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...


Topic Under Development / Watch this Space

Posted by sullivan at November 8, 2004 09:19 AM

The "analysts who disagree whether" Boyd and Parker were disfigured before or after death know little of Iroquois methods. Answer: Before, as much as possible. In truth, they were fortunate that Sullivan was so near, else they would have been burned alive.
For details see Eckert, The Jesuit Relations, or La Salle's Diary.

Posted by: Mike Dunn at September 5, 2004 10:09 AM

I think that whether disfigurement was done before or after is really beside the point. It is really an argument about Savagery. My question to you is wether you're suggesting that Boyd and Parker were innocents on a lark? What were they doing there? In other words, is intended arson - the whole point of their scouting mission - a civilized act? That is which violence is worse?

Posted by: sullivan at November 7, 2004 11:29 PM

Boyd & Parker were victims of outrage and frustration, some people fail to understand the history and meaning behind the Sullivan Clinton Campaign. The Seneca had allied themselves with the British who favored them with gifts of trade goods, protection under the crown and false promises - "bottom line" they used them.
The American colonists had had enough of the atrocities committed by the relentless raids of the Loylists rangers and their Indian allies, and put pressure on Washington to end it - thus the Sullivan Clinton Campaign.
Boyd & Parker were no stranger to killing and scalping and I'm sure they or their buddies who were on that scouting foray wouldn't have thought twice about taking Seneca scalps wether they be men woman or children.
War brings out the worst in human beings no matter what color or creed, and that is what happened to Boyd & Parker, if someone came into your village and began to kill and burn your home, most likly you would take revenge on those responsible.

Posted by: Scout Branch at January 3, 2007 02:36 PM

Does Scout Branch know that in 1778, the year before Sullivan/Clinton, the rebels took immediate revenge for Wyoming by the burnings of Seneca and Mingo towns by Hartley Expedition and of Indian settlements at Unadilla and Onoquaga, which, in turn, led to the Cherry Valley massacre? S/C was an opportunity for total Indian removal which NY's politicians and speculators dreamed of. The cycle of frontier violence opened the door to finance S/C even before Wyoming and Cherry Valley. Like you say, war can bring out the worst in everyone.

Posted by: sullivan at October 27, 2007 11:28 AM

Scout Branch is right to say that Boyd/Parker were no strangers to killing and scalping: In their crew was the (in)famous hero, Timothy Murphy, who scalped a lone Seneca man on the day before B/P were captured, then found brutalized. It was Murphy's 33rd serial scalping. See this footnote in Allan Eckert's Wilderness War.

Posted by: sullivan at October 27, 2007 11:34 AM

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