The Mohawk Valley in which Sir William Johnson spent his adult life (1738-17 74) was the fairest portion of the domain of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. In this valley William Griffis had lived nine years, seeing on every side traces or monuments of the industry, humanity, and powerful personality of its most famous resident in colonial days. From the quaint stone church in Schenectady which Sir Johnson built, and in whose canopied pews he sat, daily before his eyes, to the autograph papers in possession of his neighbors; from sites close at hand and traditionally associated with the lord of Johnson Hall, to the historical relics which multiply at Johnstown, Canajoharie, and westward, — mementos of the baronet were never lacking. His two baronial halls still stand near the Mohawk. Local traditions, while in the main generous to Johnson’s memory, was sometimes unfair and even cruel. The hatreds engendered by the partisan features of the Revolution, and the just detestation of the savage atrocities of Tories and red allies led by Johnson’s son and son-in-law, had done injustice to the great man himself. Yet base and baseless tradition was in no whit more unjust than the sectional opinions and hostile gossip of the New England militia which historians have so freely transferred to their pages.
Topic: Six Nations
Lacrosse, it is well-known, is the Indian’s national game. The agile form with which nature has gifted him, and which I have mentioned already as one of his physical characteristics, brings an essential pre-requisite for success or eminence to a game, where the laggard is at heavy discount. Though a white team can often boast of two or three individual runners, whose fleetness will outstrip the capacity of an equal number on the side of the Indians, I think, perhaps, that it will be allowed that the Indian team, as a rule, will comprehend the greater number of fleet members.
In its very nature this essay will partake largely of the element of historical preciseness, and if it do not, I have so far failed to gain my end. I have wished to introduce matter of a kind calculated to relieve this, and to insure the escape of the essay from the charge of a well-sustained dryness. Of the humorous instinct of the Indian, as indulged toward his fellow Indian, I cannot speak with confidence; of the malign operation upon myself of the same instinct, I can speak with somewhat more exactness, and with somewhat saddening recollections. The cases, indeed,
The pagan, though not so alive to the serene beauties of the Christian life, and not so attracted by the power, the promises, and the assurances of the Christian religion, as to evince the one, and embrace the other, or to make trial of the moral safeguards that its armoury supplies, would yet so honor, one would think, the persuasive Christian influences, operating around him and about him in so many benign and kindly ways, as to abandon many of the practices that savor of the superstition of a by-gone age. Though there has been a decline, if not a
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
In the course of the long and fierce war between the Six Nations and the Cherokees, it happened, said Oliver Silverheels, that eight Senecas determined to go on an embassy of peace. Among them was Little Beard, the elder, and Jack Berry. They met some Cherokees on the confines of the Cherokee territories, to whom they imparted their object. Intelligence of this interview was sent for ward to their village, where the ambassadors were duly received, and after this preliminary reception, they were introduced to the ruling chiefs, and favorably received by the Cherokee council. All but one of the
A large collection of images from the manuscript, including maps. These images can also be found on various pages in context with the information on the page.
The Six Nations, with the exception of the St, Regis Indians, who receive no annuities from the United States, draw from the United States and from the state of New York annuities on the basis of past treaties, which secured this fixed income on account of lands sold from time to time, and rights surrendered. This payment is: The annuities themselves bring small returns in visible benefits. The payments by the United States, which are theoretically paid in the early autumn, for the census year, were not completed until February 1891, through delay of the appropriation by Congress. The various
The state and federal courts, as the former have recognized in several instances, should recognize the 64 “Indian common law title” of occupants of reservation lands, where such lands have been improved. They should assure such titles, as well as sales, devises, and descent, through courts of surrogate or other competent tribunals, wherever local Indian officials refuse just recognition of such titles or delay a just administration when conflicts arise. All statutes which offer the Indian a premium for dishonest dealing should be repealed, and the Indian should be held to his contracts to the extent of his personal holdings.
Indian nomenclature almost invariably has a distinct and suggestive meaning, especially in geographical locations, relations, and peculiarities. Only a few of those, which relate to the accompanying maps are supplied. The location of Bill Hill’s cabin, near the foot of the Onondaga reservation, was called Nan-ta-sa-sis, “going partly round a hill”. Tonawanda creek is named from Ta-na-wun-da, meaning “swift water”. Oil spring, on the Allegany map, was Te-car-nohs, “dropping oil”. The Allegany River was O-hee-yo, “the beautiful river”, and the Geneseo was Gen-nis-he-yo, “beautiful valley”. Buffalo was Do-sho-weh, “splitting the fork”, because near Black Rock (a rocky shore) the waters