Missions to the Oneidas

Susan Fenimore Cooper

Published in The Living Church, Rev. C.W. Leffingwell, D.D., Editor, in issues between April 11, 1885 and June 5, 1886.

Founded in 1878 and still published, The Living Churchis a weekly publication of the Episcopal Church. Its editor from 1879 to 1900 was Rev. Charles Wesley Leffingwell (1840-1928). We wish to express our thanks to Ms. Amy L. Townsend, of the Library at Nashotah House, Nashota, Wisconsin, for providing us with photocopies of these articles, from which we have made this transcript.

{April 11, 1885, p. 18}

{18} Particular attention may well be called to the admirable series of articles begun in this issue on the Oneida Missions. They are from the pen of an earnest Churchwoman, the daughter of the Walter Scott of America, and they will prove, we are sure, at once interesting and instructive. This series is but one of a number of value which THE LIVING CHURCH proposes to lay before its large and constantly increasing family.


By Susan Fenimore Cooper

{April 11, 1885, pp. 14-15} NO. I.

{14} The Oneida tribe of the Five Nations has received religious instruction from several different sources. The Jesuits of the Church of Rome, penetrated from the St. Lawrence to the shores of the Oneida Lake, very early in the settlement of Canada. It was probably in the year 1657, during the colder months of the year, that the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ was first solemnly preached in the Oneida village by two Jesuit Fathers. Two aged men, and several children, were baptized; but it was not until 1668 that a regular mission was established, and a little bark chapel built. After a checkered story, the mission languished, and, with the first years of the eighteenth century, the Jesuit missions in all that region gradually died away, and what is remarkable, very little trace of their teaching now exists, even in the traditions of the Oneidas. Occasionally, when the soil is opened by the plough on ground once occupied by those Fathers, some rosary, or religious medal, will come to light. But the red people themselves are at a loss to explain its meaning. The impression made on the tribe was only momentary.

After the Oneidas became subject to the Crown of England, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, founded in 1701, sent missionaries to the Five Nations, and occasional visits were paid to the Oneidas. As early as 1634 Charles I. and Archbishop Laud had taken steps for raising funds, and securing religious teachers for the Indians in the colonies then subject to the Crown of England. Had the political condition of England been different during the 17ᵗʰ century, we may well believe that more would have been effected for the instruction of the Indians. Among the clergy and laity of the Church of Eng{15}land at that period, there were persons saintly in heart and life. But that was a century of great political and religious disturbance. The progress of all true Christian work was slow. From the first incipient dawn of the plan in 1634, nearly three quarters of a century were needed before the full organization of the venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, as it now exists. It was one of the missionaries of that society who first offered the holy worship of the Prayer Book on the shores of Oneida lake. The Oneidas shared the labors of one missionary with the Mohawks. They repeatedly uttered a cry for more frequent services, for a missionary of their own. Occasionally they reproached the English with being less interested in their spiritual welfare than the French had been. And this reproach was a just one. It is clear that political and commercial ambition gave great additional energy to the action of the French in sending missionaries into the American wilderness: but it is also clear that religious Faith was one element at the heart of the work. The error of that age in France was religious superstition; it was not presumptuous infidelity, another form of superstition, that is connected with mere fallible human reason. France was at that time in a state of comparative peace within her own borders. England, at the same date was suffering from a prolonged internal crisis, both political and religious. Many individuals of the Church of England were full of religious power, but the heart of the country was not sufficiently warm, nor her hand sufficiently helpful, toward the heathen tribes within her jurisdiction.

The Propagation Society, very soon after its foundation would appear to have been in correspondence with the Dutch clergyman at Albany, the Rev. Godfriedees Dellins [sic: should be Godefridus Dellius], with regard to the Five Nations and their religious interests. The Rev. Mr. Dellins knew something of the Mohawk language, and was familiar with the habits of the people. He acted as an agent, or counsellor, of the venerable society for a time.

A year or two later the Rev. Bernardus Freeman, also a Dutch clergyman, was regularly employed by the S.P.G. as a catechist among the Mohawks, and most important was the service he rendered them. He had become a proficient in the language of the tribe, and assisted by Lawrence Claesse, the interpreter, he translated for their use the Gospel of St. Matthew, the first three chapters of Genesis, portions of Exodus, a few Psalms, and many passages of Holy Scripture relating to the Birth, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ. Several chapters of first Corinthians, including the fifteenth chapters [sic] were also translated by him. His work was not completed until he had also translated the Morning and Evening Prayers, and the Litany. Mr. Freeman was desirous of receiving orders in the English Church; but there were obstacles to prevent his crossing the ocean, and the Government of the Mother Country, solely from political motives, always declined to allow the Colonies a bishop of their own. Mr. Freeman was disappointed; but he continued to labor faithfully as a catechist, and above all as a translator. His translations date from the first years of the eighteenth century. They were not however printed, but were sent to the society in manuscript.

The first missionary in orders in the Church of England sent to the Five Nations by the S.P.G., was the Rev. Thoroughgood Moor, who arrived in New York in 1704. He was sent especially to the Mohawks, but the Oneidas were apparently also considered as belonging to his care. His efforts were not successful. Fierce opposition was aroused against him by the traders who were jealous of any interference with tribes whom they had long considered as their own commercial prey. They raised up obstacles at every step, and finally by their plots drove him from the field, when as yet he had done little beyond laying a nominal foundation to the mission. The subsequent career of Mr. Moor was singular. He officiated in New York for a time and like many others, was much scandalized by the follies and vices of Lord Cornbury, the governor, who among other indecent freaks had appeared in Broadway, in the dress of a woman. The clergyman indignantly declared that for this, and other scandalous proceedings, he would not administer Holy Communion to the governor. This declaration was repeated to Lord Cornbury. He went to New Jersey where Mr. Moor was at the time and with the assistance of the Lieut. Governor of that colony, seized the clergyman, and with his own hands forced him into a barge, and had him carried as a prisoner to Fort George, in New York. After a time Mr. Moor succeeded in making his escape from the Fort, and secured a passage in a ship sailing for England. The vessel foundered at sea, and the missionary was lost. Scanty records of his labors among the Indians are all that have been preserved.

When Mr. Moor left Albany, the Rev. Thomas Barclay, the English clergyman in that city, undertook the oversight of the Indians. In 1709 Colonel Peter Schuyler, always a warm friend of the Five Nations, went to England, and took with him four chiefs. This visit was important in its results, so far as religious instruction went. The Mohawk chiefs were very urgent that missionaries should be sent to their people. After Colonel Schuyler’s return a fort was built at the Lower Mohawk Castle, at the junction of the Schoharie and the Mohawk, and a chapel was also built within the fort; it was a substantial stone building, twenty-four feet square. A parsonage was also built and connected with it was a glebe of 300 acres. The expenses of this work were £900. Fort Hunter and the chapel were necessarily destroyed when the Erie canal was built, a century later. The parsonage is said to be still standing. The first service was held in the chapel October 5, 1712, the Rev. Thomas Barclay officiating. There were sixty Indians present.

Soon after the Rev. William Andrews arrived from England, as “missionary to the Mohocks and Oneides Indians.” He reached New York in October, but was detained there waiting for a vessel to sail for Albany! He was “near a fortnight” on the voyage between New York and Albany, “owing to contrary winds.” When he landed at the little wharf in Albany, November 13, the Indians received him “with abundant joy.” Sunday, November 23, he held service in the stone chapel at the Mohawk Castle. The Litany was said in Mohawk. It was still in MS., but had made part of the services from the time of Mr. Freeman. The people gathered readily about Mr. Andrews for instruction, sixty or seventy at a time. Their village was palisaded, contained fifty or sixty wigwams of bark, supported by poles “twelve feet high.” “Drinking is their great vice.” “Otherwise they are a civil, quiet, peaceable people.” “They are extream [sic] kind to each other.” “They generally keep constant to one wife till death.” Only three or four could speak a little broken English. Not one English colonist could be found at Albany to speak Mohawk. The Dutch were more familiar with the language. The most important work of Mr. Andrews was the revision of the translations made earlier by Mr. Freeman. When Mr. Andrews left England he received from the S.P.G. the MS. translations of Mr. Freeman. These were now carefully revised with the assistance of Lawrence Claesse, the interpreter. The Family Prayers, and Chnurch Catechism, were added to them. The Family Prayers were first issued as a tract by the S.P.G., for the use of the English colonists in America. When complete, the book was published in New York, in 1715, in a small quarto form, with a Mohawk and an English title-page: “The Morning and Evening Prayer, the Litany, Church Catechism, Family Prayers, and several Chapters of the Old and New Testaments. Translated into the Mohaque Indian Language, by Lawrence Claesse, Interpreter to William Andrews, Missionary to the Indians, from the Honourable and Reverend the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.” “Ask of me and I will give thee the Heathen for thine Inheritance, and the Utmost parts of the Earth for thy Possession. Ps.2:8.” The book was printed in Mohawk alone, without the corresponding English, to save expense. This edition was not bound, the book-binders of New York at that time being very inexpert. This translation was used by the Oneidas, as well as the Mohawks, and, somewhat modified, it is in use among them at the present time. Those two tribes were in close alliance, the Mohawk Sachems calling the Oneidas their “Nephews,” or, oddly enough, their “Daughters.” They understood each other’s dialects; of these, the Mohawk was the more guttural, the Oneida the more liquid. The Mohawk Prayer Book is in constant use among the Six Nations today, and is indeed used for public devotions by various sects of Christians unconnected with our Church, when holding service among the Iroquois tribe.

In 1715, Mr. Andrews wrote to the venerable society as follows: “I was intended to have gone this summer again among the Oneidians, but was advised against it. When I was among them before, I baptized several children, whose parents were Christians. Since, some of them have died, upon which some of the Indians have a foolish conceit I had poisoned ‘em, and spread the report among the other tribes. The Mohawks only laughed.” In 1717, he wrote again: “The base practices, and wicked examples of white men, calling themselves Christians, are the great obstacles to the conversion of the Indians, which render the name of Christian odious to them.” “The soldiers here of the garrison are as wicked wretches, for drunkeness, swearing, and debauchery as, I think, can live.” The traders buy rum in New York at 3 sh. a gallon, and sell it to the Indians at a profit of 15 or 16 sh. a gallon, and one-third water. This their sordid gain they will not part with, though it be the utter ruin of these poor miserable people.” In 1719 he resigned the mission.

There was an interval of twenty years, with only occasional services, until 1740, when the Rev. Mr. Barclay of St. Peter’s church, Albany took the oversight of the services to the Mohawks, and their “Daughters” the Oneidas; he visited the people frequently, occasionally passing a month or two among them. Then came the “Old French War,” which had a very bad effect on the mission. Two Christian Sachems however, kept up the services, by means of their precious Prayer Book, and translations from the Gospels. During three years “Old Abraham,” or Tyoheusere, “a very pious Indian,” kept up the services.

In 1750 the Rev. Mr. Ogilvie took charge of the mission. He found the people at the “Upper Castle,” where there was no garrison, in a better condition than those at Fort Hunter. “Old Abraham” had been acting as [”]missionary and catechist.” “Drunkenness has been greatly prevented by him.” “For some time past he has entirely neglected his hunting in order to instruct his brethren in the principles of religion, and to keep up Divine service among the aged people and children, while others are in the woods.” Occasionally the good old man would set out on a pilgrimage to the Oneidas. Carrying the precious Prayer Book, and passages from the Gospel with him, he would go up the river in his canoe, to the carrying place, thence to the wood creek, and so pass into the Oneida Lake. Here in the different villages he would collect the people, read the Gospel to them, or unite with them in the prayers he had learned to love so well. By the Litany they were “mightily affected.” The Rev. Mr. Ogilvie passed the whole winter of 1751 among the red people. He read the prayers in the language, and preached through an interpreter. The Holy Communion was celebrated once a month. There were public prayers Wednesdays and Fridays, and on all Holy Days. The dissolute characters of the white traders, as usual, was the greatest obstacle to the religious improvement of the Indians. On Christmas Day quite a number of the more devout walked sixty miles from their hunting-grounds in the forest, to receive the Holy Communion.

In 1760 the Rev. Mr. Ogilvie, acting as chaplain to the army in the expedition to Oswego, officiated constantly to the Mohawks and Oneidas. There were 940 Indians with the army. Passages are given from his reports: “I have baptized during the year thirteen Indian children and two adults, and have admitted four Indian women to the Holy Communion after a careful examination.” “General Amherst being at Oneida Lake went as far as the Oneida town. Upon his arrival he found the Indians at worship, and expressed a vast pleasure at the decency with which the service of our Church was performed by a grave Indian Sachem I went there on the 18ᵗʰ of July; a large congregation collected. Divine service was performed with great solemnity. Six adults presented themselves to be examined for baptism; all gave a very satisfactory account of the Christian Faith, and appeared to have a serious sense of religion. I baptized them, and afterwards married them, three men and their wives who had lived many years together, Indian fashion. I married nine couples and baptized fourteen children.” Soon after the date of these extracts Mr. Ogilvie was ordered to Montreal. The mission was again left vacant. The Indians depended chiefly upon their native catechists until 1770, when the Rev. Harry Munro appeared among them, and rendered faithful service for a time. But the war of the Revolution was drawing near, and with it came great, and lasting changes.

{April 18, 1885, pp. 26-27} NO. I

{p. 26} In the month of January 1765, a young white man, accompanied by two Indians, was travelling through the wilderness, from Johnson Hall to the Mohawk country on a pilgrimage to the Senecas. He came from the Moor Charity School founded by the Rev. Dr. Wheelock of the Presbyterian church, at Lebanon, Conn. One object of the Moor School was the education of Indian youths, and the preparation of missionaries to instruct the red people. Among the pupils was Brant, the Mohawk, sent with others by Sir William Johnson, the friend of the Five Nations. Another of the students was Samuel Kirkland, preparing for the Presbyterian ministry. Young Kirkland resolved to become a missionary to the Senecas. His first step was to Johnson Hall where all friends of the Indians were made welcome. Sir William Johnson procured two faithful Senecas as guides, and the party set out on snow-shoes. The young missionary carried a pack of forty pounds. He slept on hemlock boughs. His Seneca friends were very kind to him; they would not allow him to work, he was told “to sit on a log and rest himself.” The kettle for tea, “Chinese tea” was slung gipsy fashion over the fire, and slices of ham broiled Indian fashion; sticks sharpened at one end, and slit at the top for slices of ham tied on by shreds of bark, were inclined towards the fire, while pieces of bark to catch the drippings were placed beneath. Cakes of maize meal were baked in the ashes. Such was a luxurious repast in the Mohawk valley only a century since. At Kunawaloa, the Oneida town, the travellers were received very kindly, and urged to stay, for at least a year. But young Kirkland moved westward. Twenty-three days after leaving Johnson Hall the party reached the Seneca town where they were received very hospitably the chief Sachem; Councils followed. The Mission was received. Young Kirkland was regularly adopted into the family of the chief Sachem. He remained with “his relations” eighteen months, suffering many hardships, at times almost starving from want of food; kindly cared for “brothers and sisters,” but in danger from personal enemies, who wished to carry war into the Cherokee country, a step opposed by the missionary. In a letter written at this time he speaks of the “teas nature has provided for us in the wilderness, such as pine buds, sassafras blows, bark of spice-wood, and chips from the heart of the sugar maple.” He wore a leather shirt and breeches. Famine fell upon the tribe. He sold a shirt for “four Indian cakes, baked in the ashes, which he could have devoured at one meal.” At one time he lived for several days on white oak acorns, fried in bear’s grease. He became violently ill. His “grandmother” an old woman of ninety, the Sachem’s mother, walked half a mile to nurse him at night. She gave him a dose of three gills of refined bear’s grease which cured him. The little game they had in April, was kept so long that it was scarcely possible to eat it; nevertheless as a stranger and “brother” he received a double portion on a piece of bark; shutting his eyes he contrived to swallow a little “well seasoned with salt and tears.”

The danger of absolute starvation led him to return to Johnson Hall. His “brother” Tekanada went with him. A new canoe of bark was built for the purpose. The party consisted of two men, two women, and several children. At Fort Brewerton, on the Oneida river, he was invited to dine with the commanding officer, and nearly killed himself by eating ravenously of rice soup and venison. “I felt I should not be satisfied after devouring all on the table. The officer, observing the violence of my appetite, said, with a pleasant air, ‘Mr. Kirkland, you have been on the point of starvation; eat but half a meal now, and come in the evening and take a cup of tea.’ ‘Sir,’ I replied with warmth, ‘I am willing to pay for what I eat’ — I had not a farthing of money! He replied that it was best to eat sparingly at first, and that he had spoken from pure friendship. I instantly dropped my knife and fork, and thanked him with tears in my eyes.” In crossing Oneida Lake the party were nearly drowned, the canoe sprang a leak. The wind was high. Tekanada turned pale, and untying a squirrel skin took two pinches of magic powder which he cast upon the water, crying out with a loud voice, “Now wind, do your best! Do your best, I say! You cannot conquer now!” The wind increased. The danger grew imminent. ‘Brother, pray to your God now; Jesus, you call him.’ I answered that I was praying. He cried out, “I do not hear you!” I was obliged to pray in an audible tone.” [quotation marks as given] Half an hour later they reached the shore safely, but the canoe fell to pieces the moment they touched the beach. Early in May, the party reached a pleasant spot on the banks of the Mohawk, about three miles from Johnson Hall. Tekanada built a bark lodge, and here they remained about three weeks, receiving great kindness from Sir William Johnson. The wife of Tekanada died here of rapid consumption; she was decently buried in an orchard. Tekanada was inconsolable. With a bateau given by Sir William Johnson, and well supplied with provisions, they returned to the Seneca town, where Mr. Kirkland remained another year.

In June, 1766, he was ordained a minister of the Presbyterian Church, at Lebanon. There was then a missionary society in Scotland, and it exists to-day, called the “Honorable Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge.” It was incorporated in 1710. In 1718 this society extended its labors to the colonies, and after that date, was often mentioned as the New England Society. It was from this society that Mr. Kirkland held his commission. It is said the celebrated English clergyman, the Rev. Mr. Whitfield [sic], and the Rev. Mr. Kirkpatrick, who had been a chaplain in General Amherst’s army, advised the young minister to devote his services to the Oneida. Instead of returning to the Senecas he established himself at Kunawaloa, the principal Oneida village, about fifteen miles to the southward of Oneida Lake. During forty-two years from that date he was, more or less, closely connected with the Oneidas. One of his first steps was to build himself a log house, ten feet square. Through constant hard labor for seventy days he succeeded in digging the cellar, cutting, hewing, and drawing the timber with his own hands. He was pleased with the people. “Many appear to have a hearing ear, and an understanding heart, and to be earnestly engaged for religion.” These were undoubtedly the original catechumens of Andrews, Barclay, Ogilvie, and “Old Abraham.” There was a great improvement in temperance. Eighty kegs of rum were brought to the town by traders, offered for sale, and even proffered as a gift — but the traders were balked. It was refused. “It is contrary to our agreement with the minister.” Of course the traders persecuted him. He had many hardships to endure. After a time the Society in Scotland offered him a salary of £100. He then returned to Lebanon and married Jerusha Bingham, a niece of Dr. Wheelock, returning with her to Oneida. She was an excellent woman, and a faithful friend of the Oneidas. In the course of a few years there was manifest religious improvement. “A meeting-house was built” — in those days it would have been considered a grave theological error to call the building a “church.” Two of the leading men of the tribe became the steadfast friends of the missionary. “Good Peter,” a convert of one of the English missionaries, and Skenandoah. A saw-mill, a grist-mill, and a blacksmith shop were built. Oxen and farming utensils were purchased.

But the storms of the approaching Revolution were already lowering over the country, interfering grievously with the work at Oneida. Sir William Johnson, the friend of the red man, and patron of Mr. Kirkland, died. His son, Sir John Johnson, and his son- in-law, Col. Guy Johnson, were entirely under English influences, and strongly opposed to the struggles of the Colonists. {27} Mr. Kirkland’s sympathies were naturally with his countrymen. Quite early in the struggle he was employed as an agent of the Colonies, in endeavoring to withdraw the Six Nations from the guidance of the Johnsons. But the influence of the Johnson family was of much older date, far more widely spread, and far more deeply seated than his own. Eventually the very great majority of the Mohawks, and a large proportion of the Senecas, Cayugas, and Onondagas followed Sir John Johnson to Canada, where there descendants now form several very respectable communities in a healthful condition of improvement. The American leaders had asked them to remain neutral. England offered them the war-hatchet. The Oneidas were the only tribe who retained their foothold on the old ground, the only tribe who became allies of the Colonists. That they did so was owing chiefly to the influence of Mr. Kirkland. Even of the Oneidas one hundred and twenty followed their kinsmen to Canada. On the other hand “Old Abraham” and a few of the Mohawks joined the American party, and became blended with the Oneida tribe. Most of the Tuscaroras also followed the example of the Oneidas.

At that time the Oneidas had two principal villages, their “castle,” called Kunawaloa, lying about twenty miles west of the portage between the Mohawk and the Wood Creek, and fifteen miles southward of Oneida Lake. A second smaller village lay about twelve miles west of the lake, on the Oneida river. Kunawaloa had many cabins of hewn and unhewn logs, built by the red men; two houses of boards, built by whites, and also wigwams of bark. The furniture consisted of rough bunks to sleep in, rough tables and benches, wooden bowls and spoons, gourds for water-vessels, and many articles of bark and basket-ware very skillfully made. In each cabin was a metal kettle purchased from the whites. The American officers were opposed to employing the Indians in active warfare. When the Oneidas offered their services to General Schuyler, they were at first rejected. But two years later, after the ravages in the valley of the Mohawk by Col. St. Leger, who had a large Indian force with him, the services of the Oneidas were accepted by the American officers, and 250 were employed as scouts, often under the leadership of Skenandoah, a Christian warrior and a remarkable man.

Let us pause for a moment to look at an Oneida warrior of the olden time. Skenandoah, or the “Peace-maker,” as the name implies, was born in 1706, at Conestoga, on the Susquehanna, of Oneida parents. He grew up to a stately savage manhood, tall, muscular, erect and dignified, his skin being rather light for a full-blooded Indian, “which he certainly was.” His voice was so powerful that he could make himself heard at a distance of half a mile. A very skillful hunter, he was brave and intrepid in war, bland and mild in peace. With a naturally strong and vigorous mind, he was never passionate, but weighed every question calmly. His sense of justice is said to have been remarkable. When he spoke in public it was with the dignified manner, natural grace of gesture, and wild eloquence of an Iroquois Sachem. His lips are said to have been peculiarly pleasing and expressive. The native strength of the man’s character is clearly proved in a way unusual among his race, and rare among white men. He was a Pagan for the first three-score years of his life, and he often drank to excess. On one occasion, he came proudly along the trail through the forest, from the Oneida Castle, fully armed and equipped with all his highly-prized savage ornaments on his person, to attend a Council at Albany. He drank to excess. He awoke after his debauch, a degraded wretch lying in the street, entirely naked, stript of all clothing, and of every ornament. As he came to himself, and rose to his feet, he resolved never again to touch ardent spirits; and that resolution made at the age of 47, he kept through a life extending to 110 years!From that hour he was never known to take a single draught of any intoxicating liquor. In 1767, Skenandoah, the “White man’s Friend,” was baptized by Mr. Kirkland. He continued faithful to his Christian vows for half a century, until his death. His heart opened to the lessons of civilization. He learned to plough, a wonderful step at that date! But he failed to influence his people on this point. They still left all the hard labor to the women. Neither would they give up painting themselves after their old fashion. With other Oneida braves, Skenandoah was sent to Niagara on a scouting party, in 1780. The Oneidas were taken prisoners and sent to Canada as spies, but were eventually liberated on parole. Returning to Kunawaloa, they found their village a ruin. A party of English, and hostile Indians, in the same year, had fallen upon Kunawaloa, and burnt it to the ground. The Oneidas fled to Schenectady, where they lived two years, in rude huts, on the banks of the Mohawk, fed by the Americans on army rations. In 1782 they returned to Kunawaloa.

{April 25, 1885, pp. 38-39} NO. III.

{38} At the close of the war of the Revolution, in 1784, an important Council was held in the Oneida country, to settle the affairs between the United States and the Six Nations. In the treaty of peace, 1783, England abandoned her allies entirely. No mention was made of these tribes. Their territories had now passed into the virtual possession of the United States, yet many returned from Canada and occupied their old grounds. There was a party in the Legislature of New York in favor of expelling them from the State. But Gen. Washington and Gen. Schuyler were strongly in favor of treating them mildly, even those who had been employed by Great Britain during the war. By the treaty of Fort Stanwix — the first treaty between the Republic and Indian tribes, — the Six Nations agreed to relinquish a large part of the territory they claimed; to restore all prisoners; to deliver up certain notorious individuals for trial by the laws of the United States; and to surrender six hostages to remain with the authorities until the former conditions were fulfilled. On their part, the United States made peace with the four hostile tribes, and received them under their protection, as well as the Oneidas and Tuscaroras, and secured to each tribe the lands they actually occupied at that period, forming large “reservations” for their sole benefit. Ten thousand dollars, or good to that amount, were also paid to these tribes as a compensation for their losses during the war. The government provided the Oneidas with a grist mill, a saw mill, and a small annual sum to pay artisans to work for them, and for the purchase of stock and agricultural tools. This sum was “their share of $4,500,” apparently about a dollar a head; a few years later the tribe numbered 628 souls. The State of New York also paid the Oneidas an annuity of $3,553, the interest on moneys accruing from the sale of Oneida lands. The moral and religious condition of the tribe, after the war, was at first discouraging. They had lost ground after those ten years of violence. Mr. Kirkland, on resuming the mission, found only thirty-six strictly sober persons; these were, with one exception, all women. Only one man, Skenandoah, appeared at the Holy Communion. He was the only sober man in the tribe. There were but twenty-four serious Christians among them. There were still Pagans on the reservation. They were very indolent; “Indians cannot work,” was the common saying among them. When not fishing, or fowling, they were playing games, or entirely idle. Only one man, the steadfast Skenandoah, tilled the ground. The old superstitions lingered among them. Their faith in dreams was unbounded. Their dread of witchcraft was great. Before the door of an old chief, resting upright on the ground, stood the palladium of the clan, a stone of some size, declared by Mr. Kirkland to have been an object of idolatrous worship to many of the people. It was “a cylindrical stone of more than two hundred pounds weight, and unlike any other stone in that region.“ From the earliest records, the Oneidas were spoken of as the “People of the Stone.” Onia is their word for a stone, and Oniota-aug means the people of the stone. The French called them Oneséionts; with the Dutch and English they were Oneidas. Tradition declared that wherever the tribe moved, this cylindrical stone of mystery followed them. A strong man could carry it forty or fifty rods without resting; in this way, as the missionary says, it may certainly have followed them in their wanderings. It would seem to have been an essential of this ancient stone of the Oneidas that it could be lifted by the sinews of their warriors into “the crotch of a tree.” and when placed in that position, it rendered their braves invincible. Such is the tradition given by Mr. Kirkland, who was thoroughly familiar with the language and habits of the Oneidas. History supports this assertion. Sir William Johnson, while his army, with its Indian allies, lay at Lake George, in 1755, proposed to the Six Nations that each tribe should raise its own peculiar emblem before their encampment. The Oneidas took a stone, painted it red, and lifted it into the crotch of a tree. Many of the old treaties between the Europeans and the Sachems of this tribe bear the sign manual of some renowned chief, and connected with it a rude picture writing of “a stone in the crotch of a tree.”

There was another stone of much greater size, in the Oneida country, about which mysterious traditions hover. It was of considerable size and weight, and lay on the summits of a commanding height, overlooking the country on the Oneida Creek, as far as the lake, which on a bright day can be seen in the distance. At one period the principal Oneida village lay near a fine spring in a valley beneath the height. There are vague rumors connected with this boulder of syenite, shadows of the uncertain past, which claim for it the dignity of a tribal altar. Of this larger stone Mr. Kirkland makes no mention. It was removed in 1850, from the height on which it lay, to Forest Hill Cemetery in Utica. It is said that there is no stone of the same geological character nearer than the Adirondack Mountains. Its weight has been variously stated at from one to three tons.

Some of the principal Oneidas during those years of disturbance had become strongly impressed with fatalistic opinions. They asserted that the Indians were under the especial curse of the Great Spirit, that it was not possible for them to reform, and become civilized. They had become very jealous of the whites, and frequently burst out in impassioned exclamations. “The rivers and harbors where our canoes floated are now crowded with the great ships of the white people! Where we had only a few smokes — wigwams — they have now great cities and grand houses! Lands which our fathers sold for a few pence could not now be bought of the whites for a thousand dollars!” Then their breasts would heave and swell, their nostrils would dilate, and their eyes flash with indignation which seemed almost beyond control. The missionary, however, succeeded after a time, in pacifying them, and the year 1790 brought with it a degree of quiet industry and progress. They paid more attention to agriculture, especially to planting corn and wheat. One family harvested 100 bushels of wheat — a larger quantity than had ever before been raised among the Six Nations.

At this period the missionary’s house was crowded with Indians seeking religious instruction, from morning to night. “Some whole nights I have sat up with them.” “It is now more than seven months since there has been a single case of drunkenness in two villages. Many whose past life was stained with the foulest vices, have now become sober, industrious, praying Indians.” There was some violent opposition however. A young and haughty Pagan chief, who had been much with other tribes to the westward, reviled the Christians, and attempted to get up once more a heathen dance at New Year’s. He failed. Filled with rage he threatened the life of the missionary who lay concealed one night in a shed, guarded by several chiefs and young men. This was the last attempt among the Oneidas upon the life of a missionary. A public Council followed. The chief Sachem solemnly called on all to take sides for or against Christianity. Taking the missionary by the hand he said, with tears in his eyes, “Father, open your ears, and let all present hear while I declare in the presence of the Great Spirit that I love you; that I will die for Jesus, and die for you, Father, any day. Let every one give his opinion, as in the name of Jesus.” After a prolonged council the Pagan party was rebuked. The religious feeling was strengthened by these events.

In 1793, in accordance with “A plan of Education for the Indians, particularly of the Five Nations,” drawn up by Mr. Kirkland, and which for some years he had much at heart, the “Hamilton Oneida Academy” was incorporated. The missionary endowed the institution with a fine building site of twelve acres, and also with several hundred additional acres of land belonging to himself. This academy has now become Hamilton College. But, alas, we have no record of any Indians being educated there!

The foundation of the academy was {39} the last important act of Mr. Kirkland’s life. He was now an old man, and many troubles had fallen upon him. His health failed; his wife died; he became impoverished through the bankruptcy of a son. There were painful disturbances with other Presbyterian missionaries, and in 1797 the Society of Scotland discontinued their connections with him. Through all these trials Skenandoah’s affection and respect never wavered. The Oneida Sachem was the older man of the two. He had nearly numbered a hundred winters. His features were still good, his face but little wrinkled, the countenance mild and pleasing; but he was feeble, and had lost his sight. He lived in a small red house, four miles from the principal Oneida village.

In 1808 Samuel Kirkland died. After a solemn service he was buried in an orchard near his dwelling. After his death the Presbyterian Mission to the Oneidas, which had been in a languishing condition for some years, became very much enfeebled.

Skenandoah — the “White Man’s Friend” — survived the missionary eight years. In 1810 he was described as tall, erect, but sightless, still dignified in manner and person. “I am an aged hemlock,” he said: “the winds of a hundred winters have whistled through my branches. I am dead at the top. My own generation have left me. Why I live the Great Good Spirit only knows. Pray to the Lord that I may have patience to await my appointed time.” The Indian chief died in the spring of 1816, at the age of 110 years. According to his own request he was laid by the side of the missionary, that he might “hold on to his garment, and go up with him at the great Resurrection.”

The Oneidas were now about to pass under the care of the Episcopal Church in America, with which they have remained closely connected until the present date. The work of the S.P.G., discontinued at the breaking out of the Revolution, was resumed by the daughter Church in America in 1816.

{There was a gap of almost a year before the series was continued}

{February 20, 1886, pp. 708, 709-710}

{708} We continue in this issue the historical and descriptive paper which were begun last spring, on the Mission to the Oneidas, from the pen of Miss Susan Fenimore Cooper, daughter of the distinguished author, and niece of Bishop De Lancey. These may be followed, if our readers are interested in the subject, by the Diary of Ellen Goodnough,the wife of the missionary. This diary gives an insight into the working of the mission in its everyday detail. It is a sort of photograph of the life of the people, simple, accurate, and pleasantly written.


{709} [It was the expressed wish of the venerable Bishop Kemper that an authentic record of the Oneida Mission should be prepared. In accordance with this wish these papers have been written, and it is hoped that some publisher may think them worthy of being permanently preserved to our Church literature, in book form. Meantime they will have a wider circulation in these columns than most books attain. It is hoped that this simple and truthful narrative will not be without interest to our readers, old and young.

ED. L.C.]

In 1811 Bishop Hobart was consecrated to the diocese of New York. The position of the Church was growing more assured. Her charities enlarged. The missionary spirit moved her heart and missionary action followed. Bishop Hobart already looked upon the remnant of the Six Nations within the limits of the diocese of New York, as a legacy bequeathed to him by the venerable society for the Propagation of the Gospel. The revival of that mission by our Church dates from 1816. A movement was made in behalf of the Oneidas, the services of a catechist were offered to them; they responded warmly to the proposition, and when their teacher appeared among them they received him with great cordiality.

The catechist sent to the Oneidas was a man whose history was strangely remarkable. When the village of Deerfield, in Massachusetts, was surprised and burned during that terrible winter’s night of 1704, by a united band of French and Indians from Canada, the Rev. John Williams, the minister of the village, and all his family were carried away prisoners. In course of time after a painful captivity, Mr. Williams and all his children but one, returned to Massachusetts. One, a daughter, had been adopted into a Mohawk family, and nothing could induce her to leave her adopted people. She lived and died a Mohawk woman at heart, having married in the tribe. The descendants of Emma Williams, as usual among the red people, bore the maternal family name. She had a grandson named Thomas. Some of the friends of her family, in Massachusetts, offered to educate a son of Thomas Williams, in New England. Eleazar Williams, then a lad, was accordingly sent to these friends, who provided for him very kindly. Their object would seem to have been to fit him to become a missionary among his own people, in connection with the Presbyterians. But while the young man professed a wish to serve his people as a missionary he sought the communion of the Church. His boyhood had been passed among the Mohawk relatives on the St. Lawrence, and he was familiar with the Prayer Book in the language of his tribe. Under these circumstances he offered his services, as a lay missionary, to Bishop Hobart, who gladly accepted them as coinciding with plans he had already much at heart. He was accordingly sent to Oneida Castle, and entered on his duties in March, 1816. He met with a warm reception from the people, who looked upon him as one of themselves. H soon acquired much facility in speaking the Oneida dialect, which greatly resembles the Mohawk, though softer and more musical. Large numbers of the people flocked every Sunday to the school house to take part in the services, with which a number of the older persons had been familiar thirty or forty years before. Once more the Oneidas heard the solemn words of the Litany, by which an earlier generation had been deeply affected.

At the close of the first year of the services of Eleazar Williams, a very important step was taken. Many had relapsed into heathenism. In 1816 the tribe was divided into two parties. “The First Christian Party” consisted to those who had been baptized. These almost immediately joined Mr. Williams’ flock. The other division of the tribe were avowed heathens, or the “Pagan Party,” and addressed as such by the Governor of the State. But during the winter of 1817 Gov. De Witt Clinton received at Albany the following letter from the Oneidas:

May it please your Excellency: We, the chiefs, and principal men of that part of the Oneida nation of Indians, heretofore known and distinguished as the “Pagan Party,” in the name of the said party beg leave to address your Excellency on a subject which we hope will be as pleasing to your Excellency as it is to us. We no longer own the name of “Pagans.” We have abandoned our idols and sacrifices, and have fixed our hopes on our Blessed Redeemer. In evidence of this assertion we here tender to your Excellency, sincerely and unequivocally, our abjuration of Paganism and its rites, and take the Christian’s God, to be our God, and our only hope of salvation.

We believe in God, the Creator and Preserver of all things, as omniscient, and omnipresent, most gracious, and most merciful. We believe in Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, the Mediator between God and man, and that all must believe in Him and embrace Him in order to obtain salvation. We believe in God the Sanctifier and Comforter. We believe in a general resurrection, and a future judgment in which all mankind shall be judged according to their works. We believe the Scriptures to be the Word of God, and that in them are contained all things necessary to man’s salvation. We present to your Excellency this abstract of our faith in order to demonstrate the impropriety of our any longer retaining the name of Pagans. We trust that through the mercy of God we have abandoned the character of Pagans; let us also abandon the name. We therefore request your Excellency that in all future transactions with this State we may be known as the “Second Christian Party of the Oneida Indians,” and we pray that your Excellency will take such means as may be necessary, and proper, to cause us to be recognized in future by that name. And, in the name of the Holy Trinity, we do here sign ourselves, your Excellency’s most sincere friends.

Done in general council at Oneida, this 25ᵗʰ day of January. A.D. 1817.

Cornelius Olhasheat, Arius Tehoranigo, John Cahellius, Jacob Atoni, Wm. Toniatesheu, Peter Sauthecalcos, Nicholas Garagoertie, Moses Schuyler, Wm. Tegarentotashou, Wm. Tchoratatshe, Peter Tawasertasha.

This document was no doubt prepared by Mr. Williams. Soon after the missionary was sent to New York charged with a letter to Bishop Hobart. This letter was written by a young Oneida, a communicant.

The Chiefs of the Oneida Indians in the State of New York, to the Rt. Rev. Bishop Hobart:

RIGHT REVEREND FATHER: — We salute you in the name of the ever adorable, ever blessed, and ever living Sovereign Lord of the universe: We acknowledge this Almighty Being as our Creator, Preserver, and constant Benefactor. Right Reverend Father: * * * We see now that the Christian religion is intended for the good of the Indians as well as the white people; we see it, {710} and do feel that the religion of the Gospel will make us happy in this world, and in the world to come. We now profess it outwardly * * May it ever remain in our hearts, and we be enabled by the Spirit of the Eternal One, to practice the great duties it points out to us. Right Reverend Father: Agreeably to your regard we have treated our brother with that attention, and kindness which you required of us; we have assisted him all that was in our power as to his support; but you know well that we are poor ourselves, and we cannot do a great deal. Though our brother has lived very poor since he came among us, but he is patient, and makes no complaint; we pity him because we love him as we do ourselves. We wish to do something for his support; but this impossible for us to do at present, as we have latterly raised between three and four thousand dollars to enable us to build a little chapel.

Right Reverend Father, we entreat and beseech you not to neglect us. We hope our Christian brethren in New York will help us all that is in their power. We hope our brother will by no means be withdrawn from us. If this should take place the cause of religion will die among us; immorality and wickedness will prevail.

Right Reverend Father: — As the head and father of the Holy Apostolic Church in this State, we entreat you to take a special charge of us. We are ignorant, we are poor, and need your assistance. Come, venerable Father, and visit your children, and warm their hearts by your presence in the things which belong to their everlasting peace. May the Great Head of the Church whom you serve be with you, and His blessings ever remain with you.”

We, venerable Father,  Remain your dutiful children.

Oneida, January, 1818.

This letter signed by thirteen prominent Oneidas, received a kind answer from the Bishop:

MY CHILDREN: — I have received your letter by your brother and teacher, Eleazar Williams, and return your affectionate and Christian salutation, praying that grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, may be with you. My children: I rejoice to hear of your faith in the One living and true God, and in His Son Jesus Christ, Whom he has sent, Whom to know is life eternal, and I pray that by the holy Spirit of God, you may be kept steadfast in this faith, and may walk worthy of Him, who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.

The Bishop then proceeds to urge his children “to acquire the holy tempers, and practice the holy duties which the Gospel enjoins;” to unite with their teacher “in the holy prayers of our Apostolic Church translated into your own language;” he exhorts them “diligently to get your own living by cultivating the earth, some other lawful calling.” The Bishop closes as follows:

My Children: — It is my purpose, if the Lord wills, to come and see you next summer, and I hope to find you, as good Christians, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and living righteously, godly, and soberly in the world. I shall have you in my heart, and remember you in my prayers; for you are part of my charge, of the flock for whom the Son of God gave Himself, even unto the death upon the cross, and whom He commanded His ministers to seek to gather into His fold, that through Him they might be saved for ever. My children, may God be with you, and bless you.JOHN HENRY HOBART.

Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in State of New York.

Dated at New York, the 1ˢᵗ day of February, in the year of our Lord, 1818.

{February 27, 1886, pp. 720-721}


{720} The promise which Bishop Hobart gave to his Oneida “Children” was faithfully fulfilled. On Tuesday, September 13, 1818, he visited their village. At that day the journey into the Oneida country was not without its difficulties. There was neither canal nor railroad, to speed the traveller on his way, and the roads were of the rudest description. It was but a frontier civilization, where the traveller went jolting over “corduroy” tracks, or sank deep in ruts or mud, half the days in the year. Bishop Hobart, however, reached his destination in due time, and became deeply interested in what he saw of the people, and their country. It was a condition of society, though no longer savage, yet very peculiar and foreign to all his own previous experience. The population of the Oneida reservation was at that time said to be about one thousand, it was probably, however, rather less. The Reservation was owned in common by the whole tribe. Only a small portion was under cultivation for potatoes, and the old Indian staples of maize, beans and pumpkins; the rude pasture lands where their cows and sheep fed together were more extensive; but much the greater portion of the land was a forest wilderness. Through these woods there were no roads whatever, but many Indian paths or trails. The dwellings of the people lay scattered about in wild irregularity, according to the fancy of the builders; there were a few frame houses, others of logs, and others were wigwams of bark; some stood on the shady hillsides, others in the fertile valleys near their fields of maize and pumpkins. The Oneidas at this period busied themselves in gathering gin-seng in the forest. This they sold to the traders, by whom it was carried to New York and Philadelphia, and sold to merchants, who sent it to China, where it was burned as incense in the temples. The Oneidas gathered about 1,000 bushels annually, and sold it for $2,000.

The Chiefs gathered about the Bishop with the usual calm dignity of their race when doing honor to a favored guest. One aged Sachem, probably Hendrick Schuyler, made a speech which was translated by Mr. Williams. He told his “Father,” the Bishop, that in his youth he had been instructed in the {721} holy Christian Faith by a missionary from beyond the sea, when this State was and English Colony; that, he had been baptized, and had held fast the faith while the snows of fifty winters had fallen about him, and while many of his brethren were still heathens. He pointed out the spot where the missionary had preached the Gospel to his tribe; it was an open glade in the forest, with a few oaks of noble growth throwing a grateful shade here and there. Within sight of this spot rose the little church, which the Oneidas had recently built, under the direction of their catechist, Eleazar Williams; it was a neat rustic chapel, still unfinished, but in every way creditable to the tribe, who had raised more than $3,000 for the expenses. In this unfinished chapel Bishop Hobart confirmed eighty-nine persons. In his address to the convention of the diocese, the Bishop spoke of his visit to the Oneidas:

It is a subject of congratulation that our Church has resumed the labors which for a long period before the Revolutionary War, the Society in England for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts directed to the religious instruction of the Indian tribes * * The religious instructor of the Oneidas, employed by our Church, being of Indian extraction, and acquainted with their language, dispositions, and customs, and devoting himself unremittingly to their spiritual and temporal welfare, enjoys their full confidence, while the education he has received has increased his qualifications as their guide in the faith and precepts of the Gospel. Mr. Eleazar Williams, at the earnest request of the Oneida chiefs, was licensed by me about two years since, as their lay reader, catechist and school-master. Educated in a different communion, he connected himself with our Church from conviction, and appears warmly attached to her doctrines, her Apostolic ministry, and her worship. Soon after he commenced his labors among the Oneidas, the Pagan party solemnly professed the Christian faith. Soon after their conversion, they appropriated in connection with the old Christian party the proceeds of the sale of some of their lands to the erection of a handsome edifice for divine worship, which will be shortly completed. In the work of their spiritual instruction the Book of Common Prayer, a principal part of which has been translated for their use, proves a powerful auxiliary. Its simple and affecting exhibition of the truths of redemption, is calculated to interest their hearts, while it informs their understanding, and its decent and significant rites contribute to fix their attention in the exercises of worship. They are particularly gratified with having parts assigned them in the service, and repeat the responses with great propriety and devotion. On my visit several hundreds assembled for worship; those who could read were furnished with books; and they uttered the confessions of the Liturgy, responded to its supplications, and chanted its hymns of praise with a reverence and fervor which powerfully interested the feelings of those who witnessed the solemnity. They listened to my address to them, interpreted by Mr. Williams, with so much solicitous attention; they received the laying on of hands with such grateful humility, and participated of the symbols of their Saviour’s love with such tears of penetential [sic] devotion; that the impression which the scene made on my mind will never be effaced. Nor was this the excitement of the moment, or the exhibition of enthusiasm. The eighty-nine who had been confirmed had been well instructed by Mr. Williams, and none were permitted to approach the Communion whose lives did not correspond with their Christian professions. * * I have admitted Mr. Williams as a candidate for Orders, on the recommendations of the Standing Committee.

This was the first occasion on which the Oneidas had ever been visited by a bishop of regular consecration. It was the first time that the rite of Confirmation had ever been performed among them. The services are described by those who were present as deeply impressive. The unfinished chapel was filled to overflowing. The touching reverence and devotion of the people, both young and old, were very affecting. Some of the clergy present were moved to tears, and withdrew to weep for joy, and offer prayers of thankful praise, before the services were completed.

The following year the little chapel was finished. On the 21ˢᵗ of September 1819, it was consecrated under the name of St. Peter’s church. On this occasion the Bishop confirmed fifty-six persons, and baptized two adults, and forty-six infants, all Oneidas.

Mr. Williams continued faithful in his services. As he was not ordained, other Church clergymen occasionally visited the mission for the purpose of administering the Sacraments. The faithful Father Nash, the pioneer missionary of Otsego County, performed service there, in company with the Rev. Mr. Orderson, of the Island of Barbadoes, in the spring of 1821. On this occasion five adults and fifty children were baptized. In speaking of this visit Father Nash writes: “In the month of May last, I visited the church at Oneida and with pleasure can testify to the excellent order observed. In no congregation, although I have seen many solemn assemblies, have I beheld such deep attention, and such humble devotion.”

{March 6, 1886, pp. 736-737}


{736} Important changes were at hand. The rapid encroachments of the white race, the sudden rush of civilization, began to trouble the Oneidas grievously. They were amazed and bewildered at the extraordinary changes going on about them. In past generations the advance of civilization had been gradual. But they were now hearing every day of some fresh track in the old forest, of some new towns springing up as if by magic among the stumps of ancient woods, where they had hunted the deer and the bear only a few years earlier. The four winds of heaven, as they swept over the Oneida cabins, seemed to bring every hour the echoes of this new life rushing into the wilderness, and with every rising sun they seemed to hear the strides of civilization coming nearer and nearer. They were greatly disturbed. Many were the talks and councils held among the chiefs; the red people have strong local attachments, they dreaded leaving their old home-ground, and the graves of their fathers; but they felt the dangers of their position, the whites were very powerful, they were weak and helpless. At Kunawaloa they were surrounded by evil-minded traders, and speculators, who coveted their lands. “They stand in the way of the whites; they must be swept out!” was the cry of these unprincipled men. Ere long the question was decided. The Oneidas resolved to move into the wilderness, towards the setting sun, beyond the great lakes.

It was in the year 1823 that the first band moved westward. Their catechist, Mr. Williams, went with them. A tract of land had been purchased for the tribe not far from the village of Green Bay; to pay for the new ground the Oneidas sold their lands in New York. The position chosen by their chiefs was a valley, some ten miles to the westward of Green Bay, through which ran a small stream. Here they could fish; here they found water-fowl in abundance. The little river they named “Ta-lon-ga-wa-nay,” the place of the many ducks. The great arm of Lake Michigan, known to us as Green Bay, became in their speech “Haw-ha-la-lik-ong-gay,” (the home of many men.) The land they had purchased was an unbroken forest, and the streams which threaded this wilderness had worn for themselves deep channels, from which the timbered land rose in easy elevation on either bank, assuming here and there the dignity of hills. The forest was chiefly composed of pine, oak, chestnut, and maple.

The first step of the red people was to build wigwams of bark along the banks of the streams; then came the clearing of a small space in the forest for the little fields of maize, beans, potatoes and pumpkins. The toil of the first year was severe, and it fell chiefly upon the women. The Oneida men, at heart, still despised field labor. They supplied the families well with game, however; venison, wild turkeys, ducks and fish. The missionary was there to give the work a tinge of civilization. After a time the men went to work more in earnest; cows and oxen and swine were purchased; the plough was set in motion; steps were taken for housing the people in log-cabins.

Every Sunday the little flock gathered for public worship beneath the shade of the old trees. Other small bands arrived, from time to time, from their old home. A little church was built, of hewn logs. The task was undertaken with a good will, men and women, all were ready to lend a helping hand. The timber was chosen, standing; in the old forest the trees were felled, the bark was removed, and the logs were neatly squared. When the little building was completed, a name had to be chosen. The Oneidas wished to know if their little rude church of logs, so far away in the wilderness, might bear the honored name of their “Father,” Bishop Hobart. Their wish was complied with, and their church still bears to-day the name of “Hobart church.”

Matters went on quietly and steadily in the new country. The bark wigwams disappeared, cabins of unhewn logs took their place. The size of the little fields increased. The number of cattle and sheep increased. A few horses appeared on the largest farms. Still the people were very poor and had many hardships to contend with. They mourned for the old gardens, and orchards, and fruit trees they had left behind them.

Although small bands were frequently arriving from Kunawaloa, there still remained a considerable number of the people on the old ground. A new missionary catechist was sought for this portion of the tribe. Our Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society received its final organization in 1821, and the Oneidas were placed under the charge of the Foreign Board. When Mr. Williams removed to Green Bay in 1823, a candidate for Orders, Mr. Solomon Davis, was sent to Oneida Castle, where he became the missionary catechist, and schoolmaster, with a salary of $500 from the government. He proved very faithful in his duties. Bishop Hobart in his frequent visitations to the Oneidas confirmed large numbers. At one of these visitations on the 18ᵗʰ of June, 1826, Mr. Williams, who had returned for the purpose, was ordained deacon in St. Peter’s church, Oneida Castle. The Bishop’s visitation in 1827 was peculiarly interesting. On the morning of June 21ˢᵗ, a singular procession half wild, half civilized, was seen moving from the village; fifty or sixty Indians mounted on horses of their own, headed by their chiefs and interpreter, set out to meet their much loved bishop. To send out a delegation to meet an honored guest had always been the custom of the Five Nations. On this occasion they rode for miles to meet their bishop. After a little loving talk, and a great deal of hand-shaking, the whole party turned about, and followed the Bishop in the direction of the church. Among those horsemen, were stalwart men, the descendants of fierce savage chiefs, about to received the rite of Confirmation after due preparation by their catechist. Groups of women and children were meanwhile seen hurrying from all directions towards the church. The services were particularly impressive. They began with a few verses from one of the psalms, translated into Oneida, and very sweetly sung by a choir of one hundred Oneidas, in the gallery above, the red people in the church below uniting with them. The services were in English, translated by the interpreter. Ninety-seven Indians who had been well prepared were confirmed. About fifty received the Holy Communion, including a few Onondagas. The Confirmations during the Episcopate of Bishop Hobart, between the years 1818 and 1830, exceed 500. During the same period more than 1,000 were baptized.

The Rev. Eleazar Williams continued his services among the emigrant Oneidas after his Ordination. He married a half-breed Menomonee woman from Green Bay, and had a family of children. But a cloud began to lower over his ministry; there were complaints made against him; his course in some particulars became unsatisfactory to the Board of Missions. Charges were drawn up against him, but they were never presented for trial. How much of truth, or how much of error, there may have been in those charges we cannot say. In 1828 Mr. Williams withdrew from the mission. His career was most extraordinary. Suddenly a few years later the Indian missionary appeared before Europe and America as the rightful heir to the throne of France!!! He claimed to have been born in the purple — to be the Dauphin of France — the son of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette! He declared that he had been privately taken from prison and brought to America by French royalists, who for greater safety placed him among the Mohawk Indians on the St. Lawrence. Volumes have been written with regard to this astounding claim. Many shrewd and highly-educated people believed his story. He became a lion in our great cities, preaching as a clergyman on Sundays, and figuring in drawing-rooms during the week, equally ready to give information regarding his royal parents at Versailles, or his Oneida parishioners in the wilderness. The writer of this sketch met him in society at Washington, in 1856, and could certainly see in his face something of the Bourbon cast of features familiar to us from portraits. His face was remarkably like that of Louis XVI. A sermon preached by him in the church of the Epiphany, at Washington, at this time, was very impressive. But with these passages of his life this sketch can have nothing to do. As Dauphin he passes away from the Oneidas. The fact that the wife of Thomas Williams solemnly swore that he was her son, would seem to settle the question. He was never ordained to the priesthood, but served as a missionary to the St. Regis Indians, connected with our Church, and died among them. His Menomonee wife survived him; and he had a son in business at Oshkosh, in Wisconsin, a short time since. There are those now living at Oneida who consider his early services to the tribe to have been important. He took great pains with their musical instruction. He prepared two different editions of the Prayer Book for the especial use of the Oneidas, the old Mohawk book being the foundation of these revisions.

Mr. Williams place at Duck Creek was soon supplied by a very worthy clergyman, the Rev. Richard F. Cadle, who labored faithfully on the same ground from 1829 to 1835. In 1829 the Oneida mission passed under the direction of the Domestic Board, where it more naturally belonged. When Mr. Cadle entered on his duties there were 150 communicants in the parish. There were no Confirmations for there was no bishop in that region. The Baptisms were only 36 in seven years. Some of the prominent men had become lukewarm, and threw obstacles in the way {737} of the religious instruction of the people, from selfish reasons, believing that they could control the tribe more entirely if there was no missionary on the grounds, and no doubt the cloud which hung over Mr. Williams had a very bad effect on many of the people.

{March 13, 1886, p. 753} VII.

Mr. Cadle resigned the mission in 1835, after faithful service.

The following year in 1836 there was important change. A large migration from the eastward took place, and the Rev. Solomon Davis, accompanying his flock, joined the people already in Wisconsin. By this migration few Christian Oneidas were left on the old ground. The little church consecrated by Bishop Hobart was left bare and empty. A few years later it was sold, taken to pieces, and removed to the village of Vernon, where it was rebuilt for the use of a sect which rejects the Apostles’ Creed.

In 1820 the Methodists had formed a society of their own among the Oneidas. But it was not until after the departure of Mr. Davis, and the breaking up of his mission, that much progress was made by them. In 1841 they erected a church building of their own, and at the present day it is said that the few Oneidas still found on the old ground are chiefly Methodists.

Some two years after the arrival of Mr. Davis in Wisconsin, an agreement or treaty was made by which the reservation was placed in its present condition; each actual settler received one hundred acres of land; there were then 610 souls in the little colony, and the tract of land consisted of 61,000 acres. Of this amount about one-fourth, following the banks of the stream, was gradually brought under cultivation, the remainder was covered with a valuable growth of timber, forming a belt or forest wall about the whole settlement. The land was held in common, each individual taking up as much of his hundred acres as he could cultivate. The houses were scattered at irregular distances throughout the entire length of the Reservation, a distance of twelve miles, on either side of the stream, the Duck Creek, as it was called by the whites. The Indians soon built themselves bridges over the stream, whose average breadth is about thirty yards. These bridges were solidly constructed. The little clearings were in sight of each other, but there was no village or hamlet. Near the centre of the reservation, or about five miles from its eastern border, stood the government school-house, and on the opposite side of the road was the little chapel of squared logs — Hobart church. This had now become entirely too small for the congregation who gathered there every Sunday. It was decided to build a neat frame church on the same site, or very near it. The people had recently sold a portion of their lands to the government, reserving only the 61,000 acres for their own use. In solemn council it was resolved to devote $7,000 of the money accruing from this sale to the building of the church. The Rev. Mr. Davis superintended the work, and a neat wooden church was soon completed; the windows were arched, there was a low tower or belfry over the entrance, and the whole building was neatly painted white. A little cottage, a story and a-half high, was also built for a parsonage, not far from the church. The congregation gathered for worship in the new church with great regularity. The progress of Christian civilization among the people continued to be slow, but gradual and encouraging. During the ministry of Mr. Davis, from 1836 to 1847 there were 239 Baptisms. All were now Christians. There were no more avowed heathens among the people. One old man had continued obdurate for a long time, keeping aloof from the church, and the missionary. He was considered to be in a semi-pagan condition. But at length there was a change. His heart opened to religious instruction, the scales seemed to fall from his aged eyes. He became a believing and penitent Christian. After a satisfactory examination the missionary proposed to baptize him. “My father, that is not necessary, I have been baptized already, when I was a little child, by a missionary of your Church from beyond the salt water, when this country was a colony of the King of England.” He named two very old women still living who had been present at his Baptism. They were called in as witnesses, and testified to the truth of the assertion. In this instance as in many others, the baptismal prayers offered over the infant were now answered in peace in the closing years of a dark and stormy life. The services of the Rev. Solomon Davis closed in 1847. During the eleven years of his ministry there were 238 Baptisms, 133 Confirmations, 169 communicants, 88 Marriages, and 104 funerals.

In 1848 the Rev. Franklin Haff entered upon the duties of the mission. These last two missionaries met with much opposition from certain semi-pagan chiefs; one of these boasted that by his plots he had driven away Mr. Davis, and that he intended to drive away his successor. Mr. Haff remained until 1852. During those five years there were 119 Baptisms; 56 Confirmations; 157 communicants; 24 Marriages; and 80 funerals.

The period covered by the services of Mr. Davis and Mr. Haff, was in one sense, of especial importance. In the year 1835, only a few months before the final migration of the Oneidas to Wisconsin, the Rev. Jackson Kemper was consecrated as the first Missionary Bishop of our Church. His diocese was a vast region. Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska were included within its limits. The Bishop threw himself into his duties with admirable devotion of heart and life. During the first eleven years he had no home. He had not even a study. His books were not unpacked. He travelled hundreds of miles on horseback, and hundreds of miles on foot, over the rudest roads, and the wildest paths, swimming many a river in his constant journeys. During the thirty-five years of his episcopate, the good Bishop never allowed himself but one day in each year that he called his own; Christmas he always passed with his motherless children. He seemed indefatigable in his holy duties; there was no work too humble, no hamlet too remote, or too small for his visitations. And all his duties were performed so lovingly, he was so kind, so fatherly in his manner. Very early in his Episcopate he turned his eyes towards the Oneidas. At his first visitation in 1837, fifty-four were confirmed. He held these visitations among the red people almost yearly, and entirely won their hearts by his sympathy and fatherly interest in them. The Oneidas gave him the name of “Ha-re-ro-wa-gou;” he who has power over all words. Their church was consecrated by him. He was in constant communication with their missionary, and on many occasions his kind hand was stretched out to help them. Though relatively a poor man, the Bishop is said to have been by far the largest giver in his diocese, giving more to missions than half of the parishes of that diocese. This great generosity in giving was brought about rigid economy, denial of all self-indulgence, and freedom from debt. He had a real horror of debt. His sympathy with the Indians generally was always sincere and deep. He felt strongly the obligation of our Church and nation, to render a just and faithful Christian service to those whose place on earth we have taken.

After the solemn services of the consecration of Bishop Whipple, who relieved him from the care of the diocese of Minnesota in 1859, Bishop Kemper in turning aside from the chancel, said with the sweetness and earnestness of manner peculiar to him: “My brother, I pray you never to forget that there are heathen men in your diocese who are going down to death without the knowledge of Jesus Christ.” For the Oneidas he had a peculiar feeling, from the fact that they were already Christian brethren, although still sorely in need of fostering care. As he sat in the chancel of their little church, his eye would wander with fatherly sympathy over those dusky faces and wild figures, all of whom were personally known to him, by name and feature, while he himself unconsciously presented a beautiful picture of Apostolic dignity, his revered kindly face beaming with holy feeling, his white hair making a halo about his venerable head. After the resignation of Mr. Haff in 1852, the Bishop was sorely troubled to find a clergyman willing to take charge of the Oneidas. Matters had reached a crisis. The religious prospects of the people were growing darker with every week. It appeared as if the mission were about to be wrecked. Many of the people became lukewarm. Drunkenness and immorality were increasing. The evil-minded among the white traders and speculators, were rejoicing over the degradation of the Oneidas, hoping to drive them still farther into the wilderness, and add a few thousands to the money already in their own pockets by taking possession of the Indian Reservation. Good Bishop Kemper was sorely grieved. He looked about through the length and breadth of his vast diocese, but no clergyman was unemployed. After a vacancy of some months the Bishop published an appeal in The Church Journal, in the summer of 1853. Happily an answer was received — and from his own diocese.

{March 20, 1886, pp. 768-769}


{768} It was a son of Nashotah who in this extremity offered himself for service among the Oneidas. There has been something of a peculiar interest in the connection between the Oneidas and Nashotah, which we pause for a moment to consider.

In 1841 the Rev. J. Lloyd Breck, the Rev. William Adams, and the Rev. John Henry Hobart, a son of the Bishop, students from the Theological Seminary in New York, and all recently ordained deacons, went to the wild region on the shores of Lake Michigan, for the purpose of founding an associate mission to preach the Gospel in what was then a forest wilderness. They entered on the work under the auspices of the Board of Domestic Missions. Their plan included a common home, itinerant preaching and teaching, with a daily life of prayer, study and manual labor. Some twenty miles westward from the petty hamlet of Milwaukee, there lay two lovely little lakes of limpid water in the heart of the wilderness, the twin lakes of Nashotah. A rude shanty had been loosely put together by some frontiersman. This tract of land was for sale. The young missionaries were poor as most missionaries are; but Mr. Aspinwall and Mr. Minturn of New York, and others, purchased 365 acres surrounding the twin lakes, in behalf of the mission. A solemn consecration of the ground and the work became the first step of the young deacons. They moved onward, a staff in each hand — “faith and prayer” — says an experienced clergyman. Many were their hardships. A small house 16x18 was built and painted blue. Plain was the fare, and strange were the cooks; salt pork, potatoes and rutabagas were the fare month after month. The young deacons cooked their food, washed their own clothes, and mended them too after a fashion. They slept on the floor. During the first months of the mission ten different parishes were founded, all still existing. They young men often walked through the forest forty miles, along rough cart tracks, or Indian trails, to preach at some small cluster of log cabins, now among the English emigrants, now among Welsh, or it might be among Swedes and Norwegians, and frequently of course among the rude frontiersmen of our own people. Everywhere they were kindly received. Everywhere some impression for good would appear to have been made. On one occasion a Confirmation was to be held at the English colony of St. Albans. The service took place in a barn, the devout missionary bishop officiating. So great was the crowd that a number of young men climbed up into the hay loft above. Among these was one so deeply impressed by the service that the following week he knocked at the door of the “Blue House,” and expressed his wish to enter the mission as a student of divinity. In late years he became the respected rector of St. John’s church, Milwaukee, where he officiated for more than a quarter of a century. Many of these services in the forest were followed by the appearance of students at the “Blue House.” It soon became necessary to enlarge the buildings. A dining-room 12x18 was added to the kitchen. In addition 14 feet square was divided between a store-room and a tailoring room, while in the half story above the students slept. The library 14x18 contained two recitation rooms, while its shelves contained at one time nearly all the theological tomes to be found in that region fifty years since. Another addition called “Lazarus Row” from its rough poverty-struck appearance, was 12 feet wide, and 50 feet long, it was divided into eight rooms, each opening into a neat little yard, paled in for flowers and shrubbery, with a wicket gate to the open grounds beyond. The chapel was 18x24, afterwards doubled in length, and still later provided with a chancel. The young deacons and the students rose at five. There was a short religious service at a quarter to six. Then came breakfast. A bell arrived from New York. The belfry was a noble old oak near the chapel. At nine the bell rang from the old oak for daily morning service. Then came work and study. In winter the young men worked two hours in the morning, and the same in the afternoon, studying in the interval. In summer they worked eight hours, and studied four. At noon they dined. At six there was evening service. At nine there was also a short service.

One day, after the bell had been hung in the old oak, the sound as it rang for morning prayers was borne on the breeze to some distance, into a part of the forest where a young lad was cutting wood for his father who lived not far away. The sound was unusual — it was startling. Few indeed were the bells then heard in Wisconsin. The lad paused, and listened. Again at noon, and again in the evening he heard the same unusual sound, from the same direction. This continued for some days. At length the youth resolved to look into this new mystery of the forest. He set out, and by taking the direction of the sound, gradually drew nearer and nearer until he found that it came from the banks of Nashotah Lakes. Taking courage he went boldly on until he reached the “Blue House,” and saw the bell enshrined in the old oak tree. Ere long that lad, Edward Goodnough, became a student of divinity at the mission. Some ten years later, he answered Bishop Kemper’s appeal for a missionary to the Oneidas, and entered on his duties at a moment of sore trial to the tribe. For thirty-two years he has continued to serve them with most honorable fidelity. Mr. Haff, the predecessor of Mr. Goodnough, was also a student of Nashotah.

The young deacons in charge of the associate mission were of course anxious to be ordained to the priesthood. As soon the younger had reached the canonical age they applied to Bishop Kemper for examination, and Ordination. There were then but two Church buildings in Wisconsin; one at Green Bay, the other at Oneida. Bishop Kemper appointed the Indian church at Oneida for the Ordination. The journey from Nashotah was made in a lumber wagon. It was 150 miles to Oneida and several days were passed on the road. There was first a belt of timber twenty miles broad, then over high rolling prairies to Fond du Lac at the foot of Lake Winnebago; and again through the heaviest forest of the whole region, along the entire eastern shore of the Lake, until they reached the Neenah River and Green Bay. Here, crossing the river, they drove to Oneida, twelve miles to the westward. The Rev. Solomon Davis was then officiating at the mission. Sixty Oneidas rode out as usual on horseback to greet their bishop and escort him to the Mission House. On Sunday the whole reservation was in motion; at the call of the bell, men, women, and children came flocking from all directions to Hobart church. {769} Many of the people were still quite wild in garb, wrapped in blankets, the infants hanging in their bark cradles from their mothers’ backs. Soon the solemn service began; it was of a mixed character, partly from the Mohawk Prayer Book, and partly in English. The Oneidas sang very sweetly the familiar chants and hymns in their own liquid dialect. There were on this occasion 160 Indian communicants gathered in the little church.

The small chapel at Nashotah had been for some time in a ruinous condition, but absolute poverty prevented the building of a more appropriate place of worship. Books were needed, food was needed, clothing was needed, and when these more pressing wants were supplied there was nothing left in the treasury. The little chapel was patched up as well as possible, here a plank or two, there a few shingles, but gradually the weak spots enlarged so much that a winter thaw or a summer shower would send the water dripping through the old roof, upon the congregation praying beneath it, but there was no break in the services on account of this state of things. Morning, noon, and evening, every day in the year, the chapel was filled with devout worshippers. Among these, at different times, were three young Oneidas. In the year 1857 Bishop Kemper held an Ordination in the chapel under circumstances somewhat trying. A severe storm of wind and rain was raging without. The congregation collected; the Bishop and clergy took their places in the chancel; the candidates for Ordination were at the chancel rail; the solemn service began. Drip, drip, the water began to fall through the old roof. This was nothing new, but presently still heavier clouds swept over the building and the rain began literally to pour down through the leaks. Still the solemn services went on. The garments of the Bishop and clergy were wet; little pools formed on the floor; water was dripping over the whole body of the chapel, but in the chancel it was falling freely. The service went on unbroken — prayer and praise, chant and hymn, arose as though the storm were unheeded in the solemn purposes of the hour. At length umbrellas were raised in the body of the church, and before the final close of the services they were held also over the heads of the Bishop and officiating clergy, whose garments had become heavy with the water fallen upon them from the roof.

Meanwhile the young clergy were zealously employed in rendering faithful missionary service within a wide circuit. Scarce a log cabin within many miles which they did not visit on some pious errand. They carried the Holy Bible and the Prayer Book into many a pioneer home, where these became eventually the bread of life to parents and children. They were too poor for wagons and horses, and walked regularly to different stations at a distance of twelve miles. Occasionally these journeys on foot extended to a distance of sixty miles. At that date a forest twenty miles in depth, and two hundred in length, covered the western shore of Lake Michigan. On one occasion the services of the missionaries were needed by an individual one hundred and twenty miles from Nashotah. The Rev. Mr. Breck set out, knapsack at his back, and the first day walked forty miles through the forest and over wild prairies; the second day he also walked forty miles. He had hoped to complete the remaining forty miles the third day, Saturday, but tangled tracks amid the Winnebago forests led him astray. Night surprised him. He heard the cry of the wild beasts roaming through the wilderness. Happily he came to the door of a rude cabin where an Indian family received him kindly. Sunday at nine o’clock he arrived at his destination, and began the day with morning service.

Early in the history of Nashotah, two Indian missions were entrusted to its graduates; of these, the most important was Oneida, to which we now return.

{March 27, 1886, p. 784} IX.

{784} The Oneida mission passed, at different periods, through very serious dangers, when it seemed as if the ark of the Church in their midst was about to be severely wrecked. That it was saved by prayer we cannot doubt. There was earnest prayer offered for them in those hours of peril by the living; and we may well believe that the prayers of many in Paradise were also heard by Him Who careth for the poor. Who can doubt that we who are now living are receiving the benefit of prayers offered for us years ago, by those most interested in our welfare. Nay, who can doubt that we of this century, as a Church, and a nation, are receiving the benefit of earnest supplications offered by devout Christian hearts of past generations. The prayers of Bishop Kemper were assuredly heard in behalf of the Oneidas, and doubtless those of Bishop Hobart also brought a blessing. Prayer has a life beyond death.

On the second Sunday of October, 1853, the Rev. Edward A. Goodnough, a young deacon, recently ordained by Bishop Kemper, having resigned the parish at Portage for the purpose, entered on his arduous duties at Oneida. The parish had been vacant about two years. The people had lost ground sadly. A half-wild tribe are in the mental condition of children; they may have made a promising beginning, even decided progress in the right direction, but if abandoned by their guides they must inevitably fall back. When the brave young deacon came among the Oneidas everything was looking very dreary. He was a stranger among a wild race whose language he could neither speak nor understand. The majority of the people were very shy and suspicious. A few of the better men and women, however, received him very kindly. He was living alone in the mission house; they brought him bread, game and fish, washed his clothes and provided him with firewood; but there were others who hoped to drive him away as they had already driven two missionaries off the field. At night they would come about the house, making hideous cries, and savage yells. The Saturday nights were fearfully disorderly. They would go to Green Bay to trade and come back dreadfully intoxicated, shouting, fighting and yelling like so many fiends.

There were at that time white men at Green Bay whose object it was to debase the Indians by all the means in their power, in order to render them odious to the whites, and thus bring about their expulsion from the reservation. They coveted the fertile lands and fine timber of the Oneidas, and to obtain possession of these were eager to drive the red man farther into the wilderness. There was no village on the reservation.

When the white race first explored the territory of the Iroquois tribes, more than two centuries earlier, the wild people lived in strongly stockaded villages of bark lodges. These lodges were well-built in their way, long, in proportion to their width, and occupied by a number of families, to each of whom a portion was allotted. The name given by the Konoshioui [sic — should be Konoshioni], or “United People,” to their confederacy was the People of the Long-House. The eastern door of their long-house was in the Mohawk country, the western in the Seneca country. The Oneidas were next neighbors and “Daughters” of the Mohawks. The English called these stockaded villages “Castles,” and affixed the arms of King George to their gates. During the war of the Revolution these villages were broken up, but the Oneidas, as allies of the Americans, rebuilt several hamlets on their old lands, the principal being dignified by the name of “Castle” — a name it preserved for some time. But there was no long-house, they lived in separate cabins. The people were divided early in this century into the Christian and Pagan parties, both distinctly organized. The Pagan division, having become Christians also, took the name of the “Orchard Party,” from a fine butternut grove where they had built their scattered cabins. Butternut Orchard in Oneida is Ka-na-da-ga-hoc.

From the day when the Oneidas first took possession of their reservation in Wisconsin to the present hour there has been no hamlet in their midst; they were found by their young missionary, in 1853, living on small farms, in separate cabins, on each side of the Duck Creek, which was crossed by six bridges, cabins and bridges being alike built by themselves. The farms were very roughly worked, and carelessly fenced. The cabins, chiefly of logs, were comfortless and untidy. It was surprising how little English was spoken by the people, after two centuries of intercourse with an English-speaking race; there were few men who spoke the language with any facility, and among the women, with one or two exceptions, there were none who could say more than a word or two. It was at first difficult to find a good interpreter; while the Oneida Prayer Book was used, of course, in church, the sermon was interpreted; on one occasion, early in Mr. Goodnough’s ministry, he quoted the text relating to the widow’s two mites; this was interpreted: “She threw into the treasury two little worms”! The church building was in a very dilapidated condition, needing many repairs, while the white paint had been almost entirely washed away by the rain. The congregation was at first very small. At the first celebration of the Holy Communion there were only thirty present. Two years earlier there had been 150 communicants. At the first Confirmation there were only five to receive the rite. The school house was an old tumble-down shanty, with a door at each end, and for chimney an old stove pipe running up boldly through the roof. There were often heavy drifts of snow on the floor during the winter months. The average attendance was only fifteen. The mission house about 800 yards from the church was small, a story and a half high; there were out-houses about it, and a glebe of eight acres. Everything was out of order.

To this desolate mission house, in April ‘54, came a brave young girl not yet seventeen, the newly married wife of the missionary, to whom she had been betrothed for some time previous. Blessed was the day when Ellen Saxton Goodnough came among the Oneidas, with her brave spirit, her warm generous heart, her cheerful, vigorous, healthy nature, and her good judgment. From the day when she first crossed the threshold of the mission house, she scarcely left the reservation even for a few hours, during her busy Christian life, of more than sixteen years. A true helpmeet to her husband, she gave heart and strength to the work among the red people. The Rev. Mr. Davis, and the Rev. Mr. Haff had both been married men, and their wives labored faithfully with them in behalf of the Indian women, but they were not so long connected with the mission, and their influence was not lasting. The cheerful, untiring zeal, the affectionate sympathy, the wise and helpful guidance, with which Ellen Goodnough moved about, day by day, during all those years, among the Oneidas, could scarcely be surpassed in devotion. “She gave her life,” said one who knew her intimately, “through self-denial, and many hardships, and some reproach to the task of elevating the Oneidas; and they loved her warmly in return.” “Her influence became almost unbounded, and her words were law to a great many of the women and girls.” The Oneida Mission begun more than two centuries earlier by the zealous, celibate Jesuit priest from Canada, was now to be carried to a higher development by married missionaries of the Anglican branch of the Church Catholic. Associate missions of unmarried men have already done good work in our Church, and may yet do more; probably it would be better if there were more of this class of missionaries, especially on new ground. But it is clear that much good has also been done by married missionaries, husband and wife working together. Happily our Church is not tied down to either course. She leaves the question of celibate service, where our Lord and His Apostles have left it — to the individual conscience.

{April 10, 1886, p. 28}


{28} When the young missionaries entered on their duties in 1853-4, the aspect of things was wild, and not a little discouraging. But at the end of a few months matters improved very perceptibly, and many of the people learned once more, as in earlier times, to look upon their minister as their best friend. They resumed former habits. Larger numbers came to church and gathered at the mission house. The parsonage was made more comfortable. The church was improved by painting, and the repairs most needed were attended to. But there was neither chancel, nor vestry-room, the roof was leaky, and the floor was paved. There was a good bell, the gift of a chief, and the people at a distance attended to the call, and came more regularly. The sun poured in upon the dusky flock through unshaded windows, the men sitting together on one side, the women on the other. The men were roughly clothed, generally in coarse blue cloth, very carelessly put together. The women came in with their invariably noiseless, gliding step, in very wild garb; they were shrouded in blankets, their heads closely covered with various wrappings, occasionally bead-work, or porcupine work, appearing as trimmings on their cloth leggings and moccasins. Mothers brought their babies in bark cradles, hanging at their backs suspended by the regular burden strap passing around the forehead. When an infant Baptism took place the child was brought up for the service strapped to the cradle board, godfather and godmother in due attendance. The congregation was always respectful, and some of the elder ones were very devout, making all the responses with much feeling and reverence. There was an organ of good tone, well played by the regular organist, one of the chiefs. The singing was always very sweet. Never indeed were the services carried out without the sweet, plaintive voices of the women being heard in the chants and hymns, in their own wild speech. Not a few of the men had also good voices. The people seemed to have a natural taste for music. The prayers were read in Oneida. The sermon though prepared expressly for the mission was translated by the regular interpreter.

The good Bishop at his annual Confirmation in that parish had the question to the candidates plainly translated once and addressed to all. Each of course answered singly. The prayer at the laying on of the Bishop’s hands was also clearly translated once, so that all could understand it, he then proceeded with the words in English. He never attempted to speak to the people in their own dialect which he did not understand. His sermons and addresses were translated by the interpreter; they are said to have been always very simple, very earnest and impressive. He delivered them with fatherly dignity, and much feeling. The people always listened with fixed and reverent attention, and were evidently much edified by them. He generally alluded especially to the sentence of Confirmation and explained it very clearly and impressively to the people.

When a Baptism took place all the addresses to the congregation, to the candidates or the sponsors, were given in Oneida; the prayers were in English, the people being familiar with them from their own Prayer Book. At marriages portions of the service were given in Oneida, the prayers in English, and they were instructed that solemnly joining the hands as in the presence of God and before witnesses was a binding pledge. At funerals the services were held partly in English, partly in Oneida; the opening sentences and the lessons were given in Oneida, the psalm was generally read responsively in English, the younger people soon learning enough to follow the American Prayer Book in this way. They have however the whole service in their own language.

The library of Oneida books, if not large, was of very great value to the people. There was a translation of the New Testament, complete with the exception of Second Corinthians; portions of the Old Testament; the prophesy of Isaiah; a hymn book compiled chiefly from our own; and three different editions of the Prayer Book. The Rev. John Henry Hobart, son of the revered Bishop Hobart, and one of the founders of Nashotah, who had been ordained priest in the little church at Oneida, had inherited the Bishop’s interest in the people, and gave them an improved translation of the Prayer Book, published at his own expense. The translation was prepared by the skilful interpreter, Baptist Doctater. The people valued this last translation greatly, and often read it in their homes with pleasure.

The school was taught by the missionary, who considered this task one of his most important duties. After his marriage the young wife assisted with much zeal in the good work, and during those first months laid the foundation of her deep and affectionate interest in the children. The little dark-eyed, red-skinned, creatures were as wild and shy as the chipmunks and fawns of the forest. The girls were gentle, low-voiced, and timid; they generally came with their heads closely covered in a wrap of some kind. Boys and girls kept carefully apart, it was impossible to coax them to recite in the same classes. But they soon became attached to their bright-faced, kindly, pleasant-mannered teacher, and ere long she acquired very great influence over them, and over their mothers also. The school opened with a short religious service; the general confession, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Creed. They were taught to read, and write, and cipher, from the American school-books in general use. Many of the children were bright, and learned rapidly, others were very dull. After some years of experience the missionary became convinced that the children of parents who could read learned more rapidly than those whose parents had never received any instruction. The work among them was slow, however, as many of them knew little more English than if they had belonged to the Steppes of Tartary. The reluctance with which the children at first learned the language of the whites was amazing. They clung with tenacity of affection to their own wild speech. It required great patience to teach the little black-eyed pupils even the A B C; but the beginning once made they often made good progress. After the older ones had learned to read English, they were taught the use of the few books in their own language. The religious instruction was of course that of our own Church. They learned passages from the Holy Scriptures, the Catechism, and the use of their own Oneida Prayer Book. The punishments in the schools were black marks, and expulsion.

After a time the old shanty of a school-house was burned, and a good building put up in its place. The school-house had always filled an important public position among the people. It was Council Hall and Court House. The Oneidas, like others of their race, were much given to holding talks and councils, and took much satisfaction in speech- making on all public matters. They had written laws of their own, but these were practically obsolete, and all legal causes were tried as much as possible according to the laws of Wisconsin. The chiefs sat as jurors; some man of character and intelligence was chosen as judge, the interpreter often acting in that capacity. The defendant chose whoever he pleased as his attorney; and in criminal cases an attorney of their own appeared for the tribe. They could sue white men, and white men could sue them, in the State courts. All crimes committed on the Reservation were brought before their own Oneida court. If an Oneida committed a crime off the Reservation, he was, of course, tried by the State court. Their trials have generally been carried on with good order and solemnity.

The first year of the missionary service brought with it an event to which the people attached no little importance. The time had come when an Oneida name should be conferred upon their minister. This act was by no means considered an empty compliment, but rather as a public duty which must not be neglected. After the usual preliminary “talks,” the name was chosen, and the time fixed for the event. Every Oneida has a name in his own language; the children are generally named soon after their birth. Some of their names are beautiful, others are ridiculous. It is said that some of the more ignorant of the people, and many of the children, have no knowledge of their American names, or family surnames. They never fail to give Indian names to their white acquaintances, names chosen from some personal traits or some quality characteristic of the individual. They are very close and shrewd observers. When the time came for giving the name to the missionary, a feast was first prepared; this is a compliment conferred only on an individual whom they wish to honor especially. A regular feast having been duly prepared and the people assembled, the chief So-no-sio arose and made a speech. In the course of the speech the Oneida name of the missionary, which had been already settled among the men, was publicly announced. It was “Ka-you-retta, Bright blue sky. This was received with applause, followed by a very warm hand-shaking. Speech-making, feasting, and hand-shaking, never fail to give satisfaction to the Oneidas. They shake hands very heartily, pressing the hands almost painfully at times. The minister having been named, the same compliment was paid rather later to his wife. At the 4ᵗʰ of July feast her Oneida name was announced as “Ky- you-to-sa,” She is planting. The missionary, however, was generally spoken of as “my father,” “our father.” Their word for minister is “Ka-tsi-heu-sta-lis.”

{April 24, 1886, pp. 60-61} XI.

{60} Years passed on, bringing with them steady growth to the work of Oneida. There is nothing brilliant, nothing startling, in the record of this mission. But quiet, healthful, progress is shown as the blessed result of loving charity, and patient perseverance, in sound Christian training. Examples of humble duties in a lowly field, faithfully performed during a long course of years, are less common than one could wish in our own time, and our own country. But such examples are found, and respectfully acknowledged, at Oneida. There was often hardness to be endured in that field. There were peculiar trials; but every effort was made with cheerful Christian patience. The hearts of both husband and wife were deeply interested in their duties among the tribe to whose service they had given themselves. “I love the people!” exclaimed the missionary with great earnestness, at a time of peculiar trial and great danger to the Oneidas. “I dearly love to teach those children!” said Ellen Goodnough within a few hours of her death. And the affection so generously given was warmly returned by the Oneidas.

The Reservation, twelve miles in length, was not entirely occupied by the mission of the Church. About the year 1829-30, wandering Methodist preachers appeared on the ground, the first coming from Canada, it is said. They were generally, at that date, very ignorant, and very prejudiced. As a rule they could neither read nor write. It may be doubted whether those who first came were in regular connection with the Methodist organization. These men were in those early days a trial to the missionary at Hobart church; they came as intruders, stirring up strife among his flock, much given to abuse of the Church, and to praise of their own superior piety. The course of one individual of that class was long remembered; he called himself the Rev. Mr. Sundown, and came especially to convert the people at Hobart church. He stirred up no little trouble; had a small fanatic following; proposed building a meeting-house for his adherents, and actually began the work, but ere long was compelled to leave the Reservation in disgrace from his own misconduct. He could neither read nor write, but was very abusive of the Church. He probably was not a regular Methodist minister. The Methodist settlement owed its origin to the “Orchard Party;” it occupied the western end of the Reservation. Their regular mission dated from 1835, and in 1840 a place of worship was built. They occupied about three-fifths [sic — should read two-fifths; see note at end of No. XV, part 1] of the Reservation and had about the same proportion of the population. There is now a kindly feeling between the two missions, each doing their own work quietly without interfering with the other. It is needless to say that the course of the Church mission was always peaceable, even under abuse. As documents are wanting, and accurate information on the subject cannot easily be obtained, this brief mention of the Methodist portion of Christian work on the Reservation is all that can be offered in these sketches. The Methodists have always used the Oneida Prayer Book, and other translations of the Church in their services.

Very decided improvements became manifest at the end of ten years of faithful labor at Oneida. The number of children attending school increased largely, and they came from a greater distance. The church filled to its greatest capacity. Baptisms were of very frequent occurrence. The Bishop confirmed large classes; the communicants increased to 146. During Lent the little church would be well filled for prayers, the men leaving their work for the service and returning again to their labors afterwards, an example to some white men.

The general appearance of the country bore witness to the improvement. The people became more industrious, and orderly. Heathen practices and superstitions were dying out. There was no person suspected of absolute paganist left on the mission ground. The general respect for the Lord’s Day was very striking. The farms increased in size and in the manner of cultivation; saw-mills, a grist-mill, and blacksmiths’ shops were all worked by the people, who also did a good share of carpenter’s work. The number of log cabins increased, and better frame houses were built. The number of cattle and horses increased. The men were no longer ashamed of farm-work. The women only helped in the lighter out-door labors. There was one task however that wives and mothers would not give up; they always worked in the corn fields with the men; planting, hoeing, and harvesting the maize they considered their privilege by birth-right, a holiday task bequeathed to them by their Konoshioni mothers of bygone ages. The maize, that beautiful plant, and sweet grain, has always held a very important place with the red men, and we who have succeeded them count it a great blessing also. The Iroquois tribes are said to have had twelve different ways of preparing the maize for food.

The first invitation to Ellen Goodnough, as a bride, was often recalled by her in later years. A worthy old woman of the congregation invited her to supper, and with true hospitality gave the minister’s wife the best she had to offer, a kindly greeting, and succotash, made of the fresh young beans, and new maize, eaten out of an iron kettle, placed on the earthen floor, with a wooden spoon. There was no bread. The shiftless untidy way of living in the Oneida cabins greatly distressed Ellen Goodnough. They had no regular hours for meals. Their bedsteads were rude bunks; the beds in many houses were left unmade all day. The washing was irregularly done; ironing often entirely neglected. Tins and woodenware — few in number — were never properly scoured. Their bread was cakes of maize often baked in the ashes. Ere long, almost unconsciously, instinctively, as it were, Ellen Goodnough took the first steps in a course she afterwards pursued steadily until the last days of her life. Naturally bright and cheerful she attracted the Oneida women as visitors to the Mission House, making them kindly welcome, and often entertaining them with a practical lesson in housekeeping, the making of yeast, the kneading of bread, the scouring of a tin, the ironing of a garment, so many object lessons to the shy, but closely observant visitors. Kindly example and friendly teaching in these first steps of civilization gradually produced good results. There was no lack of intelligence in her pupils, the women were generally quick-witted, and their slender fingers were skillful in any task which interested them. But their minds were undisciplined. They could not enter readily into the importance of steady application bodily and mental, at the same time. They were bewildered by the blended regularity and variety of the work of civilized life, and slow to persevere in conquering the difficulty. But ere long, encouraging signs of interest and progress appeared. The women could speak but little English, but kindly feeling has a language of its own; a pleasant smile, a friendly gesture, a bit of fun helped on the instructions. The Oneidas enjoyed a little joke very decidedly, in spite of their quiet shy ways. After the first practical lessons in useful work, gentle guidance and teaching in more important manners followed. To raise the moral and religious tone of the women and girls became the great object of Ellen Goodnough, and her loving efforts in their behalf were greatly blessed for good. “Her constant desire and aim,” said one who knew her intimately, “was to endeavor to improve the condition of the Oneida women in regard to their morals, and their general behaviour, as well as in their households and their clothing. She neglected no opportunity of instructing them by precept and example. Her influence became almost unbounded. She impressed upon them her own strong, noble principles, which have influenced their character for life.”

A visitor to the mission has left on record her impressions of the condition of things at that date. We give a portion of her remarks showing the great improvement.

“The Oneidas have made choice of a fine country. We drove through noble woods. But the roads might be improved. Some of the farms seem to be quite nicely cultivated, and indeed the whole valley looks rich and fertile now, under the summer crops. The houses are small, but many of them are nicely built. I was pleased to see so many little gardens, and flower-borders too. We went into several houses where they received us very kindly, with smiling faces, and pleasant ways. At one house the young woman was ironing; the clothes were beautifully washed, and starched, and the sewing seemed very good. I never saw a neater house than that was, you might have eaten your dinner from the floor. And there were books lying about. They offered us cake here. I like the way the women dress, with a short calico gown over a long skirt, it is peculiar and pleasing. And what nice shoes and stockings they wear fitting so neatly on their small feet. The young women we met wore gipsey hats, very neat and pretty. But we met several old women with shawls over their heads this warm weather. We saw many men at work in the barnyards and fields, in their white shirt sleeves. Several times the farmers we passed invited us to take seats in their wagons. At one house we found an old woman spinning; she could not speak English, but kindly made us welcome, and gave us delicious buttermilk. I noticed her little buttery looked very clean. The people we passed greeted us kindly. We saw several mowing and reaping machines in the fields, with tall, dark- haired farmers working them. The people in general seem more slow in their movements than Yankees are. We walked behind two young men who had rakes on their shoulders, they went slouching along at a slow pace, talking together in Oneida. It seems strange that the people should be so very slow to learn English, and cling so to their own language. In one house we saw an old grandfather petting two little grandchildren at a great rate; they are very fond of their children, and very kind to them. In the cottage I noticed bright tins, and neat shelves. There was a drawing framed, done by an Oneida girl. They have a taste for drawing, and music, and the young men are going to have a grand brass band. In passing several small houses we saw earthen floors; these mud floors were the common rule twelve years ago. We passed a barn door hanging awry; they say all strangers notice some barn door awry, or fence half down; they are slow to make small repairs, but improve every year. We saw Oneida books in several houses, and the prophecy of Isaiah was taken down from a shelf to show us. They gave us a beautiful bunch of flowers at one house, from their own garden, and at another house they set before us beautiful raspberries and rich cream. When I offered the little girl who set them on the table, fifty cents, as we came away, she blushed, and looked at her mother, the mother flushed, and made the child hand the money back. They are very hospitable, and as a rule not mercenary. Since the people have lived in houses, away from the smoke of wigwams, and have learned the use of soap, they have become much lighter in complexion, not darker than Mexicans. They are very kind in sickness, very gentle in all the relations of life. The men are tall plain farmers, simple in their ways. The women are smaller {61} than the men. Nothing but the coarse straight hair, and strange speech recall the Indian.”

{May 1, 1886, pp. 75-76} XII.

{75} While the Oneidas were thus improving in Christian civilization, dark clouds were gathering over the tribe. The people were threatened with utter ruin. With every year the lands of the Oneidas improved in value through their own labors. At the same time the adjoining country was filling up more closely with a white population. As a natural consequence of this state of things the greed of speculators increased. The usual unscrupulous cunning was employed to bring about the ends of these covetous men. They declared that the lasting improvement of an Indian tribe was impossible. They boldly asserted that missionary labors among them had been utter failures. The character of the Oneidas was assailed at every point. Their improvement was denied; they were declared to be utterly incapable of all civilization, present or future. All efforts to better their social condition were held up to ridicule, scoffed at as a puerile absurdity, an insult to common sense. Any crime committed on the Reservation, was magnified ten-fold, and received a dark coloring. Strenuous efforts were made to excite the hatred of their white neighbors against the entire tribe. Their legal rights were ignored. They were declared to be utterly unworthy to hold the lands they had themselves purchased, lands the possession of which had been guaranteed to them by the National Government. Their fate was already decreed by these covetous men — they must be driven into the remote wilderness. To decree this removal was to condemn a whole tribe of more than partially civilized people to degradation, and to death. Deep was the anguish in the Oneida homes — those Christian homes — where with every month the plots of their enemies revealed themselves more clearly. Deep was the sympathy of their bishop, of their missionary.

It is a striking fact that at this very period the hearts and hands of the people were occupied with the preparations for building a new church. Since placing themselves under the care of Bishop Hobart in 1816, the Oneidas had built three different churches, with their own means. St. Peter’s church, a respectable wooden building consecrated by Bishop Hobart, on their old Reservation in New York; a temporary church of squared logs built with their own hands, as soon as they settled on the lands they had purchased in Wisconsin; and a respectable wooden church built under the direction of the Rev. Mr. Davis, in 1839, and named by the people Hobart church. This building had been enlarged and improved under the successive missionaries, Mr. Davis, Mr. Cadle, Mr. Haff, and Mr. Goodnough. It had now become much too small, and was also out of repair. The Oneidas resolved to build a substantial new church of stone, of good architectural design. They new that it would require a long time to carry out their plan, but they set to work with manly courage and industry. Timber and stone were to be furnished from their own woods and quarries, by their own labors; all the work that they could do was to be cheerfully done by themselves; the finer parts of the building were to be finished by skilled workmen from abroad, paid by the Oneidas.

A little family of children had now gathered about Ellen Goodnough, but devoted mother as she was, her interest in the Oneidas continued warm and active as ever. Several of her children were carried to the font for Baptism, by Indian godparents; one boy had two god-fathers, and a god-mother all Oneidas. The red people were very fond of the children at the Mission House; they gave them Indian names of their own, and received them into the tribe with the same absolute adoption as their ancestors had practiced in former ages. With the superior tribes of the race, adoption was no mere form, it was a strong reality.

With every month the dangers to the Oneidas were now increasing. There was a regular conspiracy to obtain possession of their lands, to drive them far into the wilderness. At the head of this conspiracy was the Indian agent at Green Bay, regularly appointed by the Government for the protection of the Indians. It is a disgraceful fact that in other cases the Indian Agents have betrayed their trust, and proved enemies rather than friends of the red men. The agent holding office at that date came on the Reservation and forbade the people to cut their own timber. He declared that the Government had resolved to remove them from the Reservation. He offered to purchase their land for $2.50 an acre; land of the same character adjoining the Reservation, was at that very hour selling for $12 an acre. He ordered them to sell their land, in the name of the Government. He declared that if they would not give up their lands they would be driven off at the point of the bayonet. For each of these assertions and orders he had not a shadow of authority. The people in general were down-hearted, all but despairing. The chiefs were indignant. Great was also the indignation of the missionary; but it was necessary for him to act with the greatest caution lest he also should be driven from Oneida by the political cunning of the agent. The Church at large, seemed, at that date, to have forgotten the existence of the Oneida Mission, and knew nothing of their wrongs. The country scarcely gave a thought to their {76} responsibilities with regard to the race with whom they had made solemn treaties. That worldly men, the lower order of politicians, selfish speculators, reckless traders, with hearts hardened by the love of lucre, should seek to trample the very life out of the red man without one scruple of conscience, may not be surprising. Such a course is only consistent with that degrading devotion to the service of Mammon only too common in our day. In too many cases that devotion is fanatical, fierce, frenzied. But that the better class of our people, Christian men and women, should have been for so many years utterly indifferent to the fate of the race in our midst, seems incomprehensible. Thanks be to God the Church has now cast off her lethargy in this particular. With such leaders as Bishop Whipple, Bishop Hare, and Mr. Herbert Welsh, she has now aroused herself to the imperative duty of laboring earnestly for the Christian civilization of the Indian. And let us also thank God that during those long years of chilling neglect, of culpable apathy, some thirty years since, there were yet here and there, a few faithful men and women praying and working for the red men, in the midst of the general forgetfulness of duty. Foremost among the friends of the Indian, of that date, we reverently name Bishop Kemper, whose example and influence did so much to keep alive the feeble missionary action as regards the Indians. And foremost among those who shared their bishop’s convictions the faithful missionaries at Oneida must be named with respect.

{May 15, 1886, pp. 107-108}


{107} Many were the councils held by the Oneidas in this time of trial, during the years 1867 and ‘68. At that date the tribe was governed by a council composed of a chief and sub-chief, from the seven different bands or “totems” of the tribe. From time immemorial the Iroquois tribes have been divided into eight different bands or “totems” originating in family relationship. The “totems” were the badges assumed by each; the wolf, the turtle, the bear, the deer, the beaver, the falcon, the crane, and the plover. Of these only seven were preserved among the Oneidas. The seven chiefs and sub-chiefs of these “totems” or bands were elected for life by the women! But the matrons among the Konoshioni had a certain political influence recognized by the men; they met in council on occasions of importance, and, for instance, were the especial peace-makers, in time of war. Some ten years since there was an important change in the political condition of the tribe. From that date annual elections have been held by the men in October, when a chief sachem and six councillors are elected by the whole tribe without regard to the “totems,” to serve for one year. But at the date of the troubles of which we are now writing the old form of election still existed. The chiefs and sub-chiefs met almost daily in council, and the agent from Green Bay often came over, full of threats and intimidation. Occasionally it is said bribery was resorted to. The missionary kept aloof from these councils, but his opinions were well known, and his advice always faithfully given to the people when asked. The very great majority of the tribe were strongly opposed to any removal. A direct appeal to the government at Washington was resolved upon. The newspapers at Green Bay and Chicago were active in the conflict. The chiefs became very indignant, and one of them, Cornelius Hill, a man who would do credit to any community, wrote an answer to the calumnies of the agent. His letter is here reprinted. This champion of his people was educated at Nashotah.

Editors of the Green Bay Advocate:

I am surprised and grieved to read, as I do in the Gazetteof June 5, such language as the following concerning the Oneidas. I quote from an article in the Gazette, written by a correspondent of the Chicago Republican, with whose opinions I have nothing to do, and about which I care nothing, but this correspondent brings in the name of the Hon. M.L. Martin, and refers to him as an old resident of Green Bay and as the U.S. Indian Agent, as being the source from which he received his information. Mr. M.L. Martin informs this correspondent that —

“All efforts to civilize the Oneidas have failed; that the Oneidas are thriftless, reckless and beastly people; that they are, every five of them, the useless consumers of the subsistence that would sustain a thousand white men; that the Oneidas are a nuisance and an obstacle to the progress of Green Bay, and that the government of the United States ought to accede to the wishes of the people of Green Bay and remove the Oneidas to some place where they may be no longer such a hindrance to the welfare of Green Bay.”

Now, I am a member of the Oneida tribe, and do not feel disposed to permit such slanders of my people to pass uncontradicted. Mr. Martin is an honorable gentleman, an old resident of Green Bay, and the U.S. Agent, having charge of my tribe; he ought therefore on each of these accounts, to be the last person to depreciate the Oneidas in the estimation of the citizens of the United States but should give them the full benefit of all the praise for all the real progress they have made in civilization, which a regard to truth with justify.

Mr. Martin is brought forward endowed with all the above qualifications for a truthful and impartial witness, and really his testimony ought to be received as true, and no more ought to be said on the subject, but truth and honor demand that this testimony be proved to be basely false and slanderous.

I am but a young man, yet since I can remember, the Oneidas have advanced a great deal in civilization. Instead of “all efforts made by good men to lead my people on in civilization having failed,” these efforts are now actively carried on in the tribe and no thoughts of failure disturb those who support and carry them on; in fact greater success is attending those efforts to-day than ever before. It was but a short time ago that my people were sunk in the depths of barbarism; this fact is not their fault. All nations were once in barbarism and many far lower in the scale of human existence. Not many years ago my people all lived in bark or mat wigwams; now they all have houses of some sort, many of them have good and comfortable dwellings, and a ride through our settlements and through any other town of white farmers will convince anyone not blinded by prejudice and avarice that our houses are ten times better and more comfortable than the wigwams of a few years ago.

My people used to eat out of a common wooden dish placed on the earth floor of the wigwam, each one of the family or company squatting around it, armed with a wooden ladle, and dressed in nature’s own garb; now we all have tables to eat from, chairs to sit on, plates, cups, knives, forks, spoons, clean food cooked for the most part on good cooking stoves, instead of in the smoke and ashes of a wigwam; we are clothed in civilized garments, and most of us implore the blessing of our Heavenly Father upon our food and ourselves before partaking of what we all realize to be the good gifts of our God.

We used to sleep on the ground or on skin or a mat spread on the floors of our huts; now we all have civilized beds to sleep on and take our rest between civilized sheets as other men do.

Once we lived on the game and fish we caught and killed; now we have large farms, raise wheat, corn, rye, oats, peas, potatoes, beans and other crops suitable for cultivation in this climate. We live, for the most part, on what we raise on our farms, and can furnish forth as good a meal of victuals and one as well cooked as can be furnished in any white farmer’s house.

Our women can make good bread from wheat flour, and they can cook all kinds of food in a civilized way; can set a clean table, make butter, and their own and their children’s clothes, after a civilized manner. We have good barns, cows, horses, oxen, wagons, plows, harrows, axes, hoes, pitchforks, a reaping {108) machine, and two eight horse power threshing machines.

We have churches; the Lord’s day is regularly observed as a day of rest and Divine worship, and our people contribute liberally towards the support of their churches, in labor, in money, and in kind. We have schools where our children learn to read and write and cipher. There are now over 200 of your children being instructed in our schools.

The family tie or relation is sacredly regarded. We no longer have two or more wives, as in our wild state, but every man has his own wife and every woman her own husband, and we bring up our children at home in the family in a civilized way. Many white people and all uncivilized Indians have more than one wife, and this custom is well known to be a sign and test of barbarism, which cannot be found amongst the Oneidas.

There is not a jail, a grog-shop, or a house of ill-fame amongst my people; all of them exist where Mr. Martin lives at Green Bay, whose civilized progress must not be arrested by the presence of the Oneidas in its vicinity.

Mr. Martin ought to view his own people, they have for more than a thousand years been under the influence of civilization, yet how many reckless, thriftless white people there are. Look at this Green Bay whose progress must not be impeded by the presence of Indians; how many drunkards, gamblers, adulterers, shameless women, liars, thieves, cheats, idlers, consumers, slanderers there are there.

They have all kinds of religion in Green Bay, yet the greater part of the people appear to be a godless set. The whites have had great opportunities to advance in civilization, yet thousand of them have failed to become civilized; the Indians have had but a short time to become so, yet because they do not all at once become refined and civilized in a day, Mr. Martin says they are a nuisance and ought to be removed!

The efforts to civilize the Oneidas have failed no more than the efforts to civilize the whites. The whites are not willing to give us time to become civilized, but must remove us to some barbarous country as soon as civilization approaches us. The whites claim to be civilized; from them we must learn the arts and customs of civilized life, but our people learn to become drunkards of white people; if a civilized white man gets drunk, why should not a red Indian? The whites teach our people all their vices and learn them to despise virtue. The whites should try to elevate instead of trying to degrade and destroy us. Mr. Martin ought to assist us, he is the authorized agent of the United States to us, and ought, therefore, to see that our people do not obtain the means of intoxication of the whites, which is the greatest hindrance to our advancement in civilization, but he does not lift a finger towards warding off this curse from us. Instead of devising plans for our advancement in civilization, he bends all his energies to the work of depriving us of our homes.

Instead of helping us to improve our condition, he is not willing that we should peaceably enjoy our own possessions, yet he is our white friend, and represents to us the kindly interest and benevolence which the white race as personified in the U.S. Government feels in our welfare.

Such sentiments and actions, Mr. Martin no doubt considers the very natural outgrowth of that civilization he speaks of, and to which he has been subjected all his life. If such be really the case the less my people have of it the better.

But I am well aware that such feelings cannot find place in the mind of a truly civilized man, be he white, black, or red, but are the offspring of that rapacious and utterly selfish spirit which has stripped us of our former homes, and which unconsciously to themselves influences the minds and good judgments of many, otherwise, decent men.

The civilization which I and the greater part of my people aim at is one of honor and truth; one that will raise us to a higher state of existence here on earth and fit us for a blessed one in the next world.

We intend to strive after this civilization, and strive after right here where we are now, being sure that we shall find it no sooner in the wilds beyond the Mississippi.

Our progress may be slow, and with the adverse circumstances surrounding us, it cannot well be otherwise, but progress is our motto, and those who labor to deprive us of this small spot of God’s footstool will labor in vain. Mr. Martin and his white friends had better try to improverather than to remove0 us, and thus benefit us and themselves at the same time.


A Chief of the first Christian party of Oneidas.

Oneida Reserve, June 13, 1868.

{May 22, 1886, pp. 123-124}


{123} When Mr. Goodnough first took the duties of missionary at Oneida a party had been formed among the people against all Christian work in the tribe. One of the leading chiefs declared that he had driven away two missionaries already, and intended to drive away the third. This chief had at that time a small fanatical following among the Pagan party whose cry it was that the Great Spirit had made them Indians and that they intended to remain Indians, and would not become civilized and Christians. “We mean to have Indian ways, and live and die Indians,” was the cry of this party, in 1853. Their leader encouraged them, by way of keeping up his own influence. It was through this party that the missionary in the early stages of his work met with many trials. Their leader had been to Washington on business for the tribe; he told the Oneidas that religion was only fit for women and children, he added: “The great men of Washington never go to church, they drink and play cards all day Sunday.” Gradually however, the influence of the missionary increased, and for a time the Pagan element was silenced. But when the agent had decided to drive the people to sell their lands, he turned to the chief referred to, and made an ally of him. This chief was induced to approve of the sale, and to persuade some others to adopt his views. After receiving the letter from the President stating that the Government had no intention of removing them, or selling their lands, there was quiet on the Reservation for a time. But the conspirators had not lost sight of their plot. The following summer the crops failed, especially the Indian corn on which the Oneidas depended in a great measure for food. The people had therefore no other means of substitute than cutting wood from the forest for sale. They made shingles, cut firewood, square timber, and railroad ties. The women made baskets and brooms. By these means they lived comfortably, although the crops had failed. Suddenly the agent called a general council. Here he read what he declared to be an order from the Government forbidding the people to cut a single stick of timber excepting for their own firewood or building purposes, and threatening them with prison if they disobeyed. In dismay the Indians again applied to their missionary, telling him that they must starve, or beg, unless they could cut their timber and sell it. Mr. Goodnough told them he thought the order was written by the agent to frighten them into selling their land; he advised them to go on cutting their timber as this was their only means of support at the time. Again the agent called a general council, reading the same order, and threatening to march soldiers on the Reservation if the people disobeyed; he also forbade their consulting the missionary, or asking him to write letters for them. The agent alone must write all their letters to the Government. He warned them that if the missionary gave them advice, or wrote letters for them, he, the agent, would drive him from the Reservation. Here the young chief Onontquago, Cornelius Hill, said they had always consulted their minister about their affairs, why not continue to do so now? “If he writes a word for you, or gives advice about temporal business, I will drive him off the Reservation at once,” was the answer. Here the old chief, the ally of the agent, exclaimed: “We must cut the minister’s head off!” meaning the threat in a figurative sense, of course. Onontquago then exclaimed with great indignation: “I put my arms around the minister! You must cut my head off first, before you cut the minister’s head off!” Loud applause followed this speech of Onontquago, the building resounding with “Toh! Toh! Toh!” hear! hear! hear! and “Yoh! Yoh! Yoh!” right! right! right! Some days passed. Then the agent wrote to the missionary saying he had received an order from the Department forbidding the Indians to cut their timber, and if the missionary advised the people to disregard this order he would be removed from the Reservation. The missionary wrote in reply asking for a copy of the order. The agent answered he was not bound to show the orders of the Department. The missionary then wrote to the Indian Commissioner at Washington, enclosing copies of the agent’s letters, and his own, and asking for a copy of the order forbidding the cutting of timber. The Commissioner immediately forwarded copies of the whole correspondence with the agent relating to the subject, showing clearly that the agent had urged the Department to forbid the Indians to cut their timber, but the Department had refused to do so. The plot was thus discovered. But the conspirators only increased their activity. The agent called secret councils of his own adherents. His hatred of the missionary increased. Suddenly the agent left for Washington. His object was at first a secret, but soon it was discovered that he had gone to make final arrangements for selling the Reservation. Without delay Onontquago called a council at the Mission school-house; the chiefs dictated a letter to the missionary for the authorities at Washington protesting in the strongest manner against the sale of their lands. Seven chiefs, and all the men present, signed this letter. The agent, while telling the commissioner that “a large majority of the Indians desired to sell” was met by this letter containing their strong protest. He returned a defeated man, but was more {124} abusive and violent in his threats than ever. But the joy of the Indians was unbounded at being allowed to retain possession of their own lands!for a time they were happy. Again the agent called a general council. He told the people he was authorized to remove their missionary from the Reservation. “For what cause?” inquired Onontquago. “For writing letters to Washington, and interfering with the business affairs of the tribe.” This man’s object was now to frighten the missionary and the people into quiet, by the threat of removal. Artful men were employed to spread evil reports about the missionary: among other things he was accused of speculating with the Indian timber! All this was easily disproved. But the people were kept for months in an uneasy, restless condition, summoned to councils, and “talks,” with the agent, to the neglect of their farms and crops. Another device was now adopted. The agent announced to the people that he had been instructed by the Department to take down the names of all in favor of selling, and if the number proved a majority, the lands would be sold, in spite of any protest. He appointed two men to go through the Reservation taking down the names. These men began their round, but were compelled to give up the task, owing to the opposition of the people. Again the missionary was asked to write to Washington, by the chiefs, complaining of this fresh trouble. Soon after to the great joy of the Oneidas this agent was removed. The facts connected with these procedings have been given in detail, as they are a specimen of the character of other trials of the same nature, in other agencies among the Indian tribes. These troubles lasted at Oneida for some years, with more or less force, under two successive agents. But at length the Government was aroused to a more just policy as regards the Oneidas, unworthy agents were no longer allowed to follow their own covetous plots on the Reservation. The tribe are now living in peaceful possession of the lands they purchased nearly sixty years since. They are no longer in fear of being removed into the wilderness. And the same missionary who has watched with fatherly interest and affection over the flock at Hobart church is still laboring faithfully among them, after nearly thirty-three years of service.

Not only public disturbances, but all private troubles of the communicants were brought to the Mission House for settlement — and continue to be so. Quite early in Mr. Goodnough’s ministry, four men of good character in the parish were appointed as his advisers. They are chosen by the communicants. They watch over the conduct of the communicants, and make monthly reports to the missionary. There have frequently been nearly 200 communicants in good standing. Rules were drawn up by the pastor for the direction of the people, and were adopted by a vote of the communicants. If a rule is broken by a communicant, he or she is suspended for the length of time specified by the rule connected with that particular offence. The suspension takes place publicly, in church, on Communion days, and at the same time persons who are worthy are publicly admitted to Communion. When these rules were first adopted there would be some suspensions every month, but later, they became much less frequent, for the public suspension was dreaded, and the communicants were careful in their conduct.

The interest of the people in their church building continued undiminished. They were becoming anxious for a larger and better church, of stone, but in the meantime made frequent repairs on the wooden church built in 1839. There had never been a proper altar at Hobart church. The Communion table in used until 1868 was a common wooden table, no longer in good condition, and covered with a square cloth once red, but long since faded to a dingy gray. The people now decided that it was a duty to have a more suitable table for the Holy Communion, and threw themselves, men and women, earnestly into the task of providing an altar. The money was raised by the women by selling berries, making baskets and mats, while the men gave freely from their earnings. They were all very anxious that the altar should be in place for the next visitation of their venerable Bishop, which was close at hand. They were not disappointed. The $80 required were raised in time, the missionary prepared the design, and the altar was made at Green Bay, and placed in the church for the next visitation of the Bishop. He was now an aged man, nearly four-score, and growing feeble, but he still filled his appointments with regularity. “Our Bishop never disappoints us,” was a common saying among the people. The congregations were now too large for the building. The attendance was always good. Not only did the people gather at the sound of the bell on Sundays, but at week-day prayers, and festivals. During the services of Lent, the church would often be well filled, the men coming in from their work, joining devoutly in the service, and then returning to their labors.

{May 29, 1886, p. 139}


{139} An error occurs in a recent paper of this series, regarding the “totem” of the Oneidas. Originally, throughout the Iroquois tribes, there were but three “totems” or bands, the Turtle, the Wolf, and the Bear. At a later period other bands were formed, under the leadership of prominent warriors, and these assumed names or “totems” of their own, making the number up to eight. These younger bands were called “Pine Trees,” that grew of themselves, and could not boast of the same antiquity as the original three. It is remarkable what an important place the tortoise or turtle held in the rude mythology of the red race of this part of the world, not only among the Iroquois, but in many other tribes. The tortoise is Au-waul, in Oneida, the wolf, O-tai-you, the bear O-qual. A few more Oneida words are given to show the character of their language: Butternut tree, Hay-kay-wha-tha; Duck Creek, the place of many ducks, Ta-long-go-wa-nay; Green Bay, the home of many men, Hau-ha-ta-lik-ong-gay; a tree, Kail-he-tay; forest, Kail-ha-gon; oak tree, Oto-geu-ha-kail-he-tay; pine tree, Onayta-kailhetay; ash tree, Kan-lone Kail-he-tay; flowers of all kinds, O-gi-gi-a.

As years passed over, steady progress in civilization continued among the Oneidas and was remarked by all who visited the mission. The moral and religious tone was very encouraging. “The mission is in a prosperous condition,” wrote Mr. Goodnough to a friend in 1869. “The people are doing well. When we look back fifteen years, and compare the condition of things then, with the present, we can hardly restrain our expressions of wonder and thankfulness. God has wrought wonders. We have enemies now, as we have always had, and must expect always to have, but they have not seriously injured us.”

The venerable Bishop Kemper, although now growing very aged and infirm, continued his visitations regularly, and was always received by the Oneidas with the utmost respect and affection. They thronged out to meet him on the road — men, women and children. He was indeed to them a beloved father. A few years earlier he had made an appointment to visit the mission in autumn; a worthy old woman gathered a very large basket of blackberries in August, slung it at her back by the burden-strap passing around her forehead, and walked twenty miles to Appleton, where she sold them for eight cents a quart; with the money she bought a very pretty cup and saucer costing $1.75; this she brought to Mrs. Goodnough, and said: “These are for our father, the Bishop, to drink tea out of.” They were shown to the Bishop, when he came, and he was greatly pleased. Whenever he came they were placed on the table for his use. In 1869, they were not on the supper table. “Where is my cup? is it broken” he asked. It had only been forgotten, and was soon placed before him. “Now I can drink my tea in comfort,” said the good Bishop. He had always been very kind to the mission family, and in conjunction with the Rev. Dr. Adams, was then educating the eldest boy. This was the last visitation of their dear old Bishop to the Oneidas. He died the 24ᵗʰ of May, 1870, in his 81ˢᵗ year.

Only a week later, May 30th, after a short, but severe, illness, Ellen Goodnough was taken from her husband and children, and the people she had served so faithfully. But a few hours before her death she exclaimed: “I love dearly to teach those children,” meaning the Oneida children; and after her death an envelope was found addressed to a friend at a distance, prepared for a letter she had written in defence of the Oneidas, who were at that date included with other tribes in the threat of extermination! This threat was in consequence of the terrible Indian massacres perpetrated in revenge for many abuses, by the heathen tribes to the westward. Had there been no abuses on the part of our Government and people, there would have been no massacres by the Indians. The threat of extermination was raised in passion by a portion of our people. Those whose memories carry them back to that period can recall with shame this cry of extermination of a whole race, repeated by many newspapers, and heard, alas, in some instances under philanthropic roofs. The bloody revenge of the barbarous Indians was horrible. But still more horrible would have been the barbarous revenge threatened by a portion of our people. Of course the government never contemplated any measures so disgraceful to Christian civilization. But the Oneidas, quiet, peaceable, industrious, and in a great measure civilized, were included in the outcry against the race. To defend them against accusations in their case utterly false and unjust, Ellen Goodnough, with warm-hearted, generous indignation, wrote her last letter. There was a wail of the deepest grief throughout the Reservation when one who had been as a mother to the people breathed her last. The Oneidas were heart-broken. Many gathered about the Mission House during her last hours, praying and weeping day and night. From the moment of her death they kept vigil about the house, singing mournful chants and hymns from the Church services, until the hour of the funeral. When the simple and most touching procession moved from the house, husband, children and weeping people, the Oneidas began a beautiful, but most mournful chant, singing in their own melodious and musical tones, until the church door was reached. The service was performed by the Rev. Mr. Steele of Green Bay. His sermon was translated for the Oneidas, and is said to have given them much comfort. Ellen Goodnough was laid to rest, in the quiet mission cemetery, beside the little boy she had lost, whose stone bore the Indian name his Oneida friends had given him, and surrounded by many Christian graves of the people she had so faithfully served. Strangers who had come from a distance to offer their sympathy and respect to the bereaved missionary, were much impressed with the respectable appearance, the depth of feeling, the devotional manner, and the very touching singing of the Oneidas.

The first celebration of the Holy Communion after the death of Mrs. Goodnough is said to have been a remarkable and most impressive service. The church was crowded by the people, all showing deep feeling, bowed down with grief. At the close of the service, the Celebration itself, the missionary’s voice failed him; in distributing the holy bread and wine, he could not speak in an audible tone, but passed in silence from one of the mourning people to the other. A friend who was present declared that the overpowering grief of the people, their fervent devotion, and the solemn silence, rendered this the most impressive service she had ever attended.

About four years before her death Mrs. Goodnough began a diary, recording the little events of mission life among the Oneidas; this was written for the information of two friends, living at a distance, who were much interested in Indian missions. Some extracts from this diary will be given after the closing paper of the present series of sketches has appeared next week. The diary will be found very interesting from its truthfulness, giving an accurate idea of mission work among a peculiar people, as seen from within.

In the month of October, 1871, occurred the terrible forest fires which destroyed many small hamlets in Wisconsin, and in which not a few lives were lost. These fires were raging with great fury at no great distance from the Oneida Reservation. Small settlements and farms were destroyed, and broad reaches of forest entirely burned. The air was thick and oppressive with smoke. A constant watch was kept up on the Reservation day and night. The flames reached the Oneida forests and destroyed much timber. But no buildings of any importance were injured. The fences at the mission were burned, and the Church parsonage and school-house in much danger. They were only saved by vigilant watchfulness, day and night. In some parts of Wisconsin the waters became so much impregnated with lye from the burnt districts that for several months they could not be used. In the lumber country streams a hundred feet in width became useless, and during some months of the following winter the men were compelled to use snow for drinking and cooking.

Several errors have occurred in these papers owing to the fact that the writer was at too great a distance to correct the proofs. Should the sketches be collected in a book form the necessary corrections will of course be made. But one error must not remain longer without correction. The Methodist portion of the Reservation, now in very good condition, covers two-fifths, and not three-fifths, of the land and population.

{June 5, 1886, p. 155} XV. CONCLUSION.

{155} The Oneidas have been happy in their Father in God. Bishop Armitage, who succeeded the venerable Bishop Kemper, in the diocese of Wisconsin, soon acquired their confidence and affection. But he lived only a short time, until 1873. Two years later, in 1875, the new diocese of Fond du Lac was formed from a portion of the diocese of Wisconsin, including Brown County, and the Oneida Reservation. In December of the same year, the Rev. John Henry Hobart Brown was consecrated Bishop of Fond du Lac. The Oneidas found in him another kind and wise counsellor and friend.

The people were now very much occupied with the work for the new stone church, which they had planned many years earlier. Their serious troubles with agents and traders had not led them to abandon this work. As a people they had always been much interested in the building, which was for them the House of God. They had repeatedly given freely of their labor and money for repairs on the wooden church built in 1839. And now they were very anxious to build a substantial stone church of good architectural design, and large enough to accommodate eight hundred people. For years the men had given one day in every week to the labor of preparing the lumber and quarrying the stone needed for the new building, while the women, and even the children were bringing their small earnings to the missionary to be added to the church fund. The men also raised about $200 in money every year, to be given to the fund. This money was invested at interest, in the Savings Bank, at Green Bay. An excellent plan was prepared by the Rev. Charles Babcock, the architect, as a gift to the mission. The church was to be in the early English style, with low massive walls, heavy buttresses, and a steep roof. It was to be 48 by 68 exclusive of porch and chancel.

Bishop Brown felt a deep interest in the plan for the new church, and the sympathy with the Oneidas increased throughout the diocese. In June, 1883, the following appeared in the diocesan paper, at Fond du Lac:

FOND DU LAC, June 11, 1883

I cordially commend the statement and appeal of the Oneida Indians and their missionary, whose thirty years of service prove his devotion to their welfare, to the kindly consideration of Churchmen in the diocese and elsewhere.

Some of the tribe, members of the Church, were encouraged by Bishop Hobart about fifty years ago, to seek a home for themselves in Wisconsin. They succeeded by purchase and treaty in acquiring a common interest in the Menominee territory. When the Indian rights to the soil of Wisconsin were bought by the United States government, one of the stipulations made by the Oneidas was, that the United States should build them on their Reservation a church, costing four thousand dollars. This they named Hobart church, in honor of their venerated friend. It is a structure of wood, too small for the use of the tribe, out of repair and unsafe. The Oneidas have slowly increased in number. There are now about fourteen hundred in all, of whom about nine hundred are baptized children of the Church. These steadily improve in Christian character and in the arts of civilization; forming a community much respected for honesty, industry and general morality. They are lovers of divine worship, and are reverent, patient and docile. Old and young, men and women, throng the church in such numbers that they require a building both commodious and strong. A suitable plan has been made for the church by the Rev. Charles Babcock, professor of architecture, Cornell University. The case of these Oneidas appeals strongly to the hearts of Churchmen. I do not doubt that their simple faith in their heavenly Father’s power, and their confidence in the love and liberality of their brethren will be vindicated and rewarded.

J.H. HOBART BROWN,  Bishop of Fond du Lac.

Early in the spring of 1884 statements were handed to the Bishop, showing that the amount of the building fund was at that date $6,000. A contract was then drawn up with a responsible firm, who engaged to complete the new church for $7,878, providing all but the stone and sand. The contract was signed by the Bishop and the missionary. Only a few weeks later the savings bank, in which the earnings of the Oneidas had been deposited, failed! Their money had vanished! This was a hard blow indeed. But the people bore it with admirable Christian courage. They never faltered, but encouraged each other to continue their efforts to build the new church for the Lord’s service, and the good of the tribe. The Bishop was greatly grieved at this failure after eleven years of patient, self-denying toil. He told the Oneidas that “their faith was now being tried, their patience must be perfected, their zeal must be proved, their courage tested, and that they must continue this good work undertaken in the fear and love of their Heavenly Father.” And in this dark hour he issued another earnest appeal.

Much sympathy was shown to the Oneidas in this sore trial. Within two years the new fund amounted to $5,000. And now it is greatly hoped that the first steps in building, may be taken this summer, 1886. The men after nearly fifteen years of faithful labor, are still at work, and they give every Monday to this task and have quarried and drawn more than 100 cords of stone to the site of the new church. They are also busy in drawing sand, and the material furnished by the builders.

The condition of the people is satisfactory. They are considered good farmers. They advance steadily in civilization. They are generally temperate, honest and industrious. There are several carpenters, sled-makers, a blacksmith, several shoe- makers, and one or two small stores on the Reservation. There are three or four threshing machines, many seeders, mowers and reapers, and horse-rakes, owned and worked by the Oneidas. Most of the principal women have good sewing machines, and are neat sewers, and good housekeepers. Many families have good kitchen and flower gardens. The Oneidas raise winter and spring wheat, oats, barley, rye, maize and potatoes. Teams and wagons have increased greatly, especially horse teams. Cattle have not increased as much as horses, owing to the difficulty of providing for them during the long winters of Wisconsin. For the same reason there are but few sheep. There are no saloons, or drinking places on the Reservation.The women are generally modest in manner, and chaste in character.

The population has doubled in the last forty years. It is now more than 1500. Among them are some very aged people: William Antone, Tyo-girl-art or Black Squirrel, is 97; Mary Hill, Oya-go-dent, Benevolence, is 90; Jacob Cornelius, Eus-quien, Foremost, is 89; his sister, Mrs. Meteseu, Tay-kar-kas-yous, Distributer, is 91.

The parish of Hobart church numbers about 900 souls; Baptized persons 841, Baptisms last year, 41 infants, confirmed 12 {sic}. Confirmations this year 25, communicants 168, Sunday scholars 149, parish school 126, offerings $551.47.

May these our brethren of the Oneida Mission, continue to “flee from that which is evil, and cleave to that which is good.” May they move steadfastly onward in the blessed path of God’s holy commandments! Amen.