Cut the sign of some interesting doin’s around the all-purpose frontier tool/weapon, the tomahawk. Today, the Cornplanter tomahawk is being formally repatriated to the Seneca Nation. The tomahawk was a gift from George Washington to the Seneca war leader. The son of a Dutch trader and a Seneca woman, Cornplanter was a highly effective partisan in the savage fighting in the Mohawk Valley of New York during the American Revolution. After the war, he resigned himself — and led his people — to accommodation with the dominant American power.
It was in the state historical museum for years, before being stolen in the 1940s, then returned by an anonymous collector last year. Officials at the museum decided to send it to the Seneca nation, and there it will be ceremoniously acknowledged to have come home.
Scavengeology has a great ’hawk story:
This spike tomahawk head was found, in the ground, by metal detector by Robert Bennett, in the vicinity of Harbor Springs, Michigan at the site of an Ottawa village called at “L’ Arbre Croche,” a series of Ottawa Villages existing in the mid 18th century, and was otherwise a highly traveled spot near Fort Michilimackinac at the Straits of Mackinac…
…We commissioned master blacksmith Jeff Cline, of Augusta, Kentucky, to craft a bench copy of the original, with the only differences being less metal loss from corrosion, and fewer tally marks, since it wasn’t quite retired yet.
The estimable Nadia Dean, author of The Demand of Blood on the Cherokee War of 1776, posted a photograph of the only tomahawk authenticated to have been carried by one of the men who fought in that campaign — a militiaman named Daniel Smith. It’s current owner reportedly paid $250,000 for it.
And just because I love it, here’s a shot of the Ranger tomahawk given to me by my friend Greg Walker: