University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1855

[New York Indians],   pp. [26]-27 PDF (756.9 KB)

Page [26]

No. 1. 
Randolph, October 1, 1855. 
DEAR SIR: I respectfully submit my annual report of the condition 
of the New York Indians. The Senecas, who constitute the largest 
portion, are located on three reservations, viz: Cattaraugus, in the 
county of Erie; Alleghany, in the county of Cattaraugus; and Tona- 
wanda, in the county of Genesee. 
The Senecas were formerly governed by chiefs, who had the entire 
control of all national matters and managed their business interests, 
mainly without consulting the people, until the year 1848, at which 
time the Senecas of the Cattaraugus and Alleghany reservations 
united in forming a constitutional government, under which they 
annually, in the month of May, elected their officers, consistingof 
president, clerk, treasurer, councillors, &c. 
This change in their form of government created political differ- 
ences and parties which were previously unknown to them. It has 
also brought their national business wholly before their people, so all 
have an opportunity of learning and und'erstanding their different in- 
terests. The fruits of this change, in my opinion, are very perceptible 
in the manners, customs, and habits of the whole people. It has 
created a strong anxiety in nearly all to have their children receive 
an education; also habits of industry and a desire to excel in all of 
the various branches of agricultural and mechanical pursuits. At 
Cattaraugus, during the present year, they have sustained seven 
schools, six common schools and one high school, with an attendance 
at the six common schools of 214 Indian pupils, and an average at- 
tendance during the whole time the several schools were taught of 
117 pupils. 
The high school has had an attendance of abouti50 Indian youths, 
with an average of 25 pupils during the whole year. These schools 
are sustained by appropriations from the State, and from the Ameri- 
can Board of Missions, and from the Seneca council. 
At Alleghany, during the past year, five schools have been sus- 
tained, with an attendance of 158 Indian youths, and an average at- 
tendance during the whole time the schools were taught of 109 pupils. 
This number includes a female boarding school at the Alleghany mis- 
sion. The schools on this reservation, I am informed, are at present 
sustained wholly by the American Board of Missions and appropria- 
tions from the Seneca council. The above does not include one school 
which is wholly supported by the Society of Friends. 
At Tonawanda they have sustained two schools, with an average 
attendance of 120 pupils. These schools have an appropriation of 
$200, the present year, from the State. 
The Tonawanda Senecas are still governed by chiefs. At Cattarau- 
gus the Senecas have three churches, at Alleghany two, and at Tona- 
wanda one. 
The legislature of this State, at its last session, incorporated the 

Go up to Top of Page