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gasping ceased, the spirit had fled. This was the first person I ever saw die. Meanwhile, not far from the door, stolid and unmoved, sat the father, "Old Johnny Watts ", making a bow and arrows of hickory wood for the use of the lad in the " happy hunting grounds ". A day or two later our family attended the funeral in the forest, near the bank of the river, and some 50 Indians (Senecas) and a few white people were present. The coffin was lowered into the grave, when the father stepped briskly forward and dropped the bow and arrows by its side.

At this moment, with grave and solemn mien, Governor Blacksnake stepped to the top of the mound of earth, and began a half-hour's address to his Indian friends. He spoke slowly and with great deliberation. Someone who understood him informed us that he spoke most kindly of the little boy who was gone, depicting the joys of the new existence upon which he was to enter. He urged his hearers to so order their lives as to be prepared for the better existence in the life to come. I do not remember, I was but a child myself, that I was ever more impressed by the appearance of an orator, except by Abraham Lincoln at his first inauguration. Blacksnakers figure was tall and commanding, his delivery slow and distinct, his appearance graceful, earnest, full of dignity, his sympathy for the bereaved family evident and touching. They paid his words the tribute of fast-flowing tears, except the lather, who looked on unmoved.

Some time later, alKiut the year 1850, an Indian boy, a relative, I believe, of the old governor, was killed by lightning near his house. A sudden shower of rain was accompanied by lightning and thunder. The boy fled to a large apple tree to seek protection from the pelting rain, when the deadly bolt came down, killing him instantly. The Indians at once cnt down the tree and rolled it into the pit, where it lay until it was consumed by dry rot. I was told that some superstition was connected with the cutting of this tree, but it may have been for the simple reason that it was such a sad reminder of the liite of the little boy.

Some notes concerning Governor Blacksnake have appeared in local historical works, but they seem to me to have been more or less fanciful. It is uo doubt true that he fought against our people in the border wars of the Revolution. He is said to have been at the massacre of Wyoming, and to have been among the Indians of western New York, who were so terribly punished by General Sullivan in 1775). He must also have made a journey to Washington early in this century. He retained until his very old :tge a pass given to him by General Henry Dearborn, the Secretary of War. It was in the following words:

To all persons to whom these presents shall come, greeting: It is required of all persons, civil and military, nnd all others, the good people of these United States, to permit "The Nephew", an Indian chief, with his associates, to proceed from the eity of Washington to their places of residence freely and without molestation, and to aid and assist them on their way as friends of the said United States.

Given at the War Office, at the eity of Washington, this fourteenth day of February, 1803. [Seal of the War Department.] II. Dearborn.

Governor Blacksnake was the last survivor of the Indian chiefs who had been prominent before their power w:us broken in the slate of New York. He was a man of much native ability, and he retained his inlluence with the Scneciis to the end of his life.


This reservation, in Warren county, Pennsylvania, nominally a tract of 640 acres, owned by Oornplanter"s heirs, lies on both sides of the Allegheny river, and is about 2 miles long and half a mile wide, including Liberty and Donation islands, which are formed by the forking of the river. The land surface, including the river bed and some worthless shoals, contains about 760 acres. It was a donation to the celebrated chief tJy-ant-wa-hia. '. The Cornplanter ", March lti, 1796, by the state of Pennsylvania, in consideration, states Judge Sherman, ;< for his many valuable services to the white people, and especially that most important one, in preventing the Six Nations of New York from joining the confederacy of western Indians in 1790-1791". The war ended in the victory of tieneral Wayne in 1794. In 1871, under act of May 1 6, partition or allotment of these lands was made to the descendants of Cornplanter and recorded in Warren county by the court having jurisdiction, special commissioners having been appointed by the state June 10, 1871, to effect the distribution. The power to sell the lands thus allotted is limited to the heirs of Cornplanter and other Seneca Indians. These Indians also have an interest in the Allegany and Cattaraugus lands of the Seneca nation, and draw annuities with them.

A suitable monument rests over Cornplanterrs grave in the somewhat neglected burial ground between the Presbyterian church and the house of Marsh Pierce, bearing the following inscriptions upon its four faces:






At Cornplanter town, February 18, A. D. Is:i0.

aged about 100 years.






From the period of the Revolutionary war

to the time of his death.


For talents, courage, integrity, sobriety,

and love for his tribe and race,


He devoted his energies nnd his money





By aet passed May, A. I>. I860.

The record of the orphans' court of Warren county, Pennsylvania, gives the names of Cornplanter's heirs, 23 in number, including grandchildren, and many of these names appear upon the Allegany reservation map. suggestive of their association with this distinguished Indian character. Among these are the names of Logan, Silverhecls, Titus, Blacksnake, Jacobs, Plummer, O'Bail, Abram, Hotbread, Thompson, and Pierce, all of which are still family names on both reservations, and generally among their kindred Senecas. One granddaughter still survives at Allegany at an advanced age, and Solomon O'Bail, also very old, lives at Cattaraugus.

The original name of the town was Ju-ni-sas-ha-da-ga, in Elk township, Warren county, Pennsylvania, 15 miles above Warren, and the original deed to the "Planters' field" bears the signature of Thomas Mifflin, governor of Pennsylvania.


This reservation, in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Erie counties, New York, as delineated on the map, occupies both sides of Cattaraugus creek. It is 9.5 miles long on a direct east and west line, averages 3 miles in width at the center, dropping at its eastern line an additional rectangle of 2 by 3 miles. A 6-mile strip on the north and 2 "mile blocks" at diagonal corners are occupied by white people, and litigation is pending as to the nature of their rights and responsibilities. The Seneca nation claims that the permit or grant under which said lands were occupied and improved was never legally authorized or executed by the nation. A long and practically undisturbed possession leaves the main question, one of ground rent or quitclaim, upon terms just to all parties, the improvements to remain with the occupants of the soil, without appraisement.

The reservation itself is a compromise substitute for larger tracts reserved for the Seneca Indians under the treaty at Big Tree September 15, 1797. A strip 1-1 miles in length along the south shore of Lake Erie, extending to a point only 8 miles from Buffalo, with two others, embracing an area of about 50 square miles, and which included what are now the towns of Dunkirk, Fredonia, and Silver Creek, were exchanged by treaty concluded at Buffalo June 30, 1802, with the Holland Land Company, for the present compact and fertile tract of 21,680 acres in the counties of Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Erie. The Ogden Land Company has the same pre-emption right to purchase these lands, if sold by the Seneca nation, as that which rests as a heavy incumbrance upon the lands of the Allegany reservation in Cattaraugus county.

The bottom lands, rich, fertile, and well watered, are almost entirely upon the north and east border of Cattaraugus creek. The general shape of the reservation is that of an inverted "I. In this angle lies the little village of Versailles, containing a hotel, 3 stores, a grist mill, and a Methodist church, all in the town of Perrysburg, 5 miles distant from the village of that name, on the New York, Lake Eric and Western railroad. By a shrewd establishment of the reservation line, a valuable water power was left within the angle outside of the reservation proper. Successive mills and factories have been built and burned, so that aside from the business done at the stores everything bears the type of a settlement whose bust days have ended. From this village a road runs down each side of the creek to the thoroughly modern and nourishing town of Gowanda, which lies in 2 counties, divided by Cattaraugus creek. This, with its banks, mills, and excellent stores, is the nearest market for the farm products of the reservation.

A bench runs along the steep river bank from Versailles nearly to Irving, on the south shore of Lake Erie, backed by a higher slope or hill, which produces good crops of oats, wheat, or barley, when well cared for. About

3 miles westward, on the broken and neglected river road toward Irving, is a creek known as Burning Spring, bedded and bordered by masses of closely laminated slate and shale, from the crevices of which coal gas escapes in sufficient quantity to boil water for picnic parties, and warranting the belief that thorough drilling or boring will yet solve the fuel problem, which is a more serious cause of anxiety to the people of Cattaraugus than even the Ogden Land Company claim itself.

A second bench, backed by higher background, marks the north side of the creek, but sufficiently retired to admit of fine meadows and wheat fields in the valley proper.

The real center of all divergence on the Cattaraugus reservation is at the four corners where the national courthouse and Indian Methodist church are located. From this point the best road on the reservation runs westerly past the Thomas Orphan Asylum (sending off a branch northward, near the Presbyterian church, through Brandt,

4 miles distant, on to Angola, 8 miles), passes the Baptist church and schoolhouses Nos. 1, 2, and 3, and enters Irving, along with the tracks of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern and Western New York and Pennsylvania railroads, which cross Cattaraugus creek at that point.

The road from Versailles, past the central four corners, with deep and at times almost impassable gulleys, was described to the people gathered at the Iroquois Agricultural Society's fair in September, and to the assembled legislative council at its December session, to be " without question the worst mail route in the United States and a daily reproach to the Seneca nation ". Pledges, freely made, to put it in order were realized to the extent of 1 load of brush and 2 loads of gravel. The mail wagon runs twice each week day from Versailles to Lawton station, on the Buffalo and Southwestern branch of the New York, Lake Erie and Western railroad, passing schoolhouses Nos. 5 and 7, and the council house at Newtown, and leaving the reservation three-quarters of a

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