- A famous Seneca chief who was the son of an Indian woman and a white
man. He was known as John O'Bail and was born in the 1770's on the
Genesee River in new York.
Cornplanter was brought up among the Seneca,
believing himself a true Indian. But when his playmates spoke of
the difference in color of his skin and theirs, his mother finally told
him his father was a white man and lived in Albany, New York. He
visited his father who was married to a white woman. The elder O'Bail
treated him kindly "But gave me nothing to carry back," Cornplanter later
While fighting on the side of the British
in the Revolutionary War, Cornplanter captured his father and tried to
persuade him to live with him. But his father refused and was taken
back to his home.
Like the other Seneca Indian chief, Red
jacket, Cornplanter was forgiven his part in the Revolution when he sided
with the United States in the War of 1812. he offered to lead his
tribe against the British, but was not allowed to because he was thought
too old to fight. His son, Henry O'Bail, served as a major with the
United States Army.
Years later Cornplanter, who had been honored
by the colonists for his friendship, said the Great Spirit had told him
to have nothing more to do with the whites. He burned a belt and
broke a beautiful sword which had been given him. He died at about
the age of ninety, and years later, in 1866, a monument was erected to
his memory on his reservation by the state of Pennsylvania.
within this Site
Breed ][ Iroquois ][ Orators
][ Red Jacket ]