243 years ago, on October 4th, 1774, the land contract between the Oneida and the “New England Indians” was drawn up and signed. Officiating was Guy Johnson, who had recently succeeded his late uncle, Sir William Johnson, as Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the northern portion of North America. A copy of this document is transcribed below. To see the copy this was taken from, as well as many other Brothertown-related New York documents, please visit the “Brothertown, New York” section of the Digital Historical Library on this site*.
By Guy Johnson Esquire, Superintendant of Indian affairs for the Northern Department of North America, &c, &c.
Whereas the Indians of Mohegan Narragansett, Montock Pequots of Groton and Stoneington, Nahantic, Farmington, inhabiting within the New England Governments, did last year represent that they were very much straightened and reduced to such small pittances of land that they could no longer remain there and did through the channel of Sir William Johnson Bar & late superintendent apply to the Six Nations for some lands to live on which was at length agreed to in my presence at the last Treaty and a Tract allowed them by the Oneidas and whereas some of them have since in company with the Oneida chiefs, viewed the said lands and determined on its boundaries as follows desireing a certificate of the same as that it might be entered on the records of Indian affairs Viz. Beginning at the west end of the scaniadaries or the long lakes which is at the head of one of the branches of Orisca Creek from thence about twelve miles northerly or so far that an easterly course from a certain point on the first mentioned course shall intersect the road or pathway leading crom old Oneida to the German flats, where the said path crosses Scanindowa Creek the line settled as the limits between the province of New York and the Indian at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768, thence Southerly along the said line about thirteen miles or so far that a westerly line from thence keeping one line south of the most Southerly bend of Orisca Creek shall reach the place of beginning do as to comprehend(??) the lake first mentioned.
I do therefore in compliance with the joint request of the said Oneida and the said New England Indians declare that the said Oneidas do grant to the said New England Indians and their posterity forever, without power of alienation to any subject the afore described tract with this appernenancies in the amplest manner-also full liberty of hunting all sorts of game throughout the whole country of Oneidas beaver hunting only excepted, with this particular clause or reservation that the same shall not be possessed by any persons deemed of the said Tribes, who are decended from or intermixed with Negroes or Mulattoes**.
Even under my hand and seal at Arms at Guy Park- October the 4th 1774
(Signed) Guy Johnson (and his seal)
We the chiefs in testimony of the foregoing affix the character of our Tribes unto the day and year above mentioned,
The Mark of Longhqish(turtle) The mark of Ughmyonge (wolf) The mark of Canadegona (bear)
*A special thank you to the Hamilton College Library staff for their assistance in providing this, and numerous other Brothertown-related digital documents.
** The exclusion of “Negroes and Mulattoes” from Indian lands was a legal requirement implemented by the Colonies in an effort to quell the possibility of concentrated slave uprisings (1).
(1) Stone, Gaynell. The History & Archaeology of the Montauk Volume III 2nd Edition, 1993, p. 520