Ely Samuel Parker

Ely Samuel Parker

Original Name Donehogehweh
Indian Falls, Genesee County, New York, USA
Death 30 Aug 1895 (aged 66–67)
Fairfield, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
Burial Buffalo, Erie County, New York, USA
Plot Section 12, Lot 1
Memorial ID 3603 · View Source
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Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General. He was born in Genesee County, New York, and educated in two different cultures. He was a trained lawyer, but was barred from practicing in New York because of his race(on grounds of lack of citizenship); he also was a self-taught engineer. He met Ulysses S. Grant before the Civil War in Galena, Illinois. Eager to join the army, he was once rejected for military service because he was an Indian. In 1863, with Grant's support, he was commissioned as a staff officer for another friend from Galena, Brigadier General John E. Smith, he served as chief engineer of the 7th Division, XVII Corps, Army of the Tennessee. He became reacquainted with Grant during the Vicksburg campaign. He later served at Chattanooga and during the siege of Petersburg he joined Grant's staff as military secretary with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. There he was often derogatorily called "The Indian." He was introduced to General Robert E. Lee in the parlor of the McLean House at Appomattox. Lee replied, "I am glad to see one real American here," he replied, We are all Americans." Writing out the terms of surrender for Grant's signature, he had reached the height of his military career. After the war he continued as Grant's secretary until the beginning of Grant's presidency, serving as a Second Lieutenant in the 2nd Cavalry and still later as Colonel and aide-de-camp. He was brevetted Brigadier General in both the volunteers and in the regulars for the war. His brevet was backdated to the day of Lee's surrender. In 1869 President Grant astounded the nation by appointing him commissioner of Indian affairs, a post never before deemed suitable for an Indian. He served as Chief of the six Iroquois Nations, consisting of the Tuscaroras, Cayugas, Senecas, Mohawks, Oneidas, and Onondagas. Beset both by corrupt profiteers and overzealous churchmen, he was investigated by the House of Representatives. Exonerated, he resigned in sorrow and attempted a career in business, in which he was not successful. Before his death in Fairfield, Connecticut, he sank into poverty and left his widow with no income and few possessions; those included, however, one of the valuable manifold (carbon) copies of the surrender he had written at Appomattox. He is buried near friends, Red Jacket, Little Billy, Young King, Tall Peter, Destroy Town, and Louis Bennett, also known as Deerfoot.

Bio by: Ugaalltheway

Family Members



Sachem Six Nations
Military Sec. 1863-66
Gen. Grant’s Staff
Brig. Gen. U.S.A.
U.S. Com. Indian Affairs 1869-71
Born of Seneca Parents



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 22 Sep 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial 3603
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ely Samuel Parker (1828–30 Aug 1895), Find a Grave Memorial no. 3603, citing Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, Erie County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .