Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883

Volume I, Page 311

An Indian Exhibition in London; or, how an Adventurer was Snubbed. Under date of March 16, 1765, the Lords of Trade wrote to Lieut.-Gov. Colden that a Jew, named Myers, had brought from New York, and was exhibiting at a tavern in London, two Mohawk Indians, Herman and Joseph. The "scandalous proceeding" having been reported to his Majesty, he ordered them sent back to New York at the public expense, which was done, in the ship Friendship, Captain Frost, with a statement of facts attending the ease. They also enclosed a letter to Colden for Sir William Johnson, recapitulating the facts, and requesting him to see that the Indians were returned to their homes in the Mohawk Valley, which they do doubt reached in due time. The letter to Sir William made the speculator's name Mejors instead of Myers. It seems English taste at that period frowned down such proceedings. (Brod. Papers, vol. 7 pp. 708, 709.) Note from typist: Apparently there were several men by the name of Hendrick, and this caused much confusion, and too, Simms might have been inaccurate about the date of 1765.See the following.

The picture from which Hendrick's likeness was engraved, I obtained in the spring of 1845, from John S. Walsh, Esq., of Albany who gave the following tradition of it. Hendrick went to England, as believed, about the year 1745, and while there visited the King, who was so pleased with him that the presented him a richly embroidered court dress, in which, at his Majesty's request, he sat for his portrait. That was engraved, and the picture from which this cut was made was one of those engravings colored to life. The reading under the picture appeared in the original, but unfortunately without any date. In the Revolution this engraving, which had previously belonged to Sir William Johnson, was sold among the confiscated property of Sir John Johnson, went into the Cuyler family, and subsequently into the Walsh family of Albany.

<- Hendrick, Great Chief of the Mohawk Nation.
"The Brave old Hendrick, the great SACHEM or Chief of the Mohawk Indians, one of the Six Nations now in alliance with and subject to the King of Great Britain."

Hendrick -- Soi-en-ga-rah-ta-- the most celebrated Indian of the Six Nations in his time, became known in middle life as "King Hendrick." He was born about the year 1677. In 1710, during the reign of Queen Anne, he was one of four or five Indian chiefs who accompanied Col. Schuyler to England, where they attracted much notice. This visit gave him an idea of the power and wealth of Great Britain, which he could not otherwise have obtained. When Sir William Johnson became Indian agent for the British crown, an intimacy grew up between him and King Hendrick which lasted till the death of the latter. He became distinguished as an orator, and his counsels, whether treating with whites or with his own race, always carried great weight with them. At the Albany convention of 1754, his speeches were not only heard, but his experience felt. He was ever greatly respected by the white people of the upper Mohawk Valley. During the greater part of his life he lived at Canajoharie castle, and near the site of the church at that place, which, after his death, was erected by Sir William Johnson. (Indian Castle Church)

The late Peter Elwood, of Fort Plain, said his father related this incident as occurring while this church was building. A carpenter named Deusler was at work there, and as he laid his square upon a piece of timer, and Indian sachem looking on asked him is his rule measured alike both ways? Yes, replied Deusler; don't yours? Sometime works both ways, said the Indian, sometimes don't. I can make barrel cider out'r ten bushel apples, but can't make ten bushel apples out'r barrel cider.

Although verging upon four score-years, yet his habits were such that he was still vigorous, and he entered with zeal into the last Continental French war. He had become quite portly, and was doing duty on horseback in the army of Sir William Johnson, when he was slain in battle near Lake George, September 3, 1755. Probably no Indian ever fell in battle more universally lamented. In the November number of the Gentleman's Magazine, of London, for 1755, is the following notice of his death:

"The whole body of our Indians were prodigiously exasperated against the French and their Indians, occasioned by the death of the famous Hendrick, a renowned Indian warrior among the Mohawks, and one of their sachems, or kings, who was slain in the battle, and whose son, upon being told that his father was billed, gave the usual Indian groan upon such occasions, and suddenly putting his hand on his left breast, swore this father was still alive in that place, and stood there in his son."

Abraham, a brother of Hendrick, also became celebrated not only for his oratory, but for his bravery on the field of battle. He was also seriously or religiously inclined. I am not aware that the son of King Hendrick, alluded to above, and known as Little Hendrick, ever attained to any especial celebrity. King Hendrick visited Philadelphia some time before his death, says the historian Dwight, at which time his likeness was taken, from which a wax figure, a good imitation of his person, was made. Some confusion has crept into history about the age of King Hendrick at his death. Mr. Lossing, usually correct, observes in his Field-Book that he was about 65 at the time of his death in 1755, but in the same connection he places his birth at 1680. This certainly shows a discrepancy of 10 years. May 31, 1695, in a deposition respecting lands in dispute, in which Hendrick was a witness, he was represented as of full age, meaning, as I suppose, 21 years. (Brod. Papers, vol. 4, 345.) This would place his birth in 1677, and his age at his death at 78 years. The portrait of Hendrick, here shown, is now in the State Library.

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