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SIX NATIONS LAND TITLES AND TENURES.
While land tenure among the Six Nations is, as a rule, secure in the families enjoying it, the evidence of title for many years largely depended upon visible possession and improvement, rather than upon the record evidence common to white people. Verbal wills recited at the dead feasts, in the presence of witnesses to the devise, were usually regarded as sacred, and a sale, with delivery of possession, was respected when no written conveyance was executed. Of late years written wills have become common, and among the Senecas, with their peacemakers and surrogate judges, the " proof of a will" conforms very nearly to similar proceedings in the state probate courts. The clerk of the Seneca nation keeps a record of grants made by the council. Generally, the clerk, whether of chiefs, as with the Onondagas and Tuscaroras, or of trustees, as with the Saint Regis, has the custody of the records of official proceedings respecting grants or sales of lands. There is far more carelessness than among white people in securing any record of real estate transfers, the Indians preferring to hold the papers and the records themselves instead of having them moved from place to place, with a change of clerk, there being no regular place or rules for deposit or protection. An applicant for land, after petition, secures a vote of council or of chiefs of a tribe or nation, as the case may be, with the description of the land asked for, and a copy of that vote is the basis of a permanent title to himself, his heirs, and assignees. Indian common law, that of immemorial custom, as with the early English holdings, has generally carried its authority or sanction with effective prohibitive force against imposition or fraud, even when occupation and improvement of public domain have been actual but without formal sanction. No well-ordered system of record for wills, grants, or transfers is in habitual use among the Six Nations, or even among the Senecas. The infrequency of transfer out of a family and the publicity of the act when such a transfer is made have been esteemed sufficiently protective. There is no penalty for failure to make record, and the chain of title is not broken into so many links as to confuse the transmission. During late years farmers having substantial improvements have secured legal advice and perfected their papers in the usual business form common to white people, for deposit or record at county seats in which the lands and reservations are located.
As with white people, there are and will be Six Nations Indians land owners and Six Nations Indians landless.
VALUE OF THE LANDS OF THE SIX NATIONS.
The appraisement of Indian lands is based upon their best local terms of sale, and not upon that of sales by the white people of outside lands; but farms upon some reservations may well be appraised at $50 per acre, when on some other reservations equally good or better lands would range from $25 to $35 per acre. These have a leasehold value, but not the full value of similar adjoining lands, which are unincumbered by their present inalienable Indian title.
The following table gives the number of acres and total value (estimated) for each reservation. The total acreage of the reservations of the Six Nations is 87,327.73, and the value is estimated at $1,810,699.60. The reservation lands, if sold, and the proceeds divided per capita, would give each of the 5.203 Indians and adopted persons $348.01. The acreage to each person on the several reservations is also given, and the names and areas of reservations, tillable and grazing lands, acres cultivated, under fence, fenced during year, leased, new lands broken, pasturage land actually used in 1890, estimated value per acre, and total value of reservations.
ACREAGE, VALUE, ETC., OF THE RESERVATIONS OF THE SIX NATIONS.
Total with Cornplanter !87,967.73
a New York commission estimates acreage at 7,300.
b Repairs only.
c With swamp land, estimated at 15,280 acres.
d Actual acreage 679, excess above 640 due to allowance for river bed. t Nearly all under fence.
ACREAGE, VALUE, ETC., OF THE RESERVATIONS OF THE SIX NATIONS—Continued.
a 96 white people unlawfully on the Allegany reservation but enumerated in the general census.
6 Includes white and colored persona by marriage and adoption, who may or may not have realty right* on allotment under Indian law.
The property valuation of the Indians of the reservations of the Six Nations in New York is $1,284,998, as follows (property valuation includes everything which an Indian owns and can sell to another Indian):
Saint Regis 195.492
The property valuation of the Cornplanter reservation in Warren county, Pennsylvania, is $24,495.
The disparity in acquisition as between society grades is not very different from that in any community of ordinary white people. The large acquisitions are few, and generally are the result of good management and reasonable! industry. Inherited estates have been divided and scattered through improvidence, as among the white people. The Indian in New York, as elsewhere, has fewer wants than his white neighbor, and is frequently more indolent or indifferent in the effort to acquire more than his actual necessities require.
PROPERTY CLASSIFICATION AND INDIVIDUAL WEALTH.
The total value of houses on the reservations of the Six Nations in New York is $226,067, and of household effects $63,916.
VALUE OF HOUSES AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS.
The value of houses on the Cornplanter Seneca reservation is $2,200, and of household effects $1,195.
The Indian population of the Six Nations reservations in New York is 5,133 (2,696 males and 2,437 females). Heads of families, or total families, 1,213. The voters (if they were citizens under the laws of New York, viz, males over 21 years of age) number 1,381. Children under 1 year of age, 163.
The number of houses, frame, log, or plank, on the Six Nations reservations owned by Indians is 1,206.
The house accommodation per person is given under each reservation. The value of the houses is given under the head of " Property valuation". The houses on the Saint Regis reservation are probably the most inferior of all the reservations, but as an illustration of the value of Indian houses, the number and value of those on the Saint Regis reservation are given in full, as follows:
NUMBER ANU VALUE OF HOUSES ON THE SAINT REGIS RESERVATION.
$500 and less than $1,000 7
$300 and less than $500 13
$100 and less than $300 6tt
$25 and less than $100 !)7
Less than $25 33
All Indians on the Six Nations reservations wear citizens' clothes.
STATISTICS OF RESERVATIONS.
n There are house accommodations provided for the number of persons given for each reservation.
6 89 Indian housos are occupied by Indian renters; the remainder by the owners. The statistics of the Cornplanter reservation, Warren county. Pennsylvania, are: Total number of Indians, 9H; males, 57; females, 41; married, 61; single, 37; children under I year of age, 4; males above 21 years of age, IS; total number of houses, 27; frame, 18; log, 9; heads of families, 24.
c Frame and log.
The following table gives the total agricultural products and values of the Six Nations for the year 1890. The total acreage cultivated, including hay lands, is 20,404; the value of products, $97,887.60. Many of the formers and farm laborers of the Six Nations hire out during the fanning season to their white neighbors, receiving cash for their labor. This, with the products of their small farms, furnishes them a livelihood.
The leading articles of production were: Bushels of wheat raised, 12,366; value, $10,053.60. Bushels of oats raised, 27,774; value, $11,588. Bushels of corn raised, 42,739; value, $17,252. Tons of hay cut, 3,427; value. $27,500. Bushels of potatoes raised, 21,319; value, $17,341. The total value of agricultural products raised by the Six Nations in New York and the Cornplanter Senecas in Pennsylvania for the year 1890 was $97,887.60.
It is estimated that 4,132 cords of wood were cut on the six reservations during the year ended June 30, 1890, mostly for home use.
The Six Nations own live stock valued at $126,860, viz: 967 horses, value $71,710; 4 mules, value $290; 1,222 swine, value $8,219; 9,336 domestic fowls, value $2,255; 1,968 cattle of all grades, value $44,130, and 28 sheep, value $256.
The total value of agricultural implements owned by the Six Nations is $58,702.50. The value by reservations is as follows:
Saint Regis 12,135.00
The value of agricultural implements at the Cornplanter reservation is $4,493. This includes wagons and other vehicles in ordinary use as well as agricultural implements proper.
UNION' SOLDIER AND SAILOR ELEMENT.
The following statement shows the soldier and sailor element in the United States army in the war of the rebellion; also, widows of soldiers or sailors, the data of which were obtained with much difficulty.
On the 23d of July, 1879, an effort was made on the part of ex-soldiers belonging to the Seneca nation to ascertain the names of those who served in the late war, with the result first given below, but without obtaining the dates of enlistment or discharge.
In 1890 the special agent of the census reported that the loss of papers, absence of papers with pension agents, lapse of time since the war, with absolute ignorance for years that any benefits would flow from service, rendered accurate data almost impossible of attainment in many cases, except where some had passed examination for Grand Army posts. Many enlisted under fictitious names. Some failed to pass final examination, but joined recruiting depots for a short time.
The soldiers' widows are also noted by name. The enumeration of 1890 shows that the Onondagas furnished 16 soldiers, the Tonawanda Senecas 13 soldiers and 1 marine, the Allegany Senecas 11 soldiers and 1 sailor, the Cattaraugus Senecas 87 soldiers (in 1879 the total was given as 67), the Tuscaroras 10 soldiers, and the Saint Regis 23 soldiers, making a grand total of 162 soldiers and sailors.
Charles Lyon, Company F, Second New York Heavy Artillery. Peter Elm, Company F, Second New York Heavy Artillery. Josiah Jacob, Company F, Second New York Heavy Artillery. Jacob Scanandoah, Company F, Second New York Heavy Artillery (musician). Hewett Jacob, Company I), One Hundred and Thirty-second New York Infantry. Samuel G. Isaacs, Company D, One Hundred and Thirty-second New York Infantry. Henry Powlis, Company I, One Hundred and Fourth New York Infantry, enlisted February, 1862; discharged July, 18f>4 (a pensioner). Wilson Jacob, Company M, First New York Cavalry, enlisted October Ifi, 1863; discharged July 20, 1865. Joseph Green, Company K, Eighty-seventh New York Infantry. Thomas John, Eighty-sixth NewYork Infantry; served three months from March, 1863. Martin Powlis enlisted under name of William Martin in the Eighty-sixth New York Infantry; left after two months. Peter Johnson, Company F, Fourteenth Wisconsin (a pensioner). Alexander Sullivan, Company E, Tenth New York Infantry (a pensioner). William Martin, Seventieth New York Infantry.
Soldiers' widows—Mary White, widow of Eli Farmer, who enlisted March 6, 1*64; discharged November 6, 18t>4. Eliza Fish, widow of Moses Jordon.
Chauncey Long (Lang) enlisted in the Twenty-third United States Colored Infantry, Company B, May 13, 1864; discharged October!!, 1865. William Bigfire enlisted in the Twenty-third United States Colored Infantry, Company B, July 9, 1864; discharged November 30, 1865. David Moses and Clinton Moses enlisted in the Second New York Heavy Artillery August 1, 1864; discharged October 6, 1864. Erastus Printup enlisted in the Second New York Heavy Artillery March 6, 1862; discharged June 12, 1862. John Peters enlisted in the One Hundred and Thirty-second New York Infantry May 25, 1862; discharged May 25, 1865. Peter Snyder enlisted in the One Hundred and Fifty-first New York Infantry Augnst 25, 1862; discharged June 26, 1865. William Mason, Company I1, One Hundred and Thirty-second New York Infantry. Thomas Sky, Company A, One Hundred and Twenty-eighth New York Infantry. John Black, Company A, Second New York Heavy Artillery. Marshall Printup, Company F, Second New York Heavy Artillery. Charles Bigfire, Company B, Second Massachusetts Infantry. Charles Scroggs, William Smith, George Sky, and George Snow, all without data.
Soldiers' widows—Maria Jones, widow of William Jones (marine).
Ebenezer Worth, in Twenty-fourth New York Cavalry. Robert Nehew served in Company I, One Hundred and Fourth New York Infantry, under the name of Hobert Blacksnake. Amos Snow served on the gunboat Neosha, Captain Samuel Howard, as landsman; enlisted at Buffalo February, 1862. Thomas Scroggs served in the New York Heavy Artillery, Company C. Wooster King served in Company K, Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Infantry. John Jonathan served in the One Hundred and Forty-first Pennsylvania Infantry: also Abel Jacob. Alfred Halftown served in the Fifty-fourth New York Heavy Artillery. Dennis Titus served in Company B, Thirteenth New York Heavy Artillery. Henry Huff, jr., served in the One Hundred and Second New York Infantry.
Soldiers' widows—Rebecca Blackchief, widow of Samuel Blackchief. Hannah Jones, widow of Belah Jones, One Hundred and Fourth New York Infantry.
Thirteenth New York Infantry—James Cornplauter, Lewis John, Amos Sundown, Jesse Turkey, William Bluesky, Stephen Goidon, and
Stephen Jimerson, Company K; Joseph Warrior, Asher Young, John Jimerson, and George Crow, Company D. Thirty-first New York Infantry—George Armstrong, Company B. Fifty-first New York Infantry—Martin Davis, Company H. Sixty-first New York Infantry—John Jonathan, Company F. One Hundred and Fourth New York Infantry—Robert Blacksnake, Beeley Jones, James Halftown, Bennett Gordon, Lyman Pierce,
James Snow, James Bigfire, and Henry Forest, Company N. One Hundred and Thirty-first New York Infantry—Henry Sundown, Benjamin Jonas, George Wilson, James Halfwhite, George Snow, and
Charles Moore; Jacob Warner and George Jimerson, Company D; Foster Hudson, Company K. Ninth New York Cavalry—Joseph Halfwhite, Charles Snow, and Cyrus Warrior, Company C. Twenty-fourth New York Cavalry—George White, jr., and Ira Pierce, Company K; Solon Snow and James Davis, Companies K and M.
Joseph Gordon, Horation Jimerson, and Horace Jackson, Company D; John Williams, Samuel Warrior, and Horace Halfwhite,
Companies D and M; Lyman Pierce and Ebenezer Thompson, Company M; John Taylor, Company F.