friend the governor of Pennsylvania. The response was handsome. Under date of April 2, 1822, the Legislature directed the state treasurer to pay the tax notes and all taxes due; exempted the Grant from any kind of taxes so long as Cornplanter or his heirs held it; provided heavy penalties for trespass on the property; and authorized the appointment of commissioners to interview the old chief and explain the objects of the act. On the sixth day of July, the chief met the state commissioners at Warren and delivered himself of a really good speech - the most eloquent that Warren County has ever heard, I am sure.
"Cornplanter died on February 18, 1836, and letters of administration were issued on May 29, 1837, to Robert Falconer. On August 31, the heirs petitioned the Warren County Orphans Court for a partition of the Grant, and an inquest was awarded. What became of it, I do not know. Perhaps the court, on consideration, decided then what it formally determined later - that it had no jurisdiction. The heirs then living sold and leased parts of it as though it had been divided. Maybe they agreed amongst themselves. In any event, the Act of May 16, 1871, specifically authorized the Warren County Orphans Court to appoint commissioners to make partition on petition of a majority of the heirs. Such a petition was forthcoming, and three Quakers were appointed commissioners on June 10, 1871. It is said that all heirs were represented at the hearing, held in the schoolhouse on August 21. Allotments were made, surveyed, and mapped. On December 5 the findings were confirmed by the court. By this action the Grant was divided and everyone seemed satisfied.
"But the Act of 1871 went further. After partition, the owners were permitted to sell only to descendants of Cornplanter or to other Senecas; and the Grant was again declared exempt from taxes or from any judicial sale except to Senecas.
"This created a peculiar title and an interesting problem, both rather thoroughly explored from the state's standpoint after the death of Marsh Pierce, Cornplanter's grandson, on November 3, 1899. Marsh Pierce was in all respects a remarkable man. The Quakers had done well by his education. He was a builder by trade, and a forward-looking citizen. At his death he left five sons: Gibson, Oakley, Amos, Toppley O'Connell, and Windsor. On December 7, 1908, Gibson, the oldest, asked the Warren County Orphans Court for a partition of the lands amongst the five. On February 13, 1909, the other four alleged that Gibson was not Marsh's son, and the case went to trial. The court appointed a master to take testimony. He interviewed, through an interpreter, some nineteen Indian witnesses, most of them old people. The revelation here of ways of actual Indian life in the middle 1800's makes fascinating reading. The judge found Gibson to be Marsh's son and awarded an inquest to make partition.
"But on June 17, 1911, Amos came into court with a motion to stay proceedings. He contended that the court lacked jurisdiction because all the parties at interest were Indians, not citizens, subject only to the laws of the Seneca Nation, whose quasi-independent existence had been recognized by Congress in 1849; and, besides, that Seneca inheritance is always through the mother's side and white laws do not apply. So the court appointed an auditor to consider all this. Over the following years two more judges heard the case and all decided that their court had authority in the premises, ordering the allotment to proceed. At one point the case went even to the Superior Court. On November 11, 1921, the estate property was sold for $900 to Gibson Pierce, at the courthouse in Warren.
"At this point an Indian lawyer from the Cattaraugus Reservation stepped in and did such a good job that on November 13, 1922 - fourteen years after the start - a fourth judge held all proceedings void, and decided that his court had no jurisdiction, mainly on the ground that he doubted its ability to protect the sheriff of Warren County if the Indians resisted him.
"When the federal authorities came to look into this matter in recent years, in connection with the proposed Allegheny Reservoir, or 'Kinzua Dam,' they concluded that 'insofar as the United States was and is concerned, this (Cornplanter) reservation is individual property over which the United States has no jurisdiction.' The basis for this opinion is outlined in House Document No. 300, 76 Congress, First Session, 1939.
"Just where this leaves the Grant legally it is hard to say. But the Indians get along fairly well just the same. Starting with the 1871 partition, they have recognized as heirs all descendants of Chief Cornplanter, whether the descent be through the mothers' or fathers' line. But one dear old lady rather wishes there were someone to whom she could appeal, because she thinks that a line fence in process of erection is on her land and she cannot find anyone with authority to stop it.
"The Moravian Zeisberger talked religion with the then chief of the Upper Allegheny towns in 1767; and Waterman Baldwin, a teacher, and his Bible were there as early as 1791. But educational and missionary work really started in 1798 with the arrival of three young Quakers from Philadelphia, accompanied by older brethren to set them up in business. Joel Swayne and Halliday Jackson settled down at Old Town, some nine or ten miles above Jennesadaga, where they planned to turn warriors into farmers and artisans. Henry Simmons, Jr., stayed at Jennesadaga with Cornplanter and took over the departments of morals and education. Quakers never prose-
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TRIAL NOTE: At the trial Mr. Merle H. Deardorff - a noted historian - testified on the history of the Cornplanter Tract as outlined in the appendix.
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