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A Sketch of the History of Oneonta by Campbell

"The word Onnota, which signifies in the Iroquois tongue a _mountain_, has given the name to the village called Onnontae, or as others call it Onnontague, because it is on a mountain.")

Perhaps the word Oneonta may have the same derivation or a like derivation as Onondaga--perhaps not. The reader is left to follow up the query. Among the Hurons who had been conquered by the Iroquois, a tribe is mentioned under the name of Ti-onnonta-tes. The name may have no relation to nor any bearing upon the derivation of the word Oneonta, but that there was such a tribe, the fact is given for what it may be worth.]

"At fifty miles from Albany the Land Carriage from the Mohawk's river to a lake from whence the Northern Branch of Susquehanna takes its rise, does not exceed fourteen miles. Goods may be carried from this lake in Battoes or flatt bottomed Vessels through Pennsylvania to Maryland and Virginia, the current of the river running everywhere easy without any cataract in all that large space."

The last quotation is from the report of the Surveyor General to the Lieutenant Governor in 1637.

The foregoing extracts appear to contain about all the information which the authorities at the provincial capital could glean of the Indians concerning the Susquehanna country, as it was called.

The few scattered natives who remained here after the establishment of peace, were, in 1795, removed to the reservation at Oneida, and became a part of the Indian tribes already settled there.

In volume III of the Documentary History of New York, a quaintly interesting letter of the Rev. Gideon Hawley may be found. The letter is interesting, because it may be safely regarded as the earliest authentic writing respecting this portion of the valley. Mr. Hawley was sent out as a missionary teacher to the Indians.

About this time a good deal of interest was being taken in the education of Indian youth. For the furtherance of this design, the Rev. Eleazur Wheelock established a school at New Lebanon, Conn., for the education of young whites and young Indians. This school afterwards ripened into Dartmouth college, and was removed to Hanover, New Hampshire. From this new-fledged seminary, the Rev. Mr. Kirkland was sent among the Oneidas, and his labors in that quarter eventually resulted in the founding of Hamilton college, at Clinton. From a similar school established at Stockbridge, Mass., and which appears to have been favored by the influence and good will of the celebrated Jonathan Edwards, Mr. Hawley was sent to Oquaga on the Susquehanna.

Oquaga was the Indian settlement near the site of the present village of Windsor in Broome county. Mr. Hawley's journey was from Albany up the Mohawk, across the mountains to Schoharie, thence along the valley to Schenevus creek and westward. As his letter, in the form of a journal, contains the earliest account that is known of the presence of white people within the present territorial limits of Oneonta, I hope the quotations I make from it may prove of some interest. The letter is dated July 31st, 1794. The first entry is as follows:

JULY 31st, 1794.

"It is forty years this date since I was ordained a missionary to the Indians, in the old South Meeting House, when the Rev. Dr. Sewall preached on the occasion and the Rev. Mr. Prince gave the charge. The Rev. Mr. Foxcroft and Dr. Chauncey of Cambridge, assisted upon the occasion, and Mr. Appleton. I entered upon this arduous business at Stockbridge, under the patronage of the Rev. Mr. Edwards. Was instructor of a few families of Iroquois, who came down from their country for the sake of christian knowledge and the schooling of their children. These families consisted of Mohawks, Oneidas and Tuscaroras. I was their school-master and preached to them on the Lord's day. Mr. Edwards visited my school, catechised my scholars, and frequently delivered a discourse to the children."


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