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The Senecas of New York, residing on the Allegany, Cattaraugus, Corpplanter, and Tonawanda reservations, receive $11,902.50 annuity from the United States. The Senecas of the Tonawanda band, on Tonawanda reservation, receive in addition, trust-fund interest at 5 per cent. on $86,950 as annuity and premium from the United States, amounting to $1,701.16, under treaty with the United States, dated November 5, 1857.
OIL-SPRING RESERVATION. The Oil-Spring reservation, of one square mile, or 640 acres, is located in the towns of Ischua and Cuba, in the counties of Cattaraugus and Allegany, in the State of New York. There is an oil-spring near the center of the reservation, being in appearance a deep, muddy pool of water, 20 feet in diameter, without outlet. The Indians have from time immemorial gathered petroleum-oil, in small quantities, from the surface of the spring, which they formerly used for medicinal purposes. Several years since, the Seneca Nation of Indians leased the oil-privileges in the reservation for a portion of the oil and a bonus of $10,000, which was paid down; and a few wells were put down and several hundred barrels of oil obtained, but not in paying quantities.
By the treaty held at Big Tree, on Genesee River, in the State of New York, between the Seneca Nation of Indians and Robert Morris, of Philadelphia, concluded September 15, 1797, the legal title of this reservation, with about 3,500,000 acres of other lands in the western part of New York, passed to Morris, who conveyed it to the Holland Land Company. The Holland Land Company conveyed it, with other lands, to the Fatiners' Loan and Trust Company, from wbich'company the title passed to David E. Evans, whose beirs conveyed the northwest quarter of the reservation, containing the oil-spring, to Chamberlain, Clark & Gallager, by deed, dated February 9, 1852; the last-named persons conveyed same to Pbiloneus Pattison, by deed, dated November 20, 1855, who went into possession under his lease and cleared off a portion of the land, and built a house and barn thereon. The Seneca Nation of Indians, always claiming title to this reservation, in 1856, and while the undersigned was acting as their attorney, by authority contained in chapter 150 of the Laws of New York, passed in 1845, commenced an action of ejectment against Pattison, to recover that portion of the reservation covered by his deed. This action was stoutly defended, but the Indians recovered a verdict. The defendant appealed the case to the general term of the supreme court, and from thence to the court of appeals, both courts affirming the decision of the circuit and the title of the Indians to the reservation. The Seneca Nation recovered in the action mainly on the evidence of the veteran Seneca war-chief of the Six Nations, Governor Black Snake, whose Indian name was To-wa-8-u, meaning chain-breaker, and who was of the age of 107 years at the time of the trial, in 1856. The name of Governor Black Snake was given to him by President Washington, on the occasion of his visit at the seat of Government with Cornplanter. He testified that he was present at the treaty of Big Tree, in 1797 ; that it was agreed upon, “all around," that the oil-spring should be reserved one mile square; that when the treaty was read over, it was observed and mentioned that the oil.spring had been left out of the treaty, and that then Thomas Morris, who was the attorney of Robert Morris and signed the treaty for him, drew up a small paper, said to con. tain the oil-spring, and delivered it to Pleasant Lake, a leading Seneca sachem of the Six Nations. It did not appear that the paper was afterward seen by any one. Black Snake also presented in evidence a map, being the first map of the Holland Land Purchase, made about the year 1801, which he testified was afterward presented to bim by Joseph Ellicott, the surveyor and general land-agent of the Holland Company, at a general council of the Senecas åt Tonawanda, N. Y., and who was also a witness to the treaty; that Ellicott made a speech to the Senecas in council when he presented the map, saying that the places marked in red on the map belonged to the red men, and among them so marked was the oil-spring reservation. There were other acts proved, showing that the Holland Land Company and its grantees had at different times recognized the Seneca Indians as owners of the reservation. The Senecas founded their claim vpon possession, and the presumption of a grant by Morris to them after the treaty at Big Tree was signed. The other three-quarters of the reservation was conveyed by David E. Evans or his heirs to different persons. The Senecas have, however, since the termination of the trial, held the exclusive possession of the entire reservation, leasing it to white men for oil and farming purposes, aud no further efforts have been made to dispossess them.
I have been thus minute in giving a history of the title of this reservation, believing your office not to be in possession of any previous account of the same. The Seneca Nation of Indians own this reservation, unincumbered by any pre-emption right, and it is all the land they so own.
TUSCARORAS. The Tuscaroras originally resided on lands upon the upper waters of the Tar and Neuse Rivers, in North Carolina, where they had in 1708 fifteen towns and 1,200 warriors. Being a war-like tribe, jealous of their rights, they bravely resisted the efforts of the white people to drive them from their lands, and in the battle at their Forte Na-ha-ru-ke, on the Neuse, against the combined forces of North and South Carolina, with the Cherokees, Creeks, Catawbas, Yamases, and Ashley Indians, 300 of their warriors were slain, and 800 taken pris. oners and sold into slavery. Their power being broken by this severe defeat, they entered into a treaty of peace with the governor of North Carolina, who granted them lands on the Roanoke, in the present county of Bertie, to which the remnant of the tribe removed. Owing to continued encroachments by the white settlers upon their territory, they soon after migrated to the vicinity of Oneida Lake, and in 1722 formally united with their kinsmen, the powerful confederacy of the Iroquois, consisting of the Mohawks, Senecas, Onondagas, Oneidas, and Cayugas, and thus making the sixth number of the Six Nations of New York, in all then numbering about 2,800 warriors, and whose possessiops extended from Vermont to the headwaters of the Ohio, and from the Saint Lawrence and the lakes to the sources of the Delaware, and Susquehanna.
The Tuscaroras removed from Oneida, and camped in 1780 on the site of an old Indian fort and mounds on elevated and fertile lands 7 miles from Suspension Bridge, overlooking Lake Ontario, and about the same distance there from, in the present town of Lewiston, in the county of Niagara. There they planted corn and made a permanent settlement. The Senecas afterwards gave them, at this place, one square mile of land, called the Seneca grant. This is alleged to have been reserved in the treaty between the Senecas and Robert Morris in 1797, but I do not tind it mentioned in the treaty. The Hollaud Land Company, grantees of Morris, however, recognized and confirmed the grant, and generously donated to them two other square miles adjoining. About the year 1804, the Tuscaroras sent a delegation of chiefs to North Carolina, who sold their lands in that State for about the sum of $15,000, and with $13,722, realized from this sale, purchased of the Holland Land Company 4,329 acres, adjoining their other lands, making their present tract 6,249 acres, securing the absolute title thereof in fee-simple. Their lands are practically allotted in manner stated in my annual report of 1872. They number 401. Forty-three Onondagas reside with them, making the total Indian population 444, being an increase of 128 since 1865. The board of missions commenced missionary labors among them in 1800, and the first meeting-house was erected and a school opened in 1805. As a tribe they early abandoned the Pagan customs, and adopted Christianity and the better customs of civilized life. Their chiefs erected the first frame school-house on the reserve in 1831, and with the aid of their missionary, John Eliot, organized a temperance society of one hundred members.
Circumstances seem to have contributed in making the Tuscaroras more self-reliant than the other tribes in this agency. They bave received no money annuities from any source, oniy an annuity in goods, in value of about 90 cents per capita. They are a temperate, industrious, and thrifty agricultural community, and in their farms, farm products, buildings, and agricultural implements, compare favorably with their white neighbors.
ONONDAGAS. There are 493 Onondagas in the agency, of whom 317 reside on the Onondaga reservation, in the towns of Fayette and Onondaga, in Onondaga County ; 96 reside with the Senecas on Allegany reserve, 42 with the Senecas on Cattaraugus reservation, 36 with the Tuscaroras at Tuscarors, and 2 at Tonawanda.
Prior to 1793, the Onondaga reservation contained over 100 square miles, and covered the site of the city of Syracuse and several towns in that locality. Ry the treaty dated March 11, 1793, they sold to the State of New York over three-fourths of their reservation for the consideration of $638 paid down, and a stipulated perpetual annuity of $410, payable on the Ist day of June in each year. By the treaty between the Onondagas and the State of New York, dated July 28, 1795, they sold their interest in the Salt Lake and lands one mile around the same and other lands to the State for the sum of $700 paid down, and a perpetual annuity of $700 and 100 bushels of salt, payable on the 1st day of June in each year. The Onondagas, by treaty dated February 25, 1817, sold to New York State 4,320 acres more of their reserve for $1,000 paid down, and a perpetual annuity of $430 and 50 busbely of salt, payable on the Ist day of June in each year. On February 11, 1822, they sold to the same State 800 acres more of their reservation for $1,700, paid down.
The present reservation contains about 6,100 acres, and is located about 7 miles from the city of Syracuse. The land is fertile, but over three-fourths of the same is leased to and worked by white men. The few who cultivate their own lands are generally temperate and thrifty as -compared with those who lease their lands and live in comparative idleness.
There were 302 Onondagas and 58 Oneidas on the reservation in 1865. There are now 317 Onondagas and 66 Oneidas. Their increase in population since 1855 is 34. The Methodists have a mission-house on this reservation and a resident missionary. The Episcopalians also have a commodious churcb-building, in which religious services are beld weekly, and a day-scbool maintained by them. There is another day school on the reserve, supported by the State. Both schools are well attended, and are held about eight months in the year. I think the Onondagas are improving in eduation and babits of industry. Their chiefs, who are mostly pagans, now advise the people to send their children to school, and to work their lands, instead of leasing the same to white men. The practice of leasing these lands bas do doubt been a positive injury to them, and their close proximity to a large city has exposed them to habits of intemperance and vice. The 493 Onondagas in the agency receive $2,430 annuity from tbe State of New York, and 150 bushels of salt. They receive annuity in goods from the United States in value of about 90 cents per capita.
There are 249 Oneidas in the agency. Of these 11 reside with the Senecas of Tonawanda band at Tonawanda reservation, 66 reside with the Onondagas on the Onondaga reserve, 172 reside on detached farms, containing in all about 350 acres, which have been partitioned into small parcels to heads of families, under the laws of New York, from their former reservations in the counties of Oneida and Madison-only a portion of their own lands. Tbey are divided into two settlements, about 6 miles apart, one called the “ Winfall " party, residing in the town of Lenox, Madison County, and the other called the “Porchard" party, in the town of Vernon, Oneida County. Under regulations provided by chapter 185 of the laws of New York, passed April 13, 1843, any Oneida Indian owning lands may sell same to any person upon terms to be approved by a superintendent and a majority of the chiefs. But few sales have been made under the act.
There were 157 Oneidas residing upon such lands when the State census was taken in 1845. At the present time there are, as stated above, 172. They are mostly Methodists, and have a meeting-house in good repair, in which Thomas Cornelius, a worthy and highly respected Oneida Indian, has officiated as their minister for many years. They are mostly good farmers and prosperous.
CAYUGAS. The Cayugas, by treaty made February 25, 1789, sold to the State of New York, for $2,125 paid down, and an annuity of $500, all their extensive territory in such State, reserving 100 square miles on both sides of Cayuga Lake, a few acres on Seneca River, and one mile square at Cayuga Ferry.
On July 27, 1795, they sold to New York all their reservations, except three square miles, for $1,800 paid down, and an annuity of $1,800; and on May 13, 1803, they released to the State their remaining lands for $4,800. They now own no lands in this agency. A portion of the tribe resides on the Quapaw reservation in the Indian Territory. There are 184 Cay. ugas residing with the Senecas in this State, of which 151 reside on Cattaraugus reservation, and 33 at Tonawanda. The 184 Cayugas in this State receive their share of the $2,300 annuity due the tribe from the State of New York, amounting this year to $1,441.67. They also receive annuity-goods from the United States, under the treaty between the United States and the Six Nations, concluded November 11, 1794, as do also ihe other five tribes in the agency, except the Saint Regis.
The Saint Regis Indians are descendants of the Mobawks of New York, whose language they speak. Under the influence of the French Catbolic missionaries their ancestors mi. grated from the valley of the Mohawk in 1677, and settled at Caghvawaga, near Montreal, in Canada. A colony from the latter place in 1760 migrated to Saint Regis, on the Saint Lawrence. They are named from Jean Francis Saint Regis, a French ecclesiastic, who died iu 1690. They are mostly Roman Catholics. There are about 1,701 Saint Regis Indians, of whom 751 are denominated American Indians and about 950 British Indians. The American portion of this tribe are paid $2,131,66 annuity, by the State of New York, for land sold, and receive no annuity from the United States. The British portion of the tribe are paid an annuity of about $1,911. Twenty-four thousand two hundred and fifty acres of their reservation are in Cavada, including the township of Dundee, and about 14,030 acres, adjoining the Canada line, are in Franklin County, State of New York. The boundary-line between the United States and Canada divides the Indian village of Saint Regis, which contains about 100 houses, mostly constructed of hewn logs.
The Saint Regis Indians engaged in the war of the Revolution, part with the British and part with the Americans. One of their number, Lewis Cook, held a colonel's commission from General Washington. They were divided again into two parties, British and American, in the war of 1812. Such division still continues, the lines being kept distinct, following in hereditary descent by the father's side.
The increase of this tribe in population on both sides of the line is quite remarkable : The increase of the American portion of the tribe being 325 since the census was taken by the State of New York in 1865. On the American portion of the reservation are 279 Indian children between the age of five and twenty-one years. I'wo day-schools have been taught during forty weeks of the school-year ending September 30, 1877, maintained by the State of New York, at which school were 82 Indian children some portion of the time. The average daily attendance at both schools during the year was only 14.
The Methodists have a mission-bouse on the reserve, in which regular services are held by their minister, Rev. Thomas La Forte, an Indian of the Onondaga tribe.
The American portion of the tribe is governed by three chiefs, annually elected by ballot, and who, with the advice of the local agent appointed by the State, have authority under the laws of New York to lease to any ludian, for a term not exceeding ten years, any part of their unoccupied lands in this State. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. SHERMAN, Agent. The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFfairs.
GRAND RONDE AGENCY, OREGON, August 11, 1877. SIR: In compliance with the regulations of the Indian Department, I submit this my sixth annual report of the condition of affairs at this agency.
The Indians have been more industrious this year than ever before, and have been more successful in the production of the ordinary crops, such as wheat, vats, bay, &c. They began by plowing their fields early and well, and carefully harrowing and sowing. The tillable land of the agency is susceptible of a high state of cultivation, being rolling. It can be plowed at almost any season of the year, and the Indians have in a measure availed themselves of this advantage, and got all their grain-crops in the ground early, and before many of their wbite neighbors, who were delayed by the flat and consequent wetness of their farms; and, resulting from this method of farming, their crops at present are looking fine, and from every present indication a good yield may be expected.
Most all of the young and middle-aged Indians are now living upon their small farms, allotted to them by deeds given them by the superintendent of Indian affairs for Oregon, some four years ago, and are yearly becoming more contented with their new method of life and reconciled to the pursuit of a quiet farmer, every year indicating a marked improvement in their manner of life. They seem to be gradually but surely conquering their roving, restless disposition, formerly so universally prevalent among them. They now seldom seek to go off from the agency, except to make some purchases or to work for neighboring farmers, and not at all during the seeding or harvesting season. This season the Indians will raise more grain, and of a better quality, than during any previous year for the past six years, and I doubt if they have ever before done so well.
I regret very much that I am unable, for want of funds, to run the mills steadily, or, at least, to employ sufficient force to run them one-half the year, as many of the Indians are greatly in need of lumber with which to repair their houses, barns, and fences, and the effect will be very disastrous to the service if I am, from this cause, prevented from running the grist-mill this fall and winter long enough to convert the Indians' wheat into flour.
I have observed during the past year a marked improvement in the Indians' work-animals. They are continually improving the grade of their horses, usually by making purchases from the whites, or trading their small ponies and giving the difference in value in cash or work ; and some few are also raising superior horses, and quite a number of them now have teams worth from two to three hundred dollars.
The school-building mentioned in my last annual report as in course of construction will, I think, be completed and ready for occupancy by fall, or at least before winter, and will be adequate to all the requirements of the agency for an industrial boarding-school for many years to come ; and, so far, the construction of the building has cost the Government but a trifling sum, the weight of the expense being borne by the Catholic Church. An industrial boarding-school, where the children can be removed from the contaminating influence of their parents and the older and more superstitious of the Indians, is the only school in which we can expect or hope to successfully educate the young among the Indians. At least this has been the experience of every Indian agent, so far as my observations have extended, and I have given this matter the closest attention.
Our schools at this agency have been conducted during the year just past with the greatest care, regularity, and perseverance upon the part of the teachers, and the most gratifying success has been the result. The attendance, though not unusually large, has been remarkably regular ; the best of discipline has been maintained, and the pupils have made marked improvements in every branch of their studies and are rapidly becoming more neat in their habits and dress, and will compare favorably with any white school of even numbers and equal advantages. In addition to their regular studies the pupils are instructed in vocal and instrumental music, embroidery, crochet, &c., and their proficiency is nearly perfect. For more particular ivformation regarding the school I would respectfully refer you to the "statistics" herewith submitted.
The missionary work of the agency has been under the immediate supervision of the Rev. A. J. Croquet, who has been long and favorably known among these Indians, coming among them some twenty years ago, since which time he has continued to reside upon the agency, commanding the respect of every Indian agent who has, since that time, had the control of the agency in their hands, and having the entire confidence and respect of the Indians. And as a result of his long.continued, ardent, and zealous labors among them he has been rewarded by the conversion of the greater number of them; and, in fact, almost all who have come under the influence of bis teachings have embraced religion, and at this time a regular and well-behaved congregation fill the churcb on every Sabbath to listen to his teachings.
The Indians formerly belonging to Alsea agency have been removing from their old homes, which have been settled upon by the ever-intruding whites, and settling between the mouth of Salmon and Siletz Rivers during the present summer; and at this time I am informed that some thirty families have located there, and are attempting, without means or assistance from the Government, to build for themselves some kind of shelter from the coming storms of winter. They were induced by the authorized agents of the Government to give up their old bomes by the promise of assistance in building new ones. Yet I am informed that no provision has beeu made by the Government for building them houses or
even assisting them to tools, nails, lumber, &c., with which to work. They should at least be supplied with some tools, nails, and material for building, and also food and clothing for the coming winter, either through this agency or Siletz. They could be supplied from this agency at much less expense than from elsewhere, it being much the nearest route to the general supply markets and these Indians.
The Indians of this agency are kept in a state of constant uneasiness and insecurity by reports of whites with whom they come in contact to the effect that they are soon to be removed from their present homes, and that the deeds to their lands are valueless, and may at any time be annulled or canceled. Now it is immaterial whether there is any truth in these reports or not; the effect upon the minds of the Indians is just the same so long as they have no deed in fee-simple, or no assurance from the Government that they will be permanently protected in the possession of their lands; and it will be impossible to induce them to permanently improve their farms and become self-supporting until they have some land to improve, as they are no more anxious than white persons to work for years and improve lands for the benefit of others. If they are to be permitted to remain permanently upon any reservation, none could be selected more suitable for them and having any greater natural advantages than Grand Ronde has. They have, although to a degree isolated, an easy access to market on one side, and the ocean for the suppiy of fish within a half-day's ride upon the other, with plenty of game and berries among the intervening mountains, and good soil and climate at their homes for the production of grain, hay, and vegetables, with great quantities of lumber for building purposes, and natural water-power, and a saw and grist mill already constructed for the production of flour and lumber. With an assurance from the Goverument to these Indians that they and their heirs should have the land, the services of an agent could be dispensed with altogether in the course of two or three years, or as soon as the Indians could place their farms in good repair by the erection of houses and building of fences, &c.; and the only expense they need then be to the Government would be a small sum for the support of schools, and a small sum for the payment of a miller and bawyer, or, better still, by the sale of the mills, or renting them; the Indians could then secure the grinding of grain and sawing of lumber in the same manner as whites.
The Indians sanitary condition has been good. Although no resident physican has been employed at the agency, his absence has not been felt the past year. But little sickness bas prevailed among them, and that usually of a mild type, yielding readily to the simple treatment administered either by the Sister Superior or myself. Some few deaths have occurred from chronic diseases, but they would probably have occurred had a physician been present. The Indians are becoming accustomed to their changed manner of living, and the mortality among them is on the decline.
The existence of an Indian war upon the eastern border of this State bas bad no apparent effect upon the Indians of this agency. Although they are informed of its existence and progress, they are in no way restless or insolent from the effects of the victories gained by the Indians over the Government troops in their first engagements.
A small appropriation for the repairs of mills and some of the Government shops is very much needed to place them in condition to do good work and to protect the Government tools, and enable those among the Indians who are familiar with use of tools to repair the agricultural implements. All mechanical work in the shops belonging to this agency for the past year was performed by Indians who have been educated in our schools and shops, as the Government failed to employ or furnish funds for any employés for this agency except the agent and school-teachers.
The Indians here at present are ruoning four reapers of their own and one Department reaper cutting grain on the agency. There are also five of our Indians in charge of five reapers, owned by white men outside the agency, cutting grain. They also run thrashing. machines, both inside and outside the agency.
The Indians have built 48 frame houses, with four rooms in each, one and a half stories high, to replace old houses, dressed lumber inside and outside. They are neatly furnished with comfortable furniture-chairs, beds, bedsteads, tables, and table-ware, clocks, cooking and heating stoves. The Indians have built 5,397 rods of fence, all of which was performed without any assistance from the Department,
The Indians of this agency will compare with, if not exceed, in advancement in agricol. ture, civilization, christianization, and education auy Indians on this coast. Prominept persons who visited this agency express these views. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. B. SINNOTT,
United States Indian Agent. The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.