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Ots-Toch is the name commonly used for a native American of the American Mohawk Nation born in 1600 near Canajoharie who married Dutch settler Cornelise Antonnisen Van Slyke and founded the Van Slyke family in New Netherland. She was married sometime around 1620 and died in 1646.
Little is known of Ots-Toch, although she is indirectly referenced in many histories of early New York. For example, a daughter, Hillitie, chose to live with the Dutch, but served as an official Mohawk interpreter. Ots-Toch had at least three other children with Cornelise Van Slyke, and may have had more children by a Mohawk father.
Some variants of Ots-Toch's legend claim that her father was French, Jaques Hertel
In local lore, Ots-Toch is often compared to Pocahontas, as the two share many similarities. Both converted to Christianity. Ots- Toch, who was married at the age of fifteen to Cornelisse Van Slyke, is reported to have written this song as a young woman, sometime after the Dutch arrived. Though perhaps not considered politically correct in modern day vernacular, the song she sang to her children, which was passed down through generations to her descendants, goes as follows:
O'er the dark woods and forest wild My father in his wild nature smiled with tomahawk and bended bow to slay the reindeer and buffalo My brother in his bark canoe across the lake so gaily flew to catch the whitefish in the lake and shoot the wild ducks in the brake my mother in her wigwam sat with copious work and curious chat and I poor little Indian maid with acorn shells and wildflowers played and I beside my mother all day to weave the splintered baskets gay to pound the samp and tan the skins and mend my fathers moccasins I could not read, I could not sew my Saviors name I did not know till white man to the forest came and taught poor Indian Jesus name He built a church and school house near with Holy hymns and wildwood cheer Now I can read, now I can sew My Saviors name I'm taught to know Now my Redeemer I implore God bless the white man forever more."
This song was passed down through generations of her descendants, most notably Mary Jane Van Alstyne Maltby, who, interestingly, was also a direct descendant of Henry Adams, the founder of Braintree Mass., the ancestor of the two United States Presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
Notes Jump up ^ Bielinski, link below Jump up ^ Pearson, pg 342 ^ Jump up to: a b Biasca, pg 4. Jump up ^ Pearson, pg 189
- Bielinski, link below
- Pearson, pg 342
- Biasca, pg 4.
- Bielinski, Stefan. "Hilletie Van Slyck Van Olinda". People of Colonial Albany,. New York State Museum. Retrieved 14 November 2013. External link in
- Biasca, Cynthia Brott. "Jacques Hertel and the Indian Princesses". Retrieved 14 November 2013.[dead link]
- Gade, Dianne (7 June 2011). "Who Was Ots-Toch?". Retrieved 14 November 2013.
- Pearson, Jonathan. (1883). A history of the Schenectady Patent in Dutch and English Times; being contributions towards a History of the Lower Mohawk Valley. Albany, NY.
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