Vol. I No.9
Thursday April 17, 1828
Pg. 3 Col. 3b
Extract of a letter from Rev. T. S. Harris, superintendent of the Seneca Mission, to the publisher of the Rochester Observer, dated. SENECA VILLAGE, Feb. 25, 1828.
You are already apprized that within the year past we enjoyed a little season of revival at the Seneca and Cataraugus stations:-the fruits of which are precious and still remain. It is, dear Brother, a consoling truth of the Bible, that "with God all things are possible." He is able to renew and purify the most degraded - and for the honor of the gospel and the glory of his own great name, he has sometimes done it to the no small joy of his servants and to the confusion and vast annoyance of infidel objectors.
The church at Seneca has increased from fourteen to thirty native members. A church has been formed at Cataraugus within the year consisting of nineteen adult native members, principally the fruits of this season of refreshing from the presence of God. A number more at both stations of both sexes and of all ages are still inquiring "what must we do to be saved."
The moral influence of the Gospel on the hearts and habits of this people, since its entrance amongst them, is in many respects most cheering. It has taught them to respect themselves, one another-the commands and institutions of God's word. It has promoted the peace of families;- cleanliness of person-an almost universal regard for the Sabbath, except where they are led astray b the remains of paganism, or the still more pernicious example of some of the whites, who are seen frequently coming from ___________on this most sacred day-either for the purpose of collecting accounts, making bargains in lumber, cattle, swine, or some other inconsistent or less laudable object of pursuit.- This same moral influence has done away an almost incalculable amount of wretchedness in the desertion of wives, children and parents. If it has not killed the Hydra-intemperance, it has given him many a wound, which I humbly and fervently pray will prove incurable. A few of the most influential chiefs of the Tribe, who have long been thought incurable drunkards, have refrained astonishingly for some time, and appear to be applying to the only effectual remedy, the help that comes from God only.
The people at this station have recently resolved on erecting by private subscription among themselves a neat little Chapel, to be finished the ensuing summer; which shall cost them when completed, $1700. One chief headed the subscription with $1100 in cash. 41000 in cash was pledged; the rest they agree to pay partly in lumber in one of the saw mills, and partly in cash from a few individuals who are expected generously to assist them in Canandaigua and vicinity. The house is to be 50 feet by 40.- well seated, painted-with tower, dome, bell, &c. &c.
There is at present a very interesting state of feelings amongst the Alleghenies, a branch of the Seneca family on the Allegheny River below Olean. Four of their number were received into the church at Seneca on their own application, better than a year since. These have been very useful in drawing the attention of a number of their countrymen to the concerns of their souls, & have in fact been their only spiritual guides. About a week since, in company with a delegation from the church at Seneca, I paid them another visit, and to our joy,- we found quite a number on their knees imploring the infinite Redeemer to enlighten their darkness and save their souls. About 30 appeared to be enquiring for Christ with tears. About 20 of both sexes confessed their sins in public conference, with such solemnity of manner and delicacy of sentiment, and tenderness of feeling, as must have penetrated the most obdurate. To see the trickling tear glisten on the cheek of the silver headed warrior, who has long since buried the hatchet beneath the "tree of peace" as he sat reclining his head upon his staff, listening to the statements of his former companions in arms, or to the still more affecting language of the beloved youth of his tribe-was to me one of the most interesting scenes I could desire to see on this side of heaven. May it prove the indication of the godly sorrow which worketh repentance into life.
Eight were baptized on the Sabbath, who have some time been considered pious, and will be received into full communion with the church in Seneca in the spring, if they continue to be steadfast.
A goodly number of the people love songs of Zion, and it is one of our most delightful exercises on Sabbath evening, after the more public exercises of the day, to sit down surrounded by a group of these interesting children of nature-sometimes engaged with them in singing, and occasionally listening in tearful silence to their expressions of deep-toned affection and penitence."