OF LOCAL HISTORY.
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
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
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.
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
On the eminence
above referred to still stands an ancient oak, a monument to this
departed race, a living witness of the red mens deeds and the
bravery of their chieftains.
Copied from the
Thursday, April 15, 1886, issue of Union Springs Advertiser.