Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

Thanks to Judy Dolanski, typing volunteer.
From an old newspaper, probably the Enterprise and News


Editor Enterprise:

In my account upon some of the sites occupied as villages and castles by our Mohawk Valley aborigines recently published in newspapers there also appeared for the first time in history a public announcement of the names of the six villages and castles rebuilt by said Mohawks to re-estab (this line is cut off of the page--2001 typist) struction in the raid made by the French in the month of October, 1666, viz. (from east to west) in the original spelling, Canaoage, Ganagaro, Niahiare, Ganaro, Tionontagen and Onontiage; they were also designated, Kinniege.

Only the first, second and fifth of said villages have ever been named in our historic outlines and sites fixed for same--but, none of such sites have been correctly located, although all are known as sites of aboriginal occupation, with a possible single exception.

The Castle of Cana-jor-ha has been classed as one of said six villages--which is true--but it rightly belongs to the castles reported by Greenhaigh in 1677.

Greenhaigh failed to report the existence of the extremely small village of Onontiage located northwesterly of Tionontagen; but, as same was so decidedly off his trail, we may overlook the omission; but, we somewhat balk at his syncopated descriptions of the Maquas Castles for his failure to state the distance from castle to castle, which may have been from his haste to reach the Senecas; nevertheless, he did give us the distances from the river which no other writer gave, and these distances, with those given by Father Piernon, as well as others, together with all the sites known in this vicinity showing aboriginal occupation, regardless of the fact that the precise land locations of some are still unknown to me, it is possible to correctly fix the sites of all of said villages, with a possible single exception which may be approximately.

About 1673 or 1676 the two villages of Niahiare and Ganaro consolidated for greater protection against their enemies, by abandoning the village of Ganaro and fortifying the village of Niahiare; by which consolidation all the tribes of this nation were collected together in one village; thus the castle was thereafter known by the name of the nation--Cana-jor-ha.

Greenhaigh described its location and situation, thusly; "Ganagaro, is singly stockaded, has four ports like the former, contains about sixteen houses, it is situate upon a Flatt, a stones throw from the water side.

Canajorha, is also singly stockaded, the like manner of ports and quantity of houses as Ganagaro, the like situation, only about two miles distant from the water."

Therefore, it is clearly evident that we must locate the site of the castle of Cana-jor-ha on a Flatt; whereas, the site has been fixed upon a considerable hill; surely not in accord with the record, and again this site belongs to another nation of Aborigines of an earlier period, for the remains recovered therefrom so indicate, although I lay no great stress on my ability as an archeologist, but later, will have something to say.

There is a site in a location reported for upwards of thirty years that fully meets the requirements of the record, although I have not as yet located the precise spot by the finding of remains; but, as it has been also verified by distances given by early writers, thus the location is assured. The same comments will also apply to the site of Ganaro.

In 1689 or 1690 the tribes of the Cana-jor-ha Castle abandoned the northerly side of the river and established their castle on the known site on Prospect Hill, Fort Plain, of the same name--not Ta-ra-jo-rees--for that was the name of their great sachem who along with the famous Hendrick and other warriors of said nation were killed in the battle of Lake George, September 8, 1755 and his successor was appointed at a ceremony of condolence held in February 1756, he being of the tribe of the Turtle of that castle.

In February, 1693, the three castles of the Turtle, the Bear and the Wolf, were raided and burned by the French and their Indian allies, and the far greater part of the inhabitants of said castles were taken to Canada.

The Castle of Cana-jor-ha was not affected by said raid, owing without doubt, to its unknown location upon the southerly side of the river--thus it became the most populous castle, exceeding the inhabitants of the consolidated castle established in summer of 1693, on the westerly bank of the Schoharie Creek by the said tribes of the Turtle and Bear and the Wolf, which in 1700 it was reported that it did not exceed one hundred.

How long the Cana-jor-ha Castle remained on the Prospect Hill location is somewhat difficult to determine; but it can be safely concluded it was abandoned prior to 1730, and the tribes removed to the site on the Willis Green farm at Indian Castle and re-established their castle of the same name, but it has finally developed into Canajoharie which reasonably signifies, "The People of the Cana-jor-ha Nation" but what does "Cana-jor-ha" signify? "The Pot that washes itself?" Certainly not, it is an admirable term of portrayal of their ancient country, and may have been applied thereto when first occupied far back into the distant past.

The Castle of the Cana-jor-ha's at Indian Castle as well as the Ganniege Castle at Fort Hunter, were raided and burned by the Oneidas in retaliation for the like manner of destruction of their small village in the vicinity of Fort Stanwix, during the time of the war activities against said fort by the Iroquois, including the warriors of the Castles above named, in alliance with Sir John in the cause of England, whereby all the Mohawk river Indians migrated to Canada in 1777, closing their historic period in the Mohawk valley.

The Aborigines of the Cana-jor-ha Castle were a separate and distinct Nation of Tribes which in the closing days of this Nation also consisted of the Tribes of the Turtle, the Bear and the Wolf, but, their standing in early days was somewhat different, taking in 'Gairo' deer; Gano-ga, 'Deer-water'--The Ganoga Creek, deriving its name from the village of aborigines settled upon its banks. The Otsquago creek also derived its name from the same nation of Indians.

The Nation of the Cana-jor-ha tribes were the adopted brothers of the Ganniege; they had no voice in the councils of the Five Nations, but after the French nearly exterminated the Ganniege in February, 1693, it appears as if the two said nations consolidated with the same representation of the Ganniege in the councils of said Five Nations, and their acts as such were exemplified by the new symbol, the steel and flint, the combined act of the two, but of one effect, in the vote on decisions. Surely an admirable and appropriate symbol, and they were called 'Savages'.

Of course we have only outlined the Nation of the Cana-jor-ha's subsequent to 1667, but not only can they be clearly traced to three earlier periods of sites which they occupied in the Mohawk valley but we have historic records that most clearly disclose their place of residence as well as their ancient lands from whence they came. In fact it appears as if they were the only as well as the original Iroquois, The Great Bears and it further appears as if they were a nearly exterminated nation at the time of their arrival in the valley.

The aborigines of the small village of Onontiage apparently shared in the same fate along with the Ganniege in the French raid of 1693; and the few remaining members established themselves in 1693 on the site attributed to be that of Canajere of 1634-1666, about one mile westerly of the hamlet of Sprakers and there they remained until 1700, removing to and residing at Schoharie where in later years some of the remnants of the river Indians also settled, somewhat increasing the number of Schoharie Indians.

This nation originally settled upon the site commonly known as Camplages, Castles or Nations resided on the banks of the Mohawk and so continued up to 1777.

Accordingly we have no village sites occupied entirely prehistorically as all are disclosed by the records, but, with a possible single exception, not one of the three original castle sites of the Ganniege have been explored or precisely located, in fact it appears as if one of said sites were continuously occupied for upwards of one hundred years.

Oh, yes, let me say a word concerning the fourth nation of the Mohawks. They originally located upon the site now designated witha historic marker as "Cana-jor-ha", removing therefrom about 1626 and reestablished their village along the banks of the river, which was burned by the French in 1666; thereafter they were adopted into another nation, whereby they gained a better standing, and the nation became extinct. We know the approximate location of the site of the burned castle, but it appears strange that no site showing aboriginal occupation has ever been reported in that vicinity as the lands are and have been cultivated for years, excepting the ravines. We have not as yet searched for same but it must follow within the records as well as within the sites already disclosed.

Of course I must now conclude, for the most liberal space so generously donated in your most progressive paper cannot but contain an exceedingly syncopated synopsis of my voluminois outline on our historic Red Men, but from the meager facts I have disclosed, of what I still have in store, it is clearly evident that the most interesting and most fascinating history of our Mohawks is yet to be learned, retarded, apparently by lack of liberal cooperation and some self conceit in the imaginary greatnesss of the little that is actually known.

We should assist one and all to correlate the historic facts and records, as well as the aboriginal remains of our most historic valley, with scientific investigations and seriously studied interpretations, in black and white and preserve with a permanently organized society, open to all students of a historic turn of mind, for our own enlightenment as well as posterity.

It is anticipated, from experience, that the foregoing outline will be seriously ridiculed by some of the most knowing who are always right and he who wrote the record in error which they so loquaciously explain and correct for our enlightenment but to the seriously minded who are always ready to accept our historic records at their face value, permit me to say that I find all of our historic records sufficiently correct to arrive at an acceptable conclusion, provided, we ourselves take some of the facts connected therewith into consideration and to obliterate all doubt as to the correctness of the above conclusions, will further say that I have compiled abundantly of such historic records to support and unhold each and every positive statement that I have, or may advance, without placing a ridiculous construction thereon; and it further appears as if no historic records can be produced that will seriously offset those upon which my conclusions are founded, but of course, as I do not use "I think", "I suppose", "I presume" or "most probably", etc., whereby the narrator is "always right", reasonable concessions should be made for unavoidable errors and for further advanced conclusions.

This concluding statement is made for the benefit of our readers and it will not be repeated and is applicable to all accounts under which my name appears.

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