A Disturbing Report

From Arch Merrill, Land of the Senecas (n.d., but appears to be from the 1950s):

“In 1677 a Dutch trader, Wentwork Greenhalgh, set out from Albany with a party on horseback and visited the four Seneca towns. Here is how he described them:

‘Canagaro lies on the top of a great hill and contains 150 houses. Here the Indians were very desirous to see us ride our horses and they made great feasts and dancing and invited us when ye maides were together. Both wee and our Indians might choose such as we liked to ly with.

‘Totiakton lies on the brink of a hill, has not much cleared ground and is near the river (Honeoye Creek) which means ‘bending.’ It… contains about 120 houses, being ye largest of all houses we saw, ye ordinary being 50 or 60 feet long with 12 or 13 fires in one house.

‘Being at the place the 17th of June there came 50 prisoners from the southwestward. They were of two nations… of them was burnt two women and a man and a child killed with a stone. At night we heard a great noise as if ye houses had all fallen but it was only ye inhabitants driving away ye ghosts of ye murdered.

‘The 18th, going to Canagaro, we overtook ye prisoners. When the soldiers saw us they stopped each his prisoner and made him sing and cut off their fingers and slashed their bodies with a knife and when they had sung, each man confessed how many men in his time he had killed. That day at Canagaro there was most cruelly burnt four men, four women, and a boy.'” (pp.28-29)

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