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Seneca John Title
Seneca Tribe HistorySeneca-White RelationsLife & LivelihoodDeath of Seneca JohnDeath of Seneca John-Another ViewDismissall of Coonstick's CaseSeneca John's Grave MarkerSeneca John Suggested ReadingEmail Us


Seneca John is said to have resembled Henry Clay.
No pictures exist of Seneca John. This is a portrait of famous statesman Henry Clay, whom Seneca John is said to have resembled.
(From an engraving by W.G. Jackman)
"A Truly Great Man"
There are numerous stories about the Indian called Seneca John, told by people who knew him, and published in 19th century histories of Seneca and Sandusky counties. These reminiscences often do not agree on details, but it is clear that he was highly respected and well-liked by nearly everyone. He is most famous for the manner in which he died, at the hands of his brothers. Although most accounts cite the year of his death as 1828, the existence of treaties with his signature shows that it must have been 1832 or later (see Treaties with the Seneca and Shawnee, in the Suggested Reading section).

"I knew Seneca John well. As a noble son of the forest he had no superior and few equals. His effort to bring the tribe to adopt civilization, temperance, and other reforms, caused his tragic death by Comstock and Steel."
(Seth C. Parker, Peru [Huron County, Ohio], Feb 29th, 1860, quoted in The Fire Lands Pioneer, March, 1860)

"Not much is known pertaining to the direct biography of Seneca John. The most that we have is incidental to and related in the story of his execution. He belonged however to a prominent family of his tribe and was one of four brothers, or rather of three full brothers named Comstock, Steel and Coonstick and him-self a half brother of the three named. Comstock was a principal chief of his tribe. Seneca John succeeded Comstock as chief and Coonstick succeeded Seneca John, or became a chief after Seneca John's death. Thus it appears that the family furnished three chiefs of the tribe."
(from "Seneca John, Indian Chief" an article by Basil Meek, in The Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, vol. 31, 191)

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