Research

New York State Dept. of State Recorded Indian Treaties and Deeds

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
This series contains Indian deeds treaties or deeds of cession. Most of the colonial Indian deeds cede lands located in the Mohawk and upper Susquehanna Valley from the native owners to the king of Great Britain. The post-Revolutionary War documents generally take the form of a deed of cession from the sachems, chiefs, and warriors of a particular nation or group to the people of the state of New York.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
0.8 cubic feet (3 volumes); Copies: 1 microfilm reel; 35mm.
Inclusive Dates:
1703-1871
Bulk Dates:
(bulk 1748-1871)
Series Number:
A0448

Scope and Content Note

This series contains Indian deeds recorded by the provincial secretary and Indian treaties or deeds of cession recorded by the secretary of state. There are 43 deeds and one agreement from the colonial period. Almost all the colonial Indian deeds date from the period 1748-1769, and most cede lands located in the Mohawk and upper Susquehanna Valleys. There are two exceptions: 1) an agreement between the Montauk Indians and the inhabitants of the town of Easthampton, Suffolk County, regarding rights to fenced fields and pastures and to use of timber, dated 1703; and 2) the Indian deed for the Wawayanda patent, Ulster and Orange Counties, dated 1712-13 (both these documents were recorded after 1748).

The colonial Indian deeds take the form of a deed or release from the native owners or proprietors of a particular tract of land to the king of Great Britain. The national or tribal affiliation of the native owners is seldom stated; however, most of the deeds appear to concern lands within the traditional territories of the Mohawk and Oneida nations. The document states the names of the individuals who have petitioned the governor in council for a grant of lands held by the Indians; describes the lands; and states the consideration given. The names of the native owners or proprietors are stated at the end of the document, and in many cases their marks (such as animal figures) are reproduced. Names of witnesses and date of recording are stated at the end of each deed.

The post-Revolutionary War treaties and related documents date between 1785 and 1871. The native groups involved in the treaties recorded in this series were the Oneida, Brothertown, Stockbridge, Cayuga, Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga, and Tuscarora Indians, and the Seven Nations of Canada. The "treaties" generally take the form of a deed of cession from the sachems, chiefs, and warriors of a particular nation or group to the people of the state of New York. The location and date of the treaty, and the parties to the treaty are stated at the beginning of the document.

The lands ceded are described, and the consideration is stated. The names of the parties, including the governor or his representatives (commissioners of the land office), and the sachems, chiefs, and warriors are stated at the end of the document, along with names of the witnesses and the representative (if any) of the United States government. The date of recording is stated. Several powers of attorney and a few other non-treaty documents are recorded in the volume containing treaties with the state of New York. A preceding volume, which commenced in 1692, was destroyed in the Capitol fire of 1911. Incorporated in this series is a copy of the published proceedings of the New York Commissioners of Indian Affairs for the years 1784-1790.

Items Online

Digital Collection

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Use of Records

Access Restrictions

Restricted due to fragile condition. Microfilm is first use copy.

Alternate Formats Available

Microform is available at the New York State Archives through interlibrary loan.

Scanned images of a small sample of maps are available at the New York State Archives.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series A4609 Original Indian treaties and deeds, 1781-1847, contains related documents

Series A0272 Applications for land grants ("Land Papers"), 1642-1803, contains numerous original Indian deeds and related documents from the colonial period

Series A4688 Grantor index to deeds and other miscellaneous documents recorded or filed by the Secretary of State, indexes this series

Related Publications

Texts of treaties in this series are reproduced on microfilm in Francis Jennings, William N. Fenton, and Mary A. Druke, eds., Iroquois Indians: A Documentary History of the Diplomacy of the Six Nations and Their League (Woodbridge, Conn.: 1985).; Texts of treaties with the state of New York are published in New York (State) Special Committee to Investigate the Indian Problem of the State of New York, Report Transmitted to the Legislature February 1, 1889 ("Whipple Report") (Assembly Document no. 51) (Albany: 1889).; Franklin B. Hough, ed., Proceedings of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs, Appointed by Law for the Extinguishment of Indian Titles in the State of New York (Albany: 1861).

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