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Site Information: What Do We Have Here?


This is a selection of 20 letters and documents from the papers of Indian Agent Erastus Granger now in the archives of  SUNY Oswego. The papers have been organized around major issues and include the Seneca adjustment to the reservation, relationships with white neighbors and the government, conflicting loyalties to Great Britain and the United States in the War of 1812, pressures for consolidation and removal to the West, the leadership of Red Jacket, and the struggle to preserve traditional values.

These papers reveal the tragedy of Native Americans caught in the pathway of Euro-American expansionism and of the Indian Agent, whose sympathies were frequently in conflict with the official duties of his office.

After the death of Erastus Granger in 1826, the collection passed into the control of his family, finally ending up under the aegis of one Orasmus Marshall, a Buffalo, NY lawyer with a committed interest in the history of the New York frontier. Years later, in the 1970s the collection passed into the hands of a relative of Erastus Granger. The relative offered the collection to the State University of New York at Oswego. The collection remains there to this day.

This online version of a virtual library attempts not only to display representations of the original documents (in jpeg form) but also faithful transcriptions and accompanying links to tangential, biographical information mentioned in any one of the presented documents. Thus, important information linking the role and importance of Buffalo (Creek) founding father, Joseph Ellicott may be found in at least one (as of this writing) of the transcriptions. All salient characters found within the transcriptions have been linked to an appropriate A – Z search engine for ease of use, or may be found in a number of the "Editor's Notes" which accompany all of the chosen transcriptions. The letters-and their transcriptions- are available through the link atop this page, Chronological order. Accordingly, a wide variety of sources-including maps-are used here for purposes of documentation.

Furthermore, a survey map produced by Joseph Ellicott for the Holland Land Company at the start of the 19th century shows much of the area of western New York State that was included in the incredibly-complex land deals that so affected everyone involved in the subsequent history of "Buffaloe Creek". This would include the Seneca Nation; [NOTE: the Buffalo Creek Reservation is marked in extremely small letters directly above the words, 'ERIE C'on the survey map] the in-coming settlers; the federal arm of the new, American Nation - and of course, by extension, the person who either wrote or owned this collection of letters and documents, Erastus Granger, Indian Agent to the Seneca Indian Reservation at Buffalow Creek, N.Y. This tiny settlement, located near the confluence of the Niagara River and Lake Erie, and mentioned in several of Granger's letters, will later become the modern City of Buffalo, along the eastern shore of Lake Erie.

Although this digital collection is a spotlight for a small array of letters and documents formerly in the possession of one Erastus Granger, the surrounding, historical arena in which these letters were concieved, should act as a framework for display of these documents. Accordingly, this collection-and the people and events who surround it-may act and serve as a resource for not just people interested in the letters of Erastus Granger, but also as a launching pad for studies of New York State History.



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