History of Warren County, Chapter 12


FROM 1791 TO 1800


Troublous Times on the Border - Baneful British Influence - Uneasy Iroquois - Colonel Proctor Visits Them - Interesting Details Gathered From His Journal - His Mission a Failure - St. Clair Defeated - The Iroquois Become Insolent - Their Arrogant Demands - Cornplanter Joins the Malcontents - Extracts from Letters Written by Andrew Ellicott, Brant the Mohawk, and John Adlum - Wayne’s Victory - Salutary Effects - Iroquois Ardor Cooled - The Treaty at Canandaigua - The British Retire from American Territory - Cornplanter’s Speech at Franklin - The Holland Land Company - Town of Warren Laid Out by State Commissioners - Survey of Lands West of the Allegheny River - Advent of the First Settlers - A Blockhouse at Warren - Navigable Waters - Origin of the Reserve Tracts and Academy Lands.

For more than a decade of years after England had been forced to acknowledge the independence of the United States, British troops held all the forts on the American side of the boundary line, in open violation of the treaty of peace, alleging that the Americans had also failed to comply with its provisions. Embittered by defeat and not without hopes of again becoming masters of the ambitious, yet weak and poverty-stricken, confederated States, their influence over the Six Nations and the Western Indians was most baneful. They openly assumed a protectorate over the Iroquois and advised them to resist by force the occupation of lands which had already been ceded by the Indians to the Americans. Hence, as a result of such advice, and the intrigues of the Tory Colonel Butler, and the detestable Mohawk chieftain, Brant, the majority of the Senecas, eight years after the close of the Revolutionary War, were almost at the point of marching into Ohio to join the Western tribes in their operations against the military forces of the United States. At this critical moment Cornplanter, alone almost, of all those high in authority in his nation, remained true to his pledges as the friend of the Americans. For a time he stood as firm as the tall pines which cast their shadows over the waters of his beloved Allegheny. For three or four years after his visit to Philadelphia he counseled peace and moderation; but before the troubles were over - i.e., just before General Wayne administered such signal and deserved punishment to the Indians - he, too, was forced to bend before the popular clamor of his people, to join the majority in their avowed hostility to the Americans, to make unjust demands, and declare that the terms of former treaties must be abrogated, and to threaten violence unless such demands were acceded to.

To counteract the evil influence of the British officers and their emissaries, as well as the bad effects resulting from Harmer’s defeat by the Western Indians during the preceding fall, early in 1791 Colonel Thomas Proctor, who had won distinction in the Pennsylvania Line during the Revolution, was instructed to visit the Seneca Indians, and use his utmost endeavors to gain their confidence, and to persuade them to use their influence to stop the hostilities of the Western Indians (against whom General St. Clair was then preparing to move), and to that end to send a delegation of chiefs along with him on a mission to the Miamis.

Proctor’s commission was signed by General Knox, secretary of war, March 10, 1791, and two days later, accompanied by Captain M.G. Houdin, he started forth on horseback from Philadelphia. He journeyed via Reading, Wilkesbarre, Tioga Point, Chemung, Newtown (now Elmira, N.Y.), to an Indian town a considerable distance beyond Painted Post, with the intention of proceeding direct to Buffalo, where he expected to meet the Seneca chiefs in council. But having learned at the last-mentioned place that Captain O’Beal, the Cornplanter, had not yet returned to his towns on the Allegheny from his visit to Philadelphia, and deeming it of the utmost importance that this chieftain should be present at the council, Proctor here secured the services of Horatio Jones, an interpreter, and determined to turn aside, and on reaching the Allegheny to proceed down that stream until Cornplanter should be met. He arrived at Cornplanter’s "upper town" on the night of April 6.

This town, Proctor informs us, was located on the north side of the Allegheny River, and was called "New Arrow’s* town," or "Tenachshegouchtongee, or the burnt house." It contained twenty-eight "tolerably well built houses," one of which, new, neat and clean, was set apart for the use of Proctor and his party. At this place it was ascertained that Cornplanter was at Fort Franklin, at the mouth of French Creek, which point, said Proctor, was distant about one hundred and thirty miles down the river from New Arrow’s town. This would indicate that the latter was located in the vicinity of the site of Olean, N.Y., which, by actual measurement of a United State’s officer of topographical engineers, is one hundred and thirty-two miles by river, above the mouth of French Creek. Still, since Proctor’s estimate was based on conjecture alone, there might have been a variation in his calculation of fifteen or twenty miles from the true distance. Proctor’s journal, however, establishes one or two interesting facts - that Cornplanter’s immediate followers were then located in at least three different villages, widely separated one from another, i.e., at Tenachshegouchtongee, on the Allegheny, in New York; at Cayantha, on the Conewango, just over the State line in New York, and at Jennesadaga, the "lower town," situated on the lands now known as the "Cornplanter Reservation," in Warren county. Also that Cornplanter was then living on the lands granted him by the State of Pennsylvania, that is, Jennesadaga, where, by the way, he had resided for years before the grant was made.

From Tenachshegouchtongee Colonel Proctor proceeded in a canoe, guided by young Indians, to Fort Franklin, where he met Cornplanter, and where he was warmly received by the commandant, Ensign John Jeffers, of the Connecticut Line, or First U.S. Regiment of Infantry. Cornplanter was calm and bore himself with becoming dignity, but those of his tribe with him were highly excited. They had just heard of the seizure of their boats and stores by certain people near Pittsburgh (see preceding chapter), but upon being assured by Colonel Proctor that he would see to it that all should be restored to them (and it was done a few days later), they became quiet and friendly. A day or so later, accompanied by Cornplanter and a large number of his band, Proctor moved up the Allegheny in canoes en route to Buffalo. They passed the night of April 14 at the mouth of "Casyonding Creek," i.e., the Brokenstraw. On the following day, Proctor being ill and almost helpless from rheumatism, he urged his canoe-men to push forward in advance of the fleet in order to reach Cornplanter’s "lower town" at the earliest moment; but he says the current was so swift and strong against them, slow progress was made, and the town was not reached until in the night. Here he applied to an Indian doctor for treatment, but the poultice of bruised roots and herbs applied to his foot to relieve the pain in the upper part of his leg was so effective in increasing his agony, that he became seriously alarmed and quickly dispensed with the poultice, compounded with so much patience and care by the native practitioner. He had passed the mouth of the "Canawaugo" during the last day’s journey, where, he noted in his journal, "the Government of Pennsylvania has laid out a manor of 3000 acres, and up the said river (Canawaugo) to an Indian town called Cayantha, or the Cornfields, are extraordinary rich lands, of which survey was made by David Rittenhouse, Esq., of Philadelphia some time since."

After a brief rest at Jennesadaga, the journey up the river was continued to the upper town, or the Cattaraugus settlement, where Poctor had left his horse, also Captain Houdin, who was quite ill from exposure, and from thence across the country to Buffalo, Houdin, Cornplanter, and quite a following of Senecas accompanying him. At Buffalo he found the English influence very strong, the Indians obtaining supplies not only of clothing, but of provisions, from Forts Erie and Niagara. On the commissioner’s arrival, "Young King," who could not have been over twenty-two or three years old, met him, appareled in the full uniform of a British colonel - red, with blue facings and gold epaulettes. The Senecas were also in possession of a two pound swivel, which they fired in honor of the occasion, the gunner wisely standing inside the council-house, while he touched it off with a long pole passed between the logs. The charge was so heavy that it upset the gun and its carriage.

At this time the celebrated Red Jacket had risen to a high position as an orator (though in war he was known to be cowardly, and was frequently :spoken of in derision, by Cornplanter and other chiefs, as the "cow-killer "), being mentioned by Proctor as "the great speaker and a prince of the Turtle tribe." In fact, however, he belonged to the Wolf clan.

On Proctor’s stating his object in the council, Red Jacket questioned his authority. This, as the colonel was informed by a French trader, was the result of the insinuations of Butler and Brant, who had been there a week before and had advised the Indians not to send a delegation to the Miamis. Proctor offered to present his credentials to any one in whom they had confidence, and they at once sent for the commandant at Fort Erie. The latter sent back Captain Powell, who seems to have acted as a kind of guardian to the Indians during the proceedings. These were very deliberate, and were adjourned from day to day.

Red Jacket was the chief speaker for the Indians, and declared their determination to move the council to Niagara, insisting on the commissioner accompanying them the next day as far as Captain Powell’s house, below Fort Erie. Proctor peremptorily declined. Then Red Jacket and Farmer’s Brother addressed the council by turns, the result being that a runner was at once sent to Niagara to summon Colonel Butler to the council. After two or three days’ delay Butler came to Winne’s trading-house (which was on the site of Buffalo, and four miles from the main Seneca village) and requested the sachems and head men to meet him there, but said nothing about Proctor.

While waiting the commissioner dined with "Clear Sky," head chief of the Onondagas, whose "castle" he describes as being three miles east from "Buffaloe," meaning from the Seneca village. There were twenty-eight good cabins near it, and the inhabitants were well clothed, especially the women, some of whom, according to Colonel Proctor, were richly dressed, "with silken stroud" and silver trappings worth not less than £30 per suit. It seems, too, that they had advanced so far in civilization that the women were invited to the feast of the warriors, which consisted principally of young pigeons boiled and stewed. These were served up in hanks of six, tied around the necks with deer’s sinews, and were ornamented with pin feathers. However, the colonel managed to make a good meal.

On the 4th of May the Indians went to Winne’s store, to hold council with Butler. The latter invited Proctor to dine with him and his officers, including Captains Powell and Johnston. They (the English officers) spoke the Seneca language fluently, and advised the chiefs not to go with the commissioner then, but to wait for Brant, who had gone West. Red Jacket and Cornplanter used their influence in favor Of Proctor, but Young King, Farmer’s Brother, and the "Fish Carrier," a Cayuga chieftain, strongly opposed him. Every paper delivered to the chiefs was handed over to Butler for his inspection, who went back to Fort Erie next day.

On the 6th of May Red Jacket announced to the commissioner that there would be no council held, as the honorable councilors were going out to hunt pigeons. Proctor makes special mention of the immense number of pigeons found - over a hundred nests on a tree, with a pair of pigeons in each.

On the 7th a private council was held, at which lands were granted to Indians of other tribes, who had fled from the Shawanese and Miamis. "Captain Smoke," and the Delawares under his charge were assigned to the Cattaraugus settlement, where their descendants dwell at the present time. Several Massasauga families at the same time had planting-grounds given them near the village of Buffalo Creek.

On the 11th Proctor declares that there was a universal drunk; "Cornplanter, and some of the elder women excepted," from which it is to be presumed that the young women indulged with the rest.

Finally on the 15th of May the oldest women visited the commissioner and declared that they had taken the matter into consideration, and that they should be listened to, for, said they: "We are the owners of this land, and it is ours;" adding, as an excellent reason for the claim, "for it is we that plant it." They then requested Colonel Proctor to listen to a formal address from the "women’s speaker," they having appointed Red Jacket for that purpose.

The alarm gun was fired and the chiefs came together, the elder women being seated near them. Red Jacket arose, and after many florid preliminaries announced that the women had decided that the sachems and warriors must help the commissioner, and that a number of them would accompany him to the West.

Colonel Proctor was overjoyed at this happy exemplification of women’s rights, and seems to have thought there would be no further difficulty. He forthwith dispatched a letter by the trusty hand of his interpreter, Horatio Jones, to Colonel Gordon, the English commandant at Niagara, asking that himself and, the Indians might take passage on some British merchant-vessel running up Lake Erie, since the chiefs refused to make the journey by land or to go in an open boat. But Gordon, in the usual spirit of English officials on the frontier at that time, refused the permission, and so the whole scheme fell through. It was just what was to have been expected, though Proctor does not seem to have anticipated it, and it is very likely the whole thing was well understood between the British and Indians.

While it was supposed that Red Jacket and others would go West with Proctor, that worthy had several requests to make. Firstly, the colonel was informed that his friends expected something to drink, as they were going to have a dance before leaving their women. This the commissioner responded to with a present of "eight gallons of the best spirits." Then Red Jacket remarked that his house needed a new floor, and Proctor offered to have one made. Then he preferred a claim for a special allowance of rum for his wife and mother, and in fact - well, he wanted a little rum for himself. So the colonel provided a gallon for the great orator and his wife and mother. Young King was not less importunate, but Cornplanter was modest and dignified, as became a veteran warrior. But the worthy commissioner made due provision for them all.

The projected expedition having thus fallen through, Young King made a farewell speech, being aided by "Fish Carrier," the Cayuga, whose "keen gravity" reminded Proctor of a Roman senator, and who seems to have been a man of great importance, though never putting himself forward as a speechmaker.

The Indians must have had a pretty good time during Proctor’s stay among them, since his liquor bill at Cornelius Winne’s was over a hundred and thirty dollars.

All this counciling having come to naught, Proctor set out for Pittsburgh on the 21st of May. He was accompanied as far as the New Arrow’s town, a distance of eighty miles, by Cornplanter, Half Town, and others of the Allegheny River Indians. There he hired a canoe and two Indians to paddle him to Fort Franklin, where he arrived on the next morning in time to take breakfast with Lieutenant Jeffers. At Fort Franklin he hired another canoe and four Indians and pushed off for Pittsburgh, which place he says was distant one hundred and fifty-six miles** by river from Fort Franklin, and was reached in twenty-five hours. Thus the journey from Buffalo to Pittsburgh, a distance of four hundred and eleven miles, according to Proctor’s computation, was accomplished in five days and two nights of travel.

In November, of that year (1791) General St. Clair’s army met with a crushing defeat at the hands the combined Northwestern tribes, and this disaster, together with the pernicious influence of the British, aroused all the worst passions of the Iroquois. Their manners toward the Americans became insolent in the extreme, and some of their warriors joined the hostile savages. There is little doubt that another severe disaster would have disposed a large part of them to rise in arms, and take revenge for the unforgotten though well-merited punishment inflicted upon them by Sullivan and Brodhead. Yet they kept up negotiations with the United States; in fact, nothing delighted the chiefs more than holding councils, making treaties, and performing diplomatic pilgrimages. They felt that at such times they were indeed "big Indians."

The years 1792 - 93 were passed in fear and trepidation by the few American families living northwest of the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania. Many depredations and a few murders were committed by small bands of savages, by many believed to he Senecas; but when Cornplanter was questioned concerning these outrages, he declared that the Senecas were yet at peace with the Americans, and that the hostiles came from the West. In 1794, however, affairs in Northwestern Pennsylvania assumed a most threatening aspect. Garrisons of American troops were, and had been for years, maintained at Forts Franklin*** and Le Boeuf, but when it was proposed to establish a fort and lay out a town at Presque Isle, the Senecas, including the Cornplanter, declared that it should not be done. They flatly repudiated the treaties of 1784 and 1789, and demanded that a new boundary line should be drawn. Indeed, some of them threatened that unless all the lands lying west of the Allegheny were relinquished, war would surely take place.

Baneful British influence was now in the ascendency, and Cornplanter finally yielded to it, and to the clamor of his people in their demands for a new treaty, new stipulations, or war. In speeches in councils held at Buffalo and Le Boeuf, in June, 1794, and at each of which British officers were present, this chief was bold in his demands for a new treaty, and threatened that unless a vast tract should be restored to the Indians (which territory would have included the greater portion of the county of Warren), dire would be the consequences.

At this time Colonel Andrew Ellicott, the surveyor, was at Fort Le Boeuf, and in a letter describing the condition of affairs he said: "The Indians consider themselves as our enemies and that we are theirs. From this consideration they never come near the garrison except as spies, and then escape as soon as discovered."

Although the Cornplanter and other Seneca chiefs strenuously denied that they were then acting under British advice and influence, the following extract from a letter written by Brant, the Mohawk, clearly proves that they were not telling the truth. Possessed of a fair English education, the protégé of Sir William Johnson of colonial fame - hence thoroughly British in his instincts and sympathies and bitterly hostile through life to the Americans - Brant then cherished the idea, originated by Pontiac, of building up a great Indian confederacy, of which he was to be the principal chief, and restricting the control of the Americans to the country east of the Allegheny River. The letter referred to was dated July 19, 1794, and was addressed to Governor Simcoe, of Upper Canada, wherein he says:

"In regard to the Presque Isle business, should we not get an answer at the time limited, it is our business to push those fellows hard. Should those fellows (the Americans) not go off; and O’Bail, (Cornplanter) continue in the same opinion (meaning his recently avowed hostility to the Americans), an expedition against those Yankees must of consequence take place. His Excellency has been so good as to furnish us with a 100 weight of powder, and ball in proportion, which is now at Fort Erie, opposite Buffalo; but in the event of an attack upon Le Boeuf people, I could wish, if consistent, that his Excellency in addition would order a like quantity in addition, to be at Fort Erie in order to be in readiness; likewise, 1 would hope for a little assistance in provisions."

Again, to further illustrate the position occupied by Cornplanter, and the condition of affairs on the Pennsylvania border at that time, the following letter from John Adlum (the surveyor of many tracts in Northwestern Pennsylvania) to Governor Mifflin is appended:

                                                                       "FORT FRANKLIN, August 31st, 1794.

     "DEAR SIR: I returned yesterday from a second trip I had to the Corn Planter’s Town - having been sent for by him to go to the treaty said to be held at Buffaloe Creek, near Lake Erie.

     "When I arrived at his Town, which was the 23rd of this Inst., information came that it would not be held until about the 10th day of Sept. 1, therefore, concluded it best to return to this place.

    "The next day after I got to his town, a party of nineteen Chiefs & warriors arrived from the Grand River, on the North Side of Lake Erie.

     "The Corn Planter had given me notice that such a party were on their way to protect their women and children while their chiefs were at council.

     "I told the Corn Planter that such a guard was unnecessary, as the Americans wished to live at peace with the Indians.

     "He answered, that we could not know who were our enemies, and it was well to be prepared, and insinuated as much as if they feared the Western Indians. But, says he, they are wholly under my direction, and nothing is to be feared from them; for they will hunt with my warriors until I know the result of Gen. Washington’s answer, for they will behave themselves soberly and orderly until then. If the answer is favourable to us, they will return to their homes; if not, times will be very bad and troublesome immediately; though, says he, we mean not to make war on women and children, but on men, and with the men we mean to fight, and hope the white flesh, as he calls us, will not set us any bad examples; and the way that these men came to be sent here is this: Capt. Brandt sent to us, and desired us to move off the land, for that times would soon be dangerous. I answered, we are not afraid to live here, and as our corn &c. is planted, we intend to stay and enjoy the fruits of our labour. But Brandt sent again, and said that the regard he had for us made him very uneasy for our safety. I returned him the same answer as before, and added, if you have the regard for us you say you have, send us some people to protect us; and in consequence of this, he sent us these men.

     "There was a Mr. Rosencranz with me at the Town - an Interpreter - and we staid at the Corn Planter’s house while we were at Town, and the General conversation of the Indians was about the times, and were very anxious to have our opinion whether their request or demand would be granted or not; and the Chiefs concluded their conversation that nothing but the Lands required would do, and that they wished to know whether Gen. Washington would grant their request or not. I told them to wait patiently, and the persons whom the Gen. had appointed would inform them when they met them at the treaty. I enquired if money would not do, provided they received an annual sum. The Cornplanter answered, it might have done some time ago, but at present nothing but the lands would do to make the minds of the Six Nations easy.

     "I told him that possibly when he had seen the Commissioners, and considered better, that the minds of the Indians might be made easy, and then dropped the subject.

     "He laughs at the Idea of our keeping the posts, either at Le Boeuf or the Mouth of French Creek, should there be a war, for, he says, it is not possible for us to supply them with provisions, as they will constantly have parties along the River and path to cut off all supplies, and that we soon would be obliged to run away from them.

     "I don’t know how far it may operate in our favour should Gen. Waine be successful, to the Westward; but it appears to me that War is inevitable, and, I think, Capt Brandt has a very great hand in it, and his policy is to get the whole of the Six Nations on the North Side of the Lakes, as it will make him the more consequential, for, at present, there is but a small number of them there.

     "I have wrote to General Wilson of Northumberland on the subject, a copy of which I enclose, and intend writing to Gen’ Wilkins and Col. Campbell on the same subject.

     "The posts along the Allegheny River, kept by the eight months’ men,(4*) are a burlesque on the Military art, at least those that I have seen of them, (for the officers and men are generally Jack fellow alike), and I have passed them when the men have been lolling about without either guard or Gentry, and from Enquiry find it to be too generally the case, and I am certain that they might be surprised any day or night by an Inferior number.

     "Capt. Denny has endeavoured to keep up Military discipline at Le Boeuf; and has got the ill will of the men generally; they say he is too severe, but from enquiry I cannot find he has punished any of them, although some of them deserve death, having been found asleep on their posts.

     "Some of his men mutinied some days ago, and I enclose copies of his and Mr. Ellicott’s letters on the subject to the commanding officers of this post.

     "The Cornplanter desired Mr. Ellicott should attend the treaty and I sent .a runner to Le Boeuf for that purpose.

     "This post is commanded by an active and vigilant officer, who keeps up the strictest discipline, and has made great improvements in the works. It is wrongly situated, for should a war take place, fleets of Canoes may pass and repass up and down the Allegheny River, without any person being the wiser for it; and the ground is of such a nature that the bank of the Creek on which it is situated caves in very much; and a few days ago, after a rain, a great piece of the bank fell in with a part of the picketts. The Block-house is in a bad condition, as the logs near the foundation are nearly rotted, and the place is supplied with cattle instead of salt provisions; and the cattle will only supply the enemy, should they attack the post, and the garrison be obliged to live on flour alone.

     "The Cornplanter desired me to give notice that it was unnecessary to send any more provisions to Le Boeuf; as the garrison would soon have to leave it.

     "The son of the Black Chief at the Cornplanter’s town made me a present of a hog while I was there, and the morning before I came away Half Town informed me he had dreamed that I made a feast and dance with it; and as it ‘is a general custom to give the Indians what they dream for, (provided they are not too extravagant), and I wished for an opportunity to get the sentiments of the Indians generally, I told him that he must have it, and superintend the feast, and that I would buy another, that the whole Town might partake.

     "It is the custom of the Indians, at such times, to set up a post and strike it, and brag of the feats they have done, or those they intend. Some of the old chiefs were very delicate, and only told of their feats against the Cherokees, as they said they might injure my feelings if they mentioned any thing concerning the whites; others wished General Washington would not grant their request, that they might have one more opportunity of shewing their bravery and expertness in war against us.

     "The Cornplanter bragged often, and appeared to speak as if war was certain. In one of his brags he gave me a pair of Moccasins, saying, as he addressed himself to me: ‘It is probable we shall have war very soon. I wish every person to do their duty to their Country, and expect you will act your part as becomes a man; and I see your moccasins are nearly worn out. I give you this pair to put on when you come out to fight us.’ I took them and thanked him, and said I would reserve them for that purpose. Du Quania, who headed the party of Indians from the North Side of the Lakes, in one of his brags, said, That he was always an enemy to the Americans; that he served the King last war, and when peace was concluded he moved over the Lakes, which some said was through fear. ‘But,’ says he, ‘you see it is not so, for I still love the King and hate the Americans, and now that there is like to be danger, you see me here to face it.’ The Indians in General seemed to wish me to suppose that the British had no hand in the present business, but from several things they related to me, it appeared plain that they are at the bottom of it.

     "I think it would be but prudent to cover the frontier of this state (until the event is known) with some light companies from the Counties adjoining the frontier Counties, and those companies of the frontier Counties that are not immediately on the frontier, for where attacks may be made the people will be obliged to turn out and defend themselves. If the Indians are not satisfied they will, I think, certainly make a stroke some time between the 25th Sept and the Middle of October; and if they do not go to war the troops may return home, otherwise they will be ready to meet them; and the settlements ought not to be broke up if possible to prevent it, which, I think, may be done. I expected to hear, with General Washington’s answer to the Indians, of the whole frontier being covered with troops from this State, New York, &c, and if the Indians would not put up with reasonable terms, to march into their country immediately, and destroy their corn and provisions, and probably drive them over the Lakes, as every avenue into their country is well known, and we could go into it with every advantage that any people can have in such an enemy’s Country.

                  "I am, Dear Sir, Respectfully,

                                "Your Most Hble Servt,

                                           "JOHN ADLUM."

But it was destined that the treaty proposed by the Senecas should not take place, nor their sanguinary threats be enforced in case of a refusal to accede to their demands, for, eleven days prior to the date of Adlum’s letter, a battle had been fought in the West, which, when its results became known, entirely changed the current of thought and conversation among those chiefly interested - the Americans, the British on the frontier, and the Indians, including the Six Nations.

It appears that during the spring and summer of 1794 an American army was assembled at Greenville, in the present State of Ohio, under the command of General Anthony Wayne, a bold, energetic, and experienced commander of Pennsylvania troops during the Revolutionary War. His force consisted of about two thousand regulars, and fifteen hundred mounted volunteers from Kentucky. To oppose him the Northwestern tribes had collected their fighting men, amounting to nearly three thousand warriors, near a British fort erected since the treaty of 1783, and in violation of its obligations, at the foot of the Maumee Rapids. They were well supplied with arms and ammunition obtained at the British posts at Detroit and on the Maumee, and felt confident of defeating Wayne. But " Mad Anthony" was a different kind of general from those who had previously commanded in the West, and when, on the 20th of August, the opposing forces of white men and red men met in conflict at the Maumee Rapids, or in the "Battle of the Fallen Timbers," the savages were quickly defeated and fled with the utmost precipitation from the field.

Not long afterward a white trader met a Miami warrior who had fled before the terrible onslaught of Wayne’s soldiers, and asked him:

"Why did you run away?"

With gestures corresponding to his words, and endeavoring to represent the effect of the cannon, he replied:

"Pop, pop, pop - boo, woo, woo - whish, whish, boo, woo - kill twenty Indians one time - no good, by damn!"

Robinson, a young half-breed Pottawatomie, afterwards one of the principal war chiefs of his tribe, was also engaged in the battle against Wayne, and in late years was in the habit of describing it very clearly. It appears that the chiefs of the allied tribes had selected a swamp for the battle-ground. They formed, however, half a mile in front of it, on the summit of a gentle elevation, covered with an open growth of timber, with no underbrush, intending, when Wayne attacked them, to fall back slowly, thus inducing the Americans to follow them into the swamp, where the Indians would have every advantage, and where they expected to gain certain victory. But "Mad Anthony" soon disarranged their plans. As explained, a large part of his little army was composed of mounted Kentuckians, and these were formed in front of his infantry. After a few rounds from his artillery, always very trying to the nerves of the red men, he ordered the mounted men to advance. The Indians had never seen men fight on horseback, and supposed they would dismount before reaching the top of the ridge. But instead of that they began to, trot, then drew their sabres - those terrible "long knives" which always inspired the Indians with dread, then broke into a gallop, and the next moment were charging at the top of their horses’ speed, "yelling like hell," as Robinson expressed it, swinging their swords, and looking like demons of wrath, as they truly were to the astonished red men.

"Oh," said Robinson, "you ought to have seen the poor Indians run then!"

They gave but one random shot each, and fled as fast as, possible toward the swamp. But it was too late. The mounted Kentuckians burst through them like a cyclone, and then wheeled about to cut off their retreat, while the infantry came up on the double-quick and barred their escape in that direction.

"Oh," the chieftain would continue, "it was awful!"

Robinson admired his conqueror so, much that he named one of his sons "Anthony Wayne," and always expressed the most profound respect for that dashing soldier.

The Senecas had runners at the scene of conflict, and it is quite probable, too, that quite a number of them were there in readiness to participate in the expected slaughter of the Americans. Hence, when they brought back the news of the tremendous punishment inflicted on their Western friends, all the Iroquois in Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania resolved to be "good Indians." The clamor for war was no longer heard, neither did Cornplanter seem inclined to give away any more moccasins.

It was assumed, however, by the general government that the Iroquois had not received fair treatment at the hands of the State authorities and grasping, unscrupulous land corporations. Therefore, in the fall of that year (1794) the chiefs, sachems, and warriors of the Six Nations were summoned to meet Colonel Thomas Pickering, the United States commissioner, in council at Canandaigua, N.Y., and there state their grievances. They responded promptly to the summons, and a treaty was concluded with them November 11, 1794, by the provisions of ,which the United States agreed to give the New York Iroquois $10,000 worth of goods, and an annuity of $4,000 annually in clothing, domestic animals, etc. It was also fully agreed that the Senecas should have all the land in New York west of Phelps’s and Gorham’s Purchase, except the reservation a mile wide along the Niagara. Thus were Cornplanter’s followers in New York provided for, and to those reservations did they all go from Pennsylvania, except one hundred or more who remained with him at Jennesadaga.

On the part of the Indians the articles of this treaty were signed by Cornplanter, Half Town, Red Jacket, Farmer’s Brother, and fifty-five other chiefs of the Six Nations. It was the last council at which the United States treated with the Iroquois as a confederacy. William Johnston, an English adherent, came there and was discovered haranguing some of the chiefs. It was believed that he was acting in behalf of the British, to prevent a treaty, and Colonel Pickering compelled him to leave quite unceremoniously.

On the 4th of July, 1796, Fort Niagara was surrendered by the British to the United States; Fort Ontario, at Oswego, being given up ten days later. This strengthened the impression made on the Indians by Wayne’s victory, and confirmed them in the disposition to cultivate friendly relations with the Americans.

During the same year Cornplanter made a rather remarkable little speech at Fort Franklin to an assemblage composed of both whites and Indians. He thanked the Almighty for permitting him and his white neighbors to meet together again in peace. And continuing, as if in extenuation of the hostile attitude assumed by him two years before, said that he had met many people, and that all nations were liars; that the Western Indians, as well as the whites, had lied to him; that he had been deceived in council and told things which were lies, but believing them to be true, had repeated the same to his young men and warriors, and thus he had been made a liar. He lamented that such had been the case, and hoped that honesty, truthfulness, and sobriety would prevail in the future in the dealings between his people and the whites.

In the mean time events of a more pacific nature had taken place in, and in relation to, the region soon to be known as Warren county, which will here receive a passing notice. Thus, soon after the passage of the celebrated Actual Settlement law of April 3, 1792, "a company of Hollanders seeking an investment of their surplus funds, purchased the claim of John Adlum and Samuel Wallace to a large body of lands in this part of the State. For these they had warrants issued and surveys made in the names of Herman Le Roy and John Linklain. These names were used to evade the law, which, at that time, forbade aliens from holding titles to lands in this State. On these warrants most of the land in this county, north and west of the Allegheny River and Conewango Creek, was surveyed and appropriated and originally owned by the Holland Land Company. In January, 1794, the same company of Hollanders procured one thousand warrants for nine hundred acres each, and in what was then called the New Purchase, being for land east of the Allegheny river. A part of these warrants were located on and covered most of the land in this county east of the river."(5*)

On the 18th of April, 1795, "in order to facilitate and promote the progress of settlements within the Commonwealth, and to afford additional security to the frontiers by the establishment of towns," an act was passed by the State Legislature, providing for laying out towns at Presque Isle, at the mouth of French Creek, at the mouth of Conewango Creek, and at Fort Le Boeuf.

This act provided, so far as it related to the town to be laid out at the mouth of the Conewango, that the commissioners to be appointed by the governor "shall survey or cause to be surveyed three hundred acres for town lots, and seven hundred acres of land adjoining thereto for out lots, at the most eligible place within the tract heretofore reserved for public use at the mouth of Conewango Creek; and the lands so surveyed shall be respectively laid out and divided into town lots and out lots, in such manner, and with such streets, lanes, alleys, and reservations for public uses, as the said commissioners shall direct; but no town lot shall contain more than one third of an acre, no out lot shall contain more than five acres, nor shall the reservations for public uses exceed in the whole, ten acres; and the town hereby last directed to be laid out, shall be called ‘Warren,’ and all the streets, lanes, and alleys thereof, and of the lots thereto adjoining, shall be and remain common highways."

The same act further provided that the troops stationed or to be stationed at Fort Le Boeuf should be used to protect and assist the commissioners, surveyors, and others while engaged in executing the provisions of the act. The commissioners appointed by the governor to make surveys, etc., were General William Irvine and Andrew Ellicott. Their duty was well performed during the same year (1795), and in August of the following year the lots in the new towns of Warren, Erie, Franklin, and Waterford were first offered for sale at auction at Carlisle, Pa.

At this time, too, the agents of the Holland Land Company were busily engaged in directing the survey of lands lying west of the Allegheny River.

They offered special inducements to actual settlers, and soon after a few of the latter class found their way into the heavily timbered region now known as Warren county. The interests and necessities of the land company hastened occasional entries into the unbroken forests. The law of their title, as it then stood, required an actual resident settlement to be made on every four hundred acre tract within two years, to give it validity as against a squatter. While the company made no attempt at a strict compliance with this requirement of the law, they adopted the policy of importing and locating settlers on their lands at convenient points and distances apart, both as a decoy to western-bound emigrants and as a police to protect their other lands from the entry of intruders. To these men they sometimes gave settlement contracts, donating to each settler one hundred acres upon their perfecting a settlement upon a certain tract, by "a residence thereon for five years, erecting a message for the habitation of man, and clearing two acres for every one hundred acres contained in one survey." For the supply of their surveyors and settlers, as early as 1795 they erected a block storehouse on the bank of the river near the mouth of the Conewango, which was the first building ever erected by English-speaking whites within the limits of the present borough of Warren. To this depot they shipped supplies from Pittsburgh by keel boats. This first structure remained in a good state of preservation for many years, and its grimy roof and walls afforded shelter and protection to considerable numbers of the early residents during the first days passed by them in Warren.

In 1798, by an act of Assembly, the Allegheny River from its mouth to the northern boundary of the State, Conewango Creek from its mouth to the State line, and Brokenstraw Creek from its mouth up to the second fork were declared to be public and navigable streams for the passage of boats and rafts.

On the 11th of April, 1799, another act was passed requiring the governor to direct the surveyor-general to make actual surveys of the reserved tracts of land adjoining the towns of Warren, Franklin, Erie, and Waterford, which had not been laid out in town or outlots, and to lay off the same into lots not exceeding one hundred and fifty acres in each. Also that in each of the "said reserved tracts the quantity of five hundred acres be laid off for the use of such schools or academies as may hereafter be established by law in the said towns." Under this law Colonel Alexander McDowell, of Franklin, then deputy surveyor, was appointed to make the surveys, which duty he faithfully discharged in the summer of 1799. This is the origin of the reserve tracts that bound the town of Warren on the north, and of the academy lands that adjoin them on the west, and are skirted by the river.

Soon after the organization of the county of Warren "the trustees of the Warren academy lands, with a surprising lack of foresight, commenced to lease these lands, in fifty acre lots, to settlers for ninety-nine years, upon annual rents that were scarcely more than nominal. By this oversight, and the negligence of the representatives in the Legislature from this county to procure the passage of a law to authorize the sale of the legal title to these lands, the educational interests of the borough and county have lost the use of a great many thousand dollars, and the young men of the town and county desirous of an education, for forty years had to go without it, or go elsewhere to acquire the necessary academic education to entitle them to admission into a college, except during the short time the Warren Academy was kept in operation under the administration of Hon. R. Brown and others."(6*)



* The chief, New Arrow, one of Cornplanter’s subordinates and one of his warmest supporters, resided here.

** By actual measurement the distance from Franklin, then known as Fort Franklin, to Pittsburgh by river, is only 121 1/2 miles.

*** The first military occupation of Northwestern Pennsylvania by the Americans was in the spring of 1787, when a company of United States troops, eighty-seven strong, under the command of Captain Jonathan Hart, marched from Pittsburgh to the mouth of French Creek. There he built Fort Franklin, and there a garrison was maintained (sometimes by State troops) until 1803. During the Indian troubles from 1791 to 1794 the troops stationed there rendered important service in protecting the early settlers at Meadville, or, as it was then termed, the "Cussewago Settlement."

(4*) These troops were Pennsylvania volunteers.

(5*) Judge S.P. Johnson.

(6*) Hon. S.P. Johnson.

SOURCE: Page(s) 110-125, History of Warren County, J.S. Schenck & W.S. Rann, Syracuse, New York: D. Mason, 1887