Minute Book 3: 1728-October Part 2: Provisions, Interpreters, and Surveyors at Oswego; A New Oneida Chief; Attack on the Senecas

Provisions, Interpreters, and Surveyors at Oswego

Even before the conference ended the commissioners sent boats to Oswego with provisions to ease the chronic shortages there.  Along with them they sent Captain Verplank and William Printhop Junior, who were instructed to make sure the provisions arrived safely and then to remain at Oswego for six months to serve as interpreters and messengers for the officer in command. Despite the complaints about him, John Price was still in charge there.  They were soon joined by Lawrence Claessen, who was sent to assist with the delicate task of selecting and surveying the land to be laid out for the English to use to raise food for the garrison.

The Commissioners of Indian Affairs Recognize A New Oneida Title Holder


On October 9th, the commissioners met with an Oneida delegation that presented the new holder of a chief’s title which the commissioners spelled “Ondaghsichta.” They said they “had Appointed and Deputed a fitt Person in the room of Ondaghsighta dec[eased], who was one of their Chiefs and as a Tree of Peace, they do now Present this new Sachim before this meeting Who is now also named Ondaghsighta [.]” They said the new sachim had affirmed his support for the English and asked the commissioners to accept him as the new Ondaghsighta.  The request was accompanied by a string of wampum. The commissioners said they were “very much pleased that they have appointed a fitt Person in the room of the [deceased] Sachim Ondagsighta” and hoped he would be “faithfull and True to his [Majesties] Interest & Take Care of the Publick Affairs of this Province.” They accepted him as a chief and gave him a shirt.

In The Great Law and the Longhouse, William Fenton lists the titles of the principal chiefs of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (p. 191 et seq.) and describes the ritual for installing a new title-holder (p. 180 et seq.).  My guess is that Ondaghsichta is probably the commissioners’ way of spelling the name of the first Oneida chief in Fenton’s list, which he spells Ho’datche:hde’ meaning ” “Carries quiver [of arrows]” (Fenton p. 183). The first holder of the name was an Oneida leader who helped to found the Haudenosaunee confederacy, as described in Arthur Caswell Parker’s book The Constitution of the Five Nations (Albany: University of the State of NY, 1916), based on versions of the story preserved by Six Nations leaders in Canada.  The story explains how the first holder received the name, which Parker spells as Odatshedeh (p. 25) or Oh-dah-tshe-deh or (in a footnote) Odatce’te’ (p. 82.).

Joseph Van Size Wants More Money to Work in Seneca Country

The commissioners attempted to carry out the agreement made at the conference with Governor Montgomerie to send Joseph Van Size and Hendrick Wemp to Seneca Country to work as smith and armorer, but Van Size wanted more money than the commissioners could offer him. Instead they sent Wemp by himself for six months “with another [unspecified] fitt Person.” Wemp’s instructions order him to recover the smith’s shop at “Canoussodago” along with its tools and utensils from any one who might have them. They sent a note to Joseph Yetts [Yates?] along with Wemp ordering him to turn them over and instructing him to go to Onondaga and work there as a smith.

Attack on the Senecas, Confusion in Albany

The commissioners wrote the governor on October 17th to explain that two days before they had received a message that Oswego had been attacked from a man who had gotten the information from a messenger who came to Mohawk Country from the Senecas Country.  However when Lawrence Claessen spoke with the messenger he found that the unnamed man who brought the news to the commissioners had misunderstood the messenger.  In reality it was some Senecas living at the “Carrying place of Niagara about three leagues from the French house” who had been attacked, but no one knew what nation had attacked them.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the entry for Verplanck and Printhop’s instructions starts here on p. 266. Claesen’s instructions start here on page 276a, followed by the other entries. The transcription is below.

[0536] 266

By the Comm:rs of the Indian Affairs at


Instructions for Capt:n Verplank and William

Printhop Jun.r To Oswego

Whereas the generall Assembly have

thought fitt that Two Proper men be Sent to Oswego

for the Space of Six Months — You are hereby

Required to go Forthwith in Company with the

Men who go up now w:th Batoes to Carry up Provisi=

=ons to Osweego and use your utmost Endeavours

that the Same be Safely Delivered to the Command:g

Officer of his Majesties Troops Posted at

Oswego. on your arrival there you are to Abide

and Stay there for the Space oif Six Months

after your Departure from hence — And serve

as Interpreters for the Officer and to Advise w:th him

from Time to Time what is best and most proper

for his Majesties Service, and you are to go such

Messuages Either to this place or to the Indians

or Elsewhere as Shall be Necessary for the Service

and generally to do all things which Shall be

Proper and Necessary according to the best of

your Ability; you are to Demand and receive

Provisions dureing your Stay there from Captain

John Price or the Commanding Officer for the

Time being the Assembly having Provided for


[0537] 266a

It, Given under our hands in Albany this

2d Day of October in the Second year of His Maj.ties

Reign An:no Dni.e 1728

Ph: Livingston p

Order of the Comm.rs

[0557] 276a

Att a Meeting of the Comm:rs of the Indian

Affairs in Albany the 8:th day of Octob.r 1728


Ph: Livingston

Rutger Bleecker

Henry Holland

Har. Wendell

John Cuyler

Evert Wendell

Reyer Gerritse

Abraham Cuyler

Whereas His Excy. Jno. Montgomerie Esq.r

Captain Gen:ll and Govern.r in Chiefe of the Provinces of

New york New Jersey &c Hath on Request of the

Sachims of the Six Nations Consented that Lourence

Claese the Interpreter do go w.th them to Marke out the

Land w:ch they have in their publick Propositions

given and granted to his Majesty King George the

Second, the Said Interpreter appearing before this

Board Desired to have Instructions how to behave

himselfe in this Affair which is orderd Accordingly


By the Comm:rs for the Indian Affairs

at Albany

Instructions for Mr. Laurence Claese the


Whereas His Excie Jno Montgomery

Esq.r Captain Gen:ll and Govern.r in Chiefe of the Provinces

New Yorke New Jersey etc; Hath Consented to the

Sachims of the Six Nations that you go up in Company w:th

them to Marke out w.th them the Land at Oswego w.ch

they have in their Publick Propositions Given and


[0558] 277

Granted to his Majesty King George the Second

for the use of his Majestys Garrison posted at

Oswego, You are therefore hereby required & Command[ed]

forthwith to go up in Company w.th the sd Sachims

Accompanyed w.th one able man, and use y.r utmost

Endeavour w:th ye Sachims to get Markd out by them

as Large a Tract of Land at Oswego as possible you Can

and be Present at the Said Marking or Laying out of

the Said Land Taking Speciall Notice at what place

the Said Land begins, what Course it runs into the

Woods and how farr from a Creek or River / nameing them /

and as near as you Can how many yards or what Dis=

=tance, it runs from the place they Stop, Noteing the

Same down in Writeing and Describing the Said Tract

of Land as well as you are Able and Deliver it on

your Return unto us under your hand that Wee

may Transmitt the Same unto his Said Excie our Gov:r

Given under out hand this 8.o day of October in the

Second year of His Majesties Reign Anoq Dom 1728


Att a Meeting of the Comm:rs of the Indian

Affairs in Albany the 9th of October 1728


Ph: Livingston

Mynd.t Schuyler

Evert Bancker

Rutger Bleecker

Henry Holland

Steph. Groesbeek

Harm. Windell

Joh.s Cuyler

Ab. Cuyler

Jeremy van Renselaer

Reyer Gerritse

John Lansigh               Some Sachims of the Oneydes

appearing before this Board Acquainted

the Gentlemen that they had Appointed and

Deputed a fitt Person in the room of

Ondaghsighta decd, who was one of their

Chiefs and as a Tree of Peace, they do now

Present this new Sachim before this meeting

Who is now also named Ondaghsighta


[0559] 277a

Whom they have Recommended to be firm

to the English Interest and Take Care of the Publick

Affears w.ch he has Promised and Desires that he

may be Accepted by this Board as a Sachim of

their Nation. This they ought to have done before but

has hitherto been Neglected. Give a String of


The Comm:rs Told them that they are

very much pleased that they have appointed a fitt

Person in the room of the deced Sachim Ondagsighta

and hope that his new Sachim may be faithfull

and True to his Majties Interest & Take Care of

the Publick Affairs of this Province in Expectation

thereof do accept him as one of the Chiefs of their

Nation In Token whereof Gave him a Shirt

In Pursuance of a Order from his Excie Govern.r

Montgomerie of the 7th Instant the Comm.rs have

Sent for Jos. Van Size and Hendrick Wemp

Smith & Armourer in order to Agree w.th them to go

to Worke for the Sinnekes in their Country who

now appear for this Meeting and being proposed

to Said Van Size & Wemp to go thither to Worke for

Said Indians for the Space of Six Months, and

being askd for what Sum they would Serve, Who

Demand forty Pounds for that Service, to be paid

by the Gentlemen of this Board, On wh the Comm:rs

Offerd them thirty for w:ch they Decline to go, And

Whereas there is no Provision Made by the

[0560] 278

Assembly for the Payment of Smiths in the Indian

Country, and it being very necessary that the Indians

Should be So much gratified in their request on the

Promise hi Excy Made unto them in Publick that

the Said Smith and Armourer Should forthwith go up

to the Sinnekes w.ch If neglected would make His

Excy’s Promise to be of no Effect and May phappse [perhaps?]

Prove of Dangerous Consequence to his Majties

Interest and the Welfare of this Province Whereon

It was Proposed and Agreed w.th Hendrick Wemp alone

(while Said Jos. Van Size refused to go) to the Sinnekes

w:th another fitt Person to Worke for the Sinneke

Indians for the Space of Six months to Expire pmo.

May next, for the Sum of Twenty five Pounds to be

Paid him within Six Months after his Return home

by the Gentlemen now Present in Case no Provision

be made by the Publick for the Payment of said mony

not Doubting but Effectuall Care will be Taken for

the Payment thereof

By the Comm:rs of the Indian Affairs

at Albany

Instructions for Hend.k Wemp Smith

Whereas the Sachims of the Sinnekes

have Desired His Excy John Montgomerie Esq.r

Captain Gen:ll and Govern.r in Chiefe of the Provinces of

New Yorke New Jersey &c to Grant them a Smith &

an Armourer to Work for them for the Space of Six


[0561] 278a

Months w.ch his Said Excy has been pleased to Grant

them Wherefore Wee do by his Said Excy’s orders

and Directions hereby Require and Directions

hereby Require and Direct you forthwith to go w.th a fitt

Person to the Sinnekes Castle called Canoussodago

on your Arrival there you are to Demand in the name

of His sd Excy our Governour from the Sinneke Sachims

or any Person or Persons whatsoever all the Smiths

Utensills and Tools from those who shall or may have

them in his or their Possion [possession] w.ch are there belonging to

the Publick as also the Smiths Shopp Therefore all

Persons Concernd are hereby Strictly Chargd and

Commanded to deliver the same unto you as he or they will

Answer to the Contrary at his or their Utmost

Perrill And as soon as you Shall have the sd Tools &

Utencills and Shopp in your Custody Care and possion

you are to Worke as Smith for the sd. Indians w.th the

Man who is to go w.th you to Assist you for Six Months

from the Date hereof — Given under hands in Albany

the 9th day of October 1728

Johannis Lansingh                  Philip Livingston

Joh.s Cuyler                            Myndert Schuyler

Nicolas Bleecker                     Rutger Bleecker

Barent Sanders                        Stevanis Groesbeck

Abraham Cuyler

Harm: Wendell

Henry Holland

Reyer Gerritse

Evert Wendell

[0562] 279

Joseph Yetts                            Alby the 9th of Octob:r 1728

Whereas his Excy our Govern:r at the

Desire of the Sinneke Sachims has Consented that

they shall have a Smith this next Winter as well as the

Onondages & in Pursuance of his Excy’s order, Wee have

Agreed w:th the bearer Hendrick Wemp to Work for the

Sinnekes, Therefore you are Orderd & Commanded to deliv.r

to Said Wemp, all the Smiths Tools Bellows Pick Iron

HHuys, and all what doth belong thereto & you are

hereby also Orderd to Work your Time at Onondago, and

hereof you are not to Faile as you will Answer the

Contrary at your Perill

Signed as before

Albany the 17th of Octob: 1728

May it Please your Excy

Wee shall be glad to hear of your

Excy’s Safe Arrivall at New York and hope this may

Find your Excy in Perfect health, Wee Take Leave to

Inform your Excy that on the 15th Instant about 10 a Clock

at Night Wee received the Surprising News by Seven

hands of Wampum; that the House at Oswego was

Cutt off, on which Wee Sent Immediately to the Maquase

Country where the Indian who brought this Intelligence

Stayed being Tired in Comeing 5 days from the Sinnekes

Country who on Examination by Lourence Clase the

Interpreter, It Appeared the man from whom Wee had

the Intelligence had Misunderstood the Indian but

not the Interpreter Sends us a Letter this day that

Some Sinneches and other Indians who lived on

the Carrying place of Niagara, about three Leagues

from the French house are Cutt off and burnt

down but by what Nation of Indians this mischiefe


[0563] 279a

Has been Done is not yet known, is the needfull

at Present from those who are w:th respect etc

Ph: Livingston

Myndert Schuyler

Evert Bancker

Rutger Bleecker

Henry Holland Steph: Groesbeck

Harm: Wendell

Nicolas Bleecker

Evert Wendell

Barent Sanders



About hopefulwanderer

Writer, researcher, archivist, etc. @ahhunter
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