Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Negotiations and Arrivals

New York Indian Removal, Part VI:
Negotiations and Arrivals

When it comes to negotiations, dates of arrival, and similar details related to the New York Indians in Wisconsin, it is very easy to go down the wrong path. So bear with me: Since good historians have already gotten this stuff wrong, I'm going to tell you where I'm getting my data.

I have Annie Heloise Abel to thank for including a copy of a July 28, 1820 Detroit Gazette article in her book. The Gazette reported that Eleazar Williams and some of the Oneida men arrived "last Saturday" in the steamboat Walk-in-the-water, intending to "visit the Indians in this Territory" to promote Christianity and "to find a suitable tract of country within the Territory" which, at that time, included all of what is now Wisconsin.

Some kind of agreement was made in Green Bay in the summer of 1820, but various parties made various objections to it and President Monroe never submitted it to Congress. Nevertheless, a June 9, 1821 letter from the Stockbridge Mohicans (signed by Hendrick Aupaumut, Jacob Konkapot, Abner Hendricks, and Solomon U. Hendricks) to the Episcopal Bishop Hobart makes it clear that the Stockbridges wanted to be part of that agreement.

Solomon U. Hendricks led a delegation of four Stockbridge Mohicans, the first Stockbridges to set foot on Wisconsin soil, in August of 1821 (Lion Miles, e-mail to Jeff Siemers, 5/10/2006). Once again, according to a Detroit Gazette article (7/13/1821, quoted in Ellis, p.423) they cruised the Great Lakes on the Walk-in-the-water. Albert Ellis in his "Recollections of Rev. Eleazar Williams" (in Wisconsin Historical Collections, Vol.VIII, p.333) characterized the larger New York Indian delegation of 1821:

"Excepting those of the first Christian party of the Oneidas, and the Stockbridges, all these delegates, to wit: one from Onondaga, one from Tuscarora, one from the Senecas, and one, Mr. Williams himself, from St. Regis [Mohawk] went on their own private responsibility, without any authority from their tribes."
A letter from John C. Calhoun to Territorial Governor Lewis Cass adds: "The Munsees also sent a delegate, who, by the special permission of the Government, was included in the Stockbridge contingent." This, I believe, is the first official recognition of Stockbridge-Munsee partnership.

To make a long story shorter, treaties were made between Wisconsin Natives and the New York Indians in 1821 and 1822. The first permanent settlement of New York Indians in Wisconsin occurred in 1822, "when fifty Christianized Stockbridges" located themselves on the north side of the Fox River at Grand Kaukaulin, which is now the city of Kaukauna (WI Historical Collections, vol.XIV, p.423). These first settlers included John Metoxen's Band (the Indians that had left New York in 1818 and never turned back), plus twenty more that came directly from New Stockbridge, New York (e-mail from Lion Miles, 5/10/2006).

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