Indian War Stone

Current Sign Text

Indian War Stone
Grindstone of the Onondaga
Indians. Used to Sharpen
Arrow and Spears at Indian
Hill Until 1666. Moved to
LeMoyne Park, Pompey, 1905

State Education
Department 1939

Problematic issues

-The term "Indian War Stone" is problematic. In 1934, the Pompey town historian, writing five years before the marker was created, makes no mention of the "war" reference. "This stone was used to sharpen arrow heads and other pointed instruments. It was known as an Indian grindstone."(1)

-In 1939, the New York State Education Department created the term "War Stone". The phrase suggests that the Onondaga only used grindstones to make instruments of war. In actuality, grind stones were used to make all kinds of tools used in hunting, cooking, and agriculture.(2)

-In 1666 the Onondaga followed the Great Law of Peace, as they still do today. The Onondaga were at peace. Misrepresentation of Onondaga domestic activities as war-related, is one way of diminishing the economic and diplomatic accomplishments of peace that characterize the Onondaga.

Location

South side of Academy Street, Pompey, .15 mile east of NYS 91, 150 feet east of the Roman Catholic Church

Significance

-The stone was originally located a little to the northeast of the Indian Hill monument (described in the discussion on Indian Hill). The original large granite boulder was broken into five parts.(1)

-In 1905, Father George Mahan of Pompey had part of the stone moved to the yard of the Roman Catholic Church in Pompey "as a memory of Indian and missionary days."(1) The stone was part of the celebration of the 250th anniversary of Roman Catholic mass conducted at Indian Hill.(3)

-LeMoyne Park on the grounds of the Roman Catholic Church was named for the Jesuit priest who came into Onondaga territory in 1654.

Indigenous Place Names for Site

On-on-da-ga - People of the Hills

Circumstances of Marker Placement

While the stone was moved to Pompey in 1905, the marker was erected in 1939 as part of New York State's Historic Marker Program . This program of the State Education Department was begun to commemorate the Sequicentennial of the American Revolution. Over 2,800 of the small, cast iron site markers ... were erected statewide during the duration of this program (1926-1939)."(4) This marker was one of the last markers erected during that program.

Additional Information

Sources

1. William J. Oley, "Pompey Historical Notes," November 8, 1934.

2. Oral history, Pete Edwards, Onondaga, Eel Clan, Onondaga, July 28, 2010.

3. "Recalls Early Church History, "The Syracuse Journal, Thursday, August 3, 1905, p. 4. www.fultonhistory.org (Syracuse NY Daily Journal 1905 - 2312.pdf, #342824). Accessed July 8, 2009.

4. New York State Museum, "Outreach: State Historic Markers", http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/services/marker/srvmarker.html. Accessed January 23, 2011.

Last Updated

Gail Bundy, July 10, 2011