Lost Nation of the Erie - Part 2

Friday, January 22, 2016 - by Chuck Hamilton

Part 2: Timeline of the Erie people in historical sources


1632 – While trading among the Massawomeck, Edward Fleet of Virginia encounters a group of “Hereckeenes”, who have with them two of the axes brought to Quebec by David Kirke when Canada was briefly in possession of the English, 1629-1632.

1635-1640 – Several epidemics sweep across the Great Lakes region, killing half to two-thirds of the population of different tribes.

1635 – After troubles with the Kickapoo, (their “enemies to east” as one Jesuit writer put it), the Erie are forced to move east.

Also this year, the Seneca attack and drive from their homes the trading partners with the English and probably allies the Massawomeck, whom the Seneca call the Cohnowaronon.

1638 – The Chonnonton and the Wenro have a falling out, resulting in the latter taking refuge with the Huron and the former establishing a few villages east of the Niagara River.

1648 – The alliance between the Erie and the Chonnonton collapses, possibly over tension due to territorial enchroachment by the latter.

1649 - After the Iroquois destroy the mission towns St. Ignace and St. Louis following years of brutal warfare, the Huron burn the remaining fifteen and leave their area, the Attignawantan  joining with the Petun while the Tahonaenrat join the Chonnonton.  The Ataronchronon flee to sanctuary at Christian Island, and the next year move north of Quebec to Wendake.

The Petun are conquered later that year.  Some of the conjoined tribe migrate to Michigan then on to Wisconsin to become the Wyandotte, some are assimilated, the rest flee to sanctuary with the Chonnonton and the Erie.

1651 – The western Iroquois (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga) begin their campaign against the Atra’kwae subtribe of the Erie confederacy.  Their first effort in the winter of 1651-1652 ends in a large defeat for the attackers.

1652 – In the summer, the western Iroquois are joined by the eastern Iroquois (Oneida, Mohawk) in a new campaign against the Atra’kwae in which the reverse the defeat of the previous winter, later claiming to have returned home with a thousand prisoners.

1653 – The formerly great Chonnonton Confederacy ceases to exist after the destruction of several of its towns, with many of its people taking refuge among their Erie allies while others join the Huron-Petun to the west.  The Tahonaenrat Huron as a whole surrender to the Iroquois and are allowed their own village in Seneca territory, named Gandougarae, where they are joined by those Chonnonton who surrendered rather than be captured.

The Erie confederacy begins a war with the League of the Iroquois with an attack on the Seneca.

Governor Printz of New Sweden reports to his Chancellor that the beaver trade is disrupted because of the outbreak of a war with the Arrigahaga (Erie) and the Susquehanna (Andaste), who are now apparently military as well as trade allies.

1654 – The Iroquois destroy the seat of the Erie confederacy, Arrigha (Rique).

Later in the year, a large tribe with 700 warriors settles on the falls of the James River above Jamestown, whom the other natives refer to as “Richahecrians”.

1655 – A delegation from the Onondaga representing all the Iroquois arrives in Quebec petitioning the French for troops to help protect them from the Erie.

The Iroquois destroy the Erie town of Gentaienton as the climax of an invasion led by a war chief named Achlongeras.

1656 – In the past two years, the Iroquois have broken the power of the Erie and destroyed them as a force in the Great Lakes region, though sporadic resistance continues.

Colonial Rangers from Jamestown, supported by a force of Pamunkey, attack the Richahecrian (Riqueronon, aka Erie) village warriors in the vicinity of Richmond, Virginia, and are soundly defeated in the Battle of Bloody Run.

1662 – The Andaste (Susquehannock) inform the Dutch they are expecting 800 “Honniasont” warriors (plus their families) to take up residence and aid them in their war with the Iroquois.

1664 – Final defeat of the Erie (according to the Iroquois), who then are assimilated into the Five Nations or dispersed, some joining their Erie and Huron cousins who earlier migrated southeast to the “country of the Muscogui” (according to the Seneca).

1667 – Catherine Gandeaktena, an Erie-born Oneida adoptee married to  François-Xavier Tonsahoten, a Huron likewise adopted, founds Saint-François-Xavier mission at Prairie-de-la-Magdelaine (moved in 1717 to Caughnawaga).  Most of those who gather thence in the coming decades are former Huron, Petun, Chonnonton, and Erie.

1669 – La Salle’s envoy Abbe Gallinee is told to expect villages of Honniasontkeronon (Oniasontke) and Chaouanon (Shawnee) on the Ohio River “above the falls”, i.e. above what is now Louisville.

1670 – The German trader James Lederer encounters the “Rickahockan” in the mountains in the west of what later becomes North Carolina when he travels from Virginia to Catawba territory near the newly-established colony of Carolina.

1682 – Some six hundred men, women, and children of the “Nation of the Chats” (Erie) surrender to the Seneca near Virginia.

1684 – French cartographer Jean-Baptiste-Louis Franquelin produces a map of the new territory of La Louisiane based on information gleaned directly from La Salle showing Tchalaka, Katowagi, and Taligui on the upper Kaskinampo (Tennessee) River in the Cherokee Country.

1688 - Franquelin produces another map of La Louisiane showing the following towns in the same area as earlier: Tchalak, Tamghi, Cattoughi.

1698 – The Lenape drive the Cherokee out of the Ohio Valley, settling on Beaver Creek.

1705 – Nicholas de Fer publishes a map of La Louisiane with the towns Tchalak, Tatighi, and Katoughi in the upper Kaskinampo River.

1708 – According to ethnologist James Mooney, Bishop Ettwein, the Lenape, and the Cherokee themselves, the last town of the “Cherokee” in the Upper Ohio Valley is destroyed and its people driven off by a large party of the Lenape who called its people the Talligewi.


Chuck Hamilton


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