History of Warren County, H. P. Smith
Chapter III: Indian Occupation
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Original Possessors of the Soil - Relative Positions of the Algonquins and Iroquois - A Great Battle-Field - Evidences of Prolonged and Bloody Conflict - The Eastern Indians - Traditionary Origin of the Iroquois Confederacy - Peculiarities of the League - Personal Characteristics - Jesuit Labors among the Indians - Names of the Missionaries - Their Unselfish but Fruitless Work - The St. Francis Indians - Indian Nomenclature.
The Page 31 territory of which this work treats was probably never permanently occupied to any great extent by nations or tribes of Indians; that it formed a part of their hunting-grounds and was especially used as a highway between hostile northern and western nations is well settled. At the time that Page 32 Samuel de Champlain made his memorable voyage up Lake Champlain and possibly penetrated to near the waters of Lake George (July, 1609), the territory now embraced in the northern part of the State of New York formed the frontier, the debatable ground, between the Algonquin (or Adirondack) Indians on the north, and the Iroquois on the south. Champlain found a tradition among the Indians along the St. Lawrence that many years previously they possessed the territory far to the southward, but were driven out of it by the powerful Iroquois. The waters of Lake George, almost uniting with those of Lake Champlain, and extending almost from the doors of the "Long House" of the Iroquois to the St. Lawrence river, was doubtless the natural war-path between the northern Indians (1) and their powerful southern neighbors.
1. These northern Indians are known under the general national title of Algonquins; also as Hurons. The name "Montagners " was applied, according to Dr. O'Callaghan, to all the St. Lawrence Indians, and was derived from a range of mountains extending northwesterly from near Quebec; but this must have been a local title. The name "Adirondack" is defined as meaning "wood, or tree, eaters." Its origin is ascribed to the Iroquois, who, after having conquered the former occupants of their territory and driven them northward, taunted them with no longer being brave and strong enough to kill game in the forests and they would, therefore, be compelled to "eat barks and trees." Mr. Lossing says, "the Algonquins were a large family occupying (at the advent of the Europeans) all Canada, New England, a part of New York and Pennsylvania; all New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia; eastern North Carolina above Cape Fear; a large part of Kentucky and Tennessee and all north and west of those States and East of the Mississippi. They were the most powerful of the eight distinct Indian nations in possession of the country when discovered by the whites. Within the folds of this nation were the Huron-Iroquois, occupying a greater portion of Canada south of the Ottawa river and the region between Lake Ontario, Lakes Erie and Huron, nearly all of the State of New York and a part of Pennsylvania and Ohio, along the southern shore of Lake Erie."
To this latter-named nation (the Iroquois) belonged the territory now embraced in Warren county, at the advent of the whites, more than to any other division of the aborigines; and more particularly to the Mohawk tribe, the easternmost of the five composing the great Iroquois League. This was their hunting-ground, and later their memorable battle-field. The waters of Lakes George and Champlain formed the natural war-path between the hostile savage elements north and south in their sanguinary incursions. Nature had given to much of the face of the country hereabouts a character so rugged and inaccessible, that it could not in any event have formed a chosen spot for the Indians permanently to occupy; which fact, added to the other still more forcible one, that it was the frontier, the fighting ground, between the hostile nations, sufficiently justify the belief that no permanent Indian settlement was ever made within the present boundaries of the county. Almost the whole of northeastern New York is a labyrinth of mountains, lakes and streams, once covered by an unusually heavy forest growth. It abounded in game and fish of all kinds, and may well have been the resort of the red man in his grand hunts; but as far as can be known, it offered him no permanent abiding-place, and many of the conflicts which have left their impress upon the history of the county since its discovery and occupation by Europeans, found hereabouts Page 33 their bloody theatre, and opened the way to the eventual triumph of the present occupants of the soil.
"The evidences of these conflicts are found imbedded along the banks of every stream, and beneath the soil of every carrying-place from Albany to Montreal. Arrow and spear-heads, knives, hatchets, gouges, chisels, amulets, and calumets, are, even to this late day, often found in the furrow of the plowman or the excavation of the laborer. Few localities have furnished a more abundant yield of these relics than the soil of Queensbury. While gun-flints and bullets, spear-heads and arrow-points are found broadcast and at large through the town, there are places abounding with them. Among the most noteworthy of these may be enumerated 'the Old Bill Harris's camp ground,' in Harrisena, the headlands around Van Wormer's, Harris's, and Dunham's Bays on Lake George, the Round Pond near the Oneida, the Ridge, the vicinity of the Long Pond, the banks of the Meadow Run and Carman's Neck at the opening of the Big Bend. This last was long noted as a runway for deer and traditions are handed down of grand hunting frolics at this point, where large quantities of game were hunted and driven within the bend, and while a small detachment of hunters served to prevent their retreat, the imprisoned game, reluctant to take the water down the precipitous bluffs, was captured or killed at their leisure. At this point, and also in the neighborhood of Long Pond, fragments of Indian pottery, and culinary utensils of stone, have been found in such profusion, as to give coloring to the conjecture that large numbers of the natives may have resorted to these attractive spots, for a summer residence and camping-ground. The old wilderness trails, and military thoroughfares, the neighborhood of block-houses, picket posts, garrison grounds, and battle-fields, in addition to their Indian antiquities have yielded many evidences of civilized warfare, in their harvests of bullets and bomb shells, buttons, buckles, bayonets, battered muskets and broken swords, axes, and tomahawks of steel; chain and grape shot, coins, cob-money and broken crockery. Such relics are often valuable as the silent witnesses to the truth of tradition, and the verification of history.
"The eastern part of New York, at a period long anterior to the Iroquois ascendency, was occupied by a tribe variously known as the Ma-hick-an-ders, Muh-hea-kan-news, Mo-hea-cans, and Wa-ra-na-wan-kongs. The territory subject to their domination and occupancy, extended from the Connecticut to the Hudson as far north as the southern extremity of Lake George. According to Schoolcraft, these Indians were among the tribes of the Algonquin stock. At the period of their greatest power, their national council fire was held on the ground now covered by the city of Albany, which was then known to them by the name of Pem-pot-a-wut-hut, signifying the fireplace of the nation. The word Muh-ha-a-kun-nuck, from which the word Mohican is derived, means a great water or sea that is constantly in motion, either flowing or ebbing. Page 34 Their traditions state that they originally came from a country very far to the west, where they lived in towns by the side of a great sea. In consequence of a famine they were forced to leave their homes, and seek a new dwelling place far away to the east. They, with the cognate tribes of Manhattans, Pequots, Narragansetts and Nipmucks, occupied the whole peninsula of New England from the Penobscot to Long Island Sound. The Brotherton community, and the Stockbridge tribe, now constitute the sole remnant of this once numerous people. Previous to the establishment of the Dutch colonies in this State the Mohicans had been driven eastwardly by the Iroquois, and, at the time of their first intercourse with the whites, were found in a state of tributary alliance with that fierce people. The early attachment which was formed with the first English colonists of Connecticut by the politic Mohicans, no doubt contributed in a great measure to their preservation during the harassing wars which prevailed through the colonial peninsula for the first fifty years of its settlement.
"The Schaghticoke Indians received their name from the locality where they dwelt, derived, according to Spafford, from the Indian term Scaugh-wank, signifying a sand slide. To this, the Dutch added the terminal, cook. The evidences of the early Dutch occupancy exist to-day in the current names of the tributaries of the Hudson as far up as Fort Edward Creek. The settlement of this tribe was seated on the Hoosick River not far from the town bearing the same name. The hunting grounds of this vicinity, as far north as Lake George, for many years after the first white man had erected his rude habitation within this disputed border, were occupied by the Schaghticokes, under permission of the Mohawks, who owned the lands, and with whom they were upon friendly terms." (1)
1. Holden's History of Queensbury.
As we have intimated, at the time of the French discovery and occupation of Canada, the Mohawks were in the ascendency in this region, and had, it is believed, extended their dominion to the St. Lawrence. They were the most powerful and warlike of the Five Nations (Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayuga and Senecas) composing the Iroquois Confederacy, which was located across the State from east to west in the order here named. The tradition of the origin of this remarkable confederation ascribes it to Hiawatha, who was the incarnation of wisdom, about the beginning of the fifteenth century. He came from his celestial home to dwell with the Onondagas, where he taught the related tribes all that was desirable to promote their welfare. Under his immediate tutelage the Onondagas became the wisest counselors, the bravest warriors and the most successful hunters. While Hiawatha was thus quietly living, the tribes were attacked by a powerful enemy from the north, who laid waste their villages and slaughtered men, women and children indiscriminately; utter destruction seemed inevitable. In this extremity they turned to HiawathaPage 35 who, after thoughtful contemplation, advised a grand council of all that could be gathered of the tribes, saying, "our safety is not alone in the club and dart, but in wise counsels." (1) The counsel was held on Onondaga Lake and the fires burned for three days awaiting the presence of Hiawatha. He was troubled with forebodings of ill-fortune and had resolved not to attend the council; but in response to the importunities of messengers, he set out with his beautiful daughter. Approaching the council he was welcomed by all, who then turned their eyes upward to behold a volume of cloudy darkness descending among them. All fled except Hiawatha and his daughter, who calmly awaited the impending calamity. Suddenly and with a mighty swoop a huge bird, with long and distended wings, descended upon the beautiful maiden and crushed her to death, itself perishing with the collision. For three days and nights Hiawatha gave himself up to exhibitions of the most poignant grief. At the end of that period he regained his wonted demeanor and took his seat in the council, which, after some deliberation, adjourned for one day. On the following day Hiawatha addressed the council, giving to each of the Five Nations its location and degree of importance, as we have already noted. The advice of the venerable sage was deliberated upon until the next day, when the celebrated league of the Iroquois was formed and its details perfected.
Whether or not there is any foundation in fact for this traditionary source of the confederacy, it grew into one of the most remarkable and powerful combinations known to history, a marvel to civilized nations and stamping the genius that gave it birth as of the highest order.
The tradition further relates that Hiawatha now considered his mission on earth as ended and delivered to his brothers a farewell address, which concluded as follows: "Lastly, I have now assisted you to form an everlasting league and covenant of strength and friendship for your future safety and protection. If you preserve it, without the admission of other people, you will always be free, numerous and mighty. If other nations are admitted to your councils they will sow jealousies among you and you will become enslaved, few and feeble. Remember these words; they are the last you will hear from the lips of Hiawatha. Listen, my friends, the Great Master of Breath calls me to go. I have patiently awaited his summons. I am ready; farewell." As his voice ceased the air was musical with sweet sounds, and while they listened to the melody. Hiawatha was seen seated in his white canoe, rising in mid air till the clouds shut out the sight, and the melody, gradually becoming fainter, finally ceased. (2)
2. Both reason and tradition point to the conclusion that the Iroquois originally formed one undivided people. Sundered, like countless other tribes, by dissension, caprice, or the necessities of a hunter's life, they separated into five distinct nations. - Parkman's Jesuits.
By the early French writers, the Mohawks and the Oneidas were styled the lower or inferior Iroquois; while the Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas were denominated the upper or superior Iroquois, because they were located near the sources of the St. Lawrence. To the Mohawks was always accorded the high consideration of furnishing the war captain, or "Tekarahogea," of the confederacy, which distinguished title was retained with them until the year 1814. - Clark's Onondaga.Page 36
Previous to the formation of the Iroquois confederacy each of the five nations composing it was divided into five tribes. When the union was established, each tribe transferred one-fifth of its numbers to every other nation than its own. The several tribes thus formed were named as follows: Tortoise, Wolf, Bear, Beaver, Deer, Potato, Snipe, Heron. The Snipe and Heron correspond with the great and little Plover, and the Hawk with the Eagle of the early French writers. Some authors of repute omit the name of the Potato tribe altogether. These tribes were formed into two divisions, the second subordinate the first, which was composed of the four first named. Each tribe constituted what may be called a family and its members who were all considered brothers and sisters, were also brothers and sisters of the members of all the other tribes having the same device. It will be seen that an indissoluble bond was thus formed by the ties of consanguinity, which was still further strengthened by the marriage relation. It was held to be an abomination for two persons of the same tribe to intermarry; every individual family must therefore contain members from at least two tribes. The child belonged to the tribe, or clan, of the mother, not to the father, and all rank, titles and possessions passed through the female line. The chief was almost invariably succeeded by a near relative, and always on the female side; but if these were unfit, then a council of the tribe chose a successor from among remoter kindred, in which case he was nominated by the matron of the late chief's household. The choice was never made adverse to popular will. Chiefs and sachems held their offices only through courteous, winning behavior and their general good qualities and conduct. There was another council of a popular character, in which anyone took part whose age and experience qualified him to do so; it was merely the gathered wisdom of the nation. The young warriors also had their councils; so, too, did the women. All the government of this "remarkable example of an almost pure democracy in government" (1) was exercised through councils, which were represented by deputies in the councils of the sachems. In this peculiar blending of individual, tribal, national and federal interests, lay the secret of that immense power which for more than a century resisted the hostile efforts of the French; which caused them for nearly a century to be alike courted and feared by the contending French and English colonies, and enabled them to exterminate or subdue their neighboring Indian nations, until they were substantially dictators of the continent, (2) gaining them the title of "The Romans of the New World."
2. The Iroquois league or confederacy was given an Indian name signifying, "They form a cabin," which was fancifully changed to "The Long House," the eastern door of which was kept by the Mohawks, and the western by the Senecas, with the great council fire in the center, with the Onondagas.Page 37
The military dominated the civil power in the league, and the army, which was supplied by volunteers, was always full. Every able bodied man was subject to military duty, to shirk which was an everlasting cause of disgrace. The warriors called councils when they saw fit and approved or disapproved of public measures. But their knowledge of what is now considered military science, while vastly better than that of many of their neighbors, was insignificant, when viewed from a modern civilized standpoint. They seldom took advantage of their great numbers and acted in concert as a great confederacy, but usually carried on their warfare in detached tribes or parties. Their bravery, however, and their strategy in their peculiar methods of fighting, are unquestioned. In the forest they were a terrible foe, while in an open country they could not successfully contend with European disciplined soldiery; but they made up for this to a large extent, by their self-confidence, vindictiveness and overwhelming desire for ascendency and triumph. There is considerable difference in the writings of authors as to the true military status of the Iroquois. (1)
1. They reduced war to a science and all their movements were directed by system and policy. They never attacked a hostile country till they had sent out spies to explore and designate its vulnerable points, and when they encamped they observed the greatest circumspection to guard against surprise. Whatever superiority of force they might have, they never neglected the use of stratagem, employing all the crafty wiles of the Carthaginians. - De Witt Clinton.
The Iroquois lacked the great welding and cohesive power of a common language, all of the tribes having a distinct dialect, bearing a striking resemblance to each other, and evidently derived from a common root. Of these the Mohawk was the most harsh and guttural, and the language of the Senecas the most euphonious. In their ordinary conversation there was a great range of modulation in the inflections of the voice, while expressive pantomime and vehement gestures helped to eke out the meagerness of their vernacular on the commonest occasions. Their proper names were invariably the embodiments of ideas, and their literature. as contained in their oft repeated legends, and the well remembered eloquence of their gifted orators, abounded with the most sublime imagery, and striking antitheses, which were drawn at will by these apt observers of nature, from the wild scenes, and picturesque solitudes with which they were most familiar.
While the Iroquois Indians were superior in mental capacity and less improvident than the Algonquins and other nations, there is little indication that they were ever inclined to improve the conditions in which they were found by the Europeans. They were closely attached to their warrior and hunter life; hospitable to friends, but ferocious and cruel to their enemies; of no mean mental capacity, but devoting their energies to the lower, if not the lowest, forms of enjoyment and animal gratification; they had little regard for the marriage tie and lasciviousness and unchastity were the rule; their dwellings, even among the more stationary tribes, were rude, their food gross and poor Page 38 and their domestic habits and surroundings unclean and barbaric; their dress was ordinarily of skins of animals, until the advent of the whites, and was primitive in character; woman was degraded into a mere beast of burden; while they believed in a supreme being, they were powerfully swayed by superstition, incantations by "medicine men," dreams and the like; their feasts were exhibitions of debauchery and gluttony.
Such are some of the more prominent characteristics of the race encountered by Samuel Champlain when he floated up the beautiful lake that bears his name two hundred and seventy-five years ago and welcomed them with the first volley of bullets from deadly weapons - a policy that has been followed with faithful pertinacity by his civilized successors. These Indians possessed redeeming features of character and practice; but these were so strongly dominated by the barbaric way of living and their savage traits, that years of faithful missionary labor among them by the Jesuits and others, was productive of little good. (1)
1. In 1712 Rev. Wm. Andrews was sent among the Mohawks by the society for propagating the gospel, to succeed Rev. Thoroughgood Moor; but he abandoned the work in 1719, failing in it as his predecessor had. Says Hammond's History of Madison County, "He became discouraged and asked to be recalled, saying, 'there is no hope of making them better - heathen they are and heathen they still must be.'" This is but one example of most of the missionary efforts among the Indians.
The Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, was founded in 1539 and planted the cross amid the most discouraging circumstances, overcoming almost insurmountable obstacles, in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. When Champlain opened the way for French dominion in the latter country, the task of bearing the Christian religion to the natives was assigned to this noble and unselfish body of devotees. While their primary object was to spread the gospel, their secondary and scarcely less influential purpose, was to extend the dominion of France. Within three years after the restoration of Canada to France in 1736, there were fifteen Jesuit priests in the province, and they rapidly increased and extended their labors to most of the Indian nations on the continent, including the powerful Iroquois.
In 1654, when peace was temporarily established between the French and the Five Nations, Father Dablon was permitted to found a mission and build a chapel in the Mohawk Valley. The chapel was built in a day. "For marbles and precious metals," he wrote, "we employed only bark; but the path to Heaven is as open through a roof of bark as through arched ceilings of silver and gold." War was again enkindled and the Jesuits were forced to flee from the Iroquois; but their labors never ceased while opportunity was afforded.
There were twenty-four missionaries who labored among the Iroquois between the years 1657 and 1769. We are directly interested only in those who sought converts among the Mohawks. These were Isaac Jogues, the recital of whose career in the Indian country forms one of the most thrilling chapters of history. He was with the Mohawks as a prisoner from August, 1642, to Page 39 the same month of the next year, and as a missionary with the same nation in 1646, in October of which year he was killed. Simon Le Moyne was with the Mohawks about two months in 1655; again in 1656 and the third time from August, 1657 to May, 1658. He died in Canada in 1665. Francis Joseph Bressani was imprisoned by the Mohawks about six months in 1644. Julien Garnier was sent to the Mohawks in May, 1668 and passed on to the Onondagas and Senecas. Jacques Bruyas came from the Onondagas to the Mohawks in July, 1667, left for the Oneidas in September and returned in 1672, remaining several years. Jacques Fremin came in July, 1667, and remained about a year. Jean Pierron was sent in the same year and also remained about one year. Francis Boniface labored here from 1668 to 1673, when he was succeeded by Francis Vaillant de Gueslis.
These faithful missionaries were followed in later years by such noble workers as Rev. Henry Barclay, John Ogilvie, Revs. Messrs. Spencer, Timothy Woodbridge and Gideon Hawley, Rev. Dr. Eleazer Wheelock, Rev. Samuel Kirkland, Bishop Hobart, Rev. Eleazer Williams, Rev. Dan Barnes (Methodist) and others of lesser note, all of whom labored faithfully and with varying degrees of perseverance, for the redemption of the Iroquois. But all were forced to admit that their efforts as a whole were unsatisfactory and discouraging. (1)
1. The Rev. Mr. Kirkland, who acts as missionary among the Oneidas, has taken all the pains that man can take, but his whole flock are Indians still, and like the bear which you can muffle and lead out to dance to the sound of music, becomes again a bear when his muffler is removed and the music ceases. The Indians will attend public worship and sing extremely well, following Mr. Kirkland's notes; but whenever the service is over, they wrap themselves in their blankets, and either stand like cattle on the sunny side of a house, or lie before a fire. - Doc. History.
Mr. Kirkland was one of the very ablest and most self-sacrificing of the missionaries, and what he could not accomplish in his work, it may safely be concluded others could not. In reference to his labors, an anonymous writer in the Massachusetts Historical Collection (1792) says: "I cannot help being of the opinion that Indians . . . never were intended to live in a state of civilized society. There never was, I believe, an instance of an Indian forsaking his habits and savage manners, any more than a bear his ferocity."
Later religious and educational work among the Indians, even down to the present time, while yielding, perhaps, sufficient results to justify its prosecution, has constantly met with most discouraging obstacles among the tribes themselves.
The advent of European nations to the American continent was the forerunner of the downfall of the Iroquois Confederacy and doubtless the ultimate extinction of the Indian race. The French invasion of 1693 and that of three years later, cost the confederacy half of its warriors; their allegiance to the British crown (with the exception of the Oneidas) in the Revolutionary War, proving to be an allegiance with a failing power, - these causes, operating with the dread of vengeance from the American colonists who had so frequently suffered at the hands of the savages, broke up the once powerful league and scattered itsPage 40 members to a large extent, upon the friendly soil of Canada, or left them at the mercy of the State and general government, which consigned them to reservations.
The St. Francis Indians are, according to Dr. Holden's work before quoted, descended from the once powerful Androscoggins, a branch of the great Abenakies, or Tarrateens, which at one time held sway over the entire territory embraced in the peninsula of Nova Scotia, Maine and Eastern Canada.
Through the indefatigable efforts of Father Rasles, who dwelt among these tribes for more than twenty years, a flourishing mission was established in the early part of the eighteenth century, at Nar-rant-souk on the river Kennebeck. This settlement speedily became the rallying point for the French and Indians in their descents upon the frontier settlements of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The danger from this quarter at length became so imminent and pressing, that an expedition was finally planned for its destruction. A force of two hundred men, with a detachment of Indian allies, was fitted out in the summer of 1724, under the leadership of Captains Moulton and Harman of York. The village was invested. The attack was a surprise. Father Rasles and about thirty of the Abenaki warriors were killed, and the remainder dispersed. The survivors of this relentless massacre, with the remainder of the tribe, fled to the mission village of St. Francis, situated upon the lake of that name at the head of the St. Francis River. The frequent accessions of fugitives to their ranks, due to the active, aggressive policy of the English, so increased their numbers, that they soon became known as the St. Francis tribe. Under the training of their priests they speedily became a powerful ally of the French, co-operating with the predaceous bands of half savage habitants, kept the English border settlements in terror and trepidation for a space of twenty-five years. In the notable campaign of 1757 a large party of them accompanied Montcalm in his expedition against Fort William Henry, at the southern extremity of Lake George, and were participants in the fearful and fiendish massacre which followed the surrender of that fort. They were doomed, however, to a reprisal and vengeance, swift, thorough and effective. Immediately subsequent to the successes of General Amherst in 1759, the distinguished partisan, Major Robert Rogers, was dispatched with a force of two hundred picked men from his corps of rangers, to demolish the settlement, and chastise the tribe for its complicity in the frightful massacres of the three preceding campaigns. Proceeding with caution and celerity, the village was surrounded before an alarm was given, and after a brief, sharp contest, the place was reduced and the inhabitants, without respect to age or sex, were ruthlessly put to the sword. The dwellings and fortifications, together with a valuable church, fitted up with costly decorations and embellishments, were committed to the flames, and destroyed.
Adirondack. - According to Schoolcraft this name signifies "Bark-eaters." It was a party from this tribe that accompanied Champlain upon his journey into the country of the Iroquois. The name may be said to apply to the Indians who dwelt along the Canada shore of the St. Lawrence River.
Aganuschion. - Black mountain range, as the Indians called this Adirondack group. - Lossing.
Andiatorocte. - The place where the lake contracts. A name applied to Lake George. - Dr. O'Callaghan.
Aquanuschioni. - The united people. A name by which the Iroquois designated themselves. - Drake's Book of the Indians.
Atalapose. - A sliding place. Roger's Rock on Lake George. The Indians entertained a belief that witches or evil spirits haunt this place, and seizing upon the spirits of bad Indians, on their way to the happy hunting grounds, slide down the precipitous cliff with them into the lake where they are drowned. - Sabattis in Holden's History of Queensbury.
Ausable Forks. - "Tei-o-ho-ho-gen," the forks of the river.
Bald Peak. - (North Hudson) "O-no-ro-no-rum," bald head.
Cahohatatea. - Iroquois for North or Hudson River. - Dr. Mitchell, Annals of Albany.
Canada. - From Kanata, a village. - Dr. Hough. Drake gives one Josselyn, an early writer, as authority for its derivation as Can, mouth, and Ada, country. Other derivations are also given.
Caniaderi Guarante. - A name given to Lake Champlain, meaning "The gate of the country."
Caniaderi-Oit. - "The tail of the lake," i. e., Lake Champlain. This name has been applied to Lake George, and also to that portion of Champlain below Ticonderoga.
Cancuskee. - Northwest Bay, Lake George. So called on a map of the Middle British Provinces, 1776. - Holden's Queensbury.
Cataraqui. - Ancient name of Kingston. - Hough. The St. Lawrence River, signifying a fort in the water. - Holden.
Champlain. - "Ro-tsi-ich-ni," the coward spirit. The Iroquois are said to have originally possessed an obscure mythological notion of three supreme beings, or spirits, the good spirit, the bad spirit, the coward spirit. The latter inhabited an island in Lake Champlain, where it died, and from this it derived the name above given. - Hough.
Chateaugay. - This is by some supposed to be an Indian name; but it is French, meaning gay castle. The St. Regis Indians call it "O-sar-he-hon," a place so close or difficult that the more one tries to extricate himself the worse he is off. This probably relates to the narrow gorge near Chateuagay village.Page 42
Cheonderoga. - One of the several names applied to Ticonderoga. Signifies, three rivers.
Chepontuc. - A difficult place to climb or get around. An Indian name of Glens Falls. - Sabattis, in Holden's History of Queensbury.
Chicopee. - A large spring. Indian name of Saratoga Springs. - Ibid.
Conchsachraga - The great wilderness. An Indian term applied to the wild track north of the Mohawk and west of Lakes George and Champlain. Pownal's Topographical Description.
Flume of the Opalescent River. - "Gwi-en-dau-qua," a hanging spear.
Ganaouske. - Northwest Bay, on Lake George. - Col. Hist. Judging from analogy, this should mean the battle place by the water side. - Holden's Queensbury.
Glens Falls. - Mentioned on a French map published at Quebec, 1748, by the name of "Chute de Quatrevingt Pds." - Doc. Hist.
Hochelaga. - This name was applied by the Algonquins to the site now occupied by Montreal, and also to the St. Lawrence River. Hough suggests its derivation from Oserake, a beaver dam. - Hist. St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, p. 181.
Houtkill. - Dutch name of Wood Creek. - Doc. Hist. of N. Y, vol. II., p. 300.
Huncksoock. - The place where everybody fights. A name given by the nomadic Indians of the north to the upper falls on the outlet of Lake George. - Sabattis.
Kaniadarosseras. - Hence Kayaderosseras, the lake country. - Colonial Hist. N. Y., vol. VII, p. 436.
Kaskongshadi. - Broken water, a swift rapid on the Opalescent river. - Lossing's Hudson, p. 33.
Kayaderoga. - A name of Saratoga lake. - Butler's Lake George, etc
Kayaderosseras. - A name applied to a large patent or land grant, stream and a range of mountains in Saratoga county, N. Y. In the Calendar of N. Y Land Papers, it is variously written Caniaderosseros, Caneaderosseras, Kanyaderossaros, Cayaderosseras, said to mean "The crooked stream." Other authorities give its meaning as "The lake country."
Kingiaquahtonec. - A portage of a stone's throw or two in length between Wood Creek and Fort Edward Creek, near Moss street in Kingsbury. - Evans's Analysis, p. 19.
Miconacook. - A name of the Hudson river. - Sabele.
Mohawk, from Mauqua or Mukwa, a bear. - Schoolcraft's Notes on the Iroquois, p. 73.
Mount Marcy. - Tahawus, "He splits the sky."
Mount McIntyre. - He-no-ga, "Home of the thunder."
Mount Colden. - "On-no-war-lah," scalp mountain, from the baring of the rocky peak by slides.Page 43
Mount Pharaoh. - "On-de-wa," black mountain.
Oiogue. - The Indian (Mohawk) name of the Hudson north of Albany. - Hist. of New Netherland, II, 300.
Oneadalote Tecarneodi. - The name of Lake Champlain on Morgan's map.
Onderiguegon. - The Indian name for the drowned lands on Wood Creek near Fort Anne, Washington county, N. Y. It signifies conflux of waters. - From a Map of the Middle British Colonies by T. Pownal, M. P., 1776.
Ongwehonwe. - A people surpassing all others. The name by which the Iroquois designated themselves.
Ossaragas. - Wood Creek, emptying into the head of Lake Champlain. - Top. Descrip. of the Middle British Colonies, Map, T. Pownal, 1776.
Oswegatchie, or Oghswagatchie with a dozen other different spellings. - "An Indian name," the historian James Macauley, informed the author, "which signifies going or coming round a hill. The great bend in the Oswegatchie river (or the necessity of it), on the borders of Lewis county, originated its significant name. An Indian tribe bearing the name of the river, once lived upon its banks; but its fate, like that of many sister tribes, has been to melt away before the progression of the Anglo-Saxon." - Simms's Trappers of N Y., p. 249, note. According to a writer in the Troy Times of July 7th, 1866, it is a Huron word signifying black water. Sabattis defined it as meaning slow and long.
Oukorlah. - Indian name of Mount Seward, signifying the big-eye. - C. F. Hoffman.
Ounowarlah . -Scalp Mountain. Supposed to refer to that peak of the Adirondacks known as Whiteface Mountain. - C. F. Hoffman in The Vigil of Faith.
Petaonbough. - "A double pond or lake branching out into two." An Indian name of Lake Champlain, which refers probably to its connection with Lake George. - R. W. Livingston, quoted in Watson's Hist. Essex Co., N. Y.
Petowahco. - Lake Champlain. - Sabele.
Raquette. - "The chief source of the Raquette is in the Raquette Lake, towards the western part of Hamilton county. Around it, the Indians in the ancient days gathered on snow-shoes in the winter, to hunt the moose then found there in large droves, and from that circumstance they named it Raquet, the equivalent in French, for snow-shoes in English. This is the account of the origin of its name given by the French Jesuits who first explored that region. Others say that its Indian name Ni-ha-na-wa-le, means a racket or noise, noisy river, and spell it Racket. But it is no more noisy than its near neighbor the Grass River which flows into the St. Lawrence from the bosom of the same wilderness." - Lossing's Hudson, p. 11.
Rotsichini. - An Indian name of Lake Champlain signifying the coward Page 44 spirit. An evil spirit, according to the legend, whose existence terminated on an island in Lake Champlain. The name was thence derived to the lake.
Santanoni. - " Si-non-bo-wanne," the great mountain. This name is also said to be a corruption or condensation of St. Anthony.
Schroon. - "Sea-ni-a-dar-oon," a large lake. Abbreviated first to Scaroon and then to Schroon. This is a Mohawk word which appears in the old land papers, applied to Schroon Lake. In addition, Ska-ne-ta-no-wa-na, the largest lake. Also, Scarona, the name of an Indian girl who leaped over a precipice from her French lover and was drowned. It has been alleged, on what seems a very slender foundation, that the name was conferred in the latter part of the 17th century by a wandering party of Frenchmen in honor of Madame de Maintenon the wife of the poet Scarron. - Holden.
Schroon River. - "Gain-bou-a-gwe," crooked river.
Saratoga. - Vide General Index to documents relating to the history of the State of New York for seventeen different spellings of this word. See Calendar of N. Y. Land Papers, where it is found spelled Saragtoga, Saraghtoga, Saraghtogue, etc. Morgan renders it on his map in the League of the Iroquois Sharlatoga. Hough, in the Hist. of St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, has it Saratake, while Ruttenber, in his Indian Tribes of the Hudson, on what authority is not stated, derives it from Saragh, salt, and Oga a place, though he adds that "the name was originally applied to the site of Schuylerville, and meant swift water" an assertion which greatly impairs the value of the preceding statement. Gordon in his Gazetteer of New York, p. 671, derives the word from Sah-ra-kah, meaning the great hill side, and states that it was applied to the country between the lake and the Hudson river. An anonymous writer in the Troy Times of July 7, 1866, defines it as a place where the track of the heel may be seen.
Senongewok. - A hill like an inverted kettle, familiarly known as "the Potash," on the east side of the Hudson river about four miles north of Luzerne village, Warren county, N. Y. - Vigil of Faith by C. F. Hoffman.
Split Rock. - "Re-gioch-ne," or Regio rock, or Regeo. From name of Mohawk Indian drowned near the rock. It denoted the boundary between the Iroquois and the northern Indians.
Skanehtade. - The west branch of the Hudson and the river generally.- Morgan's Map in The League of the Iroquois.
Takundewide. - Indian name of Harris's Bay on Lake George. So called on a map of the middle British provinces by T. Pownal, M. P., London, 1776.
Tenonanatchie. - A river flowing through a mountain. A name applied to the Mohawk river by the western tribes. - H. R. Schoolcraft.
Teohoken. - The pass where the Schroon finds its confluence with the Hudson river. - The Vigil of Faith by C. F. Hoffman. See also Col. Hist. N Y., vol. VII, p. 10, where it is defined as the forks of a river.Page 45
Ticonderoga. - There are about twenty renderings of the orthography of this word, and wide differences of meaning assigned to it. Those most worthy of acceptance are given herewith. Tienderoga. "The proper name of the fort between Lake George and Lake Champlain signifies the place where two riversmeet." - Colden's Account of N. Y., Col. Hist. N. Y, VII, 795. "Tiaontoroken, a fork or point between two lakes." - Hough's Hist. St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, p. 181. Morgan, on his map, frequently referred to herein, spells it "Je hone ta lo ga." Teahtontaloga and Teondeloga are both defined as "two streams coming together." The sound and structure of the three words are similar. The definition given by Colden is doubtless correct.
Tiasaronda. - The meeting of the waters. The confluence of the Sacandaga with the Hudson. - The Vigil of Faith by C. F. Hoffman.
Wawkwaonk. - The head of Lake George, Caldwell. - Sabele.
Whiteface Mountain. - "Thei-a-no-gu-en," white head, from the naked rocky peak.