Nick Corduan (nickc@DORITE.IQUEST.NET)
Sat, 8 Apr 1995 09:55:17 -0500

Hi, Everybody!

I'm a young student with a lot of interest and -- I *hope*! -- knowledge in
archaeological and anthropological fields. (Particulary with the Moche of
Peru.) I am also a writer, and have a problem right now with validation of
historical sources. I hope this is not off-topic, but even if it is, I would
appreciate any help.

I am currently writing a historical story based on the following scenario: in
1824, in Madison County, Ind., a group of American Indians was brutally,
unprovokedly murdered. Easy 'nough, right? Here's the problem:

One source -- as well as other, using him as their basis -- claims that the
Indians were all Senecas. Another source claims that one man was a Shawnee
and the other leading man a Miami. A third source -- which I have
regretfully only been able to read the title of, because it is a faily rare
book, and has been stolen from the local library -- credits the lead
character as beign a Wyandott.

Here's where I stand with regards to this dilemma right now:

On the one hand, I have no reason to belive that there were ever Seneca
Indians in Madison County, Ind. I *know* there were Shawnees in this area at
the time -- the Miami had "left," but the source does call him a visitor.
And I know that there were Wyandott in the general Indian area, if not in
Madison county.

On the other hand, each source describes the Indians as being a hunting
party, so they need not even be from Indiana, let alone Madison County --
which opens up the door for the Seneca of the first source.

On one hand, the writer of the first soure was a prosecuting attourney at the
trial of the murderers, and so had first-hand experience.

On the other hand, the account was not written by that gentleman for several
decades and time and age could have had a bad effect on his recollections.

On one hand, the third source -- the Wyandott source -- was written much
nearer (I believe) to the time of the murders.

On the other hand, it was a biography of one of the murderers, written on the
muderer's behest, and garnered through some perhaps questionable sources.
(Although, as I saym I have been unable to read this book.)

So.... I'm left with the question of how to decide which source is the valid
one, since they all contradict each other. Any advice, suggestions,
referrals, comments, questions, etc... are welcome.

Thanks! :-D

Nick Corduan