AGARIATA (Agoriata), Mohawk chief; fl. 1666.
Agariata’s career can only be reconstructed, without too much certainty, from fragmentary and conflicting accounts (Bacqueville de La Potherie [Le Roy*] alone gives him a name). He steps into history during the period 1663–66, when the Iroquois were prepared to make peace with the French after a series of disasters: defeat by their Indian enemies, disease, and, finally, the stand made against them by Dollard at the Long Sault in 1660. The French, moreover, were in a stronger military position after the arrival of the Carignan-Salières regiment in the summer of 1665. The presence in Quebec of Prouville de Tracy, lieutenant-general of all the French possessions in North America, and of a new governor, Daniel de Rémy de Courcelle, was also evidence of Louis XIV’s serious interest in New France. The first move of the new régime was an attack against the Iroquois. In January 1666 Courcelle commanded an abortive raid against the Mohawks and in September of the same year Tracy led a successful invasion of the Mohawk country.
In July 1666 some Mohawk warriors, one of whom was Agariata, according to La Potherie, met a party of seven French officers from the Carignan-Salières regiment hunting on the borders of the Mohawk country in the vicinity of Fort Sainte-Anne, at the outlet of Lake Champlain. Among them were Louis de Canchy de Lerole and M. de Chazy, cousin and nephew of Tracy. A skirmish ensued in which Agariata (again according to La Potherie) killed Chazy. A Capt. de Traversy also lost his life and Lerole and the other Frenchmen were taken prisoner.
Lerole was one of the French captives brought to Quebec in late August 1666 by the Flemish Bastard, a Mohawk chief who was seeking peace. In Perrot’s version, he was joined by another Mohawk chief, presumably Agariata, who had also delivered French prisoners to Montreal. Both chiefs were received hospitably by the Marquis de Tracy, who entertained them at his table. On the last occasion of their presence there, the Flemish Bastard’s companion (it can only be assumed that he was Agariata) boasted that it was he who had killed M. de Chazy. Tracy, greatly incensed, ordered him strangled at once in the sight of the Flemish Bastard.
La Potherie’s version of Agariata’s fate is that Courcelle, to avenge the death of Chazy, ordered the Mohawks to surrender the culprit under threat of war. The Mohawks answered by sending 40 warriors to deliver Agariata, who was hanged by the French.
Doubt exists as to the date of the execution, if indeed it did occur. From the accounts of Perrot and La Potherie, it might be inferred that the execution took place between 28 August, the date of the report received in Quebec that the Flemish Bastard was arriving with the French captives, and 14 September, the date of Tracy’s departure for the Mohawk country. However, Marie de l’Incarnation [see Guyart], a contemporary witness, mentions in a letter 2 Nov. 1666 that the Flemish Bastard was present at Tracy’s table and again 12 November that one of the Iroquois captives at Quebec (the name Agariata is not given) was hung for infringing the peace by Tracy after the army’s return from the Mohawk country. The Jesuit Journal (JR (Thwaites), L, 203–5) states that Tracy returned to Quebec 5 Nov. 1666 and that the Flemish Bastard was sent home 8 November. It is possible, therefore, that it was Agariata who was hung on 6, 7, or perhaps 8 Nov. 1666.
Charlevoix, History (Shea), III, 87–88, 93. Marie Guyart de l’Incarnation, Lettres (Richaudeau), II, 327–36. JR (Thwaites), L, 197, 201. La Pot(h)erie, Histoire, II, IV, tr. from the French, repr. in Indian tribes (Blair), I,307. Perrot, “Memoir,” repr. in Indian tribes (Blair), I, 201–2, 307. P.-G. Roy, La ville de Québec, I, 349–50.