Genesee Falls in Wyoming County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Welcome to the Seneca Council Grounds
William Pryor Letchworth first became interested in Native American culture after hearing his father's stories about Cornplanter, the Seneca Chief, meeting with Letchworth's great-uncle, John Letchworth, a Quaker preacher in Philadelphia. Sensitive to the injustices that Native Americans suffered on reservations and their fast-disappearing cultural heritage, Letchworth became determined to collect and preserve Native American artifacts. One of his most significant acquisitions was the Revolutionary War-era Seneca Council House, which he rescued from decay in Caneadea, New York, and moved here in 1871.
On October 1, 1872, Letchworth organized what he called a "rededication ceremony" at the Council House, inviting Seneca and Mohawk descendants of Revolutionary war leaders and other notable Native Americans. They called the ceremony "The last Council Fire in the Genesee Valley."
Former President Millard Fillmore, on behalf of Mr. Letchworth, gave each Council Fire participant a silver coin, which depicted two hands joined in friendship. In recognition of this event and Letchworth's efforts on their behalf, the Seneca
This stereograph shows William P. Letchworth (left) and John Stearns Minard, o [sic] surveyor interested in local history, examining the Council House at Caneadea.
This photograph, taken at "The Last Council Fire" in 1872, includes all of the Native American guests that Mr. Letchworth invited. Former President Millard Fillmore is fourth from the right.
The Council House was carefully dismantled and each of its logs numbered. It was shipped by barge on the Genesee Valley Canal and reassembled here in 1871.
Erected by Letchworth State Park.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native Americans • Peace. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #13 Millard Fillmore series list. A significant historical date for this entry is October 1, 1871.
Location. 42° 35.16′ N, 78° 2.597′ W. Marker is in Genesee Falls, New York, in Wyoming County. Marker can be reached from Council Grounds Access Road, 0.2 miles west of Park Road. Marker is located on a four-part double sided shelter style board at the Council Grounds in Letchworth State Park. The access road to the marker is off the main Park Road just north of the Glen Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Castile NY 14427, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Council Grounds Ca. 1907...and Under Restoration (here, next to this marker); Mary Jemison (here, next to this marker); Nancy Jemison Log Cabin (within shouting distance of this marker); To the Memory of Mary Jemison (within shouting distance of this marker); This Ancient Seneca Council House (within shouting distance of this marker); In Grateful Memory of William Pryor Letchworth (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Pioneer Cemetery (approx. ¼ mile away); First New York Dragoons. Volunteers. 1862-1865. (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Genesee Falls.
More about this marker. This marker shares the four-part board with "Mary Jemison", "The Council Grounds CA. 1907" and "...and under restoration." There is a separate plaque on the Council House itself.
Also see . . .
1. Letchworth State Park. New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website entry (Submitted on August 5, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
2. The Council Grounds. Glimpses of the Past website entry (Submitted on August 5, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 30, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 5, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 652 times since then and 57 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 5, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.