Minute Book 3: 1726-July: Major Schuyler Dies; Abenaki are Welcomed Back to Schaghticoke; Albany Reassures its Neighbours

On July 21 the commissioners informed Governor Burnet that a messenger had brought word that Major Abraham Schuyler was dead. They included no details about how it happened. They also said they had sent the interpreter (Laurence Claesson) to bring the Six Nations to the conference with the governor scheduled for September. They included the news that “Mr. Livingston” had just taken leave of them and departed for Canada, but did not explain what his goals were. Possibly Philip Livingston sought to protect his and Albany’s business interests from the impending threat that the French were going to use their new fort at Niagara to monopolize the fur trade.

The following day a man named Poquin arrived from “Assekontoquoq” with a group of other people to respond to a message sent by a wampum belt two years earlier.  Poquin said that no matter where his people went, they were always in danger. He also said that they used to be able to take shelter at Schaghticoke, the community established in 1677 where the Hoosick River meets the Hudson north of Albany. Because of threats from the “Lower Indians” they could not come sooner, so they had gone to “mesixque” in the lake where they used to live. My interpretation of this language is that Poquin’s group were people from Schaghticoke who moved to Missisquoi in August 1724 and joined the Abenaki who were raiding New England with support from the French. “Assekontiquoq” may refer to Arossagunticook, an Abenaki community on what is now called the Androscoggin River. However, an enlightening new book has recently come out on the mission communities of the Saint Lawrence Valley which reveals that the name of the mission community on the Ste. Francois River, now known as Odanak, was called “Arsikantgouk” during this period (Jean-Francois Lozier, Flesh Reborn: The Saint Lawrence Mission Settlements through the Seventeenth Century. p. 256-257.) I suspect that this community is where Poquin’s people had been. Now they wanted to come back to Schaghticoke. They were not sure whether they could safely return, given that they had fought against New England. The term “lower Indians” likely refers to the Mohawks or Mohicans who disapproved of their actions.

The Indian Commissioners clung to a neutral position in Dummer’s War and wanted to end it through diplomacy rather than by supporting Governor Dummer’s military ambitions. They also wanted native people to continue living at Schaghticoke. In August 1724, rather than driving away those who joined the raids against New England, they sent messengers with wampum belts to persuade them to stop raiding and come back. The belt to which Poquin referred was probably part of this process.

The commissioners told Poquin’s group that the Tree of Peace and Welfare still grew at Schaghticoke and they were welcome to live there again. They gave them a belt of wampum and a keg of rum.

The next entry is a copy of a letter from the commissioners that does not give the name of the recipient. The context suggests that it was probably a New England government official. The commissioners said they had no recent news, but would always pass on any information that came their way and behave themselves “as neighbours and brethren.” Possibly this letter reflects the need to reassure neighbouring New England towns that were uneasy about the return of the Schaghticoke Abenaki.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, July 1726 starts here.

Below is the full transcription.

[0310] 153a

att a meeting of the Comissioners

of the Indian affairs in Albany

the 21st July 1726

[Not in Wraxall.]

Sir

We just now received ye. Enclosed by an Indian

who Brings the news of the Death of Maj: Abraham

Schuyler we Design now and are met accordingly

to write ye. Interpreter to Say [sic] there and bring ye.

Indians down according to your Excel.lys appoint

=ment. Mr. Livingston this minute took his Leave

of the Commission.ers in order for Canada we

have no further to Informe your Excel.cy but

begg Leave to Subscribe our Selves your

Ex.cys most obedient humble Servants

[0311] 154

albany ye. 22.th of July 1726

[Not in Wraxall.]

Came before the Commissioners an Indian Named

Poquin from assekontoquoq to whom was Sent

a belt of wampum Two years ago when we

could not agree but now ye Same Comes with a

belt of wampum who Declares that he dose

not know ye. reason or what is ye. matter that

where they Goe they are all ways in Danger —

2d.ly    formerly he Says they used to have a great

tree at Schachtekoke where they Could Shadow

themselves under

3d.l      the Lower Indians had threatened them

which was ye. Reason they Came not Sooner, they

had taken their Refuge place in mesixque

in the Lake where they formerly Lived —

In Anser thereto —

The Commissioners told them that the

Same tree was Still in being and was never

taken away by them and that they was welcome

to Shadow themselves under ye. Same again. —

whereupon they Gave them a belt again —

ordered that they get a Cagg of Rum —

[0312] 154a

Albany 30 July 1726

[Not in Wraxall.]

Sir

We Received yours of the 21st of this instant

and in answer there to these are to Informe

you that we have had no news Since our first infor

=mation but you may assure your Self we Shall

allways behave our Selves as neighbours and

brethren Towards your assistance to all ye.

news that might or may Come this way. we

having nothing more but our hearty wishes

for ye. well fare of your Self & Government

and begg Leave to Subscribe our Selves

your Hon.s most

obediant Humble Serv.ts

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About hopefulwanderer

Writer, researcher, archivist, etc. @ahhunter
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