Onaquaga

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Onaquaga (also spelled many other ways) was a large Iroquois village, located on both sides of the Susquehanna River near present-day Windsor, New York. During the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Army destroyed it and nearby Unadilla in October 1778 in retaliation for British and Iroquois attacks on frontier communities.

Population[edit]

Onaquaga was originally home to members of the Oneida tribe, one of the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. The Iroquoian-speaking Tuscarora people joined in outlying settlements when they migrated north from South Carolina and became the Sixth Nation of the confederacy in 1722. In 1753, Nanticoke refugees from Virginia also moved into the village.

Following the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix, Mohawks were forced north and west and a number settled in Onaquaga, just west of the treaty line. They were prosperous, had some cattle and poultry, gardens, and fruit trees. Many of the inhabitants were Christians. By the time of the American Revolution, representatives from all of the Six Nations, a group of Algonquian-speaking Lenape people, and also a number of Loyalists lived in Onaquaga.

The Ouaquaga Lenticular Truss Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.[1]

Alternate spellings[edit]

Historian Francis Whiting Halsey, who spelled the name of the village Oghwaga, included this footnote in his 1901 work The Old New York Frontier:

Spelled in almost every conceivable manner. Among the forms are Oneaquaga, Oughquagy, Onoaughquagey, Ononghquage, Auquauga, Anaquaga, Oughquogey, Anaquegha, Onaquaga, Aughquagee, Ochquaga, Aughquagey, Oquaca, Oguaga, Anaquaqua, Oquage, and Okwaha. The form Okwaho is used in the Marcoux Dictionary, which gives the meaning wolf. This was a term applied to one of the Mohawk tribes. Gideon Hawley wrote Onohoghquage. Dr. O’Callaghan employed the form Oghquaga. For the present village in the town of Colesville, the spelling is Ouaquaga. A little further east in the Southern Tier of New York State, in Delaware County, the form Oquaga is used for a small lake, a waterway, the eponymous Oquaga Creek State Park, and a hotel in the town of Deposit. The northerly branch of the Delaware has been called the Coquago branch. Wilkinson wrote Oquago, and Washington Anaquaga. Stone adopted the form Oghkwaga. Sir William Johnson wrote Oghquago – though not always. Joseph Brant, after the Battle of Minisink, used the form Oghwage. Brant was a Mohawk Indian who knew how to spell. The word is pronounced in three syllables. In order to secure such pronunciation the author has taken the liberty of converting Brant’s final "e" into an "a," making it Oghwaga. A. Cusick told Dr. Beauchamp he thought the word meant place of hulled-corn soup.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.