Landing at Irondequoit Bay from Montreal,
Denonville's French army destroyed a large Indian village on Boughton Hill near
Victor in Ontario County. After the attack, the village went into a 300 year decline.
Today the area is the state's newest park, Ganondagan State
The Iroquois Confederacy engaged in active and often
warlike diplomacy with tribes all over the eastern United States. The Iroquois
sided with the British in the Revolutionary War and were very troublesome to the
American side until their power was broken by Gen. John Sullivan's expedition
Sullivan's forces joined soldiers from New England and Pennsylvania
and advanced into Western New York from the south. A decisive battle was fought
at Newtown near Elmira in Chemung County in 1779 where
the Indians and their British allies suffered a bloody defeat. After that Sullivan
was able to advance deep into the Genesee Valley with only minor resistance.
soldiers serving with the expedition were struck by the region's beauty and fertile
soils suitable for farming. Many of them returned after the war, dividing up the
native lands and building settlements and towns.
By a series of treaties
between the Indians and the new federal government at Canandaigua in 1794, and
at Big Tree (Geneseo) in 1797, title to the western lands was eventually settled
and European development could begin in earnest. The British maintained their
stronghold in Niagara until after the War of 1812.
The Saga of Mary Jemison
of the most colorful characters in Genesee Country history was Mary Jemison, the
so-called, "White Woman of the Genesee." Mary was captured as a young
girl by Indians in northern Pennsylvania in a raid in which both her parents were
She was taken back to Western New York where she was adopted and
raised as a Seneca. In later years Mary had a number of Indian husbands.
played a key role in negotiating the Treaty of Big Tree in 1797 and by the terms
of that agreement ended up with a sizeable estate on the Gardeau Flats near the
present Letchworth State Park where she lived out her