New documents are slowing arriving at the in-box after a long lull in activity. I have some exciting discoveries to share. Today I am presenting the obituary for Dr. Lee-o-netto recently provided by the Allegany Area Historical Association of Allegany, NY. [edited 11-Dec-2012]
Nonogenarian Passes Tuesday
Dr. Lee-O-Nett-O, Well Known Indian Doctor of Allegany, Succumbs At The Age of Ninety-five Years.
Mrs. Lee-O-Nett-O, our well known Indian medicine doctor passed away at her home on West Main street at twelve-thirty o’clock Tuesday afternoon from ailments incident principally to old age. Doctor Lee-O-Nett-O was 95 years of age.
Born in Canada, April 9, 1844, she came to the United States in [1859?]. She was a descendant of the St. Francis Indian Tribe of the Macgallway River in Canada. The Doctor located in this village about twenty-five years ago and until two years ago she was active in her profession in the treatment of the sick with herb medicines of her own composition, attaining a great degree of success in her patients’ illnesses.
She was remarkably well precerved [sic] for one of her age, of extraordinary intelligence, kind to animals of all kinds, and fond of birds. She took great pleasure in breeding canaries and parrots, of which she had many about her spacious home.
Deceased is survived by two nephews, Leon Horton of East Randolph; William Kunstanaux of Fredonia, and a niece, Miss Grace Kelley of Wells Bridge, N.Y.
Funeral services will be held at the late home, 54 West Main street, this afternoon (Thursday) at 2:30 o’clock and the remains will be laid at rest in the Allegany cemetery.
Rev. Joseph Groves, pastor of St. Stephen’s church of Olean, will officiate at the last rites.
- name is spelled with an extra dash, like on her monuments
- 95 years old
- born 9-Apr-1844 in Canada
- came to the US in 1859 [about age 15]
- from the St. Francis Tribe [Abenaki of Odanak, Quebec)
- tribe was from the “Macgallway River” in Canada
- moved to Allegany 25 years ago [about 1914]
- raised canaries and parrots
- two nephews, Leon Horton and William Kunstanaux [Kanistanaux] of Fredonia
- a niece Miss [Mrs.] Grace Kelley of Wells Bridge
- buried Allegany Cemetery
- Pastor of St. Stephen’s officiated
My first question, as always, is – who provided this information? It is doubtful either of the housekeepers (Eula Mosman and Gertrude Fowler) would have this sort of background detail. Leon Horton is the most likely candidate, but who provided him with the details? As her health began to slip away, Lee-o-netto may have shared the family history with Leon. If so, I have to wonder what family secrets he may have taken to his grave? Big Sigh … unfortunately, I will never know.
I also note this is not your typical obituary written. The headlines suggest it may have been written by a news professional as a local interest item. Perhaps a local reporter interviewed her at some time prior to her death and used the notes to write an obituary.
The birth date is just about where my best guess is, so until I learn different, I will be using it as her likely birth date from this point forward.
I was very excited to see her tribe listed and whoever provided the information got most of it right. The St. Francis Indian Tribe refers to a historic Abenaki community located on the St. Francis River (Rivière Saint-François) in Quebec. Today the village is referred to as Odanak. Historically it is the location of the St. Francois du-lac Catholic Mission which ministered to the Abenaki community there from a very early time.
The “Macgallway River in Canada” must be a reference to the Magalloway River which runs along the Maine-New Hampshire border just south of the Canadian border. To the best of my knowledge it does not flow in Canada and I found no river in nearby Canada that sounds similar. Mention of this river is actually quite significant. Even though it is not the home of the St. Francis tribe, it is within the original homelands of the Abenaki People and is the known hunting territory of several St. Francis families. Most important, it is where the Abenaki man known as Metallic lived and hunted much of his life. This is the man I believe to be the father of Catherine, wife or Eli Moulton and mother of Marleah (Moulton) Kanistanaux.
It is interesting to see William Kanistanaux of Fredonia listed as a nephew along with Leon Horton. Being listed as a nephew suggests he is a son of Nettie’s sister or brother. But wait, all those children are accounted for. But wait again, the William that may be her nephew (b.1874) is living in Utah. The William in Fredonia is William Jr., the son William Sr left behind. So, if junior is her nephew then senior must be her brother – right? But if this is junior, why are his two sisters and brother missing? If it is William sr., then this supports the idea that William sr. was a grandchild of Marleah rather than her son. But this is true only if Lee-o-netto really is related by blood to Marleah. And then I have to consider the probate judge for Lee-o-netto’s estate did not consider William Kanistanaux to be on equal ground with the Horton children. (another big sigh … ) I still don’t have a clue how or where William Sr. fits in this family.
Gertrude Fowler, who owned Nettie’s home at the time of Nettie’s death, was an active member of the St. Stephen’s Church of Olean. Gertrude may have made the funeral arrangements that were held in her home. Because of this, I can not at this time state that Lee-o-netto was actually a member of the St. Stephen church, but it is something that should be researched further. There may be church records worth locating if Lee-o-netto was an actual member of the St. Stephen congregation.
Over all, this obituary is very helpful. Her age and birth date are consistent with my best guess. It helps in establishing the tribal identity and origins of Lee-o-netto. Although this obituary does not provide “proof” of anything, it does provide another layer of circumstantial evidence supporting my hypothesis that Lee-o-netto is an Abenaki woman and likely a descendant of Metallic, who was well known as the “lone Indian of Magalloway”.
See the Kanistanaux Map at Google.
Do you have any information to add or questions?
Please leave a comment.
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