The Deaths of Boyd & Parker

The Boyd-Parker killings have stoked moral outrage and controversy. On the one hand, they were killed, if not tortured, in captivity, and their bodies left and found in a mutilated state. On the other hand, Boyd's scouting party meant to locate the Seneca capital - the Iroquois Western Door - and burn it down. They were killed on or about September 14 or 15th; at a time soon before Little Beard's Town was totally destroyed on September 15th. Analysts disagree on whether they were disfigured before or after their actual deaths. Boyd and Parker are the only victims of the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, white or red, who are so individually as well as publicly memorialized. (Note: There's this park near Cuylerville, plus a Monument at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Rochester and the Ambuscade at Groveland.)

This shows part of Boyd-Parker Memorial Park and the "Torture Tree." The monument plaque mentions that Little Beard's Town, the Seneca capital, was once here...

This expresses the conflict among interpretations...


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Salt in the Wounds: The Mines at Little Beard's Town

On March 12, 1994, a section of the massive 6,000-acre Retsof salt mine collapsed under Cuylerville. Underground water flooded the mines, threatening wells and the underlying aquifer. The collapse allowed an underground lake of groundwater to enter the mine. Upwards of 20,000 gallons per minute was rushing into the mine, along with toxic gases. On September 2, 1995, the new mine owner - a giant Dutch multinational, Akzo Nobel - finally closed the mine under sustained public pressure. But monitoring continues to the present day...

Note: See for a fine summary thru 1999.

Click to see one section of the sink hole...

In 1999, after years of controversy, Akzo seemed to withdraw from plans to further develop the derelict Retsof mine. Also, a new mine was started up in the nearby Hampton Corners area by a consortium called American Rock Salt. Its construction, however, was hotly contested from 1995 by a host of civic and enivromental action groups as well as by the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. At issue was the likely presence of Seneca burial remains at the intended mine site. Native Americans staged a demonstration at Hampton Corners in August, 1995; and a larger protest in September. This was the very month that Little Beard's Town - the former Seneca capital which once stood on these sites - was burned by the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign...

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Sullivan-Clinton: A Strategy of Starvation?

The entries that follow address this terrible question...

Provision is scarce with us, owing to our having been at Fort Stanwick &ca by which means our Corn, which is our Chief support, was neglected.

Council, Niagara
December 1777

The object will be effectually to chastise and intimidate the hostile nations; to cut off their settlements, destroy their next year's crop, and do them every other mischief which time and circumstances will permit.

George Washington
Letter to General Gates/
Forwarded to Gen. Sullivan
February 25, 1779

Click to see Washington's image in 1779...

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