The Home of Sa-on-chi-og-wa.

The following, taken from the History of Cayuga County, is descriptive of the residence of the Indian Chiefs, on Cayuga lake, two hundred years ago:

“On lot 85, about one and one-half miles north of Union Springs, is the site of their principal village, variously named in the different dialects of the Iroquois, Gois-gouen, On-ne-io-to and Gwa-u-gwah,, from the original Huron word, Oyngona, signifying tobacco, and the seat of the mission of St. Joseph, established by Father Etienne de Carheil, a French Jesuit, November 6d, 1668. ‘The mural remains in the vicinity indicate,’ says John S. Clark, ‘that the village extended a mile back from the lake, and as far north as the stream north of the Richardson house; the relics indicating the most ancient residences are found on both sides of the railroad south of the Backus plaster mill, where there was an extensive burial place, and where stone and bone implements abound in connection with articles of European origin. Theier totem was a calumet or great tobacco pipe, and their chief sachem bore the hereditary title of Sanun-awean-towa.’

Father Rajeix who occupied this mission one year, during the absence of Father de Caheil , thus described this locality in his relation of June 24, 1672: ‘Goi-o-gouen is the most beautiful country I have ever seen in America. It is situated in latitude 42-1/2 degrees. It lies between two lakes and is no more than four leagues wide, with almost continual plains, bordered by fine forests. More than a thousand deer are annually killed in the neighborhood of Goi-o-gouen. Fishing, as well the salmon as the eel, and other fisheries are as abundant as at Onondaga.1

Here their councils were held, and here was the residence of the chief of the Nation. Here also, says Clark, ‘we find a tract containing several acres, known as the Indian burying ground,’ in the vicinity of which have been found ‘the usual implements and weapons of stone, beads evidently once in use as a rosary, by some convert to the teachings of these Jesuit Fathers. A well preserved iron tomahawk and rusty musket were found in the same grave. Every foot turned up by the plow revealed fragments of skulls and the soil was literally black and fat with the dust of the mouldering dead. On digging a few inches below, where the soil had been undisturbed by the plow, a perfect net-work was found of almost perfect skeletons. Tens of thousands of these sons of the dark forest had here been buried. Abundant evidence appears that a large town once existed here, and long continued use of those grounds for burial purposes.’

‘On an adjoining eminence their council fires had glared for centuries on brave warriors and wise counselors. Here had been their seat of authority and these hills had re-echoed with the eloquence of their orators. Here untold generations had lived, died and were buried. Here lived a feeble remnant of the race when Sullivan, under the stern necessities of war, gave their orchards to the ax, their homes and castles to the devouring torch, and their sacred burial places to desecration.’

On the eminence above referred to still stands an ancient oak, a monument to this departed race, a living witness of the red men’s deeds and the bravery of their chieftains.

Copied from the Thursday, April 15, 1886, issue of Union Springs Advertiser.