Joint Committee on Indian Affairs of the Four Yearly Meetings of Genesee, Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia
Held at: Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Indian Committees of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Genesee Yearly Meetings (Hicksite) united in 1838 to protect the Seneca Indians from the Ogden Land Company, which was trying to buy their land. The Joint Committee was convinced that the Indians had been bribed to sign the treaty agreeing to cede their New York lands. They gathered evidence and sent it to President Van Buren. However the Senate ratified the treaty by which the Senecas had agreed to sell their land, and the only recourse of the Friends was public opinion. They issued a great many pamphlets setting forth the facts of the case, including a book, The Case of the Seneca Indians, published in 1840.
In 1842 a conference was held between the Secretary of War, agents of the Ogden Land Company, and a delegation of Friends. As a result, the Ogden Co. agreed to a supplemental treaty giving the Senecas title to reservations at Cattaraugus and Allegheny. In 1846 a small party of Senecas emigrated west. They soon found themselves in need and appealed to their tribe in New York, who in turn appealed to the Friends. In 1848 Joseph Walton and his family went to Cattaraugus to continue the work of the Female Manual Labor School and to get the farm ready to turn over to the Indians. By 1849 the active work of the Friends with the Senecas ended, and the Joint Committee dissolved in 1850.
The Secretary of the committee was Benjamin Ferris of Philadelphia and the members in 1840 included Philip E. Thomas, William E. Bartlett, Jacob Lafetra and Phineas Janney of Baltimore, Griffith M. Cooper of Genesee, Abraham Bell, Thomas Carpenter, Samuel Smith and Dobel Baker of New York, and William Wharton, Joseph Warner, John H. Bunting and George M. Justice of Philadelphia.
This collection contains papers relating to the joint committee of representatives, including correspondence chiefly concerning the ceding of Seneca lands in New York by treaty under questionable circumstances. Correspondents include Benjamin Ferris (1780-1867).
The collection is organized into 10 series. The series are:
- Annual Reports and Extracts from Minutes
- List of Indians
- Documents on Emigration Question
- Memorials of Joint Committee
- Memorials of Senecas
- Address from Committee to Seneca Chiefs
- Legislative Documents
For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Date: Before 1961
- Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends (Hicksite : 1827-1955). Joint Committee on Indian Affairs (1869-1892)
- Indians of North America -- Government relations -- 1789-1869
- Indian land transfers
- Indians of North America -- New York (State)
- Indians of North America -- Treaties
- Real property -- New York (State)
- Seneca Indians -- Government relations -- 1789-1869
- Seneca Indians -- Land tenure
- Seneca Indians -- New York (State)
- Society of Friends -- Indian Affairs
- Quakers -- Seneca Indians -- Treaties
- Seneca Indians -- Treaties
- Land use -- New York (State)
- Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
- Finding Aid Author
- FHL staff
- Finding Aid Date
- Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries
- Access Restrictions
Collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Friends Historical Library believes all of the items in this collection to be in the Public Domain in the United States, and is not aware of any restrictions on their use. However, the user is responsible for making a final determination of copyright status before reproducing. See http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/.
This series consists of Benjamin Ferris' correspondence: letters addressed to him as Secretary of the Committee and some rough dated 11/4/1839 of letters he sent to the President of the United States and to the Secretary of War. The correspondence is arranged chronologically.
This series consists of hand-written and printed reports of the Joint Committee on Indian Affairs of the Four Yearly Meetings and of the Indian Committees of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, New York Yearly Meeting, and Baltimore Yearly Meeting. Also included are reports of G.M. Cooper on a visit to the Senecas in 1845. The reports and extracts from minutes are arranged chronologically.
This series consists of a list of those Indians who assented to the treaty concluded at Buffalo Creek.
This series consists of answers by Indians to the questionnaires on emigration, lists of Chiefs for and against emigration, and statements by Chief's against emigration arranged chronologically.
This series consists of drafts and printed copies of memorials sent to the President of the United States, to the Senate and House of Representatives, to the Secretary of War, and to the Governor and Council of the State of Massachusetts arranged by name of recipient.
This series consists of hand-written copies of memorials sent by the Senecas to the President of the United States, to the Secretary of War and to the Legislature of the State of New York arranged by the name of the recipient.
This single address from the Committee to the Seneca Chiefs is undated but was evidently written after 1846
This series consists of manuscript reports of the Indian Committee of the United States Senate and manuscripts and printed Acts of the New York legislature. These documents are arranged chronologically.
This series consists of a poster size public notice signed by Seneca Indians objecting to the Ogden Land Company selling lots in Buffalo Creek Reservation.
This series consists of clippings from contemporary newspapers about the affairs of the Seneca Indians.