The Early History of Ontario County, New York

 Kindly transcribed by Deborah Spencer

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From the History of Ontario County, NY    

Published 1893     Pg 59 - 74

CHAPTER VI  

Pontiac's War--Devil's Hole and Black Rock--Sir William Johnson Concludes a Peace with the Senecas--Treaty at Fort Niagara--Events Preceding the Revolution--Outbreak of the War--The Senecas Serve the King--Kanadesaga becomes Headquarters for Tories--Butler's Buildings--Indian Outrages on the Frontier--The Principal Actors--Sullivan Ordered to Invade the Indian Country--Destruction of the Villages and Crops--The Senecas Flee to Fort Niagara--Details of the Invasion in Ontario County--Close of the Revolution. 

FOR a period of fifteen years following the final overthrow of French power in America, the eastern country was in a condition of comparative peace, and the English, Dutch, and French settlers were permitted to develop their lands and advance the outposts of civilization in almost every direction; but for some time there was no attempt at effecting settlement in the Genesee country other than that limited to the immediate vicinity of Oswego and Niagara.  The Seneca Indians gave little encouragement to colonization in their territory.  They had become aware of various frauds practiced upon their eastern brethren of the confederacy by English and Dutch land speculators, and were not disposed to enter into any negotiations for the disposition of any part of their choice domain, notwithstanding the fact that theirs was the richest region of all that was inhabited by the Six Nations. 

Although the French authorities and troops were withdrawn from the country after the close of the late war, the western Indians remembered them with affection and were still disposed to wage war upon the English.  The celebrated PONTIAC united nearly all of these tribes in a league against the red-coats immediately after the advent of the latter, and as no such confederation had been formed against the French during all their long years of possession, his action must be assigned to some cause other than mere hatred of all civilized intruders.  In May, 1763, the league surprised nine out of twelve English posts, and massacred their garrison.  Detroit, Pittsburg, and Niagara alone escaped surprise, and each successfully resisted a siege, in which branch of war the Indians  

were almost certain to fail.  There is little doubt that the Senecas, especially those located in the western part of the State, were involved in PONTIAC's league, and were active in the attack on Fort Niagara.  They had been unwilling to fight their brethren of the Long House, but had no scruples about killing the English when left alone, as was soon made terribly manifest. 

In September following occurred the awful tragedy of the Devil's Hole, when a band of the western Senecas, of whom Honayewas, afterward celebrated as FARMER's BROTHER, was one, and CORNPLANTER, probably, another, ambushed a train of English army-wagons with an escort of soldiers, the whole numbering ninety-six men, three and a half miles below the falls, and massacred all except four of the troop.  On the 19th of October following a party of British soldiers were suddenly fired upon by a band of Senecas at Black Rock, and thirteen men were killed.  The British turned upon their assailants and in the battle that followed three more of the soldiers were killed and twelve others badly wounded, including two commissioned officers.  This was the last serious attack by the Senecas upon the English.  Being at length convinced that the French had really yielded, and that PONTIAC's scheme had failed as to its purpose, they sullenly agreed to abandon their Gallic friends, and be at peace with the British. 

In April, 1764, Sir William JOHNSON concluded peace with eight chiefs of the Senecas at Johnson Hall.  At that time, among other agreements, they formally conveyed to the King of England a tract of land fourteen miles long and four wide, for a carrying place around Niagara Falls, lying on both sides of the river from Schlosser to Lake Ontario.  This treaty was to be more fully ratified at a council to be held at Fort Niagara in the summer of 1764.  A copy of this paper is to be found in N. Y. Col. Doc. VII, p 621, at the end of which it is said, the "Marks of the tribes" were affixed opposite the signatures, but no such marks being found, a tracing of the same was procured from the original in the Record office, London.  It is a very valuable and important addition to out fund of knowledge on the subject. 

Events in the west, where PONTIAC still maintained active hostility to the British, determined the English commander-in-chief to send a force up the lakes sufficient to overcome all opposition.  This action became necessary from the fact that the hostile attitude of the western tribes had a damaging effect upon the Senecas, and made negotiations with them extremely difficult.  Accordingly in the summer of 1764, General BRADSTREET with 1200 British and Americans came by water to Fort Niagara, accompanied by Sir William JOHNSON and a body of his faithful Iroquois.  A grand council of friendly Indians was held at the fort, among whom Sir William exercised his customary skill, and satisfactory treaties were made with them.  But the Senecas, though repeatedly promising attendance in answer to JOHNSON's messages, still held aloof, and were said to be contemplating a renewal of the war.  At length General BRADSTREET ordered their immediate attendance, under penalty of the destruction of their settlements, upon which they came, ratified the treaty, and thereafter adhered to it reasonably well, notwithstanding the peremptory manner in which it was obtained.  In the mean time a fort had been erected on the site of Fort Erie.  In August BRADSTREET's army had increased to nearly 3,000 men, and among them were 300 Senecas, who seemed to have been taken along partly as hostages.  This force succeeded in bringing the western Indians to terms, a task which was accomplished without bloodshed.   

While these events were in progress in the western part of the province of New York, the inhabitants of the eastern region of the country were in a state of great excitement, growing out of the arbitrary and oppressive action of the British parliament toward the American colonies.  One of the results of the late French wars was to involve the mother country in a large indebtedness, which parliament sought to have paid by the colonies, and that notwithstanding the very large extent of territory which was ceded to the government at the end of the French dominion.  In fact, almost before the smoke of the late battles had cleared away, the English ministry began devising plans to tax the colonies for a revenue without their consent.  In March, 1765, the obnoxious stamp act was passed, to oppose which was organized in New York the "Sons of Liberty."  So great, indeed, was the opposition to this odious act that it was repealed in March, 1766, but in 1767 a bill was passed by parliament imposing a duty on tea, glass, and other material imported into the colonies.  The imposition of a tax on tea led to the organization of that impromptu body known as the "Boston Tea-Party."   

Other acts of oppression imposed by the British government were met by retaliatory measures on the part of the American colonies, and at length the countries were in an attitude of open hostility.  The public attention was drawn to certain mutterings in the political sky, low at first, but growing more and more angry, until at length there burst upon this country that long and desolating storm known as the Revolutionary War. 

In 1775 the struggle for independence was begun, but as the early years of that war furnished no interesting events in connection with the annals of this particular region of country, we may pass lightly over them and confine our narrative to occurrences within the Genesee country.  There were British posts at Niagara and Oswego, and the Senecas made frequent complaints of depredations committed by whites on some of their number, chiefly from the inhabitants of settlements on the headwaters of the Susquehanna and Ohio.  Added to this, and during the same period, "Cressap's war," in which the celebrated LOGAN was an actor, likewise contributed to make the Senecas uneasy, but they did not break out in open hostilities.  Like the rest of the Six Nations, they had by this time learned to place every confidence in Sir William JOHNSON, and through him all their complaints were made.  He did William JOHNSON, and through him all their complaints were made.  He did his best to redress their grievances, and sought to have them withdraw their villages from frontier and isolated localities that they might be more completely under his protection.  However, before this could be accomplished Sir William died, and his authority as superintendent of Indian affairs was transferred to his son, Sir John JOHNSON, and to his nephew, Col. Guy JOHNSON, the latter, however, being in fact the superintendent, while the former was the controlling spirit among the Indians in after events. 

The new superintendent persuaded the Mohawks to move westward with him, and made good his influence over all the Six Nations, except the Oneidas and Tuscaroras, though it was almost two years from the breaking out of the war before they committed any serious depredations.  John BUTLER, who appears to have held a colonel's commission, or at least that title in the British service, established himself at Fort Niagara, and organized a regiment of Tories known as "Butler's Rangers."  About the same time Colonel BUTLER erected a barracks and temporary place of residence at Kanadesaga, which was used chiefly as a rendezvous and rallying place for the Rangers and Indians preparatory to a raid on the interior of the country.  BUTLER's buildings were also a depot for supplies, at which large quantities of corn were stored for the use of assembled troops and horses. 

We may here state, in justice to the Seneca Indians, that they did not readily become the allies of the JOHNSONS and BUTLERS, as they for a time resisted English importunities, but the prospect of both blood and gold was too much for them to withstand, and in 1777 they, in common with the Cayugas, Onondagas and Mohawks, made a treaty with the British at Oswego, agreeing to serve the king throughout the war.  Mary JEMISON, the celebrated "White Woman," then living among the Senecas on the Genesee, declared that at the treaty the British agents, after giving the Indians numerous presents, promised a bounty on every scalp that should be brought in.  However, there is a serious question whether a price was actually promised or paid for scalps, there being no positive evidence to sustain the assertion, and the probabilities are that it was not.  Mary JEMISON was considered a truthful woman and had good means of knowing what the Indians understood, and the latter were very ready to understand that they would be paid for taking scalps. 

The Senecas, as formerly, hesitated about attacking their brethren of the Long House, so now the Oneidas, who were friendly to the Americans, did not go out to battle against the other Iroquois until the latter years of the war, but at the battle of Stone Arabia, in the Mohawk Valley, it was an Oneida Indian, fighting with the Americans, who pursued and slew the infamous Captain Walter BUTLER, a commander of a tory company, the son of Col. John BUTLER and the associate of the notorious Joseph BRANT. 

One of the most active and the most celebrated of the Iroquois chiefs in the Revolution was Joseph BRANT, or Thayendanegea, a Mohawk who had received a moderate English education under the patronage of Sir William JOHNSON, and whose sister, Molly BRANT, was the housekeeper and natural wife of the baronet.  BRANT was frequently intrusted with the command of detached parties by the British officers, but it does not appear that he had any authority over all the tribes, and it is quite certain that the haughty Senecas, to whom by ancient custom belonged both the principal war chiefs of the league, would not have submitted to the authority of a Mohawk. 

The three chiefs of the Senecas, who during the Revolution became exceedingly well known, were FARMER's BROTHER, CORNPLANTER and Governor BLACKSNAKE.  William L. STONE, author of the "Life of BRANT," says that at the massacre of Wyoming, in 1778, the leader of the Senecas, who formed the main part of the Indian force on that occasion, was Guiengwahtoh, supposed to be the same as Guiyahgwahdoh, "the smoke bearer."  That was the official title of the Seneca afterward known as "Young King," he being a kind of hereditary ambassador and the bearer of the smoking brand to light the council fire of the Senecas.  He was too young to have been at Wyoming, but his predecessor in office (probably his maternal uncle) was the actual leader.  It is certain also that BRANT was not present at that battle.

 

The Seneca chief familiarly known to the whites as Old Smoke, or Old King, but whose Indian name was SAYENQUERAGHTA (Mohawk dialect), otherwise GUIYAHGWAHDOH (Seneca dialect), has been conclusively shown by recent investigation to have been not only the instigator but the actual leader of the expedition that committed the terrible outrages at Wyoming.

 

It is learned also from the "Anecdotes of Captain Joseph BRANT," that the head chief of the Senecas was SAKOYENGWARAGHTON (a dialectical variation of Old King's name), who was descended from a brave and loyal family distinguished by their attachment to the crown and to British interests as early as the reign of QUEEN ANNE, and who was presented by the queen with a coronet, the only mark of distinction of the king ever bestowed upon an Indian.  He was in command of the Senecas at the battle of Oriskany, where seventeen of his nation were killed at the first onset.  The Senecas were greatly exasperated by this loss, although they avenged it by killing many more of their enemy.  They were not satisfied, however, and it was arranged at a council held at Kanadesaga that the chief just mentioned, and BRANT, would open a campaign in the early spring, the former to attack the Wyoming settlement, and BRANT those of Schoharie, Mohawk and Cherry Valley.  SAKOYENGWARAGHTON "assembled his men without calling upon any white man," but BUTLER, being taunted with inactivity, was induced to offer his aid.  The Seneca chief stipulated that his men be kept separate from the whites, and that they should be under his sole command.  Without discussing at further length the life and acts of this somewhat noted chief, we may say that he has been commonly known as the king of the Senecas.  The foregoing names are only variations in spelling the Indian name of Old King or Old Smoke. 

Not only were the Senecas engaged in the terrible outrage at Wyoming, but as well were they present in force at Cherry Valley, together with a body of Mohawks under BRANT, and of Tories under Captain Walter BUTLER, son of Col. John BUTLER, and there was another undoubted massacre, in which nearly thirty women and children were killed, besides many men surprised helpless in their homes. These events, and other similar ones of less prominence nearly all concocted and starting from Kanadesaga, induced Congress and General WASHINGTON to set on foot an expedition in the spring of 1779, which had a very strong relation to the early history of Ontario county, as it was the only important invasion of the immediate territory by an American army during the period of the war.  The invasion, too, had a strong bearing on the county's history, inasmuch as it brought to the knowledge of the troops, representing a number of the colonies, an understanding of the fertility and productiveness and salubrity of the climate of the Genesee country.  The fact was disclosed to SULLIVAN's men that this region would produce large returns of grain, and in addition that it was a fruit-growing region unsurpassed in any of the colonies. 

As has already been mentioned, the year 1778 was made memorable by the many horrible massacres and devastations committed upon the frontier settlements by the Tories and Indians.  By this time the latter had made considerable progress in civilization, were less migratory in their manner of living, had numerous villages about which were large cultivated fields, apple and peach orchards.  They even made gardens in which a good variety of vegetables were grown.  But notwithstanding the advances made in this respect and their association with whites and the adoption of the customs of the latter, they lost none of the natural Indian ferocity, and plundered and burned and murdered with all of the old times wantonness of the race.  

The expedition against the Indians, planned and carried out during the summer of 1779, was placed in command of Major-General John SULLIVAN.  This officer established his headquarters at Easton, Penna., on the 7th of May, 1779, and on the 18th of June, had his army completely organized and supplied with all things necessary for the campaign.  On the 11th of August the troops encamped at Tioga Point, at which place, while awaiting the arrival of CLINTON's brigade, a fortification was erected, to which the soldiers gave the name of Fort Sulllivan.  On the 26th of August, SULLIVAN's command broke camp at Tioga Point and took up the march toward the Indian country.  As they proceeded the men destroyed all the small Indian villages and cultivated fields, and on the 29th they arrived at Newtown, five miles below the present city of Elmira, where they found the enemy in force and strongly intrenched, the British and Tories commanded by John BUTLER, his son Walter BUTLER, and Captain McDONALD, while the Indians were under THAYENDANEGEA, more commonly known as Captain Joseph BRANT.  A battle followed, which has always been known in history as the battle of Newtown.  After a severe conflict of several hours the British, Tories and Indians were defeated, and finding themselves on the point of being surrounded and captured, they fled precipitately and found refuge in the woods.  Indeed, so great was SULLIVAN's victory at Newtown that notwithstanding all the art of BUTLER and BRANT, the now discouraged Indians could not be rallied together; and thereafter throughout the extent of SULLIVAN's devastating expedition neither the Senecas nor any other of the opposing tribes could muster courage to oppose the invasion. 

After destroying everything that could be of value to the Indians, and after sending all the wounded soldiers and cumbersome artillery back to Fort Sullivan, the victorious Americans, in the lightest possible marching order, again resumed their journey.  About midnight on the first of September the army arrived at Catherinestown, situated on the inlet about three miles from the head of Seneca lake, near the site of the present village of Havana.  This was the residence of the famous Catherine MONTOUR, by many writers confused with Queen ESTHER, notorious as the  Fiend of Wyoming," and also with Madam MONTOUR, who were, respectively, probably her sister and grandmother.  After camping one day at this village and destroying all the cabins and growing crops, the army proceeded northward along the east side of Seneca lake, destroying the little settlements at Peach Orchard and North Hector, arriving on the fifth at the Indian town of Kendaia, or Appletown.  The village here was located on lot 79 in the present town of Romulus.  The most important event in connection with the arrival at Kendaia was the rescue of Luke SWETLAND, who had been a prisoner among the Indians for a year.  On the afternoon of the sixth the army resumed its march and encamped that night on the lake shore, near a ravine formerly called "Indian Hollow," on lot 64 in the town of Romulus.  Here was found a large quantity of pea vines which afforded excellent fodder for the horses, and from the camp the men looked across the lake into the Indian village of Kashong where they saw a number of Indians driving horses. 

On the morning of September 7 the invading army made an early start, following substantially the lake road, and after marching about eight miles arrived at the foot of Seneca lake.  Here a halt was ordered and scouts sent forward to reconnoiter, as it was expected that in this vicinity the Indians would make a determined stand to defend the Old Castle and their chief village of Kandesaga.  However, no ambuscade or other defence was attempted by the Indians, and the march was resumed across the outlet and close to the lake shore, between the main body of water and the almost impassable swamp to the northward of it.  After proceeding about a mile between the lake and the swamp, the outlet was reached and crossed, the same being about twenty yards wide, and from "knee" to "middle" deep, according to the accounts of various writers. 

Although SULLIVAN's scouts reported no Indians in sight, the commander prudently approached Kanadesaga with the greatest caution.  After crossing the outlet the men marched through a dangerous defile and across a morass, nearly a mile west of the old outlet, the locality now known as the "Soap Mine."  Half a mile still further on they crossed Marsh creek and soon reached "Butler's Buildings," located in a beautiful situation at the northwest corner of the lake, in the vicinity of the present canal bridge.  These buildings and the adjacent corn-field were destroyed, after which the army proceeded in three divisions to the "Seneca Castle," or Kanadesaga, the capital of the Senecas, located on Kanadesaga or Castle Brook, about two miles northwesterly from the foot of the lake.  It was SULLIVAN's intention to surround the village and endeavor to cut off a retreat on the part of the Indians, but when the army arrived they found that all the inhabitants had fled and not a person was found, except a little white boy about three or four years old, who was entirely naked and almost starved.  The child was tenderly cared for and afterward adopted by Captain Thomas MACHIN, and was given the same name as his adopted father, but lived only a few years.  It was never known who his parents were.  Kanadesaga was found to contain about fifty houses, with thirty more in the near vicinity.  A few of these were framed buildings, but all were irregularly located around a large open space, the center of the latter containing the stockade fort and block houses built by Sir William JOHNSON in 1756, and which at the time of the invasion were substantially in ruins; yet their ground outlines were plainly discernible.  In the immediate vicinity of the village were large apple orchards and extensive fields of growing corn, while half a mile to the northward was a large peach orchard.  Wild plums, mulberries, hickory nuts, walnuts and butternuts likewise grew in great abundance.  In the houses was found considerable corn, many skins and Indian trinkets and curiosities. 

On the 8th of September the main body of the army was employed in destroying the houses, orchards, fields and gardens at Kanadesaga, and on the same day a detachment of riflemen and volunteers, four hundred in number, under command of Major PARR, was sent to destroy the Indian village and settlement known as Kashong, located seven miles south of Geneva on the lake shore, in the northeastern portion of the town of Benton.  The village contained about fifteen or twenty houses, all of which were destroyed, together with large quantities of corn, beans and other vegetable products, and as well large apple and peach trees with which the locality seemed to abound.  At this place there was said to have been taken also five horses and a number of fowls.  Major PARR found the vicinity of this little village so extensively cultivated that his force was unable to complete the work of destruction in a single day, and he was compelled to send to Kanadesaga for an additional detachment of two hundred men; and it was not until the evening of the ninth that PARR's men rejoined the main army while the latter was in camp at Flint Creek.  On the 8th a detachment of troops under Col. John HARPER was sent down the Seneca river about eight miles to destroy a Cayuga village called Skoiyase, on the site of the present Waterloo in Seneca county. 

While SULLIVAN's army was camping at Kanadesaga there was much discussion among the officers as to the advisability of pushing the work of destruction further westward into the heart of the Seneca country, and it was finally decided that the sick and wounded, together with all useless and cumbersome baggage, should be sent back to Tioga under an escort of fifty men.  This being done, the invaders supplied themselves with all things necessary for temporary maintenance and destroyed the surplus.*  On the morning of the 9th they set out upon their westward march, following substantially the Indian trail along which the old turnpike was afterward laid out, and in the evening encamped at Flint Creek, where was discovered evidence showing that the Indians had been there a few days before.  Early the next morning the march was resumed and on the same day the army reached the Indian town of Canandaigua, located in the western part of the present village of that name.  "At Kanadague," says General SULLIVAN's report, "we found twenty-three very elegant houses mostly and in general very large.  Here we also found very extensive fields of corn."  These houses are mentioned in the journals (kept by a number of SULLIVAN's men) as very substantial, better than any ever seen before in the Indian country and constructed mainly of hewn planks or logs, and from their general appearance indicated occupancy by white people.  A few of the houses had very neat and well built chimneys. 

[* Sergeant Moses FELLOWS says in his journal: What corn, Beans, Peas, Squashes, Potatoes, Inions, Turnips, Cabage, Cowcumbers, Water-millions, Carrots, Parsnips, etc. our men and horses, cattle, etc. could not Eat was Distroyed this Morning Before we march."  As an indication of the great number of fruit trees that were girdled at this place by SULLIVAN's army, it may here be stated that sprouts from the roots soon sprang up and in 1797, only eighteen years later, one hundred bushels of peaches were sold to a distillery and cider to the amount of $1,200 was sold, the product of these orchards. ]   

The army halted at Canandaigua only long enough to destroy the buildings, and then proceeded a mile further to the corn-fields, which were located on a ridge north of the town.  Here they camped and at once set about destroying the crops growing in the vicinity.  At sunrise on September 11 the army was again in motion, retracing their steps back to the town and thence in a southwesterly direction, following substantially the line of the present road through Bristol to the foot of Honeoye Lake, where was located another Indian village of about ten or twelve houses, built of hewn logs, which, together with the corn-fields of the locality, the invaders destroyed.  At this place SULLIVAN established a post with a garrison of fifty men under Captain CUMMINGS, and here was left all the heavy stores and one field piece, and all the sick and infirm men, about two hundred and fifty in number, together with a large number of pack-horses which were allowed to roam in the woods. 

About noon on the 12th of September the army resumed its march, traveling in a southwesterly direction about eleven miles, and camped in the woods two miles from the village called Kanaghsaws, the residence of Big or Great Tree, situated near the head of Conesus Lake.  Being somewhat uncertain as to the location of the large western town, SULLIVAN directed Lieutenant Thomas BOYD to take a detail of men and make a reconnaissance during the night.  The detachment, comprising about twenty-seven men were surrounded by the Indians, many of them killed, and only a few succeeded in effecting an escape.  BOYD and Sergeant PARKER were among the captured and were taken to LITTLE BEARD's Town where they were horribly tortured and put to death. 

The town of Kanaghsaws was destroyed, and on the same day, September 13, the army pushed forward to Gathsegwarohare, a village located on the east side of Canaseraga Creek, about two miles above its confluence with the Genesee.  This town comprised twenty-five houses, of then recent construction, all of which, with the extensive corn-fields in the region, were destroyed.  About noon on the 14th, having completed the devastation of the village, the westward march was resumed, and at sunset of the same day the army reached the Genesee Castle, commonly called by the whites LITTLE BEARD's Town, and which was the original western door of the famous Long House of the Iroquois confederacy.  It was located on the west side of the Genesee River, and near the site of the present village of Cuylerville, in Livingston county.  According to General SULLIVAN's report, LITTLE BEARD's Town contained 128 houses, many of them very large and elegant, while the village itself was beautifully situated and almost encircled in a cleared flat several miles in extent, and scattered over the latter were vast fields of corn, grain, vegetables and other earth products.  On the morning of the 15th the whole army began the work of destruction of every thing that could be available to the recent occupants of the village, it being estimated that between 15,000 and 20,000 bushels of corn alone were destroyed at this place. 

The work of destruction being completed, the army faced about, following the same general line of march as before, diverging slightly however, to destroy isolated dwellings and cornfields, and on the evening of September 19 arrived at Kanadesaga.  From this point SULLIVAN sent out various detachments of troops who destroyed every Indian village and all growing crops that could be found.  On the 20th the main army took final leave of Kanadesaga, crossed the outlet of Seneca Lake and encamped on the shore.  The next day, following the course by which they came, the troops proceeded to Newtown, thence to Tioga and finally to Easton, arriving at the latter place October 15th, where the men went into winter quarters. 

In summing up the results of the expedition under his personal direction, General SULLIVAN's report says: "The number of towns destroyed by this army amounted to forty besides scattering houses.  The quantity of corn destroyed, at a moderate computation, must amount to 160,000 bushels, with a vast quantity of vegetables of every kind.  Every creek and river has been traced, and the whole country explored in search of Indian settlements, and I am well persuaded that, except one town situated near the 'Allegana,' about fifty miles from 'Chinesee,' there is not a single town left in the country of the Five Nations." 

The other detachments of troops which were sent to destroy Indian villages in other directions than that taken by SULLIVAN, were equally successful in accomplishing the work assigned to them.  The result was that the Indians, now bereft of all means of maintaining themselves, were left to the mercy of the British.  A large number from various of the interior tribes betook themselves to Montreal, where they joined the army commanded by Sir John JOHNSON and his equally cruel subordinates.  The Senecas, however, fled in great dismay before SULLIVAN's conquering host and found refuge and protection at Fort Niagara.  The Senecas, moreover, were the tribe who were chiefly feared and against whom the vengeance of the Americans was chiefly directed. 

Another result of SULLIVAN's expedition was that it substantially destroyed the bond which bound the Six Nations together, and while the league for a time afterward retained its form, it had lost its binding power.  By this separation the Oneidas and Tuscaroras became still more frindly to the Americans, while the tribes who possessions had been destroyed were completely subservient to the British power, thereby weakening the whole intertribal relation; and the spirit of the Senecas, the most powerful and warlike of all the tribes, was much broken by their recent punishment.  It was a more serious matter with them than had been the destruction of their villages in earlier times, for they had learned to depend more on agriculture and less on the chase, and possessed not only corn-fields, but gardens, orchards, and sometimes comfortable houses.  In fact they had adopted many of the customs of civilized life, though without abating their primitive pleasures, such as tomahawking prisoners and scalping the dead. 

After taking up their temporary abode at Fort Niagara, the Senecas remained there during the winter of 1779-80, which was of unusual severity, and they were scantily sustained by the British authorities. 

Of the severity of the winter Mary JEMISON says: "The snow fell about five feet and remained so for a long time; and the weather was extremely cold, so much so, indeed, that almost all the game upon which the Indians depended for subsistence perished, and reduced them almost to a state of starvation through that and three or four succeeding years.  When the snow melted in the spring deer were found dead upon the ground in vast numbers, and other animals of every description perished from the cold also and were found dead in multitudes.  Many of our people barely escaped with their lives and some actually died of hunger and freezing." 

In the following spring the officers made efforts to persuade them to make new settlements and plant crops, but the red men were anxious to keep as far as possible from their dreaded foes and would not risk their families again at their ancient seats.  A considerable body of Senecas with a few Cayugas and Onondagas established themselves on Buffalo Creek, about four miles above its mouth.  Among the Senecas, and one who had been their leader, was Old King (SAYENQUERAGHTA) then an aged but influential chief.  Among the Indians were several members of the GILBERT family, Quakers who had been captured on the borders of Pennsylvania in the spring of 1780. 

Meanwhile the war had gone forward with varying fortunes.  Sir John JOHNSON, Col. Guy JOHNSON, the BUTLERS and BRANT kept the Indians as busy as possible marauding upon the frontiers, devastating particularly the Mohawk Valley, the vicinity of the JOHNSONS' former home, but the Indian spirit had been so thoroughly broken that the marauders were unable to produce such devastation as at Wyoming and Cherry Valley. 

In the fall of 1783 peace was formally declared between Great Britain and the revolted colonies, and the latter were thenceforth to be known as the United States of America.  By the treaty the boundary line was established along the center of Lake Ontario, Niagara River, and Lake Erie.  Although the forts held by the British on the America side of the line were not given up for many years afterward, and they thus retained a strong influence over the Indians located on this side.  Thus the unquestioned English authority over the territory of Ontario county lasted only from the treaty with France in 1763, to that with the United States in 1763, a little more than twenty years.

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