To the Readers' Forum:
In the May 4 "In Years Past" feature there is an item about the May 11, 1912, dedication of a bronze plaque commemorating the transit of an Indian raiding party over Chautauqua Lake in 1782. That force burned Hannastown, Pa., on July 13 then quickly retreated with captives, stolen livestock, and booty.
As I have mentioned previously (Dec. 12, 2010), modern research has uncovered some errors of fact and assumption on the part of the early historians regarding that incident.
The force consisted almost entirely of Senecas with just a handful of British Indian Department officers and foresters. The Kings Eighth Regiment was not involved beyond the use of a few of their castoff coats or reused buttons the Indians lost at Hannastown, causing Americans of the 18th and 19th century to assume much more. The total force was around 250 men. It was led by Sayengarachta, not Guyasuta as the old historians thought.
The original plaque was dedicated May 11, 1912, on the then-new Boatlanding Bridge by the Jamestown Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution. The plaque was taken down and is now in the collection of the Fenton History Center. It was replaced by a free-standing marker July 28, 1990, in a ceremony at which I spoke. The sponsor was the Chautauqua County Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution.
As such, the new marker is not a part of the Jamestown Historical Marker program but it conforms to the same format and was erected in co-operation with the Marker Committee and City Parks Department.
Norman P. Carlson