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Guide to the American Indian Collection
  MS 322

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Ted O'Reilly

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on October 19, 2011
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Title: American Indian Collection
Dates: 1651-1872
Abstract: This collection is composed of various documents relating to the history of American Indians from the early period of European settlement up to the late 19th Century, particularly covering their relationship with European and American settlers, and the colonial and American governments.
Quantity: 0.3 Linear feet (1 box)
Location note: Manuscript cage
Call Phrase: MS 322

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Scope and Content Note

This collection is composed of an assortment of documents all relating to American Indians. In particular, it concerns their relationship with European and American settlers, as well as the colonial and American governments. Many of the documents concern land disputes and transactions but also cover a number of other topics. It includes correspondence, minutes, speeches, land papers, translations, legal and financial documents and a sketch. Although much of the material relates to the northeast region, it has a broad geographic range, with documents also relating to Indians in Florida, Canada, Georgia and Kansas.

Please note that references to Indian tribes appear as they do in the documents themselves. This relates specifically to the Mohicans, which are described in certain instances as "Maquas" and "Maques".

This collection is described at the item level.


The material is arranged into five series by document type. Each series is arranged chronologically.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Parrish, Jasper, 1767-1836

Subject Topics

  • Creek War, 1813-1814
  • Indian reservations -- New York (State)
  • Indians of North America -- History
  • Indians of North America -- Land tenure
  • Indians of North America -- Relocation
  • Indians, Treatment of -- North America
  • Iroquois Indians
  • Society of Friends -- Indians

Subject Places

  • Canada
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • New York (State)

Family Name(s)

  • Ogden family

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Administrative Information


This is an artifical collection composed of material acquired by the New-York Historical Society at various times.

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Use Restrictions

Permission to quote from this collection in a publication must be requested and granted in writing. Send permission requests, citing the name of the collection from which you wish to quote, to

Library Director
The New-York Historical Society
Two West 77th Street
New York, NY 10024

The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before January 1, 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as American Indian Collection, The New-York Historical Society.

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Container List

Series I: Correspondence, 1702-1878, undated

Scope and Contents note

Included in this series is a variety of letters pertaining broadly to relations between American Indians and whites. The earlier material relates largely to relations in New York and New England, with the bulk of the later documents concerning the plight of the Indian tribes, including the Cherokee, in relation to their removal westward.

More specific topics covered in the letters include: the return of French captives ransomed by New Englanders; discouraging Indians from joining an expedition with the French; Maquas Indian complaints regarding settlement of Indian land; the care of a young Mohawk who contracted smallpox; a petition from the Narragansett regarding land; a letter from chiefs of the Seven Nations to George Washington; pleas for relief efforts and the addressing of grievances; a letter to the Spanish Governor of Pensacola found on a Creek Indian chief killed in the War of 1812; the murder of an Indian in Kansas and a description of Indians in Kansas.

There are also several letters of sub-agent and interpreter, Jasper Parrish, regarding his work with the Indian tribes of New York, specifically dealing with payment of annuities, potential disposal of reservation land, and data on tribal populations and size of reservations. With these letters is also a contemporary facsimile, apparently of an Indian manuscript discovered in Labrador. It includes a dated note about its provenance on the address leaf.

Of particular note are letters of introduction for John D. Lang and Samuel Taylor on their trip to visit Indians living west of the Mississippi River in 1842. The letter directed toward Indians themselves is an excellent summary of contemporary white stereotypes of Indian culture and religion.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Copy of a letter from the kings, chiefs and leaders of the Chickasaw Nation to the chiefs of the Seneca Nation
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letter from "old king" (a Creek Indian) to the Governor of Pensacola
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Statement of the number of Indians belonging to to the Oneida Nation, from Eli Savage to Mssrs. Roice and Morison
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letter from New England Justices of the Peace to Colonel Schuyler
1702 October 1
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Propositions from the Chiefs of the three tribes of the Maquas to Gov. Hunter, with his reply
1710 August 22
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letter from Philip Livingston and others to [?]
1738 February 4
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letter from Hubert Marshall and others to Colonel Stoddard
1745 December 21
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letter from Thomas Scattergood, [J?] Kinsey, and J Smith about a young Mohawk with small pox
1757 June 3
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letter of introduction for Sinake Chiefs travelling to Sir William Johnson
1774 June 18
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letter from A. Fennis to Adam Comstock regarding Narrangansett peitition
1793 January 23
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letter from the Chiefs of the Seven Nations to the President of the United States
1796 February 4
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Fragment of a letter referring to an Indian war (possibly Black Hawk's War)
1800s June
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Copy of letter from Jasper Parrish to E. Granger
1808 October 14
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Copy of letter from Jasper Parrish to Daniel D. Tompkins
1811 April 20
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Copy of letter from Jasper Parrish to John Armstrong
1814 July 27
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Copy of letter from Jasper Parrish to S[amuel] A. Ogden
1819 September 17
Box: 1 Folder : 1 State of Six Nations population by Jasper Parrish to Thomas L. McKinney
1824 October 11
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Populations by tribe, acreage, and distance from Canadaiuga by [Jasper Parrish]
1824 October 11
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Circular letter regarding aid for Cherokees to contest their rights in Court, addressed to Clement C. Moore
1832 January 18
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letter of introduction to Indians signed by T[homas] Hartley Crawford and John C. Spencer
1842 June 21
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letter of introduction signed by T[homas] Hartley Crawford and John C. Spencer to Superintendents of Indian Affairs, the agents, sub-agents and other officers
1842 June 21
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letter from [Jonathan?] Ross and Evan Jones to Rev. Dr. Brainerd
1864 February 15
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Copy of a letter from Isaac T. Gibson to Vincent Colyer
1871 January 28
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letter from John B. Jones to John D. Lang
1871 September 26
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letter from Felix R. Brunot to John D. Lang
1872 December 2
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Copy of a letter from James Obadiah to J.M. Bryan, endorsed by Bryan
1877 October 1 - 1878 April 30
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letter from "William" to his mother
1878 April 29
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letter from J.M. Bryan to William Stickney, endorsed by [Wm?]Stickney to John D. Lang
1878 April 30

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Series II: Legal and Financial Documents, 1651-1787

Scope and Contents note

This series contains various legal and financial documents relating to negotiations and sales of land with Indians. Geographically, the documents include New York and its vicinity, as well as Canada and Georgia. The first folder of the series is composed of a conveyance, order for payment, receipt, deed, mortgage, boundary agreement, two lists of expenses and disbursements, and a fragment of a deed.

The remaining material is a small collection of papers relating to the interests of speculators who purchased pre-emptive rights to Indian Reservation land in New York, through the Ogden Land Company. The rights involved property on the Buffalo Creek, Cannadea, Cattaraugus, Tonnewanda, Tuscarora and Seneca reservations. The documents specifically relate to the share held by the Murray family, including John R. Murray, Mary Murray, Hannah Murray and Susan Ogden.

The papers are composed of various types of documents; among them are accounts, a plan of division, a list of lots, a report of a meeting of proprietors, an agreement of exchange of lots, a certificate of redemption of land, and estimates. Additionally, there are copies of documents concerning the disputed Treaty of 1838 between the United States government and Indian tribes of New York. Many of the items contain information concerning property, including taxes, township location, lot number and acreage.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Copy of an affadavit concerning the sale of land of the west shore of the North River to Andries de Voss and Arent Andriessen, by Naenkopquieck and Naenemari
1651 April 29
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Agreement concerning the bounds of West Hook
1703 October 2
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Conveyance of property in Georgia from Malatchi Opiya Mico to Thomas and Mary Bosworth
1747 January 4
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Fragment of a deed from New York Indians to John Christopher Hartwick
1756 July 15
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Bill of Louis Van Vechten for expenses in treating with Indians of German Flatts
1775 September 11
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Pay and Disbursements in the Indian Department
1777 March 25 - September 24
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Order on the State Treasurer to pay William Van Ingen
1785 November 10
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Receipt by Joseph Hamilton for negotiation of land purchase from Western Indians
1787 May 29
Box: 1 Folder : 3 New York Indian Reservation Papers

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Series III: Draft, Notes, Minutes, and Speeches, circa 1689-1859, undated

Scope and Contents note

Within this series are a variety of documents relating to New York State Indians, including those moved west following the Treaty of 1838. The items comprise a draft, speeches, a set of notes, and reports and abstracts of minutes of Yearly Meetings of Friends.

The documents cover diverse topics such as 1689 hostilities with Maques Indians; assistance and refuge for Oneida Indians during the American Revolution; the removal of whites in violation of a treaty by residing in the Cannajohary-Fort Hunter region; suggestions to Seneca chiefs on the Cattaraugus Reservation on managing and improving land, proper conduct of a family and an exhortation against the use of alcohol; and a request for compensation for Indians displaced under the Treaty of 1838.

Other material relates to the Society of Friends' efforts on behalf of Indian tribes moved west of the Mississippi. Included in this are a printed report from the Committee on Indian Concern at the 1839 Yearly Meeting with a handwritten abstract of minutes of Yearly Meetings, 1837-1841, and finally a document regarding the decision of John D. Lang and Samuel Taylor to visit those Indian tribes residing west of the Mississippi, 1842.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Address to the Chiefs of the Seneca Nation and others residing in Cattaraugus Reservation
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Notes on hostilities with Maques Indians
circa 1689
Box: 1 Folder : 4 A Speech of the Oneida Chiefs to Lieutenant Colonel Van Dyck
1780 June 18
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Copy of a petition by Mohawks to the Legislature of the State of New York
1788 January 12
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Abstract of the Yearly Meeting of Friends for New-England, relative to the Indians residing West of the Mississippi
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Manuscript copy of "Korte Antwerp van de Mahakuase Indianen, in Nieuw Mederlandt, haer landt, Stature, Diacht, Manieren, en Magistraten; beschreven in 't jaer 1644 Door Johannen Megapolensen, Juniorem Predikant aldaer" (printed in N-YHS Collections 1857, 2nd series, volume 3, page 137)
circa 1843
Box: 1 Folder : 4 A Report from the Committee on Indian Concern
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Certificate of New-England Yearly Meeting regarding the resolution of John D. Lang and Samuel Taylor to visit Tribes of Indians residing west of the Mississippi
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Incomplete draft of request for compensation to Indians displaced under Treaty of 1838

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Series IV: Translations, 1684-1869

Scope and Contents note

The earliest material is a later, true copy of a translation entitled "The Indian Interpreter" extracted from the "Book of Town records of the Salem Colony"(NJ), with a newspaper and associated documents. The series also includes an undated collection of documents relating to Indian translations of prayers and psalms.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Excerpt from "The Indian Interpreter", 1684
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Indian translations of prayers and psalms

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Series V: Sketch

Scope and Contents note

This sketch notes that it depicts Black Hawk, with an accompanying note attributing it to "Dr. DeCamp". This may be Dr. William H. DeCamp of Grand Rapids Michigan who served as a surgeon in the 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics during the Civil War. He also participated in the excavation of Indian mounds in Michigan. Its style and focus on Black Hawk's facial features suggest an ethnological influence.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Sketch of Blackhawk

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