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Guide to the Jasper Parrish Papers, 1757-1954 (bulk 1757-1869)

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Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Parish, Jasper, 1767-1836
Title: Jasper Parrish Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1757-1954
Bulk Dates: 1757-1869
Quantity: 0.8 cubic ft (3 boxes)
Abstract: Material relating to Jasper Parrish and his involvement with the Iroquois peoples, particularly in New York State.
Forms of Materials: Correspondence, receipts, invoices, notes, military and government records, addresses, messages, deeds, military rolls, Indian censuses, and paper currency.

Biographical Note

Jasper Parrish (1767-1836) was born in Windham, Connecticut, but as a child moved with his family to the head of the Delaware River in the Southern Tier of New York State, a region still territorially controlled by the Iroquois Confederacy of Six Nations (Haudenosaunee). Parrish was eight years old when the Revolutionary War broke out. In 1778, at the age of eleven, Parrish and his father, while tending their corn fields, were captured by a group of Munsee, a band of the Delaware (Lenape) tribe. Soon thereafter, the senior Parrish was separated from his son, turned over to the British, and later exchanged as a prisoner of war and returned to his family. His son, however, remained with the Indians for nearly seven years. The last five years were with the family of a Mohawk chief, David Hill. Hill welcomed Parrish into his family and in 1780, during a council meeting among the Chiefs of the Six Nations, Hill formally adopted him in a traditional ceremony.

In 1784, when Parrish was seventeen, he was surrendered along with other captives according to the peace terms of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix between the United States and the Six Nations in present-day Rome, New York. Although his adoptive family wanted him to stay, Parrish opted to leave what had become his home to find his birth parents and rejoin the culture in which he was born. Re-entering that world was difficult for Parrish. Although he was then fluent in the Delaware and Mohawk languages, he had lost most of his English. He spent less than one year in school relearning the language and continued his education on his own, catching up with the world he had become a stranger to.

In 1790, Parish was asked to serve as an interpreter for the United States government, and in 1792, he moved to Canandaigua and worked under General Israel Chapin, U.S. Superintendent of the Six Nations. Parish spoke several Indian languages and interpreted for a number of important treaty negotiations, including the Pickering Treaty at Canandaigua in 1794 which gave the Six Nations sovereignty and full title to their lands, and established peace between the confederacy and the United States. This treaty is still cited today in New York State Native American land claims. Parish continued his government service for nearly forty years, working not only as an interpreter but also as a sub-agent to the Six Nations. His duties included handling various kinds of business transactions and negotiations between the confederacy and the federal government as well as the New York State government.

Parrish left his position in 1829. He spent the rest of his life in Canandaigua, where he had become an important figure in local business and civic affairs. Little is known about Parrish's personal life except that he married Roxcelana Paine (daughter of General Edward Paine)in 1800 and they had three sons and three daughters. Parrish died July 12, 1836 and is buried in Canandaigua's Pioneer Cemetery.

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Chronology

1767 Born in Windham, Connecticut
5 July 1778 Captured by the Munsee
1780 Sold to Mohawk chief David Hill
29 Nov 1784 Surrendered at Fort Stanwix (now Rome, NY)
1790 Asked to serve as an interpreter for the U.S. government
1792 Appointed standing interpreter and moved to Canandaigua
1794 Served as chief interpreter for the negotiations and signing of the Pickering Treaty
1800 Married the Roxcelana Paine
1803 Appointed sub-agent to the Six Nations
1815 Given the gift of Squaw Island by the Seneca for his good work on their behalf
1829 Left government service
12 July 1836 Died in Canandaigua at the age of 69

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Scope and Content Note

The collection includes correspondence of Jasper Parrish, 1790-1829, and others, 1757-1869, relating to the Painted Post treaty, payments to Indians, supplies to the Seneca mission, conduct of the St. Regis Indians, and work of the Quakers among the Indians. There are addresses and messages, 1803-1823, of Timothy Pickering, Thomas Jefferson, and John C. Calhoun to Iroquois chiefs including Red Jacket, Cornplanter, Farmer's Brother, Little Billy, Young King, and others. There are also legal papers, agreements and deeds, 1791-1824, including a deed of conveyance pertaining to the property of Mary Jemison. Records of Jasper Parrish's business transactions include receipts, invoices, notes, and accounts, 1793-1837. There are military and government records relating to the War of 1812 and the New York State Indians, including annuity payment agreements to the Indians and petitions for payments not received, a census of the Six Nations, 1792-1828, and other miscellaneous items, 1799-1860. There is also a set of transcripts along with an introduction prepared by Dorothy May Fairbank, Vassar Class of 1940, another set of transcripts created in 1954, and two biographical narratives of Jasper Parrish contributed by Caroline Townsend Monks, who was Vassar Class of 1940 and a direct descendant of Jasper Parrish.

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Access and Use

This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Librarywithout any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to quote (publish) from unpublished or previously published material must be obtained as described in the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library.

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Subject Headings

Names:

  • Calhoun, John C. (John Caldwell), 1782-1850.
  • Chapin, Israel, Sr., 1740-1795.
  • Cornplanter, Seneca chief, 1732?-1836.
  • Graham, George, ca. 1770-1830.
  • Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826.
  • Jemison, Mary, 1743-1833.
  • Newton, Dorothy Fairbank, 1919-2012.
  • Pickering, Timothy, 1745-1829.
  • Red Jacket, Seneca chief, ca. 1756-1830.

Subjects:

  • Indian agents.
  • Indians of North America--New York (State)
  • Iroquois Indians--Census.
  • Iroquois Indians--Treaties.
  • Quakers--New York (State)
  • Seneca Indians--Missions.
  • St. Regis Indians.

Places:

  • New York (State)--Politics and government--18th century.
  • New York (State)--Politics and government--19th century.
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783.
  • United States--History--War of 1812.

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Encoding Information

Encoded by Elizabeth Clarke, April 2007.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Jasper Parrish Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

Original processing date unknown. Biographical note added March 2007. General description updated and detailed item list added by Mary Ahenakew, October 2012.

Acquisition Information

Donated to the Lucy Maynard Salmon Collection of Historical Materials, Vassar College Library, in 1939 by Caroline Monks, Vassar Class of 1940 and direct descendant of Jasper Parrish.

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Series List

Series I. Correspondence - Parrish to Others

Series II. Correspondence - Others to Parrish

Series III. Correspondence - Others to Others

Series IV. Letter Fragments and Autographs

Series V. Addresses and Messages

Series VI. Legal Documents

Series VII. Financial Documents

Series VIII. Censuses of the Six Nations

Series IX. Parrish Promotion and Commission Documents

Series X. Miscellaneous Documents

Series XI. Biographical Narratives, Transcripts and Inventories

Container List

Series I. Correspondence - Parrish to Others

1.1 Col. Timothy Pickering, 1792 Oct 22 (1 leaf)
1.2 Thomas L. McKenney, 1828 Jan 1 (1 leaf)
1.3 Chiefs and Warriors of the St. Regis Indians, 1828 Jan 3 (1 leaf)
1.4 Edward P. Parrish, 1828 Jan 3 (1 leaf)
1.5 Thomas L. McKenney, 1828 Jan 26 (1 leaf)
1.6 Mrs. Townsend, n.d. (1 leaf)

Series II. Correspondence - Others to Parrish

1.7 Col. Timothy Pickering, 1790 Oct 30 (1 leaf)
1.8 Col. Timothy Pickering, 1791 Apr 18 (1 leaf)
1.9 Col. Timothy Pickering, 1791 May 9 (2 leaves)
1.10 Col. Timothy Pickering, 1792 Apr 29 (1 leaf)
1.11 John Parrish, 1793 Aug 1 (1 leaf)
1.12 John Parrish, 1796 Apr 7 (1 leaf)
1.13 Capt. Thomas Morris, 1796 Aug 22 (1 leaf)
1.14 Edward Paine, 1798 May 26 (1 leaf)
1.15 John Johnston, 1800 July 19 (1 leaf)
1.16 Capt. Thomas Morris, 1800 Nov 12 (1 leaf)
1.18 Callender Irvin, 1803 May 18 (1 leaf)
1.19 John H. Frisbee, 1805 Dec 7 (1 leaf)
1.20 Jacob M. Hallett, 1805 Dec 29 (1 leaf)
1.21 Elbert Willett, 1806 Feb 27 (1 leaf)
1.22 Frederic Dilano, 1806 Mar 23 (1 leaf)
1.23 Gen. Edward Paine, 1806 Mar 30 (2 leaves)
1.24 Nicholas Silverheels, 1806 Apr 1 (1 leaf)
1.25 Henry Dearborn, 1806 Aug 11 (1 leaf)
1.26 Henry Dearborn, 1808 Jan 6 (1 leaf)
1.27 Capt. Thomas Morris, 1809 June 7 (1 leaf)
1.28 William Spring, 1809 Aug 24 (1 leaf)
1.29 Henry Dearborn, 1809 Oct 14 (1 leaf)
1.30 Erastus Granger, 1812 Oct 24 (2 leaves)
1.31 Morgan Lewis, 1813 Apr 27 (1 leaf)
1.32 Fielder Ridgeway, 1813 Oct 3 (1 leaf)
1.33 Samuel W. Phelps, 1814 Feb 22 (2 leaves)
1.34 Peter B. Porter, 1814 June 12 (2 leaves)
1.35 Edward A. Trowbridge, 1814 June 15 (1 leaf)
1.36 Peter B. Porter, 1814 July 31 (1 leaf)
1.37 J. A. Geddes, 1814 Oct 24 (2 leaves)
1.38 Erastus Granger, 1815 July 20 (2 leaves)
1.39 Erastus Granger, 1816 Dec 11 (1 leaf)
1.40 George Graham, 1817 Mar 19 (1 leaf)
1.41 Hester Hill, 1817 Jun 7 (1 leaf)
1.42 Moses Van Campen, 1817 Aug 12 (1 leaf)
1.43 William J. Kerr, 1818 May 28 (1 leaf)
1.44 John C. Calhoun, 1820 Feb 19 (1 leaf)
1.45 James Young, 1821 Oct 11 (1 leaf)
1.46 John Savage, 1822 July 26 (1 leaf)
1.47 [Joseph ?] S. Elkinton, 1822 Sept 22 (1 leaf)
1.48 Rev. T. S. Harris, 1826 Feb 8 (1 leaf)
1.49 Thomas L. McKenney, 1827 Dec 20 (2 leaves and a copy)
1.50 Edward P. Parrish, 1828 Jan 25 (1 leaf)
1.51 Jabez King, 1828 Sept 11 (1 leaf)
1.52 Livingstone, 1828 Sept 15 (1 leaf)
1.53 T. S. Harris, 1829 July 6 (1 leaf)
1.54 Erastus Granger, 1829 Aug 29 (2 leaves)

Series III. Correspondence - Others to Others

2.55 Byron - Daws, 1757 Dec 8 (1 leaf)
2.56 Col. Timothy Pickering - The Six Nations, 1791 Apr 17 (2 leaves)
2.57 [Robert Pratt - To All Concerned] Letter granting Parrish permission to travel, 1793 Aug 5 (1 leaf)
2.58 Captain Israel Chapin to the head Chiefs, Sachems, and Warriors at Buffaloe Creek, ca. 1796 (2 leaves)
1.17 Captain Israel Chapin to the Seneca Chiefs at Buffaloe, 1802 July 30 (2 leaves)
2.59 Henry Dearborn - Erastus Granger, 1804 Mar 11 (2 leaves)
2.60 Henry Dearborn - Erastus Granger, 1812 Sept 29 (2 leaves)
2.61 Herman J. Redfield - Red Jacket [and others], 1822 June 6 (1 leaf)
2.62 [Nathaniel Prime - H. Gibson] Letter of introduction for J. Parrish, 1826 June 28 (2 leaves)
2.63 Nancy Dickinson - Mrs. Jasper Parrish, 1834 Dec 28 (2 leaves)
2.64 Headquarters Second Army Corps - Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasanton, 1864 Sept [10?] (1 leaf)
2.65 Alfred Pleasanton - Caroline P. Townsend, 1864 Sept 30 (3 leaves)
2.66 [John Brooks - Peter Townsend], 1869 Dec 28 (1 leaf)

Series IV. Letter Fragments and Autographs

2.67 Dewitt Clinton, n.d. (1 leaf)
2.67 Ephraim Webster, n.d. (1 leaf)
2.67 Jefferson Davis, n.d. (1 leaf)
2.67 Frederic Delano, n.d. (1 leaf)
2.67 Peter Gansevoort, Jr., n.d. (1 leaf)
2.67 Oliver [?], n.d. (1 leaf)
2.67 Egbert Benson, Jr., n.d. (1 leaf)
2.67 Israel Chapin, n.d. (1 leaf)
2.67 [Dudley Saltonstall], n.d. (1 leaf)
2.67 Isaac Denniston, n.d. (1 leaf)
2.67 Joseph Fellows, n.d. (1 leaf)
2.67 [Mrs. Grump or Grimp?], n.d. (1 leaf)
2.67 Eleazer Williams, n.d. (1 leaf)
2.67 Erastus Granger, 1806 Apr 14 (1 leaf)
2.67 [Hugh or August Pistor or Piston?], 1818 Dec [10?] (1 leaf)

Series V. Addresses and Messages

2.68 Address by Thomas Jefferson to Chiefs of the Seneca, Oneida, and Onondagua Nations, 1803 Feb 14 (2 leaves)
2.68 [Brief description of the Jefferson address] (1 leaf)
2.69 Testimony of James B. Mower, Ontario County Clerk, 1808 Oct 15 (fragment - 1 leaf)
2.70 Message from the Six Nations to the Secretary of War, 1815 Feb 20 (2 leaves)
2.71 Copy of petition to President Monroe by Six Nation Chiefs, 1818 Jan 1 (fragment -1 leaf)
2.72 Speech by John C. Calhoun to Red Jacket [and others], 1823 Mar 14 (4 leaves)
2.73 Report from the Tuscarora Indians, 1823 Dec 9 (1 leaf)
2.74

Series VI. Legal Documents

2.75 Copy of deed of cession by the Seneca Nation to Mary and Chloe Allen, 1791 July 15 (4 leaves)
2.82 General Schuyler's statement of intent to investigate land claimed by Cayugas, [1795 July] (2 leaves)
2.76 Document re: land dispute between Jasper Parrish and John Richardson, 1795 Dec 5 (1 leaf)
2.77 Original deed of conveyance of property of Mary Jimoson [Jemison], 1797 (1 leaf)
2.78 Deed of conveyance of property of Mary Jimeson [Jemison] [copy], 1797 (1 leaf)
2.79 Discontinuance of a suit against Israel Chapin by the Seneca Nation, [ca. 1802] (1 leaf)
2.80 Certification of damage to Parrish property by U.S. Troops, 1819 May 18 (1 leaf)
2.81 Appointment of Parrish by Indian chiefs as attorney for Rev. War claims, 1824 (2 leaves)
2.83 Agreement between Phelps and Barlow, witnessed by Jasper Parrish, n.d. (1 leaf)
2.84 Articles of association: W. H. and Peter Townsend, n.d. (1 leaf)

Series VII. Financial Documents

2.85 Expense account - Jasper Parrish, 1793 May 14 - July 27 (2 leaves)
2.86 Pledge of annuity to Little Billy from Timothy Pickering, 1794 Nov 15 (1 leaf)
2.87 Pledge of annuity to Little Beard for Oliver Phelps, 1802 Sept 27 (1 leaf)
2.88 Expense account - Jasper Parrish, 1803 Mar 15 - Apr 10 (1 leaf)
2.89 Indian annuity invoices, 1805 (4 leaves)
2.90 Expense account, 1812 July 13 - Dec 2 (1 leaf)
2.91 Receipts - Jasper Parrish, 1813 - 1815 (10 leaves)
2.92 Annuity award to Richard Warrington, 1820 Sept 21 (2 leaves)
2.93 Receipt of payment to Seneca warriors for war of 1812 service, 1821 May 28 (1 leaf)
2.94 Indian annuity receipts, 1821 May 28 (2 leaves)
2.95 Indian annuity invoice, 1826 July 7 (2 leaves)
2.96 Miscellaneous financial notes, 1826, n.d. (3 leaves)
2.97 Indian annuity receipt, 1831 Jan 29 (1 leaf)
2.98 Bill for medical care of Mrs. Jasper Parrish, 1837 (1 leaf)

Series VIII. Censuses of the Six Nations

2.99 Numbers of the Six Nations, 1792 Nov (2 leaves)
2.100 List of signatures of Americans signed at Canandaigua, 1799 Apr 8 (fragment - 1 leaf)
2.101 Number of Onondagas at Onondaga, 1808 Sept 5 (1 leaf)
2.102 Muster roll of Six Nations in War of 1812, 1814 Feb 14 (1 leaf)
2.103 Number of the St. Regis Indians, 1828 Jan (1 leaf)
2.104 Ontario Troop roll, n.d. (1 leaf)

Series IX. Parrish Promotion and Commission Documents

2.105 Parrish promotion to Cornet, 1796 Apr 2 (1 leaf)
2.106 Parrish promotion to 2d. Lieutenant, 1797 Mar 28 (1 leaf)
2.107 Parrish promotion to Captain, 1800 Nov 27 (1 leaf)
2.108 Commission letter of Jasper Parrish as U.S. Sub-agent to the Six Nations, 1803 Feb 15 (2 leaves)

Series X. Miscellaneous Documents

2.109 Photograph of portrait of Jasper Parrish, n.d. (3 leaves)
2.110 Plan of Parrish House, n.d. (1 leaf)
2.111 Apprenticeship of Halana Morgan to Jasper Parrish , 1807 Aug 3 (1 leaf)
2.112 Description of a highway in Canandaigua, 1799 June 1 (fragment - 2 leaves)
2.113 Clippings, 1803, n.d. (5 leaves)
2.114 Autographs (2) written for Caroline Townsend , 1859-1860 (2 leaves)
2.115 Samples of paper money, n.d. (9 leaves)
2.116 Miscellaneous, n.d. (3 leaves)
2.117 Drawing and parts description of Sterling Furnace, n.d. (1 leaf)

Series XI. Biographical Narratives, Transcripts and Inventories

2.118 Biographical narratives of Jasper Parrish, n.d. (18 leaves)
3.1 - 3.4 "Letters and Documents Relating to the Government Service of Jasper Parrish among the Indians of New York State, 1790 - 1831," edited by Dorothy May Fairbanks, 1940 (typescript - 247 leaves)
3.5 - 3.7 "Jasper Parrish Papers in Vassar College Library," 1954 (typed transcripts - 141 leaves)

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