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Interpreting the Evidence

Deed for Land Along the Mohawk River, 1732

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Colonial America (1630s - 1760)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    Colonial America
    Indigenous Peoples of North America

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    Capital District
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Indian Deed for Land Along the Mohawk River, 1732 in Main Image Viewer
  2. Load Indian Deed for Land Along the Mohawk River, 1732 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Deed from Mohawk to Petrus Van Drisen (or Driessen) of a tract of land on the north side of the Mohawk River, beginning at the west corner of a tract granted to Fr's Harrison, Lewis Morris, John Spratt and others, 1732.
Historical Context
This deed, conveying land bordering the “Mohawks” River to new settlers, was executed by thirty Mohawk and marked with their signs as well as with red wax seals. The deed conveys a tract of land adjacent to the Mohawk River and East Canada Creek to the Reverend Petrus Van Driesen, minister of the Dutch Reformed Church at Albany, and to the Reverend Johannes Ehl, a Dutch Reformed minister in the Palatine District of the Mohawk Valley. Van Driesen was a missionary to the Mohawk for twenty years, apparently with some success, since almost all the Mohawks marking the deed had Christian baptismal names. The deed especially recognizes Reverend Van Driesen as a “good and faithfull pastor.” However, the Mohawks also received from Van Driesen and Ehl sixty-two pounds, ten shillings in “money and Indian goods.”
Essential Question
What are the economic, cultural, and political effects of human migration?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the main idea of this document and explain the effect of this document on the Mohawk community.
Historical Challenges
How did the Dutch settlers treat the Mohawk? Did they have positive or negative relations with the Mohawk? Explain.
What happened to the Dutch colony of New Netherland? Who controlled it at the time this deed was written?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Art: Draw a map of the land that was transferred. Embellish the map with native flora and fauna as well as with symbols of the Mohawk and the Dutch missionaries of the area.