Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

Thanks to Herbert R. Groff, typing volunteer

The Castles of the Red Man of the Mohawk
(Frank Bogaskie)
Article is from an old newspapers, probably from the late 1920's

Thus it is clearly evident that Jacob Timmerman was a man of outstanding personality and ability and in addition thereto the owner of an exceptional tract of land – for land owners were only qualified for such appointments and the position of a Commissioner of Highways was not mediocre for Sir William Johnson accepted of such appointments on several occasions.

Furthermore, we find noted on the Crown Map of about 1756 in the approximate vicinity of St. Johnsville, Timmerman’s Mill.

We further find that on the 12th day of March, 1734 the Sachems of the Kannajoharie Castle of which King Hendrick was one, conveyed a tract of land on the northerly side of the river as a gift to Anna Marragrieta Timmerman of Tyenindoke, a spinster, apparently the daughter of Jacob Timmerman.

Surely Tyenindoke, the residence of Miss Anna, is only another variant of Decanohogo, the place where Sachem Onoronorum resided in 1700—and both of these words are variants of Tionondoge, the name of the third castle which the French raided and burned in February, 1693.

Accordingly it does appear from our historical records, that Jacob Timmerman and his family, including his daughter Anna, resided in 1734 and for some years prior thereto at Tyenindoke --- otherwise or in the near vicinity of the castle of the Tionondoge of 1689 – 1693 and that he was the owner of these lands for otherwise he could not have been appointed a Commissioner of Highways in 1729.

As streams invariably derive their names from the most outstanding family that resides in the proximity thereto. As well as through whose lands they flow, thus the stream known in early years as Timmerman’s Creek which flows at the foot of the hill upon which the Castle of Teonontoge of 1689-1693 was located, will reasonably confirm the place of residence of the Timmerman family as well as the Castle of Teontoge of 1689-1693.

It further discloses that the Indian name for St. Johnsville and vicinity was Tionondoke.

Of course these conclusions do not affect any matters pertaining to the Timmermans subsequent to March 12. 1734.

From all the foregoing historical records and convincing facts, it can be firmly, positively and conclusively determined that the site of the Indian village at the eastern point of Fort Hill, about one and one half miles westerly of St. Johnsville, is the site of the Castle of Teonontoge of 1689-1693

Thus it does appear as if the Mohawks purposely beclouded the distance of the removal of the Castle of Teonontoge in 1689 by substituting the English mile for that of the Dutch which is substantially four English miles and that the actual distance of removal was six miles.

The Canajoharie Castle 1689-1715

From the foregoing historical records it is also clearly and conclusively evident that there were only two castles of Indians along the Mohawk river after the year 1700 – the first castle on the bank of the Schoharie creek and the second or the last or the Canajoharie castle on Prospect Hill in Fort Plain, from 1697 to 1715 and at Indian Castle from 1715 to 1777.

Of course I am well aware that it is most enthusiastically claimed that "Two Mohawk Indian villages were located on Prospect Hill, Osquago of 1634 and Tarajorees 1700-1775."

But no record of sufficient convincing nature are presented upon which to conclusively establish such claim, excepting this reference of the lands granted by the Van Slyck Patent, dated September 2, 1716:

"Beginning at the outermost side of a flat that lies over against the castle of Tarigioris by the three islands", etc.

It is also stated that a similar reference is made in a survey of 1723 apparently in the Francis Harrison patent which tract of land begins at the same point as the Van Slyck patent.

Certainly the above references made by some unknown and unnamed individual, whether the surveyor or some unknown ignorant assistant or brush chopper or chain carrier, may have pointed out the cabins across the river occupied by Sachem Tarigioris which records are decidedly inferior and of no material consequence to devalue in the least the records we have presented, made and confirmed by the least the records we have presented, made and confirmed by the most influential citizens of Albany as well as officials of the Colony, accompanied by the official interpreter of the Colony, so that the events of their official conference with the Iroquois were correctly reported and recorded.

Nevertheless the reference to the castle of Tarigioris cannot be wholly ignored for upon a further examination of the historical records, we find that peace between England and France was announced to the Five Nations in September 1713.

Thus, it is possible that prior to this granting of the Van Slyck Patent in 1716 the nation of the Canajoharie Indians abandoned their castle on Prospect Hill and removed to the low lands near the Nowadaga creek and rebuilt their castle of the same name –a Canajoharie – but, Tarigioris who was the Chief Sachem of the tribe of the Turtle of the Canajoharie Castle, preferred to remain with his family and a few of his friends at the old abandoned castle of Canajoharie on Prospect Hill in order to avoid the uproar of drunkenness so common at the tribal castles; thus the old abandoned castles were the private cabins of Sachem Tarigioris and if loosely expressed they substantially were, the Castle of Tarigioris.

This fact is amply sufficient upon which to determine that the Castle of Canajoharie was removed from Prospect Hill between 1713 and 1716 and no records are available antagonists to this conclusion.

The fact is now established that the three principal Sachems of the Three Tribes of the Canajoharie castle resided in private cabins some miles distant from the Tribal Castles.

Sachem Tarigioris of the Turtle tribe lived as now disclosed on Prospect Hill in Fort Plain, the site of the castle which the Canajoharie Indians abandoned about 1715.

Sachem Onononorum of the Wolf Tribe dwelt on the site of the Castle of Teonondage of 1689-1693 which the French burned in 1693 in company with other I---?

And Sachem King Hendrick of the Bear Tribe resided on Tribes Hill for we find that the Rev. John Taylor journeyed through the Mohawk valley in July 1802 and noted in his journal.

"Tripe’s or Tribes Hill, about twenty miles above Schenectady; we have the prospect of a few hundred acres of excellent meadows which was formerly the seat of the famous Hendrick, the Sachem of the Mohawks"

It surely does appear as if Hendrick, the Sachem had an extensive plantation. Obviously true, for it is reported "There was a recent (Indian) village at Tribes Hill." Apparently determined from the remains found at the site where Hendrick’s "huts" or cabins or castle were located.

Evidently these same remains of Hendrick’s abode have been determined to be those of the consolidated castle of all the Mohawks Ogsadaga –between the years of 1693 and 1700 as others have advanced, but no such castle has been disclosed by our historical records excepting a prehistoric village site should be located in this vicinity.

In fact the Iroquois interpreter reported to Governor Hunter in August 1710 that the Sachem of the Five Nations informed him that if strong drink is not prohibited: "It will be impossible they can live in peace in their castles, they will be necessitated to separate themselves and break up and be no more a nation, and that all the Five Nations are of the same opinion.

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