Skenandoah – Chief of the Oneida


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Mrs. Mecomber over at New York Traveler offers an interesting post on the Skenandoah Boulder, a monument to Oneida Chief Skenandoah.

Her site includes lots of photos of the memorial, some research she conducted and a link to her trip to Skenandoah’s grave site at Hamilton College cemetery in Clinton, Oneida County.

According to the Chiefs website:

In 1766, Samuel Kirkland, an American missionary, began living with the Oneida. He adopted many of their customs, but at the same time preached Christian ways. He was largely responsible for persuading the Oneida to abandon their neutral stance and support the Americans. Skenandoah, who was a close personal friend to Samuel Kirkland, began sending some warriors to help the Americans.

When George Washington’s men were starving at Valley Forge, Skenandoah sent baskets of corn. Skenandoah also informed residents of German Flats, New York, that Joseph Brant and the British Loyalists were going to raid their town. The settlers were able to save themselves, but lost all their property and possessions. In recognition of Skenandoah’s invaluable support, George Washington named the Shenandoah Valley after him. Following the American Revolution, Skenandoah remained the principal chief of the Oneida. In 1816, Skenandoah died. Per his request, he was buried next to Samuel Kirkland at Hamilton College cemetery in Clinton, New York.

Mrs. Mecomber reports that the boulder’s plaque says:

This marks the site of the last home of SKENANDOAH Chief of the Oneidas, “The White Man’s Friend.” Here he entertained Governor DeWitt Clinton 1810, and many other distinguished guests, and here he died in 1816 aged 110. He was carried on the shoulders of his faithful Indians to his burial in the cemetery of Hamilton College, Clinton, NY, and laid to rest beside his beloved friend and faithful teacher Rev. Samuel Kirkland.

“I am an aged hemlock; the winds of an hundred winters have whistled through my branches . I am dead at the top. The generation to which I belonged have run away and left me.” Skenandoah.

Erected 1912 by Skenandoah Chapter, N.S.D.A.R. Oneida, NY

2 thoughts on “Skenandoah – Chief of the Oneida

  1. Chad

    Nice article, but for one error; Chief Skenandoah was buried on Kirkland’s estate, now Harding Farm, in 1816. Both bodies were exhumed and moved to their present-day location on near-by Hamilton College. The reason for their disinterrement, I have not yet discovered.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    So Chad, what do ou think was the reason to bury these two men together? What was happening during the time this happened? What is happening now about any and all outstanding land questions with the Oneida around Hamilton??? There are usually bigger forces at work when this happens

    Reply

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