Native American archive 1789-1826
Lot 3273
[NATIVE AMERICAN—NEW YORK STATE.]
Sold for US$ 30,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
[NATIVE AMERICAN—NEW YORK STATE.]
Manuscript Archive related to the settlement of Ontario County beginning with the Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham purchase in 1788, totaling 47 pp, 1789-1826, with Documents Signed by Indian chiefs, including RED JACKET and CORN PLANTER, comprising:
1. Document Signed by Oliver Phelps and William Walker, partially printed and accomplished in manuscript, 1 p, folio, August 22, 1789, indenture for a parcel of land in Ontario County, silked, fold splitting with small loss.
2. Manuscript Notebook of Oliver Phelps, 1790, 32 pp total, comprising a 6-page letter in another hand, presumably dictated by Phelps, then 25 pp of autograph manuscript accounts listing the names of settlers, the lots assigned and monies paid, original plain wrappers (section of one leaf excised). From the letter, in part: “I wish you not to interfere with any ground that has been occupied by the Indians—I wish you not to meddle with any of the flat, round, or near Big Trees or improvements. I shall forward to you cash, and cattle and fore part of the sum to pay the Indians. I wish you not to say much on the subject. Perhaps it may be best to pay them at Big Tree flat.”
3. Manuscript Account by Oliver Phelps, Signed by Samuel Kirkland, 1 p, May 9, 1790, giving up land and charging 6.10 for, “my time and expense in Philadelphia in giving my Deposition respecting the Indians.”
4. Letter from the Chiefs of the five Seneca nations, 1 p, folio, Buffalo Crick, September 9, 1790, to Oliver Phelps respecting the boundaries of the Gorham and Phelps purchase. In part: “We the Cheafs of the five nations wish to inform our great friend Mr Phelps that we are happy to meet your message sent by our friend Jenuphea as we are all met together … our friend Jenuphea perchused a map of the ten townships that we sold you the west of Genusshea River … we wish for you to make your mind easy as we wish to settle that mater satisfactory to you and our warriors.” Sent by the Chiefs Corn Planter, Big Tree, Bow Killer, Farmer Brother, Little Billey, Halftown, and Neworfoard.
5. Document Signed by William Walker, partially printed and accomplished in manuscript, 1 p, folio, May 2, 1791, selling a parcel of land back to Oliver Phelps for the sum of 130 pounds, silked.
6. Document Signed by William Walker, 1 p, Suffield, May 2, 1791, account for expenses, including surveying and attending a treaty.
7. Document Signed, 1 p, folio, Buffalo, May 28, 1821, being a receipt for $500 paid to the Six Nations, extending the annuity provided by the Phelps and Gorham purchase, signed (with their marks) by RED JACKET, CORN PLANTER, as well as by YOUNG KING, LITTLE BILLY, BLACK SNAKE, CAPTAIN POLLARD, CAPTAIN SHONGO, CAPTAIN STRONG, LITTLE BEARD, and CHIEF WARRIOR and witnessed by 4 United States Indian agents.
8. Manuscript Document, 3½ pp, Buffalo, June 5, 1821, detailed account and receipt for blacksmith work provided to the Six Nations by James Harris, for $158.15.
9. Document Signed, 1 p, Buffalo, June 14, 1822, being a receipt for $250 paid to the Six Nations for an annuity due from an agreement made with Robert Morris at Big-Tree in September 1797, signed (with his mark) by CORN PLANTER and witnessed by 3 agents.
10. Document Signed, 1 p, folio, Buffalo, June 2, 1825, being a receipt for $2300 paid to the Cayuga Nation from an agreement made at Cayuga Ferry in July, 1795, signed (with their marks) by TALL CHIEF, CAPTAIN SMITH, THOMAS DOCTOR, CONNEWADDEA, JOHN SMITH, STUTTERING JOHN and witnessed by 4 Indian agents.
Together, 10 documents, condition varies, overall very good, housed in a custom morocco-backed box.

Extraordinary archive providing a timeline of settlement and Indian negotiation in western New York State. In 1788, Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham bought from Massachusetts the pre-emptive right to approximately 6 million acres west of Seneca Lake between Lake Ontario and the Pennsylvania border. The land was theirs, to use or sell at a profit, only on the condition that they could obtain clear title through privately arranged treaties with the Native Americans living there. They treated with the Indians for over 2 million acres west of the Genesee in 1788 and quickly opened a land office at Canandaigua. The earliest document in this archive represents the sale of a parcel of this land.
Exceptionally rare are the signatures of Chiefs Cornplanter and Red Jacket. Cornplanter, known as the good friend of George Washington, pursued a course of accommodation with the United States whereas Red Jacket consistently advocated for neutrality between the United States and British Canada. Red Jacket was the primary Seneca spokesman for nearly 40 years, from the 1780s to the 1820s.
See illustration.
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