advance in civilization, Christianity, and

  From your respected friend,


N. B. At the Rev. Mr. Vrooman’s, in Queenston, you will find a copy of
my late brother David’s book on the Indians.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following extracts are made from the curious publication referred
to, in the preceding note. It appears to have been first printed
at Lewiston, in 1825. As the work of a full blooded Indian, of the
Tuscarora tribe, it is remarkable. In making these extracts, no
correction of the style, or grammar is made, these being deemed a part
of the evidence of the authenticity of the traditions recorded.


In the ancient days the Great Island appeared upon the big waters, the
earth brought forth trees, herbs, vegetables, &c. The creation of the
land animals: the Eagwehoewe people were too created and resided in the
north regions; and after a time some of the people became giants, and
committed outrages upon the inhabitants, &c.

_Ancient Shipwreck._—After many years a body of Eagwehoewe people
encamped on the bank of a majestic stream, and was named _Kanawage_,
now St. Lawrence. After a long time a number of foreign people
sailed from a port unknown; but unfortunately, before reached their
destination the winds drove them contrary; at length their ship wrecked
somewhere on the southern part of the Great Island, and many of the
crews perished; a few active persons were saved; they obtained some
implements, and each of them was covered with a leather bag, the big
hawks carried them on the summit of a mountain and remained there but
a short time. The hawks seemed to threaten them, and were compelled to
leave the mountain. They immediately selected a place for residence and
built a small fortification in order to provide against the attacks
of furious beasts; if there should be any made. After many years the
foreign people became numerous, and extended their settlements; but
afterwards they were destroyed by the monsters that overrun the country.


By some inducement a body of people was concealed in the mountain at
the falls named Kuskehsawkich, (now Oswego.) When the people were
released from the mountain they were visited by TARENYAWAGON, i. e. the
Holder of the Heavens, who had power to change himself into various
shapes: he ordered the people to proceed towards the sunrise as he
guided them and came to a river and named Yenonanatche, i. e. going
round a mountain, (now Mohawk) and went down the bank of the river and
came to where it discharges into a great river running towards the
midday sun; and named Shaw-nay-taw-ty, i. e. beyond the Pineries, (now
Hudson,) and went down the bank of the river and touched the bank of
a great water. The company made encampment at the place and remained
there a few days. The people were yet in one language; some of the
people went on the banks of the great water towards the midday sun; but
the main company returned as they came, on the bank of the river, under
the direction of the Holder of the Heavens. Of this company there was
a particular body which called themselves one household; of these were
six families and they entered into a resolution to preserve the chain
of alliance which should not be extinguished in any manner.

The company advanced some distance up the river of Shaw-na-taw-ty,
(Hudson) the Holder of the Heavens directs the first family to make
their residence near the bank of the river, and the family was named
Te-haw-re-ho-geh, i. e. a Speech divided, (now Mohawk) and their
language was soon altered; the company then turned and went towards
the sunsetting and travelled about two days and a half, and come to
a creek[111] which was named Kaw-na-taw-te-ruh, i. e. Pineries. The
second family was directed to make their residence near the creek, and
the family was named Ne-haw-re-tah-go, i. e. Big Tree, now Oneidas,
and likewise their language was altered. The company continued to
proceed towards the sunsetting under the direction of the Holder of
the Heavens. The third family was directed to make their residence on
a mountain named Onondaga, (now Onondaga) and the family was named
Seuh-now-kah-tah, i. e. carrying the name, and their language was
altered. The company continued their journey towards the sunsetting.
The fourth family was directed to make their residence near a long
lake named Go-yo-goh, i. e. a mountain rising from water, (now
Cayuga) and the family was named Sho-nea-na-we-to-wah, i. e. a great
pipe, their language was altered. The company continued to proceed
towards the sunsetting. The fifth family was directed to make their
residence near a high mountain, or rather nole, situated south of the
Canandaigua lake, which was named Jenneatowake and the family was
named Te-how-nea-nyo-hent, i. e. Possessing a Door, now Seneca, and
their language was altered. The sixth family went with the company
that journeyed towards the sunsetting, and touched the bank of a great
lake, and named Kau-ha-gwa-rah-ka, i. e. A Cap, now Erie, and then went
towards between the midday and sunsetting, and travelled considerable
distance and came to a large river which was named Ouau-we-yo-ka,
i. e. a principal stream, now Mississippi; the people discovered a
grape vine lying across the river by which a part of the people went
over, but while they were engaged, the vine broke and were divided,
they became enemies to those that went over the river; in consequence
they were obliged to disperse the journey. The Holder of the Heavens
instructs them in the art of bows and arrows in the time of game and
danger. Associates were dispersed and each family went to search for
residences according to their conveniences of game. The sixth family
went towards the sunrise and touched the bank of the great water. The
family was directed to make their residence near Cau-ta-noh, i. e.
Pine in water, situated near the mouth of Neuse River, now in North
Carolina, and the family was named Kau-ta-noh, now Tuscarora and their
language was also altered; but the six families did not go so far as
to lose the understanding of each other’s language. The Holder of the
Heavens returns to the five families and forms the mode of confederacy,
which was named Ggo-nea-seab-neh, i. e. A Long House, to which are,
1st.—Tea-kaw-reh-ho-geh, 2d—New-haw-teh-tah-go; 3d.—Seuh-nau-ka-ta;
4th—Sho-nea-na-we-to-wah; 5th.—Te-hoo-nea-nyo-hent.

[111] The creek now branches of the Susquehanna River at the head
generally called Col. Allen’s lake, ten miles south of the Oneida


Letter from S. A. Goodwin to Henry R. Schoolcraft.

  _Auburn, Oct. 17_, 1845.

MY DEAR SIR—I received yours of the 2d inst. in due course of
post, and now send you, at the first practicable moment, a diagram and
sketch of the “Old Fort.” My engagements have been such as to prevent
my going out to Geneva, and making a trip to the old fortification
alluded to. As to the other one here referred to by McAuley, it is just
back of my house, and as soon as I have time to make an examination
I will drop you a line respecting it. I go to Rochester, to attend
supreme court, to-morrow. I shall try, on my return, to stop at Geneva
and get a sketch of that one.

  Very truly your friend,


[Illustration: Diagram of an ancient fortification on Fort Hill,
Auburn, N. Y.]

This enclosure is situate on the highest point of land in the vicinity
of Auburn, and is in the form of an ellipse and measures in diameter,
from east to west, (from the outside of the base of the embankment)
four hundred and sixteen feet, and from north to south, three hundred
and ten feet; the circumference, twelve hundred feet; present height of
the highest part of the embankment on the west side from the bottom of
the ditch, four feet; the thickness at the base, fourteen feet; from
the centre of the enclosure the ground has a gentle slope to the north,
east and west, and is nearly level towards the south. The openings
on the south, one of sixty and the other of seventy-eight feet, are
directly opposite or against deep ravines separated by a narrow steep
ridge, access through which would be difficult, being on an angle
of nearly forty-five degrees. The opening on the north measures one
hundred and sixty-six feet, opposite to which the ground continues to
slope to the north for the distance of seventy feet, from which point
the descent is very abrupt. The opening on the east measures sixty-six
feet, opposite to which the ground continues on a gentle descent to the
east for several hundred feet. The opening on the southwest measures
fifty feet, and is opposite to a ridge gently descending to the
southwest. There are no less than ten deep ravines and as many steep
ridges surrounding and leading to this ancient fortification.

McAuley, in his history of the State of New-York, Vol. 2d, pages
111 and 112, gives a minute and interesting description of this
fortification, which, however, contains some inaccuracies; and also
of another fortification situate in the northeast part of Auburn. The
large chesnut stump described by him as standing in the moat on the
west side of the enclosure, is still to be seen; there are still to be
seen the remains of two large oak stumps, which seem to have escaped
his notice, situate on the southeast side of the enclosure, one of
them on the top of the embankment, and the other in the ditch some
twelve feet distant. There are scarcely any traces remaining of the
fortification described by McAuley as being in the north east part of
Auburn, from the fact that the ground upon which it stood has been
under cultivation for many years.

  JAMES H. BOSTWICK, _Surveyor_.

  _October 16_, 1845.


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 defence. From the centre 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, and continuing to the south on the west side for some sixty
rods, and on the east side for about half a mile, maintaining about the
same elevation at the sides as in front; beyond which distance the line
of the “Hill” is that of the land around.

“Fort Hill,” however, is not a work of art. The geological character
of it shows it to be the result of natural causes. Nevertheless,
there are undoubted evidences of its once having been resorted to as
a fortification, and of its having constituted a valuable point of
defence to a rude and half-civilized people.

It is probable that at a period of time very far distant, the ground
about “Fort Hill” was, for some considerable distance around, entirely
of the same level, and that by the action of water, a change took
place, which brought about the present condition. The low land
immediately in front to the north, is only the remains of a water
course, which was made up of a stream coming down the gorge of the west
side, and the present “Allen’s creek,” which flows through a portion
of the gorge of the east side, the stream of the west having been a
branch of that of the east side. Through the west gorge now flows, in
the wet season, a moderate stream, coming from the lands above the
gorge, and having an interrupted fall of some forty or fifty feet;
while “Allen’s creek” occupies a portion of the eastern gorge, much
broader, at the extremity of which, some half a mile from the “Hill,”
there is a beautiful fall of eighty feet perpendicularly. The structure
of the “Hill” bears out this construction; it being composed of the
same rock—with the exception of the upper strata—as the falls. At
the falls the upper strata of rock and that which forms the bed of the
creek for some two miles or more east, is the _corniferous limestone_;
underlaying which are _hydraulic_ and _Onondaga limestones_. The two
latter are only seen at “Fort Hill,” covered by a few feet of soil and
several small masses of stone, a part out of place, among which are a
few of _Medina sandstone_. The strata are, therefore continuous from
the falls, and at some former periods, extended over the gorges, and
formed a regular and nearly level surface, the action of water having
removed, which has left the broad and conspicuous point of “Fort Hill,”
as memorable monuments of the earlier condition of the country.

When “Fort Hill” was used as a fortification the summit was entrenched.
Forty years ago an entrenchment, ten feet deep and some twelve or
fifteen wide, extended from the west to the east end, along the north
or front part, and continued up each side about twenty rods, where it
crossed over and joining, made the circuit of entrenchment complete. At
this day a portion of this entrenchment is easily perceived for fifteen
rods along the extreme western half of the north or front part, the
cultivation of the soil, with other causes, having nearly obliterated
all other portions. It would seem that this fortification was arranged
more for protection against invasion from the north than from any other
quarter, this direction evidently being its most commanding position.
Near the northwest corner have, at different times, been found
collections of rounded stones of hard consistence, which are supposed
to have been used as weapons of defence by the besieged against the

Arrow-heads, made of flint or horn-stone, gouges, pestles, hatchets,
and other weapons formed from stone, have been found about the “Hill”
and throughout this section. Of the rarer articles, are pipes and
beads, a few of the latter of which I have been able to obtain. The
gouges, pestles and hatchets, are, I think, frequently made of compact
limestone, probably what is now known in Mr. Hall’s State report as
the _one foot limestone_ at Le Roy, though many of them seem to be
formed of primitive rock, and very likely were worked out from boulders
scattered about the country.

Skeletons found about “Fort Hill” and its vicinity sustain the
impression that the former occupants of this “military station” were
of a larger and more powerful race of men than ourselves. I learned
that the skeletons generally indicated a stouter and larger frame.
An humerus or shoulder bone of which preserved may safely be said to
be one-third larger or stouter than any now swung by the living. A
resident of Batavia, THOMAS T. EVERETT, M. D., has in his
cabinet a portion of a lower jaw bone full one-third larger than any
possessed by the present race of men, which was found in a hill near
Le Roy, some two years since. From the same hill arrow-heads and other
articles have been removed for many years.

The articles I send you are as follows:—No. 1, an Indian gouge, made
of very hard stone, found at “Fort Hill;” No. 3, arrow-heads, of flint;
No. 4, beads; No. 5, a bead, evidently formed from a tooth, as the
enamel and other distinctive marks indicate; No. 6, a bead, apparently
of bone.

No. 2 is a stone tomahawk, presented to me by JEROME A. CLARK,
Esq., of this village. It was found on his premises half a mile south
of this place. I herewith present it to you.

These articles I have sent to-day by a friend, and you will find
them by calling at Tammany Hall. I have not yet been able to visit
Tonawanda, but am in hopes to do so in a day or two.

  Your ob’t serv’t,


Letter from C. Dewey to Henry R. Schoolcraft.


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 Le Roy 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 ravine, which is a water course
in some seasons of the year, where the waters fall over a precipice a
little south of the quadrangular space, or fortification. This ravine
is not so deep as the water courses on the east and north. The descent
is quite steep on these three sides. At the northeast Allen’s Creek
turns to the east and receives the waters from Fordham’s Brook.

The quadrangular space, D, A, B, C, was enclosed by a trench, D A,
nearly a north line on the east, by A B on the north, and B C on the


A B is the north trench about sixty rods long, and nearly east and
west. A D is about thirty rods, and B C is fifteen rods, and terminates
at the ravine at C. The trench D A, and A B lies on the brow of the
descent to the streams below. At D the bend of the ravine stops the
trench. At the northwest corner B, a trench is continued about 15° to
the right and down the declivity 15 rods to a spring; 50 feet perhaps
below A B, and B G is the brow of the descent west of the trench at B,
and G C is the edge of the ravine on the west. Q W is Allen’s Creek on
the east; H I K is Fordham’s Brook on the north, and L P M is the water
course on the west to the precipice at M, over which the water falls at
some seasons, and the surface at M is only a few feet lower than the
general level of the quadrangle. The space F was a burying ground, as
bones, skulls, pipes, beads, have been ploughed up there. The road R N
passes through the middle nearly of the space enclosed by the trench,
and at N turns to the right to descend to the flat below; but formerly
the road turned to the right at U and passed down at the right of the
trench at D to T.

The place was pointed out to me by H. M. Ward, Esq., who was familiar
with it when it was covered with the forest. He states that the trench
must have been eight to ten feet deep and as many wide; that the
earth was thrown either way, but much of it inwards; that the forest
trees were standing in the trench and on the sides of it and of the
same apparent age and magnitude as on the ground generally; that the
heart-wood of black cherry trees of large size was scattered over
the ground, evidently the remains of a forest anterior to the then
growth of maple and beech, and that this black cherry was used by the
settlers for timber; that the road, when first made, crossed the trench
at N by a _bridge_; that the trench at D and A was cut down the bank
a few feet, or else in time water had worn a passage from the trench
downwards; that there was no tradition heard of among the Indians of
the country, in respect to the use or design of the work.

The underlying rock is the hydraulic limestone of this section, which
is fully exposed at the falls of Allen’s Creek, half a mile south of
Fort-Hill. This rock was struck in digging the trench on the north line
in some places, and portions of it were thrown out with the earth.

Of the pipes found at F one was formed from granular limestone; one was
of baked clay, in the form of the rude outlines of a man’s head and
face, nose, eyes, &c., and it reminds one of the figures in some of
Stephens’ Plates of the ruins of Palenque. It has the hollows for the
ears to be fastened on, and shows no little effort. The top of the head
is surrounded by a fillet or wreath, and behind are two more fillets.
At the bottom of the neck is a similar ornament, and on the front is
another below it. This is the most curious.

Another pipe is of reddish baked clay, with some pits or dots for
ornament upon it, two rows of dots around it and another below like a
chain suspended at several points and curved by its own weight.

The forest has been removed. Not a tree remains on the quadrangle, and
only a few on the edge of the ravine on the west. By cultivating the
land, the trench is nearly filled in some places, though the line of
it is clearly seen. On the north side the trench is considerable, and
where the road crosses it, is three or four feet deep at the sides of
the road. It will take only a few years more to obliterate it entirely,
as not even a stump remains to mark out its line.

From this view it may be seen or inferred,

1. That a real trench bounded three sides of the quadrangle. On the
south side there was not found any trace of trench, palisadoes, blocks,

2. It was formed long before the whites came into the country. The
large trees on the ground and in the trench, carry us back to an early

3. The workers must have had some convenient tools for excavation.

4. The direction of the sides may have had some reference to the four
cardinal points, though the situation of the ravines naturally marked
out the lines.

5. It cannot have been designed merely to catch wild animals to be
driven into it from the south. The oblique cut down to the spring is
opposed to this supposition, as well as the insufficiency of such a
trench to confine the animals of the forest.

6. The same reasons render it improbable that the quadrangle was
designed to confine and protect domestic animals.

7. It was probably a sort of fortified place. There might have been a
defence on the south by a _stockade_ or some similar means, which might
have entirely disappeared.

By what people was this work done?

The articles found in the burying ground at F. offer no certain reply.
The axes, chisels, &c. found on the Indian grounds in this part of the
State, were evidently made of the greenstone or trap of New-England,
like those found on the Connecticut river, in Massachusetts. The pipe
of limestone might be from that part of the country. The pipes seem to
belong to different eras.

1. The limestone pipe indicates the work of the savage, or aborigines.

2. The third indicates the age of French influence over the Indians. An
intelligent French gentleman says such clay pipes are frequent among
the town population in parts of France.

3. The second and most curious seems to indicate an earlier age and

The beads found at Fort Hill are long and coarse, made of baked clay,
and may have had the same origin as the third pipe.

Fort Hill cannot have been formed by the French, as one of their posts
to aid in the destruction of the English colonies.

In 1689, or 156 years ago, the French in Canada made various attempts
to destroy the English colony of New-York. If the French had made Fort
Hill a post as early as 1660, or 185 years ago, and then deserted it,
the trees could not have grown to the size of the forest generally in
1810, or in 150 years afterwards. The white settlements had extended
only “twelve miles west of Avon” in 1798, and some years after 1800,
Fort Hill was covered with a dense forest. A chesnut tree cut down in
1842, at Rochester, showed 254 concentric circles of wood, and must
have been more than 200 years old in 1800. So opposed is the notion
that this was a deserted French post.

Must we not refer Fort Hill to that race which peopled this country
before the Indians, who raised so many monuments greatly exceeding the
power of the Indians, and who lived at a remote era?”

       *       *       *       *       *

H. R. SCHOOLCRAFT, Esq.: I forward you the observations on
Fort Hill, for your use. My speculations are added for my pleasure, and
you will use them as you please. In great haste, I am obliged to close.

  Your obedient,



Letter from Rev. Gilbert Rockwood to Henry R. Schoolcraft.

_Tuscarora Mission, August 1_, 1845.

SIR:—In the following communication, you can make use of such
statements as you may deem proper. If all the statements should not be
necessary for your official objects, yet they may be interesting to you
as an individual.

This mission was commenced about fifty years since, under the care of
the “New-York Missionary Society.” It was transferred to the “United
Foreign Mission Society,” in 1821, and to the “American Board of Com.
for Foreign Missions,” in 1826.

The church was organized in 1805, with five persons. The whole number
of native members who have united since its organization is 123. The
present number of native members is 53; others 5, total 58.

Between July 1st, 1844, and July 1st, 1845, there were only three
admissions, two by profession and one by letter.

About one-third of the population attend meeting on the Sabbath. Their
meeting house was built by themselves, with a little assistance from

They have also a school house, the expense of which was nearly all
defrayed by themselves. There is but one school among them, which is
kept the year through, with the exception of the vacations. The teacher
is appointed by the American Board. The number of scholars the past
year, is not far from 50.

I have been among these Indians now nearly eight years. I can see that
there has been an advance, both in their moral and physical condition.

It is within the memory of many now living among them, when drunkenness
was almost universal; now, comparatively, few are intemperate. A
majority of the chiefs, are decidedly temperance men, and exert a
salutary influence. They have a temperance society, and hold frequent
meetings. They utterly forbid the traffic in intoxicating drinks on
their own soil.

The marriage relation is being better understood by them, and more
appreciated. More of the young men and women, enter into the marriage
relation, in the regular Christian way, than a few years ago. Four
couple have been regularly married the past year. Number of deaths, 8;
an unusual number since I have been among them.

There is besides the church, above referred to, a Baptist church,
organized a few years since, the particulars of which, I am unable to
give. For any information you may wish respecting it, I would refer you
to James Cusick, their minister.

On the whole, there is much to encourage the philanthropist and the
Christian in labors for the good and well being of the Indians here,
although we meet with many obstacles and difficulties in the way.

They are becoming more and more industrious in their habits, as the
appearance of their farms, and the amount of produce, and their
personal appearance will testify.

With these brief statements, I subscribe myself,

  Yours, truly,



    NOTE.—In affixing Indian words, to the following
    vocabulary, Mr. Chew, who speaks the English very well, has
    promised to act as your translator and interpreter. The
    principal thing to be guarded against, however, is inaccuracy
    in the definitions, both in English and Indian.

    If there is no infinitive to verbs, as I suppose, insert the
    simplest existing form, as He loves, &c.

    Is there any participle to Tuscarora verbs!

  H. R. S.

    To Mr. Rockwood.


  1 God                   Ya wuhn ne yuh.
  2 Devil                 Oo na sa roo nuh.
  3 Man                   Ehn kweh.
  4 Woman                 Hah wuhn nuh.
  5 Boy                   Kun chu kweh’r.
  6 Girl                  Ya te ah cha yeuh.
  7 Child                 Kats ah.
  8 Father (my)           E ah kre ehn.
  9 Mother (my)           E a nuh.
  10 Husband (my)         E na yah keah wuhn te kehn rea nuhn.
  11 Wife (my)            (The same word as for my husband.)
  12 Son (his)            Trah wuhn ruh, nuh nuhn, a ne hah.
  13 Daughter (his)       Tra wuhn ruh, nuhn, kah-nuhn nuhn.
  14 Brother (my)         E ah ke ah t’keuh.
  15 Sister (my)          Eah keah nuhn nooh’r.
  16 An Indian            Reuh kweh hehn weh.
  17 Head                 Yah reh.
  18 Hair (his)           Trah wuhn ruh, rah weh rah wuhn.
  19 Face (his)                  “       rah keuh seuh keh.
  20 Forehead (his)              “        “  keuh neuh keh.
  21 Scalp      “                “        “  nuh reh.
  22 Ear      his          Trah wuhn ruh kunh nunh keh.
  23 Eye       “                  “        “ kah reuh keh.
  24 Nose      “                  “        “ cheuh seuh keh.
  25 Nostril   “                  “        “ cheuh kah reuh.
  26 Mouth     “                  “        “ skah reuh.
  27 Tongue    “                  “     reuh toh neuh keh.
  28 Tooth     “                  “       “  rah tooh tseh.
  29 Beard     “                  “       “  sooh keh reh.
  30 Neck      “                  “       “   hah tseh.
  31 Arm       “                  “       “  neuh cheuh keuh.
  32 Shoulder  “                  “       “  nunh neh.
  33 Back      “                  “       “  reuh wunh keh.
  34 Hand      “                  “       “  rah eh nunh keh.
  35 Finger    “                  “       “  rooh kweh.
  36 Nail      “                  “       “  skeuh kah reh.
  37 Breast    “                  “       “  ah sunh keh.
  38 Body      “                  “       “  keh s’heuh keh.
  39 Leg       “                  “       “  reuh seuh keh.
  40           “                  “       “
  41 Navel     “                  “       “  ne seuh reuh keh.
  42 Thigh     “                  “       “  te cheuh keh.
  43 Knee      “                  “       “  reuh kueh t’sunh keh.
  44 Foot      “                  “       rah rah neuh keh.
  45 Toe       “                  “        “ sooh kweh.
  46 Heel      “                  “        “ teh heuh cheh.
  47 Bone      “                  “        “ skeuh reh.
  48 Heart     “                  “        “  ra re ah seh.
  49 Liver     “                  “        “  rah t’wunh seh.
  50 Windpipe  “                  “        “  hunh t’seh.
  51 Stomach   “                  “        “  keh’r hah keuh.
  52 Bladder   “                  “        “  te ah neh.
  53 Blood     “                  “        “  t’kwah ra.
  54 Vein      “                  “        “   } nunh yah
  55 Sinew     “                  “        “   }  t’seh.
  56 Flesh     my        E kwa reh.
  57 Skin      “  E ka nunh keh.
  58 Seat      “  E ak tak.
  59 Thighbone “  E k’te chunh keh skenh reh.
  60 Town      “  Kah tah nah yeuh.
  61 Townsman  “  Kah koo tah nah keuh’f hah.
  62 House        Yah keuh nunh.
  63 Door         Oo chah reh.
  64 Lodge        Wan k’tah nah yeuh noh’gh.
  65 Smoke        Oo chah reh.
  66 Chief        Ya koo wah nunh.
  67 Warrior      Roo skeuh rah keh reh.
  68 Friend       Enh nunh rooh.
  69 Enemy        Yeuh chunh t’seh.
  70 Kettle       Oo nunh weh.
  71 Arrow               Oo teh.
  72 Bow                 Nah chreh.
  73 Warclub             Oo che kweh.
  74 Spear               Chu rets.
  75 Axe                 No keuh.
  76 Knife               Oo sah keuh neh.
  77 Paddle              Kah weh t’chra.
  78 Canoe               Oo nah keh.
  79 Boat                Oo hunh weh.
  80 Ship                Oo hunh weh koo.
  81 Shoe                Oo che koo ra.
  82 Leggin              Oo re streh.
  83 Coat                }Oo keh r’hoo t’chreh.
  84 Shirt               }
  85 Breachcloth         Ya hah’r hooh stoh.
  86 Belt or sash        Oo che hah t’chra.
  87 Head dress          Hoh toh kweh.
  88 Pipe                Chah’rs hooh stoh.
  89 Tobacco             Chah’rs hooh.
  90 Pipe stem           Oo treh neh.
  91 Sky                 Oo renh yah’rs.
  92 Heaven              Oo reuh yah keuhf.
  93 Sun                 He teh.
  94 Moon                Ah t’seuh ye hah.
  95 Star                Oo ne senh reh.
  96 Day                 A wunh neh.
  97 Night               A sunh neh.
  98 Cloud               Oo roh’ts.
  99 Light               Yu hooks.
  100 Darkness           Yah weh toah yeuh.
  101 Morning            Tsoo teh’r hunh.
  102 Evening            Yah tsa t’henh hah.
  103 Spring             Wah’r wooh stroh’gh.
  104 Summer             Oo kenh hoh keh.
  105 Autumn             Roh t’seh keh.
  106 Winter             Kooh seh r’heuh.
  107 Year               Ah ooh streh.
  108 Wind               Oo reh.
  109 Lightning          Woh n’woh kah reh nah reek.
  110 Thunder            He nunh.
  111 Rain               Wane too’eh.
  112 Snow               Oo neets reh.
  113 Hail               Wah t’kah ta he ts’ot.
  114 Fire               Oo che reh.
  115 Water              Ah wunh.
  116 Ice                Oo we seh.
  117 Earth, land        Ah wunh reh.
  118 Sea                Kahn yah ta reyu.
  119 Lake               Hahn yah ta reh.
  120 River              Ke nunh.
  121 Stream             Hah s’nunh yeuh tih.
  122 Valley             Ah wunh rah stroh kenh.
  123 Hill               Yu nunh t’heh.
  124 Mountain           Yu nunh yeuh tih.
  125 Plain              Wah keuh nah yeuh.
  126 Forest             Ooh r’hah nah keuhf.
  127 Meadow             Ya ha re oh toh.
  128 Bog                Yu teh’r enh t’sah ne reuh.
  129 Island             Yuh weh nooh.
  130 Stone              Oo reuh neh.
  131 Rock               Oo steuh reh.
  132 Silver             Kah kwis tah no reuh.
  133 Copper             Kwa nis nees.
  134 Iron               Oo wa nunh.
  135 Lead               Nah wah c’steh.
  136 Maize              Oo nunh heh.
  137 Wheat              Oo toos.
  138 Oats               O’ch.
  139 Potatoe            Oo nunh tseh.
  140 Turnip             Oo che kwah.
  141 Tree               Oo reuh eh.
  142 Wood               Oo yeuh kwe reh.
  143 Pine               Hoh teh.
  144 Oak                Rah rooh.
  145 Ash                Whoh’t.
  146 Elm                Kah rah t’kwoh.
  147 Basswood           Oo hoo stroh.
  148 Shrub              Kwe roh keuh.
  149 Leaf               Oo euh reh.
  150 Bark               Skeuh noh reh.
  151 Grass              Yu ha rub kweh.
  152 Nettles            Yah koo ha roh roh’r.
  153 Thistle            Oo ne keh weh.
  154 Weed               Chu wa kah ha rah ka.
  155 Flower             Oo che che streh.
  156 Bread              Oo tah nah reh.
  157 Indian meal        Oo nuh heh.
  158 Flour              Oo teh c’hrah.
  159 Meat               Wah reh.
  160 Beaver             Chu noh keuh.
  161 Deer               Ah kweh.
  162 Bison or buffalo   Chu ta kre yoh keuh.
  163 Bear               Oo che reuh.
  164 Otter              Che ah ka we nuh.
                          Grey fox  red fox.
  165 Fox                Che chuh.—Skeuh nahx seuh.
  166 Wolf               Skwah re nunh.
  167 Dog                Chee’sr.
  168 Squirrel           Thah’st.
  169 Hare               Kwa ruh.
  170 Lynx
  171 Panther            T’keuh na nih.
  172 Muskrat            Ah nuh kwinh.
  173 Polecat
  174 Hog                Kwis kwis.
  175 Horse              Hah hahts.
  176 Cow                Oo na rah saht.
  177 Sheep              Wa rak seuh.
  178 Turtle             Che koo wa.
  179 Toad               Roo nunh skwah reuh.
  180 Insect             Chick euh woh’r.
  181 Snake              Oo skwah na.
  182 Bird               Che nunh.
  183 Egg                Ooh heuh seh.
  184 Feather            Oo snoo kre.
  185 Claw               Oo sheuh kah reh.
  186 Beak               Tuh cheuh seh.
  187 Wing               Oo yeuh we ts’neh.
  188 Goose              Kah tuh’ts euh.
  189 Partridge          Oo kwa’ts euh.
  190 Duck               Ts’uh yeuh.
  191 Pigeon             Oo re neh.
  192 Plover
  193 Turkey             Keuh nuh.
  194 Crow               Ah ah.
  195 Eagle              Suh kwe ah.
  196 Hawk               Ne yeuh ne yeuh.
  197 Snipe              Tah wis ta wis.
  198 Owl                Oo wah.
  199 Woodpecker         Nah rah’r.
  200 Robin              Roo skooh kooh.
  201 Fish               Keuh chink.
  202 Trout              Ruh te ohk teuh.
  203 Bass.              Keuh che ah heuh s’che.
  204 Pike.              Koo wahk.
  205 Sturgeon           Hah rah.
  206 Sunfish            Nah reh reh.
  207 Eel                Keuh neh.
  208 Fin                Oo too neh.
  209 Scale              Oo s’neh.
  210 Roe                Ta reh.
  211 White              Oo whah re ah keuh.
  212 Black              Kah hunh s’ehe.
  213 Blue               Oo tih heuh re eh.
  214 Yellow             Tih kah che t’kah nahyeuh.
  215 Green              Oo ha reh.
  216 Great              We yu.
  217 Small              Wast teuh.
  218 Strong             Oo te reuh.
  219 Old                Oo nunh hah ah.
  220 Young              Oo’t oh.
  221 Good               Wah kwast.
  222 Bad                Wah sunh.
  223 Handsome           Yu yah tah yeuh snuh.
  224 Ugly               Koh seuh.
  225 Alive              Wunh heh.
  226 Dead               Yah wunh ha yeuh.
  227 Life               Na yah wunh t’kwah.
  228 Death              Keuh ha yeuh.
  229 Cold               Ah t’huh.
  230 Hot                Yuh nah re hin.
  231 Sour               Na yuh che ra noh neh.
  232 Sweet              Yah wa kenh.
  233 Bitter             Yu che wah kenh.
  234 I                  E.
  235 Thou               Ets.
  236 He                 Trah ya nueh teh.
  237 She                A ya nueh teh.
  238 We                 E ah kwah ya sunh teh.
  239 You, ye            Thwah ya sunh teh.
  240 They               Kah ya yeh sunh teh.
  241 This               Keh’n nuh.
  242 That               Ha nuh.
  243 All                T’wa’hn.
  244 Part               Wa yu rah kwuhn.
  245 Many               Yuh neh’r kenh hu hu.
  246 Nothing            Tsah wunh teh.
  247 Who                Koh na.
  248 Near               Noos keuh.
  249 Far off            E nuh.
  250 To-day             Kah wunh yuh’r heuk enh.
  251 Yesterday          Teh nuh.
  252 To-morrow          Euh yuh’r heuh.
  253 Yes                Euh heuh.
  254 No                 Kwuhs.
  255 Perhaps            Ah reuh kweh te.
  256 Above              Strah kwe.
  257 Under              Euh toh kenh’f.
  258 Within             Oo nuh skeuh.
  259 Without            Th’ neh teh.
  260 On                 Hoh heh’n.
  261 Something          Sto e keuh.
  262 In the tree        Ooreuh oh kenk’f.
  263 On the rock        Koh heh’r oo steuh roh keh.
  264 By the shore       Oo che ah tah’qt.
  265 On the table       Na kwah roh kwah keh.
  266 In the book        Oo yah teuh strah keuh’f.
  267 Now                Ka wunh.
  268 Never              Sa nunh.
  269 By and by          Ka wuh thenh ruh.
  270 One                Euh che.
  271 Two                Nak te.
  272 Three              Ah sunk.
  273 Four               Kunh toh.
  274 Five               Weesk.
  275 Six                Ooh yok.
  276 Seven              Che oh noh.
  277 Eight              Na kreuh.
  278 Nine               Ne reuh.
  279 Ten                Wah th’sunk.
  280 Eleven             Euh che skah hah.
  281 Twelve             Nah tih skah hah.
  282 Thirteen           Ah sunk   “   “
  283 Fourteen           Hunh toh  “   “
  284 Fifteen            Weesk     “   “
  285 Sixteen            Ooh yok   “   “
  286 Seventeen          Ohe oh noh “  “
  287 Eighteen           Na kreuh   “  “
  288 Nineteen           Ne reuh    “  “
  289 Twenty             Na wah th’sunh.
  290 Thirty             Ah sunh te wah th’sunk.
  291 Forty              Hunh toh te  “    “
  292 Fifty              Weest te     “    “
  293 Sixty              Ooh yok te   “    “
  294 Seventy            Che oh noh te “   “
  295 Eighty             Na kreuh te  “    “
  296 Ninety             Ne reuh te   “    “
  297 One hundred        Hah   yok stre.
  298 Two hundred        Nah kah “  “
  299 One thousand       Euh che oo yoh stre.
  300 Two thousand       Nak tih “   “   “
  301 Ten thousand       Wak th’sunk noh oo yoh stre.
  302 Ten million        {Kah yoh stre te kah yoh stre nah oo.
                         {Yoh stre keuh hoh nuh.
  303 To eat[112]        Ah reuh chu reek.
  304 To drink           Ah’r weh’r reuhk.
  305 To run             Ah kah te ah sr’hink.
  306 To walk            Ah reuh ra kwunk.
  307 To dance           Nah reuh’t t’kwunk.
  308 To laugh           Ah kah yeuh skwak.
  309 To cry             Nah reuh snah rahk.
  310 To burn            Ya choh roh nah re hin.
  311 To love            Ah kah no reuh kwunk.
  312 To go              Nah reut tah hah kink.
  313 To strike          Ah kah keuh kwah re ts’enk.
  314 To kill            Ah rah kwunk nahk.
  315 To sing            Ah reuh uwunh a renhk.
  316 To sleep           Ah kenht oo euhk.
  317 To die             Ah wunh ha yeuhk.
  318 To speak           Ah kah weh reuhk.
  319 To see             Ah kah keuhk.
  320 To hear            Ah kah koo hunh sh’henhk.
  321 To think           Ah kah kah wunh te keuhnunh te enhk.
  322 To shout           Ah kah koo hunh renhk.
  323 To advance         Ah kah koo ra kwah nunhk.
  324 To retreat         Ah kah yenh swah nih.
  325 To give            Ah kah yenh nah nunh.
  326 To carry           Ah kah hahk.
  327 To tie             Ah kah treh’nk.
  328 Walking            E weh, (he walks, &c.)
  329 Singing            Roh uwunh a renk.
  330 Dancing            Na nah t’kah.
  331 Crying             Na rats nah.
  332 Man lives          Euh queh, yah kenh hek ’gh.
  333 God exists         Ya wunh ne yuh, yah kenh hek ’gh.
  334 Fishes swim        Kenk chinh, keuh hoh nuk, wah nah wuhn’s.
  335 Birds fly          Che nunh, keuh hoh neuh, na yuh nunh hah n’yeh.
  336 A fish swims       Skenh che aht, wah nah wuhn’s.
  337 A bird flies       Skah che nunh e’shrah.
  338 One man            Enh che, a ne hah.
  339 Twenty men         Na wah th’sunh, kah ya ne hah.
  340 A little man       Renh thras s’tenh, a ne hah.
  341 A little dog       A re’s.
  342 A good man         Renh kweh, strah kwah’st.
  343 A bad man          Renh kweh, struh k’senh.
  344 A good bow         Wah nah kwah’st.
  345 A bad bow          Wah nah k’senh.
  346 Good               Kah re whah ya nih.
  347 Evil               Kah re whah k’senh.
  348 Blessedness        Kah yenh wah nunk.
  349 Mankind            Eh noo kenh’f.
  350 The world          Wah’f nah kwa kenh.

[112] If there is no infinitive, insert the form, he eats, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE.—As the above is intended to be used merely for
comparing one Iroquois dialect with another, I desire that our alphabet
may be used with the common English powers. If not, and you use a
particular system, please to state what sounds it expresses.

  H. R. S.

There is nothing answering to the infinitive and participle. I have
therefore used the present indicative in the translation. I have
divided the words into syllables, whether they are simple or compound.
Where two or more words occur in the translation of a phrase, I have
separated them by a comma. I have used the English alphabet with
natural powers so far as Tuscarora sounds could be indicated by them.
It is impossible to give, in many cases, a correct sound. _A_ alone,
has the sound of _a_ in hate. Ah, like our interjection ah. The sound I
intend to indicate by sunh, keuh, heuh, would be given, very nearly, by
the Seneca alphabet used by Mr. Wright, thus: s_a_h, k_a_h, or k_a_h,
h_a_. The emphasis is, almost invariably, on the penultimate. Often a
slight emphasis on some others. There is also often a prolongation of
sound not indicated by any mark, as I supposed you would not need it.

I have not been able to finish this translation until now, (Oct. 20,)
as I was absent, or otherwise engaged for some time after you had left;
and when finally I was ready, Mr. Chew was not, until recently. I hope
it has not been too long delayed.

I received your letter from New-York, of Sept. 16th. Nicholas Cusick,
the father of James and David, was about 82 when he died. I have not
been able to learn where he was born. He died at this place October,
1840. I do not know that there was anything very peculiar about him. He
never was a “priest or juggler in his earlier days,” that I can learn.

  Yours, truly,


There are several words in your vocabulary of the Tuscarora, in which
the sound of F is used, always, however, as a terminal sound, as in “Eh
noo keuh’f,” mankind.

Is this to be understood as denoting the ordinary sound of the letter?

Does it occur in other positions in words?

What is to be understood by the comma, which is invariably put before

  H. R. S.

  _Tuscarora Mission_, _Dec. 6th_, 1845.

Dear Sir—Your letter of December 1st is this day received. In
reference to the vocabulary of Indian words we furnished you, I have
further to remark, that the language having never been reduced to
writing, each individual undertaking to reduce any portion of it,
will have a system in part, at least, of his own. I have tried three
different ways myself. It is difficult, if not impossible, to represent
all the Tuscarora sounds by any combination of the English alphabet.
I presume a stranger to the language would not, with the use of the
vocabulary we have furnished you, give the correct sound in many

The letter _f_ terminating a word, has the sound of _f_ in _chief_.
I do not know as the comma before it, as in the word Eh noo keuh’f,
is of any use. In common conversation, or at any time when they speak
rapidly, the sound of _f_ is not distinguished, as a general thing.
Yet when they speak a word entire, there is this _f_ sound, slowly and
distinctly; it seems to be a distinct sound, or very nearly so. It
appears to be a little separated from the main part of the syllable,
as though another syllable was to follow immediately beginning with
f; but as soon as the sound of _f_, as in find, is given, the person
stops short. Thus instead of Eh noo keuh find, (I use the English
word _find_, because the power of _f_ in this word is the power of
the letter intended in the Indian word given,) we say Eh noo keuhf,
breaking off when you have given the sound of f, without proceeding to
give the sound of _ind_. Perhaps if a comma is used at all, it would
be more proper to place it _after_ the _f_, thus: f’; or the _f_ might
join the syllable, thus: Keuhf.

I do not recollect that the sound of _f_ is heard in any other part of
a word than as a terminating sound.

Sometimes an _r_ occurs separated, you will observe, by a comma from
the rest of the syllable. It matters not much whether the _r_ is joined
to the preceding or following syllable. There is the sound of an _r_
between them when the word is spoken. I have been puzzled to know where
to place it. It seems to answer either way. Thus, in the word for
to-morrow: Euh yuh’r heuh; or Euh yuh’ rheuh. If joined to the syllable
_yuh_, without being separated by the comma, you would pronounce it
very nearly like the English word _your_. As it is, thus, yuh’r, its
sound is very nearly like the English word _use_, and I am not sure but
that would be a preferable way of writing it, thus: Euh use heuh; yet
there is a twirl or _r_ sound you do not get as in the other mode of
writing it. R terminating a word has much the same sound.

Instead of using the word _find_ above, I might have used any other
word beginning with f. It has its ordinary sound.

Any other information you may wish, if in my power to give it, you may
be free to ask. Yours, truly,



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. Wm. 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 now connected with some of the mission churches. A few only have
removed to Allegany, Tuscarora, while the remainder still live on this

The effect of the gospel in promoting morality and civilization, may be
learned in part from the fact that the public worship of God has been
steadily maintained ever since the organization of the church, with
members ranging from fifty to one hundred, and sometimes one hundred
and fifty and two hundred as regular hearers of the word. A Sabbath
school has been sustained a considerable share of the time. Many copies
of the Holy Scriptures, and the New Testament, together with tracts,
Sabbath school books, temperance papers, and religious periodicals,
have been circulated among the children and youth. Temperance societies
have been patronized by nearly all the chiefs and leading men on the
reservation. Pledges have been circulated and received the signatures
of a large majority of the population, of all parties, on the
Washingtonian plan.

Day schools for teaching the English language have been kept in
operation almost without interruption for more than twenty years, under
the patronage of the A. B. C. F. M.

During the thirteen years that I have superintended these schools,
nearly thirty different persons have engaged for a longer or shorter
time, as teachers. For the past year there have been four schools under
the patronage of the American Board, and one under the Society of
Friends. The whole number who have been instructed in the five schools
is probably not far from one hundred and twenty-five. The attendance of
a part has been very irregular, sometimes shifting from one school to
another, and sometimes attending no school at all. Several of the early
pupils in the mission schools are now heads of families, well informed,
industrious, temperate and religious, and in good circumstances. Some
are interpreters, some teachers of schools, and others engaged in
transacting the business of the nation.

You can, sir, best judge of the influence of the gospel in promoting
worldly prosperity, when you have fully completed the census which
is now being taken. When you count up the framed houses and barns,
the horses, cattle, sheep and hogs, the acres of improved land, with
the wagons, buggies and sleighs, clocks and watches, and the various
productions of agriculture, you can easily conceive the difference
between the present, and thirty years ago. I suppose there was not
then a framed building of any description, and scarcely a log house,
properly so called, no teams, no roads, no ploughed land, and but small
patches of corn, beans and squashes. What an astonishing change!

As to the capacity of Indian children for improvement, my own
impression is that there is no essential difference between them
and white children. The fact that Indian children usually make slow
progress in studying English books, can be accounted for in three ways:
1. They generally have little or no assistance from their parents at
home. 2. They are irregular in their attendance on schools, for want of
order and discipline on the part of parents. 3. Being ignorant of the
English language, it is a long time before they comprehend fully the
instruction of their teachers.

These circumstances operate to make the school room a very dull and
uninteresting place to the scholar, and the reflex influence gives
the scholar the same appearance. When they can once rise above these
circumstances, and overcome these obstacles, they make good proficiency
in their studies.

Believing that these statements cover the ground of your inquiries, I
subscribe myself, dear sir,

  Respectfully and truly yours,

P. S. Should you desire further information on any of these points,
or upon others, which have been omitted, please state your questions
definitely, in writing.

  Yours, &c.,
  A. B.


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 knowledge 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

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 regular at that. Many do not get to school earlier than half
past eleven, and very few earlier than ten, and half past ten. Those
who attend regularly, evince a capacity to acquire knowledge, equaling
the whites, and one of our schools will suffer nothing, in comparison
with common country schools.

  I am, dear sir,
  Yours &c.,


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,


  1 God               Niyoh
  2 Devil             Onesohrono
  3 Man               Rongwe
  4 Woman             Yongwe
  5 Boy               Raxaa
  6 Girl              Kaxaa
  7 Child             Exaa
  8 Infant            Owiraa
  9 Father  (my)      Rakeniha
  10 Mother   “       Isteaha
  11 Husband  “       Teyakenitero
  12 Wife     “       Teyakenitero
  13 Son      “       Iyeaha
  14 Daughter “       Keyeaha
  15 Brother  “       Akyatatekeaha
  16 Sister   “       Akyatatoseaha
  17 An Indian        Ongwehowe
  18 Head             Onontsi
  19 Hair             Ononkwis
  20 Face             Okonsa
  21 Scalp            Onora
  22 Ear              Ohonta
  23 Eye              Okara
  24 Nose             Onyohsa
  25 Mouth            Jirasakaronte
  26 Tongue           Aweanaghsa
  27 Tooth            Onawi
  28 Beard            Okeasteara
  29 Neck             Onyara
  30 Arm              Onontsa
  31 Shoulder         Oghneahsa
  32 Back             Oghnagea
  33 Hand             Osnosa
  34 Finger           Osnosa
  35 Nail             Ojiera
  36 Breast           Aonskwena
  37 Body             Oyeronta
  38 Leg              Oghsina
  39 Navel            Oneritsta
  40 Thigh            Oghnitsa
  41 Knee             Okwitsa
  42 Foot             Oghsita
  43 Toe              Oghyakwe
  44 Heel             Orata
  45 Bone             Ostiea
  46 Heart            Aweri
  47 Liver            Otweahsa
  48 Windpipe         Ratoryehta
  49 Stomach          Onekereanta
  50 Bladder          Oninheaghhata
  51 Blood            Onegweasa
  52 Vein             Oginohyaghtough
  53 Sinew            Oginohyaghtough
  54 Flesh            Owarough
  55 Skin             Oghna
  56 Seat             Onitskwara
  57 Ankle            Osinegota
  58 Town             Kanata
  59 House            Kanosa
  60 Door             Kanhoha
  61 Lodge            Teyetasta
  62 Chief            Rakowana
  63 Warrior          Roskeahragehte
  64 Friend           Atearosera
  65 Enemy            Shagoswease
  66 Kettle           Onta
  67 Arrow            Kayonkwere
  68 Bow              Aeana
  69 War club         Yeanteriyohta kanyoh
  70 Spear            Aghsikwe
  71 Axe              Atokea
  72 Gun              Kaghore
  73 Knife            Asare
  74 Flint            Kahnhia
  75 Boat             Kahoweya
  76 Ship             Kahoweyakowa
  77 Shoe             Aghta
  78 Legging          Karis
  79 Coat             Atyatawit
  80 Shirt            Onyataraa atyatawit
  81 Breechcloth      Kakare
  82 Sash             Atyatanha
  83 Head dress       Onowarori
  84 Pipe             Kanonawea
  85 Wampum           Onegorha
  86 Tobacco          Oyeangwa
  87 Sky              Otshata
  88 Heaven           Karonghyage
  89 Sun              Karaghkwa
  90 Moon             Eghnita
  91 Star             Ogistok
  92 Day              Eghnisera
  93 Night            Aghseanteane
  94 Light            Teyoswathe
  95 Darkness         Tyokaras
  96 Morning          Ohrhonkene
  97 Evening          Yokoraskha
  98 Spring           Keankwetene
  99 Summer           Akeanhage
  100 Autumn          Kanonage
  101 Winter          Koghserage
  102 Wind            Owera
  103 Lightning       Teweanerekarawas
  104 Thunder         Kaweras
  105 Rain            Yokeanorough
  106 Snow            Oniyehte
  107 Hail            Yoisontie
  108 Fire            Yotekha
  109 Water           Oghnekanos
  110 Ice             Oise
  111 Earth: land     Owhensia
  112 Sea             Kanyaterakekowa
  113 Lake            Kanyatare
  114 River           Kaihoghha
  115 Spring          Yohnaweronte
  116 Stream          Yohyohonto
  117 Valley          Teyohrowe
  118 Hill            Yononte
  119 Mountain        Yonontekowa
  120 Plain           Kaheanta
  121 Forest          Karhago
  122 Meadow          Yeheantyakta
  123 Bog             Yonanawea
  124 Island          Kawenote
  125 Stone           Oneaya
  126 Rock            Otsteara
  127 Silver          Karistanoro
  128 Copper          Oginigwar karistaji
  129 Iron            Karistaji
  130 Lead            Kawistanawis
  131 Maize           Oneasti
  132 Wheat           Eanekeri
  133 Oats            Yonohonte
  134 Potatoe         Oghneanata
  135 Turnep          Ojikwa
  136 Tree            Kherhite
  137 Wood            Oyeante
  138 Pine            Oghnehta
  139 Oak             Tokeaha
  140 Ash             Eghsa
  141 Elm             Akaraji
  142 Basswood        Ohosera
  143 Shrub           Nikakwerasa
  144 Leaf            Oneraghte
  145 Bark            Owajiste
  146 Grass           Ohonte
  147 Nettle          Ohrhes
  148 Weed            Kahontaxa
  149 Flower          Ojijia
  150 Bread           Kanatarok
  151 Indian meal     Oneasti othesera
  152 Flour           Othesera
  153 Meat            Owarough
  154 Fat             Yoresea
  155 Beaver          Jonitough
  156 Deer            Oskoneantea
  157 Bison
  158 Bear            Oghkwari
  159 Otter           Tawine
  160 Fox             Jitsho
  161 Wolf            Okwaho
  162 Dog             Ehrhar
  163 Squirrel        Arosea
  164 Hare            Tahontanegea
  165 Lynx
  166 Panther
  167 Muskrat         Anokyea
  168 Polecat         Takoskowa
  169 Hog             Kwiskwis
  170 Horse           Yagosateas
  171 Cow             Canonta
  172 Sheep           Teyotinakarontoha
  173 Turtle          Anowara
  174 Toad            Jighnanatak
  175 Insect          Otsenown
  176 Snake           Onyare
  177 Bird            Jiteaha
  178 Egg             Onhonsa
  179 Feather         Ostosera
  180 Claw            Otjiera
  181 Beak            Ojikeweyeanta
  182 Wing            Oweya
  183 Goose           Onasakeara
  184 Partridge       Oghkwesea
  185 Duck            Sora
  186 Pigeon          Orite
  187 Plover
  188 Turkey          Skawerowane
  189 Crow            Jokawe
  190 Robin           Jiskoko
  191 Eagle           Oteanyea
  192 Hawk            Karhakoha
  193 Snipe           Tawistawis
  194 Owl             Ohowa
  195 Woodpecker      Kwarare
  196 Fish            Keantsiea
  197 Trout           Tyotyaktea
  198 Bass            Ojikakwara
  199 Pike            Jikonsis
  200 Sturgeon        Nikeanjiakowa
  201 Sunfish         Karaghkwakeanjiea
  202 Fin             Odare
  203 Scale           Otsta
  204 White           Kearakea
  205 Black           Kahonji
  206 Red             Onegweantara
  207 Blue            Oronya
  208 Yellow          Oginigwur
  209 Green           Ohonte
  210 Great           Kowanea
  211 Small           Niwaa
  212 Strong          Kashatste
  213 Weak            Yoyatakeaheyea
  214 Old             Oksteaha
  215 Young           Nityoyeaha
  216 Good            Yoyawere
  217 Bad             Wahetkea
  218 Handsome        Yorase
  219 Ugly            Wahetkea
  220 Alive           Yonhe
  221 Dead            Yaweaheyea
  222 Life            Yonhe
  223 Death           Keaheyea
  224 Cold            Yotore
  225 Hot             Yotarihea
  226 Sour            Teyohyojis
  227 Sweet           Yaweko
  228 Bitter          Yotskara
  229 I               Iih
  230 Thou            Ise
  231 He              Raonha
  232 She             Aonha
  233 They            Rononha
  234 You, Ye         Jiyoha
  235 We              Onkyoha
  236 This            Keaikea
  237 That            Toikea
  238 All             Agwegon
  239 Part            Otyake
  240 Who             Onka
  241 Near            Niyorea
  242 Far off         Ino
  243 To-day          Keaweante
  244 Yesterday       Teteare
  245 To-morrow       Eayhorheane
  246 By and by       Owagehaseaha
  247 Yes             Ea
  248 No              Yahtea
  249 Perhaps         Tokul
  250 Above           Enegea
  251 Under           Onagon
  252 Within          Onagounonga
  253 Without         Atstenongati
  254 On              Ethogh
  255 Something       Onheno
  256 Nothing         Yaghotheno
  257 One             Easka
  258 Two             Tekeni
  259 Three           Aghsea
  260 Four            Kieri
  261 Five            Wisk
  262 Six             Yayak
  263 Seven           Jatak
  264 Eight           Satego
  265 Nine            Tiyohto
  266 Ten             Oyeri
  267 Eleven          Easkayaweare
  268 Twelve          Tekniyaweare
  269 Thirteen        Aghseayaweare
  270 Fourteen        Kaiyeriyaweare
  271 Fifteen         Wiskyaweare
  272 Sixteen         Yayakyaweare
  273 Seventeen       Jatakyaweare
  274 Eighteen        Sategoyaweare
  275 Nineteen        Tiyohtoyaweare
  276 Twenty          Tewasea
  277 Thirty          Aghseaniwaghsea
  278 Forty           Kaieriniwaghsea
  279 Fifty           Wiskniwaghsea
  280 Sixty           Yayakniwaghsea
  281 Seventy         Jatakniwaghsea
  282 Eighty          Sategoniwaghsea
  283 Ninety          Tiyohtoniwaghsea
  284 One hundred     Easkateweanyawe
  285 Two hundred     Tekeniteweanyawe
  286 One thousand    Oyeriteweanyawe
  287 Two thousand    Teweayawe eghtseraghsea
  288 One million
  289 To eat[113]     Teayontskahou
  290 To drink        Eayehnekira
  291 To run          Teayoraghtate
  292 To walk         Eayonteanti
  293 To dance        Teayenonyakwe
  294 To fly          Teankatea
  295 To laugh        Eayakoyeshough
  296 To cry          Teayoseanthough
  297 To burn         Eawatsha
  298 To love         Eayontatenoronkwe
  299 To go           Eayonteanti
  300 To strike       Eayeyeanti
  301 To kill         Eayontateriyo
  302 To sing         Eayontereanotea
  303 To sleep        Eayakotawe
  304 To speak        Eayontati
  305 To die          Eayaighheye
  306 To see          Eayontkaghtho
  307 To hear         Eayoronkhe
  308 To think        Eayonontonyeawe
  309 War cry         Waontskwararonyea
  310 Retreat cry     Tontatsyatonek
  311 To give         Eayontatea
  312 To carry        Eayehhawe
  313 To tie          Eayenereanke
  314 Walking         Yagohteantyohatyea
  315 Singing         Yereanote
  316 Dancing         Teyakononyakwea
  317 Crying          Teyoseanthous
  318 To be, or exist   Eghnoyotea
  319 He is             Raonhase
  320 I am              Iighse.

[113] If there is no infinitive, insert verbs in their original form,
as, He eats, &c.


  1 God                   Niyoh
  2 Devil                 Onesoono
  3 Man                   Najina
  4 Woman                 Konheghtie
  5 Boy                   Aksaa
  6 Girl                  Exaa
  7 Child                 Exaa
  8 Infant                Onoskwataa
  9 Father  (my)          Ihani
  10 Mother   “           Iknoha
  11 Husband  “           Ionkniniago
  12 Wife     “           Iongiahisko
  13 Son      “           Ihihawog
  14 Daughter “           Ikhehawog
  15 Brother  “           Itekyatehnonte
  16 Sister   “           Kekeaha
  17 An Indian            Ongwehowe
  18 Head                 Onowaa
  19 Hair                 Ononkia
  20 Face                 Okonsa
  21 Scalp                Onoha
  22 Ear                  Honta
  23 Eye                  Okaghha
  24 Nose                 Onyohsia
  25 Mouth                Sishakaent
  26 Tongue               Aweanaghsa
  27 Tooth                Onojia
  28 Beard                Okosteaa
  29 Neck                 Onyaa
  30 Arm                  Oneantsa
  31 Shoulder             Oghnesia
  32 Back                 Eshoghne
  33 Hand                 Eshoghtage
  34 Finger               Onia
  35 Nail                 Ojeighta
  36 Breast               Oahsia
  37 Body                 Oyeonta
  38 Leg                  Oghsena
  39 Navel                Kotshetot
  40 Thigh                Onhoska
  41 Knee                 Okontsha
  42 Foot                 Oshita
  43 Toe                  Oghyakwea
  44 Heel                 Iyatage
  45 Bone                 Ostienda
  46 Heart                Kawiaghsa
  47 Liver                Gotwesia
  48 Windpipe             Ohowa
  49 Stomach              Onekreanda
  50 Bladder              Onheha
  51 Blood                Otgweasa
  52 Vein                 Ojinohyada
  53 Sinew                Ojinohyada
  54 Flesh                Owaho
  55 Skin                 Ogoneghwa
  56 Seat                 Ondiadakwa
  57 Ankle                Ojihougwa
  58 Town                 Kanatae
  59 House                Kanosiod
  60 Door                 Kanhoha
  61 Lodge                Teyetasta
  62 Chief                Aghseanewane
  63 Warrior              Osgeagehta
  64 Friend               Aterotsera
  65 Enemy                Ondateswaes
  66 Kettle               Kanadsia
  67 Arrow                Kanoh
  68 Bow                  Adota
  69 War Club             Kajihwaodriohta
  70 Spear                Kaghsigwa
  71 Axe                  Atokea
  72 Gun                  Kaota
  73 Knife                Kainatra
  74 Flint                Atrakwenda
  75 Boat                 Kaowa
  76 Ship                 Kaowagowa
  77 Shoe                 Ataghkwa
  78 Legging              Kaisra
  79 Coat                 Atyatawitra
  80 Shirt                Nikaheha
  81 Breechcloth          Katrotaa
  82 Sash                 Teatniagwistrista
  83 Headdress            Tiodnaawonhasta
  84 Pipe                 Atsiokwaghta
  85 Wampum               Otkoa
  86 Tobacco              Oyeangwa
  87 Sky                  Otshata
  88 Heaven               Kaohyage
  89 Sun                  Kaaghkwa
  90 Moon                 Soheghkakaaghkwa
  91 Star                 Ojishonda
  92 Day                  Onisrate
  93 Night                Asohe
  94 Light                Teyohate
  95 Darkness             Tiyotasontage
  96 Morning              Sedetsiha
  97 Evening              Okaasa
  98 Spring               Kagwetijiha
  99 Summer               Kakenhage
  100 Autumn              Kananagene
  101 Winter              Kohsreghne
  102 Wind                Kawaondes
  103 Lightning           Teweanihos
  104 Thunder             Kaweanotatias
  105 Rain                Ostaondion
  106 Snow                Onieye
  107 Hail                Oidriondio
  108 Fire                Ojista
  109 Water               Onikanos
  110 Ice                 Oitre
  111 Earth—Land         Oeanja
  112 Sea                 Kanyateowaneghne
  113 Lake                Kanyataeni
  114 River               Kihade
  115 Spring              Oghnawaot
  116 Stream              Oghyeanto
  117 Valley              Teyostowento
  118 Hill                Onontae
  119 Mountain            Onontowanea
  120 Plain               Kaheantae
  121 Forest              Kahago
  122 Meadow              Ustondriakta
  123 Bog                 Oweanjanawe
  124 Island              Kaweghnod
  125 Stone               Kaskwa
  126 Rock                Osteaha
  127 Silver              Kawistanoo
  128 Copper              Ogwenida
  129 Iron                Kaniawasa
  130 Lead                Kanikanawis
  131 Maize               Oneha
  132 Wheat               Onajia
  133 Oats                Oats
  134 Potatoe             Onata
  135 Turnip              Okteha
  136 Tree                Krael
  137 Wood                Oyeanda
  138 Pine                Ostaa
  139 Oak                 Kakata
  140 Ash                 Kahoweya
  141 Elm                 Oshkra
  142 Basswood            Ohotra
  143 Shrub               Ohonda
  144 Leaf                Ouraghta
  145 Bark                Owajista
  146 Grass               Owenoghkra
  147 Nettle              Owhesra
  148 Weed                Owenokrasod
  149 Flower              Oweha
  150 Bread               Onada
  151 Indian Meal         Oneha otetra
  152 Flour               Otetra
  153 Meat                Owahon
  154 Fat                 Osea
  155 Beaver              Akaniago
  156 Deer                Wahontes
  157 Bison
  158 Bear                Yekwai
  159 Otter               Jutedro
  160 Fox                 Ishaie
  161 Wolf                Tahioni
  162 Dog                 Shoas
  163 Squirrel            Joniskro
  164 Hare                Toutaend
  165 Lynx
  166 Panther
  167 Muskrat             Te out
  168 Polecat             Kanewageha
  169 Hog                 Kwiskwis
  170 Horse               Kaondanenkwi
  171 Cow                 Tidoskwaout
  172 Sheep               Teyodinekaondoa
  173 Turtle              Kaniaghtengowa
  174 Toad                Naskwagaonta
  175 Insect              Otsinowa
  176 Snake               Osaista
  177 Bird                Jiteae
  178 Egg                 Onhosia
  179 Feather             Ostotra
  180 Claw                Otsiouhta
  181 Beak                Kaniantasa
  182 Wing                Kawaontes
  183 Goose               Honkak
  184 Partridge           Kawesea
  185 Duck                Oheao
  186 Pigeon              Jakowa
  187 Plover
  188 Turkey              Sohout
  189 Crow                Kaghka
  190 Robin               Jiskoko
  191 Eagle               Nataongowa
  192 Hawk                Tekayatakwa
  193 Snipe               Tawistewi
  194 Owl                 Owa
  195 Woodpecker          Kwaa
  196 Fish                Otsionda
  197 Trout               Tiadatsea
  198 Bass                Onoksa
  199 Pike                Jikonsis
  200 Sturgeon            Kajhista
  201 Sunfish             Oaghkwaonio
  202 Fin                 Owaia
  203 Scale               Otsta
  204 White               Keaankea
  205 Black               Sweandaea
  206 Red                 Otkwenjia
  207 Blue                Drinaea
  208 Yellow              Jitkwa
  209 Green               Drahtaea
  210 Great               Kowanea
  211 Small               Niwaa
  212 Strong              Kashatste
  213 Weak                Oyatakeaheyo
  214 Old                 Ostea
  215 Young               Ongwetasea
  216 Good                Oyanri
  217 Bad                 Waetgea
  218 Handsome            Oyanri
  219 Ugly                Waetkea
  220 Alive               Onhe
  221 Dead                Aweaheyea
  222 Life                Onhe
  223 Death               Keaheyea
  224 Cold                Otowi
  225 Hot                 Otaiho
  226 Sour                Teyohyojis
  227 Sweet               Okao
  228 Bitter              Odjiwagea
  229 I                   I
  230 Thou                Ise
  231 He                  Aoha
  232 She                 Kaoha
  233 They                Onoha
  234 You Ye              Johha
  235 We                  Oukyoha
  236 This                Neangea
  237 That                Shigea
  238 All                 Gwegon
  239 Part                Tewadisto
  240 Who                 Sonaot
  241 Near                Niyoea
  242 Far off             Ino
  243 To-day              Wanewanisade
  244 Yesterday           Tedea
  245 To-morrow           Iyohea
  246 By and by           Swegeha
  247 Yes                 Eghea
  248 No                  Teah
  249 Perhaps             Tokatgisa
  250 Above               Hetgea
  251 Under               Nagon
  252 Within              Nagongwadi
  253 Without             Atstegwadi
  254 On                  Ethogh
  255 Something           Tikaweaniyoh
  256 Nothing             Teaskoutea
  257 One                 Skat
  258 Two                 Tekni
  259 Three               Segh
  260 Four                Kei
  261 Five                Wis
  262 Six                 Yei
  263 Seven               Jatak
  264 Eight               Tekro
  265 Nine                Tyohto
  266 Ten                 Waghsea
  267 Eleven              Skatskaie
  268 Twelve              Tekniskaie
  269 Thirteen            Aghseghskaie
  270 Fourteen            Keiskaie
  271 Fifteen             Wiskaie
  272 Sixteen             Yeiskaie
  273 Seventeen           Jatakskaie
  274 Eighteen            Tikroskaie
  275 Nineteen            Tyohtoskaie
  276 Twenty              Tewaghsea
  277 Thirty              Seniwaghsea
  278 Forty               Keiniwaghsea
  279 Fifty               Wisniwaghsea
  280 Sixty               Yeiniwaghsea
  281 Seventy             Jatakniwaghsea
  282 Eighty              Tekroniwagshea
  283 Ninety              Tyohtoniwagshea
  284 One hundred         Skateweaniawe
  285 Two hundred         Tekniteweaniawe
  286 One thousand        Waghseanateweaniawe
  287 Two thousand        Teweaniaweetsaghsea
  288 One million
  289 To eat              Eyondikoni
  290 To drink            Eyehnikiha
  291 To run              Tesental
  292 To walk             Eyohteanti
  293 To dance            Teyontkwa
  294 To fly              Teankate
  295 To laugh            Iyakoyonde
  296 To cry              Teyoseanthou
  297 To burn             Ewatsia
  298 To love             Teyondatnoonk
  299 To go               Eyonteandi
  300 To stride           Eyegoheg
  301 To kill             Eyondatriyo
  302 To sing             Eyontreanote
  303 To sleep            Jakota
  304 To speak            Iyeghtaea
  305 To die              Iyaihhe
  306 To see              Iyontkaghto
  307 To hear             Ayohonk
  308 To think[114]       Ayonontonio
  309 War cry             Yontskwaeonio
  310 Retreat cry         Jatego
  311 To give             Eayontatea
  312 To carry            Eyeha
  313 To tie              Ayeshaondak
  314 Walking             Goghteandiahandia
  315 Singing             Eeanot
  316 Dancing             Teyagotkwea
  317 Crying              Teyoseantwas
  318 To be, or exist     Nethonanyohtohaag
  319 He is               Aohase
  320 I am                Ii

[114] If there is no infinitive, insert verbs in their simplest
concrete form, i. e., indicative mood, present tense, first person,
singular, as, he thinks, &c.


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 a 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
winter, which made 180 souls, was made with reference to retaining
a certain amount of missionary funds, and Mr. Stafford, the Indian
attorney, tells me it was made too high. Skenado says the tribe in this
State numbers just 200 souls, of whom 40 are with the Onondagas.

  _Vernon, December 16th, 1845._

“I have filled up your Indian vocabulary to-day. I wrote down the words
as they were given to me by one Johnson, a pretty intelligent man,
who sometimes acts as interpreter. My orthography may be somewhat at
fault, owing to my limited knowledge of the Indian manner of sounding
the letters of the English alphabet. In general, I have endeavored
to spell the words according to their sound in English, though the
letter _a_ is used often as in the English, and often to express the
sound of _ah!_ With this exception, and the use of _hon_, _han_ and
_hun_, to express a sound of which nothing in the English can convey
an accurate impression, the spelling accords with the pronunciation.
The Indian from whom I obtained the information informs me he knows of
no words in his language to express such large numbers as _thousands_
and _millions_. I have, therefore, in the cases of those numbers,
filled the blanks with the Indian for _ten hundred_ and _ten hundred
thousand_; that is, in the latter case, _ten hundred ten hundreds_.

“I hope the table will be satisfactory, and that it may be of aid to
you in making the comparison between the languages which you desire.

  “Believe me, your friend, &c.


  224 Alive              Loon ha.
  225 Dead               La wan ha yun.
  226 Life               Yun ha.
  227 Death              Ya wu ha yah.
  228 Cold               Yut ho lah.
  229 Hot                Yu ta le han.
  230 Sour               Ta yo yo gis.
  231 Sweet              Ya wa gon.
  232 Bitter             Yut ska lot.
  233 I                  Ee.
  234 Thou               Eesa.
                            _He_     _she._
  235 He or she          La oon ha—a oon ha.
  236 We                 Tat ne jah loo.
  237 You                Eesa.
  238 They               Lo no hah.
  239 This               Kah e kah.
  240 That               To e kuh.
  241 All                A qua kon.
  242 Part               Ta kah ha sioun.
  243 Many               A so.
  244 Who                Hon ka.
  245 Near               Ac tah.
  246 Far-off            E non.
  247 To-day             Ka wan da.
  248 Yesterday          Ta tan.
  249 To-morrow          A yul ha na.
  250 Yes                Ha.
  251 No                 Yah ten.
  252 Perhaps            To ga no nah.
  253 Above              A nah kan.
  254 Wonder             An ta ka.
  255 Within             Na gon.
  256 Without            Ats ta.
  257 On                 Ka ha le.
  258 Something          Ot hok no ho ta.
  259 Nothing            Ya ha ta non.
  260 One                Ans cot.
  261 Two                Da ga nee.
  262 Three              Ha son.
  263 Four               Ki ya lee.
  264 Five               Wisk.
  265 Six                Yah yak.
  266 Seven              Ja dak.
  267 Eight              Ta ka lon.
  268 Nine               Wa tlon.
  269 Ten                O ya lee.
  270 Eleven             Ans cot ya wa la.
  271 Twelve             Da ga na ya wa la.
  272 Thirteen           Ha son ya wa la.
  273 Fourteen           Ki ya lu ya wa la.
  274 Fifteen            Wisk ya wa la.
  275 Sixteen            Ya yah ya wa la.
  276 Seventeen          Ja dak ya wa la.
  277 Eighteen           Ta ka lon ya wa la.
  278 Nineteen           Wa tlon ya wa la.
  279 Twenty             Ta was hon.
  280 Thirty             Ha son ne was hon.
  281 Forty              Ki ya lu ne was.
  282 Fifty              Wisk ne was.
  283 Sixty              Yah yak ne was.
  283 Seventy            Ja dak ne was.
  284 Eighty             Ta ka lon ne was.
  285 Ninety             Wa tlon ne was.
  286 One hundred        Ans cot ta wa ne a wa.
  287 Two hundred        Da ga na ta wa ne a wa.
  288 One thousand       O ya lee ta wa ne a wa.
  289 Two thousand       Ta was ha ta wa ne a wa.
  290 Million            O ya lu ta wa ne a wa-o ya lee ta wa ne a wa.
  291 To eat             Yon take hon ne.
  292 To drink           Yah na kee lah.
  293 To run             Yah dak ha.
  295 To walk            Ee yun.
  297 To dance           Ta yunt qua.
  298 To laugh           Yah go yas hon.
  299 To cry             Da yon unt os.
  300 To burn            U dek ha.
  301 To love            Ee no lon qua.
  302 To go              Wa hon ta de.
  303 To strike          Wa a gon lek.
  304 To kill            Wa gon wa lew.
  305 To sing            Ka lon no ta.
  306 To sleep           Ya go tas.
  307 To die             Wa a ee ha ya.
  308 To sit             Ya day lon.
  309 To speak           Ya god ha la.
  310 To see             Wa ont kot.
  311 To hear            Yah got hon day.
  312 To think           Yonnon ton nion ha.
  313 To shout           Tay ya go hon let.
  314 The war cry        At lee yos la tay ya go hon let.
  315 To shout           Ta ya go hon let.
  316 The retreat        Wa ha day go.
  317 To give            Wa han da don.
  318 To carry           Yay ha we.
  319 To tie             Ka warn.
  320 Walking            Ee yen.
  321 Singing            Ka lon no ta.
  322 Dancing            Ta hat qua.
  323 Crying             Das yon unt os.
  324 To exist           Ya gon ha.
  325 I am               E gon ha.

The preceding part of this vocabulary, taken by myself, together with
the entire vocabularies of the Onondaga and the Seneca, which are
necessary to render the comparison complete, are omitted.


Letter from Mr. D. E. Walker to Henry R. Schoolcraft.

  _Batavia, July 26th, 1845._

MR. SCHOOLCRAFT: I have visited the mound on Dr. Noltan’s
farm. Nothing of great importance can be learned from it. I should
think it about fifty rods from the creek, and elevated, perhaps, some
eight feet above the general level of the ground.

A similar one is also found about two miles south of this, and, as is
this, it is on high ground, of circular form, and with a radius of
about one rod. They were discovered about thirty or thirty-five years
since. Nothing has been found in them, save human bones. The first,
some nine or ten years since, was nearly all ploughed up and scraped
into the road.

It is said that “sculls, arms and legs were seen on fences, stumps and
the high-way for a long time after they were drawn into the road.”

On, some two miles beyond the second was discovered a burial-ground.
At that place were ploughed up shell, bone, or quill-beads. Near this
place was found a brown earthen pot, standing between the roots of
a large tree, (maple, they think) and with a small sapling grown in
it, to some six inches in diameter. Beads of shell, bone or porcupine
quills have often been found. I would have remarked, that on the first
mound stood a hickory-tree some two feet through. There is also a ridge
at the termination of high ground; I say a ridge, it appeared to me to
be a regular fortification. It is, I should judge from thirty to forty
feet in length. It would appear that the ground was dug down from some
distance back, and wheeled to the termination of high ground, until
a bank is thrown up to a height of some fifteen or twenty feet. This
ridge, some think to be natural; others, from the fact that a smooth
stone, about the size and shape of a pestle, was found in it, think
it to be artificial. Perhaps other relics may have been found in it
that would show it to be an artificial formation. All I could learn
(and I rode about seven miles out of my way to converse with an old
inhabitant) was, that this pestle was found in the ridge, and within
three or four feet of its surface.

We may, perhaps, infer something from the size of an underjaw found
here, _which is said to have been so large as to much more than equal
that of the largest face in the country_.



Letter from H. C. Van Schaack, Esq. to Henry R. Schoolcraft.

  _Manlius, July 18th, 1845._

DEAR SIR: Yours of yesterday from Jamesville is received.
Its enclosure is the first intimation I have of having been chosen a
corresponding member of the N. Y. Historical Society. I shall be happy
to advance the objects of the Society.

I regret that you have not found it convenient to call, I hope you will
still conclude to come. In the interim, I am convinced that Mr. C. can
advance your objects better than I can; he has read several addresses
on these subjects before the Literary Associations here and at Syracuse
within two years past.

I have a collection of interesting papers (found among my father’s
papers at Kinderhook) relating chiefly to Indian affairs during the
first half of the last century in the colony of New-York. These I am
arranging, at my leisure, for the purpose of presentation to the N. Y.
H. Society. I hope also to be able to send some papers of my father’s
which will advance the object of the society in rescuing the Indian
names on the east banks of the Hudson from oblivion, and which last I
had intended to forward to the Society through you. But I must take my
time to effect those objects.

Excuse the haste with which this letter is written, as I have only this
moment received your letter, and I do not wish to lose a mail.

  Respectfully yours.

  _Manlius, Nov. 22nd, 1845._

DEAR SIR: I forwarded to Mr. Gibbs, the librarian, a few days
ago a volume containing various MSS. selected from my father’s papers,
relating chiefly to our aboriginal history, and about which I wrote you
some time ago. You will find among them the journal of Conrad Weiser,
Indian interpreter, giving an account of a visit to the Six Nations in
1745, at which time he accompanied the Senecas to Oswego, on their way
to pay a visit to the Governor of Canada. You will also find among the
papers, the original minutes of the Grand Council at Albany, in 1745,
at which were present commissioners from Massachusetts, Connecticut,
Pennsylvania, and New-York, with Governors from several of those States
and the Sachems of the Six Nations. I think you will be interested in
some of the papers. When I visit Kinderhook again, I hope to be able
to make some additions to the contribution I have made to the Society.
Many of the old papers relating to land trials, contain matter throwing
light upon Indian names of objects and places. I, however, despair of
ever seeing anything like a completeness of that description.

  Respectfully yours,


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
sachemships were founded, and a name assigned to each, which they are
still known by, and which names every sachem of the several sachemdoms,
from the beginning to the present time, has borne. There were also
fifty sub-sachems, 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; the Tuscaroras
were never permitted to have any. They are unequally divided among
the five nations, the Onondagas having as many as fourteen. The eight
original tribes or families still hold to be correct, as we had it,
but each tribe did not have a sachem. In some of the tribes were two
or three, in others none. As the English would say the Howard family
had a peerage in it, so would the Indians say that a certain tribe or
clan had one or two or no sachemships running in it. The idea seems to
be that the sachem did not preside over a tribe, as that would leave
some tribes destitute; but the nine Oneida sachems, for instance,
ruled the Oneida nation conjointly, and when the nations met in
council, would represent it. The fifty sachems were the only official
characters known at the councils of the confederacy. The sub-sachems
and chiefs had nothing to say. And unanimity, as in the Polish diet,
was always necessary. Over this council, the Tha-do-da-hoh, or great
sachem of the confederacy, presided. He was always taken from the
Onondagas, as we heretofore supposed; but what is very important, it is
denied that there was any such officer as a Tokarihogea, or military
chieftain over the confederacy. They recognize no such office, and
deny that Brant was any thing but a chief, or an officer of the third
and lowest class. I sifted this matter thoroughly, in conversations
with Blacksmith, La Fort, Capt. Frost, and Dr. Wilson, a Cayuga, and
am satisfied that the Tha-do-da-hoh[115] was the chief ruler of the
Iroquois, and that they had no other. We fell into this error by
following Stone, who in the Life of Brant, pretends to establish in
him the title of war chieftain or Tokarihogea of the confederacy. In
relation to the head warriors or military leaders of the nations, there
is still some obscurity. The Seneca nation has two, but the other
nations none. The truth is, the learning, if we may so call it, of the
Iroquois is in the hands of a few, and it is very difficult to reach
it, as those who are the most learned are the most inveterate Indians,
and the least communicative.

[115] This is a Seneca pronunciation of the name written
ATOTARHO, by Cusick, and Tatotarho, by another and older
authority. For a figure of this noted primary ruler, as it is given in
Iroquois picture writing, see page 132.

  H. R. S.

Their laws of descent are quite intricate. They follow the female line,
and as the children always follow the tribe of the mother, and the
man never is allowed to marry in his own tribe, it follows that the
father and son are never of the same tribe, and hence the son can never
succeed the father, because the sachemship runs in the tribe of the
father. It really is quite surprising to find such permanent original
institutions among the Iroquois, and still more surprising that these
institutions have never seen the light. If I can construct a table of
descents with any approach to accuracy, I will send it down to the
Historical Society. The idea at the foundation of their law of descent,
is quite a comment upon human nature. The child must be the son of
the mother, though he may not be of his mother’s husband—quite and
absolutely an original code.

The object of this council was to “raise up sachems” in the place of
those who had died. It would require more room than twenty letters
would furnish to explain what we saw and heard—the mode of election
and deposition—the lament for the dead—the wampum—the two sides of
the council fire, &c. &c., and the other ceremonies connected with
raising up sachems; also the dances, the preaching, the feast.

We were well received by the Indians, and they seemed disposed to give
us whatever information we desired on the religious system of the
Iroquois, their marriage and burial rites, &c. Faithfully,



In Mr. Cusick’s statement of his labors, he states that he has been
instrumental in forming _three_ churches, consisting of _two hundred
members_; but he omits noticing the locality and separate number of
these churches. The church over which he presides, at Tuscarora,
constitutes a part, but I am not able to say what part of the number.
He probably includes the Tonewanda church in the estimate; but, from
this uncertainty, it was impossible to bring either definitely into the
column of “church members.” A reference in the appropriate column of
the returns from Buffalo, denotes this church also to be “incomplete,”
as no return from the missionary, Mr. Wright, has been received,
and the interpreter, Mr. Pierce, who filled up the returns for that
station, dropped this column, after inserting _five_ names, under the
belief that the information would be given, and better given, by the
missionary himself.

Mr. Hall, of Alleghany, returns one more _school_ than appears in the
column of schools, an error which was not detected till the proof
sheets had been returned; nor is it known whether this includes
the schools kept by the Society of Friends on that reservation, no
information having been received from their local teacher, who was,
however, verbally requested to state the number of his pupils.

In the pamphlet of this Society, on Seneca affairs, issued at
Baltimore, in 1845, the number of pupils under their charge, on the
Cattaraugus reservation, is stated at 107, and it is added, that an
incipient boarding school for girls had been attempted.

It is not known whether, in the four schools reported by Mr. Bliss, at
this reservation, the teachers and labors of the Society of Friends are

Mr. Rockwood, of Tuscarora, states that there is but _one_ school on
that reservation.

In the column of octogenarians, a typographical error gives the
Tonewandas twenty-five instead of _ten persons_ who had reached that

In filling up the column headed “persons who adhere to the native
religion,” the rule was to deduct from the total population, all who
were reported as members of any Christian denomination.

Errata in the text, typographical and critical, which it was impossible
to avoid, in the haste of a legislative publication, made in due
course, there has been no opportunity to notice here, and it is hoped
the proper consideration will be made.

[Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.

Menu entries for Appendix, Morgan—page 283 and Van Schaack—page 284
changed to Van Schaack—page 283, Morgan—page 284 to match location in

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