Red Jacket (Sa-go-ye-wat-ha), a principal chief of the Senecas, of the Wolf tribe, born at Old Castle, near the foot of Seneca lake, in 1752, died at Seneca Village, near Buffalo, N. Y., Jan. 20, 1830. His original Indian name was O-te-ti-ani, "Always Ready," that of Sa-go-ye-wat-ha, " He keeps them awake," having been conferred upon him on his election to the dignity of a sachem. The name of Red Jacket arose from a richly embroidered scarlet jacket presented to him by a British officer, which he always took great pride in wearing. Of his early history little is known except that he was remarkably swift in the chase, and was often employed as a messenger, first among his own people, and during the revolution as a runner for the British officers on the border. In 1784, in a com-cil held at Fort Stanwix to negotiate between the United States and the Six Nations for the cession of lands, he spoke very eloquently against the treaty, but with no. avail. A few years later Red Jacket had an interview with Washington, who gave him a silver medal.
In 1809 he gave information to Erastus Granger, the Indian agent, of the organization by Te-cumseh of an extensive league by. which the Senecas were to be drawn into a combination against the United States. In 1810 he visited Washington, and delivered an able speech upon this subject before the secretary of war. In the war of 1812 he on several occasions gave advice which proved of essential service to the American army, especially on the eve of the battle of Chippewa. In 1829 Red Jacket visited New York on his way to Washington, and while there sat for his portrait to Robert W. Weir. Although in his 77th year, he was still strong and vigorous. In his later years he was grossly intemperate, but invariably abstained from fire water for a season before a council. Red Jacket was upon the war path during both conflicts between the United States and Great Britain, in the first on the British and in the second on the American side; but in neither did he win the right to wear the eagle plume. His character was marked by striking contradictions. He lacked firmness of nerve, but possessed unbending firmness of purpose and great moral courage. His intellectal powers were of a very high order.
He was a statesman of sagacity, and an orator of surpassing eloquence, yet capable of practising the lowest cunning; but he was still a patriot, and loved his nation and his race. His life has been written by W. L. Stone (8vo, Albany, 1867).