Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Colonists and the Indians

Much of Chapter 2 talks about the Palatines in New York, Indians of Schoharie County, and Adam Vroman. It begins with Palatines in New York.
As stated previously, the Palatines were not immediately moved to Schoharie County. The excuse given was that the cost of creating a garrison, to protect the Palatines from the French and Indians, would be too great, but the camps in which they stayed in cost eight to twelve hundred pounds a month. Also, once the Palatines moved to Schoharie County, it didn’t cost the English government “a single farthing”.
The true fact of the matter is that the Governor of New York, a man by the name of Hunter, believed stigmatizations. He believed that Germans were ignorant and willfully obstinate. The Palatines finally settled Schoharie County around the fall of 1711.
Upon the infiltration of white men into Schoharie County, there were Indians. Numbers about these Indians are indefinite because much about the Indians is unknown.
The “Schoharie Tribe” was a “mongrel one”, meaning that it was made up of different tribes. The number of warriors in this tribe was estimated at 300. Mohegans of Connecticut were found to be in considerable numbers near Middleburgh. In fact, this tribe once consisted of thousands of people, but through warfare, this number was reduced to a few hundreds.
The Schoharie Tribe was ruled by Karee-a-dunka, here spelled Ka-rig-hon-don-tee, who was sent to the Schoharie County by his father-in-law, who feared Karee-a-dunka’s death at the hand of the Mohegans. These Indians were normally friendly towards the settlers, but sometimes the settlers didn’t return the favor.
This chapter also tells of the purchase of land by Adam Vroman, near Vroman’s nose. Vroman purchased “400 acres” of land from Indians, which turned out to be around 1100 acres. It is not clear, however, whether or not this was intentional. Later on, Vroman complained to the governor that the Palatines were trespassing, and destroying, his land. This lead to the issue of an arrest warrant for Conrad Weiser, who was thought to be the ring leader. Later on, Weiser was imprisoned in the tower of London.
By 1730, the Palatines had seven towns around the area, including Weiser’s dorf, where Middleburgh now is. By this time, a third wave of Palatines had come to America, settling in Schoharie and other locations. Through Indian grain pounding, the Palatines raised the efficiency of farming in the county.
The Vromans introduced slavery to the county, but the evils of slavery do not deeply stain this county. In fact, comparably, slaves were treated very well. They were even trusted enough to be sent to local markets by their owner. Another interesting fact is that, when slavery was abolished in New York in 1818, many slaves of our county refused to be freed.
During local trading, many trades between the whites and the Indians were one sided. Many times, blankets, trinkets, and rum were traded for land and furs. This fact is most evident in the Dutch trade for Manhattan.
It’s amazing to look at Vroman’s Nose and see the same thing that the Palatines saw 300 years ago. What we think when we see Vroman’s nose could be the same thing they thought.

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