On the 22d day of August, 1800, Colonel Benjamin Dorrance, of Kingston,
Pa., and John Shepard, of Athens, entered into an arrangement by which
they became mutual partners in a large purchase of land of the Susquehanna
Company, conveyed to them by former claimants.
This tract, lying south of Ulster, had been surveyed by John Jenkins at an early period, for the Susquehanna Company, and was called the township of Claverack (one of the seventeen townships). It was situated on both sides of the Susquehanna, and embraced what is now called Wysox and Towanda.
At this period the Connecticut title to land was held in very light estimation, and considered only of a nominal value; still it was of some importance, as the state government was disposed to treat Connecticut settlers with consideration, and grant them easier terms in the purchase of lands, in consequence of the great losses they had suffered.
On Mr. Shepard’s record of expenses on this property, called “mammoth farm,” the first date is 1801. Then follows a long catalogue of various expenditures. Among other, in 1807 is a receipt of George Haines of $45, for “Surveying the undivided moiety of twelve thousand three hundred acres,” and another in 1808 of $36, “for obtaining a patent from the state.” A copy of the state survey, sent to him by the Surveyor-General in 1816, is neatly and elegantly executed. It shows much deference to the Susquehanna Company, finding their allotments, and is bounded by the same limits.
The whole amounted to thirteen thousand and six acres, and deducting 826 acres released to owners under Pennsylvania titles, left 12,180 acres.
This mammoth farm added not a little to Mr. Shepard’s cares and labors. It cost him many wearisome days and nights, traveling back and forth from his home, and was often attended with perplexities.
The late Col. J.M. Piolette, Esq., acted as attorney for Col. Dorrance many years. Messrs. Piolette and Shepard were often engaged together in business relating to this land, in selling and giving deeds of release to those who would obtain a patent for themselves. The business was brought to a close about 1830. Numerous settlers located in Claverack, early in the beginning of the century, more on the east than on the west side of the river. In Wysox, the names of Pierce, Morgan, Coolbaugh, Ridgway, York, Warner, and Price appear among the early settlers, and the mills of Squire Myres, the elder, gave employment to many, while Hollenback’s store, near Breakneck Road, in the long log building, gave life to the place.
Meansville, or Towanda, on the opposite side of the river, was a solitary street for some years after the opening of the new century, and apparently a place of not much promise. Some of the early settlers were Means, Mix, Fox, Bingham, Tracy, Patten, and Hale. A public house, a store, and Mrs. Gregory’s school made attractions, and brought many to the place. The school became quite celebrated, and children were sent from some distance to receive the benefit of Mrs. G.’s instructions and discipline, which was thought severe, but proved beneficial.
Mr. Gregory purchased of Shepard and Dorrance, under the Connecticut title, two valuable lots, Nos. 57 and 58, containing 177 acres, in the north part of Towanda, but was not able to secure a patent from the state. He therefore sold his improvement, and the lots were assigned to Mr. Shepard, who sold them in 1818 for about 60 cents per acre.
After the division of the lots in the township of Claverack, between the parties, in 1826 Mr. Dorrance leased the most of his lands, and thereby made himself wealthy. Mr. Shepard, more desirous to bring matters to a close, sold as opportunities presented, and often at a great sacrifice. He spent a great part of his life in hard labor, visiting the settlers on the mountains and elsewhere, selling, releasing, and collecting what he could; and becoming weary by care and age, he settled up his interesting the “mammoth farm” hastily, and much to his disadvantage. The discovery of the Barclay coal mines, near Towanda, in the early part of the century, and the Bradford County seat being established there in 1812, have rendered Towanda a place of importance, containing now more than 3,000 inhabitants, with the prospect of still more rapid growth.*
*A gentleman who has lived at Gowanda, a town on the borders
of the Cattaraugus Reservation, in western New York, has remarked that
Gowanda, meaning a town among the hills by the water side, is doubtless
the same name as Towanda with us, which is situated in a similar manner.
The ancestors of the Indians on the Reservation having once resided on
the Susquehanna River, we may suppose they transferred many of their ancient
Recent excavations confirm the impression that Towanda was a town of importance among the Aborigines, and it is probable that the meaning of this name also, is a town among the hills by the water side.
THE COLLINS MURDER
As Major Abram Snell, who was then 85 years old, was passing
one day, I said to him, “I have been wishing to see you, and talk about
early times. You were among the first settlers here, I believe.”
“ Bless you, yes,” said he; “my father came here when there was but one
house in the place, and there were but few white people about. I
was the first white child born in the township of Athens.”
“ Do you remember anything about the murder of an Indian, and the excitement it occasioned?” “ Bless you, yes. There was a white man living here by the name of Collins, who had accumulated considerable property. He was a steady man, but was taken with the fever and ague, and was advised to take whiskey for a remedy. He became intemperate. There was an Indian living with him, as a servant. In one of Collins’ drunken spells he met him at the corner of the old Hollenback house, and, in a fit of anger, killed him with an ax. His body was secreted in the cellar, and the few white inhabitants were in terror, through fear of savage revenge. The Indians collected in great numbers. The white people sent for Colonel Franklin, General Spalding, and Judge Gore. They concluded it was best to send messengers to a Chief, then at Newtown, and lay the whole subject before him. He called a council of war, and many Indians, squaws, and papooses, came with him dressed in gay colors, with goose and raven feathers, and their faces painted on one side, denoting that they were for peace or war, according to circumstances. They demanded the body of Collins, to torture and burn him, as their only terms of reconciliation. But he had made his escape. The white people proposed to give up all his property to them, and it was not until much more was pledged to them that they would come to any terms. Money and goods, to a large amount, were brought forward, and the white inhabitants were saved from the threatening storm of savage barbarity.”
MR. C. Stephens’ account of the murder of the Indian by Collins confirms the statements of Mr. Snell. He thinks it took place about two years previous to the treaty with the Indians. He says at the time of the great excitement about the murder, the rage of the natives knew no bounds. They collected in great numbers, and demanded the body of Collins, but he had made his escape down the river in a canoe, while his friends diverted the attention of the natives by engaging with them in forming a ring, of some extent, to search for Collins.
There were then but few white inhabitants, ten Indians to one white man. The inhabitants were in the greatest consternation and terror; nothing could exceed their distress, expecting every man, woman, and child would be massacred. The wife of Collins gave up her husband’s horses and wagon to them, and many others gave them presents of various kinds, and they became pacified. The Indians took the body of the murdered man, and buried him according to their customary forms, in the back part of the old burying grounds at Athens. We have no date of the time when the Collins murder took place, except that of Mr. Stephens. It was doubtless one of the murders alluded to by Colonel Stone in his account of the treaty. Mr. Stephens says: “ I did not attend the treaty, being very young at the time, but remember seeing the Indians pass by my father’s, by scores and hundreds, toward the Point. They assembled near the bank of the Susquehanna River, a little below the bridge, in the rear of Dr. Hopkins’ house and the Stone Church, on a low plot of ground, which has since been nearly washed away. On their return to Newtown about forty of the men camped for a few days on my father’s premises, near Spanish Hill, three miles north of Athens. Red Jacket was with them. One day two of the Indians became engaged in a quarrel, and a fight ensued. A third sprang for the crank of a grindstone to assist one of them who became involved in the contest. The Chief, hearing the noise, and seeing the tumult, ran to a dinner pot, rubbed his hands on the outside of it, and blackened his face. My mother said to him, ‘Why do you do that?’ He laughed a replied, ‘You’ll see,’ and ran directly, without speaking a word, to the fight. The moment they saw him all was quiet---there was no more fighting. Red Jacket, after he came in the house, told my mother that his face painted black denoted peace, which they all understood. If he had painted it red, it would be a signal to fight.”*
Mr. Stephens recollects that those of the family who attended the treaty entertained the younger ones at home with a description of the war dance, the music of which was performed by a squaw. The instrument was a barrel, with a deerskin stretched across it, on which she kept time with the drumsticks, and a sort of humming sound with her voice, while the others performed the antics.
Captain John Snell, 84 years old, has a distinct recollection of the treaty; was seven years old at the time, and witness much of it. He was enthusiastic when he spoke of it; said the Indians and squaws made a brilliant appearance with their feathers, brooches, and blankets, and a variety of silver ornaments. He would go now fifty miles to see such a parade. He states that the Indians had a row of wigwams, on the west side of the Tioga River, near where the Irish shanties now are, just above his father’s, and were often troublesome neighbors. Many who came to attend the treaty passed his father’s door. It was a treaty of peace, and representatives from the Six Nations came from Niagara to Onondaga, together with all that had been scattered by Sullivan’s army. Colonel Pickering was foremost on the part of the whites.
* Many years after this visit from the natives, significant marks and characters, made by the Indians at the time, were to be seen on the trees near Mr. Stephens’ house.
The glowing description of the treaty with the Indians
at Tioga Point by Colonel Stone in his history of Red Jacket has been kindly
furnished by Hon. G.W. Kinney, and is appropriate in this stage of our
In the year 1790 the Indian relations in the United States were in a most unhappy condition. A savage war, fierce and bloody, was raging upon the frontier settlements of Pennsylvania and Virginia; and the strong Confederated Indian nations, inhabiting the country of the great lakes, were, to the regions beyond the Mississippi, acting under the advice of the officers of the British Indian department, and encouraged in various ways by the government of Canada, were gathering to the contest with a determination that the Ohio River should form the ultimate boundary between the United States and the Indian Country. All the sympathies of the Senecas, who had never been quite satisfied with the provisions of the treaty of Fort Stanwix, were with their brethren of the West, as also were not a few of their warriors, although Cornplanter, their principal chief, remained unshaken in his friendship for the United States. Still the popular feeling among his nation was rather hostile, threatening in fact open and general hostilities. Just at this crisis the Senecas found fresh cause of exasperation in the murder of two of their people by some of the white border men of Pennsylvania. The effects of this outrage had well nigh provoked an immediate outbreak. But the government of the United States lost not a moment in disavowing the act, and in the adoption of measures to bring the murderers to punishment, by the offer of a large reward for their apprehension. A conference of the Six Nations was also invited at Tioga Point, at which Colonel Timothy Pickering, who then resided at Wyoming, was commissioned to attend on the part of the United States. The council fire was kindled on the 16th of November, and kept burning until the 23rd. Among the nations present, either collectively or by representation, were the Senecas, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, a small party of Chippewas, and also several of the Stockbridge Indians, among whom was their veteran Captain and faithful friend of the United States, Hendrick Apamaut. The Indians were in a high state of excitement when they arrived, in regard to the outrage, for which consideration they had been convoked, and which was deeply felt. The chiefs who took the most active part in the proceedings of the Council were Red Jacket, Farmer’s Brother, Little Billy, Hendrick and Fish-Carrier, a very old and distinguished warrior of the Cayugas. Old Hendrick made a very eloquent and pathetic address to the Commissioner, in the shape of an appeal in behalf of his people, reminding him of their strong and uniform attachment to the United States during the war of the Revolution; of the hardships they underwent, and the losses they had sustained during that war, and complaining bitterly of the neglect with which they had been treated since the peace, in consequence, as he supposed, of the small number to which they had been reduced. In referring to their services in the field, he used these expressions: “We fought by your side, our blood was mingled with yours --- and the bones of our warriors still remain on the field of battle, as so many mementoes of our attachment to the United States.” *
* The Stockbridge Indians suffered very severely in the battle of White Plains.
Cornplanter was not present at this Council.
Red Jacket was present, and was the principal speaker.
“ A monarch tall, fearless,
sinewy and strong
With an eye of dark beauty and of thoughtful brow,
To whom the forest had bent for years
The subject knee. Whose eloquence reached the heart,
With the rare virtue in his speeches,
The secret of their mastery. They were short,
With motions graceful as a bird in air.
A pipe in peace---a tomahawk in war.”
The efforts of Red Jacket on this occasion
produced a deep effect upon this people. Still, by a wise and well-adapted
speech, Colonel Pickering succeeded in allaying the excitement of the Indians,
dried their tears, and wiped out the blood that had been shed.
The tribe and nation to which Red Jacket belonged were powerful allies of the British during the war of the Revolution, and were among our bitterest foes.
An English officer once presented him with a red coat or jacket; after that was worn out he was presented with another. Hence his name.
No sooner had the important business relating to the outrages been disposed of than Red Jacket introduced the subject of their lands, and the purchase by Phelps and Gorham. In a set speech to Colonel Pickering he inveighed against the procedure, and declared that the Indians had been defrauded. It was not, he said, a sale which they had contemplated, or which they had stipulated to make to those gentlemen, but only a lease; and the consideration, he declared, was to have been ten thousand dollars, together with an annual rent of one thousand dollars, instead of five thousand dollars, and a rent of five hundred, which only had been paid to them. He declared that after the bargain was concluded in Council at Buffalo Creek, the Rev. Mr. Kirkland, Colonel John Butler, and Capt. Brant were designated by the Indians to draw up the papers. The Indians supposed all to have been done correctly until the year following, when they went to Canandaigua to receive their pay, expecting to receive ten thousand dollars. They were told that five thousand only was their due. “When we took the money and shared it, we found we had but about a dollar a piece.” “Mr. Street,” said the Chief, “you very well know that all our lands came to was but the price of a few hogsheads of tobacco. Gentlemen who stand by (addressing the gentlemen in attendance with Colonel Pickering) do not think hard of what has been said? At the time of the treaty, twenty brooches could not buy half a loaf of bread. So when we returned home, there was not a single spot of silver about us. Mr. Phelps did not purchase, but he leased the land. We opened our ears, and understood the land was leased. This happened to us, from our not knowing papers.”
This speech of Red Jacket or Sa-go-ye-wat-ha (keeper awake), is the earliest of his forensic efforts of which there is any written memorial. It is thought that great injustice was done him by his interpreter. But a gentleman* who was familiar with the language, and who was present at the treaty, asserts that Red Jacket, during the sittings of the Council, spoke with extraordinary eloquence and power.
* Thomas Morris, Esq., who has favored the author with the written recollections of that Council.
Much depends upon the interpreter in the preservation of Indian eloquence.
If he be a dull prosaic man, without genius himself, and if incapable of
appreciating the glowing thoughts, the burning words and the brilliant
metaphors of his principal, the most eloquent and stirring passages---evidently
such from the kindling effects upon those understanding the language---will
fall from the lips of the interpreter as insipid as it is possible to render
language by the process of dilution.
Hence, from the acknowledged genius of Red Jacket, and the known powers of his eloquence upon his auditors, this speech to Colonel Pickering is to be received rather as a poor paraphrase by a bad interpreter, than as the speech of the orator himself. The following is the best passage it contains. After recapitulating his own statement of the negotiation with Phelps and Gorham, and asserting the anxiety of his people to appeal to Congress for a redress of their grievances in this transaction, the orator proceeded:
“Now, brothers, the Thirteen States, you must open your ears. You know what has happened respecting our lands. You told us, from this time the chain of friendship should be brightened. Now, brothers, we have begun to brighten the chain, and we will follow the footsteps of our forefathers. We will take those steps that we may sit easy, and choose when, and how large our seats should be. The reason we send this message is, that the President, who is over all the thirteen states, may make our seats easy. We do it that the chain of friendship may be brightened with the Thirteen States, as well as with the British, that we may pass from one to the other unmolested. We wish to be under the protection of the Thirteen States, as well as of the British.”
Suring the progress of the negotiation with Col. Pickering, at this Council, an episode was introduced of which some account may be excused in this place as an illustration of Indian character and manners. It was this year, 1790, that Robert Morris, of Philadelphia, purchased from the State of Massachusetts the preemption right to that portion of her territory that had not been purchased by Phelps and Gorham, in western New York. For the general management of his concerns, and the negotiations he knew he should be obliged to hold with the Indians, his on Thomas had taken up his residence at Canandaigua, and was cultivating an acquaintance with the Indians. In this he was successful, and soon became popular among them. He was in attendance with Colonel Pickering at Tioga Point, where the Indians determined to adopt him into the Seneca nation, and Red Jacket bestowed upon him the name he himself had borne previous to his elevation to the dignity of Sachem, “Otetiani,” “Always Ready.”
The ceremony of conferring upon young Morris his new name occurred during a religious observance, when the whole sixteen hundred Indians present at the treaty united in offering to the moon, then being at her full. The ceremonies were performed in the evening. It was a clear night, and the moon shone with uncommon brilliancy. The host of Indians, and their Neophyte, were all seated upon the ground in an extended circle, on one side of which a large fire was kept burning. The aged Cayuga Chieftain, Fish-Carrier, who was held in exalted veneration for his wisdom, and who had been distinguished for his bravery, from his youth up, officiated as the high-priest of the occasion---making a long speech to the luminary, occasionally throwing tobacco into the fire as incense.
On the conclusion of the address, the whole assembly prostrated themselves upon the bosom of their parent Earth, and a grunting sound of approbation was uttered from mouth to mouth around the entire circle. At a short distance from the fire a post had been planted in the earth, intended to represent the stake of torture, to which captives are bound for execution. After the ceremonies in favor of Madame Luna had been ended, they commenced a war dance around the post, and the spectacle must have been as picturesque as it was animating and wild. The young braves engaged in the dance were naked except the breechcloth about their loins. They were painted frightfully, their back being chalked white, with irregular streaks of red, denoting the streaming of blood. Frequently would they cease from dancing while one of their number ran to the fire, snatching thence a blazing stick placed there for that purpose which he would thrust at the post, as though inflicting torture upon a person.
In the course of the dance they sang their songs, and made the forest ring with their wild screams and shouts, as they boasted of their deeds of war, and told the number of scalps they had respectively taken, or which had been taken by their nation. Those engaged in the dance, as did others also, partook freely of unmixed rum, and by consequence of the natural excitement of the occasion and the artificial excitement of the liquor, the festival had well nigh turned out a tragedy. It happened that among the dancers was an Oneida warrior, who in striking the post boasted of the number of scalps taken by his nation during the war of the Revolution. Now the Oneidas, it will be recollected, had sustained the cause of the Colonies in that contest, while the rest of the Iroquois Confederacy had espoused that of the Crown. The boasting of the Oneida warrior, therefore, was like striking a spark into a keg of gunpowder. The ire of the Senecas was kindled in an instant, and they in turn boasted of the number of scalps taken by them from the Oneidas in that contest. The moreover taunted the Oneidas as cowards. Quick as lightning, the hands of the latter were upon their weapons, and in turn the knives and tomahawks of the Senecas began to glitter in the moonbeams as they were hastily drawn forth. For an instant it was a scene of anxious and almost breathless suspense, a death struggle seeming inevitable, when the storm was hushed by the interposition of Fish-Carrier, who rushed forward, and striking the post with violence, exclaimed: “You are all a parcel of boys; when you have all attained my age, and performed the warlike deeds that I have performed, you may boast what you have done; not till then!”
Saying which, he threw down the post, put an end to the dance, and caused the assembly to retire.*
* Manuscript recollections of Thomas Morris. Mr. Morris
was known among the Indians by the name conferred upon him on this occasion.
For many years after his marriage, his wife was called by them “Otetiani
Squaw,” and his children “Otetiani pappooses.”
This scene in its reality must have been one of absorbing
and peculiar interest. An assembly of nearly two thousand inhabitants
of the forest, grotesquely dressed in skins, with shining ornaments of
silver, and their coarse raven hair falling over their shoulders, and playing
wildly in the wind as it swept past, sighing mournfully among the giant
branches of the trees above---such a group gathered in a broad circle,
in the opening of the wilderness, the starry canopy of heaven glittering
above them, the moon casting her silver mantle around their dusky forms,
and a large fire blazing in the midst of them, before which they were working
their spells and performing their savage rites---must have presented a
spectacle of long and vivid remembrance.
There is a difficulty in finding a record of this treaty in the Office of Indian Affairs at Washington. There is said to be no paper on file having reference to such a treaty. But on examination of the printed volumes of “American Archives,” allusion is made to it by Colonel Pickering, who states that he had sent his report to General Washington. It is said it was never ratified by the Senate.
The treaty seems to have been left in an unfinished state. The terms of the negotiation are not expressed, and the form of the adoption of Mr. Morris by the Seneca nation is not stated.
But, whatever might have been the intention of the treaty, it decided for the Indian that the land of his fathers was no longer his, and we must suppose that with much heaviness of heart he turned from his delightful hunting and fishing ground, on the Susquehanna and Tioga Rivers, towards the setting sun.
“And lo! That withered race
Were turned from their own home away .
And to their fathers’ sepulchers returned no more.”
Very few Indians were ever seen here after this event. Many white people who were born here near the close of the last century never saw a native.
“Ended is their ancient reign,
Their day of savage pride.”
But they have left us their mementoes:
“Their name is on our waters, we may not wish it out.”
There were a few aged and infirm ones who lingered until
their recovery or means were provided for their removal.
A white man had wounded an Indian. The inhabitants did everything in their power for him. He lived in a cabin that stood on the lot where Mr. C. Stephens now lives. Mrs. Mathewson went with her husband to see the wounded man, and took things to him for his comfort. The day was very hot. An Indian was sitting outside the door in the burning sun, his uncovered head shaved, except the scalping tufts. She spoke to him as she passed and said, “It is very hot.” “Yes,” he said, “it is as if the Great Spirit if going to burn the world up.”*
* In 1866, a traveler passing through Evansville, Indiana, met with an old Indian who said to him, after some preliminary conversation: “Me Seneca, born at Tioga, where waters Tioga and Susquehanna meet. Plenty deer, plenty bear dare. Me six winter when Injun was div out der home. Me see near 100 winter. Me not member much. Me be like old bald mountain, nothing on top,” putting his hand to his head, implying that his faculties were gone. In reply to the question where he lived, he said, “anywhere,” then said on “Seneca Reservation.”
The Senecas and Tuscaroras have reservations in Western
New York, one of 20 miles in length and two or three in width near Buffalo,
another farther south near the Pennsylvania line, on the Allegany, forty
miles in extent. They are called the Upper and Lower Cattaraugus.
The most of these Indians have become civilized, and many of them have
good farms, well cultivated. They have a government of their own,
with a President at the head, and have churches and schools, where they
are well instructed. In their churches they have native preachers,
and the best of singing.
There is another reservation still nearer Buffalo, at Tonawanda. One also at Oneida on the Mohawk, and another for the Onondagas south of Syracuse, where they have made similar improvements. There are some Cayugas living with the Senecas.
Missionaries have been laboring among these Indians with great success very many years. Mr. Wright, who is still living, has been forty years among them. He is now at Cattaraugus. Mr. Bliss has been laboring among them about twenty years.
Cornplanter was favorable to the introduction of Christianity among his people. Red Jacket never was until near the close of his life.
FRENCH TOWN, OR ASYLUM
At the time of the Revolution in France, in 1790-98, and
during the reign of terror, when the hand of man was raised against his
fellow man, there was no safety for life or property. The King himself
fled to another part of his dominion, and many of his subjects escaped
to other countries for shelter from the terrific storm that was upon them.
Hundreds came to our country and sojourned in various parts of it. A large number formed a colony and were directed to the Susquehanna River within the bounds of Pennsylvania.
They crossed over to the west side of the river, and founded a large town which they called Asylum, in the county of Luzerne, named from one of the French ambassadors in 1786. The town was laid out in regular order, and designed to accommodate a large number. Houses were principally built of hewn logs, and some of them were very large. It is said that Louis Philippe, at that time Duke of Orleans, was here for a time incognito. It is well understood that he traveled about in New Jersey and New York state, and was sometime at Canandaigua, and from thence came to Tioga Point, where he remained a little time, and then passed down the Susquehanna River to the French Town. Arrangements were in progress to have the King and Queen make their escape from France and hide themselves in this Asylum. Certain it is that a house was built far back in the woods, and called the Queen’s house. But in January (21st), 1793, Louis XVI was beheaded, and the next year Marie Antoinette suffered the same fate. It is said by some that their son, the Dauphin, died under the cruel treatment of a Jacobin. Others suppose he was secreted many years, after which he was brought to this country and was engaged in after life as a missionary to the Indians.
The early settlers at Asylum suffered many privations, and to add to their trouble, their servants whom they brought with them deserted them, which left them very helpless, as they were unable to do their own cooking, and were not accustomed even to dress themselves.
The original French settlers nearly all left. After the change in the French government many of them returned to France; others were scattered through our country, and a few remained in Asylum, some of whose descendants are among our most wealthy and respectable citizens.
Bartholomew La Porte was one of the numbers of the exiles who remained. His son, Judge La Porte, was born at Asylum, 1798, where he resided most of his life, cultivating one of the most extensive and valuable farms in the country. He filled many public places of honor and trust. He was chosen to represent this district in the legislature in 1827—served five years in that capacity, being elected Speaker the last session of his service. He was elected to Congress in 1832, and re-elected in 1834. In 1840 he was commissioned as Associate Judge of this county, which place he occupied until May, 1845, when he was appointed Surveyor-General by Governor Shank—an office which he held six years. He died suddenly in Philadelphia, August 22d, 1862.
General Durell was a prominent man among the exiles. A part of the township of Asylum bears his name.
A French Admiral, one of the exiles, settled at “Dushore,” which was named for him. He returned to France after Bonaparte recalled the exiles, and acted as Admiral in the Battle of the Nile, where he fell.
The names of La Porte, Homet, Le Fevre, Prevost, De Autrement are said to be about the only original names left. The descendants of the French exiles are numerous, and some of them are living with us.
Early in the present century many other French families came to this country and settled near Asylum. Mr. J.M. Piolette settled at Wysox, and purchased a farm now owned by his sons, who have added to it, and are extensive and practical farmers.
Mr. Delpeuch, Mr. Peuch, and others, settled near Towanda. Mr. Peironnet and several other French people came to Silver Lake soon after the book of Dr. Rose was published, setting forth the beauties of the country, and in common with many others suffered from the imposition that was practice upon them.
Mr. Wright states that there has been a great change among the Indians who remain on their reservations in Western New York since 1831. Then labor was performed by the women, and it was thought disgraceful for a man to work. Now all this is reversed. The disgrace rests upon the man who refuses to labor. The people have become essentially agricultural in their habits and modes of life, and many of them are quite respectable farmers. Some of them have become comparatively rich by farming, and many of them have become temperate. On the Cattaraugus Reservation they have a Division of the Sons of Temperance of more than a hundred members, and are earnest and spirited in keeping up their meetings. Education was once scouted by the most of them: now it is desired by nearly all, and the New York State district school system is extended over them, and of the ten schools in operation on that reservation, seven are taught by well qualified Indian teachers.
The old Mission Church has about 120 Indian members, and the Baptist and Methodist churches nearly as many more. But there are some who still cling with more or less tenacity to their old pagan customs.