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THE VALLEY OF THE GENESEE.
boiled into soup for the allies of the French. The invaders remained five or six days traversing the Valley of the Genesee for a few miles, and burning all the corn-fields and villages. During the expedition De Nonville made thirteen captives, who were sent to France as trophies, and thence as slaves to the galleys. The promise of De Nonville to the Indians of the upper lakes, that he would assist them in subduing the Five Nations, was never fulfilled. The Iroquois afterward carried the war
into Canada, even as far as Montreal and Quebec.
From the time of De Nonville no military expedition of importance visited Central or Western New York until the period of the Revolution. Those of the Iroquois who had taken sides with the English having become exceedingly troublesome to the frontier, the government deemed it best to annihilate their power, if possible, by a single vigorous blow. Washington intrusted the expedition to General Sullivan, in the year 1779,
Passing by the head of Hemlock Lake they encamped for the night near the head of the Conessus. In the dusk of evening a party of twenty-one men, under command of Lieutenant William Boyd, was sent out to reconnoiter the ground near the Genesee River, at a place now called Williamsburgh, about seven miles distant from Sullivan's encampment. The party was under the guidance of a friendly Indian. It was apprehended that the Senecas and the Rangers, as their English allies were called, were in the vicinity.
On their arrival at Williamsburgh the party found that the Indians had just left, for the fires were still burning on the hearths of the wigwams. They concluded to sleep on their arms near the village until morning, and then dispatch messengers with a report to the camp. Just before daybreak he sent two men to the main body of the army, with information that the enemy had not been discovered, but were supposed to be not far distant.
After daylight Lieutenant Boyd and his men crept cautiously from their place of concealment, and upon getting a view of the village discovered two Indians lurking near by. One of them was immediately shot and scalped. Supposing that if there were Indians near they would be aroused by the report of the rifle and exasperated by the scalping of their companion, Lieutenant Boyd deemed it prudent to retire to the main body. They accordingly began to retrace their steps; but when within a mile and a half of the camp were suddenly surprised by the appearance of a large body of Indians under the command of Brandt, and an equal force of Rangers commanded by the infamous Butler, who had concealed themselves in a ravine for the purpose of intercepting the retreating party.
Knowing that their only chance of safety lay in breaking through the line of the enemy, they at once made the bold attempt. In the first onset, though unsuccessful, not one of the party was lost, while several of the Indians were killed. Two more attempts were made, which likewise proved unsuccessful, and in which eleven of the brave party fell. Boyd and a soldier by the name of Parker were taken prisoners; part of the remainder fled, and part threw themselves upon the ground apparently dead, and were overlooked by the Indians, who were
too much engaged in pursuing the fugi-
When Lieutenant Boyd found himself a prisoner he solicited an interview with Brandt, preferring to throw himself upon the clemency of the savage leader of the enemy rather than trust to his civilized colleague. The chief, who was at that moment near, immediately presented himself, when Lieutenant Boyd, by one of those appeals and tokens which are known only by such as have been initiated in certain mysteries, and which never fail to bring succor to a distressed brother, addressed him as the only source from which he could expect respite from cruel punishment or death.
The appeal was recognized, and the gallant Boyd was assured in the strongest language that his life should be spared. The lieutenant and his fellow-prisoners were conducted to the Indian village called Beardstown, after a distinguished chief of that name, on the west side of the Genesee River. After their arrival Brandt, being called away on service which required a few hours' absence, left the captives in the care of Colonel Butler. The latter, as soon as Brandt had left them, began an interrogation, to obtain from the prisoners a statement of the number, situation, and intentions of the army under Sullivan; and then threatened them, in case they hesitated or prevaricated in their answers, to deliver them up immediately to be massacred by the Indians, who, in Brandt's absence, and with the encouragement of their more savage commander, Butler, were ready to commit the greatest cruelties. Relying upon the promises which Brandt had made them, promises which he most likely intended to fulfill, they refused to give Butler the desired information. Upon this refusal, burning with revenge, Butler hastened to put his He delivered them threat into execution.
to some of his most vindictive associates, among which the Indian chief, Little Beard, was distinguished for his inventive cruelty. In this, as in all other scenes of cruelty perpetrated in his town, Little Beard was master of ceremonies. The stoutest heart quails under the apprehension of immediate torture and death. The brave lieutenant was first stripped of his clothing, and then tied to a sapling, when the Indians menaced his life by throwing their tomahawks at the tree directly over his
head, brandishing their knives around him in the most frightful manner, and accompanying their ceremonies with terrific shouts of joy. Having punished him sufficiently in this way, they made a small opening in his abdomen, took out an intestine, which they tied to a sapling, and then unbinding him from the tree, drove him around it with scourges until he had drawn out the whole of his intestines. He was afterward decapitated, and his head stuck upon a pole with a dog's head just above it. The body was left unburied. Throughout the whole of his terrible sufferings the brave man neither asked for mercy nor uttered a word of complaint.
Parker, his fellow-soldier and fellowsufferer, was obliged to witness the above inhuman cruelties with the full expectation that he would share the same fate. He, however, according to the account given in Wilkinson's "Annals of Binghamton," which we have used as authority, was only beheaded.
The main body of Sullivan's army, immediately after learning the situation of Lieutenant Boyd's detachment, moved toward the Genesee River, and finding the bodies of those who perished in attempting to penetrate the enemy's line, buried them in what is now the town of Groveland, under a cluster of wild plumtrees, where the graves are yet to be seen.
Sullivan's eventful campaign terminated near the pleasant village of Geneseo. On the eastern side of the river, at no great distance from the present town, was the Indian village of the same name. It was beautifully situated, almost encircled with a clear flat, on which were fields of corn with various kinds of vegetables. According to Sullivan's report the Indian village consisted of one hundred and thirtyeight houses, most of them very elegant. This and the neighboring towns were destroyed, together with the numerous orchards and thousands of acres of corn. The Indians were disposed to make a stand for the defense of their homes, but were unable to prevail against the superior numbers and discipline of Sullivan's army.
A short distance south of Geneseo a considerable stream, called Fall Brook, crosses the road in its descent to the river. But before reaching the flats it plunges abruptly into a chasm at least one hundred feet deep, which is well represente in our engraving. There is a tradition in the neighborhood that in one of the engagements with Sullivan many of the Indians were driven to the brink of this precipice, and compelled to leap into the gulf.
Sullivan, however, makes no mention of such an event in his official account of the campaign, and the tradition is
doubtless without foundation. The army must have encamped near the spot. The initials of some of his soldiers are now, it is said, plainly to be seen carved on the trees to the left of the cataract.
"Few rivers of the extent of the Genesee furnish so much picturesque scenery. The Indian name, signifying 'Pleasant Valley,' indicates the characteristics of the country through which it flows. The table land where the Genesee has its source is about seventeen hundred feet above the level of the sea, and furnishes, within a space of six miles square, streams which flow toward the ocean in different directions, through the St. Lawrence, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico." In the distance of a couple of miles, at Portage, the river is precipitated by three perpendicular falls more than three hundred feet. The ravine worn through the rock by the constant action of water, with almost perpendicular banks from two to five hundred feet high, are scarcely less wonderful than the falls themselves. Next to Niagara these are the most important cataracts in the state, and in close proximity to both the skill and untiring industry of man have rivaled the creative efforts of nature. At Portage we scarcely know which to admire most, the magnificent cascades thundering their song of centuries, with misty incense floating sky
ward, or the stupendous bridge upon which the traveler is suspended in the air at an elevation of more than two hundred feet, and a sight of cataracts compared with which those of old Nilus sink into insignificance. "The great and ever-to-belamented Sam Patch," says Mr. Stephens in his "Incidents of Travel in Egypt," "would have made the Nubians stare, and shown them, in his own pithy phrase, that some folks could do things as well as other folks,' and I question if there is a cataract on the Nile at which that daring diver would not have turned up his
After descending from the highlands of Alleghany, through the rocky gorge of Nunda, the Genesee winds down the "Pleasant Valley," a region of unsurpassed fertility and of rural charms rivaling the poet-sung vales of merrie England. In no other place in the country are the beauties of nature and the elements of agricultural wealth so harmoniously blended. The flour of Genesee Valley is quoted in the markets of Europe, and Kensett has selected some of its rural landscapes for his inimitable pencil. The swelling uplands embrace many thousand acres of flat alluvial soil, neither a natural prairie nor an Indian clearing, and concerning which the natives have no traditions
This immense plain was found
unencumbered by a tree or bush, but covered with grass of such a height that the largest bullocks at thirty feet from the path will be completely hid from view. This land was at first supposed to be barren, and in 1792 would not have sold for twenty-five cents an acre. Now it is cheap at one hundred dollars per acre. The excessive and inexhaustible fertility of the soil is the chief obstacle against which the farmer has to contend. Large tracts in the valley, embracing many thousand acres of the best land in the state, were purchased at an early day by Messrs. James and William Wadsworth, and still belong to their descendants.
At Rochester the Genesee is again precipitated the distance of two hundred and sixty feet within the city limits. Our engraving represents the Upper Fall, ninety-six feet in height, above which are the Canal Aqueduct and Railway Bridge, and from which the great jumper made his last leap. From the nature of the petrifactions in the region about Rochester and the polished surface of the rocks, many suppose it to have once been covered by the waters of Lake Ontario. The Upper and Lower Falls are also believed to have formed one cascade. The present separation is accounted for by the different degrees of hardness in the strata of rocks over which the river flows at this point. Geologists, VOL. XII.-9
however, contend that in consequence of the Upper Fall having reached a stratum of limestone, the two cascades are now approaching each other, and perhaps some thousands of years hence our descendants may see them again united. But this fact does not diminish the value of the "millsites" upon the neighboring cliffs, where flour is ground for the world.
Canandaigua had become a considerable village before Rochester could boast of a single inhabitant. From the capital and industry concentrated there at an early day, the former contains, for its size, probably the wealthiest and most refined population of any town in the Union. We may hereafter illustrate some of the beautiful views afforded by Canandaigua; but at present confine ourselves to an engraving of the Ontario Female Seminary, an ornament of the village, and one of the principal institutions of learning in Western New York.
When Gorham and Phelps effected their great land purchase of the Indians in 1788, the Indians made them a present of a tract of twenty-four miles by twelve on the Genesee as a "mill-yard." Of this tract one hundred acres, on the site of the future city of Rochester, were presented by the owners to "Indian Allen," on condition of his erecting a mill to accommodate the few settlers in the adjoining region. Allen was a notorious character in