History of Oneida, Wisconsin
From: History of Outagamie County, Wilsonsin
Thomas H. Ryan - Editor in Chief
Goodspeed Historical Allociates, Publishers
Chicago 1911

Town of Oneida. - In 1854 they had several schools maintained partly by the liberality of the government and partly through the generosity of Rev. Mr. Lathrop, the Methodist minister to the Orchard or Methodist party. Several young ladies from Appleton taught school among the Oneidas at this time. Late in 1854 two of the young Indian men married school teachers white girls. An Indian writing to the Crescent conveyed the information that they would like to have more white girls come there to teach the young men. He said: "We like the white girls; because they teach us to talk English and to live like their people. Those who have Indians for husbands are perfectly satisfied. But the white girls must be cautious in choosing a companion, because there are good and bad in all nations therefore, When you choose get a good one or none at all. Get one who has a good home for you, and who is temperate and industrious."- (This was signed by "Oneida," Duck Creek, December 1854.)

The Oneida Reservation, occupying parts of Outagamie and Brown counties, contained much to interest the people of Appleton in early years. A road about seventeen miles in length was opened. from Appleton to that reservation and was traveled over by September, 1855.

In January, 1855, a company of Oneida Indians from the reservation rendered a concert in the Methodist church, Appleton. Notwithstanding the severe storm there was a large attendance. The Oneidas sang in their own language, and the audience appeared to be well pleased Just before the close of the concert Judge Johnston was called to the chair and the following resolution was unanimously adopted: "Resolved, that the citizens of Appleton feel highly gratified with the entertainment furnished us by our neighbors, the Oneida vocalists, and we commend them to the kind attention of the people of this city, believing them worthy of a cordial reception wherever they may go." The pleasant characteristic of this concert was its novelty, and that alone was sufficient to make it enjoyable.

In June, 1856, Baird, an Oneida Indian, who had murdered another Oneida and had been confined at DePere, was released and immediately returned to the Reservation, where he killed another Indian, an enemy, without ceremony.

"A. D. Bonesteel, Indian agent, has appointed the fifth of July next as the day to investigate the sales of lands made by the Stockbridge Indians, who had the same allotted to them in conformity with the act of Congress of March 3, 1843. He will also consider the cases of lands made by said Indians between the third of March, 1843, and the sixth of August, 1846."- (Crescent, June 12, 1858.)

In January, 1860, F. W. Brown, a Cayuga chief, addressed a large audience in Cronkhite hall on the subject of temperance. The, Crescent said concerning this lecture: "We wish we had the power to speak of this lecture as in justice its merits deserve. When Mr. Brown warmed up with his subject and threw his soul into his speech his language burned with eloquence, and he delivered sledgehammer blows at intemperance. He is a man who has great control over the sympathies of his hearers and communion with every heart. He spoke over two hours and no sign of impatience was manifest. The church as well as individuals had to catch it for their shortcomings. He lectures again this evening at the Methodist Church."

"The First Indian Graduate. - Henry Cornelius, son of Chief Jacob Cornelius of the Oneida Reservation, a pure Indian, graduated at Lawrence University on Wednesday. He commenced his English education in 1855, but having everything, even the alphabet, to learn, his perseverance is truly commendable. 'His standing as a student and a man is first class."- (Crescent, July 2, 1864.)

Late in August, 1865, a band of Oneida Indians of the Methodist Mission of the Reservation gave a concert in Appleton which was highly enjoyed. The house was crowded, all struck by the novelty of the proposed concert. The songs sung were mostly hymns used in their worship. Several excellent voices were noticed among the Indians. The exercises were conducted almost wholly in the Indian language. A chapter was read from the Bible and a. portion of it translated sentence by sentence by the Indian interpreter. The audience enjoyed the entertainment immensely. They were asked to repeat the concert later on and did so.

In September, 1866, an Oneida Indian while attempting to cross the canal where the drawbridge formerly stood at Appleton, fell in and was drowned. It was very dark at the time, so that even if his cries were heard no one could go to his assistance. The body was recovered and taken to the reservation for burial.

In 1867 a treaty with the Stockbridge Indians was made by which they agreed to sell their lands in Shawano county for $60,000, a part of them to become citizens and a part to go to a new reservation, possibly to a portion of the Oneida reservation in Outagamie county. It was hoped by the people here that this change would not be made, because it was believed that the two tribes would conflict and cause serious troubles. At that time it was believed that each Oneida should be given his own separate tract of the reservation and that all who chose should be allowed to become citizens. They had advanced rapidly in civilization - as rapidly as they probably ever would - and it was believed by many that now would, be the opportune time to absorb them as American citizens.

In October, 1877, the Oneidas were paid their annuity of $1,000 by Agent Bridgeman. The census of the tribe showed 1,405 of all ages and sexes. The total acreage of the reservation was 64,000, of which 5,000 acres were cleared and 5,000 under cultivation. In 1877 they had 800 acres in corn, and raised 4,500 bushels of vegetables and 22,500 bushels of grain. They had 750 'head of cattle and 600 hogs and sheep.

The convention of the Forest Temperance Society of the Six Nations was held at the Oneida Reservation in September, 1877; many delegates from Canada were present, and many white visitors witnessed the proceedings. The exercises were held in a temporary building erected for this purpose. Speeches were made by Jacob Cornelius, head chief of the Oneidas, Elias Sickles and others in the Oneida tongue. Brief addresses were made by Rev. Crawford and Rev. Street. On one afternoon the game of La Crosse was played. The society was first organized in 1858 and in 1877 numbered nearly 800 members- (Post, October 4, 1877.)

Steps to open the Oneida Reservation and the Indians made citizens were taken in January; 1883. A committee of citizens went to Green Bay and there conferred With leading citzens of Brown county and also with a delegation from the reservation consisting of A. P. Cornelius, Eli Scandinaven, Joseph Silas and E. J. Cornelius. It was determined to communicate with Congress and with the secretary of the interior.

In September, 1887, a protest signed by 800 Oneida Indians against the allotment in severalty of their reservation was sent to Washington; about 400 others were also opposed to the allotment. The protestants represented about two thirds of the reservation. They claimed that because they were not to have absolute control of the lands allotted nor the rights of citizenship for twenty five years, their present status would remain unchanged. They were willing to allotment if these objections were removed.

Dana C. Lamb allotted the Oneida Reservation lands in severalty; the total number was 1,726, or 1,676 residents; about 1,200 resided within the limits of Outagamie county; in the latter were five schools. The title to the land for twenty five years was in the United States; the land was not taxable.

In 1903 Cornelius Hill, a full blood Oneida Indian, was duly ordained a priest of the Episcopal Church at Oneida.

Early in 1910 the county board took steps to have the Oneida Indians incorporate their town as Oneida.

At the April election, 1910, Oneida was organized into a township and thereafter the Indians were required to pay taxes and were represented on the county board. Nelson Metoxen was the first county supervisor from Oneida. The other officers of the township were James W. Cornelius and Richard Powles, supervisors; Oscar Smith, clerk; Joseph M. Smith, treasurer; Cornelius Wheelock and Lehigh Wheelock, justices; Eli B. Cornelius and Josiah Hill, constables; Josiah Charles and Jennison Metoxen. assessors.

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