Spike Tomahawk from the Schenectady Massacre of 1690


Out of stock


Late on the night of Feb. 8, 1690 a group of French and over 200 of their Mohawk,
Ojibway, and Algonquin allies raided the colonial settlement of Schenectady, NY, setting
fire to the buildings and killing over 60 men, women, and children. The raid was in
retaliation for raids by the Iroquois in Canada, including the Lachine Massacre. The
original objective was Albany, but Schenectady offered a more feasible target in an
attempt to punish the English and strike fear in the hearts of those in the frontier
communities. Many of the town’s inhabitants fled into the woods in their night clothes,
where many froze to death. It was known as the Schenectady Massacre and was
immortalized in paintings and early prints. According to the included letter from Dr.
Victor Neu, dated March 29, 1993, this tomahawk was found in the 1940’s by a
battlefield historian in a barn at Mill Pond, Schenectady County, near the site of the
actual massacre. Dr. Neu was a noted collector of Indian artifacts and passed away
shortly after this letter was written. The tomahawk features a heavy iron 6 ½” long head
and an early haft covered with a decorated brass sleeve. It has all been together a very
long time and shows great age and a rich dark patina. Overall length 13 1/4″. There is
a famous 19th C painting of the massacre by Samuel Sexton which shows Indians
wielding very similar spiked tomahawks. Tom Richards Collection.