Cornplanter
Seneca War Chief and Statesman
(1740-1836)

Cornplanter
Cornplanter was born at Canawagus near Avon on the Genesee River, known to the British as John O'Bail or Captain O'Bail. His half brother Handsome Lake was an Iroquois Confederacy chief. During the American Revolution, Cornplanter was chosen to lead the Iroquois in support of the British. Cornplanter had at first vigorously opposed Iroquois participation in the war on either side. He was second in command of the Indian fighters at the Battle of Wyoming in 1778 and in 1780 together with Joseph Brant, chief Old Smoke, and the Cayuga was chief Fish Carrier led about four hundred Indians and Tories on a campaign in the Mohawk Valley. Among the houses burned was that of John Abeel, who was captured and then recognized as Cornplanter's father. Cornplanter offered to take his father home to the Seneca country or send him back to his white family. John Abeel chose the latter. In October of 1780, Cornplanter was also among the leaders in a series of attacks in the Schoharie Valley. This action was said to be in response to the Sullivan Campaign of the previous year. Cornplanter was present at all the principal treaties made by the Seneca Nation, including the Big Tree Treaty.


Cornplanter
became a faithful ally of the United States and in 1791 received a grant of one square mile of land from the State of Pennsylvania for his efforts in dissuading the Iroquois Confederacy from joining the Shawnees in the fighting in Ohio. Cornplanter died in 1836. In 1964 the plot on the "Cornplanter Grant" where he was buried was moved to higher ground to make way for the Kinzua Dam.

Information gathered from a book by Barbara Graymont, The Iroquois in the American Revolution (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1972); and online at the Encyclopedia of North American Indians, http://college hmco.com/history/readerscomp/naind/html/na_008700_cornplanter.htm

(Sullivan Campaign of the Revolutionary War: The Impact on Livingston County, page 30)