Thursday, May 14, 2009

Partisanship, Even Within the Quinney Family

Aside from the fact that they died when he was a small child, what we know about Jeremiah Slingerland's parents is minimal. Little Jeremiah was raised by female relatives in New York State until another relative, John W. Quinney, took a liking to the seven-year-old, unofficially adopted him and brought him to present-day Wisconsin (Jones, 1854). Based on Slingerland's letters and other data, he appears to have been close to both John W. and Electa Quinney, referring to them as "Uncle John," and "Aunt E."

As you may remember, Electa Quinney married Dan Adams and they had a son named John C. Adams. By the time John C. Adams had grown up and attended Lawrence University (it may have been called "Lawrence College" back then), Slingerland was one of the biggest leaders in the Indian Party. Of course the Indian party had also been known as the "Quinney party," so it may come as quite a surprise that John C. Adams devoted most of his adult life to advocating for the Citizen party (aka the "Old Citizen Party," the "Citizen Party of 1843," or the "Chicks party").

This photo of John C. Adams graces the cover of James Oberly's A Nation of Statesmen --->

How did the bitterness of the in-fighting among the Stockbridge Mohicans play out in the Quinney family?
In a letter to his mother dated May 12, 1872, John C. Adams related that he had visited Jeremiah and Sarah Slingerland and had "quite a talk" with them in which he spoke plainly about tribal politics and chose not to stay overnight because "as I told them, my room was better than my company."

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