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Was there ever a ‘stolen’ Indian reservation in this area?

BeeLines

December 5, 2012
By MARYBELLE BEIGH - WESTFIELD HISTORIAN (westfieldhistorian@fairpoint.net) , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

During the summer of 2012 the Westfield Historian received a query from a reader about a very old map he had seen, perhaps from the Holland Land Company, that showed an Indian reservation that appeared to be near where Brocton is now located. This map viewing was accompanied by the suggestion that the reservation in question may have been one of the areas that was "stolen" back from the Indians in the early years of our country.

About the time this question was asked, Vince Martonis, Hanover Town Historian, was giving a talk at the Westfield Fish and Game Club about historic local Native American hunting techniques and tools. So Martonis' American Indian expertise was requested and received.

Martonis explained that there was "no such thing as" an Indian reservation in the Brocton area. But he suggested that my reader may have been talking about a no-longer extant "Cattaraugus B" or "Canadaway" reservation. Since the question about the map and reservation had occurred during a discussion about several other historic topics that included both the Brocton and Canadaway Creek areas, it was quite possible that the locale of the topics had been confused in Westfield Historian's memory. Having researched local Indian Reservation History in detail, Vince Martonis provided the following summary.

Article Photos

Submitted photo
Shown above is a copy of a 1797 Holland Land Company map image showing Indian reservations in Western New York at that time. The image was reproduced by SUNY?Fredonia in 1986.

The Cattaraugus B reservation was formed in 1797 and dissolved in 1802. It extended from the Silver Creek area along the Lake Erie shoreline, all the way past Dunkirk to Canadaway Creek. It extended one mile inland the whole distance, and also an extra mile further up Canadaway Creek. That is as close as any reservation ever got to Brocton. It was dissolved by President Thomas Jefferson because the U.S. wanted the lakeshore and the bays at Silver Creek and Dunkirk. This reservation does appear on several Holland Land Company maps. One of the maps was reproduced in color by Fredonia State about 1986.

This 1797 map copy may have been the one seen by my reader and Martonis suggested that it might have been assumed that the reservation extended all the way to Slippery Rock Creek in the Brocton area rather than ending at Canadaway Creek.

In a later email, Vince Martonis shared that SUNY Fredonia used to sell the maps, but that they would probably be out of print by now. He offered to share his personal copy of the map for making a color laser copy that would look as good as the original. This was done, and the copy was shared with the Patterson Library to include in their archives for future local research, and the library provided a smaller copy that could be used for this BeeLines article.

Fact Box

The office of the Westfield Historian is located at 117 Union Street, in the small green building on the north side of driveway. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 to 11 a.m., or by appointment. The Westfield Historian phone number is 326-2457, and the email mail address is westfieldhistorian@fairpoint.net.

 
 

 

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