Driving through Utica, NY and seeing the landscape takes one back to the 1600’s and 1700’s when the Iroquois Indians fought, farmed, hunted, and lived on the land. As green and majestic as the landscape is today, how much more beautiful must it have been then?
The Iroquois had other tribes “underneath” them. The Mohawk, Oneida, Seneca, and Cayuga tribes shared this land. This land was called Fort Schuyler after the British built a fort here. The Iroquois Trail (a.k.a. Mohawk Trail) was used by the Indians to hunt, fight and trade. Fort Schuyler was at a fork in the trail. Iroquois (Mohawk) trail was 190 miles long and each end connected to other migration pathways. They had managed to create their own form of an interstate system.
The Iroquois fought for the land and even helped the new Americans defend the land. Yet, they were slowly pushed out and most can be found now in Ohio.
The Iroquois Indians build on hillsides for water drainage. Their homes were called longhouses and they were built to house 30 - 60 people.
Longhouses had wood frames. The Iriquois used animal pelts and wood bark for walls. They did not have chimneys, they cut holes in the roof to let the smoke out.
Their own, rustic, interstate system
The Iroquois Trail (a.k.a. Mohawk Trail) was 190 miles long and connected to other migration pathways on each end. Fort Schuyler, now Utica, was at a fork in the trail.
When the British came they built Fort Schuyler and did some improvements on the trail. This aided the tribes in their effort to trade and hunt.
Iroquois trail uses
Not only did the British and the Indians use this trail but it also served a purpose for others. After the revolutionary war, loyalists feared for their safety. They used the trail to escape into Canada.
Iroquois Hunting and fishing
One only has to look at the water and imagine the Indians fishing and bathing here. What a beautiful place it must have been then, fresh air and clean water.
Slash and burn farmers
The Iroquois were "slash and burn" farmers. They preferred second growth forests as the trees were smaller and younger. They cut and burned hilltops to make room for their farms and longhouses.
I-90 Utica NY
Naming the town Utica was done through a random drawing. There were thirteen sheets of names. The winner of the drawing was Erastus Clark.
Utica, NY was incorporated on April 3, 1798. By this time the Iroquois had started moving west. Most of them settled in the state of Ohio where they can be found today.