1895 LANDMARKS OF OSWEGO COUNTY, NY

CHAPTER IV

Many thanks and appreciation to Linda Hansen for her time and work in transcribing this Section on the Dutch Colonists,  from the 1895 Landmarks of Oswego County, NY Book. Its most appreciated. 
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Accession of the English to the Dutch Possessions in America -- Peaceful Relations of the English and the Indians --  Conflict Between the French and the English -- French and English Efforts to Secure Alliance of the Iroquois -- Operations of the French Under de la Brre - Council at La Famine -- Situation of La Famine -- Arrival of the Marquis de Nonville.
 

     The peaceful relations which existed between the Dutch colonists and the Iroquois were perpetuated by the English on their accession to the Dutch possessions in 1664; and, with immaterial exceptions, the Iroquois remained the firm allies or the neutral friends of the English until the domination of the latter was broken by the triumph of the colonists in the war of the Revolution.  But the strife between the French and the English did not cease, and while the former displayed the most energy and enterprise in the extension of their dominion and influence, the latter, as we have noted, were far the most successful in securing the fealty of the Indians.  The Iroquois were regularly engaged in exterminating their savage enemies, and at the same time kept up a desultory warefare (sic) on the French, broken by intervals of peace only when their own interests or inclinations demanded a cessation of hostilities.
     On April 6, 1672, Louis de Bouade, Count de Frontenac, was appointed governor and lieutenant-general of Canada, and under his very efficient management confidence was restored, and in 1673 a treaty of  peace was made with the Iroquois.
     In 1684 another rupture occurred between the French and the Iroquois, and an expedition was planned against the Senecas, which was to have passed up the Oswego River, but proceeded only to the mouth of Salmon River, and it is in the papers concerning this invasion that we find the first mention of the French name of Oswego -- “Choueguen.” 

DE LA BARRE AND THE SENECAS                             41
 

     In order to lighten his task, De la Barre informed Colonel Dongan, then governor of New York, of his purpose, and requested him to refrain from selling guns and ammunition to the Iroquois.2  Dongan was neither ready to join with the French nor to make promise of neutrality.
     In the spring of 1684, one of De la Barre’s officers reconnoitered the southern shore of Lake Ontario and the Seneca country, and on the 9th of August De la Barre reached Fort Frontenac (Kingston), where his forces were gathered.  
      The French officer appears to have been either cowardly and afraid of his foes, or else, in order to advance his own fortunes, did not wish to seriously engage the powerful Senecas.                     
      He was accused of both by his own countrymen.3           In his memoir of
 

 1Crisfield Johnson in his History of Oswego County, p. 20, erroneously states that in the French papers of 1724 is found the first mention of “Choueguen,” as applied to the ground now covered by Oswego city.  The fact is that in a series of letters from Father Lamberville, then among the Senecas, to De la Barre, previous to the contemplated invasion, and under the date of July 18, 1684, he more than once mentions the place by that name.  “We however,” he wrote, “await your orders, which you will please convey to us by Mr. M. le Moine whom the Onnontagues you to send instantly to them at Choueguen in all security and without the least  fear.”  And again under the date of August 17, 1684, he wrote, “The Onondagas have dispatched some of theirs to notify the Oneida, the Mohawk and the Cayuga to repair to Choueguen to salute you and to reply to your proposals.”  Moreover, even earlier than this, and in 1681, or 1682, after De Frontenac had fixed a rendezvous for the Iroquois at Fort Frontenac for the end of August (1682), “it was represented to them that it was for the spring, and they were persuaded to request M. de Frontenac to visit them at the first running of the sap, not at Fort Frontenac, but at Techouegen, at the mouth of the Onondaga River, where the principal village lies.”  The quotation is from the memoir on the state of affairs in Canada, in the Colonial History of New York vol. IX, p.190, and gives us the best of authority for carrying the beginning of the history of this place back about 215 years.  The name “Oswego” does not appear until about 1727, when it is found in Governor Burnet’s report of operations at this point to the Board of Trade of New York.  The original pronounciation of the name was “Oswaygo” and it is quite probable that both this and “Choueguen” were derived from the same Indian word, modified by English and French lips.  The view is strengthened by the fact that the place the English called Oswegatchie, the French called Chouegachie.

 2   I dispatched Sieur Bourbon to Manate and Orange to notify Colonel Dongan of the insult the French had received from the Senecas, which obliged me to march against them, whereof I gave him notice, assuring him if he wished to avenge the twenty-six Englishmen of Merilande, whom they had killed last winter, I would promise him to unite my forces to his, that he may obtain satisfaction for it or avenge them. -- Memoir of M. de la Barre, Doc. Col. History, vol. IX, p. 240.

 3   Though I had the honor, my lord, to entertain you with the preparations we are making for the war, and the great expenses to which the General DeLaBarre] subjects his Majesty, I shall, without  being  a  prophet,  take the liberty to tell you, my lord, that I do nor perceive any disposi-
 

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what occurred in connection with this affair, De la Barre wrote that after his arrival at Frontenac he sent one of the De Lambervilles to his brother “at Onnontague whom I instructed to assure those of that nation that I had so much respect for their request, that I should prefer their mediation to war, provided they made me a reasonable satisfaction.”   The Onondagas consented to act as mediators, and sent nine of their chiefs, with three Oneidas, and two Cayugas, for the purpose.  Not a single Seneca was present.
     On August 21 De la Barre sent the greater part of his force from Fort Frotenac  to  a  point  designated  as  La Famine1  (now generally acknowl-

 tion in the governor to make war on those savages. I believe he will content himself with paddling as far as Cataracouy or Fort Frontenac, and then send for the Senecas to negotiate peace with them, and make a fool of the people, of the Intendant, and of His Majesty, which proves that he sacrifices everything to his own interests. -- [ M. de Meulles to M. de Seignelay, July 8, 1684. Doc. Hist., vol. IX, p. 245.
     After the conclusion of the expedition M. de Meulles wrote again as follows:  “What Indians there were evinced the best disposition to fight the Iroquois to death… All the French breathed nothing but war… But the General did not think proper to push matters any further, and, without any necessity, sent Sieur Lemoyne to the said Iroquois to treat of peace at a time when everyone was in good health, and when all necessary provision was made of food, etc., to dare every enterprise and finally, after various comings and goings on one side and the other, concluded peace.  This peace, my lord, has astonished all the officers who had command in that army. -- [Doc. Hist. Vol. IX, p.245.
    1   La Famine, or “Hungry Bay as the name has been translated and handed down to the present day, has been variously located at Black River Bay, at Chaumont Bay, and at Henderson Harbor, in Jefferson county, and at the mouth of the Salmon River in Oswego county.  The late Franklin B.Hough, the historian of Jefferson county. After quoting from Holden’s History of the Five Nations, and from deMuelles, the commissary of the expedition, says:  “These render it probable that the locality was in Henderson or Ellisburgh, more probably in the latter town, which has extensive marshes on the lake, on both branches of Big Sandy Creek.”  But old maps, which must have been made by persons unfamiliar with such work; and early estimates of distances, which must have been made in very many instances by mere estimates of time consumed in traveling, cannot be otherwise than unreliable.  La Famine has been located at twenty-four leagues from Onondaga; as thirty miles from Onondaga (by Colden as above), and by De la Barre as four leagues from Onondaga.  While the latter estimate is clearly and grossly inadequate, it is only made more so by placing the locality still farther  northward.  The record of Count Frontenac’s expedition of 1696 against the Onondagas states that he set out with his flotilla from Fort Frontenac (now Kingston) and on the first day reached Isle aux Chevreuils, or Deer Island (now Grenadier Island).  The next day he advanced to a place “within three leagues of Riviere de la Famine,” and on the third proceeded to the mouth of the Oswego River.  This third day’s journey could hardly have been accomplished, if we accept Black River Bay as La Famine.  As further evidence in favor of the identity of La Famine and Salmon River, the records of Pouchot, the eminent French engineer, from whom we shall frequently quote, state: “The Riviere a la Famine enters very far into the interior, and goes quite near to the portage of the height of land.”  This statement occurs in a very careful and detailed description of the shores of Lake Ontario made by him, and no stream other than Salmon River answers so well to his description; while his further and later mention of Sandy Creek and other streams to the northward, as he proceeded in that direction, conclusively establishes the identity of Salmon River and La Famine.  Parkman in his “Frontenac and New France Under Louis XIV” in his account of this expedition, says that La Barre, “crossed the mouth of Salmon River, then called La Famine.”
 
 

DE LA BARRE‘S DOUBTFUL TREATY.                                             43


edged to have been the mouth of the Salmon River in Oswego county), where they landed, after two days of tempestuous voyage.  This was the first large force of white men that ever appeared in the territory of Oswego county and was altogether a motley gathering.  M. de Muelles writes that there were “nine hundred French and three hundred savages, and from the Niagara side there was an army of six hundred men, one third of whom were French, and the remainder Outawacs and Hurons, amounting in all to 1,800 men.1  Gaily dressed troops trained in the service of Louis le Grand; Canadian militia, decked in all manner of costumes; voyageurs from that remarkable class which was created by the fur trade, in their garb of the backwoods; and the Indians in their war paint and little else -- all mingled to form perhaps the most astonishing army, small though it was, that ever took the field.  
     The Iroquois chiefs, sent to act as mediators, arrived at La Famine September 3, 1684, and on the following day a council was held.  After the usual ceremonies De la Barre made a speech, the burden of which was that if the Indians did not grant him satisfaction for their misconduct; cease taking the English into their lakes and making incursions upon the French allies; he would forsooth declare war.
     The reply came from a celebrated Onondaga chief, Garangula, called by the French “Grand Geule” (Big throat), and is a marvel of eloquent satire, sarcasm and defiance, worthy of any civilized orator.  We can transcribe only a part of his words:
 

    Yonnondio, you must have