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A Legend of the the Exodus of the Wenrohronon Tribe

Early Settlements in the Region of Elba, New York

The Wenrohronon, also known as the Wenro, were a tribe that had settlements all across Western New York. Ultimately, they were conquered and absorbed following disagreements and a split with the Neutrals. This split led to their downfall, as they were on their own and had no allies amongst other tribes. Ultimately, they were decimated by the Iroquois (specifically, the Senecas) during and after the Beaver Wars. From then, the Seneca took over territories of the Wenro, including those around Buffalo Creek.

Tribal territory of Wenro tribe about 1630
Tribal territory of Wenro about 1630 - User:Nikater [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
It was either during the time of the Beaver Wars, or after, that remnants of the Wenro elsewhere in Western New York began to flee their former settlements. Legends, or rather unclear historical recollections, say that separated pockets of the Wenro, post-defeat, settled in more heavily wooded areas around modern-day Elba, New York and elsewhere in Western New York.  One such area in Elba was the Northwestern region of the town, around what is Ridge Road. Of course, Ridge Road didn't exist back then, neither did Elba, as the road began development some time in the 1700s.

The Wenro though, they found refuge from the attacks of the Iroquois in this uninhabited area, as they hadn't yet joined up with other pockets of their tribe, who'd found refuge with the Huron (Wyandotte). They made their way through the forests and found a natural clearing somewhere near the Ridge Road to set up a temporary camp. The year of this temporary settlement is unknown, but was likely around the late 1630s, very early 1640s.

The Wenro, they made their way to this area under the cover of the early evening, in the twilight, of an unknown winter month. Perhaps even during late autumn, as the ground was very sparsely covered with snow and frost. Their movements were particularly made during moonlit evenings, which made for cold nights, but they had no choice to travel during these times and not get lost. The tenseness of the situation, with a warring Iroquois seemingly everywhere, made the Wenro fearful at many moments and they went out of their way to avoid well-known areas in the wilderness. Their image, the looks on their faces, was one of being broken and saddened. Yet they were resilient and carried on for the survival of those left amongst them.

It's not known what happened to these people, these remnants of the Wenro that looked to join up with the rest, but the land in this part of Elba, around today's "dead end" of Ridge Road has long been thought to be 'cursed'. Though that curse may have been known to the Iroquois back in the 1600s, legends handed down through generations, and may have been a reason the Iroquois were hesitant to enter that area. A 'curse' which, in modern words, is just called haunted.

There are stories that the people, these few dozen or so isolated Wenro, never made it out of the Ridge Road area and were killed. Some recollections say they were found by the Iroquois, which could be likely, or confronted the curse of the woods and succumbed to the elements or something paranormal. Either way, it's said that they still haunt the area and people have had numerous paranormal experiences in this part of Elba, far away from the village. Experiences which include the sound of disembodied crying from the woods, strange lights seen at ground level, and many other peculiar events. It's definitely a great place for paranormal investigators to investigate, given the history alone. Like most places, there are many secrets and histories that we'll never know. Yet the feeling, the emotion, is still in the winds of these places. You can still sense the wars and battle that once were.