History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883
Volume I, Page 13
To write the early history of a people bordering for a length of time upon a wilderness, whose solicitudes are not only broken by the howling of wild beasts, but also by the fearful yells of uncivilized Indians, and convey to the reader a true picture of that life-even when distance of time has not cast its sombre shadows around it-is a task of no ordinary labor: but when civil discord has pervaded such community and the hatchet of the forest-son has been defiantly raised against his encroaching neighbor stained with life-blood at midnight-aye, and when the great sun-dial has long been dropping its sands into the bosom of eternity, the burden is vastly augmented.
The author has not intended in this work to give a minute geographical description of the country of which it treats, but barely an outline that would give the reader a better understanding of the general contents of these volumes. The term border as often used by the writer, is not to be construed to mean the outer verge of the State-for that extended westward from the territory indicated, in an unbroken wilderness to the great lakes several hundred miles away ; but as having especial reference to the outskirts of civilization, or to those scattered settlements jutting out here and there into venturesome clearings, beyond the protection of what were beginning to be known as older settlements.
And yet it seems but fair for the better understanding of the work, that the reader who has not had access to any general history of the early peopling of the colony of which the territory above indicated made a component part, should here find a brief mention of some events going to make up the State's primitive history : on which account some well authenticated facts are here inserted.
The first settlers of the colony of New York emigrated from Holland, although in what precise year cannot be shown. The Brodhead papers transcribed in Holland it was thought would tell us just when the Dutch settled at New Amsterdam (now the city of New York); when the trading post at Fort Orange, (now Albany) was established, and when the first pioneer Dutchman began his residence at Schenectada,* Mr. B. found testimony to prove what had long been known, that Henry Hudson, in the employ of the Dutch East India Company, in a ship called the Half Moon of 80 tons burthen, (not half the tonnage of a modern Erie canal boat), with a crew of 20 English and Dutch seamen-on a voyage to find a north west passage to China-crossed the Atlantic and discovered the noble river to which his name attaches, in the autumn of 1609 + but he found no further satisfactory record in the repositories of the "Netherlands relating to New Amsterdam until 1614. The hiatus in the record from 1609 to 1614, during which time the colony was planted, was occasioned says Mr. B., by the destruction of the records of that period in 1841. From 1614 to 1664, a period of just fifty years, the Dutch held possession of the colony of New York then called the New Netherlands, when it became an English colony. Between the dates named the records were found quite satisfactory.++
Capt. Hudson ascended the stream above the present city of Hudson, and from thence sent his mate with four hands in a
*This is a primitive Mohawk word and signified with reference to the carrying-place, from the point on the Hudson where Albany now stands, to the Mohawk river- " Over the Pines," or " Beyond the Pines ; " pine timber then covering the sandy land between the water communication on the Hudson, and the Mohawk at its most available point. The true meaning of this word was obtained of the celebrated Joseph Brant, at his residence in Canada in 1806, by my late friend Judge Isaac Hall Tiffany. In the General Index to the Brodhead Papers, their bibliographer, O'Callaghan, gives including the French, Chenectcedi, 59 versions of the spelling of this name. Thirty-five years ago I wrote this name as in the context, and still believe it to be the most euphonious and correct orthography. Sixty years ago Canajoharie and Schoharie were both terminated in Webster's speller with the letter y, but a better orthography has since prevailed. Milwaukee, Sandusky, Kentucky, Talahassee and possibly a few other Indian names, I would terminate the same as Oswegatchie, Poughkeepsie and Coxsackle-wlth the dipthong ie Of the hundreds of Indian names in New York and other States ending with the letter a, I would not make Schenectada an exception. Here are some of those to which I refer: Oneida, Cayuga, Montezuma, Garoga, Winona, Tioga, Cayadutta, Unadilla, Minnesota, Saratoga, Canastota, Kenosha, Tonnewanda, Osceola, Mendota, Tuscarora, Oneonta, Chetopa, Chuutauqua, Oskaloosa, Wamsutta, Pensacola, Catawba, Wyocena, Chatanooga, Ashtabula, Ticonderoga, Tuscaloosa, Cayahoga, Caughnawaga, Chuctanunda, Niskayuna, Susquehanna, Catasauqua, Kasota, Juniata, Sacondaga, Coosa, Towanda, Altoona, Catawissa, etc.
+ General Introduction to Brodhead Papers, vol. 1, p. 26; and body of the work p. 94.
++ Brodhead, Introduction, vol. 1, p. 15.
boat to prosecute the survey, who it is believed ascended the river to the present site of Albany. They were visited along the shores by great numbers of the natives by whom they were kindly treated. After passing through the Highlands, the captain sailed the stream the Great River of the Mountains. The Indians of the five nations called it Ca-ho-ha-ta-tea. It was early designated in colonial documents as the North river, to distinguish it from the Delaware-also discovered by Hudson and sometimes called the South river.* In a journal of New Netherland, dated in 1647, the Hudson river was called the Mauritius.+
After the discovery of Capt. Hudson, says an early writer, "The Dutch immediately began to avail themselves of the advantage which his discovery presented to their view. In 1610, it appears that at least one ship was sent hither by the East India Company, for the purpose of trading in furs, which, it is well known, continued for a number of years to be the principal object of commercial attraction to this part of the new world. In 1614, a fort and trading-house were erected on the spot where Albany now stands, and called Fort Orange ; and about the same time another fort and trading-house were established on the southeast point of Manhattan Island, and called New Amsterdam. The whole colony received the name of New Netherlands."++
Dr. Miller, quoted above, gives no authority for naming 1614 as the year in which the Dutch forts were erected at New York and Albany ; but he must have given very nearly, if not quite, the true date, and several other writers have adopted his designated time in the matter. Says another early writer § : " The position of Albany was first chosen by a commercial people for a military post, that should extend the trade with the Indians,
* Coll. of N. Y. His. Society, vol. 1.
+Doc. His. of N. Y., vol. 4.
++ See historical discourse delivered by Samuel Miller, D. D., In 1809, before the New York Historical Society, vol. 1 of its collections. In this address Dr. Miller gives the sad end of this early adventurer. In 1610 he discovered Hudson's Bay, where he was compelled to winter. In the spring his discontented crew mutinied, and June 22, 1611, they placed Capt. Hudson, his son, and seven others-the most of whom were sick-in an open boat and abandoned them to their fate. They were never again heard from.
§ Horatio Gates Spafford, who published a State Gazetteer In 1824. He had published a smaller work 13 years before. He fails to give any authorities on which he bases his historical facts.
and give to that trade a better security and character. Here seemed the head of the tide and of sloop navigation ; and here the adventurers found a good ship-channel so close in with the shore as to save docking, and a fertile intervale of low and rich alluvium, where they erected a stockade to guard against surprise by the Indians. This was about 1614." The same writer says: "About 1623 it was enlarged, better stockaded, and called Fort Orange, according to the best accounts." By 1712 Albany contained nearly 4,000 inhabitants, 450 of whom were Negro or Indian slaves.*
Among certain papers relating to the first Dutch settlement of the colony of New York, as arranged by Dr. O'Callaghan, are several affidavits of old people, reflecting some light upon this subject. One of them was taken at the Walle Bocht, on Long Island, before William Morris, a justice of the peace, October 17, 1688, and is inserted with the prefix :
"The First White Woman in Albany."-It is the statement of Catelyn Trico, a native of Paris, then aged 83 years. She said that in the year 1623, she came to this country in a ship called the Unity, the first ship sent hither by the West India Company, of which Arien Jorise was commander : that on arriving at New York two families and six men went to Hartford river (the Connecticut); two families and eight men went to Delaware river ; eight men they left at New York to take possession ; and the rest of the passengers proceeded with the ship to Albany, then called Fort Orange. That on arriving at Sopus (Kingston)-called half way to Albany-they lightened the ship with some boats which had been left the year before by Dutch traders with the Indians. She further stated that, on arriving at Albany, there were eighteen families on board, which settled themselves at that place and made a small fort; and that as soon as they had made themselves huts of bark, the River Indians, those of the five nations, and some others came there and made covenants with their commander, Jorise, bringing him presents of beaver and other peltry ; that the Indians came to trade with them in great numbers, and that
* Holmes' American Annals, vol. 2, p 95. Abiel Holmes, D. D., published this work In 1805. It consists mostly of small paragraphs of prominent historical events in chronological order, giving his authority for everything. The work was evidently prepared with great care, and whoever quotes Holmes, is pretty sure to give all then well-authenticated authority on any subject of which he treats.
Jorise stayed with them all winter, sending his son home with the ship. She stated that she resided there three years, in all of which time the said Indians, " as quiet as lambs, came and traded with all the freedom imaginable." In 1626, deponent went from Albany to New York, where she lived for many years, and then removed to her present home on Long Island.
Since the above was written, I find the settlement of several localities alluded to inferentially by Gov. Stuyvesant in his correspondence with Col. Nichols, when the latter demanded the surrender of New Netherland to the British Crown with four British men-of-war in the harbor of New Amsterdam. His letter was dated 2 September, 1664. He says the Dutch had then enjoyed Fort Orange 48 or 50 years, Manhattan 41 or 42 years, the South river-the Delaware-40 years, and the Freshwater river-the Connecticut-about 36 years. This would make the beginning of these settlements arrange about as follows : Fort Orange, 1614 ; Manhattan, 1622 ; Delaware river, 1624 ; and Connecticut river, 1628.*
Says William Smith, in his History of New York, published 1751, Carteret was commissioned to subdue the Dutch at Fort Orange. The garrison capitulated on the 24th of September, 1664, and he called it Albany in honor of the Duke. " While Carteret was here, he had an interview with the Indians of the five nations, and entered into a league of friendship with them, which remarkably continues to this day " (see page 49). It may be observed that league extended almost unbroken by some of those nations down to the American Revolution.
Fac simile of his autograph.
Gov. Stuyvesant was the last Dutch Governor of New Netherland. His administration began in 1648, and ended in 1664, when New Netherland became the English colony of New York ; New Amsterdam also taking on the name New York,
*Fernow's, vol 12, N. Y. Col. His., 1877.
Richard Nichols becoming the first English Governor of the colony. It was a fortunate circumstance that the Dutch first settled the colony, for, in the fifty years of its nationality, New Amsterdam became a city of refuge against the religious intolerance of the world-a part of New England included-welcoming to her territory the persecuted, no matter what their language, their tenets of faith, or forms of religion were. Thus the Low Dutch stamped the element of true charity upon the colony, which, in time, became engrafted into our own national Constitution and laws.
This building is inserted to show the style of architecture at that period. It was erected in 1642, and served New Amsterdam as a State House or City Hall, and, after the English conquest, the city of New York for the same purposes, until the structure gave place to a new one about the year 1700. "When contrasted with the new Capitol now being erected at Albany, it happily illustrates the progress of the State in wealth and importance in the past 200 years.
A retrospect.-I had supposed that the administration of Gov. Stuyvesant, who was a man of spirit and energy, was not marked with much trouble with the natives ; but the 13th vol. of our Colonial Doc. His. issued in 1881, exhibits his career at New Amsterdam as a thorny one. His predecessors had had trials with neighboring white settlements; and those with serious difficulties with the Indians surrounding them, were bequeathed to him. Not only was he constantly threatened with serious difficulty by the Indians in his immediate neighborhood; but he had a world of trouble with those encircling the Pioneer settlement of Esopus-now Kingston, which received his personal attention in June 1658, when he found it necessary to inclose a village plot in palisades, and bring the adventurers from the boweries-farms, to a residence within it for their security. The inclosed town took on the name Wildwyck.
In all his writings, Gov. Stuyvesant invariably called the natives savages. It is a fact worthy of mention that nearly all the serious difficulties between the Dutch and Indians, started in a brandy-bottle, (all liquor seems to have been called brandy at that period); and so well was it known and felt that liquor was the obvious factor in originating trouble, that Sander Toursen and his wife who kept a small tavern in New Amsterdam, for violating a city ordinance by selling the Indians brandy, were arrested, banished the country and sent back to the Fatherland. The great profit derived from such contraband traffic, prevented its being very effectually estopped.
First recorded visit to the Mohawks and their castles.-The Mohawks were generally conciliated by the branch of the Dutch administration at Fort Orange-or Beaverwyck, now Albany. The earliest visit made by them into the Mohawk valley, is mentioned in a letter from Arent Van Corlaer (as now written), Director of the colony of Rensselaerwick to the Patroon in Holland in 1643, in which he says ; " I have been in the Maquaes (Mohawks) country last year with Labatie and Jacob Janson, of Amsterdam, where three Frenchmen are kept prisoners ; among them a Jesuit, a very learned man, whom they treated very badly by cutting off his fingers and thumbs."* He spoke of visiting all their three castles, but named neither of them or their localities. He and his associates were welcomed by the natives, who went hunting and brought home for them some fine wild turkeys. Such game is subsequently mentioned as having been killed at Esopus. Van Corlaer offered a ransom of 600 florins for the three captives but in vain. He obtained a promise however, that their lives should be spared.
September 6, 1659, the Chiefs of the Mohawks at Fort Orange, met the representatives of the government, and there renewed a treaty of amity with the Dutch, bringing a valuable present
*This was Father Isaac Jogues, supposed to have been a prisoner at Caughnawaga, where he was afterwards murdered; as will be shown hereafter.
in peltries and wampum. Sickness prevented Gov. Stuyvesant from being present, but he sent a commission to their country, which "at their first castle, Kaughnuwage [now FondaJ, in presence of the Chiefs of the three Mohawk castles, September 24, 1659," consummated the unfinished business of their interview at Albany in the gift of wampum, 75 lbs. of powder, 100 lbs. Of lead, 15 axes and a quantity of knives. If Mr. Greenhalgh, who visited the Mohawk valley as I have elsewhere shown, in 1677, had not stated that the Maquaes had four towns and named them, we might have supposed that Tienonderoga Castle on Tribes Hill had been erected in that period-18 years, and possibly it had been-He named it, and certainly it was half a dozen miles nearer Albany than Caughnawaga, which at his visit would have been the second castle. The little that is derived in history respecting the castles of the Mohawk nation until after the year 1700, leaves much to be guessed at.
Settlement of Schenectada.-Said Spafford, in his Gazetteer of New York, in 1824, "Some time previous to 1620, 15 or 20 persons-12 of whom came direct from Holland, and the rest from Albany-settled here in the fur trade." He quoted no authority for what he said, and this statement, which was wide of the truth, has misled many early writers. The thirteenth volume of Colonial Documents alluded to, shows the place to have been settled after 1660, or more than 40 years later than the time given by Spafford. In 1661, Arent Van Curler (Corlaer, as since written) obtained permission for himself and six or eight others, of the Governor and Council, to purchase of the natives the " Great Flat back of Fort Orange inland"-the lands at and around Schenectada-for their own occupancy. As soon as this became known at Beaverwyck-Albany-a protest went to the Governor, stating that great damage might be done to that place if the settlers were allowed to trade with the Indians. The probable loss of a portion of their fur trade was, no doubt, where the shoe pinched.
April 6, 1662, Van Curler wrote the Governor that he and his friends had secured the Indian title to the flats, and wanted the surveyor, Jacques Corteljou, sent up to survey and partition the lands. A new obstacle was now interposed : at least twenty families must go upon the lands, while all trade whatever was interdicted between them and the Indians. A few settlers had gone there, when, May 9, 1663, Surveyor Corteljou came up to partition the land, to be prevented by a protest from the Albanians, charging the settlers with having done some trading with the Indians, thereby inducing the Governor to exact a written stipulation from those settlers that they were to have no dealings whatever with the natives. Against signing this pledge the proprietors remonstrated, desiring to be used as other frontiersmen in the colony were. This remonstrance was signed by A. Van Corlaer, Philip Hendricksen, Sander Leendertsen Glen, Simon Volckertsen, Pieter Sogemaoklie, Tennis Cornelissen, William Teller, Gerret Bancker, Bastian De Winter-authorized to sign the name of Cateleyn, the widow of Arent Andrissen-Pieter Jacobson Borsboom, Pieter Danielsen Van Olindee, Jan Barentsen Wemp and Jacques Cornelis, Here are no doubt the names of the pioneer settlers of Schenectada, who had located there in the preceding two years. In September following, Jan B. Wemp and Martin Mauverensen contracted with Hendricksen to do general farm-work at their bouwery at "Schenechtede." The latter names were, no doubt, those of two more permanent settlers ; and we may suppose that by this time the twenty families required as requisite for the settlement to have been made up. The master-spirit of the place was Arent Van Corlaer.
In April, 1664, S. L. Glen, W. Teller and Harmen Tedder, in behalf of the settlement, renewed the petition for a survey ; and Gov. Stuyvesant, in May following, sent Sir Jacques Corteljou to make the same, and justly allot to every one his share. Thus Schenectada became the westernmost town in the colony. In September following the English captured New Netherland, but Albany influence still prevented its becoming a place of trade.
Settlement of Canada, or New France, etc.-As early as 1603, 200 ships were engaged in the New Foundland fishery, employing at least 10,000 men. In the same year Samuel Champlain, a French navigator sailed up the St. Lawrence, making discoveries ; and in 1608 he planted a colony of his countrymen at Quebec, 300 miles from the sea.* Other settlements soon began, a permanent occupancy was maintained, and a lasting friendship established between the settlers and the Algonquin and other
*Holmes' Annals, vol. 2, p. 147.
Canadian Indians along the St. Lawrence and its connecting chain of lakes. The Dutch at New Netherland also formed friendly relations with the Indians in their vicinity, and mainly through the management at Fort Orange with the Mohawks and Senecas at first, and finally with the whole confederacy of the five nations and their allies, extending from central to western New York. After the English captured the Netherlands they were equally careful to conciliate the five nations, to which a sixth was added in 1712, when the Tuscuroras came from North Carolina and joined them, being assigned lands between the Oneidas and Onondagas.
Spafford says-no authority quoted-that Schenectada was built on the site of a large town once occupied by the Mohawks, the original Indian word signifying, literally, a great multitude collected together. He says, also, that the same Indian name, Schaugh-nack-taa-da, was applied to Albany, and signified beyond the pine plains*
* I have already shown in a note to Schenectada, that the word plains was not In the signification us rendered by Brant to Judge Tiffany in 1806. His Interview with this celebrity took place just before noon, and when he casually spoke of leaving, he was politely invited to remain to dinner. He made some trivial excuse about going supposing he would be urged to stay, as of all things he desired to remain, but to his chagrin the invitation was not repeated. He said this learned him a lesson that however hypocritical or pretentious might be the action of the whites, an Indian never said no when he meant yes ; and he left the house biting his lips for his polite folly. He had timed his call with especial reference to dining with this celebrated chieftain, but his New England manners debarred him that pleasure.
Isaac Hall Tiffany, Esq., the antiquarian friend to whom I have alluded, deserves a more especial mention. At his death or before his papers were scattered or destroyed, a biography of him could have been made interesting, as his mind was one of superior cultivation, and his correspondence with representative men covered a long period. For some reason he was careful not to tell his age. I had known him refuse to give it to a gentleman taking the census, but a year or two later he met two old gentlemen in my presence, when the subject of their ages came up. They had told theirs, when one of them asked him his age. He replied-" I was born the first year of the Revolution." Then said I, you was born in 1773. " So," said he, "I mean the year in which Independence was proclaimed, which was in 1776." I mention this because at his death his age was published as two years younger than this account made him. He was born at Keene, N. H., October 6, 1776. He was a son of Dr. Gideon Tiffany, and was one of ten children, having two brothers and three sisters older than himself, and tour sisters younger. Dr. Tiffany removed with his family to Hanover, the seat of Dartmouth College about the year 1781, mainly to increase the advantages of his children in obtaining an education ; and I have heard my friend say that at his father's house, where often assembled, some of the ablest men of New England, to whose conversation on historical and scientific subjects he was a frequent and willing listener. Oliver and George, the older sons of Dr. Tiffany, graduated at Dartmouth in 1786. The former became a physician, and finally settled in Upper Canada, where he died about the year 1840. George chose the legal profession and was one of the first two attorneys that settled in Schoharie county on its organization in 1795, the other being Jacob Gebhard,) where he soon went Into a large and lucrative business. He subsequently removed to Ancaster, Canada West where he died In 1842, at the age of 76 years. Early In life and possibly before they had chosen their professions, the Tiffany brothers, Oliver and George, taught a classic school In Albany, the first one sai --- ?? their brother, ever established in that city.
The subject of this notice had from early childhood a thirst for knowledge and a love of books. Here is an extract from a memorandum made by himself: "As soon as I began to articulate distinctly, I was sent to school, and was chiefly prepared for college at Moore's Academy, attached to Dartmouth College. In my earliest infancy I formed a strong passion for study, and when yet a lodger in trundle-bed, my book was always placed under my pillow, and was the first thing in my hands at early dawn before rising. My Instructors were partial to my inclinations, and withheld no instruction or aid to my acquisition of knowledge." On examination he was found prepared to enter college at the age of about eleven years, and although kept back a, year or two, lie assured the writer that he still entered younger than Its rules required. I learned from the faculty or Dartmouth college, that he graduated in 1793, and if there four years, he must have entered college at the age of thirteen, and been seventeen on graduating with the degree of A. M. He claimed to have been the youngest graduate that ever came from the walls of old Dartmouth.
Alter he left college I am unable to follow him through his minority, but on reaching manhood, determining to read law with one of the most distinguished members of the American Bar, he went to New York and sought an interview with Aaron Burr. He received him very courteously but not caring then to take a student, he sent him to Alexander Hamilton, Egbert Benson and Brockholst Livingston, whom he considered his peers and said, " Tell them I sent you to them, but If they decline to receive you come back to me " He returned to Burr and became his student. This was at the zenith of the legal renown of those distinguished rivals, Hamilton and Burr, who were then considered personal friends, no matter how widely they may have differed in their movements upon political chess-boards. Mr.T. said they were nearly of a size, as he had repeatedly seen them arm in arm, were of small stature and more alike then in many respects, than a sympathizing world considered them after 1804
Mr. Tiffany, from the office of Col. Burr, and the influence of his beautiful daughter Theodocia-who, to say the least, he much admired, if be did not fulfill toward her the eleventh commandment- went into the law office of his brother George at Schoharie. Of the latter I may observe that he ran for Congress in the year 18?0, (Third digit of date is blurred. ajb) but was defeated by Killlan K. Van Renaselaer of Albany. On the completion of his legal studies, our hero established himself in his profession at a little hamlet called " The Patent," In Cobelsklll. This place became known subsequently as Lawyersville, so called after Gen. Thomas Lawyer, who had married Sally, a sister of the Tiffany brothers in 1805, and located there In 1809 as the successor of I. H. Tiffany. It might well have been so called at a still later period, from the circumstance that three of the most noted lawyers of the county resided there, viz.: Thomas Lawyer, Jedediah Miller, and Thomas Smith. Joseph H. Ramsey, to whose indomitable energy while a State Senator the Susquehanna Railroad is indebted for its existence, was a law student of Mr. Miller. Among the pioneer settlers of this locality was Capt. James Dana, of Bunker Hill notoriety, who emigrated from Ashford, Connecticut. He was the first man to hold the office of Brigadier-General of militia in Schoharie county, obtaining the office through the instrumentality of I. H. Tiffany, Esq., who had learned his war record, as the latter assured the writer-he being Inspector of the brigade. Near to Dana located John Redington, who was a private in Capt. Dana's company of Connecticut troops. He was given the command of a company of cavalry in Schoharie county for his patriotic services in the revolution.
After some years of successful labor at Lawyersville, Mr. Tiffany removed to Esperance, in the same county, and where he finished his legal practice. In the year 1818 he was a candidate for Congress, but was defeated by Harmanus Peek Had he been an office seeker in the true acceptation of the term, he might perhaps have risen to that distinction for which his mental abilities so well fitted him. He once said to the writer that, when a young man, he would hardly have exchanged future prospects with Martin Van Buren and some others, who were afterwards promoted to the highest honors; but, in his day, if office did not seek the subject, New England modesty would have blushed at the thought of asking for it: merit then usually stood waiting to be placed in the pool of preferment. He was, however, for several years a member of the Common Pleas bench of Schoharie county; but it was a nominal position of which he was not proud, and he much preferred to be called Esquire to Judge. Some years before his death he went to reside at Fultonvllle, Montgomery county, where the writer intimately knew him. He was never married, and, at the period of our acquaintance, he was keeping " bachelor's hall." He owned a small farm on the sand Flats, two miles distant, where he kept a flock of sheep, which usually had his daily attention. Indeed, he had a penchant earlier in life for the sheep-fold, and speculations in blooded sheep cost him not a little of his professional earnings.
Although a bachelor, Mr. Tiffany's life, like that of the multitude, would be incomplete without a woman in it, or an episode of love. I suspect that had his social position warranted, he would have sued for the hand of the very accomplished Theodocia Burr, whose profile likeness he treasured to the hour of his death. He promised the writer this keepsake, but after his decease his valuable papers were removed to Cobelskill and there scattered and wasted, and this rare little picture was lost or destroyed. I come now to speak of a matter at which, from knowing his high sense of honor in all business transactions, I am surprised. In his younger days he courted Miss Gertrude, a daughter of Johannes I. Lawyer, of Schoharie, a family most respectably connected. What it was I cannot say, but some difficulty arose which prevented their nuptials, and she incontinently became the mother of a bright little boy. He was named John I. Tiffany, and was cared for and educated by his father. I remember meeting him in his early manhood, of which he was a fine specimen, and gifted with quick perception and an eye of remarkable brightness. His education was completed at New York as a miniature painter, a short time after which he was taken sick and died at Schoharie. He was buried In the Lutheran cemetery, and his grave is marked with a head stone, which says he died in 1831, aged 21 years. Miss Gertrude Lawyer became the wife of Wm. A. Fletcher, a Schoharie county attorney, who removed to Michigan, where lie became a judge, and where he died without issue, leaving his widow-since deceased-worth a handsome property.
I. H. Tiffany was a good student not only in the ancient languages, but he spoke the German and French fluently. He was gifted with remarkably fine conversational powers, with a memory stored with a fund of useful historic maxims and anecdotal pleasantry, which made him a welcome guest at the tables of several good Fultonville families. He often talked of writing upon some theme, for which labor he seemed well fitted, yet procrastination prevented his doing so. He did, however, prepare a chart, which was thus noticed by Solomon Southwick, at the opening of the Apprentices' Library at Albany, January 1, 1821. On the study of the Federal Constitution, he says of a political chart of the United States, exhibiting in one view on tables divided into columns, the simple elements and organization of Republican Constitutions and Governments: "In this branch of your studies you will find an invaluable auxiliary in the charts of the Federal and State Constitutions, by Isaac H. Tiffany, in which that gentleman has brought into a concise and striking, comparative view, all the important features of those different Constitutions." A copy of this chart is preserved by John Gebhard, Jr., Esq., of Schoharie.
He not only had a fine ear for music, of which he was fond, but was a lover of the graver sciences, especially that of astronomy; and often might he have been seen on a star-light evening gazing at the heavens, and wondering if he would ever know any more of Aries, Taurus, Ursa Major, Leo or Capricorn, which he delighted to discourse upon Any new discovery in art or science was sure to awaken pleasurable emotions in his breast, and afford him new themes for discussion. He took delight in visiting schools and in witnessing the proficiency of She pupils, to whom he was constantly giving good advice, not only about their school studies, but against the formation of bad habits; and especially careful was he to warn the boys against the use of either tobacco or alcohol. He was very punctilious, and seldom failed to fulfill any and every engagement at its maturity. During the latter part of his life, from choice, for years he occupied rooms alone, and boarded himself, he died at Fultonvllle, Montgomery county, February 23, l859, and was buried in the new cemetery at Cobelsklll, N. Y.
There is no allusion made to a castle in this account of a primitive town. The term " castle," in English parlance, when applied to an Indian town, means one with some preparation for defense not enjoyed by their smaller hamlets ; and, doubtless, they were more numerous, and more depended upon, after the whites discovered the country, bringing to the natives knives, axes, hatchets, saws and other implements of iron to aid them in the construction of those castles. The first mention made in history of castles, is in Numbers 31: 10, in the Bible, where it is recorded that Moses sent a thousand men from each of the twelve tribes of Israel to war against the kings of Midian, whom they utterly routed and slew. "And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire."
But my task is now more especially to follow the pioneer settlers of the colony of New York into homes among the Indian possessors of the lands they went into the wilderness to subdue ; and, as true policy indicated, for some consideration they usually purchased of the natives a title to the soil, who still traversed their old hunting grounds in the forests surrounding their white neighbors. For a century those settlements were denominated Western New York, and continued to be so called down to the close of the American Revolution. They were situated near the geographical centre of the colony, and for a long period were embraced in Albany county, until the organization of Tryon county in 1772, which then contained nearly all the territory in the State northward and westward of Schenectada to the Canadian boundaries.
The border territory under consideration was, at that period, mainly embraced in the present counties of Montgomery, Herkimer, Schoharie, Fulton, Otsego, Delaware and Saratoga, several of them having then but a small white population. Oneida county must also be included, if for no other reason than that of having been the thoroughfare or water communication by the Mohawk river from Schenectada to the present site of Rome, which stands at the head of boat navigation as it existed when the pioneer white settlers of the valley, as also the business men of Albany and New York, were courting the friendship and securing the fur trade of the Iroquois ; and the colonial authorities sought their favor and co-operation in the construction of early fortifications against the Canadian French. The Mohawks were nearly all indwellers of the present counties of Montgomery and Herkimer, but Rome stands upon the territory of the Oneidas ; and as the other confederacies of the six nations- Tuscaroras, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas-were still to the westward, from the time of its erection, Fort Stanwix seems often to have been a favorite place for the assembling of the representatives of the great Indian confederacy and the British agencies on momentous occasions, except when Sir Wm. Johnson had summoned them to Albany, or to his own home at Fort Johnson, near the lower Mohawk Castle.
Tryon county, to which I have alluded, was so named in honor of William Tryon, the last colonial Governor of New York. Remaining in the British interest, he had to vacate the gubernatorial chair, which he did October 19, 1775, seeking refuge at first on board of the Halifax packet, and subsequently on board of the ship Duchess* of Gordon, at New York city-the State's affairs being managed for the next two years by a PROVINCIAL CONGRESS, or its adjunct COMMITTEE OF SAFETY. In 1777 a State Government was organized, and George Clinton, a patriotic statesman, was the first Governor chosen by the suffrages of the people. Gov. Tryon, during the war, by his servility to the English crown, rendered himself so obnoxious to the Whig's that, in 1784, the name of Tryon county was changed to that of Gen. Montgomery, who fell, crowned with imperishable fame, at Quebec, December 31, 1775. From this anticipation of events let us return to the condition of the Mohawk valley, when the tide of immigration slowly entered it.
* Duchess county is said to have derived its name from a lady, and not because of its Dutch inhabitants; hence, I shall adopt this orthography.
The Great Indian Confederacy of New York.-I regret in common with my countrymen that no competent writer has yet assumed to present to the American reader, a full and authentic history of the Aborigines of the United States, and more especially those of the State of New York. The task would be one of no little labor since the material is so widely scattered ; but its accomplishment which industry could circumvent, would call forth the gratitude of the nation : and since it has not been done, that the reader may the better understand my own imposed task, I shall here give some account of the Indian occupancy of Central New York, when our European ancestry first began to subdue its forests. Within it dwelt the FIVE NATIONS, as called by the English ; the IROQUOIS as named by the French ; but as they called themselves, On-gue-hon-we-men-surpassing-all-others ; * or, as said by a writer nearly an hundred years later, calling themselves Ag-a-nu-schi-o-ni-united people, + They had been known and felt to be a power among their own race, long before Europeans came among them, and inured from infancy to fasting and strain upon their physical natures, they were capable of great endurance ; and often in their hunting excursions or war-expeditions, their exploits and wonderful celerity seemed almost incredible.
They were ever noted as a warlike people, and their known bravery and invincible prowess made their strong arm felt and respected over a large area of territory, now embraced in several States and the Canadas. Their women did the drudgery and so far as it was done, cultivated their maize and beans ; while the men made their war-implements, such as bows and arrows, spears, etc., as also their bark canoes : but they had little ambition to gratify in either the construction of their rude huts-which were principally of bark ; or in the display of their wardrobes, for the latter consisted almost entirely of the skins of wild animals secured in the chase, which they
* Colden's History of the Five Nations of Canada. Why he says of Canada does not appear, but probably because the French early claimed jurisdiction over the territory of Western New York. The second edition of this work published at London in 1750, is the one before me, and is no doubt the most authentic early history of this remarkable people, who, as he said, considered themselves superior by nature to all the rest of mankind. It Is a pity Mr. Colden did not then see the importance of designating localities, and of recording the names of early white adventurers among the Indians, more especially among the Mohawks.
+ Spafford's Gazetteer.
dressed and used for clothing and bedding in the winter, while the summer months often saw them in puris natuuralibus, until the whites came to barter blankets and cloths for their peltries ; which in a few years wrought quite a change in the general appearance of a clan or tribe. The chiefs, however, for distinguished prowess, were decorated beyond their fellows with ornaments of wampum, shells, rings, beads, etc.
Fire-arms.-Soon after the French located in Canada, to render the Indians in their alliance a more formidable adversary for the Iroquois, they placed fire-arms in their hands, a policy which ere long was also adopted by the Dutch colonists of New Netherland toward their allies, a policy that was continued after the colony came under English rule.
The question is often asked why the primitive inhabitants of New York were so uniformly erect, so perfectly formed and so strong in their manhood and womanhood ? for deformity was seldom ever found among them. It is a well established historical fact that, when the white settlers first came among them, no deformed, idiotic or unsound children, such as blind, deaf, or dumb, as believed, were to be seen ; and if any such chanced to appear, as they of course did from time to time-for nature has ever produced its erratic idiosyncrasies-their life was but a " fleeting show," for the counsels of their sages at once doomed them to die : nor were they the only ones stricken down by the tomahawk of friends, for occasionally their aged, when infirm and feeble, shared (from choice) a similar fate. Inured to fatigue and hardship from the cradle to the grave, they were, however, capable of great endurance and often lived to a great age self-supporting ; that is, not becoming a helpless drag upon their fellows. And while they lived the young were ever taught to respect and honor them.
Customs of the Five Nations when Europeans first came among them.--I shall here give some of the Indian customs prevalent at an early day, derived principally from Colden's History as being the most reliable testimony of as early a date, the first part of which was written prior to 1724.*
* Cadwallader Colden, a son of Rev Alexander Colden, was born at Dunse, Scotland, February 17, 1688. He graduated at the University of Edinburgh in 1705, and devoted himself to medicine and mathematics. He emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1708, returned to England in 1715, again settled in Pennsylvania in 1718, and in 1718 he came to New York at the request of Gov. Hunter. In 1719 he was appointed first surveyor general of the colony and master In chancery. In 1720 he became one of the King's council under Gov. Burnet; and while In this position he went several times into the country of the six nations on executive business. He administered the government in 1760, and in 1761 he was appointed Its Lieutenant-Governor, which station he occupied during the remainder of his life. In the stormy period just preceding the Revolution, in the absence of the Governor, he was in charge of the colonial affairs, and for his defense of the stamp act papers the populace burnt him in effigy, and destroyed his carriage in his sight. On the return of Gov. Tryon in 1775, Colden returned to his residence on Long Island, where he died September 28, 1778, In the eighty-ninth year of his age. For a long period he was a conspicuous man In the colony, was an intimate friend of Sir William Johnson, and familiar with matters in the Mohawk valley. He was an apt student in science and literature. At the age of 27 he published a work on Animal Secretions, and at the age of 39 he first published his History of the five nations. On the appearance of the Linnaean system of botany, he printed a description of 300 or 400 American plants, and his Observations on Smith's History of New York," added, much to his literary reputation. (See Drake's Biographical Dictionary.)
The confederacy of the five nations was formed so long before the " Christians "-as the whites were denominated-came among them, that they knew nothing of its beginning.
Insignia.-Each of the nations was divided into three families, distinguished by the ensigns of the tortoise, the bear and the wolf, which they traced upon all deeds and contracts. I suppose they had used them in their own covenants long before, painting them on the skins of animals, bark, trees, etc. Indian Totems.-The totems here named are given by Golden, and were in general vise among the Mohawks in his day ; but other devices are found on their contracts, and another early writer says : " The ensigns of the five nations were the bear, otter, wolf, tortoise and eagle," all of which I have seen on different land titles. These figures, he said, were " pricked and painted on several parts of their bodies," to indicate the nations or tribes to which they belonged.*
Their sachems or chiefs were usually poor, having no salary or pay for their services, which were freely rendered for the honor of position conferred by the people.
All history gives the Mohawk nation the reputation of standing at the head of the confederacy in bravery, sagacity and influence
*Trumbull's History, p. 97, published at Norwich, Conn., 1811.
although less in numbers than were several of the other nations. Their very name became a terror to all the New England Indians ; and the appearance of only a few of the former was necessary to put many of the latter to flight, compelling them thereafter to pay tribute in " wampum." The tributes paid by one Indian nation to another were usually collected annually by two old representatives of their tribe, who went poorly clad in dirty shirts and old blankets.
" Wampum," said Colden, "is the current money among the Indians. It is of two sorts, white and purple. The white is worked out of the inside of the great conchs (shells) into the form of a bead, and perforated, to string on leather. The purple is worked out of the inside of muscle shells. They are wove as broad as one's hand, and about two feet long : these they call belts, which they give and receive at their treaties and seals of friendship : for lesser matters a single string is given. Every bead is of a known value, and a belt of a less number is made equal to one of a greater, by so many as is wanting fastened to the belt by a string." Those belts, says the historian Smith, were four inches wide and thirty inches long.
Says a writer, quoted by Noah Webster,*"wampum consisted of cylindrical pieces of the shells of testaceous fishes, a quarter of an inch long, and in diameter less than a pipe-stem, drilled lengthwise so as to be strung upon a thread. The beads of a white color-rated at half the value of the black or violet -passed each as the equivalent of a farthing in transactions between the natives and the planters." They were often much larger than here described. In their use upon belts the latter were made of the skins of animals, until the whites introduced cloths among the natives. Many of the shell beads taken from Indian graves once constituted, a part of their wealth in wampum.
Small shells were formerly the medium of exchange in almost all the uncivilized and semi-barbarous nations of the world. In Africa and the East Indies it was for centuries their money medium of commerce. Indeed, it is only 40 or 50 years since the money-cowry of Siam, a small univalve shell, began to give place in Bankok to silver coins, much resembling bullets in shape.
General character of the Five Nations.-In their love of Liberty, their bravery in battle and their endurance in suffering they equalled the most renowned Romans. Here is also the testimony of an early French writer,* to the general character of this people. " When we speak of the five nations in France [the French then claimed the territory those nations occupied], they are thought by a common mistake, to be mere barbarians, always thirsting after human blood ; but their true character is very different. They are indeed the finest and most formidable people in North America, and at the same time, are as politic and judicious, as can well be conceived ; and this appears from the management of all the affairs which they transact, not only with the French and English, but likewise with almost all the Indian nations of this continent."
The Cruelty, not only of the five nations, but of all Indians to unresisting women and children, and to their prisoners, was ever held in abhorrence by the civilized world. But they learned those barbarous customs from their ancestors of past ages, who may possibly from tradition have had them handed down from Bible record. In the 31st chap. of Numbers, it is stated that Moses sent Phineas with 12,000 Israelites to war against Midian, and that when he came back and reported all the men slain, but that he had spared the women and the little ones, Moses was wroth and at once commanded all the male children with their mothers to be slain. Again in the 2d chap. of Deuteronomy, is related an account of the children of Israel waring with Sihon king of Heshbon-whose spirit God hardened and whose heart he had made obstinate that he might deliver him over to his enemies-which roads thus ; "And we took all the cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, the women and the little ones of every city, we left none to remain." We call the Indians savages for practicing such cruelties in their day, as God's chosen people under the gifted Moses indulged ; and yet we are required to believe their action met with Divine sanction. To wage such a war of extermination now, one would suppose the spirit which inculcated it, had emanated from a source of evil.
* De la Poterie.
Daring Enterprises were started by a few young men who got up a feast of dog's meat, and all partakers of it were considered as enlisted for the undertaking. In their WAR DANCE their faces are frightfully painted as when they go to war, and on such occasions they work their spirits into a high state of excitement.
A Scene at Fort Hunter, or Lower Mohawk Castle.-" An officer of the regular troops told me," says Colden," that while he was commandant at Fort Hunter [probably Capt. Scott], the Mohawks on one of these occasions [the departure of a war party] told him, that they expected the usual military honors as they passed the garrison. Accordingly he drew out his troops, who presented their pieces as the Indians passed, and the drum beat a march ; and with less respect the officer said they would have been dissatisfied. The Indians passed in a single row, one after the other with great gravity and profound silence ; and every one of them as he passed the officer, took his gun from his shoulder, and fired into the ground near the officer's foot: they marched in this manner three or four miles from their castle. The women on these occasions always follow them with their old clothes, and by them they send back their finery in which they marched from the castle. But before leaving the place where they exchange their clothes, they always peel a large piece of the bark from some great tree, commonly an oak as most lasting ; upon the smooth wood with red paint, they draw one or more canoes going from home, with the number of men in them paddling, which go upon the expedition ; and some animal as a deer or fox, an emblem against which the enterprise is designed, is painted at the head of the canoes ; for they always travel in canoes along the rivers which lead to the country, against which the expedition is designed so far as they can.
" After the expedition is over, they stop at the same place in their return, and send to their castle, to inform their friends of their arrival; that they may be prepared to give them a solemn reception, suited to the success they have had. In the mean time they represent on the same or some tree near it, the event of the enterprise, and now the canoes are painted with their heads turned toward the castle : the number of the enemy killed is represented by scalps painted in black, and the number of prisoners by as many withes (in their painting not unlike pot-hooks) with -which they usually pinion their captives. These trees are the annals or rather trophies of the live nations. I have seen many of them, and by them and by them and their war-songs they preserve the history of their achievements. The solemn reception of these warriors and the acclamations of applause which they receive on their return, cannot but have on the hearers the same effect in raising an emulation for glory, that a triumph had on the old Romans."
The reader is not to suppose because they represented their departure by the figure of canoes on trees, that they only did it when they could proceed by water; for a communication with their foes by water was a convenience by some of the tribes seldom enjoyed. They moved in every direction from their castles on war and other expeditions, as believed, with similar memorials of such events.
The Painted Rock.-Within the remembrance, possibly, of some persons still living, there was a large rock on the north shore of the Mohawk, near Amsterdam, to be seen at low water-mark, that contained Indian memorials, such as the figures of men and animals, and supposed by some to have been traced with red chalk, although they may have been in vermilion, which the whites bartered with the natives for peltry.
The Warrior Tree.-Beside the path leading from Fort Hunter to Schoharie, a few miles from the former place, once stood a large white-oak tree, known and designated as the Warrior True, from the fact that a canoe was painted upon it with Indian warriors in it. The painting was a good representation of the scene intended. It is not known when this tree was first decorated, or for what specific purpose ; but for several generations it was kept in vivid colors by frequent repairing, and until the Indians, whose fostered land-mark it was, left the country. About the close of the Revolution it was an object of great curiosity to the young, says one who often saw it.* With numerous other evidences of the ingenuity and artistic skill of the red man-the warrior tree, which stood in the southeast part of the present town of Glen-has long since passed away. This tree, at an early day, became a boundary between Corry's
* The late Peter Putman of Cadaughrita.
and Shuckberg's Patents,* that of James Delancey and others running along side of it. This warrior tree is mentioned in an early land conveyance which the writer has seen.
A Painted Tree.-In 1696 the Canadian French, in great force, invaded the territories of the Onondagas, and Golden says that, in passing the Onondaga river, + they found a tree oh which the Indians had, in their manner, painted the French army, by the side of which they had laid two bundles of cut rushes. This signified a defiance after the Indian manner, intended to tell the invaders that 1,434 warriors would meet them-a number intimated by the rushes.-Golden.
Indian Treatment of Prisoners.-Says Colden : "After their prisoners are secured, they never offer them the least mal-treatment, but on the contrary will rather starve themselves than suffer them to want; and I have been always assured that there is not one instance of their offering the least violence to the chastity of any woman that was their captive. But notwithstanding this, the poor prisoners afterwards undergo severe punishments before they receive the last doom of life or death."
The Gantlet.-"The warriors think it for their glory to lead them through all the villages of the Nations subject to them which lie near the road, and these to show their affection to the five nations and their abhorrence of their enemies, draw up in two lines through which the poor prisoners, stark naked, must run the gantlet; and on this occasion it is always observed the women are much more cruel than the men. The prisoners meet with the same sad reception when they reach their journey's end : and after this they are presented to those that have lost any relation in that or any former enterprise. If the captives be accepted, there is an end of their sorrow from that moment; they are dressed as fine as they can make them, and they are absolutely free (except to return to their own country), and
* William Corry, and 12 others, took their patent November 19,1737 for 25,400 acres of land, mostly in the present town of Charleston. Richard Shuckbergh is said to have got his title from James Delancy, Cadwallader and Archibald Colden, and Archibald Kennedy, April 24, 1754. This was, no doubt, the same 10,000 acres, or the greater part of it, patented November 12,1737, to James Delancey, John Lindesay, Paschal Nelson and Jacob Glen. It was on both sides of Arle's hill,in the present town of Glen. It bounded Corry'a patent northerly and easterly.
+ Although there is a stream in that neighborhood called the Onondaga creek, yet I have little doubt this marked tree was on the shore of Oswego river.
enjoy all the privileges the person had, in whose place they are accepted ; but if otherwise, they die in torments, to satiate the revenge of those that refuse them." Prisoners were cruelly and sometimes fatally injured in the gantlet-ordeal.
The adopted.-If a young man or a boy is received into an Indian family in the place of a husband killed, all the children of the deceased call the adopted father ; so that one may sometimes hear a man of thirty say that a boy of fifteen or twenty is his father.
The castles of the Indians, " are generally a square surrounded with palisades, without bastions or out-works : " and he might have added they were sufficiently large usually for the erection of huts, for the indwellers of the locality.
Implements of war.-Before the arrival of Europeans, those consisted of bows and arrows, the latter with points or heads wrought from flint and other hard stone, stone hatchets, spears, with stone heads, and war clubs : the latter some two feet long made from heavy wood. On the handle of the latter after they procured knives, they kept a tally of the scalps they had taken. They also had rude flint knives to aid in skinning game, making bark canoes, and scalping foes. The bones of animals also subserved many of their wants. At the time of Colden's writing, or in the early part of the last century, they consisted in muskets, hatchets, and long sharp pointed knives. Bows and arrows were still used by boys for killing fowls and small animals ; and I may add that war clubs were fastened to many an Indian's neck or belt in the Revolution, ready for a hand-to-hand tight.
An Indian's voice by practice, could be heard in articulate sounds and words at a great distance, and his shrill terrific yell, boded terror to a far-off foe.
What's in a name.-Indian names generally had a meaning whether they were of persons or objects in nature. Some of the latter have very properly attached to their own localities, with a remembered signification ; while the many have fallen into the vortex of oblivion-if not the name certainly its import. Where they can still be reclaimed they should by all means be sacredly bestowed upon their original Indians, by a council of chiefs not unfrequently gave their white friends the name of some departed warrior, and occasionally individuals thus bestowed their own, and were given or assumed another. When Colden first visited the Mohawks, a noted sachem of that nation gave him his own name Cay-en-de-rou-gue, the signification of which he failed to mention. The bestowal of the name gave the right to its new owner, to claim all the benefits resulting from the acts of valor of its former possessor of whatever nature they might be in any, in all the six nations, as called after 1712. He thought but little of the matter at the time, supposing it possibly an artifice to get rum, but ten or twelve years later when there again on business, he learned that the name had for him an importance, the sachem who bestowed it having chosen another, and he having been adopted into the tribe of the Bear, and as a compliment called by its warriors Brother Bear.
Their Notions of Liberty were such that they never made slaves of their prisoners.
Their hospitality was unbounded. Says Colden: " The hospitality of these Indians is no less remarkable than their other virtues : as soon as any stranger comes they are sure to offer him victuals. If there be several in company, and come from afar, one of their best houses is cleaned and given up for their entertainment. Their complaisance on these occasions goes even further than Christian civility allows of, as they have no other rule for it than their furnishing their guests with everything they think will be agreeable to him : for this reason some of their prettiest girls are always ordered to wash themselves and dress in their best apparel, in order to be presented to the stranger for his choice ; and the young lady who has the honor to be preferred on these occasions, performs all the duties of a fond wife during the stranger's stay. But this last piece of hospitality is now rather laid aside by the old Mohawks, or at least they never offer it to a Christian." This statement is corroborated by the historian, Henry Trumball.
" This nation has now laid aside many of its ancient customs as have also other nations with whom we are best acquainted, and have adopted many of ours ; so that it is not easy now to distinguish their original and genuine manners from those they have lately acquired : and for this reason they now seldom offer victuals to persons of any distinction, because they know that their food and cookery is not agreeable to our delicate palates.
"Their men value themselves in having all kind of food in equal esteem. A Mohawk sachem told me with a pride, that a man eats everything without distinction, bears, cats, dogs, snakes, frogs, etc., intimating that it is womanish to have any delicacy in the choice of food." They were also ready to share their larder with their less fortunate neighbors in hunting and fishing.
Further evidences of Indian hospitality are found in the following mention. When last among the Mohawks-no date-Colden learned that an Englishman who had run away from his master in New York, had found an asylum among them ; and told them they did injustice to his owner by not sending him back. No, said they, we never serve a man so who puts himself under our protection ; and instead of doing so we would pay the value of the servant to his master. Another instance was as follows: A man had escaped from the Albany jail where he was imprisoned for debt. The Mohawks received and protected him against the sheriff and his officers ; but paid the debt he was owing, and gave him land sufficient for a good farm, whereon he was living when that historian was there, The man's name and the locality of his lands are not mentioned.
If expected hospitality was not shown them, the Indians were sure to make it known. After the English succeeded the Dutch in the colony of New York, said a Mohawk sachem in a speech : "When the Dutch hold this colony long ago, we laid in their houses, but the English have always made us lie out of doors."
Polygamy; condition of the Women, etc.-Colden says polygamy was not usual among the six nations ; but this statement does not accord with that of most early writers. They certainly had the privilege of discarding one wife and taking another at their pleasure, so that the pedigree of most Indian families at the end of a few generations it would be difficult to trace. They seemed to abhor slavery, and, looking upon wedlock as akin to it, they kept themselves free from its conventionalities ; so that when either party became disgusted or dissatisfied, they separated as they had united, without formality or ignominy, unless scandal attached to one or the other of them. In case of divorce the children usually followed the mother. The women became mothers with almost the ease of brute animals, soon after which they attended their usual employments. They performed not only all the labor of the household and garden, but upon them was imposed the duty of gathering their firewood, and, in removing from place to place, the women were the burden bearers. The active men looked upon labor as degrading, and spent most of their time in hunting and fishing, except when on war-like expeditions. Old men were sometimes seen in numbers in council or in conversation, rehearsing old traditions and their ancestor's, or their own exploits ; while the young men were practicing athletic feats, shooting at a mark, throwing the hatchet, wrestling, etc ; the women and girls, meanwhile, performing the labor which makes the home of even an Indian one of comfort and cheer.
Memory, how strengthened.-The Indians had no written language and no stenographers, but had to rely solely upon memory to receive and answer speeches ; and whether in their own councils, or at treaties and conventions with their white neighbors, they adopted this method to aid memory. On such occasions the presiding sachem stood with a bundle of sticks, and when a speaker commenced he handed one to a sachem beside him to indicate that he must remember what was said until another stick was similarly disposed of ; and thus, at the close of every important saying, a talisman was given to the end of the speech. In their replies the same rule was adopted, so that they were enabled, by such prompting, very nearly to retain every important period in their own or antagonistic speeches.
Murder excited their cruel revenge, but was often expiated by giving presents to surviving relatives.
God as the Great Supreme.-They had no raidical word in their language to express, but they learned to hold the English word in great reverence. All writers agree that they believed in a future state, and that if they were brave in battle, and evinced fortitude in death, they would go to happy hunting grounds, where game was plenty and existence most enjoyable. To signify the Deity, the Indians used compound words, such as preserver, sustainer, or master of the universe. Trumbull says : " It does not appear that there is any Indian nation that has not some sense of a Deity, and a kind of superstitious religion." They believed in a good and an evil spirit, and to the latter they paid much devotion, beseeching him to do them no harm-entreating, at the same time, the good spirit to aid them against the machinations of the evil one.
Fortitude was a remarkable trait of character among these Indians, and, when doomed to death by their foes, they were accustomed to sing or chant their own exploits, or taunt their enemies with ignorance of the best modes of cruelty in the midst of excruciating tortures. The following incident related by Golden, will give the reader a practical illustration : Count Frontenac, Governor of Canada, with the Indians in his interest, invaded the territory of the Onondagas in 1696, and, from representations made of their numbers, the Onondagas burned their untenable works and retired. The old Governor, preceded by artillery, was carried there in a chair. A centenarian sachem chose this occasion to remain there and die, and he bore with surprising evenness of mind the tortures of his foes. He charged them to remember well his death, when his own countrymen should terribly revenge the act; upon which he was stabbed several times with a knife. He thanked his tormentor, and said : " You had better make me die by fire, that the dogs of Frenchmen may learn to suffer like men. You Indians, their allies, you dogs of dogs, think of me when you shall be in the like state." Thus this old warrior evinced greatness of soul, and a due regard for the honor of his country in his latest breath. Many similar instances are recorded in history. He was the only Indian killed in this costly expedition to the French-costly, because the neglect of their own cultivated fields brought a famine upon them.
Theft was looked upon as very scandalous among the six nations.
Pronunciation of English words -with labials in them was difficult for an Indian ; hence, Peter he generally called Queder. He thought it strange that he must shut his mouth to speak.
The Burial of their dead was an event of no little importance. Colden says they buried in a sitting posture, and that many of them did so is a fact that is often demonstrated by disinterring their remains. They usually chose a dry and sandy knoll for sepulture, and dressed the corpse in finery if possessed by deceased, putting wampum and war implements into the grave and often a vessel containing food. They kept the grave free from weeds or grass for a time, and visited it with lamenations and mourning.
Tokens.-A hatchet with the Indians was an emblem of war ; a tree was a metaphor of peace ; a chain was the symbol of alliance, as was also a belt of wampum ; the calumet was the ratifier of peace, as it was also a flag of truce between contending parties.
The Calumet was a large smoking-pipe, the bowl of which was usually wrought from red sand-stone or from steatite, with a stem of reed or of some hollow wood. Sometimes it was wrought in the form of a hatchet, and adorned with feathers of several colors. They were often of nice workmanship, and were in use long before the whites came among them ; and how they could make and pierce them for a stem is a mystery even at this day, since they had no implements of iron. It is believed that each nation had one, only used on State and national occasions. A refusal to ratify a treaty through the calumet, was looked upon as a violation of the compact, or a refusal to ratify it. In some of the colonies they smoked tobacco, while in others they smoked kinnikinic, made of different vegetables.
The Covenant Chain.-At a treaty held in Albany in September, 1689, between delegates from New York, Massachusetts, New Plymouth and Connecticut, and the chiefs of the five nations, To-ha-ja-do-ris, a noted orator among the Mohawks, said in his speech : " The covenant chain [between them and the English] was no longer of iron, and subject to rust as formerly, but was now of pure silver, and included in it all the king's subjects from the Seneca country eastward, as far as any of the great king's subjects live, and southward from New England to Virginia." Here he gave a beaver skin in token of sincerity. Indeed, in his whole speech, at the end of each significant sentence he gave a beaver skin or a belt of wampum, agreeable to the Indian custom. The tree of amity was considered as planted where peace was concluded, and the speaker said : " Should the French shake the tree, we would feel it by the motion of its roots."
<-Indian diploma or treaty.
"By the Honorable Sir William Johnson, Bart., his Majesty's sole Agent and Superintendent of Indian affairs for the Northern Department of North America, Colonel of the Six United Nations, their Allies and Dependents, etc.
"Whereas, I have received repeated proofs of your attachment to his Britannic Majesty's Interests and Zeal for his service upon sundry occasions, more particularly ---- ; I do therefore give you this public Testimonial thereof, as a proof of his Majesty's Esteem and Approbation, Declaring you, the said ---, to be a ---- of your ---, and recommending it to all his Majesty's Subjects and faithful Indian Allies, to Treat and Consider you, upon nil occasions, agreeable to your character, Station and services.
under my hand and seal at Arms, at Johnson Hall the --- day of ---, 17-.
"By Command of Sir W. Johnson."
Many of the later evidences of friendship between the whites and the Indians were represented by a chain held in the hands of the parties, or displayed upon significant objects. Sir William Johnson, acting as the general agent of Great Britain for the New York confederacy near the time of its waning glory, gave at his treaties with the Indians a parchment diploma, of which the above was a copy. He was represented as handing to an Indian a seal or medal. On the parchment were also represented a calumet and a council fire.
A Silver Pipe.-October 28, 1807, I had a visit from Rev. Robert James Roberts, a young English missionary to the " Six Nation Indians," at Newport, Province of Ontario, Canada. He was accompanied by G. H. M. Johnson-On-wan-on-sy-shon - one of the principal Indian chiefs of that province, who claimed to obtain his name by descent from Sir William Johnson. His companion called him one of the most intelligent men of his race, and I was convinced he was well informed in the Mohawk dialect. He carried with him a pipe which had descended through several generations of sachems, and had become among them an evidence to its bearer of his dignified position. On a plate under its stem next the bowl, was engraved the history of its origin, reading upon the right side, from the mouth, "As a testimony of their sincere esteem ; " and, on its reverse, " To the Mohawk Indians, from the Nine Partners of the Tract near Schoharie, granted in 1769."
This pipe is of pure silver, and weighs four ounces avoirdupois. It is of goodly proportions, with a bowl two inches deep, from which the original stem measures 18 1/2 inches. An ornamental plate, perhaps an inch wide, extends 5 inches from the bowl, bearing the inscriptions above named. From this plate to within 4 inches of the end of the stem is a small silver chain. On the front of the bowl stand the figures of a white man and an Indian, holding a chain in their right hands, the latter having in his left hand a pipe from which he is smoking. This relic is sacredly treasured among the Indians, and is, no doubt, one of the most valuable mementos among them.
The Nine Partners Tract was situated, in 1820, in the north-east part of the town of Schoharie. It consisted of 8,000 acres, and was granted by patent, September 30, 1769, to Jacob Sternbergh, George Zimmer, Hendrick Weaver, Jacob Zimmer, John Jost Becker, William Zimmer, John Shaver, and Petrus Zimmer. Who became associated with them as the ninth partner in the purchase, does not appear in the list of patents published in 1822, of lands then subject to quit rents.
Paint.-The Indians always painted their faces, as also their arms and chests if bare, when going to war, to make themselves look the more intimidating to their enemies. They generally used vermilion in stripes.
Soldier, in their language, was expressed by a word which signified a fighter.
The seasons they distinguished as the time when strawberries or chestnuts blossom, or as the time of corn planting and when it is ripe.
A Remarkable Invasion of the Mohawk valley by the Canadians in 1666.-The Mohawks had, from time to time, carried successful enterprises into the very heart of the French settlements in Canada, so as to threaten the destruction of the colony, at a period long before the whites had ventured to seek homes among them ; and to aid them in retaliating those advantages with terrible effect, and if possible destroy the power of that nation ; a regiment of Carignan troops were ordered by the mother country to Canada: and in the winter of 1665-6, M. de Tracy, viceroy, and M. de Courselles, the governor with a body of 28 companies, nearly 600 Frenchmen and Indians-when the rivers and lakes were frozen over, with four feet of snow on the ground-marched from Quebec on the 29th of December, on this wonderful expedition.* Carrying their arms, a part of their provisions and necessaries were borne upon their backs, and the remainder was drawn upon light sledges by dogs. The journey was made upon snow shoes, and with no other shelter than the " blew canopye of the heavens," they had to dig holes in the snow to make their lodgings for the night; and so impeded was their journey of some 700 miles, that it was not until the 9th day of February, 1666,-at the end of six weeks-that they found themselves within a few miles of Schenectada, their guides having missed their way, as they evidently intended to strike the Mohawk castle, at Tribes Hill.+
* Holmes' Annals. +Brod. Papers, vol. 3.
There they had an encounter with a party of Mohawks, in which several were killed on both sides, the French having the worst of it; and but for being kindly received and nourished with food by Arent Van Corlaer, a Dutch pioneer settler and his neighbors of the " small village called Schonectade, lying within the woods beyond Fort Albany," it is doubtful if many of the invaders would again have reached Canada. A messenger was hastened to Albany to make known their proximity, and the next day three of her principal citizens called on Mons. de Courselles, to enquire why he brought such an armed body into his British Majesty's dominions, without first making known his intentions. He replied that he came to seek and to destroy his enemies, the Mohawks, but designed no harm to his Majesty's subjects. He desired supplies for his men for which he would pay the money, and protection and care for his wounded men, to which the Albanians at once agreed ; making a small present to him in wine and provisions. The wounded, seven in number, being carefully cared for at Schenectada, were sent on to Albany, and the enemy were furnished a goodly supply of bread and peas. This invasion was soon after the colony had passed from the Dutch to the English rule ; which change the Frenchmen did not relish, observing that "The English were grasping at all America." He enquired about the garrison at Albany, and learned that it was a small fort with 4 bastions, with 9 pieces of ordinance, and was manned by 60 English soldiers, under the command of Capt. Baker, who had sent for 20 more men at the English garrison at " Sopes "-Kingston.
The Mohawks, who chanced to be near Schenectada on the arrival of the French, at once hastened up the valley to " set their house in order," and arouse their warriors ; and on the third day after his arrival M. de Courselles, under the pretence of going to attack the enemy in their homes, marched his army a little distance in that direction, and then suddenly wheeled off to the right, taking the back track for Canada. Whether sudden fear, or the apprehended danger of the breaking up of winter caused this retrogade movement is unknown. Although this enterprise was an abortive one, yet at the time it was considered the boldest one of any age. Learning that their foes had fled, the Mohawk braves pressed them as far as the lake-probably Lake George-but they got off without serious loss: the pursuers made but three prisoners, one of whom was killed at his own request because unable to keep up with the party ; and besides obtaining his scalp, they got those of five others who had perished by the way ; the custom of scalping a fallen foe being one among the sons of the forest from time immemorial.* Gov. Dongan alluding to this invasion in 1087, says it was made at a time when :he New York Indians were gone on the expedition to Cape Florida, that they burnt one Mohawk castle where there were none but old men, women and children-says they were pursued to Sconectade, 20 miles from Albany, where, had they not been succored by Van Corlaer, a Dutchman, they would all have been cut off.+
Corlaer's Lake.-Says Colden : Gov. M. de Courselles felt so grateful to Van Corlaer for his timely hospitality on the occasion mentioned above, that he invited him to come to Canada, that he might there suitably reward him : that on his way thither for that object, Van Corlaer was upset in his boat and drowned in Lake Champlain ; from which circumstance for the next century, this sheet of water was called Corlaer's Like. Indeed, so did the Canadians revere his memory, that for generations after, they designated the town of Schenectada by his name, as also several of the early governors of New York : which application of name the five nations also adopted, railing the Mohawk, Corlaer's river.
Fire Arms wrought wonderful changes in the -prospects and condition of the five nations. Fear of them caused the confederacy at an early period, to make a treaty with the governor of Canada ; and when they became supplied with them by the English, they carried their conquests over a great part of North America; embracing, says Colden, an area of 1200 miles in length by 600 in breadth.
Individual Exploits.- Cunning and shrewdness were known characteristics of the red man, enabling him by unlooked for stratagem to circumvent his enemies-such as borrowing the skin of an animal in which to play his role, etc. ; and Colden mentions one of Canada, named Pis-ka-ret, who upon snow-shoes turned backward so as to look as if going the other way, secured many scalps.
* Brod. Papers, vol. 3. + Doc. His. 1, 156.
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