Minute Book 3: 1727-June: Construction at Oswego Continues Despite Illness and French Threats; Sachims From Detroit Condole Pieter Schuyler; the French Encourage Albany’s Slaves to Run Away

By mid June Lancaster Symes was well enough to attend a meeting of the Indian Commissioners but a “Distemper” now “raged” in both the city and county of Albany., affecting some of the commissioners By the end of June, two workmen at Oswego were sick and Evert Bancker’s son had set out to help his father, who was so gravely ill that he needed to return home. Nonetheless the work on the trading house continued and the commissioners assured the governor that it was going well.  The contract for providing food to the troops at Oswego went to Johan Jurch Kast and Johan Joost Petri, two justices of the peace living among the Palatines “above the falls” (present day Little Falls?).  The agreement was made for the coming year, but the Palatines had no bacon, pork, or beef, so the commissioners sent up 400 pounds of bacon. They corresponded with the governor as well as with Evert Bancker (in Dutch), Captain Holland, and Captain Nicolls about progress on the building and other details of the operation, such as obtaining skins for shoes for the men at the fort, finding limestone, repairing the road and bridges at the Oneida Carrying Place, and the details of where to deliver supplies. Wood Creek was running low, making it more difficult to transport goods. Overall, progress was steady but slower than expected.

The commissioners hoped that the British would succeed in convincing the French government that the French fort at Niagara violated the Treaty of Utrecht, but in reality the French had already finished Fort Niagara. There was now a real danger that they could prevent travel from distant nations to Albany. The French had also repealed their former ban on selling alcohol to Indians in order to better compete with the English. And despite Captain Bancker’s efforts to prevent them, the Six Nations had sent sachims to meet with the governor of Canada, mainly from Onondaga. Trade did fall off, both at Oswego and at Albany, where no Indians from Canada were seen. The price of rum at Oswego fell and the commissioners did not hear any news from Canada because no one from Canada came to Albany to trade. In addition to creating a surplus of trade goods, this cut off a source of intelligence.

Pieter Schuyler is Condoled by the Potowatomi and Tuchsagrondie (Detroit)

The exception occurred on June 16th, when Wynamack, a leader from a nation “called by the French poatami” (most likely the Potowatomi), appeared in the company of Ajastoenis, an old man who was identified as coming from Tuchsagrondie (Detroit). After finding a translator who could speak their language, the commissioners held a formal meeting with them at which the visitors condoled Pieter Schuyler, (Quider), who had died more than three years before, in February 1724. They lit a calumet pipe of peace painted blue and smoked it with the commissioners. Wynamack said that he was leaving the calumet at Albany as a token that his nation would come to trade there if he could report back to them that he was treated well and prices were cheap. He also said the French  had tried to stop him from coming and told him that he would be badly received now that Pieter Schuyler was dead. He did not believe them based on former promises that  “ye houses would be open here for the far Nations who are Civilly & Kindly treated.” (Likely these promises were made by one of the messengers sent west to distant nations in the name of the commissioners over the previous few years.) The commissioners welcomed Wynamack and Ajastoenis with gifts of blankets and rum, thanked them for condoling Pieter Schuyler, and assured them that the governor had appointed others in his place to treat with them. They advised them to ignore the French threats and promised that “[H]ere is Always a perpetuall Succession of Sachims as you Now See.” They said that the tree of friendship still grew at Albany to protect them from all evil. They hoped it would spread over all the “remote Indians” and that they would come to trade both at Albany and at Oswego. They explained that goods were expecially cheap because so few others had come to trade that year and invited them to test this for themselves.

A Frenchman from Philadelphia is Encouraging Albany’s Slaves to Run to Canada

The commissioners complained to Governor Burnet that a Frenchman had come from Philadelphia to Albany by way of New York.  In their words, “we find on Examination [that he] has been pampering with Severall Negro Slaves at this place to run to Canada [which] is of Dangerous Consequence [that] our Slaves Should be Intic’d to run thither.” They ordered him to go back where he came from. The somewhat confusing of their letter wording suggests that they sent him to New York on a boat with Captain Peter Winne and “Jacobse,” but the unnamed Frenchman told them that he would wait there and return to Canada with three other Frenchmen who had recently  gone to Philadelphia. The commissioners asked Governor Burnet to “secure” him to prevent his return to Albany.  It appears that Governor Burnet responded by ordering him not to come to Albany again. It is interesting to speculate as to whether the runaway slave retrieved from Seneca country in May by Evert Bancker had been working with this Frenchman.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the first entry for June 1727 starts here on p. 186. The transcription is below.

[0375] 186

(27

Albany ye [10] June 1727

May it please your Ex.cy

Your Ex.cys Severall Acceptable favours we have Rec.d

which we Should have Answerd much Sooner but have

been pvented yt. Some of us have been out of town, others

Out of order with ye Distemper w.h rages in our City

& County, & that haveing had had of late any Materiall

news from ye westward to Communicate to your Ex.cy

we are Assurd by ye traders who are Come Down yt. ye

building at Osweege goes on very well yt. on ye 4th Instant

the beams of the first Store was to be layd as may ap=

=pear by the Inclosed from the head Carpenter, we are

told yt. but 2 or 3 Canoes with Indians have been to

trade there Since Capt. Banker write last y.r there had

been 20 odd its Conjecturd yt. the french at Jagara

Stop ym. while the traders who pass by our trading

place are party loaded with Brandy w.h they never

premitted to Carry up till Now to Cut of our trade it is Re=

=ported yt. they think our people have found Lime Stone,

We Write Some time Since to Capt. Banker to

Stop the Sachims of the 6 Nations to go to Canada on ye

Invitation of ye Governour, but hear yt. Severall are gone

thither tho chiefly from Onnondage who are Inclind in

the french Intrest

We write to ye. two Justices Living among the

palatines above the falls to Come hither to agree with

Us for ye Delivery of provisions for ye Detachmt. gone

to Osweege,

It is long Since we had any manner of

Intelligence from Canada, no Indians Come from

thence to trade here,

We return you Ex.cy Our most herty thanks for

Sending

 

[0376] 186a

Sending us the news, wh. we take very kind & as a great

favour, we hope his Majesties arms may have Such

Good Success, over ye Spanish & Imperor as we desire

from the bottom of Our hears,

Its Conjecturd yt. ye Detachmt. Sent to Osweege

are arrivd there abt. ye 7 Instant they might have

been there Sooner had they not Met with bad

Whether & litle water in ye wood Creek

 

Albany the 12 June 1727

[Second copy on p. 243 [0490]]

May it please yr. Ex.cy

Since we had the hon.r to write to your

Excell.cy on the 10 Instant we are Informd yt. a french=

men Lately Come from philadelphi but last from

N: York who we find on Examination has been pam=

=pering with Severall Negro Slaves at this place to run

to Canada w.h is of Dangerous Consequence yt. our Slaves

Should be Intic’d to run thither, this fellow we had orderd

to return from whence he Came p.r Capt. Winne who

is to take him on board) he gives Out yt. he will

waite for ye Oppertunity of these three french=

=Men lately come from Canada & gone to philadel=

=phia to go with ym. but we humbly hope yt. he may

be Securd yt. he may not go thither this way

[0377] 187

[Second copy on p. 243 [0490]]

Albany 16 June 1727

May it please Your Excell.cy

We had the hon.r to write your Ex.cy

p.r peter Winne & Jacobse Since wh. we had ye

Inclosed from Capt. Nicolls ye traders Inform us

yt. it Would be done 3 weeks but it Seems yt. Capt.

Nicolls Suppose it would be 6 Weeks before it would

be finish we Cant Understand yt. Only 2 Masons are

at Work while more are there who Can be Imployd

we have Sent A Second letter for the palatines to Come

hither to Agree with us for the Delivery of provisions

for ye Men at Osweege, who we Expect in a few days

We Suppose they’l not be Able prevaild on to deliver

it further yt. the Wood Creek, it Seems yt. ye. french

have Already finish ye building at Jagara as

their traders are Allowd brandy they will do us no

litle damage yet hope Every thing may Succeed

According to your Ex.cy Expectation,

This day Arrivd here a few [days ago – crossed out] far Indians

but Cant Speak with ym. till to Morrow for want of

An Interpreter what they Shall purpose will not faile

to Communicate to your Exc.y pr first Oppertunity mean

while take leave to —- yt. we are with Great Esteem

& Respect, —

 

[0379] 188                                                                                                      (31

Att a meeting of the Com.es of the

Indian Affairs in Albany ye. 18th of

June 1727

Present

Philip Livingston

Myndt. Schuyler

Peter Van Brugh

Henry Van Renselaer

Rutger Bleecker

Lancester Symes

Reyer Gerritse

Step. Groesbeeck

Harmanus Wendell

Nicolaes Bleecker

Two Indians Sachims one from detroit alias

Tuchsachronde named ajastoenies & ye Other from ye.

Nation Calld by ye french poatamis named Wynamack

Appeard before this board with a Calumet pipe pointed [painted?]

blew, who make the following Speech,

We are not Come hither only on an Idle Errant

but Chiefly to Visit & See our fathers with our own Eyes–

how they do, and how Affairs are here,

We are Sent by ye. Sachims of Tuchsachrondie

with this Errant yt. they have heard yt. Coll. Peter Schuy=

=ler is dead, to Inquire whether it be so or not, & while we

are Assurd yt. he is departed this life We Come to Condole his

Death & Cover his grave with a bever Coat yt. it may

not be Exposd to ye. rain wh. we desire his Excel.cy our

father Corlaer may be Acquainted with,

They filld ye. Calumet with tobacco lighted it, yn. one

one of ym. went abt. & lett all the Com.rs take Some whiffs

Out of It as a Ceremony among ym. of peace & frindship

yt. they use in their treaties with ye. neighbouring Nations,

one of ym

[0380] 188a

32)

One of ym. Said I am but a young man of the

Nation Calld patamis & am Come hither directly from

hunting in company with this old men ajastoenies Else

would have brought Some psents from my nation but can

Only leave this pipe as a toaken yt. our Nation will

Come to trade here,

I have had but an Indifferent hunting

of bevers wh. ye. french would have traded from me as I

Came down but they would give me but trifles for it

and having heard yt. goods were So Cheap here induced to

Come to make a tryall of it the old Indian Ajastoenis,

I am come now but with a few Skins to See

how you do here & if I meet with good treatmt. & get

a good penny worth I Come again with large quantity

of Skins,

I have Mett with Great Diffeculty from

the french who would prevent me going to See you

Alleadeing yt. Coll. Schuyler dead & by yt. I would not

herken to any thing they told me, being Assurd other

men would be Appointed by our Selves ye. Gov.r to

Represent him therefore I presisted in my Design to

go & see my fathers. & would give no Credit to any

thing ye french told me Depending on what has

been formerly promised me yt. ye. houses would be open

here for the far Nations who are Civilly & Kindly

treated.

It was represented unto me yt. Some Ill Shouts

befall on me from you but I depened on your promis=

=ses & Engagemts yt. we Should be Always wellcome

I was almost in great darkness & Coverd over yt. I

Could Scarcely see ye. sun, but I have Uncoverd ye. [roofs]

by my constant resolution in Comeing hither & now find &

soe a Clear [resol – crossed out] sun Shine & Every thing well give a few

Skins )

Answer of ye

[0381] 189

(33

Answer of ye Com.es made on 19.th June 1727

We are Rejoycd to see you here & bid you

hearty Welcome at this place yt. we have ye Oppertunity to

Smoake together out of ye. pipe of peace its a pleasure for

us to hear from you yt. you have not regarded what ye. french

did falsely Insinuate ag.t us to prevent your Comeing hither

You will ever find true & Certain what we promise you, yt.

this place is a seat peace where ye. tree of fridship is Plan=

=ted whose reach now over all your habitation under whose

Schilter you may be Certain to & be Secure from all Evill

the Evil, ye Sun wh. Shines on yt. tree will we hope Spread

Over All ye. remote Indians, & ye. Good report you will bring

your Nations treatmt. here we Expect will Induce a greater

Number to Come hither or to ye. trading place at Ochsweege

where you please,) wh. house is build there as a token yt. ye.

path hither Shall be at all times open & Clear for you to

come without any Apprehension of fear, wherefore be Content

& never Regard what ye french may tell you yt. we Shall

Use you Ill, wh. they do with no Other View but yt. they

may Exact & Impose on you as they have done for

these Many Years past to make you their goods at an

Extravagent high price, wh. we hope you may perceive

now to open your Eyes, we Cant Omit to advice you

not to hearken to ye. french if they Should propose to unto

you or any other Indians near yow to Engage in a war

together for they will Contrive to prevent your Comeing to

trade here his Excel.cy Injoyns ye. five Nations to lett you

freely pass without any Interruption & therefore we recommend

you

[0382] 189a

34)

You to [Stay – crossed out] keep a Strict & firm Alliance & good

Understanding with ym.) we Return you thanks for ye.

Condoling ye. Death of Coll. Schuyler wh. we take very

kind from you (& Shows the true regard you have for

this Governmt. ye. Gov.r of this province had Appointed him

with Other psons to treat with you & all Other remote

Indians, here is at All times Some persons who Repre=

=sent our Gov.r Your Kind & Indulgent father if one pSon

dyes he Appoints Others in the room if he thinks fitt So yt.

here is Always a perpetuall Succession of Sachims as you

Now See.

You find our Goods Very Cheap here we have

Abundance at this time for have sufficiently provided

our Selves of all Sorts in Expectation yt. a great Number of ye.

far Indians would have Come to trade with Skins &

peltry & now our Stores are all filld & your people are

backward in Comeing Contrary to the former promisses

to do, now to Convince you of what we Say you may

go & try were Ever you please & yn. you find true wh. we Say

Given them 20 Gall. Rum 6 blankets Strouds & 4 blankets

 

[0383] 190

(3

Att A meeting of the Com.es of ye. indian

Affairs in Albany ye 22th June 1727–

Present

Philip Livingston

Pe: Van Brugh

Rutger Bleeker

Ryer Gerritse

Lancester Symes

St. Groesbeeck

Harmanus Wendell

Nicolaes Bleeker

Rec.d this day a letter from his Ex.cy

Wm. Burnet Esq.r &c. dated ye 19th Instant ye. Com.es agreed

with Johan Jurch Kast & Johan Joost Petri ye 2 Justices

liveing above ye falls among ye palatines for ye. Delivery of

provisions for ye. Detachmt. who are to Stay at Osweege,

to Deliver it at ye. Wood Creek over the Carying place

Or at the Canada Creek where it Comes into ye. Sd. wood

Creek to witt for a lb. pork 4 1/2, a lb. beef 3 3/4, a Skeple

wheat meal or a Skeple pease 5/ for one year & yt. at

Expiration thereof to provide for a longer time if his Ex.cy

Gov.r Burnet Esq.r &c. Approves of this agreemt. & they are

willing yn. to do It.

 

[0391] 194

(43

Albany 26 June 1727

Capt. Banker

VE aengenaeime p.r Mr. Hend Cuyler hebbe roy

ontfangen en den Inhout Estaen het is ons Seer lief

dat het gebouw by nae Claer is, het, gerught dat ve heb

wegens de france in canada om met maght ons volk

op oshweege te overvallen & possessie vant huys neemen

wy hebben daer Sekerhegt van over dese wegh dat 400

franse & 800 wilden Claer geweeft Lyn in Montreal om

dat Ongeoorlooft werk uyte voeren dogh als wy Geinformeert

Syn is het getackt tot dat de Gov.r Van Trois Riviere Mons.r

Lasoasanje Syn Ex.cy onse Gov.r Sall Gesproken hebben wien

nu aft gaet N: York wy hoopen dat het Een Goede uytstaef

magh hebben, wy Estaen dat Een psoon in Canada ondernoi=

=men heeft voor £50 met 10 a 12 man om het huys te Erassen

& So daer possessie van te neemen, twelk Informatie wy

nu aen Capt. Nicolls Senden dat ock de raede is van dese

Express dat hy op Syn           [blank space] magh syn wy ordeelen he raat=

=saen dat Ghy D’ Sackemakers dit behant te maken en dat

ghy 6 Trouwe wilden in gagert om op Osweege te leggen in

gasie bestaelt Sall worden So als VE Sall Accorderen & hoope

VeE sult met Lourence der over Avissoren

 

[0384] 190a

36)

Att a Meeting of the Com.es of ye.

Indian Affairs in Albany ye. 28th June

1727

Philip Livingston

Langester Symes

Rutger Bleecker

Ryer Gerritse

Harmanus Wendell

Stephanus Groesbeeck

May it please your Ex.cy

Your Excellencys favours of the 19th Instant

we received since which no oppertunity has offerd, we give

your Excellency thanks for Ordering the frenchmen not to Return

hither again,

The building we hear by the Last advice

goes not So forward, as we Expected 2 of the workmen are

Sick which may keep it back for Some little time, Capt.

Holland has had the peruzall of your Excellencys letter

and has write to Captain Nicolls to gett Skins for Shoes

for the men as we Shall do by ye first Opertunity,

The report about the young men who had found

lime Stone, and would not discover it proves false for we

hear he Shewd the place,

We hope that our ambassador in france who has orders

to represent agt. ye. building at Jagara may have good Succeed,

We have agreed with ye. palatines to furnish ye

Detachmt. have Osweege with provisions for one year as

Appears by our Minute of ye. 22th Instant, but they have no

bacon pork nor beef now we Send now thither 400 lb. bacon

by Capt. Bankers Son who going up to See his father who

we hear is Sick but Cant learn yt. he is very Ill we

Shall look out for a Smith & armourer & Inform y.r Ex.cy in

our next,

P.S. by ye. Information we have ye. road & bridges on ye

Carrying place want to be repaird

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About hopefulwanderer

Writer, researcher, archivist, etc. @ahhunter
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