Joel Swayne diary
Scope and Contents
This collection is comprised of the single volume diary of Joel Swayne entitled, “Some account of my journey to the Seneca Nation of Indians and Residence Amongst that People.” Entries describe Swayne’s journey to the Seneca nation and the two years he spent there. Swayne provides detailed descriptions of the chief, “Cornplanter,” the chief’s family, the village and villagers, cultural differences between the Quakers and the Senecas, the difficulty of the language barrier, and discussions between Quaker missionaries and Seneca members.
The collection is open for research use.
Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).
The Indian Committee of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting began in 1795. It was a successor committee to the Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures, which Philadelphia-area Friends formed in the wake of the French and Indian Wars. The "Friendly Association" was active as a formal organization from ca.1755 to 1764.
In 1798, the Seneca Nation invited five Quaker missionaries to the Allegany and Cattaraugus Reservations in New York in order to instruct the members in husbandry and establish a school. There were three young men (Henry Simmons, Halliday Jackson, and Joel Swayne) and two Quaker elders (John Pierce and Joshua Sharpless). The Quakers established a mission with a model farm, as well as a school, which was run by Henry Simmons beginning in the fall of 1798.
In addition to education, the work of the Indian Committee included monitoring legislation affecting Native Americans and helping Native Americans combat fraud and abuses. The Committee worked primarily with the Seneca Nation on the Allegany and Cattaraugus Reservations. It continues to the present day as the Quaker Fund Indigenous Communities Granting Group.
Sources: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Indian Committee finding aid, Parris "Friendly Association History."
Joel Swayne (1774/75-1850) was born circa 1774-1775, the son of Francis Swayne (1722-1791) and Betty Baily (1728-1789). He was a member of London Grove Monthly Meeting, and was later a member of Woodstown Monthly Meeting in New Jersey. In 1798, Swyane, with four other Quaker missionaries, traveled to the Seneca Nation to instruct the members in husbandry and to establish a school. Swayne died on October 5, 1850, in New Jersey, at the age of 75.
0.0625 Linear Feet (1 volume)
Joel Swayne's diary entries describe his journey to the Seneca nation and the two years he spent there. Swayne provides detailed descriptions of Cornplanter (Gaiänt'wakê), the chief, his family, the village and villagers, cultural differences between the Quakers and the Senecas, the difficulty of the language barrier, and discussions between Quaker missionaries and Seneca members.
The Joel Swayne diary was purchased by Special Collections, Haverford College in 2015.
Processed by Kara Flynn; completed July, 2015.
- Joel Swayne diary, 1798-1800
- Kara Flynn
- July, 2015
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
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