Words To Remember

"The truth is this--genealogy is our living, and we are busy every minute, [and we] could use more hours." --Jane Wethy Foley, 1942

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mohawk Village Map

History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). 

Chart Map showing location of the chief Mohawk Indian towns on or near the Mohawk River from the time of their migration from Canada and Vermont to the Valley about 1580, until the few remaining Mohawks were removed by Col. Van Schaick in 1779. The Dutch settlements and forts of Albany, Waterford, Niskayuna. and Schenectady settled prior to 1700 are here shown. Up until 1666, the dates here shown are all estimates; after that they are matters of historical record.

Period Marks indicating chief Mohawk Towns or "Castles"
  • 1580-1625 (?) generally called "prehistoric"
  • 1625-1640 (?)
  • 1640-1666
  • 1667-1693
  • 1693-1700, tribal town of Ogsadaga (Tribes Hill)
  • 1700-1779
  • Dutch settlements and forts prior to 1700-
Rivers as indicated on the map, roughly left to right: Mohawk River, West Canada (Kuyahoora), East Canada (Auskerada), Schoharie River, Tawasentha, Hudson River.
Town and other sites as indicated on the map, roughly left to right:
  • Canajoharie Upper Mohawk Castle (Indian castle) 1700-1779
  • Tenotoge (Oak Hill on the Dutchtown Road) 1625-1640
  • Otstungo (Indial Hill) 1580-1625 ("prehistoric")
  • Tarajorees (Prospect Hill-Fort Plain) 1700-1755
  • Sochanidisse (1 mile west of Canajoharie) 1625-1640
  • (?) Tionnontogen 1689-1693
  • Tionnontogen 1667-1689
  • Garoga 1580-1625 ("prehistoric")
  • Briggs Run 1580-1625
  • Canagora 1666-1693
  • Tionnontogen (Sprakers) 1640-1666
  • Onekagonka (west of Randall) 1625-1640
  • Andagoron (1 mile west of Fultonville) 1640-1666
  • Cayadutta (Sammonsville) ("prehistoric")
  • Caughnawaga (Fonda) 1666-1693
  • Gandawague 1659-1669
  • Osseruenon (Auriesville, site of Father Jogues' captivity 1642-1644) 1640-1659
  • Ogsadaga (Tribes Hill) 1693-1700
  • Iconderoga Lower Castle (Fort Hunter) 1770-1779
  • Schenectady
  • Conastigione (Niskayuna)
  • Half Moon (Waterford)
  • Albany
  • Mohawk Fishing Village
  • Saratoga Mohawk
  • Mythical (but possible) Mohawk Village at Cohoes Falls, of the Dekanawida legend, period of 1580 (?)
This map was drawn by Nelson L. Greene, a prolific author of the early 20th century.  He was descended on his father's side from the early Palatine settler, Johan Jost Herkimer, and from Captain George Herkimer, who married Alida Schuyler.  In 1777, Capt. Herkimer inherited the home of his brother, General Nicholas Herkimer. It is through Alida that Nelson Greene claimed descent from Philip Pietersen Schuyler, who settled in Fort Orange (Albany) shortly after 1650.

Nelson attended school in Fort Plain. He read extensively about the Mohawk Valley and New York state history and as a boy contributed articles on local history to his father's newspaper. Over the years, he had papers on state and valley historical subjects published in newspapers from Schenectady to Rome.

He studied art in New York City and practiced the dual professions of artist and writer on New York State and Mohawk Valley historical subjects. In 1915 he published Old Fort Plain and the Middle Mohawk Valley, a 400-hundred page volume with five maps, drawn by the author.

His subsequent study of the historical highway and national transportation route across New York State, resulted in the publication of a series of newspaper articles entitled The New York to Buffalo Book. In 1924 Nelson published The Old Mohawk Turnpike Book.

In 1925 he published The Mohawk Valley - Gateway to the West - 1614-1925. This four-volume work, consisting of 1,898 pages of historical information and 1,732 pages of biographical information, is the most comprehensive publication ever produced on the Mohawk Valley.

Noted historian Paul Keesler states in his article "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in the Greene book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.  Keesler says, "While researching this book on the Mohawk Valley, I read similar criticism of Greene's work by historians, archaeologists and other authors, so I felt justified in my earlier criticism ["poorly researched" on the basis of reading one article written by Greene]. However, when I read every word of the first two volumes of The Mohawk Valley - Gateway to the West, my appreciation of Greene's work increased dramatically.
"Considering the astounding amount of information he gathered and published in 1925 when communications, travel and publishing technologies were relatively primitive, its amazing how few errors there are in his books. In areas he lacked expertise, such as archaeology and geographical locations in remote areas of the Valley, he relied on local "experts" for information. More often than not, it was these experts that provided the information that future scholars discovered were not accurate.

"In some cases, the information Greene provided was the best available at the time. Since 1925, there have been numerous discoveries that shed new light on the history of the Mohawk Valley. Cases in point are the locations and occupancies of the Mohawk villages prior to 1640. Until recently, some of these sites remained undiscovered and modern dating techniques more accurately determined periods of occupancy at all the known sites. Likewise, historical documents from Canada, France, England and America have been discovered since 1925 that add much to the history of the Valley.

"Perhaps, my new-found respect for Nelson Greene comes from my own efforts to gather information about the Mohawk Valley and the realization that no matter how hard I strive for accuracy, there will be errors in my book. Perhaps, it's because I've learned so much from his writings....It was from Nelson that I learned that if not for the Mohawks and Sir William Johnson, we could well be a part of French speaking Canada, and that the Battle of Oriskany really did affect the outcome of the Revolutionary War." 

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