Cornplanter, Seneca Chief
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.

Cornplanter's (Sagoyewatha) portrait (above) was painted by F. Bartoli, in 1796.

Cornplanter (Gy-ant-wa-hia) was a great Seneca Chief. His alias was John O'Bail. He reluctantly allied with the British during the American Revolution, but later became a friend of the Americans and signed the 1784 agreement at Fort Stanwix. This was because his own town suffered destruction by the Sullivan expedition. His band then moved to the Allegheny River, which was located between New York and Pennsylvania. Cornplanter did not become a Christian, but he welcomed Quakers and other teachers of agricultural living. They were closer to the land than other whites.

Refugee Senecas resided in Cornplanter's principal town of Jenuchshadego, meaning "Burnt House." Jenuchshadego was located on the Allegheny River. Cornplanter died February 18, 1836 (at age 100). Cornplanter's half-brother was Handsome Lake. His brother was greatly depressed by the defeat of his people and turned to drink. Before this Handsome Lake was a warrior and hunter.At age 60 something Handsome Lake was close to death from his depression and alcoholic state. This is when Handsome Lake received his first visions that would later become part of the Iroquois creed. Handsome Lake preached against the sins of alcohol from that day on.

Jesse Cornplanter, the artist, was a descendant of the great Seneca chief.

Seneca Families on Cornplanter's Reservation:
(Warren County, Pennsylvania in 1892)

Abram George
Bennett, Dwight
Dolson, Gilson
Gordon, Willie
Halftown, Jaffard
Jackson, Orlando
Jacobs, Ruth
Jacobs, James
Jacobs, Thomas W.
Killbuck, David
Lee, George
Lee, Morris
Logan, Jesse
Pierce, Oakley
Pierce, Gilson
Pierce, Hannah
Pierce, Marsh(Hoh-hoo-e-yoh)
Redeye, Louisa
Thompson, Moses
Titus, George

Logan, Silverheels, Titus, Blacksnake, Jacobs, Plummer, O'Bail, Abram, Hotbread, Thompson, and Pierce were all names on this reservaion in later years.

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