Isaac & Dr. Lee

While poking around the other day in old newspapers and looking for something entirely different, I came upon a really sweet little treasure. Actually 3 little treasurers in a row that really make a big impact on the overall picture.

No matter how many different ways I search in old newspapers, the OCR process and the often extremely poor quality of the print, pretty much guarantees my searches will miss things. Today’s post is proof of this. I had already used every trick I could think of to root out the names I was looking for in this particular paper. Since the newspaper was in exactly the right place and time period, I decided to take the time to learn what I could about the “Indian” issues of the day of concern to local citizens. Entering “indian” as a key word turned up a huge number of hits over a very short time span. I used exclude with a few key words and whittled it down to a couple hundred. I got myself comfortable and began reading them one by one.

After several hours of reading and with tired eyes struggling to focus, there it was. I almost missed it – then I just stared in numb disbelief. Perhaps my mind was playing tricks on me? How could my previous searches have missed this?

Document

1874-Jun-5_JamestownNY_IssacNLeeonetto_Land

Jamestown Journal, 5-Jun-1874, pg. 8

Jamestown Journal, 5-Jun-1874, pg. 8

local news section under “Stockton Items

– Dr. I. J. Kiness, husband of the celebrated Indian doctress Leeonetto, has bought of Andrew Munger, 100 acres of land on the Bear Creek flats, at $55 per acre. The doctor has a fine new house in course of erection, about one half mile south of Mungers Corners.

KEY DATA

  • Dr. I. J. Kiness is married to Dr. Leeonetto
  • He purchased 100 acres land on Bear Creek flats in Stockton
  • He purchased it from Andrew Munger
  • The land cost $5,500
  • He is building a house on the property at this time (June)
  • The house is located 1/2 mile south of Mungers Corners

DISCUSSION

Thanks to the local news column in the newspaper, I understand how Leeonette connects to the Kanistanaux family. She is married to Laton’s brother, Isaac. Of course, she may still be related to Marleah as well.

Isaac in using his birth name of Kiness in June of 1874. One year later, in June of 1875, his brother Laton and Marleah are living here using the Kanistanaux name. There was a doctress using the name perhaps as early as 1866 and certainly by 1870. At this point in the project, it appears the doctress was the earliest to use the name. But which doctress was it?

A little research might turn up a town map from the general time period and I might just be able to pin point exactly where this property is and what the neighborhood was like at that time. I also need to investigate the county land records for all transactions by any member of the family.

I was on a lucky streak, because shortly after discovering the above news item, I found two more related to this same event.

Jamestown Journal, 4-Sep-1874, pg. 3
     local news section under “Stockton Items

– Kiness, the Indian who bought a farm of Andrew Munger, commenced the erection of a nice house and made a big splurge generally, is said to be busted finer nor a barn.

It appears the house is built by early September and Isaac has spent a great deal of money. The town reporter is poking fun at the “Indian” by suggesting he has overspent his finances and has nothing left to build a barn.

I find it is necessary in this type of research to get to know the local attitudes and how they probably affect what is being reported in the local papers. The best way to do this is to read the local newspaper, lots and lots of pages of the local newspaper.

Two Seneca Reservations are located nearby and the “white folks” of the region seem to enjoy poking fun at their neighbor “Lo, the poor Indian”. They love to tell how poor “Lo” got himself cheated out of his money or did something else they deem foolish.

Jamestown Journal, 16-Sep-1874, pg. 5
local news section under “Stockton Items

– Leonetto, the Indian doctress and Kiness her husband have gone to Canada, “on a visit”. It is thought here that the visit will be a long one.

Ten days later, the reporter tells us Isaac and Leonette have left town on a visit. The reporter is suggesting they have skipped town, never to be seen again.

I see an entirely different picture then the reporter did. What I see is this. As soon as a house was ready, they left to get the rest of the family in Canada. It appears the reporter’s suspicions were unfounded. They did not stay in Canada long, because Catherine Moulton (Marleah’s presumed mother), died just 6 weeks later in Stockton on 3-Nov-1874 (still needs to be verified).

At the time I retrieved my copy of the 1875 Census for the Kanistanaux family, I had the researcher check for other Native families in town that year. She found no other “Indian” families. At that time, I did not know I should also be looking for the name Kiness as well. In light of this new land information, a second look at that 1875 census should be made to see if Isaac and Leonette were there and listed as white.

A serious look at the land records may turn up even more pieces of the puzzle. And, most likely a bunch of new questions as well. That certainly seems to be the way this project flows.

So, now I know Leonette was married to Isaac. I wonder what town I will find that marriage record in?

See the Kanistanaux Home Page for more.
Do you have any information to add or questions?
Please leave a comment.

Canyon Wolf 
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