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Seneca chieftains [Petition to New York Governor William H. Seward signed by 58 chieftains of the Seneca Tribe]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05487 Author/Creator: Seneca chieftains Place Written: Cattaraugus Reservation, New York Type: Manuscript document signed Date: 28 October 1841 Pagination: 3 p. : address : docket ; 31 x 20.5 cm.

Summary of Content: Requests that the $500 annuity paid by the state, be paid only to the trusted chiefs listed. The annuity had been misused by chiefs favorable to the Ogden Land Company, and the money embezzled by the man to whom it had been paid. Endorsed by Seward with his initials.

Background Information: Notes: The document accuses chiefs favorable to the Ogden Land Company of misappropriating annuities for the islands in the Niagara River. In 1838, the Treaty of Buffalo Creek arranged for the ...sale of Seneca Lands to the Ogden Land Company. The Seneca Nation, protesting this sale as illegal, accused the Ogden Land Company of bribery and forgery. The issue was resolved in 1842 with the Second Treaty of Buffalo Creek, but only the Cattaraugus and Allegheny Reservations were returned to the Seneca.See More

Full Transcript: [Seward's notation:]
Referred to Commission of the Land Office.
Cattaraugus Reservation Oct. 28. 1841
To his Excellency Wm H. Seward, Governor of the State
of New York.
It is doubtless ...well known by your Excellency that there are two parties violently opposed to each other among the Seneca Indians. The one comprising about one fifteenth part of the nation favoring the des of the Ogden Land company. The other numbering about fourteen fifteenths of the whole population utterly hostile to emigration. The former party, having been aided in the accomplishment of their purpose by men who understood the legal methods of transacting business[,] have been ennabled to take advantage of the ignorance of the other party, and though few in number have in several instances succeeded in getting the annuities belonging to the nation into their hands. Ever since the resignation of the sub-agent they have obtained our annuity due from the State of New York without the consent or knowledge of the Nation, and the man who received it absconded, leaving the individuals who signed the draft to meet their responsibility to the Nation, and the affair was not settled without much difficulty and the excitement of much unpleasing feeling between the parties.
As the treaty now stands any five Chiefs, if they execute the draft according to the prescribed form may demand the $500 due yearly from the State, and the Indian Agent at Albany cannot refuse to pay it without violating the treaty.
Compelled by our experience of the wrong to which our nation is exposed the undersigned Chiefs representing the above mentioned large majority of the Seneca Nation have taken the liberty of addressing your Excellency upon the Subject, and making known to you our wishes. Assembled in Council on the Cattaraugus Reservation this 28th day of October A.D. 1841 we have regularly appointed the following Chiefs residing on the Buffalo Creek Reservation to act in behalf of the whole nation in this matter, any five of whom making out the draft at the proper time and in the prescribed form are by us authorized to receive the annuity [2] and pay it over to the nation, to wit Seneca White, Maris B. Pierce, William Jones, Henry Twoguns, William Krouse, John Kennedy, Adam Doxtator and James Spring. We also beg leave to inform you that reposing full confidence in the friendship and integrity of Griffith M. Cooper the Temporary Agent of the War Department for the New York Indians, we have resolved in Council that the draft when executed shall be made payable to him or his r, he being by us empowered to receive the money and pay it over to the nation in connexion with the annuities due us from the government of the United States.
We would therefore respectfully request your Excellency to make such arrangement with the Indian Agent residing at Albany that the money will be paid in the manner above specified and in no other. But if, in you opinion, such an arrangement would be inconsistent with the provisions of the treaties under which the annuity is payable, we would request your Excellency to inform us what alterations in said treaties, or what supplementary articles may be necessary for the accomplishment of our purpose.
We would further beg leave to state that our object in the above arrangement is not to render evil for evil to the small minority who have heretofore taken advantage of us. On the contrary, we hereby distinctly pledge ourselves to pay to the emigration party their proper proportion according to the census whenever the annuities shall be received.
We will only add that we will thank your Excellency to inform us by a line of address to Maris B. Pierce or William Jones of the Buffalo Creek Reservation (direct to Buffalo P.O.) what course your Excellency thinks proper to adopt in reference to our application.
With great respect. Your obedient Servants
The chiefs and Head men of the Seneca Nation

Henry Two Guns Jacob Blacksnake X
Daniel Two Guns Seneca White Robert Watt X
His His
Isreal Jemison X Gov. Blacksnake X Sky Pierce X
Mark Mark Marks
Morgan [?] Lindsey Black Smith James Spring

John Hudson Their
John Kennedy Jr. David Snow X
Their Young Chief X
Job Pierce X Davis Issaac X
Geo. Green Blanket X Geo. Kilbuck X
John Tall Chief X Isaac Halftown X
Jacob Bennet William Krouse X
John Barks X Levi Halftown X
John General X Isaac Davis X
Peter Johnson X Geo. Deer X
Doxtator X Peter White
Young John X Jacob Johnson X
John Green Blanket X Jacob Shongo X
John Balelivin X Marks
William Jones X Saml. Gordon
Marks Maris B. Pierce
Tunis Halftown His
Joseph Silverheels John Shongo X
George Turkey Mark
Their John Shongo X
John Cook X Mark
Joe Hemlock X
Lewis Poodry X
Mark Charles X
Jesse Spring X
John Luke X
Washington X
Danl Soring X
Isaac Thanks X
Big Fire X
Saml. Parke X
Abram John X
George Silverheels X
Oliver Silverheels X
Jemmy Johnson X
John Sky X
Sky Carrier X
John Deker X
Joseph Snow X

[Address panel:]
His Excellency William H. Seward
Albany, N.Y.
Letter from a Number of the Seneca Nation of Indians to Governor Seward. Recd. Nov. 8. 1841
Treaty 12 Sept. 1815
6 March 1830

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People: Seward, William Henry, 1801-1872

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: American Indian HistoryPetitionTreatyFinanceCorruption and ScandalLand TransactionForgery and FraudGovernment and Civics

Sub Era: Age of Jackson

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