Historians rely on secondary historical sources almost as much as they rely on primary historical sources.
But what are secondary historical sources and how do they help historians know what they know about the past?
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Michael McDonnell, an Associate Professor of History at the University of Sydney, guides us through how he used secondary historical sources to investigate the pivotal role Native Americans played in the history of the Great Lakes region and early North America. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/088
A familiar blue 1935 New York State Education Department roadside marker proclaims, “Indian Burial Ground. Chief Crow and other Mohican Shacomecos of Moravian Faith buried here. Last burial about 1850.”
At first glance, the marker is not at all out of place. The sign is located in the hamlet of Jackson Corners on the Roeliff Jansen Kill, a 56-mile tributary of the Hudson River that is considered to have been populated by the Mohican. The hamlet is technically in Dutchess County’s town of Milan, but borders on Pine Plains, the location of Shacomeco village, and Columbia County’s Gallatin. Continue reading
Michael Leroy Oberg’s new book Professional Indian: The American Odyseey of Eleazer Williams (2015, Univ. of Pennsylvania Press) follows Eleazer Williams on his odyssey across the early American republic and through the shifting spheres of the Iroquois in an era of dispossession.
Oberg describes Williams as a “professional Indian,” who cultivated many political interests and personas in order to survive during a time of shrinking options for native peoples.
He was not alone: as Oberg shows, many Indians became missionaries and settlers and played a vital role in westward expansion. Through the larger-than-life biography of Eleazer Williams, Professional Indian uncovers how Indians fought for place and agency in a world that was rapidly trying to erase them. Continue reading
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we investigate the practice of Native American or indigenous slavery, a little-known aspect of early American history, with Brett Rushforth, author of Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France (University of North Carolina Press, 2014). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/064
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore the Anglo-Cherokee War with Daniel Tortora, author of Carolina in Crisis: Cherokees, Colonists, and Slaves in the American Southeast (UNCPress, 2015). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/056
Imagine it is 1665. The place is the wilderness along the banks of the river whose “waters flow both ways.” The native inhabitants are the Mohicans, the newcomers wishing to settle and trade are the Dutch. Exactly 350 years ago a deed was signed for the land the Mohicans called Caniskek, a place that would change forever and evolve into the present day town called Athens, New York. Continue reading
The annual New York State History Conference, held at the end of June at Niagara University, demonstrated once again the robust diversity of the state’s historical community and its research, projects, and initiatives. There were many interesting sessions but I wanted to share impressions of five particularly interesting and important themes.
Cooperation. Paul D’Ambrosio, President of the New York State Historical Association, in welcoming conference attendees, emphasized the essential role of cooperation in sponsoring, organizing, and managing the conference. Continue reading
The New York State Museum and the University at Albany are hosting an annual open house of an active archaeological dig site in Schoharie where more than 300,000 artifacts have been uncovered in the past decade.
The site is the home of an eight-week archaeology field school where undergraduate and graduate students preserve and catalog artifacts, which ultimately become part of the Museum’s collections. Continue reading
During his lifetime, Jackson served as one of the most popular presidents and yet, today we remember him as a controversial figure given his views on slavery, Native Americans, and banks.
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Mark R. Cheathem, professor of history at Cumberland University and author of Andrew Jackson, Southerner (LSU Press, 2013), leads us on an exploration of the life and times of Andrew Jackson. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/034
James Kirby Martin, a history professor at the University of Houston, traces his interest in the Mohawk Valley to his birthplace in northern Ohio.
Joseph Brant of the Mohawk Nation was born in what is now Ohio in 1743 and Martin was fascinated by Brant’s life. The younger brother of Sir William Johnson’s longtime consort Molly Brant, Joseph Brant and Sir William’s son John led devastating raids in the Mohawk Valley during the American Revolution.
Sir William, Britain’s Indian agent in our region, died in 1774 before the war. However, his good relations with the Iroquois Confederacy kept most of them on the side of the British during the Revolution. Continue reading