This page conforms to the XHTML standard and uses style sheets. If your browser doesn't support these, you may not see the page as designed, but all the text is still accessible to you.

SCHENECTADY DIGITAL HISTORY ARCHIVE

Bringing the heritage of Schenectady County, New York to the world since 1996

You are here: Home » Resources » MVGW Home » Chapter 19

History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Chapter 19: North Side Mohawk Castles and Jesuit Missions 1666-1693.

[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 296-307 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. Some images have been relocated to the area in the text where they are discussed. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

Contents | Biographies | Illustrations | Maps | Portraits

Go back to: Chapter 18 | ahead to: Chapter 20

1669, Condolence ceremony at Caughnawaga — Father Pierron in a controversy — Induces the Mohawks to renounce the worship of Aireskoi — 1670, Father Pierron in charge at Tionnontogen, Father Boniface at Caughnawaga — 1671, Father Bruyas in charge of the Mohawk missions — Christmas at St. Peter's, Caughnawaga — 1684, Father De Lamberville at Caughnawaga — Kryn leads forty Mohawk converts to Canada — 1675, Father Hennepin visits the Mohawk missions — 1676, Tegahkwita's baptism — 1677, Tegahkwita escapes to Canada — 1677, Visit of Greenhalgh — Adario, the Huron "rat," starts war — 1689, The Iroquois attack Montreal, killing and capturing 400 — Beginning of King William's war.

Following the attack of the Mohicans at Caughnawaga and their defeat at Kinquariones, in 1669, the Mohawks, together with some Oneida and Onondaga warriors, sent a war party into the enemy's country. The Mohawks, in turn, were defeated and lost a number of warriors. They returned to Caughnawaga where, as usual after warfare, they held their impressive condolence ceremony for the relatives of the Iroquois warriors slain in the Mohican warfare. This solemn ceremony at Caughnawaga, has been said by some historians to have been the Feast of the Dead, with which it had no connection. It is evident that Father Pierron did not truly understand the significance of this ceremony or else he was constantly on the watch to undermine their racial beliefs and traditions, the more readily to convert them to Christianity. The condolence ceremony was held at Caughnawaga in the fall of 1669, attended by practically all the Mohawks, while the Onondagas and Oneidas who were present stood by themselves in two separate tribal groups, as was their custom.

An Onondaga chief rose and made a speech, then the Mohawk chiefs, following the custom of the solemn occasion, in turn repeated the chief fables and superstitions of the nation. Father Pierron had been an attentive listener and keen observer of the ceremonies. Suddenly Pierron began to speak. "He is telling fables of his own with a ridiculous twist. A Mohawk chief commands him to be silent. Instantly the solemn ceremonial of the Mohawks becomes an uproar. In the turmoil of noise some are bidding the priest to be still, saying that he is ridiculing their rites and interfering with their national customs; others denounced the chieftain for discourtesy in telling the Jesuit Father to cease speaking."

Pierron evidently had seized upon a psychological moment to deliver a blow at the foundations of the Iroquois traditions, thinking to make their beliefs ridiculous and to turn them to the teachings of Christianity. Knowing his hold on the people, the Jesuit boldly addressed the chief:

"Dost thou know, indeed, that thou hast given me the keenest affront I could have received? But who art thou to order me to be silent, and am I here to obey thee? If I had treated thee after this sort at Quebec, wouldst thou not have had cause to complain; but in what have I spoken evil, that my mouth should be closed? And if I speak the truth, why art thou not willing to hear?" The chief replied that it was their custom on these occasions to keep up their fables. Pierron stoutly rejoined: "It is your custom to get intoxicated; honestly, is it a good custom, and ought I to approve it? It is your custom to violate every law of reason, and to live as the beasts; think you it is not my duty to reprove you for all these vices? And yet you impose silence upon me when I would speak to you. Is this reasonable?"

Having thus vigorously defended himself, Pierron left the Mohawk group and joined that of the Onondagas "who received him with marked respect." Then the singing began and other features of the ceremony continued for five hours, after which Father Pierron returned to his cabin.

The rumor spread among the Mohawks that the blackgown was to return to Montreal and fear of the wrath of New France and the memory of De Tracy's terrible raid, combined to make the Mohawks uneasy. The chief who had offended Pierron visited him and their differences were settled and between them a council was decided upon to which all the chiefs of the Mohawk nation were invited.

The council was held in Father Pierron's cabin. Here the Jesuit spoke boldly, telling the Mohawks to renounce Aireskoi, their war demon, to worship the true God, and bidding the medicine men to discard their charms for natural remedies and the nation to forego the superstitions of the dances. His words were received by the assembled chieftains with applause.

At a second council, the delegation from Onondaga was present and the gathering was addressed by Garacontie, an Onondaga chief who later became a powerful Christian leader. His speech was strongly in favor of Pierron and his cause. The Father seemed to have won the day when the sorcerers cast their turtleshell rattles into the fire. The royanders (lords) of the Mohawks brought their sons to Pierron for instruction in Christianity and Rawenniis (God) apparently had triumphed over Aireskoi. Father Pierron, however, knew the Indian character and wrote "Their natural inconstancy still divides my heart between fear and joy." Probably a considerable part of the foregoing apparent Indian amenability to the blackgown's teaching was a subterfuge intended to appease Pierron and avert the wrath of France.

In 1670, Garacontie was baptized and confirmed at Quebec by Bishop de Petree. His godfather was Governor de Courcelle and his godmother was Mlle. Boutrouee, the daughter of the intendant. On entering the chateau, after his confirmation, Garacontie was honored by a salute from the cannon of the fort and the musketry of the soldiers. By these clever devices, the French tried to win the Iroquois to their side and they boasted, in 1674, that they had induced 200 Iroquois warriors to become allies and residents of New France and converts to Christianity. The seeming success was but short lived in spite of the efforts of the Jesuits and the clever French governors.

Father Pierron soon took charge of the mission of St. Mary's at the Mohawk capital, or upper castle of Tionnontogen (located at present Wagner's Hollow, northeast of Fort Plain), while his assistant, Father Boniface, had charge of the mission of St. Peter's, a small bark chapel which the Mohawks had built for the Jesuits at Caughnawaga. In 1670, the Fathers recorded eighty-four baptisms at the two missions.

In 1671, Father Bruyas took charge of the Mohawk mission, Father Pierron having been ordered to a new Christian Indian village, St. Francis Xavier Des Pres, then being organized on the banks of the St. Lawrence.

To this "Praying Castle" — the new Caughnawaga of the St. Lawrence — many Christian converts came from the Mohawk and other Iroquois castles. All the Indians who went to live at St. Francis Xavier Du Sault (as the place was known after its removal to the Lachine rapids) had to renounce three of their most cherished customs — "first, the idolatry of dreams; second, the changing of wives, a practice in vogue at Iroquois feasts; and third, drunkenness. Anyone among them known to have relapsed into any of these practices was expelled at once from the settlement by the ruling chiefs."

At this time the Jesuit missions of St. Mary's and St. Peter's seemed full of wonderful promise for the French priests and New France. Father Boniface succeeded in winning many Mohawks to Christianity, thirty adult converts being made in a short time. Miss [Ellen H.] Walworth's [Life and Times of] "Kateri Tekakwitha" has the following interesting description concerning this period of Caughnawaga:

"After the morning and evening prayers at the chapel, a choir of children sang hymns in the Iroquois language; and every Sunday the primitive Christian love-feast, or ceremony of blessed bread, took place in the cabin of a pious Mohawk woman.

"At Christmas time the little bark chapel at Caughnawaga was aglow with lights and bedecked with evergreens. All day long the people of the Turtle village, much changed in mind since the torture and murder of Isaac Jogues, stole silently in and out of St. Peter's rustic shrine. The cross, considered uncanny and strange in the days of Goupil, had at last become a familiar sign among the Turtles in the Mohawk Valley. The crowd that gathered at the chapel door on Christmas day looked up at it again and again as they stood out in the snow and the cold December blast, waiting patiently for an opportunity to enter. There in the Chapel, Father Boniface had placed a fair little statue of the infant Jesus lying in his wretched manger on the straw. This Christmas crib was a strange and wonderful sight to the simple Indians. Those who had become Christians told and retold the Bethlehem story in all its details to the curious people who gathered about the image of the little Christ child to gaze and wonder."

Probably to aid their fur trade which had suffered during the war, the Dutch of Albany brought about a council of peace between the Mohawks and Mohicans at Albany, in 1672. The paths to the Hudson then became open to the Mohawks who promptly began to bring back casks of liquor from Albany and Schenectady. Many deaths among the Mohawks followed from alcoholism, which were attributed to a "fever" caused by the firewater. Peace, at times, was more deadly to the Iroquois than war.

In 1673, Count Frontenac held a great council with the Iroquois at Fort Frontenac (Kingston, Canada), where he temporarily gained their favor by a lavish distribution of presents.

When the Hollanders retook New Netherland in 1673, the Mohawks made a new treaty with the Dutch and in 1674, chiefs from Caughnawaga (also written Kaghnewage) and Kanagaro (also written Candagaro) visited the Dutch governor, Anthony Colve. The English recaptured the province in 1674 and continued to be its masters for just a century.

In 1673, Father Boniface was compelled to give up his mission work at Caughnawaga because of his health, broken by the unaccustomed hardships of Indian life. He left Caughnawaga, taking with him to New France a number of the Mohawk villagers whom he had converted to Christianity. This was the first of the exodus of the Christian Indian converts ("Praying Indians") from Caughnawaga and it caused great anger among the Pagan Mohawks.

In 1674, Father Jean de Lamberville arrived to take Father Boniface's place in the Caughnawaga mission. He was passing "slowly along through the rows of long, low, bark-covered houses forming the Turtle village," when he stopped at the cabin of Tegahkwita's chieftain uncle. He entered and met the little Indian maiden who announced her intention of asking for baptism and confirmation, in spite of the fact that two old Indian women were in the cabin at the time. After this Tegahkwita was cruelly treated by her uncle and aunts and her former girl associates. She had previously refused to become the wife of a young warrior and her relatives began to abuse her for what they considered a double offense to their tribal traditions. Her former companions also scorned and tormented her — all, in fact, but those of the Turtle village who had adopted Christianity. Her adopted sister, Anastasia Tegonhatsihongo, had already married. She and her husband had become converted to Christianity and had gone to the mission at St. Xavier.

Kryn, the great Mohawk, had some trouble with his Christian wife at their home in Caughnawaga, the difficulty arising over some dispute concerning their beautiful daughter. Because of this family row, Kryn left home and wandered about. In his journey he came, in 1674, to the "Praying Castle" on the St. Lawrence and there met Father Fremin who converted him to Christianity. He returned to Caughnawaga on the Mohawk and became reconciled with his wife. His lovely Mohawk daughter had died in his absence. Gathering some forty Christian converts from among his old followers, Kryn and his wife returned to the mission of St. Xavier on the St. Lawrence in New France. Kryn's Indian name was Togouiroui and, upon his baptism, he received the name of Joseph, thus becoming, as was the custom, Joseph Togouiroui. He was a Mohawk of great force of character and a natural leader of men. His warm adherence to New France and the Catholic religion was a source of strength to the French cause.

War had been constant for several years between the Andastes (Susquehannas) and the Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas, but that the Iroquois were divided on the subject is shown by the fact that the Mohawks, in 1675, said that "the Andastes were their brothers and might live with them." The friendship of the Mohawks did little good, for the Andastes were completely conquered within a few years.

King Philip's war was raging in New England in 1675 and he then tried to secure the aid of the Mohawks, whom he is said to have visited in that year. In order to gain our Valley Iroquois to his side, Philip had some of the Mohawks murdered and then attributed the crimes to the British. The trick was discovered and the Mohawks became his worst enemies.

In 1675, besides King Philip, (if he indeed came here) the Mohawks had two famous visitors. The English governor, Edmund Andros, went through the eastern Mohawk Valley on a visit to all the Mohawk castles, ending his tour at the Great Upper Castle of the Wolves — the Mohawk capitol of Tionnontogen (or Tionnondogue), probably then located at present Wagner's Hollow. This visit was made to keep the Mohawks allies of the English in King Philip's war.

In 1675, Father Hennepin came to Canada and engaged in mission work. He also visited the Oneidas, Onondagas and Mohawks, of which last visit he writes:

"At last we arrived at the Gannickez Agniez. This is one of Five Iroquois Nations, situated a good day's journey from the neighborhood of New Netherland. We remained some time among this last named nation, and were lodged with a Jesuit Father, born in Lyons, in order to transcribe a little Iroquois dictionary."

They were guests of Father Bruyas at Tionnontogen. The names "Gannickez Agniez" are both French distortions of the Mohawk's own name, Caniengas, "Flint People," a most appropriate name, considering the character of these Valley Iroquois.

In 1676, Kryn returned to Caughnawaga and led another exodus of the Mohawks to New France. The Mission of the Mountain was founded this year to which some of Kryn's pilgrims probably went. In the same year, the mission of St. Xavier a la Prairie de la Magdeliene was removed farther up the St. Lawrence to the Lachine rapids where it became the mission of St. Xavier du Sault (St. Xavier of the Rapids), so called by the French, but always referred to as Caughnawaga by the English, Americans and Indians.

Tegahkwita was baptized by Father de Lamberville at the mission of St. Peter's in Caughnawaga on Easter Sunday, 1676. Miss Walworth in "Kateri Tekakwitha" gives a wonderful picture of that far off Easter day in the vanished Caughnawaga castle of the Caniengas:

"The Indian girls on that Easter morning, ready, as always, for a pageant or ceremonial of any kind, crowded about the door of the rustic chapel, inside and out. Some of them carried their little brothers or sisters tied to their backs on cradle-boards. Some were gorgeous with their bright-colored blankets and beads. Proudly they tossed their heads, these Mohawk girls, sure at least of their share of admiration from the young braves, notwithstanding that the old chief's niece was for the moment attracting more attention in the town than usual. What did her wonderful reputation for virtue amount to, after all? Much hard work, some of them thought, and a scant allowance of fun or excitement. But for once all eyes were centered on the quiet maiden, as she issued from her uncle's lodge, and with two companions, also ready for baptism, neared the door of the chapel. It was easy to see that most of the people of Caughnawaga respected and honored her on account of her virtue. There was a time when the Iroquois had vaunted the chastity of their women, and on that account held their heads higher than any other race of Indians. On this glorious Easter day, the Mohawks seemed to realize at least in a general way, that the maiden Tekakwitha, whom they knew to be as strong in will as their own flint rock and as pure at heart as their crystal spring, had caught up the beautiful crown that was fast falling from them. They felt that she at least, while she lived, could be trusted to hold it securely above the mire into which they were sinking faster and faster.

"On the day of Tekakwitha's baptism, the light which the blackgown brought with him to the Mohawk country beamed with unquenchable brightness from her quiet but joyful face, and glimmered in scattered reflection on the faces of the crowd through which she passed. There men and women, warriors, hunters, jugglers, boys and girls of every age — in a word, all who were in the village had gathered in groups to watch what was taking place at the chapel of St. Peter. The blackgown took care to render the baptism of an adult, and especially of such a noteworthy one as the niece of the chief, as impressive as possible; it was conducted with all due solemnity.

"Never before had the Christians of Caughnawaga been more generous with their gifts. They had offered their richest furs to adorn the chapel in honor both of Easter day and of Tekakwitha's baptism. The walls were hung with beaver and elk skins. There were bear skin rugs and buffalo hides, embroidered in many colors, both under foot and on every side. Belts of wampum festooned the rafters. Blossoming branches of shrubs and clusters of frail little wild-flowers that grew in the ravines near by, decorated the altar. The entrance door was embowered in green. The approach to the chapel was through an avenue of budding trees, which had been planted there by the missionaries, to give an air of seclusion and dignity to the sacred portal. In them the birds were building their nests, and kept up a continual fluttering, chirping, and trilling. The blackgown's well-trained choir of Indian boys and girls, already within the chapel, were watching for Tekakwitha to enter. When the three catechumens appeared at the door, Father de Lamberville, in surplice and violet stole, advanced to meet them. Sturdy Mohawk boys who had learned to serve at the altar, attended him. The ceremony began at the chapel door. Katherine was the Christian name to be given to Tekakwitha. Clear and distinct were the words of the priest, as he asked the following questions: 'Katherine, what dost thou ask of the Church of God?' Then came the short, sweet answer, 'Faith.' 'What doth faith lead thee to?' 'Life everlasting,' was the response. The blackgown, still using the words of the time-honored ceremonial, continues: 'If then thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself.' This exhortation sank deep into the soul of Tekakwitha. Fervent and collected in spirit, she strove to catch the meaning of each word and sign. Father de Lamberville went on with the sacred rite. Breathing on her thrice, as she stood with head bowed down, he exorcised the Evil one, saying: 'Go out of her, thou unclean spirit! Give place to the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete!' She raised her head at these words, and he signed her forehead and breast with the cross."

For a time after Tegahkwita's baptism, her relatives in the old chief's household seem to have let her alone, but gradually they began to abuse her. The chief, her uncle, was bitter against Father Boniface and the chief Kryn who had led so many of the castle away to Canada, thereby weakening his Turtle village of Caughnawaga. The old chief's wife, with her evil tongue, constantly tormented the gentle Kateri.

Miss Walworth speaks thus of this old beldame: "This evil minded old squaw, who looked through the murky cloud of her own sins at the brightness and holiness of the young life so close to hers, disliked its radiance." This aunt went to Father de Lamberville with a long string of lies about her niece, Kateri. When the Jesuit learned their falsity, he sharply reproved the hag. About this time, her uncle tried to intimidate Tegahkwita by sending a rough young warrior to frighten her from her Christian ways. He rushed upon her with tomahawk upraised, but the intrepid young Mohawk girl only bowed her head to the blow and the ruffian, abashed, slunk out of the cabin.

In December, 1676, at the feast of the Immaculate Conception, occurred the blessing of a new religious statue at the Mission of St. Mary's at the Capitol castle of Tionnontogen. This was the figure of Notre Dame de Foye, a replica of a highly venerated statue of the Virgin in Belgium. It was sent to Father Bruyas as a gift to his Christian disciples among the Mohawks. The Caniengas were extremely susceptible to the influence of works of art and this statue created great interest among Christians and Pagan alike. "It was placed in the chapel in such a way that a bright ray of light, falling through a small opening in the bark wall, fell directly upon the Madonna. The Indians had not seen anything so beautiful and new to them since Boniface showed them, on Christmas day at Caughnawaga, the little statue of the Christ-child lying in the manger."

In 1677, Tegahkwita joined the Mohawks in their spring hunt at their Saratoga hunting grounds. Some of the squaws and young women accompanied these hunting parties to "keep house" for the hunters.

Later in 1677, the husband of Anastasia, Tegahkwita's adopted sister, came to Caughnawaga with the Oneida chief, Hot Ashes, in an attempt to aid Kateri to escape to Canada. The Oneida was one of the leading Iroquois chieftains who had been converted and gone to New France to live. His combination Christian-Indian name was Louis Garonhiague. While Kateri's fierce old uncle was absent on one of his periodical visits to Albany, Tegahkwita entered a canoe with her two friends and paddled down the Mohawk to present Amsterdam, where they took the trail for Lake George which has previously been described. On returning home, and finding his niece missing, Kateri's uncle shouldered his gun and started in pursuit "roaring he would kill somebody." He even caught up with the fugitives, but they had concealed Tegahkwitha and, although he passed quite near her hiding place, her uncle could find no trace of her. He returned to Caughnawaga without injuring anybody. After the long canoe trip over Lake George and Lake Champlain, Kateri and her companions safely reached the new Caughnawaga on the St. Lawrence. Here Kateri made her home in the cabin of her adopted sister Anastasia Tegonhatsihongo. Tegahkwita was henceforth known by her baptismal name of Kateri, an Indian form of Katherine. She became one of the chief figures among the Christian Indians of the Mission of St. Xavier du Sault (Caughnawaga) gaining a great reputation among them for her piety and the sanctity of her life. She died there April 17, 1680, aged twenty-four years, the most famous. Christian convert among the Indian women of the Iroquois race.

On Tegahkwitha's death at Caughnawaga, she was interred in the little Indian cemetery beside the noble St. Lawrence River. A large wooden cross was raised to mark the grave, which was several times renewed. In 1888 a large granite monument was sent to Caughnawaga on the St. Lawrence from the Mohawk Valley, the land of Tegahkwita's birth. It bears the following inscription:

Kateri Tekakwitha
April 17, 1680
Onkwe Onwe-ke Katsitsiio Teiotsitsianekaron

The translation of the foregoing is "The fairest flower that ever bloomed among the red men."

In 1923, a statue to Tegahkwita was unveiled at the Shrine of our Lady of Martyrs at Auriesville.

In 1677 Greenhalgh, the explorer, journeyed through the country of the Five Nations. He then made the notes from which he wrote the description of the Mohawk castles of that period, which appears in an earlier chapter.

In 1677, a war party of eighty Mohawk braves entered New England and attacked and defeated some of the Mohicans under Uncas. In 1678, New England complained to New York of these Mohawk incursions.

Father Jean de Lamberville was at Onondaga in 1681 and 1682 and until 1686. In 1682 the Iroquois made peace at Albany with the Colony of Maryland against whose settlers they had committed some depredations.

In 1682 Count Frontenac was replaced by Governor de la Barre in the control of Canada. De la Barre was instructed to attack the Iroquois, if advisable, in order to prevent the latter's movement against the Illinois allies of the French. In 1683, the Iroquois made an expedition against the Ottawas and the peace of seventeen years, between the French of Canada and the Iroquois (including the Mohawks), was ended. In 1683, the English Governor Dongan of New York announced that King James had taken the Iroquois under his protection as his allies and forbade any other power making war upon them. Dongan had Arnold Viele, his Dutch deputy at Onondaga, put the royal arms of England on all the Mohawk castles.

The Jesuits withdrew from their Mohawk missions about 1683 and they were driven from or left their Cayuga and Oneida missions in 1684. Only Father de Lamberville was left at Onondaga. He was very much beloved and remained there until 1686. The French governor tried to involve him in a treacherous plot to lure a number of the Iroquois chiefs to Fort Frontenac under the pretext of holding a council with them there. De Lamberville was above such treatment of his Indian neighbors, who informed him of the plot and had a party of braves conduct him back to New France. The French however succeeded in capturing sixty Iroquois chiefs by this treachery, and de Nonville, following out the foolish order of Louis XIV sent thirteen of them to the galleys. The whole Iroquois confederation was enraged over this villainy.

Many of the Mohawks who had gone to Canada had for a long time, desired to return to their own home lands in New York Province, provided they could have a Christian village and a blackgown of their own. Kryn, the Great Mohawk there resident, said in 1687: "If a priest would settle at Saratoga, many would return, for they had longed and waited a long time for it."

In 1687, de Nonville led a large force from Canada which destroyed the Seneca towns. He promised the Huron chief, Adario, otherwise known as "the Rat", that the war would go on until the Iroquois were destroyed. That the Iroquois did not want war was shown by the peace mission of the great Onondaga chief, Hotreonate, to Quebec in 1688. He disappeared, probably having been murdered by the Rat, who also waylaid an Onondaga peace envoy at La Famine. Two were killed and the rest set free to return to the Iroquois castles with their tale of French treachery. The Iroquois were roused to fury and the bloody war of 1689 followed. The French really wanted peace but the Rat had spoiled their plans and started a century of terrible Indian warfare by his savage treachery. This was the first of the French-British American wars and is known as King William's war (King William having gained the throne in 1688). Peace was not signed between the Iroquois and French until 1700. It was a period of blood and terror to the pioneers of New York and the burning and massacre of Schenectady was one of its most horrible features.

In 1689, Fort Frontenac was besieged by 900 Iroquois warriors who failed to take it. The Jesuit Father Milet was captured there and carried to Oneida where he was afterwards adopted and became a principal chief.

From Frontenac the Iroquois went to Montreal killing or capturing 300 or 400 there. Two hundred Frenchmen were killed in one hour in one of these raids. A war party of 1500 landed at Lachine, in August, 1689, and killed and burned for two days, keeping the French shut up in their fort in Montreal. Another war party of 150 ravaged and killed on the island of Montreal in November, 1689. In one of these raids the Iroquois tortured and devoured their French captives before the eyes of their frantic countrymen in the citadel of Montreal. Count Frontenac arrived in Montreal in October, 1689, with the Iroquois prisoners who had been released from slavery in the French galleys. This knowledge and the breaking out of the dreaded smallpox in the Iroquois castle restrained the Iroquois warriors from further attacks.

The Five Nations held a council at Albany with New England delegates who wished the aid of the Iroquois against the eastern Indians, a remarkable proceeding considering the number of fighting men in the populous New England Colonies. The Iroquois refused to join in this phase of King William's war. In December, 1689, the Iroquois held a council at Onondaga to which Mayor Peter Schuyler and other prominent citizens of Albany were invited. The latter, very unwisely, sent only a Mohawk chief, an interpreter and one other. Three of the Iroquois chiefs who had been galley slaves were freed and sent to this council by Frontenac who evidently wanted an alliance or peace with the Iroquois. There seems to have been some sort of peace and understanding arrived at then and there, but alliance with the French was rejected.

The narrative of this war in the Mohawk Valley and Albany district begins with the Schenectady massacre of February 8th, 1690, described in a later chapter.

Go to top of page | back to: Chapter 18 | ahead to: Chapter 20

You are here: Home » Resources » MVGW Home » Chapter 19

http://www.schenectadyhistory.org/resources/mvgw/history/019.html updated August 23, 2010

Copyright 2010 Schenectady Digital History Archive — a service of the Schenectady County Public Library