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enlightened nor christian. The unity of history is despoiled of its royal prerogative, that of identifying nature in all its forms and man in all his capacities with one superintending Great Spirit over all.
TRADITIONS. THE ORIGIN OF ALL THINGS.-So many volumes have dealt with the traditions of the Six Nations that only such as have present influence upon the people and blend with government, religion, or social living can be mentioned in this report. In 1825 David Cusick, grandfather of Albert Cusick, of Onondaga, and uncle of Captain Cornelius C. Cusick, of the United States army, published an illustrated pamphlet containing a collection of myths, with the elaborate title, “A tale of the foundation of the Great Island, North America, and the creation of the universe". Its characteristic dealing with the antagonistic forces of “good” and “evil” have value through their harmony with similar ideas presented in the old traditions of the East. Irwakura, chief of the Japanese embassy to America some years since, expressly intimated the conviction that his ancestors and those of the red men were from a common or kindred stock. A mass of Indian school children, interested in their work, certainly present a striking similarity to the Japanese; but nearly all the vague speculations of Indian traditions have been merged in the facts of recorded history. Indian historians only imitate and illustrate the purpose of every other people to associate their ancestors with the original progenitors of the entire human race.
THE QUEEN PEACEMAKER AND THE CITY OF REFUGE.—The Seneca nation, ever the largest, and guarding the Western door of the “Long House", which was threatened alike from the north, west, and south, had traditions peculiarly their own, besides those common to the other members of the confederacy. In addition to their success in garden, orchard, and farm products, and housebuilding, their military engineering was considerably in advance of their times. But the original stronghold or fort, Gau-stra-yea, on the mountain ridge, 4 miles east of Lewiston, and located by Elias Johnson as near the “old sawmill ”, had a peculiar character as the residence of a virgin queen known as the “Peacemaker". When the Iroquois confederacy was first formed the prime factors were mutual protection and domestic peace, and this fort was designed to afford comfort and relieve the distress incident to war. It was a true “ city of refuge", to which fugitives from battle, whatever their nationality, might flee for safety and find generous entertainment. Curtains of deerskin separated pursuer and pursued while they were being lodged and fed. Then the curtains were withdrawn, and the hostile parties, at parting, having shared the hospitality of the queen, could neither renew hostility or pursuit without the queen's consent. According to tradition no virgin had for many generations been counted worthy to fill the place or possessed the genius and gifts to honor the position. In 1878 the Tonawanda band proposed to revive the office, and conferred upon Caroline Parker the title. She became the wife of Sachem Chief John Mountpleasant, and the historian justly says: “She ever held open her hospitable house, not only to the Iroquois, but to others of every nation, including the palefaces”. She tells pleasantly of her “grandmother's old home, which had 10 fires in it for guests; of the one general meal for the day, for which the wood had to be cut in the ice and the cold, though nobody had to go hungry at other hours”, and speaks tenderly of “the shadow which now hovers over her people, as if they alone were to find no 'house of refuge?". She, as well as her brother, anticipates the time when they will share a common citizenship, but deprecates precipitate legislation just at the time when their own people are maturing plans for a better development. This tradition of the “queen peacemaker” is pleasing and in harmony with many of the good qualities belonging to the nation.
MEMORIAL QUALITIES.—The traditions and historical record of the eloquence, patriotism, and domestic virtues of their ancestors are held in higher esteem than those of the field. It was the wisdom of Cornplanter, Governor Blacksnake, the Cayuga chief Logan, Red Jacket, and others which gave them an honored place among the household penates. The teachings of Con-ta-tau-you, Handsome Lake, gained ready lodgment in their hearts, because they embodied a peaceful code, and rebuked violence, intemperance, dishonesty, and lying, which “entangled the feet so that the Indian would fall even upon the level ground”.
Known by the name of the “Peace Prophet” (as the brother of Tecumseh had been styled the War Prophet), he so greatly impressed the government with the value of his mission that Hon. H. Dearborn, Secretary of War, in a communication dated March 13, 1802, to Con-ta-tau-you and his brother Senecas, used this language:
If all the red people follow the advice of your friend and teacher, the Handsome Lake, and in future will be sober, industrious, honest, and good, there can be no doubt but that the Great Spirit will take care of you and make you happy. The great council of the sixteen fires and the President of the United States all wish to live with the red men like brothers. * * * For this purpose the great council of the sixteen fires are now considering the propriety of prohibiting the use of spirituous liquors among all their red brethren within the United States. This measure, if carried into effect, will be pleasing in the sight of the Great Being, who delights in the happiness of his common family. Your father, the President, will at all times be your friend, and he will protect you and all his red children from bad people, who would do you or them injury. And he will give you a writing or a paper to assure you that what land you hold can not be taken from you by any person excepting by your consent.
This tribute to Handsome Lake does not stand alone as evidence of qualities especially honored among the Six Nations. The historian Clark, in writing of Os-sa-hin-ta (Captain Frost), who presided over the Onondaga councils from 1830 to 1846, says: “He was distinguished for the nobleness of his character, the peculiar fervidness of his eloquence, and his unimpeachable integrity-qualities which secured for him the unlimited confidence of his nation". Of Captain Honnos (Oh-he-nu), Abram La Forte (De-hat-ka-tons), Captain Cold (Ut-ha-wah), and others, he says: “All were men whose characters were without reproach, and whose names will live in the unwritten records of the nation so long as a remnant of their perishing institutions is permitted by an allwise Providence to remain".
Respect for the aged and kindness toward orphans were inculcated in aphorisms of great tenderness and simplicity, like the following:
" It is the will of the Great Spirit that you reverence the aged, even though they be helpless as infants”.
“If a stranger wander about your abode, welcome him to your home ; be hospitable toward him ; speak to him with kind words, and forget not always to make mention of the Great Spirit”.
The graves of the dead were especially honored. Old Aunt Dinah, who died at the age of 107, on the Onondaga reservation, is kindly remembered by the citizens of Syracuse, as well as by her own people. After the age of 90, she often walked 7 miles to the city and back. A handsome monument has been erected to her memory. Judge A. J. Northrup, who secured a photograph of her family group, gives a reminiscence of her religious experience, very characteristic of her frank simplicity. When asked as to her church relations, she placed her hand upon her head, saying, “I'm 'Piscopal here”; then, placing her hand upon her heart, she added, “ I'm Methodist here”. This confusion was much like that of a converted Seneca at Tonawanda, who wished to be baptized before he died. He had become attached to the Presbyterian minister, but preferred baptism by immersion. The choice was freely granted; but he declined his friend's kind offer, because he, the Presbyterian minister, had never been immersed, and could not administer the ordinance in that form.
FUNERAL CEREMONIES.—The funeral ceremonies are simple and touching. Among the pagan party, the “ dead feast” was long observed ; but public sentiment has nearly ended that observance. There was a 10-day festival, at which the administration upon the effects of the deceased took place, the estate defraying the expenses of the occasion. The precedent or concurrent custom among the white people to have the will made public after the funeral is more formal; but an examination of the Indian records, taking a transcript in one case, and inquiry among many heads of families of both parties, show that where an explicit will of the deceased was known it was respected as much as among the white people. The excesses once attaching to the “dead feast” have nearly disappeared, and they now in no sense exceed the license and peculiar incidents of a “wake”.
The period of 10 days was observed because they allowed that time for the spirit to reach some substantial resting place. The very custom among the white people of burying friends, and especially soldiers, in the best they wore while in life has been from prehistoric times that of the native American. The desecration of a grave was deemed a horrible crime, and upon removal of an established home to another locality the remains of ancestors were often taken with the family. In harmony with this spirit, the hereditary chief, Charlot Victor, of the Flatheads, in Montana, made as the final condition of his signature to an agreement executed in 1889 the assurance that the burial ground of his ancestors should be kept sacred by the United States.
Few scenes are more suggestive of home and christian sympathies than those which occurred after the death of Jacob Pierce, of Cattaraugus, in 1890. The little house at the foot of the hill, at the west end of the “ Mile strip”, was crowded. The brother, Adam, living in the last house north from Newtown, and 20 other family mourners, accompanied the remains to the Presbyterian church, where a tearful parting took place. Nearly 200 other Indians viewed the face of one of the beloved founders of that christian church, and many followed the remains to the grave. There was no stolidity, indifference, or passive acceptance of the inevitable; neither was there noisy demonstration, but an effusion of grief, with which the solemnities of the occasion, including prayers, scripture readings, and music, were in keeping.
SUGGESTIVE CHARACTERS.So many volumes delineate the representative official characters of the Six Nations that only a few of the less publicly honored are noticed, except as they have entered into the body of this report. The memory of Mary Jimerson, taken prisoner at the Wyoming massacre, and who died in 1833, after 80 years of married life among this people, is associated very naturally with her statement that “she never herself received the slightest insult from an Indian, and scarcely knew an instance of infidelity or immorality until the white men introduced spirits among her adopted people". Her oldest son was one of the victims to strong drink. The incidents of her death, when, as by inspired guidance, the mind grasped the memory of her mother's prayers and blended the morning and evening of life in one closing scene, are worthy of record, and are given in Elias Johnson's tribute to her virtues. Her great-grandson, Theodore F. Jimerson, of Cattaraugus, is an honor to her memory.
Mary Jane Pierce, a daughter of a British officer, came to America in 1825, and settled at Utica, uniting with the First Presbyterian church there. In 1841 she became a missionary to the Indians of the Six Nations. At the treaty ratification in 1841, when Ambrose Spencer and Mr. Hoar were present to see that justice was done the Indians, she became acquainted with Marius Bryant Pierce and was married to him in 1843. He graduated at Dartmouth, studied law at Buffalo, the better to do business for his people, and died in 1874 at the age of 76. The homestead, on the corner of the Brandt and main roads, at Cattaraugus, is for her life use, although she lives in Versailles at present. Her life is thus summed up by herself: “My race had done the red man injustice. I gave my love and life to them". She taught for 14 years at Newtown and Big Flats, and not long since Henry Phillips, 96 years of age, a former pupil, came to see his old teacher before he passed away. She has a daughter, Harriet Pierce, also a teacher of experience, who was educated at Miss Williams' school, Troy, New York, but has been displaced as a teacher among her people.
Old Aunt Cynthia, an Onondaga woman, was a shrewd political manager as well as financier. She lived to be 90 years of age, and at her death left to her favorite nephew, Wilson Reuben, the valuable real estate designated upon the reservation map, and her bank account with the Onondaga county savings bank stood credited with $750.
A few names intimately associated with the development of christianity among these people require mention, because their services are recognized by the Indians themselves as having greatly assisted in their development. The venerable Deacon Samuel Jacobs survives at Tuscarora, reviewing with vivacity and thanksgiving the advancement made during his missionary life and work. Mr. William H. Sage, of Lewiston, has for more than half a century labored with this people. Rev. William Hall (fourscore years of age), at Allegany, gives his recollections of a long life spent among the Senecas. The memory of Rev. Asher Wright and Mrs. Wright, of Buffalo, who founded and for many years managed a sewing or industrial school at Newtown, Cattaraugus, is tenderly cherished by the Indians; and the native missionaries, Henry Silverheels and wife, whose photographs accompany this report, are honored for their holy living and their loving ministrations. The labors of both the native American and the AngloAmerican have found their best fruit exactly in proportion as the better culture and education of the latter have reflected the spiritual graces of an inner christian life and offered a safe example for the imitation of the other. Among all the self-sacrificing efforts in the Indians' behalf few have been more beneficial than those of Bishop Hobart, who established the Protestant Episcopal mission at Oneida in 1816. The missionary sent to Oneida was a converted Indian, who had sought an education for the purpose of teaching his own people, and is thus described in Clark's “Onondaga; or, Reminiscenses of earlier and later times”, published in 1849 : “Eleazur Williams, selected to take charge of this important mission, was the son of Thomas Williams, a distinguished chief of the Saint Regis branch of the Mohawk nation and a descendant of the Rev. John Williams, of Deerfield, Massachusetts, who, with his family and parishioners, was taken captive at the sacking of his native town by the French and Indians in 1704. His labors were successful, and the gospels translated by him are still memorial of those labors”. As early as 1764 Samuel Kirkland, of Norwich, Connecticut, left his college studies at Princeton, then noted for its interest in the education of the Indian youths, to devote his life to their service. The names of Kirkland and Williams belong to the surviving traditions of the Oneidas, and the photograph of the Oneida chief, Abram Hill, herewith furnished, is that of a christian who inherits the mercies vouchsafed through their teachings to his people.
Ephraim Webster, a native of New Hampshire, a soldier, and afterward a trader, who was present at the Fort Stanwix treaty of 1784, settled in the Onondaga valley, took part with the Americans and 300 warriors of the Onondagas in the war of 1812, and died at Tuscarora in 1825. He was buried at Onondaga. For many years the Indian agent and interpreter for the Onondagas, he obtained their confidence, and his lease from them of 300 acres of land was confirmed to himself and heirs by the legislature of New York, and is shown on the Onondaga map.
Abram La Forte, father of Daniel and Rev. Thomas La Forte, whose photographs are furnished, was also one of the memorable Onondagas. At one time trusted as a christian, having the promise of great usefulness with his people commensurate with his talents and influence, he relapsed into old customs and opposed the party of progress. The biographical sketch by Clark contains an extract from a letter of La Forte's old teacher, Eleazur Williams, indicating that before his death he returned to his christian faith. These names, whether of old missionaries still surviving or of other workers, are associated with enduring evidence that, if the American people will apply to the facts of this first census of the Six Nations the restorative force of honest, sympathetic, and thoroughly unselfish effort, they can bring into the body politic an element far superior to most foreign importations.
Not less than 30 native Indians, men and women, have been engaged in religious teaching among the Six Nations, and with success. The existing indifference on the part of Indian youths to advanced study is not from want of material, but poverty and want of encouragement from without.
NAMES, TRADITIONS, AND REMINISCENCES OF THE SAINT REGIS INDIANS. Incidental reference has been made to the principal characters who have figured in the history of the American Saint Regis Indians. Thomas Tarbell (a), the only surviving grandson of the elder captive Tarbell, now at the age of 89, retains a fresh recollection of his childhood and the stories of his grandfather's experience. He was baptized on the day of his birth, March 2, 1802, as Tio-na-ta-kew-ente, son of Peter Sa-ti-ga-ren-ton, who was the son of Peter Tarbell. One of the family, living on the summit of the Messina road, was known as “ Tarbell on the Hill”, giving the name Hill to the next generation. Old Nancy Hill, a pensioner, and 76 years old, thus “lost her real name". Chief Joseph Wood (6) lost his name through turning the English meaning of his Indian name into a surname. The first Indian who was persuaded to abandon moccasins slept in the boots he had substituted, and was afterward only known as “Boots", his children perpetuating that name. Another, who was surrendered for adoption on consideration of “a quart of rum”, thereby secured to his descendants the name of “Quarts”. Louis Gray, the son of Charles Gray, who figured in the war of 1812, gives the story of his grandfather, William Gray, who was captured at the age of 7 in Massachusetts, and at the age of 21 was permitted to visit his native place, but returned to the Indian who had adopted him, to live and die where Hogansburg is now located. Elias Torrance exhibits the silver medal given to his grandfather by George III, displaying the lion and church, in contrast with a cabin and a wolf, without a hint as to the meaning of the design. Louis Sawyer tells the tale, learned from his grandmother, Old Ann, who died at the age of 100, of the early days of Saint Regis. Louis has 3 sons in Minnesota, and a French wife, so that he has much trouble about the time of the annuity payment. He is a Methodist, can read and write, and thinks he pays a penalty for these distinctions. In 1826 Joseph Tarbell went to Europe with a young Frenchman, visited Charles I, also the Pope, and returned with pictures and some money for church use.
The Saint Regis Indians have a strangely mixed ancestry of French pioneers, white captives, and 1 colored man, with well-preserved traditions of all, but with few memorials of their purely Indian history. One wampum, now owned by Margaret Cook, the aged aunt of Running Deer, represents the treaty of George I with the Seven Nations. The king and head chief are represented with joined hands, while on each side is a dog, watchful of danger, and the emblem is supposed to be the pledge: “We will live together or die together. We promise this as long as water runs, the skies do shine, and night brings rest”. Hough describes Tirens, one of the sources of the name Torrance, as an Oswegatchie Indian, known as “Peter the Big Speak”, because of his bold oratory, as a son of Lesor Tarbell, the younger of the captive brothers. Here again the confusion of names finds its result in the various names culminating in the surname Lazar.
The surroundings of Saint Regis are named with singular fitness to their properties, and yet these, as elsewhere, have gradually lost their title in order to honor some ambitious white man, whose life is crowned with glory if the word “ville” or “burg” can be joined to his name, sacrificing that which the red man so happily fitted to its place.
a The recent work of Dr. Samuel A. Green, secretary of the Massachusetts Historical Society, entitled “Groton Spring Indian wars", cites the action of the Massachusetts legislature toward redemption of the Tarbell captives and their sister Sarah, who was subsequently educated at a Montreal convent. It appears that the name "Lesor", now used as a surname, was the familiar name for Eleazur.
b A more striking fact is, that the Indian name for "Wood", which Chief Joseph Wood's father perpetuates as a surname, was an original rendering from English to Iroquois, and, incidentally, back to English, without knowledge of the family up to this day of the reason for either change. The Groton town records, where the family is still largely represented, show that the maiden name of the mother of the captive Tarbell was Elizabeth Wood. Joseph (Tarbell) Wood therefore perpetuates the names of both white ancestors.