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Honyery Doxtator in the American Revolutionary War

This story starts with Tee-Yee-neen-Ha-Go-Prow, born in the mid 1600's in what is now New York. This man was described in Elijah Wheelock's records of his Indian school as "Emperor of the Iroquois League." Of course, there was no such office. According to the same records, Honyery and Honyost Doxtator were the grandsons of Tee-Yee-Neen-Ha-Ga-Row. (update: Honyery and Honyost, his brother, were the sons of Cornelius Doxtator. There are two scenarios for Cornelius' birth. One is that he was the son of a Palitinate immigrant named Dachstatter and a Mohawk woman. The other, and the one I believe after intensive research through many conflicting records, is that he was the son of Tee Yee Neen Ha Go Prow who let him live with the Dachstetter family as was common among American Indians in those days. This was done so that the child could become educated in white languages and ways.) At any rate, it is also obvious that Cornelius Doxtator (born 1700-1710) and his son Honyery were both referred to as Thewahangaraghkwen. The Revolutionary War records indicate this though it could have been a mistake in identity at the time. As their Mother was an Oneida both Honyery Born 1745, and Honyost born 1739 were Sachems in the Iroquoian tribe of Oneidas.)  One cannot ignore the fact that there was an Oneida named ODatsheckta living in the area at the time. Pronunciation is similar between Odatsheckta and Doxtator-Dachstatter. Most historians agree that names of European immigrants often came into the Indian tribes by a tradition of adopting the name of white men whom they respected as well as giving Indian names to same. However,there was major confusion in that BOTH Honyery and his father were mistakenly called Honyery AND by very similar Indian names.(Life of Brant by Campbell) I now have several references to show this.(Life of Brant by Campbell, Rev. War Records,Annals of Tryon County) Tee-Yee-Neen-Ha-Ga-Row, aka King Hendrick, was one of the four chiefs of the Iroquois League who went to London in 1710. There they were entertained by royalty and had their portraits painted. Like most sachems he was a noted orator. In order to gain such office one had to be persuasive because of the way the governing of the Iroquois League worked. In council, each one spoke his views and had to persuade the rest that he was right and then they chose to follow his advice. A council was not closed until all agreed, so oratory and powers of persuasion were vital. While in London, he noted the vast difference in the "haves" and the "have nots" of London and questioned the fact that such conditions could exist in such a rich and powerful country.

    It is a fact not widely known, that the League of the Iroquois had great influence over the forming of the Albany Plan of Union, The Articles of Confederation and The Constitution of the United States. George Washington, John Adams , Thomas Jefferson and many other leading men of the day wrote extensively of their studies of the Iroquois League and it's influence on their plan of government. In truth, Tiyanoga and other leaders of the Iroquois should be recognized as some of our Founding Fathers. Why we only hear about the Greek and Roman influence I will leave to your interpretation! All of these facts can be checked out by anyone with the drive to do it. Although I have an extensive reference list, the book "Exiled in the Land of the Free" documents this better than I ever could. I highly recommend it. Congress made extensive efforts to protect the Iroquois League, but were continually thwarted by the states of New York, Georgia and North Carolina. Indeed, England, France and the colonialists all recognized the Native Americans as sovereign nations and treated them as such. So how do "civilized societies" decide to ignore what a complex and well-governed civilization they are displacing? Perhaps by thinking of them as "savages", or, as a conquered people. The records do not support this view of the Iroquois. The service of the Oneidas, the Tuscaroras and the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans on the colonialists side in the Revolutionary War should be more widely recognized today. It was then.

          Honyery Doxtator's (b.1739) Indian name was Tewahangaraghken (The Man With The Snowshoes). He served as a captain in the Revolutionary War along with his brother, Honyost and his son, Peter . (Revolutionary War Records ) He fought in the Battle of Oriskany where he was wounded in the wrist. His wife, Sally Martin, fought alongside him. After he was wounded, she loaded his gun for him as well as firing her own. He was granted 1800 acres of land for his service in that war. This consisted of three 600 acre plots. He was married to a woman named Dolly Cobus before he married Sally Martin. (Annals of Oneida County by Pomeroy Jones, Draper MSS)           In an incident described by Hon. Pomroy Jones in "The Annals of Oneida County" (NY) an early white settler named Judge Hugh White had the following dealings with him. Honyery was a sachem . His son, Cornelius, inherited his chieftainship. This position was sort of an elder statesman who served as a leader and counselor in peace time. Traditionally among the Oneidas this was an inherited position. I hasten to add that the clan mothers had the power to remove a man from this office and replace him with whom they chose. Honyery, his wife and a mulatto (mixed Indian and white or mixed black and white) who was said to "belong" to him came to visit Judge White. Honyery asked the Judge if he was his friend, the judge answered, "Yes." Then he asked if the judge believed that Honyery was his friend. Again the answer was, "Yes".Honyery then said "If you are my friend and you believe that I am your friend, I will tell you what I want and then I will know whether you speak true words." Honyery then pointed to the Judge's grandaughter who was then about two years old. He said that his wife wanted to take her home and they would bring her back the next day. The Judge, knowing how important their relationship to the Oneidas was, agreed. The next day Honyery brought the little girl home unharmed and dressed in an Indian child's clothing. In due time, Honyery, Good Peter and Skenandoah adopted Judge White into the Oneida Tribe. At that time Honyery carried the title "colonel"perhaps bestowed on him by the British for his help in the conflicts with the French. Later, when he fought for the Americans in the Revolutionary war he was given the rank of Captain.

     A few months after the war Judge White's son , Philo, called on Honyery to find only his wife at home. After talking a few minutes, she lifted floor boards to show him several items of silver, including some silver tankards. Looking around he saw other brass items and farm implements that he was surprised to see in the Indian's home. Later description and discussion revealed that the previous owners had been General Herkimer's wife and Molly Brant, the sister of Joseph Brant. Brant was a well-known and influential Mohawk who sided with the British during the war. The items had been taken when Honyery first raided, then moved into the home of Joseph Brant during the hostilities. Brant had convinced almost the entire Iroquois League to fight for the British. in spite of early efforts and treaties to keep the League neutral. The exceptions were most of the Oneidas and a few Tuscaroras. Other tribes, not members of the Iroquois League, fought on the side of their choice. The Stockbridge-Munsee Mohicans also fought on the colonials side in that war.

    General Schuyler delivered the rank of captain to Honyery himself in recognition of his service at Oriskany. Eleven other Oneidas and Tuscaroras were given officers' rank at the same time, but only three were Captains. Both Schuyler and Gates praised the Indians for their bravery in action and said that "they fought like bulldogs". All of the military leaders were not as impressed though and one complained that they would not drill nor police the camps.

    At Oriskany some Indian women were captured and "mistreated" causing General James Clinton to observe that the Indians never violated the chastity of women prisoners. At about this time two Indian women were accused of witchcraft and sentenced to death. Honyery was in charge of the execution and entered their house and tomahawked them to death. At that time this would have been honorable action whether in Indian or white towns, allowing for different manner of execution.. If you can read the accounts of savagery during that era and decide that one group was worse than the other, you are more discerning than I.

    On Sept. 19, 1777, Honyery, Peter Bread and a Caughnawaga dined with General Schuyer. At about 10:00 p.m. word came of Gate's engagement with Burgoyne's forces at Freeman's Farm. Schuyler asked the Indians for their support and they gathered their forces and left that same evening. Gates was lavish with his praise for their actions in that battle.

    Honyery was the father of four children that we know of, by two wives. One wife was Sally Martin/Montour, known as "the Oneida Beauty". To the best of my ability to determine, she was the mother of Jacob and Cornelius Doxtator. Dolly Cobus was the mother of Dolly and Peter Doxtator. Peter was the son who fought in the Revolutionary War. Among other duties as a drummer, he was also a runner who took messages to General Washington. One of these was delivered to Washington when he had his headquarters in Newburgh, New York.

    And now, as a well-known radio personality says, "the Rest of the story".  In the early 1950's a little girl was living in a southeastern state with her Mother and her maternal grandparents. One day at school a neighbor's child called her a "half-breed". She didn't respond and it didn't hurt. She seemed to sense, even then, that there was something not right about the way of thinking that would inspire such name-calling. A few days later she asked her mother, "What is a half-breed?"She still recalls many of the things her Mother said in answer. The gist of it was that her father had been "some kind of Indian" from WI by the name of Doxtator. That he was a fairly well-known and very good musician whom her mother had married, but he had moved on and the Mother remained with her family. Fifty one years later, the little girl discovered that he had repeated that scenario at least two other times and met her half sister and brother for the first time. All three of them were born of different mothers. A day or so after the talk with her Mother the little name-calling boy came up to apologize and say that his mother said he was "to treat her like everyone else, even though her father was an Indian!" That time she smiled and still does, as she is now old enough to define the word "ambiguity"! The maternal side of her family, which was all she knew for over 50 years had always resided in Tennessee since they had immigrated from Ireland, England and Scotland in the 1700's.There, some of them had married Cherokee people. Yet, when she was about 10 years of age, a maternal aunt moved with her family to Newburgh, New York. When the little girl was 16, she was sent to live with that aunt. Unknown to her at the time she lived in a very historical house. It was only two blocks away from the house that General Washington used as his headquarters during the latter part of the Revolutionary War. At the time of the War, there was only a church between the two houses .The house she lived in had been used as officer's housing in that period. At the end of the Revolutionary War, Peter Doxater was sent as a runner to take a message to Washington's headquarters at Newburgh. Possibly, to the house used as officers' quarters. The same house where the girl ended up living almost 200 years later. During the time frame of 1994-1996 the little girl, now in her fifties, discovered the history of her paternal Native American heritage, all the facts in this article and much more. Mainly because she was too pig-headed to give up! The little girl is me. Angelia Doxtator Riddle