Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Munsees: According to an Indian Party Brief

New York Indian Removal, Part XIX:
The Munsees: According to an Indian Party Brief

I've made some references to an "Indian Party Brief" in past posts. It is a document that was once written up on behalf of the federally recognized faction of the Stockbridge Mohicans, more commonly known as the Indian Party. I am not aware of the "Indian Party Brief" existing anywhere today aside from the source I got it from, which is the January 1932 issue of Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly. The authors of the document appear to be Edwin Willits, J. H. McGowan, Samuel Shelleboyer, and Jeremiah M. Wilson (McGowan was a member of the U. S. House of Representatives in the 1890's).

Here is what they have to say about the Munsees:

Under...[the] Treaty of 1856...there was an enrollment of 409 souls, of whom 58 were of the Munsees of New York, included in the Treaty of September 3, 1839, who had never emigrated from New York to Wisconsin and whose connection with the tribe had from that time been declared sundered by the Stockbridge tribe....
and here's another quote that will give you an idea of which Indians lived on the Shawano County reservation at certain points in time:

The Indian Party, not having removed until 1859, were paid nothing until after their removal, and the withholding of the payment was one of the strong inducements that led them to acquiesce in the removal. After these moneys had been paid, and about in the years 1859 and 1860, the Citizen's Party as a body (with one or two exceptions),and the Munsee Party, a few of whom came West to receive their money (with the exception of one family), abandoned the reservation, leaving on it the Indian Party family of Munsees, and two of the Citizen Party, to wit, Stephen Gardner and his father, William Gardner....
There will be more about the Gardners in future posts, but in regards to the vast majority of the 58 New York Munsees, the best guess I have is that they went back to where they came from. (For a number of years, but not "permanently.")

I've also found a government document from 1875 that confims that the remnant of Munsees living among the Stockbridge Mohicans numbered "About a half dozen" at that time. (Source: Records of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1875, you'll have to scroll a long way to get to "Munsees").


Anonymous said...

my name is jeremy mohawk and my family comes from the munsee's of new york rolls of 1839 and we are still here. i reside on the stockbridge-munsee reservation today with my wife 3 sons and 1 daughter. so not all of the munsee's left, and alot of folks up here have munsee lineage, well most do. just wanted to let you know we are still here. great site by-the-way

Lisa said...

So looking forward to information on the Gardner Family. My grandmother's father was Thomas Gardner, who is Stephen's son and really have not found to much relible information. Great site!