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National Historic Landmark BOUGHTON HILL (GANNAGARO) SITE
New York

Location: Ontario County, on Holcomb-Victor Road, 1-1/4 miles south of Victor.

Ownership and Administration. Privately owned.

Significance. Boughton Hill is the site of Gannagaro, an important 17th-century Seneca village, from which the Senecas struck at the French and their Indian allies. Braves from Gannagaro ranged as far west as the Illinois country, where they attacked Fort St. Louis and harried French traders. The Seneca Indians, the westernmost of the five-nation League of the Iroquois, were mainly dependent upon Dutch and English trade goods, although they rarely dealt directly with the traders. The Mohawks, an eastern Iroquois tribe, acted as middlemen in the extensive beaver fur trade between the Senecas and the Dutch.

After the beaver supply was exhausted in the Iroquois country about 1640, the League of the Iroquois attempted to gain control over the tribes engaged in the fur trade with the French. The French were angered, and conflict ensued for many years; in 1666, they invaded the Mohawk country twice. In 1683, a war party of Seneca braves sacked seven canoes filled with French goods and attacked Fort St. Louis. Wary of an Iroquois-English alliance, the French refrained from retribution until 1687, after the Marquis de Denonville became Governor of Canada. To further his ambition to secure New York for France, Denonville attacked the Seneca and drove them away from Gannagaro. Though weakened and defeated, they soon returned to the area but decentralized and lived in small family clusters.

Gannagaro was apparently a town of several hundred dwellings, but no definite pattern of settlement has been established. The site has yielded a large quantity of trade items and artifacts; few of the artifacts are aboriginal. No excavations have been carried out at the nearby Fort Hill Site, where the Seneca are said to have built a palisaded fort, or at the Battlefield Site, where Denonville is believed to have been ambushed.

Present Appearance. This site is located on farmland. No structural remains or evidence of Indian occupation are visible. [49]

NHL Designation: 07/19/64

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Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005