Iroquois

Iroquois Peak, the eighth highest mountain in the Adirondacks, was named after the Native American tribe that drove the Algonquins out of the Adirondack Mountains to claim domination of the region. While Colvin first named the peak “Mount Clinton,” he renamed it “Mount Iroquois” around 1880. William H. Brown recorded the first known ascent of the peak in 1883, though it’s likely Colvin climbed it first since he gives its elevation in his 1873 report.

Colvin’s inspiration for the names of Iroquois and Algonquin was influenced by a legend that put the boundary between the two tribes’ territory directly between these mountains- passing through the summit of an aptly-named sub-peak named “Boundary Peak.” While the Algonquins did settle to the north along the St. Lawrence River, and the Iroquois settled to the southwest in the Finger Lakes, an investigation of this claim found no historical basis to prove the former existence of this line. The alleged boundary does fall directly in line with the northern boundary of the Totten and Crossfield purchase- a tract acquired from the Mohawk Nation of the Iroquois Tribe. It’s likely that Colvin assumed this established the line as the northern boundary of Mohawk (and therefore Iroquois) territory, and thus the southern boundary of Algonquin hunting territory.

Since Algonquin and Iroquois boundaries constantly fluctuated as the two tribes fought, it’s highly unlikely a hard boundary was ever drawn here. In the Adirondack region, the tribes tended to practiced a concept known as “The Dish With One Spoon,” by which several tribes could use the region as hunting grounds as long as they requested and received permission from the other tribes (Otis 12). While the names of Algonquin, Iroquois, and Boundary Peaks appear merely symbolic in nature, they nevertheless pay homage to the first visitors to claim the Adirondacks as their own.

View from Mount Colden overlooking Iroquois Peak in the center. Boundary and Algonquin Peaks are along the ridgeline to the right and Mount Marshall is to the left (above the erratic)

Otis, Melissa. “‘Location of Exchange’: Algonquian and Iroquoian Occupation in the Adirondacks Before and After Contact.” Environment, Space, Place, vol. 5, no. 2, 2013, pp. 7–34., doi:10.7761/esp.5.2.7.