History From America's Most Famous Valleys
of Tryon County;
Border Warfare of New York,
During the Revolution.
By William W. Campbell
New York; Printed and Published by J. & J. Harper 1831
The following account of the death of this chief was published in the Utica Patriot, March 19, 1816.
"Died at his residence, near Oneida Castle, on Monday 11th inst. Skenando, the celebrated Oneida Chief; aged 110 years; well known in the wars which occurred while we were British Colonies, and in the contest which issued in our independence, as the undeviating friend of the people of the United States. He was very savage and addicted to drunkenness * in his youth, but by his own reflections and the benevolent instruction of the late Rev. Mr. Kirkland, missionary to his tribe, he lived a reformed man for more than sixty years, and died in Christian hope.
*In the year 1755 Skenando was present at the treaty made in Albany. At night he was excessively drunk, and in the morning found himself in the street, stripped of all his ornaments and every article of clothing. His pride revolted at his self-degradation, and he resolved that the would never again deliver himself over to the power of strong water.
attachment to Mr. Kirkland he had always expressed a strong desire to be buried
near his Minister, and Father, that he might (to use his own expression) "Go
up with him at the great resurrection." At the approach of death,
after listening to the prayers, which were read at his bed side by his great
granddaughter, he again repeated the request. According the family of Mr.
Kirkland having received information by a runner that Skenado was dead, in
compliance with a previous promise, sent assistance to the Indians that the
corpse might be carried to the village of Clinton for burial. Divine service
was attended at the meeting house in Clinton on Wednesday at two o'clock,
P. M. An address was made to the Indians by the Rev. Dr. Backus, President
of Hamilton College, which was interpreted by Judge Deane, of Westmoreland.
Prayer was then offered and appropriate psalms sung. After service, the concourse
which had assembled from respect to the deceased chief, or from the singularity
of the occasion, moved to the grave in the following order:
STUDENTS OF HAMILTON COLLEGE,
Mrs. Kirkland and Family,
Judge Deane--Rev. Dr. Norton--Rev. Mr. Ayre,
Officers of Hamilton College,
Citizens. After interment, the only surviving son of the deceased, self moved, returned thanks, through Judge Deane as interpreter, to the people for the respect shown to his father on the occasion, and to Mrs. Kirkland and family for their kind and friendly attention.
Skenando's person was tall, well made, and robust. His countenance was intelligent, and displayed all the peculiar dignity of an Indian Chief. In his youth he was a brave and intrepid warrior, and in his riper years one of the noblest counselors among the North American tribes: he possessed a vigorous mind and was alike sagacious, active, and persevering. As an enemy he was terrible. As a friend and ally he was mild and gentle in his disposition, and faithful to his engagements. His vigilance once preserved from massacre the inhabitants of the little settlement at German Flatts. In the revolutionary was his influence induced the Oneidas to take up arms in favor of the Americans. Among the Indians he was distinguished by the appellation of the "white man's friend."
Although he could speak but little English, and in his extreme old age was blind, yet his company was sought. In conversation he was highly decorous; evincing that he had profited by seeing civilized and polished society, and by mingling with good company in his better days.
To a friend who called on him a short time since, he thus expressed himself by an interpreter. "I am an aged hemlock. The winds of a hundred winters have whistled through my branches; I am dead at the top. The generation to which I belonged have run away and left me: why I live the Great Good Spirit only knows. Pray to My Jesus that I may have patience to wait for my appointed time to die."
Honored Chief! His prayer was answered: he was cheerful and resigned to the last. For several years he kept his dress for the grave prepared. Once and again, and again he came to Clinton to die: longing that his soul might be with Christ, and his body in the narrow house near his beloved Christian teacher.
While the ambitious but vulgar great, look principally to sculptured monuments and to riches in the temple of earthly fame; Skenando, in the spirit of the only real nobility, stood with his loins girded, waiting the coming of the Lord. His Lord has come, and the day approaches when the green hillock that covers his dust will be more respected than the Pyramids, the Mausolea, and the Pantheons of the proud and imperious. His simple turf and stone will be viewed with veneration when their tawdry ornaments shall awaken only pity and disgust.
my native land, indulge the tear
"That steak impassioned o'er a nation's doom'
"To me each twig from Adam's stock is dear,
"And sorrows fall upon an Indian's tomb."
Clinton, March 14th, 1816.
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