When 18 skeletons were found at Fort William Henry by Lake George in the 1950’s 17 were European, which is not strange. One was of unknown origins, possibly hailing from Africa. Modern forensic technology has revealed the skeleton was not African, but American Indian. Like most questions in history, when one is answered, ten more get asked. How did an American Indian believed to be from the western United States wind up in the Adirondacks?
The skeleton is believed to be from the French and Indian War, or the Seven Years War, when heavy, bloody fighting was going on around the Lake George area. It was discovered in a unmarked grave along with two others. Modern technology was able to identify that the skeleton’s water source for most of its life was located somewhere in the modern day Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Dakotas region. The researchers admit that the finding caught them by surprise.
An easy answer would be that this Indian was fighting alongside the hundreds of Indians who were allied with the French to try to repel the aggressive British Empire. Except when the French and Indians attacked the fort in 1757 the researchers believe this Indian was already dead. It probably isn’t a British allied Indian because they were rarely buried inside the fort. One explanation is that the Indian was a scout for the British which is why he was buried inside the fort.
Either way, the truth can never be fully known. While modern technology is able to answer questions we never would have been able to even 10 years ago, it seems to only lead us further down the endless hallway. There has to be a side to the story that has been lost to history, and unfortunately unless we invent a time machine, those answers will always be lost. For now we will just have to theorize.
Photo byDoug Kerr