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Full text of "A history of the treaty of Big Tree"









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TREATY OF BIG TREE 




ROBERT MORRIS 



A HISTORY 

OF THE TREATY 

OF BIG TREE 



AND AN ACCOUNT OF THE CELE. 
BRATION OF THE ONE HUNDREDTH 
ANNIVERSARY OF THE MAKING OF 
THE TREATY. HELD AT GENESEO, 
N. Y.. SEPTEMBER THE FIFTEENTH 
EIGHTEEN HUNDRED NINETY.SEVEN 



Published by the 
Livingston County 
Historical Society 






A. O. BUNNELL, PRINTER, 
DANSVILLE, N. Y. 

P. 

Publ. 



?^ 



INTRODUCTION 



INTRODUCTION 



^\ T THE annual meeting of the Livingston County Historical 
tJk Society, held in 1896, it was determined that the one hundredth 
I 1 anniversary of the meeting of the Treaty of Big Tree should be 
/ celebrated in some appropriate manner under the auspices of the 

society. Accordingly, at the following annual meeting a committee 
was appointed to have the entire matter in charge ; such committee 
consisted of William A. Brodie, Chairman ; E. Fred Youngs, George B. 
Adams and Charles D. Newton, of Geneseo ; Asael O. Bunnell of Dans- 
ville ; Chaxmcey K. Sanders of Nunda ; S, Edward Hitchcock of 
Conesus ; and the president-elect, William A. Wadsworth, and the 
secretary-elect, Lockwood R. Doty, ex-officio. 

On the 15th day of September, 1897, the anniversary ceremonies 
took place at Geneseo. A large number of guests representing other 
Historical Societies in the State, and others, were present, including 
Mr. Gouverneur Morris, the eldest male descendant and great grandson 
of Robert Morris, and Mr. A. Sim Logan and Mr. Andrew John, mem- 
bers of the Seneca Nation of Indians, representing the contracting par- 
ties to the treaty. 

A short business meeting was held at the society's log cabin, pre- 
sided over by the vice-president, S. E. Hitchcock, in the absence of the 
President, who was detained in a western state by illness, followed by 
an informal reception there. At 1 :30 o'clock a visit was made in car- 
riages to the site of the Council House and the Headquarters of the 
Treaty Commissioners. At 2:80 o'clock exercises were held in the 
spacious chapel of the Normal School building, which had been cour- 
teously tendered to the society by the Principal and Local Board. 
These exercises consisted of choral and orchestral music rendered by 
students of the Normal School under the direction of Mr. W. W. Kil- 
lip of Geneseo; Prayer by Rev. J. E. Kittredge, D. D., of Geneseo; 
address by the Chairman of the Committee, W. A. Brodie ; Historical 
Address by John S. Minard, of Fillmore, N. Y., and presentation of 
various Historical Documents by Dr. George Rogers Howell, Archivist 
of New York State Library, who also presented to the society, on 
behalf of Mr. Gouverneur Morris, a photographic copy of Rembrandt 
Peale's portrait of Robert Morris. 

A banquet was spread for guests of the society, numbering about 
one hundred, in the gymnasium of the Normal School building at 



Treaty of Big Tree 8 

six o'clock ; responses to toasts proposed in a felicitous man- 
ner by Vice-President Hitchcock, were made by Col. John R. 
Strang of Geneseo ; Hon. Gouverneur Morris of Detroit ; Hon. Wallace 
Bruce, Mr. A. Sim Logan and Mr. Andrew John of Versailles, N, Y. 

Exercises were held in the evening at the Normal Chapel, consist- 
ing of music, an address by Hon. Wallace Bruce on the subject "A 
Great Century," and a short speech by Mr. A. Sim Logan. 

The committee were assured by all who attended the celebration 
that it was entirely successful and most appropriately conducted. 

It is sought in the following pages to preserve the history of this 
most important treaty and the incidents attending this celebration of 
its one hundredth anniversary. Maps, portraits, papers and corres- 
pondence have been added to enhance its historical as well as general 
interest so far as practicable. The address of Mr. William H. Samson 
of Rochester, delivered before the Society in 1894, was the first compre- 
hensive and completely accurate accoiint of the Treaty and the nego- 
tiations leading up to it, and is reproduced entire. I wish to express 
my obligations to Hon. William P. Letch worth, Mr. Howard L. Osgood 
and Mr. William H. Samson for special aid in collecting the matter 
here presented, which is offered to the public in the hope that it will 
redound in some measure to the credit of the Livingston County His- 
torical Society. 

LocKwooD R. Doty, Secretary. 



AFTERNOON MEETING 



PRAYER BY 

REV. J. E. KITTREDGE, D. D. 

^\ LMIGHTY GOD, our Heavenly Father, thou art the God of 

^^ the years and of the centuries. Thou art from everlasting 
I A to everlasting. We adore thee reverently ; we worship 
^ thee heartily, thou our Creator, Benefactor, Redeemer ; we 

offer thee at this hour, with the acknowledgement of individual un- 
worthiness, our humble, grateful praise. 

Accept, we beseech thee, our hearty thanks for life, with all its 
meaning and precious possibilities, its blessed conditions and environ- 
ment, the goodly heritage that is ours in this garden of the Lord 
through the compact we recognize of a hundred years ago ; for mater- 
ial comfort, social amenities, and educational and religious gifts; for 
freedom of thought and action ; for incentives to all highest things ; 
for opportunities of good and the promise of life everlasting through 
Jesus Christ our Lord. 

We bless thee for an historic past, for an ampler present, for a 
future so grand in promise. We thank thee for the wonderful century 
we celebrate today. We thank thee for the good men and women who 
came hither years ago — choice seed of thy selecting ; for their Christian 
enterprise ; for the homes they built, the churches and schools they 
founded, the courts of justice they established ; for all forces that 
touch and guard the highest interests of man. 

We thank thee for human brotherhood, O thou Our Father. Thou 
hast made of one blood all the peoples of the earth. May we bear this 
kinship well in mind. May thy blessing rest on those who represent 
here the earlier and the earliest occupants of this soil. Bless this great 
commonwealth and the broad land we love. Extend thy gi-ace over 
all the earth. 

Crown with thy favor this special occasion. Instriict us by its 
historic memorials. Be with those who present them to us, those who 
speak and those who listen. Bless those whose memory reaches back 
toward the opening of the century. Bless those whose heart is in the 
living present and whose eye is toward the future. May thy benedic- 
tion be upon us all. And this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Amen. 



HISTORICAL ADDRESS 
BY HON. JOHN S. MINARD 

^^\ EASURED by its effect upon the material prosperity of 
ill Western New York, the treaty of Big Tree, which was 
111 concluded 100 years ago today, stands second to no other 
^ \ event in its whole history; for upon that occasion was 

extinguished the title of the Seneca nation of Indians to all the territory, 
the right of pre-emption to which the state of New York had ceded to 
the commonwealth of Massachusetts, which lies west of what is known 
as the Phelps and Gorham purchase, with the exception of several 
reservations, unimportant in extent, in the immediate neighborhood 
of their principal villages. 

With commendable propriety, therefore, the Livingston County 
Historical Society has provided for a proper commemoration of the 
event, and we are assembled today within sight and hearing distance of 
the scene of the treaty, for the purpose of celebrating with exercises 
becoming the character of that event, the centennial anniversary of 
that important preparatory step toward the appropriation and settle- 
ment by the whites, of the territory treated for, and which made an 
occasion like this a possibility. 

In treating the subject assigned to me, I will consider briefly, the 
territory which was the subject of negotiation; notice some of the 
early explorers and pioneers; consider the causes which led to the 
transaction ; sketch some of the leading characters who took part in 
the business ; give a synopsis of the proceedings ; and then consider 
the effect of the treaty in stimulating settlements and inaugurating 
improvements. 

One hundred years ago the territory which was treated for at the 
council fire of Big Tree, presented a decidedly primitive condition of 
forest ; of vast extent, of trees innumerable, of shrubs of many kinds, 
of herbage in endless variety ; broken only by occasional open flats 
along the rivers and larger streams, which were tilled by the Indian 
women, and yielded bounteous crops of com, beans, squashes and other 
vegetables, when only slightly stirred by their rude instruments of 
husbandry. It was a land of lofty summits, and lovely and reposeful 
valleys and lowlands ; of silvery lakes, gushing springs, gurgling rills, 
babbling brooks, winding streams, foaming cataracts and beautiful 
cascades. This wilderness was thickly peopled with deer, bears, 



Treaty of Big Tree 14 

wolves, panthers, beavers and other animals, and the lakes and streams 
were fairly alive with fish of many kinds. A sparse population of 
Seneca Indians, the most powerful and warlike of that famous confed- 
eracy of the Six Nations, the League of the Iroquois, which has chal- 
lenged the admiration of historians, and won for its people the proud 
distinction of "Romans of the West," inhabited the valleys of the Gen- 
esee and Allegheny rivers, and Cattaraugus, Tonawanda and Buffalo 
creeks, along the courses of which streams they established their prin- 
cipal villages. Within its limit was situated the old chief town of 
Ga-o-ya-de-o (Caneadea), which for years was the western door of the 
long house of the Iroquois, and the beautiful flats along the Genesee 
were said to have been the terrestrial paradise of the Senecas. La Salle 
and Hennepin in 1679 had coasted along the southern shore of Lake 
Ontario, gazed with awe and admiration iipon Niagara Falls, con- 
structed the Griffin, and launched the first sail boat on the waters of 
Lake Erie. In 1682 La Salle had discovered Chautauqua lake, and 
sixty-seven years later De Celoron had recorded its name. 

In the autumn of 1700 Colonel Romer with a few attendants, made 
his way up the Genesee to a point near Belvidere, thence to the famous 
oil spring near Cuba, and thence on to the Allegheny and Ohio ; and 
in 1720 Charlevoix, coasting along the southern shore of Ontario, sent 
his lieutenant, Chabert Joncaire, over the same route pursued by Colo- 
nel Romer. At the time of the treaty, Lemuel B. Jennings, Captain 
Nobles and James and William Wadsworth had settled at this place ; 
Ebenezer Allen had commenced operations in Mt. Morris ; Horatio and 
John H. Jones in Leicester ; Buffalo had only four or five houses ; Na- 
thaniel Dyke had made a beginning along the line between Wellsville 
and Andover, and Major Moses Van Campen, the famous scout and 
Indian fighter of the Revolution, Rev. Andrew Gray, and the McHen- 
rys had founded homes in Almond. Over the possession of this won- 
derful region had arisen, way back in the times of British dependency, 
a dispute between the colonies of New York and Massachusetts. Mas- 
sachusetts claimed it under a grant from King James I. to the Plymouth 
Company, bearing date Nov. 3, 1620, and New York laid claim to the 
same territory, by virtue of a grant from Charles II. to the Duke of 
York, dated March 12, 1664, and the voluntary submission of the Six 
Nations to the crown in 1684. This contention, all owing to faulty and 
overlapping property descriptions in the grants, was dropped during the 



Treaty of Big Tree 15 

period of the war only to be resumed after the restoration of peace, and 
continued till December 16, 1786, when the states, which in the new or- 
der of things had succeeded the colonies, had the good sense to settle 
the matter by commissioners appointed for the purpose. New York 
retaining the sovereignty, and ceding to Massachusetts the right to pur- 
chase the title of the Indians, in other words, the right of pre-emption. 

So many years having been spent in the controversey, both states 
had become tired of it and Massachusetts was anxious to avail herself 
of the proceeds of the sale of her rights. The depressed condition in 
which the states were left at the close of the war had begun to wear 
away, the population of the seaboard districts had become somewhat 
crowded, indeed in some places actually congested, and many faces 
were turned interior- ward, in quest of new homes. As a result, the 
spirit of speculation was aroused, and capitalists turned their attention 
to investments in land. Among these speculators were Oliver Phelps 
and Nathaniel Gorham, who soon commenced negotiations with Massa- 
chusetts, for the purchase of her right to pre-emption. The negotia- 
tion was successful, the contract bearing date March 31, 1788, giving 
the consideration and terms of payment, to quote the instrument, as 
"three hundred thousand pounds, in consolidated securities of this 
commonwealth, or two thousand pounds specie, together vsdth two 
hundred and ninety thousand pounds in like securities, Messrs. Phelps 
and Gorham being required to give security for the payment of the 
same, "one-third in one year, one-third in two years, and one-third in 
three years." 

Messrs. Phelps and Gorham were anxious to make an early pur- 
chase of the Indian title, and thus be enabled to dispose of their lands, 
or a part at least, in time to apply the effects upon their contract with 
Massachusetts, and hustled things with such vigor and celerity, that 
on the 8th of July, 1788, at Buffalo Creek, was concluded a treaty, by 
which the sale of all the lands of the Indians east of a boundary which 
to quote the conveyance, was: "A meridian which will pass through 
that corner or point of land, made by the confluence of the Shanahas- 
gwaikon creek, so-called (Canaseraga), with the waters of the Genesee 
river ; thence running north along said meridian to the corner or point 
last mentioned ; thence northwardly along the waters of the said Gen- 
esee river to a point two miles north of Shanawagerus village, so-called 
(Canawaugus) ; thence running in a direction due west, twelve miles ; 



Treaty of Big Tree 16 

thence running in a direction northwardly, so as to be twelve miles 
distant from the most westward bends of the said Genesee river, to 
the shore of the Ontario lake," and about two and one-half million 
acres were embraced in the tract. The consideration was £2,100 and 
an annuity of $500. 

The legislature of Massachusetts on the 21st of November, 1788, 
passed an act, vesting the title to this land in Messrs. Phelps and Gor- 
ham, they relinquishing all the lands west of this tract, which were 
included in the contract. Though not entirely pertinent to the subject, 
it may still in a sort of parenthetical way be observed, that to this 
deed was appended the name of Governor John Hancock, not, how- 
ever, in his own hand, as appears by the accompanying explanation: 
"The secretary signed his excellency's name, by his order, he being 
unable to put his signature by reason of the gout in his right hand." 
So, incidental to our investigations the very important historical fact 
is disclosed, that on the 21st of November, 1788, His Excellency Gov- 
ernor John Hancock was afflicted with the gout ! On account, how- 
ever, of the advance of the securities with which they were to make 
their payments, Phelps and Gorham were unable to meet their engage- 
ments with Massachusetts, and so reserving two townships (Tp. 10 R. 
3, and Tp. 9. R. 7) Canandaigiia and Geneseo (?), they sold the tract to 
Robert Morris, who had begun to turn his attention to land speciila- 
tions. Mr. Morris held it but a short time, and turned it over to Sir 
William Poulteney and others in England, at a profit, it has been said, 
of something like $160,000. 

These successful transactions made Mr. Morris eager for more 
lands upon which he could realize still more profits. On the 11th of 
May, 1791, he secured from Massachusetts the pre-emption right to all 
the lands in the state of New York west of the tract purchased by 
Messrs. Phelps and Gorham. For this it is said that he paid the sum 
of $333,333.33. Mr. Morris held this tract but a short time, and in 
1792-3, sold it to a syndicate of Holland capitalists, afterwards known 
as the "Holland Land Company," reserving the eastern portion, about 
12 miles in width , parts of which he had sold to other parties, or placed 
as security for loans as in the case of the Church tract. This came to 
be called the "Morris reserve." One condition of this sale was that 
Mr. Morris should extinguish the Indian title, and until such time as 
he should perform that part of the agreement, the syndicate reserved 



Treaty of Big Tree 17 

£37,500 of the purchase money. Mr. Morris at this time had a son, 
Thomas, abotit 21 years of age, who had received a liberal education at 
Geneva and Leipsic, and was then engaged in studying law. He was 
a promising young man, of good natural ability, fine presence, and had 
the happy faculty, as the sequel will show, of quickly discovering the 
motives of men, of being quick to act, and quite likely to do about the 
right thing in a case of emergency. This son, Mr. Morris determined 
to settle in the new country, "as an evidence of his faith in its value 
and products ;" it is safe to presume also, with an eye to his future 
usefulness in effecting the purchase of the Indian lands. Readily com- 
plying with the wishes of his father, Thomas left Philadelphia in the 
summer of 1791, and following what was then called "Sullivan's path,' 
he reached Newtown in time to attend Pickering's council. At the 
council he made the acquaintance of many of the leading Indians, who 
were so favorably impressed with him, as to give him the name 0-te- 
ti-ana, which Red Jacket had borne in his younger days. 

Pursuing his journey to Niagara, he stopped on his return, at Can- 
andaigua, with which place he was so much pleased as to make it his 
home. He was admitted to the bar, and in 1794 attended the first 
court ever held in Canandaigua. In 1794-5-6, he was a member of 
assembly from Ontario. From 1796-1801 he was state senator, and 
from 1801-1803, was a member of congress. 

Robert Morris was naturally quite anxious for a final settlement of 
matters with the Holland syndicate, but owing to the war between 
the Western Indians and the United States, in which, however, the 
Six Nations were not involved, he deferred making any formal over- 
tures to the Senecas, till peace was restored, as he feared that in case 
he should succeed in buying their lands during the progress of the war, 
they could the more easily be induced to join the Western tribes in 
hostility to the United States. At last peace with the Western Indians 
having been restored, Mr. Morris in August, 1796, directed a letter to 
President Washington, wherein he asked that a commissioner be ap- 
pointed to preside at a treaty to be held with the Seneca nation, for the 
purpose of enabling him to ' 'make a purchase in conformity with the 
formalities of law," of the tract of country for which he had already 
paid a large sum of money. In this letter he stated, "My right to pre- 
emption is unequivocal, and the land is become so necessary to the 
growing population, and surrounding settlements, that it is with diffi- 



Treaty of Big Tree 18 

culty that the white people can be restrained from squatting or set- 
tling down upon these lands, which if they should do, it may probably 
bring on contentions with the Six Nations. This will be prevented by 
a timely, fair, and honorable purchase." Accordingly in due time, 
Isaac Smith, a member of congress from New Jersey, was appointed, 
but having received the appointment of judge of the supreme court, he 
declined to act, and Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth, a distinguished 
member of congress from Connecticut was appointed in his place. 

The time had now arrived when active and immediate prepara- 
tions for the treaty were in order. The fact that the Indian village of 
Big Tree, though not situated upon the territory for which negotia- 
tions were to be instituted, was so very accessible to the people of the 
Senaca nation and was the nearest village to reach from Philadelphia, 
New York, and Canandaigua, doxibtless had much to do in fixing it as 
the place for holding the treaty. The 20th of August, 1797, was set as 
the time. Mr. Morris had appointed his son, Thomas, and his friend, 
Captain Charles Williamson, as his agents, but Mr. Williamson, hav- 
ing other engagements, was able to be present only a small part of the 
time ; which threw the burden of responsibility entirely upon Thomas 
Morris. 

Robert Morris prepared a most elaborate and carefully written 
letter of instructions to his agents, giving his directions and sugges- 
tions under twenty-four separate and distinct heads. In his prefatory 
remarks he said : I am to sustain all the expense ; this circumstance 
does not induce a desire to starve the cause, or to be niggardly ; at the 
same time, it is natural to desire a consistent economy to be observed, 
both as to the expense of the treaty, and the price to be paid for the 
lands." He inclosed with his letter a written speech, with which he 
proposed that his son should open the treaty. The third article sug- 
gests that "The business of the treaty may be greatly propelled prob- 
ably, by withholding liquor from the Indians ; showing and promising 
it to them when the treaty is over." Article 6 reads: "Annuities of 
from §20 to $60 per annum may be given, to influential chiefs to the 
extent of $250 or §300 per annum." 

Article 7 says : "Captain Brandt, although not belonging to the 
Seneca nation, yet being an influential character, he must be satisfied 
for his services, on as reasonable terms as possible, after the purchase 
is made." "Jones and Smith, as interpreters, are to do their duty fully 



Treaty of Big Tree 19 

and faithfully, or I will not convey the lands contracted for with them, 
but if they do their duty, the deeds for those lands shall be delivered 
lapon the receipt of the money they are in that case to pay." It was 
also provided that Mr, Johnson, of Niagara, and Messrs. Dean and 
Parish, should be employed as interpreters and compensated with reas- 
onable liberality." Article 12 read: "Mr. Chapin will render any 
services that consist with the duties of his station, and must have a 
proper compliment or compensation." 14 : "The whole cost and 
charges of this treaty, being at my expense, you will direct everything 
on the principle of a liberal economy. The Indians must have plenty 
of food, and also of liquor, when you see proper to order it to them." 
"The commissioners, their secretaries, interpreters, and all who are 
officially employed at or about this treaty, must be provided for at my 
cost." A herd of cattle was driven along, and stores of provisions of 
various kinds in liberal quantities had to be transported over bad roads, 
in some places hardly any roads at all, to the scene of the treaty. In 
Doty's history of Livingston county is found this list of provisions and 
presents, which with the prices extended, gives something of an idea 
of the magnitude upon which the enterprise was carried out : 

1,500 rations of beef, one day at $5 per hundred $75 00 

1,500 rations of flour at $3.50 per 100 pounds 38 00 

1,500 rations of whiskey, 25 gallons at $1.50 37 00 

1,500 rations of tobacco 5 00 

These for 30 days would amount to $4,650. 

750 3-ft. blankets at $2 1,500 00 

750 2i ft. blankets at $1.50 1,125 00 

150 pieces blue shrouding, 24 yds, each at $1 per yard 3,600 00 

100 pieces green leggings stuff, 18 yds. in piece, twilled 3-4 

wide at 1,350 00 

200 pieces com. calico, at 4s, 14 yds. per piece 1,370 00 

50 yds, com. Holland, at 4s, 24 yds per piece 600 00 

500 butcher or scalping knives 35 00 

50 bags Vermillion 100 00 

300 pounds powder 600 00 

800 pounds lead 50 00 

100 small brass kettles, of 4 to 6 qts 100 00 

50 brass kettles of 12 qts 100 00 

100 black silk handkerchiefs, presents for the chiefs in broad- 
cloth, red or green, of good quality 100 00 

Amounting in the aggregate to $15,360 00 

and several cows to give to the squaws. Two pipes of wine were 
brought along, probably mainly for the commissioners, secretaries, in- 
terpreters and other officials and visiting gentlemen. 



Treaty of Big Tree 20 

The state of Massachiisetts appointed General William Shepard to 
attend and represent the commonwealth ; Captain Israel Chapin, who 
had succeeded his father, General Chapin, as superintendent of Indian 
affairs, was to be present ; William Bayard of New York, Joseph Elli- 
cott, and possibly some others, were to guard the interests of the Hol- 
land syndicate, and James Rees, afterwards of Geneva, was to act as 
secretary on the part of Mr, Morris. There were quite a number of 
other whites there, attracted perhaps as much by the desire to see, and 
learn what was going on as anything else ; some who came seeking 
opportunities to make something if the chance was presented, and some 
chronic mischief makers, intent on meddling, and thus making it a 
hard job to effect the purchase. The Indians were more prompt in 
their appearance than were the whites. Many arrived before the day 
appointed, and nearly all were there by the 20th. Glowing accounts 
of the marvellous wealth of Mr. Morris the merchant prince of his day, 
had come to the ears of the Indians. They had been told of the lavish 
distribution of fine presents which would be made, of the fat hogs and 
oxen that would be served out to them, with other dainties in great pro- 
fusion, with whiskey in limitless quantities ; that it was indeed to be a 
feast of fat things. The effect of these stories was to draw a large 
crowd of Indians together. Those only who were too old, or too young, 
too badly crippled, or too sick to go stayed at home, and a solemn and 
awfully prophetic stillness pervaded the grand old woods. Only at 
Big Tree, where a hundred camp fires were lighted and a hundred 
kettles swung were there any signs of life. It has been said that the 
first oxen killed were "devoured raw, reeking in the blood," so hungry 
had the crowd become. It was, without a doubt, one of the largest 
assemblages of Seneca Indians ever seen. The names of fifty-two 
sachems, chiefs and warriors are appended to the conveyance which 
was made and executed at this treaty, but of all this number a few 
only can be noticed and briefly at that. Young King was in one res- 
pect the most important Indian character at the treaty, for, had he 
been so inclined, he could have arrested the whole proceeding, and 
prevented the sale of their lands. He arrived late, and the Indians 
would proceed no further until everything had been made known to 
him, and received his approval. He was a lineal descendant of Old 
Smoke, or Old King, the leader of the Indians at the Wyoming mas- 
sacre. 




RED JACKET 



Treaty of Big Tree 21 

Young King was a brave warrior, a wise counselor and was pos- 
sessed of high social qualities. He was born at Canandaigua about 
1760, and his first experience in warfare was in fleeing to Niagara with 
his mother before the advancing and victorious hosts of Sullivan's 
army. At the the time of the treaty he was of lofty stature, and 
majestic mein, a king, indeed, in personal appearance. After passing 
through a period of drunkenness and dissipation, he became converted 
to Christianity, and died on the Buffalo reservation in 1835, greatly 
regretted by both Indians and whites. 

Red Jacket was about 39 years old at the time of the treaty, and 
was generally regarded as the greatest orator of the whole Six Nations. 
He had won but little fame as a warrior, but was by no means the 
coward some have represented him to be. When asked ironically by a 
white man of his deeds in war, he replied, "lam an orator, I was 
bom an orator," His fame rests mainly on his phenomenal eloquence. 
His speeches though interpreted by uneducated men, and taken down 
hastily and carelessly, cannot be read without surprise and admiration 
at their poetry, grace and strength. He was at the treaty at Fort 
Stamoix in 1784, at which LaFayette was present. Though not very 
conspicuous in that council he made one speech that the great French- 
man always remembered with admiration. The first of his remarkable 
speeches was delivered at the great Indian council at the mouth of 
Detroit river in 1786. Red Jacket took a prominent part in the treaty 
at Buffalo Creek July 8, 1788, unsuccessfully opposing the sale of lands 
to Messrs. Phelps and Gorham. The first of his speeches that has been 
preserved was delivered at Pickering's council at Tioga Point in 
November, 1790 (?). At Colonel Proctor's treaty at Buffalo Creek, 
when the Senecas were urged to send a delegation to the Miamis, Red 
Jacket was conspicuous as a spokesman, first for the warriors, and 
then for the women. He is fotmd next at Colonel Pickering's treaty at 
Painted Post in June, 1791, and in March of the next year with fifty 
leading Senecas, he visited Philadelphia and took the chief part in 
negotiations with President Washington. Next he appeared at the 
great Indian council at Canandaigua ; then came the Big Tree council ; 
four years later he made his second visit to the seat of the federal gov- 
ernment. In 1810 he made his third and last visit to the government 
officials, which practically closed his public career. Red Jacket's 
whole life was devoted to unceasing efforts to preserve the nationality 



Treaty of Big Tree 22 

and inheritance of his people. Continually brooding over the misfor- 
tunes of his race, and wearied with the long struggle, he became des- 
pondent, too frequently quaffed of the intoxicating cup offered him by 
unfriendly hands among the whites, and his last years were full of 
sorrow. He died on the Buffalo reservation January 20, 1830. Near 
the last he said : "I am about to leave you, and when I am gone and 
my warnings are no longer heard or regarded, the craft and avarice of 
the white man will prevail. Many winters have I breasted the storm, 
but I am an aged tree. I can stand no longer. My leaves are fallen, 
my branches are withered and I am shaken by every breeze. Soon my 
aged trunk will be prostrate and the foot of the exulting foe of the 
Indian may be placed upon it in safety ; for I leave none who will be 
able to avenge such an indignity. Think not I mourn for myself. I 
go to join the spirits of my fathers, where age cannot come ; but my 
heart fails when I think of my people who are soon to be scattered and 
forgotten." 

Farmer's Brother did more to facilitate the sale than any other. 
He was a cousin of Hi-ok'-a-too, the husband of Mary Jemison. He 
was one of the greatest warriors of the Seneca nation, courageous, vig- 
ilant, sagacious ; was in the old French war and commanded a party 
in the bloody battle in which Braddock lost his life. In 1763 he headed 
a party of Indians from the Genesee at the fearful tragedy of Devil's 
Hole, and during the Revolution was a faithful ally of the British ; 
but in the war of 1812, he led the warriors of his nation against the red 
coats. He was as famous in council as on the warpath. As a speaker 
his voice was powerful and melodious, his gestures graceful and im- 
pressive, his manner commanding. He took a conspicuous part in all 
the more important treaties held in this state, and always endeavored 
to promote the good of his people. He died in 1815 at the age of 90 
years, and was buried with military honors in the old cemetery on 
Franklin Square, Buffalo. In 1851 his remains were exhumed and 
re-buried in Forest Lawn. 

Complanter, who took a prominent part in the Big Tree treaty, 
was born at Canawagus, about 1726. He was a half-breed, his father 
being one John Abul, a Dutchman from Albany, who traded much 
with the Senecas, carrying his pack on his back, exchanging trinkets 
for furs. Complanter became a thorough Indian, and has passed 
into history as one of the bravest, wisest and most highly esteemed 



Treaty of Big Tree 23 

of the Seneca nation. He was a warrior at Braddock's defeat, was 
a firm ally of the British during the Revolution, but in later years 
became the friend of the Americans and an earnest advocate of peace, 
differing radically in that respect, from Red Jacket, and the two were 
constant, and sometimes bitter opponents. In 1784 he was at Fort 
Stanwix, and took a leading part in the treaty. He was also present at 
Phelps and Gorham's treaty with the Indians at Buffalo Creek, in 1788, 
always claimed that the Indians were cheated upon that occasion, and 
appealedconstantly, and generally in vain, for justice from the whites. 
He was greatly troubled when he remembered the disgraceful way in 
which from the very beginning, the whites had deceived and cheated 
the Indians. In many instances he was opposed to both Brant and 
Red Jacket. He died on the reservation in Pennsylvania, February 18, 
1836. 

Horatio Jones was born in Bedford county. Pa., in 1763. At 18 
years of age he enlisted in the Revolutionary army and the same year 
was taken prisoner by the Indians. Enduring many hardships on the 
march, he was taken to the Genesee country, made to run the gauntlet, 
it is claimed by the best authorities at 0-wa-is-ki (Wiscoy). He was 
adopted into an Indian family, accommodated himself to the situation, 
made himself as happy as the circumstances would permit, learned their 
language thoroughly, and was much employed as interpreter. Natur- 
ally ingenious, he made himself useful in repairing their hunting imple- 
ments and weapons. To all intents and purposes he became a thorough- 
bred Indian, was successful in the chase, a prodigy almost, on the race 
course, temperate in his habits, cheerful in disposition, and a general 
favorite with the Indians, with whom he came to have great influence, 
being frequently chosen to settle their disputes. Often by his interven- 
tion the lives of prisoners were saved. At one time the renowned Major 
Moses VanCampen's life was saved by his friendly interposition and 
great presence of mind. His Indian name was Ta-e-da-o-qua. Presi- 
dent "Washington appointed him Indian interpreter, and he held this 
office till after 1830. He died at Sweet Briar, his residence on the 
Genesee, in 1836. 

Jasper Parish was born in Connecticut in 1766. The family moved 
to Luzerne county. Pa., and when he was 11 years old he was taken 
prisoner by some Delaware Indians. He was released soon after the 
treaty at Fort Stanwix, but during his captivity had made himself so 



Treaty of Big Tree 24 

familiar with their language as to be appointed interpreter and sub- 
agent of Indian affairs by the United States government and discharged 
his duties in a manner satisfactory at once to the goverament and the 
Indians. He settled in Canandaigua in 1792, and died in 1836. 

Joseph Brandt was expected by Robert Morris to have been present, 
and render valuable assistance, as is inferred from his letter of in- 
structions. His name does not appear in the proceedings, but as he 
was not much given to speech making, he may have been there and 
rendered important service notwithstanding. He was a noted warrior, 
but not being a Seneca will here and now be no further noticed. 

Mary Jemison, the white woman of the Genesee, was another of 
the notables present at the treaty. 

Doty says: "A large and temporary council house, the exact site 
of which it is now difficult to determine, was at once prepared for the 
occasion. Overhead it was covered with boughs and branches of trees, 
to shelter the assemblage from the sun. An elevated bench was pro- 
vided for the commissioners and other benches for spectators." James 
and "William Wadsworth had a log house so nearly completed as to 
admit of occupation by the commissioners and some others, and it was 
accordingly hired for the purpose. This house has long since disap- 
peared, but upon its site has been erected a moderate-sized stone 
building, it is supposed mainly for the pui-pose of permanently marking 
the place. 

Thomas Morris arrived on the 22d of August and found the Indians 
all collected and waiting for him. On the 23d he called them together 
and addressed them, bidding them welcome to the place where he had 
kindled the council fire, and apologized for the non-appearance of the 
commissioners, which he attributed to the bad weather, and warned 
them against the attempts of some white men whom he said he sup- 
posed were present while he spoke, and attended the treaty for the 
purpose of leading astray and deceiving the Indians ; that such conduct 
in those people was in contempt of the laws of their country, and that 
if they did not desist, he would see those laws put into execution. 
Cornplanter immediately arose, recapitulated the heads of his speech 
to the Indians and expressed his satisfaction at being infoi-med that 
mischief-makers would be prosecuted. Saturday, August 26th. late in 
the afternoon, the commissioners arrived and found the Indians receiv- 
ing their annual presents, which were being distributed by Mr. Chapin, 



Treaty of Big Tree 25 

On Sunday, the 37th, the Indians held a council for condolence with 
Mr. Chapin on the death of his daughter, to which they invited the 
commissioners and all the gentlemen from a distance. On Monday, 
the 28th, the council was formally opened. Cornplanter, addressing 
himself to Mr. Morris, acknowledged the receipt of his speech of invi- 
tation by Jones and Parish, observed that on their part they had been 
punctual in attendance, and was sorry the gentlemen who had come to 
meet them had met with delays on the road. He then handed back 
the string of wampum which had been delivered to him by the inter- 
preters. 

The United States commissioner, Colonel Wadsworth, then ad- 
dressed the Indians, telling them that he was the commissioner of the 
United States, appointed by the president to hold a treaty with them, 
and stating that the treaty is "held agreeably with the law, on the 
petition of Robert Morris, Esq., and its object is to effect a purchase, 
if agreeable to you, of a parcel of your lands," concluding by intro- 
ducing General Shepard, the commissioner from Massachusetts, and Mr. 
Morris and Capt. Williamson, the son and friend of Robert Morris, who 
are his representatives and have full power to ask for him "in treating 
with you for the purchase of the lands in question. Brothers, I 
rejoice with you that the Great Spirit has brought us together, let us 
so conduct ourselves as not to offend him, lest he withdraw his protec- 
tion from us." 

Colonel Shepard then addressed them, saying in part: "Brothers: 
Your brother, the governor, and the executive council of the state of 
Massachusetts, desirous that justice should be done to people of every 
color, and particularly to their brothers of the Seneca nation, have 
sent me with power to attend this treaty on their behalf. * * * 
And I shall make it my business to to see that the negotiation between 
you is carried on upon principles of justice and fairness. Brothers, 
I am an old man, much accustomed to do public business for the state 
to which I belong. I have always observed when thus employed, that 
a spirit of harmony and conciliation was attended with happy effect 
among us, therefore, brothers, I hope that your minds will be united, 
and that the voice of one will express the sentiments of all. Brothers, 
I have now said all that I have to say to you at present. May the 
Great Spirit take you under his protection, and give wisdom and unan- 
imity to your councils." 



Treaty of Big Tree 26 

Thomas Morris, then, in a short address, informed them that as 
the Great Spirit had prevented the attendance of his father at this 
treaty, he had appointed him and Charles Williamson, Esq., agents to 
treat with them on his behalf, as would appear by the power he then 
handed to them, and had directed the delivery of a speech which he 
had written to them from Philadelphia. Robert Morris's speech was 
then read to them. I will read the following excei-pts : "Brothers 
of the Seneca Nation : It was my vrish and my intention to have 
come into your country and to have met you at this treaty, but the 
Great Spirit has ordained otherwise, and I cannot go. I grow old 
and corpu.lent, and not very well, and am fearful of traveling so far 
during the hot weather in the month of August." Then, after referring 
to his appointment of his son and Captain Charles Williamson as his 
agents and saying some other good things, tending to create a confi- 
dence in his agents, he very adroitly proceeds to say : "Brothers, it is 
now six years since I have been invested with the exclusive right to 
acquire your lands, during the whole of which time, you have quietly 
possessed them without being importuned to sell them, but I now think 
that it is time for them to be productive to you ; it is with a view to 
render them so, that I have acquiesced in your desire to meet you at 
the Genesee river, I shall take care immediately to deposit in the 
Bank of the United States whatever my son and my friend may agree 
to pay to you in my behalf." Then, after some well-chosen words of 
flattery for their chiefs, with some of whom he had become acquainted, 
and expressing the hope that for their sakes the wise men now at the 
head of their affairs would so fix their business (by which of course he 
meant the disposal of their lands), that it would not be left in the 
power of wrong-headed men in the future to waste the property given 
to them by the Great Spirit for the use of themselves and their poster- 
ity, and making no definite proposal, closed by bidding them farewell 
and invoking the Great Spirit to ever befriend and protect them. Mr. 
Morris's speech was a masterpiece in its way, was well calculated to 
make a favorable impression ui^on the Indians, and he declared that he 
"desired nothing but fair, open and honest transactions." 

After the speech of Mr. Morris had been read, the speeches of the 
commissioners, which were in writing, and a string of wampum, were 
laid on the table, and they were informed by Thomas Morris that they 
had nothing further to say for the present, and the council fire was 



Treaty of Big Tree 27 

covered for that day. Nearly all of the 29th was consumed in councils 
among the Indians alone. Late in the afternoon, all were summoned 
to their public council, when Red Jacket noticed the speeches of the 
day before, and thanked the Great Spirit for his care of the commis- 
sioners, and stated that they were "satisfied with the appointments 
made by the president, governor of Massachusetts, and this friend who 
called for this council fire." Then turning to Thomas Morris, he 
observed that it appeared from the speeches delivered that there was 
something kept back, but that from his expressions of fairness and 
candor they hoped all would be fairly laid before them. Mr. Morris 
replied that it was his intention "to act with fairness and sincerity, 
and he was then ready, if they were ready to hear him, to lay before 
them, more particularly, the business which had called them together. 
It was then suggested by Red Jacket, that as the sun was nearly down, 
it would perhaps be well to leave it for tomorrow, and the council 
fire was covered over. 

On the 30th the council was opened in the morning and Mr. Morris 
delivered an artfully written speech, in which he dwelt largely upon 
the advantages which would accrue to them, from the sale of their 
lands, as they would have a larger sum of money than had ever before 
been offered them for land ; that it would be enough to make them all 
happy, clothe all their naked and feed all their hungry; that by placing 
it in bank and drawing out the income yearly, not only themselves but 
their children, and their children's children, would be benefitted by the 
sale, for they would be allowed reservations at each of their villages, 
amply sufficient for their support for all time to come ; in addition to 
which he represented that they could reserve the right to hunt and fish, 
which the white settlers and their settlements would in no wise inter- 
fere with, illustrating this point by alluding to the fact that although 
they had nine years before sold the lands upon which they were then 
holding the council, they still killed more game upon it than upon the 
tract for which they were now treating. He refrained from making a 
definite offer, however, but took occasion to say that in case no pur- 
chase of their land was effected at this treaty, that his father, nor no 
one for him would ever again offer to buy, or ask for a council to be 
called for the purpose. He then sat down, and after a few moments 
one of the chiefs arose and stated that if he had nothing more to say to 
them at present they would like to be left alone to their private con- 



Treaty of Big Tree 28 

sultations. The council fire was then covered over for the day. The 
whole of the last day of the month was consumed in counciling on Mr. 
Morris's speech, without arriving at any conclusion. 

Early in the morning on September 1st, Farmer's Brother came to 
Mr. Morris, making complaint that a person in the neighborhood of 
their camp had been selling Avhisky to the Indians, and many of them 
were drunk. Red Jacket among the number, and wished to know what 
could be done, as the man was still selling out the whisky. He was 
advised to go and seize the barrel and knock it in the head, which he 
immediately did. Red Jacket was greatly irritated by this wanton de- 
struction of the whisky and many of them fell to fighting, pulling hair 
and biting each other like dogs, wherever they could get hold, and no 
progress was made in the business of the treaty. Mr. Morris and Cap- 
tain Chapin went and forbid all the people residing near the Indians 
selling them whisky. There was great danger of a rupture at this 
juncture and it required all the coolness and wisdom the commission- 
ers and Mr. Morris could command, supplemented by the good offi- 
ces of Messrs. Jones and Parish, the interpreters, to prevent an out- 
break which might have resulted in the destruction of the lives of all 
the whites. 

On the afternoon of September 2d the sachems sent for the com- 
missioners and Mr. Morris to come to their council fire, Farmer's 
Brother then arose and stated that they then proposed to answer Mr. 
Morris's speech. Then Red Jacket arose and very j)lainly stated that 
they had no more lands than they wanted to set down upon; that they 
had been told that a great deal of money would be offei'ed them for 
their lands but they could not learn how much, as Mr. Morris had not 
told them, but he supposed he would now bring forward a great deal 
of money to show them, but reqiiested that he would hold his fists 
close, as they would rather have their lands than money. In the even- 
ing a private conference was held with the princij)al chiefs and sach- 
ems, when Mr. Morris offered them $100,000 for the whole of their 
lands and suggested that they invest it in stock of the United States, 
and it woiild bring them at least $6,000 yearly forever. The Indians 
requested him to make this offer in public council and the conference 
ended. 

On the 8d of September, Red Jacket sent a private note to Mr. 
Morris, stating that the speech he made the day before was not his own 



Treaty of Big Tree 29 

sentiments, but was made to please some of his people, that his next 
speech would not be so harsh, and that he would finally answer his 
purpose if he persevered in the business. This looked like an intima- 
tion that he was '"open to conviction," and Mr. Morris, no doubt, at 
once took in the situation. In the afternoon in public coimcil Red 
Jacket arose and said in substance: "We told you yesterday, and we 
tell you now, that our seat is not too large for us to sit down upon 
comfortably. Once the Six Nations were a great people, had large 
coimcU fire at Onondaga, but now at Buffalo. Soon may have to move 
again. Now the Onondagas are nolwdy; have no lands of their own, 
but we are kind to our brothers, and let them sit down in our lands'. 
We are still respected as a great people, all owing to our lands. You 
■want to buy all oui- lands, except such reservations as you might make 
for us to raise com on. It would make us nobody to accept such res- 
ervations, and where you might think proper. If this should be the 
case we coitld not say we were a free people. Brothers, this matter is 
of great magnitude, and we thank you for putting us in mind of this, 
and hope you will stick to the same advice you give us. Brothers, we 
wish you to put your speeches in A\Titmg, so that we can read them 
when we are old. There are a great many of our people who cannot 
remember long, but if they are all wrote down they can be read to 
them when they are old, and we shall know what has been said to us." 
Mr, Morris then delivered a speech, framed substantially in 
these words: '"Brothers, as you request, I will hereafter hand you 
my speeches in writing. I will attend you for that purpose as 
early tomorrow as you please. Brothers, you asked yesterday to know 
what price I would give you for your lands. I will tell you," but first 
I have something to say to you, which I wish you to give your serious 
attention to. so that you may understand well, and impress on your 
minds what I have to say. Brothers, if you do not sell your lands at 
this treaty, you will never have another opportunity of making a bar- 
gain in the presence of the whole nation, because my father will never, 
either in person or by agent, again meet j-ou. Brothers, I now offer 
you SIOO.OOO, which is more than you ever have been or ever will be 
again offered. I propose to you to make reservations round your towns 
and retain the right to hunt and fish on the lands sold, but your reser- 
vations must not be large. This sum is greater than was ever offered 
to you for lands: it would require at least thirty horses to bring it to 



Treaty of Big Tree 30 

you from Philadelphia; it will fill several barrels. I would advise you 
to invest it in bank stock of the United States, where it will be safe, and 
forever bring you an amount of income of at least $6,000, which will 
be siTfficient to clothe you every year, which the game taken on your 
lands will not do if sold, but if you sell your lands you will not only 
have all the game you now have, but a very handsome sum of money 
annually also." This speech seemed to be well received and closed the 
business for the day. 

On the afternoon of the 4th the council was again convened, and 
Mr. Morris delivered the speech of the day before in vn-iting. Then 
Cornplanter arose, and said that the sachems had taken the whole busi- 
ness on themselves; that they had never made Mr. Morris an answer to 
the speech he (Mr. Morris) had made at Buffalo Creek, and he hoped 
they would not trifle away time, and finally give their friend, Mr. 
Morris, no more satisfaction than they had given him before. He 
should start for home tomorrow and whatever was done be it on them- 
selves. Was very glad the President had sent on a person to see that 
business was fairly transacted, and concluded by thanking him for his 
care and attention to them. Colonel Wadsworth then expressed him- 
self as sorry that a division in their councils had taken place; that it 
was no uncommon thing among the whites, and was the source of all 
their difficulties; but when national matters were before them, and the 
interests of the nation concerned, they ought to be united in their en- 
deavors to effect that which would be for the public good. He 
represented the United , States, and was there to see that justice 
was done; he did not want to buy their lands ; he did not 
ask them to sell their lands, and should not ask them, but he hoped 
they would unite in their councils and do what would be for the 
interests of their nation, and expressed a desire that they would come 
to a speedy conclusion of the business. 

Farmer's Brother then arose and expressed himself to the effect 
that "It was the first he had heard of a division in their councils, and 
that if it was so, it ought not to have been mentioned here; the white 
people ought not to have known it." After speaking at some length 
upon topics not immediately connected with the treaty, he sat down 
and Colonel Wadsworth repeated his advice as to unanimity said that 
great and brave men always, in cases of this kind, forgave each other and 
sat down and counciled together for the general good; he did not want 



Treaty of Big Tree 31 

to buy their lands; the president knew he was rich and wanted for 
nothing, and that was the reason he was sent here; he hoped they 
would make up their minds on this business and let him go home, as 
he was old and had the gout, he had not long to live and wished to 
spend the remainder of his days with his family and friends. The 
council fire was then covered up. No council was held on the 5th as 
the time of the Indians was taken up with troublesome men who were 
meddling with the business, and treating them with whisky, which 
rendered them unfit for deliberations. 

On the 6th, after a somewhat desultory speech by Chief Warrior 
Little Beard, on some matters unimportant to recite here, Red Jacket 
arose and after some observations of no great importance, concluded 
his speech by saying that they had agreed to try the value of their 
lands and offered a tract of six miles square, beginning at the corner 
of the Gorham and Phelps purchase on the Pennsylvania line, at $1 
per acre, saying that ' 'that was their price, that you need not offer us 
half that price, nor expect more land. Our friend. Colonel Wads- 
worth, will see that this bargain is just, and will confirm it." Then 
directing his talk to Mr. Morris, he said: "You know the value of land 
round a town that you settle, and we hope you will deal honorably 
with us. You will get $6 per acre, and we offer to sell at $1, therefore 
you ought to make your mind easy. Tomorrow would be a good time 
to answer this, or as Captain Williamson is present, you would consult 
with him and give your answer immediately. I have spoken my mind 
in a few words — very short." 

Mr. Morris then rose, and said that he would speak his mind in a 
few words, just as short, substantially to the effect, "that the offer 
was worthy of no consideration whatever, could not be accepted, and 
if that was their final determination, they might as well cover the 
council fire. Still if you are again desirious of considering the offer I 
have made, I shall wait your answer." He had no sooner seated him- 
self than Red Jacket ai-ose, and in great passion said: "Agreed, let us 
cover over the fire;" and furiously stretching his hand over the table 
said: "Let us shake hands, and part friends," and the business was 
considered closed. This offer of the Indians was not looked for; it was 
entirely unexpected. It was indeed a master stroke, and had the 
Indians steadfastly maintained that position, the result of the treaty 
would have been entirely different. 



Treaty of Big Tree 32 

On the 7th in the afternoon, the commissioners, Mr, Morris and 
Captain Williamson, were notified that the warriors would hold a 
covmcil. They accordingly attended, and Cornplanter introduced his 
cousin. Little Billy, who he said would express their minds, which was 
to smooth the business of yesterday. Little Billy in a short speech, 
thanked the Great Spirit for his care over them the past night, and 
that He had permitted them to meet again; that they had kindled 
the fire, that their voices as warriors might be heard, alkaded to the 
short speeches of the day before, and the abrupt closing of the council 
which was regretted, and was sorry for that short speech and the 
conduct of one of their warriors; wished to unite once more as friends, 
as, if the business was left as at present, it would cause them much 
uneasiness, and said that it was their wish to treat friendly with each 
other on this business. Mr. Morris answered saying that he thanked 
the warriors for their friendly interference to remove the misunder- 
standing. He was desirious that all misunderstanding should be buried 
in oblivion, and cheerfully united with them in again opening a friend- 
ly fire, and if it was their intention to renew the business, he would 
meet them in calmness. Farmer's Brother then asked the attention of 
all, and expressing his sorrow at the misunderstanding that had arisen 
and thanking the warriors for taking an early moment to ease the 
minds of the nation, the commissioners, Mr. Morris and Captain Wil- 
liamson, went on to say, that "agreeable with an ancient custom of their 
people, when a difference arose, it was referred to the warriors and 
headwomen, so now he said the warriors and headwomen would 
answer the propositions that had been made to them." Then Colonel 
Wadsworth expressed his satisfaction, congratulating them on their 
warriors taking the business in hand, and hoped that they might soon 
make up their minds so he might return to his home. General Shepard 
addressed them to the same effect, and Little Billy closed the proceed- 
ings of the day with recommending that the warriors would, while the 
business was being considered, abstain from drinking, and attend only 
to the interests of the nation. 

On the moraing of the 7th, Mr. Morris desired the interpreters to 
bring all the chief women to Mr. Wadsworth. After they were assem- 
bled, he told them that the business upon which he had convened the 
nation, was at an end; that their sachems had hastily covered the council 
fire, and he expected soon to go home. He repeated to the women the 



Treaty of Big Tree 33 

offer he had made to the sachems, and then said that "he had brought 
tip from Philadelphia, some presents for them, and as they were not to 
blame for the ill-treatment he had met with from the chiefs, he would 
at all events, give them these things, and still would, in case of success, 
give them a number of cows, and that if he failed in the purchase, the 
expense he had already been at, was so great as to prevent his fulfilling 
the latter intention; he begged them to contrast their present situa- 
tion with the one in which they would be placed if provided with 
money enough to provide the comforts of life. He concluded by deliv- 
ering a string of wampum, and told them that whenever they experi- 
enced the hardships of poverty, to show it to their chiefs and tell them 
that with that belt they had been offered wealth which the chiefs 
rejected. This was a rare good stroke of business diplomacy. The 
women soon declared for selling, and things took on a different aspect. 
He then went on to tell the women about the large amount of money 
he had offered them, told them how many horses it would take to 
bring it, and how many barrels it would fill, and what wonderful 
things it would do for them. 

When the proceedings of the afternoon were concluded Farmer's 
Brother asked Mr. MoitIs if he were going home early in the morn- 
ing. Mr. Morris said he should prepare to go, "but that it would take 
him several days to pack his things, and that he was obliged on this 
account to stay, that notwithstanding the business was ended, he did 
not want to leave his brothers in bad temper; that he had kindled the 
council fire and therefore it was his, and not Red Jacket's business to 
put it out; that as things were, they might again meet, become recon- 
ciled to each other, and part friends." Young King arrived this day; 
his friend and cousin having died he refused to attend to business till 
the day after his burial. The business was then explained to him and 
he expressed himself as opposed to the sale; that the nation might do 
as it thought best, but his voice was against it. Notwithstanding 
these protestations Young King eventually yielded and withdrew his 
opi)osition. 

No public council was held on the 8th, the day being consumed in 
counciling in small parties, both men and women. It was surmised, 
however, that progi'ess was being made toward a more favorable con- 
sideration of Mr. Morris's offer. As it was important that the efforts 
of some persons who were dealing out whisky and insinuating that Mr. 



Treaty of Big Tree 34 

Morris was going to cheat them, should be thwarted, one Alexander 
Ewing, a leader among them, was taken into custody, and not being 
able to procure bail, was sent to Canandaigua jail, which caused much 
alarm among the intermeddlers and effectually suppressed their 
practices. 

When the council was opened on the 9th, Little Billy stated that 
before entering on business one of the Cayuga brothers desired to 
address a few words to the Seneca nation. The Cayuga, in a brief 
speech, coimseled deliberation, as the business was of great importance, 
and urged that they should be united. Little Billy then spoke, saying 
in substance to Mr. Morris and Captain Williamson: "We hope you 
will make your mind easy on the business before us; it has long been 
before us; an answer was given by the sachems which was not agreea- 
ble; the business has been referred to us, the waiTiors; we counciled on 
it yesterday but the day being rainy and uncomfortable nothing was 
concluded; today we are united as one, and will now deliver our mind 
in writing and request the person who wrote it for us to read it 
publicly; there is no secret in it." 

Complanter's speech was then read. He said in part: "The coun- 
cil fire was kindled at the request of Mr. Morris. The sachems covered 
the council fire, but Mr. Morris claims it was not entirely covered ; 
that he means to lay the business before the warriors and women. I 
wish to remind you of some of the promises made by the United 
States at the close of the war. The commissioners told us they had 
got strong and if we would be peaceful they would take us 
under protection, and make our seats firm and permanent, even 
if they were surrounded by white people, and we should not be 
disturbed. I have always told my people to look up to General 
Washington as our father, as he was the governor of the thirteen fires. 
We are happy to find that you have grown to be a great people, and 
are now fifteen fires. We have been told that our land would become 
very valuable to us. We are sorry to find that the president has 
consented to the sale of our lands at this council fire. It would have 
been more satisfactory to us had it been left all to ourselves. We 
wish to act as we please in this business; under this situation we hope 
the president. General Chapin and all the gentlemen interested will 
take pity on us. We have furnished seats for many brothers of other 
nations. In every town are buried the bones of our ancestors. This 



Treaty of Big Tree 35 

makes us very stingy of our lands. Still, if you will leave the matter 
entirely to us we will conclude a bargain with Mr. Morris." The 
speech concluded by asking Mr. Morris to consult the Book of the 
Great Spirit and see if he could find anything in it directing white 
people to intrude on Indian. 

Colonel Wads worth then addressed the Senecas, in an effort to 
disabuse their minds of some erroneous impressions, closing in these 
words: "I despair of asking you to let me go home; I must patiently 
wait your time." Mr. Morris then addressed the Indians, in part to 
this effect: "I was in hopes to be informed by you and your women, 
whether you intended to sell the whole of the lands, or if not, what 
part, but if you have not had time to consult on the several points 
referred to you, you can yet have it, and make your answer when you 
please. * * * l consider the offer I now make you for yovir lands 
to be strictly honorable, generous and calculated for your real benefit." 
Complanter then said: "Brothers, we now understand you perfectly 
well. The commissioner tells us we are mistaken in our idea of the 
president. We heartily thank him for removing the mistake from our 
minds. We shall again take into consideration the business before us 
and give an answer as soon as possible. We beg our brother, Mr. 
Morris, will lend us the large map of our country, which shall be care- 
fully restored." 

At the opening of the council on the 10th General Shepard informed 
the Indians that Colonel Wadsworth was not well enough to be present, 
but that everything should be made known to him. Little Billy then 
rose and stated that they were not prepared to give an answer to Mr. 
Morris's proposition and Cornplanter would make it known. Com- 
planter then proceeded, reciting the purpose of the council, stating that 
it was understood by him that it was old Mr. Morris who desired the 
council fire, that he only had the right to purchase our lands, and 
we are now, after making the reserves, prepared to close the bargain. 
That the sum offered they considered as small, but as they were to 
make such reserves as will suit their purpose, he advised that he (Mr. 
Morris) make his mind easy on the business. Mr. Morris might consid- 
er the reservations as too large, but the mode in which the country is to 
be settled will give the whites great advantages, and that it would be 
but generous to add to the annuity. Our seats we want to be large 
enough, so that we can give our Indian brethren room in case they 



Treaty of Big Tree 36 

should be crowded by the whites, and we wish it distinctly 
understood that they are to be our own forever." To this 
Mr. Morris replied, among other things saying: "I am happy 
to find that you have determined on a sale of your lands, for if 
this treaty had failed it would have been impossible for my father 
to have collected the chiefs and warriors again on this business. * * 
* In case the matter should have ever been called up again, it would 
become necessary for some of your sachems to visit Philadelphia, and it 
would not be as satisfactory as an open and fair one like this, at which 
every man, woman and child capable of thinking can know what is pass- 
ing; but brothers, as you have not described your reservations, you can- 
not expect my consent, until informed of their extent. I am not unrea- 
sonable, nor do I wish to be tight, but as the sum I offer is very large the 
reservations ought to be small. * * * I would wish you immediately 
to appoint chiefs, to describe the reservations necessary for each tribe." 
Little Billy then addressed the nation, mentioning "that by the speech 
they had just heard, they would see the necessity of appointing suitable 
persons to make the reserves," and proposed that "each village should 
make their appointments, that they might be ready to meet on this 
business tomorrow," and then the council was closed for the day. 
Young King must have absented himself from some of the proceedings 
as on the 11th he is said to have arrived with a young war chief (name 
not given) who desired to be informed of all that had passed, so James 
Rees read to him the journal, and all the speeches, and he expressed 
himself as satisfied. 

Much of the time of the 12th, 13th, 14th and loth was spent in 
determining on the reservations. It was with much difficulty that 
they could be kept within reasonable bounds. The Buffalo Indians 
were very extravagant in their demands, at first claiming 980,000 
acres. The Cattaraugus tribe wanted about 650,000 acres; the Genesee 
Indians wanted two miles along the river and as many back; the Cana- 
waugus Indians, eight miles square; Big Tree and Little Beard each 
six miles square; while Shongo and Hudson wanted for the Carrica- 
dere (Caneadea) Indians, a tract fifty miles long, by six wide. Mr. 
Morris was assisted in the negotiations relative to the reservation by 
Joseph Ellicott, and their only way of settling the matter was by 
counciling with each party separately, and a very warm time they had of 
it. The greatest obstacle to a reasonable adjustment was Red Jacket, 



Treaty of Big Tree 37 

who insisted upon a reservation which would have included 900,000 acres 
for the Buffalo Indians alone; he was very violent in their contention, 
that their national pride and character would be lost unless they 
retained that amount. Mr. Morris declared that he was unreasonable, 
that he had offered them all the whole of their land was worth, and 
generously allowed them what in reason they might wish to retain, 
and now after receiving pay for their lands, they wanted to take half 
of it back. Red Jacket persisted, but Mr. Mon-is would not yield, said 
his father would call him unfaithful, and upbraid him with folly if he 
did. Finally Mr. Morris offered the Buffaloes 100 square miles; which 
they rejected, and told him that "they were the sellers, and would not 
be told what they would part with; they would sell only what they 
pleased." To which he replied that "he was the payer and would only 
pay for what he pleased." They asked him how much he proposed to 
deduct from the $100,000 if they would make the reservations no 
smaller. He told them $25,000, to which they consented, and begged 
that it be so put in the writing. It was however finally agreed that 
the Buffalo reservation should contain 200 square miles and the $100,- 
000 consideration remain. The extent and descriptions of the several 
other reservations were finally agreed upon as they appear in the 
conveyance. Red Jacket made the final speech of the treaty, and 
Mr. Morris was requested to cover the council fire. 

The deed of conveyance was then prepared, and distinctly read and 
explained to the Indians. Colonel Wadsworth then asked if they 
understood it perfectly. They replied that they understood it well, 
and it was in every respect agreeable. They were then asked to sign. 
At this juncture Red Jacket arose and presenting Ebenezer Allan's 
daughter, desired to be informed as to the situation of the land the 
nation had given to Allan and his children. Mr. Morris said that his 
father had bought of, and paid Allan for it, and how he was paying 
the nation for it again. The young woman here interrupted him with 
"No, Mr. Morris, it was only the improvements he sold." To which 
he replied that "the papers would prove the contrary." She then turned 
to Colonel Wadsworth and said : "I forbid the commissioners from 
buying any of the lands given to me by the Indians." He told her she 
had been wrongly advised; that he had nothing to do with it, but that 
for her satisfaction he would examine as to her claim, and give any 
certificate thereof that was proper, if she would call on him in the 



Treaty of Big Tree 38 

morning, Colonel Wadsworth then gave notice that he would leave 
early in the morning, as he was anxious to get home. And the council 
of the Big Tree was ended. 

The names of fifty-two Indians; sachems, chiefs and warriors of 
more or less renown, but all in a high degree representative, were 
appended to the treaty, or deed of conveyance, and the property 
conveyed was described as follows : ' 'All that certain tract of land except 
as hereinafter excepted, lying within the county of Ontario, and state of 
New York, being a part of a tract of land, the right of pre-emption 
whereof was ceded by the state of New York to the commonwealth of 
Massachusetts, by deed of cession, executed at Hartford on the 16th 
day of December, 1786, being all such part thereof as is not included in 
the Indian purchase made by Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham, 
and bounded as follows to wit: Easterly by the land confirmed to 
Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham, by the legislature of the com- 
monwealth of Massachusetts, by an act passed the 21st day of Novem- 
ber, 1788; southerly by the northern boundary line of the state of 
Pennsylvania; westerly, partly by a tract of land, part of the land 
ceded by the state of Massachusetts, to the United States, and by them 
sold to Pennsylvania, being a right angled triangle, whose hypothenuse 
is in or along the shore of Lake Erie; partly by Lake Erie, from the 
northern point of that triangle to the southern bounds of a tract of 
land one mile in width, lying on, and along the east side of the strait of 
Niagara, and partly by the said tract to Lake Ontario, and on the 
north by the boundary line between the United States and the king of 
Great Britain, excepting nevertheless and always reserving out of this 
grant and conveyance, all such pieces or parcels of the aforesaid tract, 
and such privileges thereunto belonging, as are next hereinafter partic- 
ularly mentioned, which said pieces or parcels of land so excepted, 
are by the parties to those presents, clearly and fully imderstood to 
remain the property of the said parties of the first part, in as full and 
ample manner as if these presents had not been executed." Robert 
Morris signed by his attorney, Thomas Morris. It was sealed and 
delivered in presence of Nathaniel W. Howell, Joseph Ellicott, Israel 
Chapin, James Rees, Henry Aaron Hills, Henry Abeel, Jasper Parish 
and Horatio Jones, as interpreters, also witnessed, and Jere Wadsworth 
and William Shepard appended their names to certificates thereto. 
The following signed on the part of the Seneca Nation: 



Treaty of Big Tree 39 

Koyengquahtah, alias Young King, Ma X mark, (L. S.) 

Soonookshewan, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Konutaleo, alias Handsome Lake, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Sattakanguyase, alias Two Skies of a Length, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Onayawos, or Farmer's Brother, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Soogooyawautau, alias Red Jacket, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Gishkaka, alias Little Billy, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Kaoundoowana, alias Pollard, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Ouneshalarkau, or Tall Chief, by his agent Stevenson, (L. S.) 

Onnonggarhiko, alias Infant, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Teahdowaingqua, alias Thomas Jemison, his X mark, (L. S. 

Tekonnondee, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Oneghtaugooan, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Connawaudeau, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Taosslaieffi, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Kocenwahka, or Cornplanter, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Oosaukaunendauki, alias To Destroy a Town, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Sooloowa, alias Parrot Nose, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Toonahookahwa, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Hirowennounen, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Konnahtaetone, hisX mark, (L. S. 

Taouyaukauna, or Blue Sky, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Woudougoohkta, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Sonauhquakau, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Twaunaulyana, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Takaunondea, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Shequinedaughque, or Little Beard, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Jowao, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Saunajie, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Tauoiyuquatakausea. his X mark, (L. S.) 

Taoundaudish. alias Black Chief, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Tooauquinda, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Ahtaon, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Taukooshoondakoo, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Kauneskanggo, alias Col. Shongo, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Soononjuwan, alias Gov. Blacksnake, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Tonowamya, or Capt. Bullet, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Jaahkaaeyas, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Taughikshanta, his X mark (L. S.) 

Sukkenjoonan. his X mark, (L. S.) 

Ahquatieya, or Hot Bread, his X mark (L, S.) 

Suggonundan, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Taunowaintooh , his X mark. (L. S.) 

Konnonjoowauna, alias Big Kettle, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Soogooeyandestak, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Haul wan anekkan. by Young King, his X mark (L. S.) 

Sauwijuwan, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Kaunoohshauwen, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Taukonondaugekta, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Kavuyanoughque, or John Jennison, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Holegush, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Taknaahquan, hisX mark. (L. S.) 



Treaty of Big Tree 40 

The reservations, as finally agreed upon, were the Canawagus, Big 
Tree, Little Beards, Squawkie Hill, Gardeau, each of two square miles, 
and Caneadea, of sixteen square miles, all on the Genesee river' 
one at the oil spring near Cuba of one square mile, one at Allegheny- 
river of forty-two square miles, and one each at Buffalo and Tona- 
wanda creeks, containing together two hundred square miles, and one 
at Cattaraugus of forty-two square miles, in all 198,400 acres. By 
some inadvertence the Oil Spring reservation was not enumerated with 
the others in the conveyance. This was noticed by some of the Indians, 
and some accounts say a "big drunk" followed, and the Indians 
threatened to annul the whole transaction, unless the Oil Spring reser- 
vation was reconveyed to them. The matter was laid before Thomas 
Morris, who took a piece of paper, with his own hand, wrote thereon 
such a conveyance, signed and executed it, and gave it to Handsome 
Lake, a leading chief, stating to him its purport. Handsome Lake died 
soon after, and the paper was never after seen. Having never been re- 
corded the legal status was the same as at the moment of the discovery 
of the omission. The paper title being in the Holland Land Company, 
it was sold to Benjamin Chamberlain, Staley N. Clark and William 
Gallagher. Gov. Horatio Seymour afterward held one-fourth part of it. 
The Indians directed their attorney, Daniel Sherman, to begin an action 
of ejectment against Philonious Pattison, who had acquired the part on 
which was the spring, and after considerable litigation won the case, 
mainly on the testimony of Governor Blacksnake, who said that for 
years he had kept in a chest under his bed a map made by Joseph Elli- 
cott, of the Indian lands sold at the treaty of Big Tree, with the reser- 
vation marked in red ink. Blacksnake said that Ellicott presented the 
map to the Senecas at a council of Tonawanda in 1801, stating that the 
map contained a correct description of the reservations made by the 
Big Tree treaty. The qiaestion as to the title of the Indians to Oil 
Spring reservation has never since been raised. It is said that Gover- 
nor Seymour utterly refused to take any part in the defence of the suit, 
The title of the Oil Spring reservation is still in the Seneca Indians. 
Mary Jemison insisted on the Gardeau reservation being described by 
natural boundaries which she herself designated. It was towards the 
last of the business, and Mr. Morris, no doubt pretty well tired out, 
assented, under the impression, says Doty, that not more than 150 acres 
would be included. When finally surveyed, it was found to measure 



Treaty of Big Tree 41 

17,927 acres, which proved that she was sharp enough for Mr. 
Morris. 

Ebenezer Allan did not show up in the proceedings. If present, he 
kept shady, so to speak, and possibly was one of that disturbing ele- 
ment which caused considerable trouble during the progress of nego- 
tiations. The deed from the Indians of the lands for his daughters was 
given to him in trust for them. Yet it is said that Allan sold and 
conveyed it to Robert Morris when on a visit to Philadelphia, that 
Morris was aware of the fact, that he had no right to sell it, and the 
daughters were thus cheated out of their land. 

On the part of Mr. Morris the treaty of Big Tree was conducted 
with most consummate skill. With him it was indeed a case of must, 
with the must very much emphasized. When Thomas Morris told the 
Indians, as he did repeatedly, in substance, that they would never have 
another offer for their lands, he put up the biggest kind of a bluff, for 
no man knew better than he, that in the event of failure of the treaty, 
renewed efforts would have to be put forth to secure the title to 
this land. The bluff probably had to some extent at least the 
desired effect, but that it was ably supplemented by some very 
effective work on the part of Thomas Morris and his friends 
during the hiatus which interrupted the proceedings there can 
be no doubt. Robert Morris had plainly indicated the course 
to pursue, and if Red Jacket, Cornplanter, Little Billy, Pollard, 
Farmer's Brother and Young King received gratuities, pensions or 
bribes, ranging from $10 to $250 per annum for their influence with their 
people to effect a sale, are they any more to be blamed than Thomas 
Morris, acting under the deliberate and explicit directions of his illus- 
trious father? In a case of bribery, it is not always easy to determine 
which is the guiltier, the briber or the bribee. 

It would have made a much fairer page of history, had it not been 
deemed necessary to resort to methods which did not exactly square up 
to the requirements of absolute honesty, yet for those who sometimes 
justify questionable methods on the ground that "the end justifies the 
means," it is of course easy to condone the transaction on the part of 
Mr. Morris. His strong arm and mighty services during the years of 
the war for independence can never be forgotten, and under the circum- 
stances it is best perhaps to "lay this flattering unction to our souls," 
and console ourselves with the comforting reflection that it was all 



Treaty of Big Tree 42 

overruled for the beat interests of humanity. As for the Indians let us 
flatter ourselves that it was only one of those cases of the inevitable, 
so willed by the Great Spirit, and that in the happy hunting grounds 
they have met the sachems, chiefs, warriors, hunters, squaws and 
papooses of long ago in regions more fair and a country far more beau- 
tiful even than this paradise of the Senecas, which they once inhabited 
and over which at Big Tree they higgled for a few cents per acre, 
where all is peace and happiness, and age and decrepitude cannot come. 
But casting all reflections and observations aside, let us close by saying 
that the treaty of Big Tree was the key which unlocked the gates of 
this great empire of forest and opened it up to the light of civilization, 
and the glorious acts of peace. A great tide of immigration was anx- 
iously awaiting the issue, and hailed with delight the auspicious 
result. 

The Holland Company, as it had now come to be called, hastened 
preparations for surveying; the transit meridian, the boundary line 
between its purchase and the Moras reserve, was established in the 
summer of 1798, by Joseph and Benjamin Elicott; the same season 
Augustus Porter ran the boundary lines of the several reservations; 
George Burgess made a traverse of the Genesee river from the great 
elm at the mouth of Canandaigua creek, to the Pennsylvania line, 
and many surveyors were soon employed in establishing meridians, and 
running township and sub-division lines. A land office was established 
at Batavia, maps of the tract were placed where they would do the most 
good, and glowing accounts of the wonderful new country, of its tim- 
ber, soil, climate, productions and water, were given in the leading 
journals. 

Let us witness a transformation. An army appears; not with 
banners, but armed with hickory sticks, upon which are hung wedge- 
shaped pieces of glittering steel, thin and sharp. Its ranks are filled with 
stalwart men, with nerves of steel, steady purjiose and strong will. It 
is followed by log sleds and lumber wagons, drawn mostly by oxen, 
and loaded with furniture becoming frontier life, and their wives and 
children. All at once, as if by magic, a thousand rude cabins appear 
in as many small openings in the woods. The merry ring of the set- 
tler's ax is heard, and crash on crash come thundering to the earth, the 
proud monarchs of the forest. Piles are made, fires are lighted, and 
the blackened soil and stumps are quickly succceeded by fields of golden 



Treaty of Big Tree 43 

grain. The clearings widen, comfortable log dwellings and school- 
houses appear; saw and grist and carding mills are erected, roads are 
opened, streams are bridged, stores are put up at the comers; postoffices 
and post-routes are established; the stage and boat horns succeed the 
war-whoop and the wild yell of exultation of the Senecas. only soon to 
be succeeded by the whistle of the locomotive, and the rattle and roar 
of the railroad cars; and today the territory of the Holland purchase 
and Morris reserve interlaced with more miles of railway than it 
had of main Indian trails at the time of the Big Tree treaty, and the 
country is covered with a network of telegraph, telephone and trolley 
wires, which is truly wonderful. Before 1850 the last howl of the last 
wolf had been heard, the deer disappeared before rifle of the pioneer, 
and the panther and bear retreated to more secluded regions, and today 
the log dwelling and the log school-house are among "the things that 
were, but are not." 

The mighty power of Niagara has been harnessed, and made to 
subserve the purposes of man. Electricity has been impressed into 
service, and optimists discern within its limits, in the near future, the 
greatest manufacturing center of the world. Over 160 tovsTiships and 
distinct municipalities, hundreds of thriving villages, a full half -score 
of bustling cities, among them the second in the state, schools, churches, 
academies, seminaries, colleges and universities, scattered here and 
there, all conspire to give this territory a position everything considered, 
second to no other of like extent upon the continent. It is indeed a 
heritage of which we may be justly proud. Let us be thankful for the 
high privilege of living here today, and fondly cherish the hope that the 
hundred years to come will abound more and more with the evidences 
of material, social and religious prosperity, and that when the bi-cen- 
tennial of the Big Tree treaty shall appear upon the dial of the centur- 
ies, our successors may have as good if not better cause for grateful 
<;ommemoration than we have today. 



FEMARKS OF 

MR. GEORGE ROGERS HOWELL 

rY\ R- PRESIDENT, Ladies and Gentlemen:— I have come from- 
111 Albany to present for your inspection some Indian treaties 
1*1 to be exhibited a little later. A descendant of Robert Mor- 
^ \ ris, whose treaty with the Indians we celebrate this day, 

Mr. Gouverneur Morris of Detroit, has requested me to present in his 
name to the Livingston County Historical Society this portrait of his 
ancestor. But before everything else I wish to present to the village 
of Geneseo my congratulations that it has in its midst an orchestra 
and a body of singers, all its own citizens, capable of giving such 
music as we have heard this afternoon, music which would have been 
creditable to any body of performers in any place. 

This portrait of Robert Morris is a photograph of a portrait in oil 
made by Rembrandt Peale which is considered by the family to be the 
best of him in existence. It is, and will always be, valuable to the 
Society, as it represents a man and an event, — the man through whom 
came the possibility of your ancestors obtaining homes in this fertile 
valley, and the event, the passing of the title from the Indian to the 
white man. As we grade men Robert Morris was a great man. He 
was one to whom was given the ability to see avenues to great fortune 
in the undertaking of great affairs. These avenues are closed to the 
eyes of most men. I presume there are men before me who are not 
millionaires. Well, do not mourn over that as if you had failed to 
improve the talents given you. You may rest assured that special 
talents are as necessary to perceive and recognize avenues to great 
wealth as truly as they are to a Mendelssohn to write those incompara- 
ble masterpieces of music that have charmed the world for genera- 
tions. Money making is an inborn gift, an endowment by the 
Almighty, and if you have it, though born in Podunk or Cranberry 
Center you will find your way to the centers of wealth and power and 
population. But if you have not this peculiar talent it is no fault of 
yours, and you can be just as happy withoiit it, and make that wife in 
your home just as happy with your love and care and protection. 
Your children will love you as well, and the great Judge over all will 
be just as ready to receive you with the plaudit "Well done" as if you 
had amassed millions. Now, then, Robert Morris was a man of large 
affairs, and in laying the foundations of a large personal fortune he 
opened up an immense tract of land to be converted from a wilder- 



Treaty of Big Tree 45 

ness to the famous grainfields of the Genesee valley. The forest 
through your labors and those of your ancestors has become the 
garden of the empire state. 

But what a drama had just been enacted on the Atlantic seaboard 
from Massachusetts to Georgia. Thirteen colonies had been governed 
by a king three thousand miles away across the water, and little cared 
king or ministry or parliament for the sufferings of an over-taxed 
people so long as the never-ceasing stream of taxes and tithes from the 
colonies flowed into the treasury at home. But the time for self- 
government had come, freedom was in the air, and the colonies 
declared their independence and became a nation. And then for a 
second time two nations were battling for the possession of half a 
continent. It was a life and death struggle, prolonged through suffer- 
ing and losses, where every home mourned a victim in the cause of 
liberty. When Great Britain in despair abandoned the field, the end 
of the war found the country impoverished and its population deci- 
mated. But a new nation had been born, where freedom had her 
home and flung wide open the doors to the oppressed throughout the 
world. 

And then came the time to repair the damages of war. The young 
men began to look to the fertile fields to the west of the old frontiers. 
Here in New York dwelt the Six Nations, in mental and physical 
endowments the equals of the white race. If their moral condition 
was inferior, it was not so many hundred years ago when our ances- 
tors were no better. Recall to mind that scene in Charles Kingsley's 
Hereward the Wake, where, after the conquest of England by William 
of Normandy, the Saxons are sent back to their homes in the fens of 
Lincolnshire in boats rowed by men whose eyes had been put out, 
directed by men whose hands had been lopped off. The Indian made 
one great mistake. He did not adopt the civilization of the white 
race. Emerson enjoins the man who aspires for better things to hitch 
his wagon to a star, but the poor Indian took to the woods. But the 
earth was not given as an inheritance to man for hunting. The 
human race long ago discovered it was easier to take one's dinner from 
the beef-barrel in the cellar than to seek it running wild in the woods. 
The earth does her best under cultivation and a race of hunters must 
always give way to tillers of the soil. Even now the solution of the 
Indian problem is, along with education, to assign land to them in 
severalty, and then compel them to adopt the ways of cizilization. 



Treaty of Big Tree 46 

Mr. Howell then exhibited three treaties: 

1. A copy of the treaty of Robert Morris with the Indians Sept. 
16, 1797, when for $100,000 he obtained possession of the tract of the 
Senecas. This was made in duplicate at the same time (1797) and 
deposited in the archives of the state. 

2. A second treaty of the Senecas with the state of New York 
wherein they surrendered for $500 a strip of land a mile wide bordering 
the east bank of the Niagara river, of date Aug. 20, 1802. 

3. The original treaty of the Oneidas Sept. 22,1788, when they 
ceded all their lands except a small reservation for themselves to the 
state of New York to which is attached a belt of wampum. This was 
signed by the chiefs and sachems of the Oneidas. These deeds or 
treaties are all in the New York State Library. 



AT THE BANQUET 



ADDRESS BY TOASTMASTER 
S. E, HITCHCOCK 

O^ EMBERS of the Livingston County Historical Society, 
III Gi-uests, and Friends: — I shall trespass but a moment upon 
1*1 your patience owing to the lateness of the hour; but I should 
" ^ be false to my duty as well as to my inclination if I failed 

to give expression to the feeling which I know is at this moment upper- 
most in the minds of all present, that of sorrow for the enforced 
absence of our honored President. Detained by illness in a distant 
state, we know that his heart goes out to us in best wishes for our 
welfare and for the success of our celebration. And our thoughts go 
out to him laden with regret at his absence and wishes for his speedy 
restoration to health. 

One hundred years ago today the Genesee Valley was the scene of 
a momentous event. It was the dawning of what we, in the hurry and 
bustle of the closing hours of the nineteenth century, call civilization. 
It was the closing of the deep and solemn reign of the civilization of 
Nature. It was the passing of this valley into the hands of the white 
man, who should cause it to teem with busy towns and fruitful fields. 
It was the passing out of the hands of those to whom the Almighty 
had intrusted it, so far as we know, since the morning stars sang 
together. 

Gathered as we are gathered in commemoration, it is fitting that 
our thoughts should be carried directly to that great event, and I 
therefore propose as our first toast, "The Treaty of Big Tree — Its Moral 
and Material Influence." 



RESPONSE BY 

COL. JOHN R. STRANG 

The Treaty of Big Tree — Its Moral and Material Influence. 

THE OPENING of Western New York to settlement and civiliza- 
tion did not in precise terms depend upon the ratification of the 
Big Tree Treaty, because, before that was made in 1797, there 
was already a considerable settlement of white people within 
the limits of the lands transferred by it to Robert Morris, the first 
white settler in this town being as early as 1789, and several of the 
prominent early pioneers having purchased lands and taken up their 
residence within the town between that date and 1797. But its ratifi- 
cation was a throwing wide open of the gate for the advancing tide of 
settlement and civilization, in consequence of the ability thereafter to 
procure a perfect title to land which had theretofore been held by Mor- 
ris under an imperfect Indian title. After the purchase from the In- 
dians at the close of the War of the Revolution, the extinguishment of 
the Massachusetts title to large parts of the lands in Western New 
York, Morris had contracted to sell various portions of the vast tract 
so acquired, to various persons in this and other lands, binding himself 
to procure the extinguishment of the Indian title within a given period. 
As before remarked, the extinguishment of the Indian title made all 
these conveyances good, and the purchasers were able to hold and con- 
vey the entire fee of the lands. The attention of a large part of the 
Northern States, particularly New England and Pennsylvania, had 
been already called to the beauty and fertility of the land in the Gene- 
see Valley and other parts of Western New York, and no sooner was 
the treaty of Big Tree signed than the tide of emigration set in to 
Western New York, especially from New England, Pennsylvania and 
Maryland, and before the lapse of many years, large tracts of these 
fertile lands, which have since become the garden of the continent, 
passed into possession and occupancy of actual settlers from the states 
named. 

It was the best class of population with which to found and estab- 
lish a new country, the settlers bringing with them the customs and 
habits of thrift and industry, and the moral and religious characteris- 
tics, which prevailed in the homes from which they came, added to 
which was the spirit of enterprise, which induced them to seek out 
and make their homes in this, then so distant a country. In after years 



Treaty of Big Tree 51 

other circumstances brought into their midst a large number of Scotch- 
Irish settlers, whole towns in Western New York coming to be inhab- 
ited by the latter, some of whom were from the parent country, and 
others from the eastern part of the state of New York. These various 
nationalities and classes of people soon assimilated and became a homo- 
geneous people, carefully rearing and nursing in their midst all that 
tended toward education, enlightenment and civilization, and as we 
trace down the years since the beginning of the century, we cannot 
fail to notice how the Valley of the Genesee, and indeed the whole of 
Western New York, has ever been prominent in educational matters 
and in all things which tended to lift up and ennoble the mass of the 
people. Commerce and manufactures soon had a steadfast foothold 
among them ; canals and railroads afforded them access to market and 
a means of intercommunication among themselves, and as the result, 
we have today in the western part of this state, a country of which 
every one of its citizens must be proud, which contains within the 
limits of the very land covered by the treaty of Big Tree, two of the 
most prosperous cities of the state, inhabited by at least half a million 
of people, to say nothing of the beautiful villages, hamlets and homes, 
with which the whole land is now covered. 

In the few moments which I have at my disposal to respond to this 
toast, I cannot enter into details further, but have already given suffi- 
cient to indicate the moral and material influence which the ratifica- 
tion of the treaty of Big Tree had on Western New York, and must 
close by saying that the land which in 1797 was inhabited substantially 
only by Indians, and whose millions of fertile acres were unused and 
uncultivated, and under the foliage of whose forest trees this treaty 
was discussed and signed, has by the character, thrift and energy of its 
settlers, guided and directed by the first pioneers, become the home of 
education, civilization and refinement, and made to blossom as a rose. 



RESPONSE BY 

HON. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS 

Robert Morris — "A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed." 
f IKE all gi-eat men, Robert Morris had his calumniators, but his 
I whole life was open and above petty things, and his whole 

^^ course during the trying time of our revolution showed him to 
^W be a man fearless in the path of duty, and too noble to deign to 
notice the trivial charges that are always the lot of public men. 
His patriotism and sacrifices for his country duiing the revolution, and 
his close friendship with Washington are matters of history, and it 
may well be said that our revolution might have failed without Wash- 
ington, but must have failed without Morris. 

Both to the Colony of Pennsylvania and to the United States he 
gave his time and credit at great sacrifice to his own business interests 
and personal comfort, and he was always found ready in the time of 
need. On the formation of the government in 1781 he was unanimously 
elected Superintendent of Finances, at a time when the exhausted credit 
of the government threatened the most alarming consequences; when the 
army was utterly destitute of the necessary supplies of food and cloth- 
ing, and even the confidence of Washington was shaken, Robert Morris, 
upon his own credit, and from his own private resources, furnished 
those pecuniary means, without which all the physical force of the 
country would have been in vain. 

The following letter conveying his sentiments in relation to the 
high trust reposed in him was submitted to Congress and is worthy of 
being produced here, also his formal acceptance of the office : 

Philadelphia, 13th March, 1781. 

His Excellency, the President of Congress— Sir : I had the honour to 
receive your excellency's letter of the twenty -first of last month, en- 
closing the act of congress of the twentieth, whereby I am appointed, 
by an unanimovis election of that honourable body, to the important 
office of "Superintendent of Finance." Perfectly sensible of the honour 
done me by this strong mark of confidence from the sovereign author- 
ity of the United States, I feel myself bound to make the acknowledg- 
ments due by pursuing a conduct formed to answer the expectations 
of congress, and promote the public welfare. Were my abilities equal 
to my desire of serving America, I should have given an immediate 
determination after this appointment was made ; but, conscious of my 
own deficiences, time for consideration was absolutely necessary. Lit- 
tle, however, of the time which has elapsed, have I been able to devote 
to this subject, as the business before the legislature of Pennsylvania 
(wherein I have the honour of a seat,) has demanded, and continues 
to demand, my constant attendance. 




,^. ., 



HON. GOUVERNEUR MORUl^ 



Treaty of Big Tree 53 

So far as the station of Superintendent of Finance, or indeed any 
other public station of office, applies to myself, I should, without the 
least hesitation have declined an acceptance ; for after upwards of 
twenty years assiduous application to business as a merchant, I find 
myself at that period when my mind, body, and inclination, combine 
to make me seek for relaxation and ease. Providence has so far smiled 
on my endeavors as to enable me to prepare for the indulgence of those 
feelings, in such manner as would be least injurious to the interests of 
my family. If, therefore, I accept this appointment, a sacrifice of that 
ease, of much social and domestic enjoyment, and of my material in- 
terests, must be the inevitable consequence : And, as my ambition was 
entirely gratified by my present situation and character in life, no 
motive of that kind can stimulate me to acceptance. Putting myself 
out of the question the sole motive is the public good ; and this motive, 
I confess, comes home to my feelings. The contest we are engaged in, 
appeared to me, in the first instance, just and necessary ; therefore I 
took an active part in it ; as it became dangerous, I thought it the 
more glorious, and was stimulated to the greatest exertions in my 
power when the affairs of America were at the worst. Sensible of the 
want of arrangement in our monied affairs, the same considerations 
impel me to this undertaking, which I would embark in without hesi- 
tation, could I believe myself equal thereto ; but fearing this may not 
be the case, it becomes indispensably necessary to make such stipula- 
tions as may give ease to my feelings, aid to my exertions and tend to 
procure ample support to my conduct in office, so long as it is founded 
in, and guided by, a regard to the public prosperity. 

In the first place, then, I am to inform congress, that the prepara- 
tory steals I had taken to procure to myself relaxation from business 
with least injury to the interests of my family, were by engaging in 
certain commercial establishments with persons in whom I had perfect 
confidence, as to their integrity, honour and abilities. These establish- 
ments I am bound in honour, and by contracts, to support to the extent 
agreed on. If, therefore, it be in the idea of congress, that the office of 
superintendent of finance is incompatible with commercial concerns 
and connexions, the point is settled ; for I cannot, on any consideration, 
consent to violate engagements, or depart from those principles of 
honour which it is my pride to be governed by. If, on the contrary, 
congress have elected me to this office under the expectation that my 
mercantile connexions and engagements were to continue, an express 
declaration of their sentiments should appear on the minutes, that no 
doubt may arise, or reflection be cast, on this score hereafter, 

I also think it indispensably necessary that the appointment of all 
persons who are to act in my office, (under the same roof, or in imme- 
diate connexion with me,) should be made by myself; congress first 
agreeing that such secretaries, clerks or officers, so to be appointed, 
are necessary, and fixing the salaries for each. I conceive that it will 
be impossible to execute the duties of this office with effect, unless the 
absolute power of dismissing from office, or employment, all persons 
whatever that are concerned in the official expenditure of public 
monies, be committed to the superintendent of finance ; for. unless this 
power can be exercised without control, I have little hopes of efficacy 
in the business of reformation, which is probably the most essential 



Treaty of Big Tree 54 

part of the duty. These being the only positive stipulations that occur 
to me at this time, the determination of congress thereon will enable 
me to determine whether to accept or decline the appointment. I must, 
however, observe, that the act of congress of February, describing the 
duties of the superintendent of finance, requires the execution of many 
things for which adequate powers are not provided ; and it cannot be 
expected that your officer can, in such case, be responsible. These, 
however, may be the subjects of future discussions. 

With sentiments of the highest respect for you and congress, I 
have the honour to subscribe myself 

Your Excellency's most obedient and humble serv't, 

Robert Morris. 



Philadelphia, May 14, 1781. 
Sir : — The honour conferred by congress in appointing me super- 
intendent of finance, their several resolutions of the twentieth of March, 
twenty-first and twenty-seventh of April, which your excellency has 
been pleased to transmit, and a serious conviction of that duty which 
every citizen owes to his country, especially in times of public calamity, 
will no longer permit me to hesitate about the acceptance of that office, 
although I must again repeat that I have the fullest sense of my own 
inability. I shall, however, strive to find such assistance as will enable 
me, in some measure, to answer the reasonable expectations of congress, 
to whom I can promise for myself nothing more than honest industry. 
You will readily perceive that much time must be consumed in procur- 
ing proper officers, fixing on men for assistants whose ability and 
integrity may be depended upon, in laying plans for obtaining money 
with the greatest ease for the people, and expending it to the greatest 
advantage of the public, forming arrangements necessary to carry 
their plans into execution, and obtaining information as to the present 
state of things, in order that abuses may be, if possible, speedily and 
effectually remedied. Besides this, it will be necessary that I should 
confer with the commander-in-chief on the various exi^enditures of the 
war, and the means of retrenching such as are unnecessary. Let me 
add that the account of my private business must be adjusted, so as 
that all my affairs may be put into the hands of other persons and 
subjected to their management. My necessary commercial connex- 
ions, notwithstanding the decided sense of congress expressed in their 
resolution of the twentieth March, might, if the business were trans- 
acted by myself, give rise to illiberal reflections equally paiufnl to me, 
and injurious to the public. This reason alone would deserve great 
attention ; but further I expect that my whole time, study, and atten- 
tion, will be necessarily devoted to the various business of my depart- 
ment. 

Having thus stated some of the causes which will prevent me 
from immediately entering on the arduous task assigned me, I pray 
leave to call the attention of congress to the advanced season, and then 
I am persuaded their own good sense vdll render it unnecessary for me 
to observe that very little can be expected from my exertions during the 
present campaign ; they will therefore, easily perceive the propriety of 
the request I am to make, that the business may go on according to 



Treaty of Big Tree 55 

the present arrangements, or such other as congress may devise until I 
can take it up, which I promise to do as speedily as possible. By this 
means I may be enabled so to dispose of the several members of my 
department as to form them into a regular system ; whereas, by throw- 
ing the whole immediately upon me, I shall be inevitably involved in a 
labyrinth of confusion from which no human efforts can ever extricate 
me. 

Another consideration of great magnitude, to which I must also 
pray the attention of congress, is the present public debts. I am sure 
that no gentleman can hope that these should be immediately paid out 
of an empty ti'easury. If I am to receive and consider the application 
on that subject, if I am to be made responsible, that alone, will, I fear, 
be full employment for the life of one man, and some other must be 
chosen to attend to the present, and provide for the future. But this is 
not all : if, from that or from any other cause, I am forced to commit 
a breach of faith, or even to incur the appearance of it, from that 
moment my utility ceases. 

In accepting the office bestowed on me, I sacrifice much of my 
interest, my ease, my domestic enjoyments, and internal tranquillity. 
If I know my own heart, I make these sacrifices with a disinterested 
view to the service of my country. 

I am ready to go still further ; and the United States may com- 
mand everything I have except my integrity, and the loss of that would 
effectually disable me from serving them more. 

What I have to pray, then, is, that the adjustment of all my trans- 
actions, and of all that relates to the present system, may be completed 
by the modes already adopted, that whatever remains unpaid may 
become a funded debt, and that it may in that form be committed to 
me to provide for the yearly interest, and for the eventual discharge of 
the principal. This task I will cheerfully undertake, and if in the 
progress of things, I am enabled to go further, with equal cheerfulness 
it shall be done : bvit I must again repeat my serious conviction that 
the least breach of faith must ruin us forever. It is not from vanity 
that I mention the expectations which the public seemed to have 
formed from my appointment ; on the contrary, I am persuaded they 
are raised on a weak foundation, and I must lament them because I 
foresee that they must be disappointed. I must, therefore, entreat 
that no flattering prospect of immediate relief be raised. 

Congress well knows that the public credit cannot be restored 
without method, economy, and punctual performance of contracts. 
Time is necessary to each ; and therefore the removal of those evils we 
labour under can be expected from time only. To hold out a different 
idea would deceive the people, and consequently injure the public 
service. 

I am sure it is unnecessary to add, before I close this letter, that I 
confidently expect my measures will meet with the fullest support from 
congress, so long as they are honestly directed to the general welfare. 
In this conviction, and with every sentiment of respectful attention, 
I have the honor to be. 

Your Excellency's most obedient and humble servant, 

Robert Morris. 



Treaty of Big Tree 56 

Robert Morris was remarkable for his domestic habits ; and in his 
intercourse with his family and friends, and, indeed, with general 
society, no one made greater exertions to do kind offices. His great 
cheerfulness and benevolence attracted the esteem of a numerous circle 
of acquaintance, and the veneration of the people. Independent in his 
principles and conduct, he never courted the countenance of living 
man. Warmly devoted to his friends, he was almost idolized by them, 
but especially by those who were particularly dear to him — Alexander 
Hamilton and Gouverneur Morris. Whenever Washington came to 
Philadelphia his first visit was to Robert Morris. 

I think I can safely leave it to future historians to vindicate his 
honor and unselfishness, and repel any aspersions upon his course, 
most of them the product of jealousy and vindictiveness. He was 
utterly free from selfish ambition and was willing to retire when his 
work was done. The time must come when our country will properly 
appreciate his services and recognize in a proper manner his worth. 




ANDREW JOHN 



RESPONSE BY 
ANDREW JOHN 

/V\ R. PRESIDENT, Ladies and Gentlemen : It is the greatest 
ill pleasure to me that the Managers of the Livingston County 
1*1 Historical Society, extend their invitation to our Lidian 
P \ people to participate at this commemoration of one hundred 

years ago today of our forefather's signing, known as "The Treaty of 
Big Tree," and the Seneca Indians responded who are now present at 
this occasion of which I am proud to be one of the members, whom 
represented now of the said party of the first part to this great Treaty. 
Though the people who signed this treaty have past away to the happy 
hunting grounds, and their descendants now today gathered here — the 
very grounds where our ancestors negotiated which involve a large 
amount of land. 

At that time our people, the Indians, ceded a large tract of land 
known as Western New York for a mere nominal sum of money for 
the consideration, excepting and reserving to the Indians certain privi- 
leges and reservations mentioned in treaty. This sale of land from 
the Indians to Robert Morris contained a large tract of land, for one 
hundred thousand dollars. The Seneca Indians are getting only six 
thousand dollars interest per annum at present, while the white people 
occupying the land mentioned in said Big Tree Treaty are getting 
millions and millions of dollars interest. From the standpoint of my 
race many incidents of the most disgraceful tricks and robberies perpe- 
trated upon the poor untutored sons of the forest. Still the Seneca 
Indians are happy and clinging upon the agreements and solemn obli- 
gations mentioned in the treaties under which they are protected a»d 
are now enjoying within the borders of this great Empire State. 

Let us now look over some of the history of way back. It would 
have been strange indeed if the Natives had borne tamely such whole- 
sale robbery of their property, but early in the story begins a worse 
record. In 1623, a company of worthless white indented servants in 
Massachusetts, after robbing the cornfields of the people of Plymouth, 
changed their quarters and dispersed in little parties, prowled around 
like tramps, begging and stealing from the Indians. Had they been 
red savages and the whites the sufferers from such depredations, their 
exterminations would have been regarded as a bounden duty, for in a 
new coiintry such men deserve no mercy. But they were Englishmen, 
and when news was brought from Plymouth that the Natives, tired of 



Treaty of Big Tree 58 

their thefts, were plotting for their destruction, the outrage was 
deemed unpardonable. Miles Standish, with eight companions visited 
the Indian settlement, "imder the pretense of trade." Enticing the 
leading Chief with three of his followers into a cabin, the door was 
closed and the Christians murdered the heathen in cold blood. This 
was the transaction that in the words of a learned historian "excited 
some misgivings" in the mind of John Robinson. Events like this, 
with which the early history of America is replete roused the indigna- 
tion of the Natives from Massachusetts to Georgia, and resulted in the 
feeling which has been stigmatized as the "inextinguishable hatred 
which the red men felt for the white intruder." But crimes of this 
character were not the worst that were perpetrated upon the Natives. 
We hold up our hands in horror of the tortures practiced by the 
Indians on their prisoners. In 1637 the Christian white men of Con- 
necticut put a red captive to death by tearing him limb from limb 
with ropes fastened to his legs and arms. How, during the war 
with King Philip the whites burned the savages in their wigwams, 
driving them back into the flames at the point of the bayonet, and how 
they murdered the women and children is known to every student. 
But robbing, torture and massacre all pale before the crowning infamy 
which drove the Natives to despair. The most distinguishing trait of 
the Indian was his love of personal freedom. He knew no Master, 
and recognized no Lord, save as in a dull vague way he looked up to 
the Great Spirit. 

The league of the Six Nations or Iroquois, as the French termed 
them when they spoke of this Indian Confederacy, was the most re- 
markable people in wisdom, oratory, political and the knowledge of the 
country during the early days when their glory was in full blast. The 
vast territory of country upon which they had immediate control com- 
prises north by St. Lawrence, east by Atlantic Ocean, south by Ten- 
nessee, west by Mississippi river, from this vast territory of country 
reduced that the control now at present by the Seneca Nation of In- 
dians in the western part of this state about fifty-five thousand acres of 
land. 

In speaking of the "Treaty of Big Tree" on the part of the party 
of the first part of which we are now represented here today are now 
enjoying upon one of the reservations reserved and the interest money 
from the United States treasury annually to the Senecas, in pursuance 



Treaty of Big Tree 59 

to the agreements of this Treaty, in relation to this Big Tree Treaty of 
"Which we are now celebrating today a Centennial, I will now show 
and hold up in my hands an original letter from the United States to 
the Senecas, the same reads as follows : 

War Department, May 14, 1798. 

Brothers : — By the Indenture made between you and Robert Mor- 
ris, Esquire, under the authority of the United States at Gennessee, in 
the County of Ontario in the State of New York, on the 15th day of 
September, 1797, in consideration of One Hundred Thousand Dollars, 
to be by the said Robert Morris, vested in the stock of the Bank of the 
United States, and held in the name of the President of the United 
States for the use and behoof of the Seneca Nation of Indians. 
You bargained and sold a large tract of country mentioned in the said 
Indenture to the said Robert Morris, excepting nevertheless, and 
always reserving out of this Grant and Conveyance all such pieces 
or parcels of the aforesaid tract and siich privileges thereunto belong- 
ing, as therein afterwards particularly mentioned, which said pieces 
or parcels of land so excepted, are by the parties to the presents clearly 
and fully understood to remain the property of the Seneca Nation in 
as full and ample a manner as if the presents had not been executed. 
It being also provided by the same instrument, as understood by 
the parties, that all such pieces or parcels of land as are thereby reser- 
ved, and are not particularly described as to the manner in which the 
same are to be laid off, shall be laid off in such a manner as shall be 
determined by the Sachems and Chiefs, residing at or near the respect- 
ive villages where such Reservations are made, a particular whereof to 
be endorsed on the back of the deed and recorded with the same. 

I write this letter by order of the President of the United States, 
to inform the Seneca Nation of Indians that the one hundred thousand 
dollars, being the consideration money in the Indenture mentioned has 
been vested conformably to the intention of said instrument, and that 
the President being thereof satisfied, hath by and with the consent 
and advice of the Senate, accepted, ratified and confirmed the Conven- 
tion or Treaty aforesaid. And that Joseph Ellicott, a beloved man, 
skilled in surveying has been employed to lay off the Reservations, 
excepted and made in the aforesaid Deed. To him, therefore, the 
Sachems and Chiefs concerned will give their directions for laying off 
the same. 

I am also to assure the Seneca Nation that Joseph Ellicott is a 
gentleman of integrity, and that the Nation may confide to him the 
laying off of the Reservations aforesaid, having no doubt he will exe- 
cute the trust with fidelity and impartial justice. 

Dividends upon the Stock of the Bank of the United States pur- 
chased with the one hundred thousand dollars, for the use and behoof 
of the Seneca Nation of Indians, vidll be paid half yearly, the first 
dividend about the middle of July next, which will be remitted to the 
Seneca Nation in such manner as they shall direct, and their orders 



Treaty of Big Tree 60 

for the remittance of future dividends when they are paid, will be 
always attended to. 

Wishing you health, I am, Brothers, 

Your friend and obedient servant, 

James McHenry, 

Sec'y of War. 
To the Chiefs and Sachems of the Seneca Nation. 

We perceived by the foregoing letter how careful and watchful 
by the President of the United States for the welfare and interest for 
the Seneca Indians. In review just a few out of many unpleasant inci- 
dents that happen along about the 16th century, how dark and gloomy- 
must have been over the people of this country, even one hundred 
years ago today this country was owned by the Seneca Nation of 
Indians, and it was in a wild state, unimproved, uncultivated and 
unsettled excepting small spots here and there, villages by Natives. 
By signing the Big Tree Treaty by Indians made this country a great 
change ; today we see most magnificent farms all over this country, 
and the civilization prevails among the people where one himdred 
years ago everything was wild. Today the Seneca Indians are enjoy- 
ing the fruits of civilization as well as the white people, especially 
when they are participating in this great Centennial Celebration. 

I will now conclude my short speech by extending my sincere 
thanks to the managers of the Livingston County Historical Society 
for the honor extended to me in making this address. 



^'^ 



RESPONSE BY 
A. SIM LOGAN 

The Former Owners of Our Beautiful Valley, the Senecas ; Their Brave 
Warriors and Gifted Orators. 

/V\ R. TOASTMASTER and Gentlemen : A3 a representative of 
f I 1 *^® Seneca Nation of the Iroquois Indians, I come before 
f A I you on this occasion as a representative of the people who 
P \ once held sway over this entire continent, and as I have 

consented to make a short speech on this joyoiis occasion, I do so with 
a proper sense of the obligation I am under to my own race. We have 
laid aside all those feelings of animosity which actuated our forefath- 
ers when they saw that the vast country over which they roamed 
must give way to the civilization of the white man, and we have 
learned that it is better for us to settle down and cultivate well a small 
piece of ground rather than to roam over all creation, and we have 
learned also that our children must take their places in the grand pro- 
cession of progress, and, in order to do this, we must have elementary 
and high schools where our young men and women may be equipped 
for a successful career. It is well known to those who have studied 
my people that when we get the better of your civilization, we thrive 
Tinder it, and our children take equal rank with yours in the acquisi- 
tion of knowledge. It has been said, Mr. Toastmaster. that the only 
good Indian is a dead one. Give us your schools and your Christianity, 
and a fair chance in life, and do not treat us as dogs, and we will 
show by our love for our white brothers, and by our improvement that 
there are good Indians who are not dead. 

The Indians are not decreasing in this country ; they are increas- 
ing, and so Mr. Toastmaster, you are likely to have the Indian prob- 
lem on your hands for some time to come, and the only proper settle- 
ment of the Indian problem is to educate and Christianize my people. 
And it is a great deal cheaper to do this than to exterminate us. 
President Grant stated that it has cost this government two millions 
of dollars to kill an Indian, but it costs only about S'200 on the average 
to educate and Christianize an Indian, and an educated Indian is more 
glory to your race and to your civilization than a murdered one. 

Yoiir Centennial celebration is a great event, and I am here today, 
not to glory over the departure of my people from this region, but to 
assure you that, though we have parted with our fertile lands, and 



Treaty of Big Tree 62 

gone from your immediate midst, with a good heart we rejoice in the 
improvement which God has spead over this land, and we unite with 
you on this great occasion out of respect for our white brother and his 
government and for our great white father at Washington who recog- 
nizes the Indians as wards of his government, to look with a father's 
interest after the welfare of us, who, like you, are the children of the 
Great Spirit. 

Although, Mr. Toastmaster, my people are increasing in the Uni- 
ted States, our ancient customs are gradually fading away, and we 
shall, under the influence of the progress of the age, in taking our 
places in the procession with you, lay aside the customs of our fath- 
ers, but we hope to prove ourselves worthy of the advantages which 
our white brothers have brought us, and act well the part which the 
Great Spirit created us to perform. 



Wi^ 




T. F. JAMEKSOX 

President Seneca Nation of Indians 



EVENING MEETING 



ADDRESS BY 

HON. WALLACE BRUCE 

A Great Century. 

Ill R. CHAIRMAN, members of the Livingston County Historical 
111 Society, Mr. Governeur Morris, representatives of the Seneca 
I ^ Tribe, Ladies and Gentlemen : I regard it a great privilege to 
take part in this interesting Centennial ceremony. It has been my 
fortune to participate in four centennials :— The centennial of a bat- 
tle, the centennial of peace, the centennial of a poet's birthday, and 
now the centennial of a great treaty ; the first commemorating 
Stark's victory at Bennington, the second the disbanding of the Amer- 
ican army under Washington, at Newburg, the third among the Berk- 
shires in memory of "William Cullen Bryant, and the fourth here amid 
your beautiful hills and valleys, on the fifteenth day of September, 
1897. (Applause.) 

When I received your invitation to deliver an address on the occa- 
sion, it occurred to me that I would take as my subject "From Tree to 
Temple." I wanted to come and talk to you, rather than to deliver an 
extended or over-carefully prepared oration, for I knew that the histor- 
ical part of the exercises would be well done in the afternoon — a paper 
which I may say in passing, adds great wealth not only to this society 
but also to this entire community. It occurred to me that the "Tree" 
had gone and that the "Temple" had come, I thought of the spot 
which had been pointed out to me on a previous visit by a friend now 
presiding over these exercises, where once stood the historic log house 
and the old "Wadsworth Homestead," of the changes which had trans- 
pired since the transfer of the Indian title ; the contrast of the life and 
surroiindings of 1797 with 1897, and came to the conclusion that I 
would limit my talk to the very brief subject of "A Great Century." 
(Laughter.) 

I am proud, Mr. Chairman, to stand here in the presence of des- 
cendants of men, whose lines coming together after one hundred years, 
surround a great island of history. It is not often that divergent civ- 
ilizations, or that civilivation and barbarism which have struggled 
adversely, meet at last, forming thereby a peaceful delta of prosperity. 
I am glad to be here with the grandson of Robert Morris, the great 
Banker of the American Colonies, the financial refuge of Freedom in 
the hour of adversity, and one of the committee with Washington 



Treaty of Big Tree 66 

for designing yonder flag. (Applause.) It is something also to 
remember and to tell our children that we met here a relative, the 
grandson of Logan, the Indian orator whose speeches we used to study- 
in our school books, and were he, who sat today at your board and 
thrilled his auditors, stirred by the same motive as his illustrious 
ancestor, the pride of boundless and ancestral freedom, there would be 
no lack of transmitted ability. If there is a student of elocution here, 
if would be well for him to engrave upon his memory the superb 
gesture and utterance of this his namesake. 

It is indeed a great century. None of us can fully comprehend it. 
Most of us have lived in less than a third of it ; only a few during 
half of it ; a still smaller few who have reached three score or four 
score years. What was it then? What is it now? These meadow 
lands a primitive forest. The emporium of our state and country 
enrolled scarcely 80,000 people. Its chief street reached only from 
the Battery to where the City Hall now stands. Maiden Lane, Fulton 
street and Park Place were pleasant strolling places along the edge 
of an almost unbroken wilderness. Brooklyn, across the way, was a 
town of barely two thousand inhabitants. A clergyman recently 
told me that his grandfather in 1807 sold his farm, the entire acreage 
now known as Brooklyn Heights, for three thousand dollars. It is 
quite possible, representatives of the Seneca Tribe, that Robert 
Morris paid too much instead of too little for the property. (Laugh- 
ter.) When we stop to think that New York Island was bought 
for twenty-four dollars we come to the conclusion that real estate 
some years ago was not held at the figures of today. When, more- 
over, we recall the fact that be bought from Napoleon two-thirds 
of our present territory for a few million dollars, we conclude that the 
price of property has not materially depreciated in value ; so we need 
not come here in the spirit of criticism or of apology, but rather as 
the advocate of the great patriot of the Revolution, who in the consum- 
mation of this purchase, was an instrument in the hands of God to help 
forward the civilization of his country. There is moreover a great 
truth to be derived from this Centennial gathering summed up in one 
comprehensive sentence : that civilization holds a mortgage on barba- 
rism ; that education holds a mortgage on ignorance which time at 
last forecloses. Lord Bacon's great aphorism "Knowledge is Power," 
s written and re- written on every page of the world's history. 



Treaty of Big Tree 67 

In the brief review of the period here contemplated, the contrasts 
of material progress present a strange blending of the humorous and 
the marvelous. One hundred years ago it often took seven or eight 
days for a sloop to go from New York to Albany. Washington Irving 
refers to a "nine days' voyage" up the river. One of our swift steamers 
today gives us a sort of a passing glimpse. I was recently in the Cats- 
kills when a search-light from a steamer ten miles away was thrown 
on the cliffs, and I got up and read by it at intervals for half an hour, 
Gibbon's "History of Rome." (Laughter.) The time was when it 
took a stage coach three days to go from New York to Boston, and 
two coaches carried all the passengers. In those days our grandfath- 
ers mowed these meadow lands with old-fashioned scythes, and gar- 
nered their wheat with quaint-fingered cradles. Today we start a 
great reaper on one side of a five-thousand acre lot out west, and the 
wheat is cut, threshed, winnowed and tied up in bags while the 
machine is in motion. It took the first steamship, the "Savannah." 
nineteen days to cross the Atlantic, and it was such a ciiriosity that it 
went visiting around at the various ports. Today we take one of the 
modem grayhounds of the deep, visit London, Paris, Berlin and Rome 
and are home again, at our desks in New York, within the time of the 
first outward voyage of that first steamer. Twenty-five years ago a 
writer in Harper's Monthly boasted that we coxild go from New York 
to San Francisco in twelve days. In a few years there will be a sum- 
mer excursion with a shorter schedule from New York to St. Peters- 
burg, and I expect some day to sit in a coach marked Behring 
Straits and hear the brakeman call out "Klondyke." (Applause.) 

The other day I talked with Ann Arbor. She was eight hundred 
miles away (laughter) but we arranged a lecture appointment in 
three minutes by the watch. The telephone today accomplishes what 
the old century never dreamed of, and in addition to the telephone 
and the telegraph we now have captured the "X Ray," one of the 
main advantages of which is, if we happen to ask a friend for the loan 
of ten dollars, and he says he is sorry he hasn't it, all we have to do is 
to turn on the "ray" and he has to immediately transmit the X. 
(Laughter.) This is the first age that has been able to see through 
everybody. One of these days we will just sit in our rooms, push a 
button to bring an electric carriage, and finally we will all do our farm- 
ing, while swinging in a hammock under an awning, by simply turn- 
ing a few motor switches. (Applause.) 



Treaty of Big Tree 68 

What evolutions in labor and locomotion from the splint-broom 
and the aickle to the carpet-sweeper and the lawn-mower, from the 
sleepy coach and clicking reel to the trolly-car and the bicycle. Even 
the very word "Ceutiiry" today no longer suggests to many people a 
period of glorious achievement but a cycling journey from New York 
to Philadelphia . I wrote a poem when a boy on the Moon trying to 
catch her husband, the Sun, but now she has only to get a "Lunar" to 
be equal to the course. (Laughter.) Our patient grandmothers knew 
nothing of sewing machines, and never dreamed of an apple parer ; nor 
would the latter invention have been more popular then than now, 
although I have known of the work being so pressing in my own 
native town that it kept many a young couple busy often until eleven 
or twelve o'clock in the evening in order to keep the family going in 
apples. (Laughter.) I remember an aunt who used to whirl the 
spinning-wheel in the homestead garret, and I recall today, no sweeter 
music, but now the old wheel is a silent heir-loom. Some great 
machine in Massachusetts or Rhode Island with pale-faced persons 
beside it transacts all the work. A bale of cotton is iintied at one end 
of a steaming factory, and about a quarter of a mile away it comes 
out in cylinders of printed cloth. I visited last week a mill where a 
tree was ground into pulp and presented the next day in the shape of 
an illustrated newspaper, with news whispered in the meantime from, 
the furthermost islands of the sea. Wonderful, indeed, has been the 
■work of the hundred years that we are contemplating here in retro- 
spect this Centennial day in this beautiful village of Geneseo ! (Ap- 
plause. ) 

In tracing the growth of material progress, we moreover note the 
development of a new type of character, for the productions of this 
country are not alone in the line of mechanism. It is a marvel that 
we can convert steam and electricity into servants of commerce. It is 
wonderful that a whisjier along a trembling wire seems to know no 
limit, and that through storm and sunshine we are enabled to talk face 
to face with friends a thousand miles distant, that we can chronicle a 
laugh and almost transmit a smile, but the greatest marvel of the 
century is not the telephone, the telegraph, or the swift flying steamer 
nay nor the rearing of the greatest temple in the world, the Constitu- 
tion of the United States ; not the melting back of a great Citizen 
Army into the field, the office, and the workshop from which it came 



Treaty of Big Tree 69 

to guard the threshold of a nobler humanity, but the crowning devel- 
opment and marvel of these hundred years is the American Man. 
(Applause.) If the statement needs any amendment, the American 
Woman (laughter) or as Robert Burns has wittily put it in abiding 
truth : 

"The prentice-hand was tried on man 

And then were made the lassies." (Applause.) 

In this new tj-pe of character the crowning quality seems a natural 
readiness to meet emergencies and overcome them. When the young 
American officer went to Alexandria to bring to New York the obelisk 
presented to this country by the Khedive of Egj'pt and the people of 
Alexandria gathered about it in angry protest, the young American 
simply wrapped the stars and stripes about it and told his men to 
proceed. (Applause.) It is recorded in the history of the Hudson 
that General Putnam, at Peekskill, sent a despatch to Washington : 
"Nathan Palmer was taken as a spy, tried as a spy, and will be hanged 
as a spy. P. S.— He is hanged." That brief postscript suggests the 
germ of American straightforwardness without time for particulars or 
details. A gentleman from Boston dropped in recently on the pioneer 
life of an old college classmate, whom he had not seen for years, and 
was astonished to hear him tell of a great "petrified" forest only a few 
miles distant ; everything that approached it, he said, became petri- 
fied. A buffalo ran into it one day and there it stood on its fore-feet 
petrified — with heels in the air — suddenly an-ested in his flight. A 
piece of dirt, he said, was thrown up in its flight and there it remains, 
in the air petrified. That can't be, said the Bostonian, think of gravity ! 
Gravity? Why that was petrified too. (Laughter.) No one but an 
American, with undaunted readiness, would have ever dreamed of a 
reply, which, in extravagant humor, set at naught even the primal 
laws of the universe. (Applause.) 

Nor can we forget, as a people, in this hour of remembrance, the 
great Providences which have attended and shielded us, throughout 
the century just completed. The old motto of Connecticut, "He who 
transported us will sustain us," is as true today as when it was first 
written. It was providential in the beginning of our history that 
there was room enough here for the development of individual liberty, 
wherein the feudalism of man to man, of serf to superior, and of 
knight to lord, might pass into the grander and higher feudalism of 



Treaty of Big Tree 70 

institutions. The French and Indian wars were also providential, in 
that they taught the early colonists self-reliance. The Braddock cam- 
paign was a training-school of liberty ; the Blue Ridge a fortress and 
a refuge of fredom. Indeed, every battle of the Revolution records a 
series of Providences. A friend recently told me that his great aunt, 
who was a Tory, and lived on Long Island, had the fact brought to her 
that Washington was drawing off his forces under the cover of night. 
She sent a trusty servant to advise General Howe, but her messenger 
unwittingly found his way into the Hessian instead of the English camp, 
where even the officers were unable to understand the communication, 
so they locked the colored man up for the night and the next morning 
Washington and his army were on the Heights of Manhattan. If that 
servant had reached the British General, Washington would have 
been captured. Nor did these Providences close with the Revolution. 
They have abided all through our history. Napoleon was in need of 
money to prosecute his ambition, and while Britain was fitting out her 
ships to take possession of New Orleans, and thereby plant her flag on 
the Mississippi and all its tributaries, even to the gateway of Chautau- 
qua lake. Napoleon sold to us through our envoy, Thomas Jefferson, 
who was then in Paris, fully two-thirds of our present territory for a 
few millions of dollars. It was intended from the beginning that this 
country should be one and indivisible from gulf to lake, from sea to 
sea. (Applause.) This ceding of Fieach territory brought to us 
naturally in a few years California and Florida, and then just to 
straighten out our national boundary we "redeemed" a portion of Mex- 
ico so that we wouldn't walk off. (Laughter.) 

The Civil War came, and early in its history the Battle of Bull 
Run. General Slocum said a few years ago, in Brooklyn, that he 
regarded this defeat at first as a serious calamity, but came at last to 
see that it was a great Pro\'idence. If we had been victorious in the 
beginning, he said, the purposes of the war would not have been 
accomplished — a freedom for all beneath the flag. (Applause.) The 
battle of Gettysburg came. At the close of the first day's fight General 
Meade and his staff sat through a good part of the night in a little house 
on the hillside and discussed the question whether they should go or 
stay. They stayed — and all perhaps because a little boy had led the 
line as it fell back to Cemetery Ridge, which became a bulwark of 
freedom. It is said that a boy by mistake misdirected Grouchy or the 



Treaty of Big Tree 71 

decisive battle of Waterloo might have been a blow to Saxon suprem- 
acy in Europe and throughout the world. Every struggle of the 
centuries for human rights has been climactory. Marathon and 
"Waterloo anticipate Yorktown and Appomatox, and this flag which 
we love to call Old G-lory, has threads in it that reach back to Mt. 
Aararat. It was only quarter finished when Washington and Morris 
went to the old Scotch woman of Philadelphia to make a circle of 
thirteen stars. (Applause.) 

The Providences of God have been great, not only in giving us 
Washington in the past, but also in these later days, the flower of 
American manhood, Abraham Lincoln. (Applause.) It sometimes 
seems that no one else could have guided the Ship so safely, a man 
who knew how to say and do the right thing at the right time. "You 
can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the i)eople some 
of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." He 
said "It isn't safe to swap horses while crossing the stream," a sentence 
more effective in his re-election than a thousand campaign speeches. 
He wrote to one of his Generals that if he wasn't using the army he 
would like to borrow it. When Richmond was captured a great 
crowd early in the morning surged into the White House grounds and 
called for Lincoln. The window opened and the old Irish butler said, 
"Whist, boys, the old man will be down directly." The chief ruler of 
no other land in the world could have received such an introduction 
without loss of dignity, but no other sentence so clearly reveals the 
close relation between the people and their executive. Lincoln appear- 
ed and said "In this hour of our triumph let us remember that they 
are our brothers." How the man seems sent straight from the skies to 
speak words of love and honesty. (Applause.) 

But in spite of all our Providences there have always been men 
who said "you can't do it." They proclaimed it way back there to 
Job. You remember the three who came to see him, Bildad, Eliphaz 
and Zophar, but Job answered "No doubt ye are the people and wisdom 
shall die with you." Centuries go by and people said to Columbus 
"You can't do it. There is no land out there anyway," but Columbus 
said "sail on, sail on," until a new continent lifted itself from the sea. 
They came to John Hancock and said "there is no use of writing your 
name so big for it can't be done," and he replied "I propose to write it 
so that his Majesty can read it without his spectacles." Time went ou 



Treaty of Big Tree 72 

until tliey came to Webster and said "It is no use, you can't answer the 
argument of Hayne." "I don't propose to answer it, but to crush him," 
replied the great statesman, as he welded another rivet in the history 
of Constitutional liberty. Then they found a man down at Shiloh, 
G-eneral Grant, whose very initials were somehow suggestive of the 
permanency of the United States, and they said, "Don't cross that 
stream for if you are defeated you will not have boats enough to bring 
you back," but the great soldier on his way to Vicksburg said "If we 
are defeated there will be boats enough to bring back what are left." 
(Applause.) There is only one thing which it seems this country can't 
do, and that is to complete the Capitol at Albany. (Laughter.) I am 
not sure however, but that they propose to take your Centennial for 
the crowning column this winter. 

So much for these Providences and great marvels. Time does not 
permit us to continue or to elaborate them, and the hour does not 
allow us to call the long roll of heroes who went down to the front 
in the protection of country and birthright, for what would be the 
possessions recalled by this day's observance had it not been for their 
noble deeds ? 

Who can paint that panorama, clear and perfect in detail '? 
Who can trace the telling bullets in that storm of leaden hail? 
Who can twine a fitting garland for each dear heroic name. 
Or untwist the strands of glory in the cable of our fame ? 
This suflficeth and abideth— every thread is firm and true ; 
Homespun texture, double woven, colors fast— red. white and blue ; 
Knotted well at Appomattox, tied to keep the threads in place, 
Never more to be unraveled in the nation's onward race. 

But above all achievements, inventions and triumphs, one proph- 
ecy from out the ages still shines undimmed. "His name shall be 
called wonderful !" Our little dreams are fulfilled and the wonder 
ceases. When the great bridge between New York and Brooklyn was 
being built, day by day we looked up through the cables of woven 
steel, and wondered whether ever, from pier to pier, across that vdde 
space, a highway could be constructed It was accomplished and the 
wonder ceased. We take a microscope and multiply the spaces beneath 
the glass a hundred-fold and wonder at the anatomy of life and the 
beauty of God's creation, but the wonder ceases with our attainment. 
We point a telescope into the sky and foretell the location of a new 
star by mathematics. The star appears and the marvel ceases. But 
after all material triumphs fade away and vanish, after all our greatest 
inventions have been lost in a series of higher accomplishments, this 
sentence shall abide in sublime futurity: "His name sAa/Z be called 
wonderful !" (Long continued applause. ) 



APPENDIX 



ADDRESS BY 

MR, W. H, SAMSON 

Before the Livingston County Historical Society in 1894. 

ij^ FTER the close of the Revolutionary war and the successful estab- 
1^ lishment of the independence of the colonies, there was a serious 
f dispute between New York and Massachusetts regarding the 

lands in what is now Western New York. Massachusetts 
claimed the title by virtue of a grant from King James I to the Ply- 
mouth company, made November 3, 1620, and New York claimed it by 
virtue of the grant of Charles II to the Duke of York, dated March 12, 
1664, and the voluntary submission of the Iroquois to the crown in 
1684. 

Happily this dispute was amicably adjusted. By a compact dated 
December 16, 1786, signed by commissioners representing the two 
states. New York secured the sovereignty and jurisdiction and Massa- 
chusetts the right to buy from the native Indians. 

There were no reasons why Massachusetts should delay the sale of 
its rights, and on April 1, 1788, the legislature of that state agreed to 
convey to Nathaniel Gorham and Oliver Phelps, who were acting for 
themselves and others, all its right and title for 300,000 pounds in the 
consolidated securities of the commonwealth, or about one million dol- 
lars, provided that these speculators would extinguish the Indian title. 

On the 8th of July, 1788, a treaty was concluded at Buffalo Creek. 
It was attended by leading sachems, warriors and chiefs of the Five 
Nations. At this treaty the Indians sold to Phelps and Gorham for 
£2,100 and an annuity of $500, all their land east of the Genesee and a 
small portion west of it. The whole tract being described as follows: 

"Beginning in the north boundary line of the stateof Pennsylvania 
in the parallel of forty-two degrees north latitude, at a point distant 
eighty-two miles west from the northeast corner of Pennsylvania, on 
the Delaware river, as the said boundary line hath been riin and 
marked by the commissioners appointed by the states of New York and 
Pennsylvania respectively; and from said point or place of beginning, 
running west upon said line to a meridian which will pass through that 
corner or point of land made by the influence of the Shanahasgwaikon 
creek, so-called, with the waters of the Genesee river; thence running 
north along the said meridian to the comer or point last mentioned; 
thence northwardly along the waters of the said Genesee river to a 
point two miles north of Shanawageras village, so-called; thence 
running in a direction due west twelve miles; thence running a direc- 
tion northwardly, so as to be twelve miles distant from the most west- 
ward bends of said Genesee river to the shore of the Ontario lake; 
thence eastwardly along the shores of said lake to a meridian which will 
pass through the first point or place of beginning alwve mentioned; 
thence south along said meridian to the first point or place of beginning 
aforesaid; together with all and singialar the woods, houses, streams, 
rivers, ponds, lakes, upon, within, and in any wise appertaining to said 
territory." 

This tract embraced a little over two and a half million acres, 
measuring about eighty-five miles on the east line and nearly forty-five 
miles on the south line. Within its bounds are the counties of Ontario, 



Treaty of Big Tree 76- 

Steuben and Yates, and portions of the counties of Monroe, Livingston, 
Wayne, Allegany and Schuyler. On November 21, 1788, the legislature 
of Massachusetts passed an act conveying this land to Phelps and 
Gorham, 

The advance in the value of the consolidated securities of Massa- 
chusetts, due to the assumption by the general government of the debts 
of the several states, brought ruin to Phelps and Gorham. They 
reserved to themselves two townships, but sold the remainder of the 
land to Robert Morris, who in turn disposed of it to Sir William 
Pultney and his associates in England. 

Not only were Phelps and Gorham compelled to part with the lands 
purchased from the Indians, but they were obliged to surrender to 
Massachusetts the pre-emptive right to the lands west of the Genesee 
river, embracing about 3,750,000 acres, to which they had been unable 
to extinguish the Indian title. 

Robert Morris who had made a profit of something like $160,000 on 
his sale to the Englishmen, was ready to embark in further specula- 
tions, and on May 11, 1791, purchased from Massachusetts the pre-emp- 
tive right to the lands west of the Genesee. He paid 100,000 pounds, 
equal to §833,333.33 in Massachusetts currency. In 1702 and 1793 he 
sold this land, except the eastern portion, since known as the Morris 
reserve, to certain capitalists in Holland, and it now became his duty 
to extinguish the Indian title . Until this should be done the Holland- 
ers reserved 37,500 pounds of the purchase price. 

Soon after making the purchase from Massachusetts, Mr. Morris 
resolved to settle his son Thomas in the Genesee country "as an evi- 
dence of his faith in its value and prospects " Thomas Morris was 20 
years of age. He had been educated at Geneva and Leipsic and was 
then reading law. In obedience to the wishes of his father, he left 
Philadelphia in the early summer of 1791 and coming by way of Wilkes- 
barre and what was called "Sullivan's path," reached Newtown where 
he attended Pickering's council and received from the Indians the name 
of 0-te-ti-ana, which Red Jacket had borne in his younger days. 
Proceeding on his journey, Mr. Morris visited Niagara Falls. On his 
return, he passed through Canandaigua. The aspect of the little 
frontier village pleased him. and he resolved to make the place his 
home. Arranging his affairs in the east, he left New York in March, 
1792, and went to Canandaigua. In 1793 he built a framed hoiise, filled in 
with brick — one of the two framed houses in the state west of Whites- 
boro. Mr. Morris was admitted to the bar, and in 1794 attended the 
first court held at Canandaigua. He devoted much of his time to the 
care of his father's property and the settlement and development of 
Western New York, and was honored and esteemed by the pioneers. 
In 1794, 1795 and 1796 he was a member of assembly from Ontario 
county. For five years beginning with 1796 he was a senator of the 
state of New York, and from December, 1801, till March 1803, he was 
a member of congress — the first representative in congress from that 
portion of the state of New York lying west of Seneca lake. He 
shared in the financial reverses of his father and in 1804 appointed John 
Greig his attorney and removed to New York city, where he practiced 
law until his death in 1848. 

Though Robert Morris desired a speedy settlement of his specula- 



Treaty of Big Tree 77 

tions with the Hollanders, it was not until 1796 that he asked President 
Washington to order a treaty and appoint a commissioner to represent 
the United States. The delay in the application was very creditable, 
for it was due entirely to motives of public consideration. Morris'a 
letter was as follows: 

Philadelphia, August 25, 1796. 
Sir — In the year 1791 I purchased from the state of Massachusetts 
a tract of country lying within the boundaries of the state of New York, 
which had been ceded by the latter to the former state under the 
sanction and with the concurrence of the congress of the United States. 
This tract of land is bounded to the east by the Genesee river, to the 
north by Lake Ontario, to the west partly by Lake Erie and partly by 
the boundary line of the Pennsylvania triangle, and to the south by the 
north boundary line of the state of Pennsylvania. A printed brief of 
title I take the liberty to transmit herewith. To perfect this title it is 
necessary to purchase of the Seneca nation of Indians their native right, 
which I should have done soon after the purchase was made of the 
state of Massachusetts, but that I felt myself restrained from doing so 
by motives of public consideration. The war between the Western 
Indian nations and the L^nited States did not extend to the Six Nations, 
of which the Seneca nation is one; and as I apprehended that, if this 
nation should sell its right during the existence of that war, they 
might the more readily be induced to join the enemies of our country, 
I was determined not to make the purchase whilst that war lasted. 

When peace was made with the Indian nations I turned my 
thoughts towards the purchase, which is to me an object very interest- 
ing ; but upon it being represented that a little longer patience, until 
the western posts should be delivered up by the British government, 
might be public utility, I concluded to wait for that event also, which 
is now happily accomplished, and there seems no obstacle to restrain 
me from making the purchase, especially as I have reason to believe 
the Indians are '"esirous to make the sale. 

The delays which have already taken place and that arose solely 
from the considerations above mentioned have been extremely detri- 
mental to my private affairs : but. still being desirous to comply with 
formalities prescribed by certain laws of the United States, although 
those laws probably do not reach my case. I now make application to 
the President of the United States and request that he ■\^'ill nominate 
and appoint a commissioner to be present and preside at a treaty, which 
he will be pleased to authorize to be held with the Seneca Nation, for 
the purpose of enabling me to make a purchase in conformity with the 
formalities required by law, of the tract of country for which I have 
already paid a very large sum of money. My right to pre-emption is 
unequivocal, and the land is liecome so necessary to the growing popu- 
lation and surroimding settlements that it is with difficulty that the 
white people can be restrained from squattering or settling down upon 
these lands, which if they should do, it may probably bring on conten- 
tions with the Six Nations. This will be prevented by a timely, fair 
and honorable purchase. 

This proposed treaty ought to be held immediately before the 
hunting season or another year will be lost, as the Indians cannot be 
collected during that season. The loss of another year, under the pay- 



Treaty of Big Tree 78 

ments thus made for these lands, would be ruinous to njy affairs ; and 
as I have paid so great deference to public considerations whilst they 
did exist, I expect and hope that my request will be readily granted 
now, when there can be no cause for delay, especially if the Indians 
are willing to sell, which will be tested by the offer to buy. 

With the most perfect esteem and respect, I am, sir, your most 
obedient and most humble servant, 

Robert Morris. 

G-eorge Washington, Esq., President of the United States. 

President Washington appointed a member of congress from New 
Jersey, named Isaac Smith, as the commissioner. But having been 
subsequently appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of his state, Mr. 
Smith found that his judicial duties would prevent his attendance at 
the treaty ; accordingly he declined, and Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth, 
who had been a distinguished member of congress from Connecticut, 
was appointed in his place. 

Unable himself to take part in the treaty, Robert Morris appointed 
his son, Thomas, and Charles Williamson as his attorneys ; but Cap- 
tain Williamson, busy with his affairs at Bath, declined to act, and so 
the responsibility for conducting the difficult and delicate negotiations 
fell entirely upon the younger Morris. 

It was resolved to hold the treaty at Big Tree, near the settlement 
which afterwards became Geneseo. In meadow lands vnthin the cor- 
porate limits of the village of Geneseo, southwest from the park, 
about a quarter of a mile above the Erie railroad, and about the same 
distance west of the Mt. Morris road, is a cobblestone house ; on the 
site of this building there stood, 100 years ago, a small dwelling erected 
by William and James Wadsworth. This was rented by Thomas 
Morris for the entertainment of the principal persons at the treaty. 
He also caused a large council house to be erected, covered -with, boughs 
and branches of trees. Doty's "History of Livingston County" says 
that the Indian village of Big Tree was west of the Genesee river and 
that the big tree itself stood on the eastern bank. Some Geneseo anti- 
quarians of today declard that the village was east of the Genesee. 
Both are correct, the explanation being that the village was moved. 
At the time of the treaty, however, the village was west of the Gene- 
see. It not only appears so on the first map of the region made from 
actual surveys, but the treaty as agreed upon declared that the reserva- 
tion of Big tree should embrace the village, and Ellicott's map of 
1804 shows the reservation to be west of the river. In 1805 the village 
was moved, and on the map showing the Phelps and Gorham purchase 
in 1806 Big Tree village appears east of the Genesee. The probability 
is that the council house was erected on the eastern bank, and Charles 
Jones, who derived his information from his father, Horatio Jones, 
who attended the treaty and took a prominent part in the negotiations, 
thinks it stood 500 feet northwest of the Wadsworth dwelling. 

The Indians began to arrive at Big Tree late in August, not the 
Senecas alone, but groups from the other nations — attracted doubtless, 
by the hope of presents and the possibility of good living. Fifty-two 
Indians signed the treaty. Many of them were famous in Indian 
annals. Young King, Chief Warrior, Handsome Lake, the Prophet, 



Treaty of Big Tree 79 

Fanner's Brother, Red Jacket, Little Billy, Pollard, the Infant, Corn- 
planter, Destroy Town, Little Beard, Black Snake — these were the 
leaders of the Senecas at Big Tree, interesting men all of them. Time 
will not permit me to give biographies. It seems necessary, however, 
to explain that there were two Indians known to the whites as Big 
Tree. 

Ga-on-dah-go-waah, called sometimes Big Tree and sometimes Great 
Tree, was a full-blooded Seneca of the Hawk clan and resided for many 
years at Big Tree village. He attended the Buffalo treaty of July 8, 
1788, when Phelps and Gorham made their purchase, and went to 
Philadelphia in the winter of 1790 with Cornplanter and Half Town to 
protest against what they regarded an unjust treatment from Phelps 
and his associates. He was there again with Red Jacket in 1792 and 
died in that city in April of that year. Conseqiiently he did not attend 
the Big Tree treaty. This chief's daughter had a son whose father 
was a Niagara trader named Pollard. The boy grew up in the Indian 
village and became in time a famous chief. His name was Ga-on-do- 
wau-na, which also meant Big Tree. He made himself conspicuous in 
border warfare, and was at the massacre of Wyoming. He it was who 
signed the Big Tree treaty. As an orator he was but little inferior to 
Red Jacket, and his character was finer. After the death of Corn- 
planter he was, perhaps, the noblest of the Senecas. He was among 
the first Indians on the Buffalo Creek reservation to embrace the truths 
of Christianity and thereafter his life was singularly blameless and 
beneficent. He was sometimes called Colonel John Pollard. He died 
on the reservation April 10, 1841, and was buried in the old Mission 
cemetery. 

Thomas Morris reached the Genesee on August 22d. The commis- 
sioners arrived four days later, Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth to repre- 
sent the United States and General William Shepherd to represent the 
commonwealth of Massachusetts. Captain Israel Chapin, who had 
succeeded his father, General Israel Chapin, as siiperintendent of 
Indian affairs, attended ; James Rees, subsequently of Geneva, was 
there and acted as secretary, and among other white men who attended 
and were greatly interested in the negotiations were William Bayard 
of New York, the agent of the Holland land company ; two young 
gentlemen from Holland named Van Staphorst, near relatives of the 
Van Staphorst who was one of the principal members of the Holland 
company, Nathaniel W. Howell, Jasper Parish and Horatio Jones. 

Turner's two Histories, Stone's "Life of Red Jacket," and Doty's 
"History of Livingston County," contain accounts of the treaty of 
Big Tree which are practically the same, for they were based upon the 
careful, but not in all respects, accurate statement which Thomas 
Morris prepared in 1844 for the use of our local historians. But while 
I have condensed this narrative greatly in some respects, I have sup- 
plemented and corrected it, with the aid of several documents of con- 
siderable historical importance, which have been carefully preserved 
for nearly a hundred years. 

Through the kindness of the New York Historical society I have 
been able to procure a copy of Robert Morris's Letter of Instructions 
to Thomas Morris and Charles Williamson, his agents, for the man- 
agement of the treaty, and also a copy of Thomas Morris's Rough 



Treaty of Big Tree 80 

Memoranda of the proceedings at the treaty. Both are unpublished 
manuscripts. The letter shows what Robert Morris wanted done and 
how his agents were to go about it. The memoranda are valuable 
because they contain copies of all the principal speeches delivered at 
the treaty. These documents are very long and the reading of them 
would occupy too much of your time. I will give a condensation of 
the Letter of Instructions. 

This is dated Philadelphia, August 1, 1797. Robert Morris says he 
has not the interest in the lands that he ought to have retained, but is 
in duty bound to extinguish the Indian title. Then follow instructions 
under twenty-four heads. He thinks the business of the treaty may be 
facilitated by withholding liquor from the Indians, "until the business 
is finished, showing and promising it to them when the treaty is over." 
He adds that the liquors and stores he sends up ' 'must be used and if 
not sufficient more must be got." The commissioners and other white 
men at the treaty must be entertained properly, and Mr. Morris insisted 
that Jones, Smith, Johnson, Dean, and Parish must be employed to 
assist in the negotiations, and that they should be "compensated with 
a reasonable liberality." Mr. Morris thoiight an annuity of .^4,000 or 
$5,000 forever would be a sufficient price for the land he desired ; but 
he added that if the Indians wanted the full purchase price in cash 
he would pay $75,000 within sixty or ninety days. He said : "The 
whole cost and charges of this treaty being at my expense, you will 
direct everything upon the principles of a liberal economy. The In- 
dians must have plenty of food, and also of liquor, when you see proper 
to order it to them." Concluding his voluminous instructions, Robert 
Morris said : "You are to consider what I have already written, rather 
as outlines for your conduct on this business than as positive orders 
not to be departed from. I have perfect confidence in your friendship, 
and also in your integrity, good sense and discretion, and therefore I 
confide to your management the whole of this business without limita- 
tion or restriction. * * '* If you can make the purchase on 
better terms than I have proposed I am sure you will do it, or on the 
contrary, should you be obliged to give more, I shall acquiesce. You 
know it is high time this purchase should be made, and it is of vast 
importance to all concerned to have it accomplished, therefore you 
must effect it at all events, and I can only repeat that although I wish 
to buy as reasonable as may be, yet I do not mean to starve the cause, 
for I must have it." 

The council was formally opened at 1 o'clock on the afternoon of 
August 28, 1797. Cornplanter spoke first. Turning to Thomas Morris 
he acknowledged the speech of invitation conveyed by Jasper Parish 
and Horatio Jones, and returned the string of wampum that had 
reached him with the invitation to the treaty. Then the commission- 
ers from the United States and Massachusetts presented their creden- 
tials and addressed the assembly, assuring the Indians that their inter- 
ests would be duly guarded and that no injustice would be done. 
Thomas Morris then made a short address, saying that his father was 
unable to appear, but had directed the delivery of the following speech 
which he had written to them from Philadelphia, (and which is now 
made public for the first time :) 

Brothers of the Seneca Nation — It was my wish and my intention 



Treaty of Big Tree 81 

to have come into your country and to have met you at this treaty, but 
the Great Spirit has ordained otherwise and I cannot go. I grow old 
and corpulent, and not very well, and am fearful of traveling so far 
during the hot weather in the month of August. 

Brothers, as I cannot be with you at the treaty, I have deputed 
and appointed my son Thomas Morris, Esq., and my friend Charles 
Williamson, Esq., to appear for me and on my behalf to speak and 
treat with you in the same manner and to the same effect as I might or 
could do were I present at this treaty with you, and it is my request 
that you will listen to them with the same attention that you would to 
me. 

Brothers, I have the greatest love and esteem for my son and my 
friend. They possess my entire confidence and whatever they engage 
for on my behalf you may depend that I will perform the same as 
exactly as if I was there and made the engagements with you myself ; 
therefore I pray you to listen to them and believe in what they say. 

Brothers, it is now six years since I have been invested with the 
exclusive right to acquire your lands. During the whole of this time 
you have quietly possessed them without being importuned by me to 
sell them, but I now think that it is time for them to be productive to 
you. It is with a view to render them so that I have acquiesced in 
your desire to meet you at the Genesee river. I shall take care imme- 
diately to deposit in the bank of the United States whatever my son 
and my friend may agree to pay yovi in my behalf. 

Brothers, from the personal acquaintance which I have with your 
chiefs and head men, I am assured that their wisdom and integrity will 
direct the object of the treaty to the happiness of yourselves and your 
posterity. It is a pleasing circumstance to me that my business is to 
be transacted with such men, because while on the one hand they will 
take care of your interests, on the other whatever is done between them 
and me will be strong and binding. I hope that vsdse men will always 
be at the head of your councils, but for fear that those that succeed 
your present leading men should not deserve and possess your confi- 
dence as fully as these do, you had better have your business so fixed 
now as not to leave it in the power of wrong-headed men in future to 
waste the property given to yoii by the Great Spirit for the use of 
yourselves and your posterity. 

Brothers, I have now opened my mind to you, and as I depend on 
my son and my friend to carry on and conclude the business with you 
I shall only add that the President of the United States, approving of 
this treaty and being your father and friend, has appointed an honor- 
able and worthy gentleman, formerly a member of congress, the Hon. 
Jeremiah Wadsworth, Esq., to be a commissioner on behalf of the 
United States to attend and superintend this treaty, and the governor 
of the state of Massachusetts also appointed an honorable and worthy 
gentleman, formerly a general in the American army and now a mem- 
ber of congress, the Hon. William Shepherd, Esq., to be a commis- 
sioner to attend this treaty on behalf of the state of Massachusetts. 
These gentlemen will attend to what is said and done on both sides in 
order to see that mutual fair dealings and justice shall take place. 
Their office and duty will be rendered agreeable so far as depends on 
me because I desire nothing but fair, open and honest transactions. 



Treaty of Big Tree 82 

Brothers, I bid you farewell. May the Great Spirit ever befriend 
and protect you. 

After the delivery of this shrewdly written speech, the council 
adjourned to give the Indians time to deliberate. There was a brief 
session the next day, when Red Jacket declared that something had 
been kept back, and asked for full particulars. On the following day 
Thomas' Morris delivered a long and carefully prepared speech, setting 
forth the reasons why, in his opinion, the Indians should sell their 
lands. Among other things, he said : "You will receive a larger sum 
of money than has ever yet been paid to you for your lands; this money 
can be so disposed of that not only you but your children and your 
children's children can derive from it a lasting benefit. It can be 
placed in the bank of the United States from whence a sufiBcient 
income can aimually be drawn by the President, your father, to make 
you and your posterity happy forever. Then the wants of your old 
and poor can be supplied, and in times of scarcity the women and 
children of your nation can be fed and you will no longer experience 
the miseries resulting from nakedness and want. * * Your white 
brethren are willing to provide you with the things which they enjoy 
provided you furnish them with the room which they want and of 
which you have too much. Brothers, you may perhaps suppose that 
by selling your lands you will do an injury to your posterity. This, 
brothers, is not the case. By disposing of the money which you will 
receive for them in the manner which I have mentioned, your children 
will always hereafter be as rich as you are now." Concluding, Mr. 
Morris said that if the Indians declined his offer "neither my father 
nor any person in his behalf will ever come forward and treat with 
you on the generous terms now proposed." 

It will be observed that Mr. Morris did not say that his father 
had already sold the lands to the Hollanders and was required to 
extinguish the Indian title, and that he would be compelled to nego- 
tiate again if the Indians refused now. Mr. Morris also refrained from 
naming the price he was willing to pay. 

On August 30tli and September 1st there was no public council. 
On September 2d brief speeches were made by Farmer's Brother and 
Red Jacket, which were not at all friendly. In the evening Thomas 
Morris announced privately to some of the chiefs that he was willing 
to pay $100,000, to be invested so as to yield the Indians $6,000 a year. 
On the following day Red Jacket made an elaborate speech, setting 
forth the objections to the sale of the lands. Mr. Morris then publicly 
named the price he was willing to pay, and declared that if this were 
refused his father would never again meet the Senecas in general 
council — which, of course^ was a decided stretching of the truth. On 
September 4th Cornplanter complained that the sachems were conduct- 
ing the whole business themselves, and threatened to go home. It was 
evident that there were serious divisions among the Indians. Indeed, 
a quarrel at this session was narrowly averted. There was no meet- 
ing on the 5th. Mr. Bayard and the two commissioners, becoming 
impatient, urged Mr. Morris to more vigorous action. He protested 
that he knew better than they the peculiarities of the Indian character; 
they insisted, and Mr. Morris, yielding reluctantly, gave at the next 



Treaty of Big Tree 83 

session an emphatic negative to a proposition by the chiefs, declaring 
that if they had nothing better to offer, the council might as well end. 
Red Jacket immediately sprang to his feet and exclaimed : "You have 
now arrived at the point to which I wish to bring you. You told us 
in your first address that even in the event of our not agreeing, we 
would part friends. Here, then, is my hand. I now cover up the 
council fire." Apparently this ended the coimcil. The decision of the 
chiefs was received with great applause and the forest rang with 
savage yells. The commissioners and Mr. Bayard, seeing the unfor- 
tunate result of their interference, urged Mr. Morris to endeavor to 
rekindle the council fire, and promised that if he succeeded they would 
offer no further suggestions. 

Meeting Farmer's Brother, Mr. Morris declared that according to 
Indian usage only he who had kindled a council fire had the right to 
put it out ; consequently Red Jacket had exceeded his authority, and 
"the fire was still burning." This having been admitted, and a very 
important point having been gained, Mr. Morris called the Seneca 
women together, distributed handsome presents and argued with 
them in favor of the sale of the lands. It was one of the features of 
the Indian policy that the lands belonged to the warriors who defended 
them and the women who tilled them, and though the sachems usually 
negotiated the treaties, the warriors and women had the right, when 
the sale of land was in question to interfere. In this instance the 
women exercised their right, and the council reassembled. Then 
Cornplanter conducted the Indian side of the negotiations, Red Jacket 
having been superseded. 

Within a short time an agreement was reached and the Indian 
lands west of the Genesee, excepting ten reservations embracing 337 
square miles, were sold to Robert Morris for $100,000, to be invested 
in the stock of the bank of the United States and held in the name of 
the President for the benefit of the Indians. The treaty was signed 
on September 15, 1797. The lands sold were described as follows : 

All that certain tract of land, except as hereinafter excepted, lying 
within the county of Ontario and State of New York, being part of a 
tract of land, the right of pre-emption whereof was ceded by the State 
of New York to the commonwealth of Massachusetts, by deed of cession 
executed at Hartford, on the sixteenth day of December, in the year 
of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six, being all 
such part thereof as is not included in the Indian purchase made by 
Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham, and bounded as follows, to wit : 
easterly, by the land confirmed to Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham 
by the legislature of the commonwealth of 5lassachusetts by an act 
passed the twenty-first day of November, in the year of our Lord one 
thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight ; southerly, by the north 
boundary line of the state of Pennsylvania ; westerly, partly by a 
tract of land, part of the land ceded by the state of Massachusetts to 
the United States, and by them sold to Pennsylvania, being a right 
angled triangle, whose hypothenuse is in or along the shore of Lake 
Erie ; partly by Lake Erie, from the northern point of that triangle to 
the southern bounds of a tract of land one mile in width lying on and 
along the east side of the strait of Niagara, and partly by the said 
tract to Lake Ontario ; and on the north by the boundary line between 



Treaty of Big Tree 84 

the United States and the king of Great Britain ; excepting neverthe- 
less, and always reserving out of this grant and conveyance, all such 
pieces and parcels of the aforesaid tract, and such privileges thereunto 
belonging, as are next hereinafter particularly mentioned, which said 
pieces or parcels of land so excepted, are by the parties to these pres- 
ents, clearly and fully understood to remain the property of the said 
parties of the first part, in as full and ample manner as if these pres- 
ents had not been executed. 

The following were the reservations as agreed upon: Cattaraugus 
reservation, containing 26,880 acres, in the counties of Chautauqua and 
Erie; Allegany reservation in Cattaraugus county, containing forty-two 
square miles; Buffalo Creek reservation in Erie county, containing 130 
square miles; Tonawanda reservation in the counties of Erie, Gene- 
see, and Niagara, containing seventy-one square miles; Conawaugus 
reservation, two square miles; Big Tree reservation, two square miles; 
Little Beard's reservation, two square miles; Squawky Hill reservation, 
two square miles; Gardeau reservation, twenty-eight square miles; 
Caneadea reservation, sixteeen square miles; in all 837 square miles. 

The Senecas also intended to reserve the Oil Spring reservation, 
one mile square, containing their famous oil spring, three miles west 
of Cuba in the counties of Allegany and Cattaraugus, from which oil 
had been gathered for centuries. As it was not included in the deed, 
the title passed to Robert Morris and the Holland Land company, and 
then to three extensive land owners of Ellicottville. These men 
supposed it was an Indian reservation, and treated it as such until 1843, 
when one of them discovered that it was not one of the reservations 
mentioned in the treaty. Accordingly they had the land surveyed 
and sold. In 1856 the Indians began legal proceedings and ultimately 
succeeded in getting possession of the property. Governor Blacksnake 
supplied the most important evidence on the trial of the suit. He 
was present at the council at Big Tree and remembered that when the 
treaty was read over the omission of the Oil Spring reservation was 
noticed and commented on. and that Thomas Morris executed and 
delivered to Handsome Lake, the Prophet, a separate paper, reserving 
this tract to the Indians. Blacksnake also had in his possession a copy 
of the first map of the Holland Purchase made by Joseph Ellicott and 
presented by him, this map showing by means of red ink the eleven 
Indian reservations. 

There were two incidents at the Treaty of Big Tree that deserve 
more than passing notice— one as to the purchase money and the second 
in regard to the claim which was made by Indian Allan's daughter to 
the Mt. Morris tract. 

The consideration for the sale of the Indian lands to Robert Morris 
was $100,000 to be invested in the stock of the Bank of the United States, 
and the stock was to be held by the President for the benefit of the Indians. 
They were to receive interest or dividends on the stock, and it was very 
difficult for the white men to make the Indians tmderstand how money 
could make money — or, as they expressed it, how tnoney could grow. 
This was accomplished at length, however, and the Indians went away 
satisfied that Washington could guard their interests securely and that 
all would be well. Everything did go well till 1811, when there was a 
failure on the part of the government to pay. Then the anxious 



Treaty of Big Tree 85 

Indians held a council at Buffalo Creek and Farmer's Brother, Young 
King, Pollard, Chief Warrior, and other Seneca chiefs agreed upon the 
following letter, which was sent to the seat of Federal government by- 
special messenger: 

To the Honorable William Eustis, Secretary at War: 

The sachems and chief warriors of the Seneca nation of Indians 
understanding you are the person appointed by the great council of 
your nation to manage and conduct the affairs of the several nations of 
Indians with whom you are at peace and on terms of friendship, come, 
at this time, as children to a father, to lay before you the trouble which 
we have on our minds. 

Brother, we do not think it best to multiply words; we will there- 
fore tell you what our complaint is. Brother, listen to what we say: 
Some years since we held a treaty at Big Tree, near the Genesee river. 
This treaty was called by our great father, the President of the United 
States. He sent an agent. Colonel Wads worth, to attend this treaty 
for the purpose of advising us in the business and seeing that we had 
justice done us. At this treaty we sold to Robert Morris the greatest 
part of our country. The sum he gave us was $100,000. The commis- 
sioners who were appointed on your part advised us to place this money 
in the hands of our great father, the President of the United States. 
He told us that our father loved his red children and would take care 
of our money, and plant it in a field where it would bear seed forever, 
as long as trees grow, or waters run. Our money has heretofore been 
of great service to us. It has helped us to support our old people and 
our women and children; but we are told the field where our money 
was planted is become barren. Brother, we do not understand your 
way of doing business. This thing is very heavy on our minds. We 
mean to hold our white brethren of the United States by the hand; but 
this weight lies heavy. We hope you will remove it. We have heard of 
the bad conduct of our brothers toward the setting sun. We are sorry for 
what they have done: but you must not blame us. We had no hand in 
this bad business. They have had bad people among them. It is your 
enemies have done this. We have persuaded our agent to take this 
talk to your great council. He knows onr situation and will speak our 
minds. 

Immediately upon the receipt of this letter at Washington $8,000 
was appropriated and the Indians once more received their money. 
This $8,000 was "in lieu of the dividend on the bank shares held by the 
President of the United States, in trust for the Seneca nation, in the 
bank of the United States." 

There was something decidedly queer about the sale of the Allan 
lands. Ebenezer Allan had two half-breed daughters. Mary and Chloe, 
and on July 15, 1791, the Seneca sachems deeded to the girls a tract of 
land four miles square at what is now Mt. Morris. The deed declared 
that this land was to be in full of their share of all the lands belonging 
to the Seneca nation. This deed was executed at the treaty of New- 
town; it was approved by Timothy Pickering, United States commis- 
sioner; and it was recorded in the county clerk's oflBceat Canandaigua. 
The following is an extract from the deed: 

"Whereas, our said brother, Jen-uh-eheo, the father of the said 



Treaty of Big Tree 86 

Mary and Chloe, has expressed to us a desire to have the share of the 
Seneca lands to which the said Mary and Chloe (whom we consider 
our children) are entitled to have, set off to them in severalty, that 
they may enjoy the same as their separate portions; now, know ye, that 
we, the sachems, chiefs and warriors of the Seneca nation, in the name 
and by the authority of our whole nation, whom according to our 
ancient customs in like cases we represent, and in consideration of the 
rights of said Mary and Chloe, as children and members of the Seneca 
nation, and of our love and affection for them, do hereby set off and 
assign to them, the said Mary and Chloe, and to their heirs and assigns, 
a tract of land, on part of which the said Jen-uh-sheo, our brother, 
now dwells upon the waters of the Jenusheo river in the county of 
Ontario, in the state of New York, bounded as follows; Beginning at 
an elm tree standing in the forks of the Jen-uh-sheo river (the boundary 
between our lands and the lands we sold to Oliver Phelps and Mr. 
Gorham), and running from thence due south four miles, thence due 
west four miles, thence due north four miles, and thence due east four 
miles, until the line strikes the said elm tree, with the appurtenances. 
To have and to hold the said tract of land, with the appurtenances, 
to them, the said Mary Allan and Chloe Allan, and to their heirs and 
assigns, as tenants in common, to their use forever." 

When he heard of this transaction. Secretary of War Knox became 
greatly excited. He thought Pickering had blundered. He called 
Washington's attention to the matter, and by direction of the President 
wrote to Governor Clinton of New York, and expressly disavowed the 
claim, which he supposed was implied by Pickering's action that the 
Indians could "alienate" their lands under the supervision of the 
United States and vsithout consulting New York and Massachusetts. 
But it was not Pickering but the secretary himself who blundered, and 
his mistake was due to his ignorance of the Indian laws of descent. 
When Knox called Pickering to account, the latter replied as follows: 

"It appeared to be understood by the Senecas that Messrs. Morris 
and Ogden, as the grantees of Massachusetts, had the right of pre-emp- 
tion of all their lands. But at the same time there existed nothing to 
bar a division of their whole country among themselves: and if they 
could divide the whole, they could certainly set off a part to two indi- 
viduals of their nation as their share. This was the object of their 
deed to Allan's children, whom they called their children, agreeably to 
the rule of descent among them, which is in the female line; and in 
this deed the land assigned is declared to be in full of those two chil- 
dren's share of the whole Seneca country. Here was the ground of my 
ratification. Now, you will be pleased to recollect that before the 
matter was opened in council I had repeated the law of the United 
States relative to Indian lands and the solemn declaration of the 
President last winter to the Complanter that they (the Indians) had the 
right to sell, or to refuse to sell, their lands, and that, in respect to 
their lands, they might depend on the protection of the United States, 
so that on this head they had now no cause for jealousy or discontent. 
This being by them well understood, I saw no way of avoiding the 
ratification of the assignment to their two children, without reviving, 
or rather exciting, their utmost jealousy, as it would have been denying 
the free enjoyment of their own lands by some members of the nation, 



Treaty of Big Tree 87 

according to the will of the nation; and a denial, I was apprehensive, 
would lead them to think that the solemn assurance of the President 
was made but to amuse and deceive. Here you see my great induce- 
ment to the ratification." 

This of course was conclusive, and Secretary Knox had nothing 
more to say on the subject. 

With the Indian deed to his daughters in his possession Ebenezer 
Allan went to Philadelphia and sold the land to Robert Morris for dry 
goods and trinklets, and returned with these articles to what is now Mt. 
Morris and began to trade with the Indians. 

At the treaty of Big Tree four years later one of Allan's daughters 
appeared and denied the right of the Indians to sell the Mt. Morris 
tract. Thomas Morris replied that his father had already paid Allan 
for the laud and was now pacing the nation for it again. The girl 
denied it, and appealed to one of the commissioners, who replied that 
she had had bad advisers. 

The first edition of Seaver's "Life of Mary Jemison," was published 
in 1824 by James D. Bemis of Canandaigua. This little volume is now 
among the scarcest of American books. It contains some statements 
not be found in later editions. Among them is this, from the lips of 
the White Woman: 

"At the great treaty of Big Tree one of Allan's daughters claimed 
the land which he had sold to Morris. The claim was examined and 
decided against her in favor of Ogden, Trumbull and Rogers and 
others who were creditors of Robert Morris. Allan yet believed that 
his daughter had an indisputable right to the land in question and 
got me to go with Mother Farley, a half Indian woman, to assist him, 
by interceding with Morris for it, and to urge the propriety of her 
claim. We went to Thomas Morris, and having stated to him our 
business, he told us plainly that he had no land to give away, and 
that as the title was good, he never would allow Allan, nor his heirs, 
one foot, or words to that effect. We returned to Allan the answer we 
had received, and he, conceiving all further attempts to be useless, 
went home." 

When Allan visited him in Philadelphia, Robert Morris knew per- 
fectly well that Allan had no right to sell the land he offered, for it 
was not deeded to Allan, but to Allan's daughters. 

In Doty's excellent "History of Livingston County" the statement 
is made that Allan gave Morris a warranty deed, but this, I am con- 
vinced is a mistake. He had no right to give a deed : and as a matter 
of fact there is no deed or other document on record. If Allan execu- 
ted a paper of any kind, it was a contract or bill of sale of the im- 
provements. 

I think there can be no doubt that Ebenezer Allan's daughter was 
deliberately defrauded at the treaty of Big Tree. The white men took 
advantage of the ignorance of the Indians and forced the claim through. 
Robert Morris was well pleased with his son's management of this 
affair, and promised to give him one-half of the sixteen square miles 
of land. He was unable to keep his promise, however. As to Eben- 
ezer Allan, it is fair to assume that the Bluebeard of the border knew 
he had done a discreditable and dishonest thing, for otherwise he 
would have appeared at the treaty himself and substantiated the state- 



Treaty of Big Tree 88 

ments of his daughter instead of sending Mary Jamison to plead pri- 
vately with Thomas Morris. 

In his account of the treaty — the account which all our historians 
have adopted — Thomas Morris says as little as possible about the 
means he used to influence the Indians after Red Jacket had raked up 
the council fire. He acknowledges that he argued with the warriors 
and women and distributed presents to the latter, and then says : 

"For some days the chief women and warriors might be seen 
scattered about in little knots ; after which I received a message 
informing me that the women and warriors would meet me in council 
and negotiate with me." 

It is a fact, however, which I am able to prove, and which is now 
made public for the first time, that during this interval Thomas Morris 
and the representatives of the Holland Land company were secretly 
bribing the warriors. They not only paid them money, but agreed to 
give them annuities so long as they lived. And it was by bribery 
rather than by argument, that Morris brought about the reopening of 
the council, and finally secured the consent of the Indians to sell. It 
is not surprising, therefore, that Morris tells us nothing of this in his 
statement ; and doubtless he was as careful to conceal the bribery 
from the Indians generally as he was to conceal it from the historians 
of Western New York. I have in my possession copies of some of the 
original documents, proving beyond question the truth of my state- 
ments. Here, for instance, is a receipt acknowledging the payment of 
one of the annuities : 

Received of Messrs. Leroy, Bayard & McEvers and Thomas Mor- 
ris, Esq., by the hands of Erastus Granger, the sum of two hundred 
and fifty dollars, being in full for my annuity for the year 1801 due 
me by agreement with Robert Morris at Big Tree in September, 1797. 

his 
Signed Com x Planter. 

In presence of Jasper Parrish. mark 

It is clear from this that Cornplanter's price was $250 a year so 
long as he lived, in addition to the cash payment at the treaty. Alto- 
gether, therefore, he received about $10,000 for his share in this trans- 
action. Doubtless Thomas Morris felt that Cornplanter's services 
were worth the price, for it was Cornplanter who conducted the 
negotiations for the Indians after the council fire had been rekindled. 
Of course he was not the only one who was paid. Young King, the 
"bearer of the smoking brand," received an annuity of $100, or a total 
of $3,800. In later years, as he thought of the power he could have 
wielded at the treaty, it is probable that he marvelled at his own mod- 
eration. Little Billy was another who sold himself. His price was 
the same as Yountr King's— $100 a year — and as Little Billy lived till 
1834 he received $3,700. Pollard received $50 a year, or $2,200. Even 
the haughty Red Jacket consented to receive money and drew $100 a 
year. And so we might go on, if it were necessary, with these un- 
pleasant details. 

An interesting and unpiiblished anecdote regarding these annuities 
is furnished by William C. Bryant, Esq., the scholarly Indianologist of 



Treaty of Big Tree 89 

Buffalo. It seems that tlie annuities were not always paid exactly on 
time, and the Indians were often worried. Millard Fillmore, subse- 
quently president of the United States, said to Mr. Bryant : 

"I don't remember seeing Complanter but on one occasion. He 
came to my office on Court street, soon after my return from Wash- 
ington, after congress had adjourned. He was a bowed, wrinkled and 
decrepit old man. He was attended by two or three younger Indians. 
He produced a capacious bag, similar in size to an ordinary mail bag, 
and took out a venerable treaty, which he explained to me. He said 
that soon after the treaty, was made the annuity was promptly paid — 
first it came when the tender blades of the corn broke from the mould ; 
then it came when the stalks were as high as a child's knee ; next it 
lingered till the grain was full and filled with milk, and now the 
stalks are dry and rustling and the Indians are very hungry for their 
money." 

Robert Morris himself expected that the Indians would have to 
be bribed and indeed authorized this procedure. In his letter of 
instructions he said : "Annuities of $20 to §60 may be given to influen- 
tial chiefs to the extent of $250 or 8300 per annum." And again, 
"Some dollars may be promised before the treaty and paid when 
finished, to the amount of $500 or $600, or if necessary $1,000 to the 
chiefs." 

It is to be regretted that the warriors betrayed their people for 
money, but they were importuned unceasingly by the avaricious, 
cunning, and unscrupulous whites. All sorts of plausible arguments 
and entreaties were made, and under the spells of the tempters the 
red men fell. The Indians were wrong, unquestionably ; but how can 
we censiire them severely ? Is there no bribery now-a-days ? Do our 
representatives, in our boasted nineteenth-century civilization, never 
betray their constituents? Are not charges of corruption pending 
even now against men who hold high ofifices of trust and power? Let 
us, therefore, pass by, with what charity we may, the fault committed 
by the untutored children of the forest, and condemn those who 
tempted them. 

On the part of Robert Morris and Thomas Morris, his son, the 
transaction was shameful. They, at least, could measure the breadth 
and depth of the iniquity, and the fact that they accomplished by the 
corrupt use of money what they could not accomplish bj' fair and 
honorable dealings must not only be admitted, but recorded to their 
great discredit. 

Though most of the Indians who gathered at Big Tree had partic- 
ipated in the inevitable horrors of border warfare we must judge 
them with charity. Let us not fall into the error so common among 
the historians of America, of unduly praising the condiict of the 
whites and unduly exaggerating the evil passions of the Indians. We 
must bear in mind that the whites, as well as the Indians, used the 
scalping knife and applied the torch, and that both committed exces- 
ses that both lived to regret. Many of the Indians who negotiated 
vnth Morris were men of high character. They had been brave in 
war, and they were eloquent and wise in council. They were imbued 
with feelings of lofty patriotism, and they loved their homes and their 



Treaty of Big Tree 90 

families. The greeting of the patient wife at the end of a long and 
dangerous journey was returned with tenderness and love, and the 
laughter of the romping children was music in the warrior's ear. It 
was the Great Spirit who gave to these forest heroes the beans and the 
com, the gentle rains of spring, the smiling sun of summer and the 
golden days of harvest ; and in their leafy chapels the Indians offered 
up their prayers and thanked him for his goodness. 

"Ye say they all have passed away, 

That noble race and brave, 
That their light canoes have vanish'd 

From off the ci-ested wave ; 
That 'mid the forest where they roam'd 

There rings no hunter's shout ; 
But their name is on your watei's, 

Ye may not wash it out. 

"Ye say their cone-like cabins, 

That cluster'd o'er the vale. 
Have fled away like wither'd leaves 

Before the autumn's gale ; 
But their memory liveth on your hills 

Their baptism on your shore ; 
Your everlasting rivers speak 

Their dialect of yore." 



wm 



L A K E O X T 




MAP OF HOLLAND LAND COMPANY'S PRELIMINARY SURVEY 1797 



THE TEXT 

OF THE TREATi^ 

r^ ONTRACT entered into under the sanction of the United States of 
I America, between Robert Morris and the Seneka nation of In- 
^^ dians. 

^ This indenture, made the fifteenth day of September, in the year 
of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven, between 
the sachems, chiefs and warriors of the Seneka nation of Indians, of 
the first part, and Robert Morris, of the city of Philadelphia, esquire, 
of the second part. 

Whereas, the commonwealth of Massachusetts have granted, bar- 
gained, and sold unto the said Robert Morris, his heirs and assigns 
forever, the pre-emptive right, and all other the right, title, and inter- 
est, which the said commonwealth had to all that tract of land here- 
inafter particularly mentioned, being part of a tract of land lying 
within the state of New York, the right of pre-emption of the soil 
whereof, from the native Indians, was ceded and granted by the said 
state of New York, to the said commonwealth ; and whereas, at a 
treaty held under the authority of the United States, with the said 
Seneka nation of Indians, at Genesee, in the county of Ontario, and 
state of New York, on the day of the date of these presents, and on 
sundry days immediately prior thereto, by the Hon. Jeremiah Wads- 
worth, esquire, a commissioner appointed by the President of the 
United States to hold the same, in pursuance of the constitution, and 
of the act of the congress of the United States, in such case made and 
provided, it was agreed in the presence and with the approbation of 
the said commissioner, by the sachems, chiefs and warriors of the said 
nation of Indians, for themselves and in behalf of their nation, to sell 
to the said Robert Morris, and to his heirs and assigns forever, all 
their right to all that tract of land above recited, and hereinafter par- 
ticularly specified, for the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, to be 
by the said Robert Morris vested in the stock of the Bank of the Uni- 
ted States and held in the name of the President of the United States, 
for the use and behoof of the said nation of Indians, the said agreement 
and sale being also made in the presence and with the approbation of 
the honorable Willard Shepard, esquire, the superintendent appointed 
for such purpose, in pursuance of a resolve of the general court of the 
commonwealth of Massachusetts, passed the eleventh day of March, 
in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one ; 
now this indenture witnesseth, that the said parties of the first part, 
for and in consideration of the premises above recited, and for divers 
other good and valuable considerations them thereunto moving, have 
granted, bargained, sold, aliened, released, enfeoffed and confirmed; 
and by the presents do grant, bargain, sell, alien, release, enfeoff, and 
confirm, unto the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns, 
forever, all that certain tract of land, except as hereinafter excepted, 
Ijring within the county of Ontario, and State of New York, being part 
of a tract of land, the right of pre-emption whereof was ceded by the 
state of New York to the commonwealth of Massachusetts, by deed of 
cession executed at Hartford, on the sixteenth day of December, in the 
year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six, being 
all such part thereof as is not included in the Indian purchase made 



Treaty of Big Tree 92 

by Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham, and bounded as follows, to 
wit : easterly, by the land confirmed to Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel 
Gorham by the legislature of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, by 
an act passed the twenty-first day of November, in the year of our 
Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight ; southerly, by 
the north boundary line of the state of Pennsylvania ; westerly by a 
tract of land, part of the land ceded by the state of Massachusetts to 
the United States, and by them sold to Pennsylvania, being a right 
angled triangle, whose hypothenuse is in or along the shore of lake 
Erie ; partly by lake Erie, from the northern point of that triangle to 
the southern bounds of a tract of land one mile in width, lying on and 
along the east side of the strait of Niagara, and partly by the said 
tract to lake Ontario ; and on the north by the boundary line between 
the United States and the King of Great Britain ; excepting neverthe- 
less, and always reserving out of this grant and conveyance, all such 
pieces or parcels of the aforesaid tract, and such privileges thereunto 
belonging, as are next hereinafter particularly mentioned, which said 
pieces or parcels of land so excepted, are, by the parties to these pres- 
ents, clearly and fully understood to remain the property of the said 
parties of the first part, in as full and ample manner as if these pres- 
ents had not been executed : that is to say, excepting and reserving to 
them, the said parties of the first part, and their nation, one piece or 
parcel of the aforesaid tract, at Oanawagus, of two square miles, to 
be laid out in such manner as to include the village, extending in 
breadth one mile along the river ; one other piece or parcel at Big Tree 
of two square miles, to be laid out in such manner as to include the 
village, extending in breadth along the river one mile ; one other piece 
or parcel of two square miles at Little Beard's town, extending one 
mile along the river, to be laid off in such manner as to include the 
village : one other tract of two square miles at Squawky Hill, to be 
laid off as follows, to wit : one square mile to be laid off along the 
river, in such manner as to include the village, the other directly west 
thereof and continiious thereto ; one other piece or parcel at Gardean, 
beginning at the mouth of Steep Hill creek, thence due east, until it 
strikes the old path, thence south until a due west line will intersect 
with certain steep rocks on the west side of the Genesee river, then 
extending due west, due north, and due east, until it strikes the first 
mentioned bound, enclosing as much land on the west side as on the 
east side of the river. One other piece or parcel at Kaounadeau, ex- 
tending in length eight miles along the river and two miles in breadth. 
One other piece or parcel at Cataraugos, beginning at the mouth of 
the Eighteen mile or Koghquangu creek, thence a line or lines to be 
drawn parallel to lake Erie, at the distance of one mile from the lake, 
to the mouth of Cataraugos creek, thence a line or lines extending 
twelve miles up the north side of said creek at the distance of one mile 
therefrom, thence a direct line to the said creek, thence down the said 
creek to lake Erie, thence along the lake to the first mentioned creek, 
and thence to the place of beginning. Also, one other piece at Catarau- 
gos. beginning at the shore of lake Erie, on the south side of Cataraugos 
creek, at the distance of one mile from the mouth thereof, thence 
running one mile from the lake, thence on a line parallel thereto to a 
point within one mile from the Connondauweyea creek, thence up the 



Treaty of Big Tree 93 

said creek one mile, on a line parallel thereto, thence on a direct line to 
the said creek thence down the same to lake Erie, thence along the lake 
to the place of beginning. Also one other piece or parcel of forty-two 
square miles at or near the Allegenny river. Also, two hundred square 
miles, to be laid off partly at the Buffalo and partly at the Tannawanta 
creeks. Also excepting and reserving to them, the said parties of the 
first part and their heirs, the privilege of fishing and hunting on the said 
tract of land hereby intended to be conveyed. And it is hereby under- 
stood by and between the parties to these presents, that all such pieces 
or parcels of land as are hereby reserved, and are not particularly 
described as to the manner in which the same are to be laid off, shall 
be laid off in such manner as shall be determined by the sachems and 
chiefs residing at or near the respective villages where such reserva- 
tions are made, a particular note whereof to be endorsed on the back 
of this deed, and recorded therewith, together vsdth all and singular 
the rights, privileges, hereditaments, and appurtenances thereunto 
belonging, or in anywise appertaining. And all the estate, right, title, 
and interest, whatsoever of them the said parties of the first part and 
their nation, of, in, and to the said tract of land above described, 
except as is above excepted, to have and to hold all and singular the 
said granted premises, with the appurtenances, to the said party of the 
second part, his heirs and assigns, to his and their proper use, benefit, 
and behoof forever. 

In witness whereof, the parties to these presents have hereunto inter- 
changeably set their hands and seals, the day and year first above 
written. 

Robert Morris, by his attorney, Thomas Morris, (L. S.) 

Koyengquahtah, alias Yovmg King, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Soonookshewan, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Koniitaico, alias Handsome Lake, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Sattakanguyase, alias Two Skies of a Length, his X mark, (L, S,) 

Onayawos, or Farmer's Brother, his X mark, (L, S.) 

SoogooyawavTtau, alias Red Jacket, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Gishkaka, alias Little Billy, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Kaovmdoowana, alias Pollard, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Ouneshataikau, or Tall Chief, by his agent Stevenson, his X mark, 

Onnonggaihko, alias Infant, his X mark, (L. S.) (L. S.) 

Teahdowaingqua, alias Thomas Jemison, his X mark, (L. S. 

Tekonnondee, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Oneghtaugooau, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Connawaudeau, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Taosstaiefi, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Kooeutwahka, or Cornplanter, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Oosaukaunendauki, alias To Destroy a To"svn, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Sooeoowa, alias Parrot Nose, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Toonahookahwa, his X mark. (L. S.) 

Howwennounew, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Kounahtaetoiie, his X mark, (L. S. 

Taouyaukaima, his X mark. (L. S.) 

Woudougoohkta, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Sonauhquaukau, his X mark, (L. S.) 



Treaty of Big Tree 94 

Twaunauiyana, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Takaunoudea, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Shequinedaughque, or Little Beard, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Jowaa, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Saunajie, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Tauoiyuquatakausea, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Taoundaudish, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Tooauquinda, his X mark, (L, S.) 
Ahtaou, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Taukooshoondakoo, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Kauneskanggo, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Soonanjuwan, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Tonowauiya, or Capt. Bullet, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Jaahkaaeyas, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Taughihshauta, his X mark (L. S.) 
Sukkenjoonau, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Ahquatieya, or Hot Bread, his X mark (L. S.) 
Suggonundan, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Taunowaintooh, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Konnonjoowauna, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Soogooeyandestak, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Hautwanauekkau, by Young King, his X mark (L. S.) 
Sauwejnwan, hisX mark, (L. S.) 
Kaunooh shall wen, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Taukonondangekta, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Kaouyanoughque, or John Jemison, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Hoiegush, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Taknaahquan, hisX mark, (L. S.) 
Sealed and delivered in presence of 

Nat. W. Howell, James Rees, 

Joseph Ellicott, Henry Aaron Hills, 

Israel Chapin, Henry Abeel. 

Jasper Parrish, ) j^i.^^^^^^.^^^ 
Horatio Jones, \ Interpreters. 
Done at a full and general treaty of the Seneka nation of Indians, held 
at Genesee in the county of Ontario, and State of New York, on 
the fifteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord, one thous- 
and seven hundred and ninety-seven, under the authority of the 
United States. 
In testimony whereof. I have hereunto set my hand and seal, the day 
and year aforesaid. JERE. WADSWORTH, (l.s.) 

Pursuant to a resolution of the legislature of the Commonwealth 
of Massachusetts, passed the eleventh day of March, in the year of our 
Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety -one, I have attended a 
full and general treaty of the Seneka nation of Indians, at Genesee, 
in the county of Ontario, when the within instrument was duly execu- 
ted in my presence by the sachems, chiefs and warriors of the said 
nation, being fairly and properly understood and transacted by all the 
parties of Indians concerned, and declared to be done to their universal 
satisfaction : I therefore certify and approve of the same. 

Subscribed in presence of WILLIAM SHEPARD. 

Nat. W. Howell. 



MORRIS TO 
WASHINGTON 

rsOBERT MORRIS secured from Massachusetts in 1791 the right 
1^ to buy the lands from the Indians ; but it was not till 1796 that 
1 Y he was ready to open negotiations. Then he wrote the foUow- 
^ ing letter to Washington : 

[For this letter, see page 77.] 

Commissioners having been appointed and other preparations for 
the treaty having been made, Robert Morris addressed the following 
letter to his son Thomas, and his friend, Charles Williamson, who 
were to carry on the negotiations with the Indians. This document is 
among the O'Reilly papers in the collection of the New York Histori- 
cal society. This is the first time that it has ever been published. All 
who are interested in the history of Western New York will read it 
with much interest : 

MORRIS'S INSTRUCTIONS. 

Philadelphia, August 1 , 1797. 
Thomas Morris and Charles Williamson, Esqrs. : 

Gentlemen— I send herewith my power of attorney constituting 
you my attorneys, and as such authorizing you to hold a treaty with 
the Seneca nation of Indians and such other nations, tribes, or chiefs 
as may be necessary and to purchase of them for my account all that 
tract of country the pre-emptive right of which I bought of the state 
of Massachusetts, being bounded on the east by the G-enesee river and 
certain boundary lines of Gorham and Phelps's Purchase, on the south 
by the north boundary line of the state of Pennsylvania, on the west 
by Lake Erie and certain boundary lines of the Pennsylvania Triangle 
and of a small tract or carrying place reserved to the state of New 
York near the river Niagara, and on the north by Lake Ontario. 

This tract of land you are too well acquainted with to render any 
other description necessary, and its importance to me you can properly 
estimate, although I have not that interest in it at present which I 
ought to have retained ; nevertheless there is a duty due from me to 
those to whom I have sold which I am as solicitous to perform as if 
the whole benefit was for myself; but, although I am not to reap all the 
benefit, I am to sustain all the expense. This circumstance does not in- 
duce a desire to starve the cause or to be niggardly ; at the same time 
it is natural to desire a consistent economy to be observed both as to the 
expense of the treaty and the price to be paid for the lands. In order 
to be as clear and distinct as possible I put each article of these in- 
structions numerically as they occur to me. 

First — I send herewith a written speech with which I propose that 
my son shall open the treaty by delivering the same to the Indians in 
my name and in my behalf. 

Second— In addition to this speech, you can each make such addi- 
tional introductory speeches as you may think proper and necessary. 

Third— The business of the treaty may be greatly propelled prob- 
ably by withholding liquor from Indians until the business is finished, 
showing and promising it to them when the treaty ia over. 



Treaty of Big Tree 96 

Fourth — I propose that an annuity of four thousand or four thous- 
and five hundred dollars forever shall be the price of purchase for the 
whole tract of country to the pre-emption of which I have the right. 

Fifth— If they should want some money down, say 5,000 to 10,000 
dollars, the annuity to decrease proportionately. 

Sixth — Annuities of 20 to 60 dollars per annum may be given to 
influential chiefs to the extent of 250 or 300 dollars per annum. 

Seventh — Some dollars may be promised before the treaty and 
paid when finished to the amount of 500 or 600 dollars, or if necessary 
1,000 dollars, to the chiefs. 

Eighth — Captain Brant, although not belonging to the Seneca 
nation, yet being an influential character, he must be satisfied for his 
services on as reasonable terms as possible, after the purchase is made. 

Ninth — Jones and Smith as interpreters are to do their duty fully 
and faithfully or I will not convey the lands contracted for with them, 
but if they do their duty the deed of those lands shall be delivered 
upon receipt of the money they are in that case to pay. 

Tenth— Mr. Johnston of Niagara is to be employed as an interpre- 
ter and compensated with a reasonable lil^erality. 

Eleventh — Mr. Dean and Mr. Parish may also be employed on 
similar terms. 

Twelfth — Mr. Chapin will render any services that consist with 
the duties of his station, and must have a proper compliment or com- 
pensation. 

Thirteenth — If there be others whom I omit or do not know whom 
it may be proper to employ, you will exercise your discretion in regard 
to them. 

Fourteenth— The whole cost and charges of this treaty being at 
my expense, you will direct everything upon the principles of a liberal 
economy. The Indians must have plenty of food, and also of liquor 
when you see proper to order it to them. The commissioners, their 
secretaries, interpreters, and all who are officially employed at or 
about this treaty, must be provided at my cost. You will of course 
keep a table for yourselves and such of them as ought to be admitted 
to it. Such gentlemen strangers as visit there with friendly intentions, 
or from curiosity, you will of course entertain as often as you think 
proper. 

Fifteenth — The liquors and stores I sent up will be used and if not 
sufficient more must be got. 

Sixteenth— The articles sent up for presents to the Indian chiefs, 
their wives and children, you will distribute as you see proper, and 
you may tell them I did not send any goods for presents to the nation 
because I thought they could with the money they will receive half- 
yearly buy what may suit them best. 

Seventeenth — If you think twenty to thirty cows given to the 
women would have a good effect, this might be done in such way as to 
please them best. 

Eighteenth — The price or annuity offered for the whole tract of 
country if they do not incline to give up the whole may be put upon 
this footing, that the whole sum shall now be placed in the bank, and 
if they deliver me possession of only one-half the lands they shall draw 
only one-half the annuity and I will draw the other half, and so in 



Treaty of Big Tree 97 

proportion to what tliey give iip, and at any time thereafter when they 
agree to give up more land they shall then draw more of the annuity 
in proportion, and when they surrender the whole of the land, they 
shall draw the whole of the annuity. 

Nineteenth — They may signify at any time their intention of 
making a further surrender of lands (beyond what now may be agreed 
for) to the superintendent of Indian affairs, and I or my successors 
will immediately appoint proper persons to receive and survey the 
lands and assign to them or their agents the securities for the propor- 
tion of the annuity equivalent to the lands so surrendered. 

Twentieth — It will be most agreeable if they will deliver the 
whole lands now, and receive the whole of the annuity, but if they 
should only consent to deliver a part, let that part be as large a pro- 
portion as you can possibly obtain ; and in this case it may be best 
perhaps to ask for it in the following manner : miles on the Penn- 
sylvania line beginning at the point on that line which bounds Gorham 
and Phelps Purchase, and running west miles, and from the ter- 
minating point on the Pennsylvania line to run due north to Lake 
Ontario, then east along the borders of said lake to the point of divis- 
ion on the north boundary of Gorham and Phelps's Purchase, and 
thence south along the west boundary lines of said Gorham and 
Phelps's Purchase and the Genesee river to the place of beginning : 
and in addition to this another quantity either on the northern or 
southern side of the tract as may be most palatable to the Indians. If 
on the southern side it will commence at the western point on the 
Pennsylvania line where the above tract stopped and run as far on the 
Pennsylvania line as they will agree, and also to go as far north on the 
west side of the above tract as they will agree, thence due west until a 
south line will strike the point where they stop on the Pennsylvania 
line unless they agree to go all the length of it to the corner of the 
Pennsylvania Triangle, and in that case the other line will run west to 
Lake Erie, or the boundary of that Triangle, which boundary would 
in that case also be the west boundary of the tract I contemplate. 
Shoiild they prefer to cede a tract bounded by Lake Ontario, the east, 
south, and west boundaries will be fixed in a similar manner to what 
I have proposed for the others. 

Twenty-first — If the Indians will not sell and deliver the whole 
tract you must stipulate and obtain liberty for the surveyor to traverse 
the borders of Lakes Erie and Ontario and measure all the boundary 
lines of the whole tract. 

Twenty-second — William Bayard vdll attend the treaty on behalf 
of the Holland company to whom I have sold a great part of these 
lands and perhaps Mr. Linklaen and Garrit Boon may also be there. 
I would wish you to communicate freely and confidentially with theee 
gentlemen or such of them as do attend, and particularly as to what 
part of the tract shall be taken into the purchase (in case the whole is 
not boiight) after Track No. 1 is secured. 

This Tract No. 1 is bounded on the east by the Genesee river and 
the boundary lines of Gorham and Phelps's Purchase, on the south by 
the Pennsylvania north boundary line running twelve miles west on 
that line, thence on the west by a line to be run from the point of 



Treaty of Big Tree 98 

twelve miles due north to Lake Ontario, and thence bounded on the 
north by Lake Ontario to the north point of said Gorham and Phelps's 
Purchase, This tract must be included in the purchase at all events 
and the rest may be made agreeable to the Holland company and the 
Indians, but I hope and expect that the whole will be purchased. 

Twenty-third — In case the whole of the tract is agreed for, but 
the Indians choose to retain some part for their occupation, they will 
choose, I presume, Buffalo Creek, Tanewanta, and lands bordering on 
Lake Erie. In fixing this you will consult as much as can be the inter- 
ests and inclinations of the Holland company, conjointly with the 
pleasure of the Indians. 

Twenty-fourth— Although I have proposed an annuity to the In- 
dians as the price of their lands, yet if they prefer to be paid in money, 
I do not object. In that case I suppose seventy-five thousand dollars 
may be set down as the price of the whole, and in proportion for any 
part less than the whole, the money to be paid to them or their agent 
or agents within sixty to ninety days either at Philadelphia. New 
York, or Cauandaigua, as may be agreed on between you and them, 
consulting Mr. Bayard as to the time and place of payment. 

Should any other matter occur that I shall think necessary to be 
intimated to you, I shall, if there be time, write to you again as often 
as may appear useful. You are, however, to consider what I have 
already wTiten rather as outlines for your conduct on this business 
than as positive orders not to be departed from. I have perfect con- 
fidence in your friendship and also in your integrity and discretion and 
therefore I confide to your management the whole of this business 
without limitation or restriction except that if you make a purchase 
the Tract No. 1 must be a part of it. If you can make the purchase 
on better terms than I have proposed I am sure you will do it, and on 
the contrary should you be obliged to give more I shall acquiesce. 
Yoii know it is high time this purchase should be made and it is of 
vast importance to all concerned to have it accomplished ; therefore 
you must effect it at all events, and I can only repeat that although I 
wish to buy as reasonably as may be, yet I do not mean to starve the 
cause, for I must have it. 

With sincere regard and affection, I am, gentlemen, your friend 
and servant, 

Robert Morris. 

Thomas Morris and Charles Williamson, Esqrs., Ontario County, 
State of New York. 



Mr. Moi-ris could not be present at the treaty himself, but he sen* 
in manuscript a speech to the Senecas which he directed should be read 
to them. This Avas as follows : 

Brothers of the Seneca Nation — It was my wish and my intention 
to have come into your country and to have met you at this treaty, but 
the Great Spirit has ordained otherwise and I cannot go. I grow old 
and corpulent, and not very well, and am fearful of traveling so far 
during the hot weather in the month of August. 



Treaty of Big Tree 99 

Brothers, as I cannot be with you at the treaty, I have deputed 
and appointed my son Thomas Morris, Esq., and my friend Charles 
WiUiamson, Esq., to appear for me and on my behalf to sj^eak and 
treat with you in the same manner and to the same effect as I might or 
could do were I present at this treaty with you. and it is my request 
that you will listen to them with the same attention that you would to 
me. 

Brothers, I have the greatest love and esteem for my son and my 
friend. They possess my entire confidence and whatever they engage 
for on my behalf you may depend that I will perform the same as 
exactly as if I was there and made the engagements with you myself ; 
therefore I pray you to listen to them and believe in what they say. 

Brothers, it is now six years since I have been invested with the 
exclusive right to acquire your lands. During the whole of this time 
you have quietly possessed them without being importuned by me to 
sell them, but I now think that it is time for them to be productive to 
you. It is with a view to render them so that I have acquiesced in 
your desire to meet you at the Genesee river. I shall take care imme- 
diately to deposit in the bank of the United States whatever my son 
and my friend may agree to pay you in my behalf. 

Brothers, from the personal acquaintance which I have with your 
chiefs and head men, I am assured that their wisdom and integrity will 
direct the object of the treaty to the happiness of yourselves and your 
posterity. It is a pleasing circumstance to me that my business is to 
be transacted with such men, because while on the one hand they will 
take care of your interests, on the other whatever is done between them 
and me will be strong and binding. I hope that wise men will always 
be at the head of your councils, but for fear that those that succeed 
your present leading men should not deserve and possess your confi- 
dence as fully as these do, you had better have your business so fixed 
now as not to leave it in the power of wrong-headed men in future to 
waste the property given to you by the Great Spirit for the use of 
yourselves and your posterity. 

Brothers, I have now opened my mind to you, and as I depend on 
my son and my friend to carry on and conclude the business with you 
I shall only add that the President of the United States, approving of 
this treaty' and being your father and friend, has appointed an honor- 
able and worthy gentleman, foiinerly a member of congress, the Hon. 
Jeremiah Wadsworth, Esq., to be a commissioner on behalf of the 
United States to attend and superintend this treaty, and the governor 
of the state of Massachusetts also appointed an honorable and worthy 
gentleman, formerly a general in the American army and now a mem- 
ber of congress, the' Hon. William Shepherd, Esq., to be a commis- 
sioner to attend this treaty on behalf of the state of Massachusetts. 
These gentlemen will attend to what is said and done on lx)th sides in 
order to see that mutual fair dealings and justice shall take place. 
Their office and duty will be rendered agreeable so far as depends on 
me because I desire nothing but fair, open and honest transactions. 

Brothers, I bid you farewell. May the Great Spirit ever befriend 
and protect you. 



Treaty of Big Tree 100 

I yNOW all Men by these Presents that we the Chief Warriors and 
yi Chief Sachems of the Seneca Nation for and in consideration of 
* \ the sum of one dollar to us in hand paid by Mary Jemoson the 
^ receipt whereof we do hereby acknowledge and are fully satisfied 
and contented and paid, have given, granted, bargained, aliened, releas- 
ed, conveyed and coniirmed unto her the said Mary Jemoson her heirs 
aud assigns forever one certain parcel or tract of land being and lying 
on the Genesee River beginning at the mouth of the steep hill creek 
and running a due east line till it strikes the old path ; thence south till 
a due west line will intersect with certain steep rocks on the west side 
Genesee River, then extending due west, due north, and due east, till 
it strikes the first mentioned bounds inclosing as much land upon the 
west side of the river as it does on the east side of said river. To 
have and to hold the above granted and bargained premises with all 
the appurtenances and privileges thereunto belonging to her the said 
Mary Jemoson her heirs and assigns forever and furthermore, we the 
said Chief Sachems and Warriors for ourselves, our heirs, executors 
and administrators do by these presents covenant, engage and promise 
to defend the above granted premises with all the appurtenances unto 
her the said Mary Jemoson her heirs and assigns forever will Warrant 
and Defend the above granted premises against all the claims and 
demands of all persons whatsoever in confirmation whereof, we have 
hereunto set our hands and seals this in the year of our Lord 

one thousand seven hiandred and ninety-seven, 
his 
Farmers x Brother 
mark 
his 
Little X Billy 
mark 
his 
Pollard X 
mark 
his 
Hanow x Shawen 
mark 
his 
Kayyea x Neghque 
mark 
his 
Tommy x Jimmisson 
mark 
his 
Corn X Planter 
mark 
his 
Howana x Zee 
mark 



Treaty of Big Tree iOl 

Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of Horatio Jones, William 
Johnston. C. Winny, Clias. Williamson, Thomas Morris. 

Be it remembered that on the thirtieth day of October in the year 
one thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight personally came before 
me, Moses Atwater, one of the judges of the Court of Common Pleas 
for the County of Ontario, Thomas Morris, who being duly sworn 
declared he saw the grantors of the within instrument affix their sig- 
natures to the same as an execution thereof. And that he the deponent 
with Charles Williamson in the presence of each other subscribed their 
names as witnesses to the same, I being personally acquainted with 
Thomas Morris and upon inspection of the said instrument finding no 
material erasures or interlineations do allow the same to be recorded. 

Moses Atwater. 

I certify the foregoing to be a true copy of the original instrument 
examined compared and recorded this thirtieth day of Octoljer A. D., 
1798. 

G. B. Porter, Clk. 



^^ 



Treaty of Big Tree 102 

SENEKAS 

Concluded September 3, 1823. 

/^ T a treaty held under the authority of the United States at Mos- 
^4 cow, in the county of Livingston, in the State of New York, 
r * between the sachems, chiefs and warriors of the Seneka nation 
' of Indians in behalf of said nation, and John Greig and Henry 

B. Gibson of Canandaigua in the county of Ontario ; in the presence 
of Charles Carroll, esquire, commissioner appointed by the United 
States for holding said treaty, and of Nathaniel Gorman, esquire, sup- 
erintendent, in behalf of the State of Massachusetts. 

Know all men by these presents, that the said sachems, chiefs and 
warriors, for and in consideration of the sum of four thousand two 
hundred and eighty-six dollars, lawful money of the United States, to 
them in hand paid by the said John Greig and Henry B. Gibson, at or 
immediately before the ensealing and delivery of these presents, the 
receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have granted, bargained, sold, 
aliened, released, quit claimed, and confirmed unto the said John 
Greig and Henry B. Gibson, and by these presents do grant, bargain, 
sell, alien, release, quit, claim, and confirm, unto the said John Greig 
and Henry B. Gibson, their heirs and assigns forever, all that tract, 
piece or parcel of land commonly called and known by the name 
of the Gardeau reservation, situate, lying and being in the counties of 
Livingston and Genesee, in the State of New York, bounded as follows, 
that is to say : Beginning at the mouth of Steep Hill creek, thence 
due east, until it strikes the Old Path, thence south until a due west 
line will intersect with certain steep rocks on the west side of the 
Genesee river, thence extending due west, due north, and due east, 
until it strikes the first mentioned bound, enclosing as much land on 
the west side as on the east side of the river, and containing according 
to the survey and measurement made of the same by Augustus Porter, 
surveyor, seventeen thousand nine hundred and twenty-seven 137-160 
aci'es, be the same more or less, excepting nevertheless, and always 
reserving out of this grant and conveyance twelve hundred and eighty 
acres of land, bounded as follows, that is to say : on the east by Gen- 
esee river, on the south by a line running due west from the center of 
the Big Slide so called, on the north by a line parallel to the south line 
and two miles distant therefrom, and on the west by a line running 
due north and south, and at such a distance from the river as to 
include the said quantity of twelve himdred and eighty acres and no 
more ; which said twelve hundred and eighty acres are fully and 
clearly understood, to remain the property of the said parties of the 
first part, and their nation, in as full and ample a manner, as if these 
presents had not been executed ; together with all and singular the 
rights, privileges, hereditaments, and appurtenances, to the said hereby 
granted premises belonging or in any wise appertaining, and all the 
estate, right, title and interest, whatsoever of them the said parties of 
the first part, and of their nation, of, in, and to the said tract of land 
above described, except as is above excepted. To have and to hold all 
and singular the above granted premises with the appurtenances, unto 
the said John Greig and Henry B. Gibson, their heirs and assigns, to 
the sole and only proper use, benefit, and behoof, of the said John 
Greig and Henry B. Gibson, their heirs and assigns forever. 



W93! H 






Treaty of Big Tree 103 

In testimony whereof, the parties to these presents have hereunto, 
and to three other instruments of the same tenor and date, one 
to remain with the United States, one to remain with the State of 
Massachusetts, one to remain with the Seneka nation of Indians, 
and one to remain with the said John Greig and Henry B. Gibson, 
interchangeably set their hands and seals the third day of Septem- 
ber, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and 
twenty- three. 

Saquiungarluchta, or Young King, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Karlundawana, or Pollard, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Sagouata, or Red Jacket, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Tishkaaga, or Little Billy, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Tywaneash, or Black Snake, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Kahalsta, or Strong, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Chequinduchqite. or Little Beard, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Tuyongo, or Seneka White, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Onondaki, or Destroy To^vn, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Lunuchshewa, or War Chief, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Genvichsckada, or Stevenson, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Mary Jamieson, her X mark, (L. S.) 
Talwinaha, or Little Johnson, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Atachsagu, or John Big Tree, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Teskaiy, or John Pierce, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Teaslaegee, or Charles Cornplanter, his X m. (L. S.) 
Teoncukaweh, or Bob Stevens, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Checanadughtwo, or Little Beard, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Canada, his X mark, (L. S.) 
Sealed and delivered in the presence of 

Nat. W. Howell, Jasper Parrish, 

Ch. Carroll, Horatio Jones. 

Done at a treaty held with the sachems, chiefs, and warriors of the 
Seneka nation of Indians at Moscow, in the County of Livingston 
and State of New York, on the third day of September, one thous- 
and eight hundred and twenty-three, under the authority of the 
United States. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my 
hand and seal, the day and year aforesaid, by virtue of a commis- 
sion issued under the seal of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, 
bearing date the 31st day of August, A. D., 1815, pursuant to a 
resolution of the legislature of the said commonwealth, passed 
the eleventh day of March, one thousand seven hundred and nine- 
ty-one. N. Gorman, Superintendent. 
I have attended a treaty of the Seneka nation of Indians held at 
Moscow in the County of Livingston and State of New York, on the 
third day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight 
hundred and twenty-three, when the within instrument was duly 
executed in my presence, by the sachems, chiefs, and warriors of the 
said nation, being fairly and properly understood and transacted by all 
the parties of Indians concerned, and declared to be done to their full 
satisfaction. I do therefore certify and approve the same. 

Ch. Carroll, Commissioner. 






*y ♦ 






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