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4 2 S~ • I 2./ V- I 









jfijvg) (p o ii<ri(jfii<r , 





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Entered according to Act of* Parliament of Canada, in the Tear One 
Tho^isknH Bight Hnndred and Sere^t^-two. bj William E. Palkib, in the 
Office of the Minister of Agricnltore. 


22 12 1903 


'•" l-v r- 


» » « » ♦ 


Thayendanboea, bom on the Ohio River, youngest son of 
Nickns Brant — Joins the expedition of Gen. Wm. Johnson 
against Niagara — Is sent to Moore's School at Lebanon, Conn.— 
Letter of Sir Wm. Johnson — Returns from school — Is employed 
by the Rev. Charles Jeffrey Smith as Interpreter and Assistant — 
Joins the Indian forces in the Pontiac War Page 7 


Capture of Fort Niajgrara by the forces under Generel (after 
warde^ Sir Wm.) Johns<m — Desertion of the Western Indians 
of the French cause— They join the Six Nations— Sir Wm. 
Johnson takes Molly Brant as his wife, or housekeeper, and 
appoints Joseph Brant to office in the Indian Department — 
Death of Sir William Johnson — Col. Guy Johnson succeeds to 
his office of Superintendent of Indian affairs — He appoints 
Joseph Brant his Secretary — Brant's first marriage Page 13 


Revolutionary spirit in the Mohawk Valley — The Mo-* 
liawks join the English — Joseph Brant ' becomes the 
leader of the Indian forces — Col. Johnson compelled to 
leave the Mohawk Valley— Retreats to Montreal with Brant 
at the head of two hundred and twenty Indian Warriors, by 
way of Lake Ontario -Brant goes to England with Col. Johnson — 
Much noticed in London— Makes a speech — Returns to New 
York and is (dispatched with a message to the Six Nations- 
Joins the expedition of Gen. Saint Leger against Fort Stanwix, 
with three hundred Wamors of the Six Nations — Indians 
suffer severely in an engagement — Depredations upon the 
Oneidas-^Moily Brant and her children flee to the Onondagas — 
She gives valuable information to Gen. St. Leger— Brant forms 
an ambush and nearly destroys the force of the American 
Gen. Herkimer — Col. Claus compliments Brant at Niagara — ' 
Brant offers to join the forces of Sir WilUam Howe Page 19 


CoL Guy Johnson suggests the plan of employing the Indian^ 
in a " Petit 6?«crre"— Expedition against Wyoming-Campbell's 
Poem, ** Gertrude of Wyoming" — John Brant visits the Poet, 
who retracts certain statements in regard to his father 
Page 25 


oojtq:ej^q:8. 3 


Brant's humanity at Cherry Valley — Difficulty in subsisting 
the loyal forces in the field — The means resorted to to obtain 
tnrovisions — Letter of Joseph Brant Page 29 



Cen. Sullivan's campaign against the Senecsw opposed by the 
whole British forces— Brant in command of the Indians — His 
distinguished valor and military skill on the occasion — Saves 
the life of Lieut. Boyd, taken prisoner by the Indians- Severity 
of the winter of 1779-^0— Capt. Wm. Powell marries Miss 
Moore, one of the Cherry Valley prisoners — Capt. Brani being 
present is married to his third wife, after the form of the 
English CUhurch — Heads an expedition from Niagara into 
the Mohawk Valley — Capture of Capt. Harper, who is taken 
to Niagara a prisoner by tho Indians — His life saved through 
the instrumentality of Brant and Capt. Wm. Powell — Capture! 
of Capt. Jeremiah Snider — His description of Fort Niagara and 
its officers Page 3S 


Peace between Great Britain and the United States declared 
1783— The Mohawks flee to Canada, residing temporarily on the 
eastern side of the Niasrara River— A tract ot land on the 
Bay of Quinte offered them — A tract of land on the Grand 
Ri ver was preferred — Brant visits England „ . Page 45 

4 gojtq:ejtq:8. 


Brant ac:;ompame8 the expedition against Gen. St. Clair, 
who is defeated near Pittsburgh — Brant's influence sought and 
his ability acknowledged by the United States — He visits 
Philadelphia— Notices of the visit by the newspapers — A 
change in the Grovemment of Canada —Difference in regard to 
the interpretation of the title to their lands on the Grand 
River — Erection of a Church on their Reservation— Brant's 
speech at Niagara in regard to their lands Page 55 


Brant's correspondence in respect to their lands and the 
settlement of a Missionary amont? his people — His wives and 
children -Death of his oldest son by the hands of his father 
— The education of his children — His correspondence in relation 
thereto — Removes to the head of Lake Ontario — Builds a 
dwelling there — His death, &c., &c Page 63 

ij<rQ:iiOQ, iTOQ:ioj<r. 

After the lapse of more than half a century since 
the death of the famous Indian Chief and Warrior, 
Captain Joseph Brant, it is thought that a brief 
history of his life, character and exploits, in a cheap 
and popular form, would be acceptable to the 
British public, particularly that of the Dominion of 

The following memoir has been carefully com- 
piled from the most reliable sources, and may be 
considered entirely authentic. 

Much has been written about the distinguished 
Chief of the Mohawks, who, perhaps, in all the 
phases of his character, was the most celebrated of 
all the Aborigines who have distinguished them- 
selves in the eyes of Europeans on this continent 
since the work of civilization began. But in general 
his history has been so mixed up with that of con- 
temporaneous events, that without access to exten- 
sive libraries of books, and an intelligent and 
careful study and comparison of impartial authori- 
ties, a true index to the character and acts of Capt. 
Joseph Brant was impossible. In this brief memoir, 
the proper mean between the two extremes, of too 
much praise or too much blame, has been attempted, 
and, it is believed, measurably attained. 

Brantpord, Ontario, July, 1872. 


]>X E M O I R 




*' Thayendanegea," or Joseph Brant, 
as he was called in English, according 
to tradition, was born on the banks of the 
''Belle," or beautiful river, according to 
the French, or ** Oh-he-oh," according to 
the Indian vocabulary, about the year 

He was the youngest son of a distin- 
guished Mohawk Chief j mentioned in 
various records and traditions, under the 


English or German name of ^^Nickiis 
Brant," between whom and Sir William 
Johnson it is said a close intimacy sub- 
sisted. Three sons of ^^ Nickus Brant" 
accompanied the expedition against 
Crown Point in 1755, which was com- 
manded by Gen. Wm. Johnson. Joseph 
was the younger of the three, and could 
not have been over 13 or 14 years of age 
at that time. 

This expedition was successful, and pro- 
cured for Sir Wm. Johnson his title of 
Baronet, and a gratuity of five thousand 
pounds from the King. Gen. Johnson 
observing the promising qualities of the 
boy, procured for him a place in Moore's 
Charity School, opened by the Eev. Dr. 
Wheelock, of Lebanon, Conn. 

The following letter of Sir William 
Johnson's, sufficiently illustrates his 
views in regard to the education of the 
Indians at this time: 


Gfio^o:. JOB, ^lijijTQ:. 

Fort Johnson, 
Nov. 17th, 1761. 

Eev. Sib : 

Yours of the second instant I had 
the pleasure of receiving by the hands of 
Mr. Kirkland. I am pleased to find the 
lads I sent have merited your good 
opinion of them. I have given it in 
charge to Joseph (Brant) to speak in my 
name, to any good boys he may ^j^e, and 
encourage them to accept the generous 
offers now made them, which he promises 
to do, and return as soon as possible. I 
will, on return of the Indians from hunt- 
ing, advise them to send as many as is 
required. I expect they will return, and 
hope they will make such progress in the . 
English language, and their learning, as 
may prove to your satisfaction and the 
benefit of those who are really much to be 
pitied. My absence these four months 
has prevented my design of encouraging 
some more lads going to you, and since 
my return, which is but lately, I have not 
had an opportunity of seeing old or young. 


being all on their hunt. When they come 
back I shall talk and advise their parents 
to embrace this favorable opportunity of 
having their children instructed, and 
doubt not of their readiness to lay hold 
of so kind and charitable an affair. 

Mr. Kirkland's intention of learning 
the Mohawk language I most approve of, 
as after acquiring it, he could be of vast 
service to them as a clergyman, which 
they much want and are desirous of 

The present laudable design of instruct- 
ing a number of Indian boys will, I doubt 
not, when more known, lead several 
gentlemen to contribute towards it, and 
enable you thereby to increase the number 
of schoUars, with whom I shall not be 
backward to contribute my mite. 

I wish you all success in this under- 
tjaking, and am with truth and : sincerity, 

Eev. Sir, 

Your most humble servant, 

Wm. Johnson. 



oficpo:. JOS. ^itjajTo:. ii 

The Moore's Charity School was es- 
tablished with the philanthropic design 
of educating Indian boys, and was con- 
tinued for a length of time, but with in- 
different success, so far as the original 
object was concerned. 

It was originated and principally sup- 
ported by the patronage of English phil- 
anthropists, where ^^ Joseph" remained a 
sufficient time to acquire some knowledge 
of the English language, and of reading 
and writing. 

The confinement proved irksome to him, 
however, and he soon returned to his 
native home and pursuits. On his retmn 
from school, Joseph was employed by Sir 
WiUiam Johnson in public business, par- 
ticularly that relating to the Indians. He 
was also employed by the Kev. Charles 
Jeffrey Smith, a missionary to the Indi- 
ans, as an interpreter and assistant, in 
which he exhibited both zeal and effi- 


eiency. The Pontiao War breaking out 
about this time, he left his studies and 
joined the forces as an officer, and was 
active in the war, '' in which he behaved 
so much like the Christian and solftier, 
that he gained great esteem/' 


Oii(pQ:jos.^iij3:jTQ:. IS 


The expedition against Niagara in 
1759, which was then in possession of the 
French, was organized under the com- 
mand of Gen. Prideaux, consisting of a 
little over two thousand men, left Oswego 
for Niagara, 1st September, of that year. 
Sir William Johnson joined the expedition 
with about six hundred warriors of the 
Six Nations. This number was increased 
to about one thousand before reaching 
the vicinity of the Fort. The youthful 
warrior accompanied Sir William in this 
expedition. The French had drawn all 
their available forces of every description 
from their western posts for the defence 
of Niagara. 


A large detachment arrived in the 
vicinity during the siege, consisting of 
both French and Indians. These Indians 
were friends and allies of the Six Nations. 
A parley- between the Indians was held. 
The Western Indians declaring they did 
not come to fight their brethren of the 
Six Nations, but the English. 

The result was they detached themsel- 
ves and joined their brethren. In the 
early part of the siege Gen. Prideaux was 
killed by the accidental discharge of a 
'^ cohom," and the command devolved 
upon Sir William Johnson. Upon the 
withdrawal of the Western Indians, the 
French were attacked, and all either 
killed, taken prisoners, or put to flight. 

Upon learning the fate of this rein- 
forcement, the French commandant sur- 
rendered the Fort, himself, and all his 
forces prisoners of war. On the death of 

Lady Johnson, Sir William took to his 
home '^ Miss Molly' as she was called, 
the daughter of his distinguished friend 
'* Nickus Brant," sister of Joseph Brant, 
as his wife, which proved to be a judicious 
choice and a happy union. This circum- 
stance contributed greatly to the advance- 
ment of her young brother, who resided 
with the family of Sir William, and he 
was appointed to office by him in the 
Indian Department. 

The first mutterings of discontent of 
the American Colonists against the parent 
government of Great Britain, found our 
young hero just merging into manhood. 

He was allied to the leader and repre- 
sentative of the Crown in the Mohawk 
Valley, and henceforward acted with him 
up to the time of Sir ' William's death, 
which occurred suddenly in Jun©, 1774. 
Col. Guy Johnson, the nephew of Sir 

16 JAE}lOIIi OF 

William, and also son-in-law, by virtue of 
marrying his daughter, succeeded to his 
office as Superintendent of the Six 
Nations of Indians, and appointed Joseph 
Brant his secretary. Joseph Brant was 
married quite young, probably about 
1767. His first wife was the daughter 
of a Chief of the Oneidas. By her he had 
two children, a son and a daughter. On 
the death of this wife, which occurred 
about 1771 or 2, he resumed his studies 
under Eev. Dr. Stewart at Fort Hunter, 
who was then engaged in a revision 
of the translation of the Prayer 
Book and portions of the Scriptures 
into the Mohawk language, iu which 
Joseph was of great assistance to him. 
It is stated that during this sojcurn with 
the Eev. Dr. Stewart, Brant applied to 
the Dr. to marry him to the sister of his 
deceased wife ; but the service was de- 
clined on account of the '^ forbidden re- 

ofi (pq:. JOS. ^it -fijTQ:. ' 1 7 

lationship." But the ceremony was sub- 
sequently performed by a less scrupulous 
German Ecclesiastic. It was about this 
period that Brant became the subject of 
serious religious impressions, attaching 
himself to the English Church, of which 
he continued a member until his death. 


The discontent of the Colonists which 
had hitherto been confined to Boston and 
the New England Colonies, now began to 
manifest itself in the Mohawk Valley. 
The Johnsons and other loyalists in the 
Valley, were active in counteracting the 
revolutionary spirit, which led to great 
excitement and nearly culminated in open 
hostilities between the opposing parties. 
Of course the Mohawks sympathized with 
their friends the English, and Joseph 
Brant, almost by force of circumstances, 
became the military leader of the loyal 
Indians, who constituted a majority of the 
military force with which the loyalists 
took the field. The vigorous measures of 

^0 JslBJlOIIi OF 

the Colonists soon compelled Col. John- 
son to leave the Mohawk Valley for Cana- 
da. He arrived in Montreal July 14th, 
1775, accompanied by Joseph Brant with 
two hundred and twenty Indians, by way 
of Lake Ontario, expecting soon to orga- 
nize a force sufficient to return and take 
possession of the homes and property he 
and his retainers had left behind. But, 
failing in these endeavors, and finding 
his official standing and powers were 
interfered with to some extent, by 
the appointment of Major Campbell as 
Indian Agent for Canada, Col. Johnson 
decided to go to England to get the 
question of his powers and jurisdiction 

He proceeded to Quebec and sailed 
for England, November 11th, taking 
Joseph Brant and a Mohawk War Chief 
named Oteroughyanente with him. Brant 
was much noticed and courted in London, 


Oj^rpo:. JOB. B^JiJ^^^' ^1 

and made a speeoh before Lord George 
Germain, setting forth the grievances of 
the Six Nations in general, and of the 
Mohawks, his own nation, in particular. 
To which Lord Germain made a brief 
reply. This speech, which is the first of 
Brant's we have on record, seems to have 
been delivered in London, March, 1776. 

The sojourn of Col. Johnson, with his 
Indian deputies, in England appears to have 
been short, as they arrived in New York 
on their return, July 29th,' of the following 

Soon after their return to New York, 
Joseph Brant was dispatched by Col. 
Johnson to the Six Nations with a mes- 
sage, and returned with their answer, 
saying *^ they were all ready to engage in 
the service, except the Oneidas, and 
ready to join Gen. Howe's army, and to 
act as one man." 


The next we bear of Brant is at the 
head of three hundred warriors at Oswego, 
1777, to join the expedition of Gen. St. 
Leger against Fort Stanwix. The Indians 
under Brant met with a severe loss in an 
engagement, and on their way home, com- 
mitted some depredations upon the 
Oneidas, whom they considered rebels for 
their refusal to join the expedition. In 
retaliation, the Oneidas plimdered Brant's ^ 

sister, '^ Molly Brant", who resided with 
her family at the Upper Mohawk Town, 
together with others of the Mohawks who 
accompanied Brant in this expedition. 

'* Molly Brant'' and her family tied to the 
Onondagas, the council-place of the Six 
Nations, and laid her grievances before ; 

that body. The information given to Gen. 
St. Leger of the approach of the reinforce- 
ments of the rebels under Gen. Herkimer, 
was through the instrumentality of ^^ Molly 

Brant," and led to the surprise and al- 
most defeat of the entire party under Gen. 
Herkimer. Capt. Brant with a strong 
force of Indians, with true Indian 
sagacity, formed an ambuscade in a posi- 
tion admirably fitted for the purpose. The 
whole rebel army, with the exception of 
the Irear guard, fell into the trap, and 
would have been destroyed had not a 
severe storm of thunder, lightning and 
rain, put a stop to the work of death. 
Col. Glaus in a letter to Secretary Cox, 
dated, November 6th, 1777, compliments 
Joseph Brant for his distinguished servi- 
ces, and that of his party on this occasion. 
In November, 1777, Cols. Bolton and 
Butler wrote to Sir William Howe from 
Niagara, that Joseph Brant was there, 
and with themselves, waiting his orders, 

wishing to know when and where they 
can be of use, saying ^they only wish to 
know the time and place, as they were 
confident of being well supported. 



Early in 1778 Col. Guy Johnson^ 
writing to Lord Germain from New York^ 
suggests the plan of employing the 
Indians in a '^ Petit Guerre*^ in their 
own way. The first expedition under 
this new mode of warfare was organized, 
at Niagara under Col. John Butler, con- 
sisting of Loyalists and Indians, and was 
directed against Wyoming. In after 
years a poem entitled *^ Gertrude of 
Wyoming," written by Campbell, the 
Poet, made Brant the leader in this ex- 
pedition, and heaped great obloquy upon 
his good name and character) for hid^ 


more than savage barbarity on that occa- 
sion; whereas, he was not present. This 
was abundantly and satisfactorily proved 
by his son John Brant, while on a visit to 
the Poet, who promised to retract the 
statement, which he did in the next 
edition of his work, soon after published.* 

* I took the character of Brant in the Poem of ** Gertrude 
of Wyoming/' from the commmon histories of England; all of f 

which represented him as a bloody and had man eren among 
saYages, and chief agent in the horrible desolation of 

Some years after this poem appeared, the son of Brant, a 
most interesting and intelligent youth, came oyer to England, 
and I formed an acqiiaintance with him, on which I still look 
back with pleasure. - He appealed to my sense of honor and 
justice, on his own part. and that of his sister, to retract the 
unfair aspersions, which, unconscious of their unfairness, I 
had cast on his father's memory. He then referred me to 
documents which completely satisfied me that the common ^ 

accounts of Brant's cruelties at Wyoming, which I found in 
books of travels, and in Adolpns's and similar histories of 
England, were gross errors, and that in point of fact, Brant 
was not eyen present at that scene of desolation. It is, un- 
happily, to Britons and Anglo-Americans that we must refer 


cfi(PQ:. JOB. ^lifij^o:. S7 

the chief blame in this horrible business. I published a letter 
expressing this belief in the tfew Monthly Magzine, in the 
year 1822, to which I must refer the reader if he has any 
curiosity on the subject, for an antidote to my fanciful descrip- 
tion of Brant. Among other expressions to young ^Brant, I 
made use of the following words : Had I learned all this of 
your father, when I was writing my poem, he should not have 
figured in it as the hero of mischief. 

It was but bare justice to say thus much of a Mohawk 
Indian who spoke English eloquently, and was thought capable 
of haying written a history of the Six Nations. I also learned 
that he often strove to mitigate the cruelty of Indian warfare. 
The name of Brant, therefore, remains in my poem a pure 
and declared character of fiction, — Campbell, 



Brant's humanity was conspicuously 
displayed the same year in the attack 
upon Cherry Valley, at which he was 
present, but was not in command. 

This expedition, too, was organized at 
Niagara, at the instigation of Walter 
Butler, son of Col. John Butler, and was 
placed under command of Walter Butler. 
Capti Brant, who, with his Indian warriors, 
had been employed on the Susquehanna 
during most of the summer, was on his 
return to wintel! quarters at Niagarfe. 
Meeting Butler witibi hii^ forces, bearing 
an order for Brant to join the expedition 
with his force. Brant was reluctant to 
do so, displeased at being placed under 


command of Walter Butler ; but he was 
too much a soldier to refuse to obey 
orders. History has recorded to the 
credit of Joseph Brant that on this occa- 
sion he exhibited traits of humanity 
which seemed to be wanting in sovie at 
least of the white men present. ^' In a 
house which he entered he found a woman 
engaged in her usual avocations,'^ Why 
are you thus'ongaged T said Brant to her, 
*while your neighbors are being murdered 
all around you ?' 'We • are king's peo- 
ple," she replied. ' That plea will not 
avail you to-day. They have murdered 
Mr. Well's family who are as dear to me 
as my own.' * There is one Joseph 
Brant,' she said, ' if he is with the 
Indians he will save us.'- ' I am Joseph 
Brant,' said he, ^ but I have not the 
command, and* I know not whether I can 
save you. But I will do what I can.' 
While speaking, several Senecals were 

ojirpo:, JOB. ^ii:fijTQ:. 31 

observed approaching . the house. ^ Get 
into bed and. feign yourself sick/ said 
Brant, hastily. When the Senecas came 
in, he told them there was no person there 
but. a s,ick Wioman.and her children, and 
bespught them to leave the house, which 
after a short consultation, they did. As 
soon as they were out of sight, Brant 
went to the corner of the house and gave 
a long shrill yell. Soon a small band of 
Mohawks were seen crossing an adjoining 
field. with great- speed. As they came up, 
he addressed them : '^ Where' is your paint ? 
Here, put my mark on: this woman.' As 
soon as it was done, he added, ' You 
are now probably saf e . ' " * 

Great embarassment in subsisting the 
loyal forces in the field was felt by Col. 
Guy Johnson, immediately on their or- 
ganization, which was assigned by him as 

* ' 

•*History of Ttyoii Co. 

32 JlE}lOIIi OF 

a reason why he removed westward ; first 
to the Upper Settlements of the Mohawk 
Valley, and then to Fort Stannix. The 
same difficulty existed throughout the 
'* Petit Guerre*' which was carried on by 
the Indians under Brant. The fact was, 
that for the most part, they had to pro- 
cure their own subsistence as best they 
could ; from friends, by purchase or giffcj 
from foes, by stratagem or force. Of 
course, Brant and his Indians became the 
terror of the whole country, and the sotirce 
of frightful stories, of bloody massacres of 
helpless women and children. 

The following letter of Brant will best 
exhibit his humanity, his loyalty and his 
necessities : 

TuNmiLLA, July 6th, 1777. 
Mb. Cabb, 

Sib, — I understand that^you are a 
friend to governmenti with some of the 

Gfirpo:. JOB. ^it-fij^ro:. 33 

setiilers at the Butternuts, is tlie reason 
of my applying to you and those people 
for some provisions, aiid shall be glad if you 
will send me what you can spare, no 
matter of what sort, for which you shall be 
paid, you. keeping an account of the whole. 

From your Mend 

and humble servant, 

Joseph Brants*. 
To Mr. Persofer Carr. 

Under the circumstances in which 
Brant was placed it is not surprising if he 
did many things — or at least permitted 
them to be done — which under other cir- 
cumstances he would not have permitted. 

In a number of cases, which are well 
authenticated, he saved the lives of indi- 
viduals upon recognizing them as members 
of the Masonic Fraternity, to which he 
belonged. But as he was the recognized 

'History of Tryon Co. 


leader of the ludiaiis in all tbe ciSiKffiots: J 

in the Mohawk Vallejr and its vi^itoity, he 
was held responsible for all the exaggera- 
ted stories of devastation and cruelty 
which the excited state of the pitblic 
mind attributed to him, and which became 
incorporated into the current history of 
the period, and have to some extent been 
perpetuated to the present day. 



Gfi<pQ:. JOB. ^jEtfij^Qi. as 


The eampaigQ of Gen. SuUivau ^gauaat. 
the Seneoas in the fall of 177Qt proved 
very disastrous to the Indians. Although 
vigorously opposed by all the available 
British force^ both English* and X]34ian,. 
Sullivan penetrated into the Sieneoas^ 
country, destroying their towns, and all 
their property} and provisions, and driving 
tlia Indians under the protection of the 
guns of Fort Niagara. Capt. Brant ac^ 
companjed the expedition hom Niagara 
s^ainst Gen. Sullivan ^having the imme- 
diate command of the Indians, and dm- 
tinguished himself by his valor, activity 


-" - - — 1 — ■ — ■ — - — - — — 

and military skill. He also signalized 
his humanity in saving the life of Lieut. 
Boyd, of the American army, who fell 
into the hands of the Indians at Beards- 
town on the Genesee river. Lieut. Boyd 
was subsequently executed after the 
Indian fashion, by order of one of the 
Butlers during the absence of Brant on 
other duty. The winter of 1779-80 was 
one of extraordinary severity. The snow ^ 

fell to the depth of eight feet over all 
Western New York and in Canada. The 
Indians suffered greatly by sickness and 
destitution. Numbers died from exposure 
and starvation, and the carcasses of dead 
animals were so numerous in the forests 
the next summer, as to fill the atmosphere 
with the pestiferous odor of their decaying ^ 

bodies. Captain Brant returned to Ni- j 

agara, and took up his winter quarters 
with Col. Guy Johnson, the Butlers- 
father and son — and other officers of the 

afi(pQ:jOB.^ii:fijTQ:. 37 

Indian Department. An incident occurred 
during the winter which may be mentioned 
as an illustration of the character cf the 
Mohawk Chief. 

Among the prisoners captured by the 
Indians at Cheiry Valley the year before, 
and brought to the Senecas' country, was 
Miss Jane Moore, who had been redeemed 
from the Indians by Col. Butler, and was 
then residing in his family at Niagara. 
Capt. Wm. Powell, a son of Col. Powell 
(whose widow married Col. Guy Johnson 
after the death of his wife), becoming ac- 
quainted with her, courted and married 
her. Capt. Brant was present at the 
wedding, and although he had been for 
some time living with his third wife, bound 
only by the ties of Indian marriage, he 
nevertheless embraced the opportunity of 
having the English marriage ceremony 
p^ormed, whicla was accordingly done 


by Col. Butler acting as one of. the King's 
Commission of the Peace for Tyron 
County, N.Y. 

Early in the Spring of 1780, we find 
Brant again on the war-path. He headed 
a small party composed partly of ^^Butler's 
Eangers" and partly of Indian Warrior^, 
into the Mohawk Valley. The Oneida 
Indians, who had remained upon their 
lands in the Mohawk Valley, suffered 
some by thii expedition, and Capt. 
Harper, of Harpersfield, with a small 
party were captured and carried prisoners 
to Niagara. Capt. Brant knew Capt. 
Harper well, and *on recognizing him 
among the. prisoners, rushed up to him, 
tomahawk in hand, and said, '^Harper, 
I am sorry to find you her.e." ^' Why 
are .you sorry, Capt. Brant?" ^'Be- 
cause," rejoined Brant, 'VI must kill 
you, although we were school mates when 
we were boys." As scalps were much 

cjicpo:. JOB, ^iijfij^Q:, S9 

easier carried to Niagara than prisoners, 
the Indians were for putting the prisoners 
to death, but Brant's influence was exerted 
successfully to prevent the massacre. 
When they arrived at the Genessee 
Eiver and encamped for the night, Capt. 
Brant dispatched a runner to Niagara 
with information of his approach, and 
the number of his prisoners. His friend, 
Capt. Powell, who married Miss Moore, 
the Cherry Valley captive, was at the 
Fort.- Capt. Brant knew that Capt. Harper 
was uncle to Miss Moore, now Mrs. 
Powell, and it had been agreed in con- 
sideration of sparing their lives, that on 
arrival at the Fort the prisoners should 
go through the customary Indian ordeal 
of running the gauntlet. Before arriving 
at the Fort two Indian encampments had 
to be passed ; but on emerging from the 
woods and approaching the first, what 
was the surprise of the prisoners and the 

40 J\£EMOIIi OF 

chagrin of their captors, at finding the 
warriors absent, and their place filled by 
a regiment of British soldiers. A few 
Indian boys, and some old women, only 
were visible and offered little violence to 
the prisoners, which was qtiickly sup- 
pressed by the soldiers. At the second 
encampment nearest the Fort, they found 
the warriors absent also, and their place 
occupied by another regiment of troops. 
Capt. Brant led his prisoners directly 
through the dreaded encampments and 
brought them in safety into the Fort. 
The solution of this escape from the 
gauntlet was, that Oapti Powell had, at 
the suggestion of Capt. Brant, enticed 
the warriors away to the ** nine mile 
landing** for a frolic, the means for hold- 
ing it being furnished from the public 
stores. Col. Harper was most agreeably 
surprised at escaping the gauntlet with 
his party, and at being met by his niece. 

Q:0:(pct. JOS. B:EIj1JJQ^. 41 

the wife of one of the principal officers 
in command of the post. Harper knew 
nothing of her marriage, or even of her 
being at Niagara, Capt. Brant having 
kept it a secret from Harper. 

Capt. Alexander Harper was the 
ancestor of the " Harper Brothers'* of 
Harper^s Magazine notoriety, of New 
York city. Brant headed some other ex- 
peditions into the settlements in the 
Mohawk Valley, in one of which Capt» 
Jeremiah Snider and his son, of Saugerties^ 
N. Y., with others were taken prisoners. 
Those prisoners were taken over the same 
route as Capt. Harper and his party^ but 
did not escape as fortunately when they 
arrived at Niagara, as they had to run 
the gauntlet between long lines of Indian 
warriors, women and children. But their 
captors interposed to prevent injury. 
Capt. Snider, in his narrative of this 

4^ J\lEJ\lOIIi OF 

event, describes Fort Niagara as a ^^struc- 
ture of considerable magnitude, and 
great strength, enclosing an area of from 
six to eight acres. Within the enclosure 
was a handsome dwelling house for the 
residence of the Superintendant of Indi- 
ans. It was then occupied by Col. Guy- 
Johnson, before whom the Capt. and his 
son were brought for examination. Col. 
John Butler with his rangers lay upon i 

the opposite side of the river." Capt. 
Snider describes Gen. Johnson as being 
''a short, pussy man, about forty years of 
age, of a stern, haughty demeanor, dressed 
in a British uniform, powdered locks and 
cocked hat, his voice harsh, and his 
brogue that of a gentleman of Irish ex- 
traction.'' While in the guardhouse the ^ 
prisoners were visited by Capt. Brant, of 
whom Capt. Snider says, '* He was a 
likely fellow of fierce aspect, tall and 
rather spare, well spoken, and apparently 

Gfi(PQ:. JOB. ^liiijrQ:. 43 

about thirty years of age." (He was 
actually thirty-seven.) ^' He wore moc- 
cassins elegantly trimmed with beads, 
leggins and breech-cloth, of superfine 
blue ; short green coat, with two silver 
epaulets, and a small laced, round hat. 
By his side hung an elegant silver-mounted 
cutlass, and his blanket of blue cloth, 
purposely dropped in the chair on which 
he sat to display his epaulets, was gor- 
geously decorated with a border of red. 
He asked the prisoners many questions. 
Indeed the object of their capture seems 
to have been principally for the purpose 
of obtaining information." Upon being 
informed where they were from, Capt. 
Brant replied, '^ That is my old fighting 
ground." In the course of the conversa- 
tion Brant said to the younger Snider, 
^' You are young, and I pity you, but for 
that old villain there," pointing to the 
father, '' I have no pity." 



The close of the season of 1780 found 
Capt. Brant in his old winter quarters at 
Fort Niagara, with Col. Butler and Col. 
Guy Johnson. The forces at Niagara 
were stated at this time to consist of 
sixty British regulars, commanded by a 
captain ; four hundred loyalists, com- 
manded by Col. John Butler ; twelve 
hundred Indians, including women and 
children, commanded by Guy Johnson 
and Capt. Joseph Brant. In the spring 
of 1781, an expedition against the re- 
volted Oneidas, in the Mohawk Valley, 
was planned under the approbation of 

4,6 J^EXOIIi OF 

Gen. Haldimand to be commanded by 
Brant, but for some unexplained reason 
was never executed. Vigorous incursions 
were kept up by small parties of loyalists 
and Indians during the season, sometimes 
under Capt. Brant, but often under the 
command of others. This state of things 
continued with varying fortunes, until 
the news of an agreement for the cessa- 
tion of hostilities between the United 
States and Great Britain was received, 
and in March 1783 a general peace was 

The Mohawks, with their loyalist neigh- 
bors in the valley of the Mohawk, had 
fled to Canada. Their beautiful country, 
together with that of their brethren of 
the Six Nations, had been desolated by 
the ravages of fire and sword. Upon the 
first espousal of the loyal cause by the 
Mohawks, Sir Guy Carleton had given a 


pledge that they should be re-established 
at the expense of the Government in 
their former homes andpossessions. This 
promise had been ratified in 1779 by 
Gen. Haldimand, then Capt. General and 
Commander-in-Chief in Canada. At the 
close of the war the Mohawks were 
temporarily residing on the American 
side of the Niagara river at what was 
then called ^^ The Landing," (now called 

Their brethren, the Senecas oflfered 
them a portion of their lands upon 
Genesee river. But as Capt. Brant said 
^^ The Mohawks were determined to sink 
or swim with the English," the generous 
offer of the Senecas was declined; and 
the Mohawk Chief proceeded to Quebec 
to arrange for the settlement of his people 
in the Eoyal Dominions. A tract of land 
upon the Bay of Quinte was designated 


for their settlement. But upon the return 
of Capt. Brant to his people, the location 
was so unsatisfactory to their brethren, 
the SenecaSjWho, apprehending that their 
troubles with the United States were not 
at an end, desired their settlement nearei 
the Senecas' territory. Under these cir- 
cumstances Capt. Brant convened a coun- 
cil of his people, and the country upon 
the ^^Ouse/' or Grand Eiver, was selected, 
lying upon both sides of that stream from 
its mouth upon Lake Erie to its head ; 
which was conveyed to the Mohawks and 
others of the Six Nations who chose to 
settle there by a formal grant from 
the Crown. It was at this period (1783) 
that Capt. Brant had been charged with 
entertaining ambitious views similar to / 

those of Pontiac — of combining all the ' 

principal Indian nations into one con- 
federacy, of which he was to be Chief ; 
and it has been suggested that his visit 

Gficpo:, JOB, S^jijTo:. 49 

to England in the fall of this year was 
partly for the purpose of seeing how far 
he coTild depend upon the countenance 
or assistance of the British Government 
in his enterprise. 

Notwithstanding he was strongly dis- 
suaded hy Sir John Johnson from this 
visit to England, he immediately emharked 
and arrived in that country early in De- 

A notice of his arrival in Salisbury was 
published in London, December 12, 1775: 
" Monday last, Capt, Joseph Brant, the 
celebrated king of the Mohawks, arrived 
in this city £rom America ; and after 
dining with Colonel De Peister at the 
headquarters here, proceeded immediately 
to London. This extraordinary personage 
is said to have presided at the late grand 
congress of confederate Chiefs of the 
Indian nations in America, and to be by 

80 JlEJlOIIi OF 

them appointed to the co^iduct, and chief 
command in the war which they now 
meditate against the United States of 
America. He took his departure for Eng- 
land immediately as that assembly broke 
up, and it is conjectured that his embassy 
to the British Court is of great importance. 
This country owes much to the services of 
Capt. Brant during the late war in Ameri- 
ca. He was educated at Philadelphia ; is 
a very shrewd,intelligent person, possesses 
great courage and abilities as a warrior, 
and is inviolably attached to the British 

His reception at the British capital was 
all that he could wish. He was treated 
with the highest consideration and dis- 
tinction. Many officers of the army 
whom he had met in America recognized 
him with great cordiality. 

Preliminary to his introduction to the 

Ojiri>CL, JOB. ^ItjiJ^o:. Bl 

King, lie was. receiving instructions in re- 
gard to the customary ceremonies to be 
observed. When he was informed that 
he was to salute his Majesty by dropping 
on the knee and kissing the King's hand, 
Brant objected to this part of the cere- 
mony, saying if it was a lady it would be 
a pleasant and proper thing to do ; but 
that he being himself a king in his own 
country thought it derogatory to his 
dignity and contrary to his sense of pro- 
priety to perforni such a servile act. . 

The Baroness Eiedesel thus speaks of 
him, having met him at the provincial 
court : **I saw at times the famous Indian 
Chief, Capt. Brant. His manners were 
polished, he expressed himself with 


fluency, and was much esteemed by Gen. 
Haldimand. I dined once with him at 
the General' s. In his dress he showed 
off to advantage in the half-military and 

&S }lBj\iOIIi OF 

half-savage costume. His countenance 
was manly and intelligent, and his dispo- 
sition mild . " C ap t . B rant returne d from 
England early in the year 1786, having 
accomplished much for his people with 
the Government, and enjoyed much 
social intercourse with the most dis- 
tinguished society in London. In the 
grant of the land to the Mohawks, such 
other of the Six Nations as were inclined 
to make their settlement upon it were in- 
cluded. This led to some difficulty and 
dissatisfaction, by the intrusion of indi- 
viduals of t^e Six Nations who did not 
fully sympathize with the Mohawks in 
their loyalty to the British Government. 
The whole weight of these difficulties 
seemed to fall upon Capt. Brant; and 
his friends were at 'one time anxious 
not only for his personal safety, hut also 
for his popularity and influence. But he 
ably sustained and defended himself, 

Q:fi:(PQ:. JOB. SIi:^}T<X. 58 

■ II ■■ I I I I ■■»■!■ .1 — ■[■■■■■I ■■■M ..ll^ ■■■»■ — ^— ■ ■ ■■■ 11 I ■ 

justifying the acts for which he had been 
censured, and his conduct was approved 
at a full Council of the Six Nations at 
Niagara, in presence of the agent and 
commanding officer. 



Although a treaty of peace be- 
tween Great Britain and the United 
States had been signed, hostilities 
between the United States and the 
Indians had not ceased, and Capt. Brant, 
with one hundred and fifty of his Mohawk 
warriors, joined the forces, mostly 
Indians, which so signally defeated Gen. 
St. Clair, at or near what is now Pitts- 

A pacification of the Indian troubles 
seemed to be an object greatly de- 
sired both by the Government of Great 
Britain and that of the United States, 


and the acknowledged ability and influ- 
ence of Capt. Brant was sought by both, 
and led to an active and extensive cor- 
respondence with the officers and agents 
of both Governments. 

Early in 1792 Capt. Brant was in- 
vited to visit the city of Phila- 
delphia, the then seat of Government 
of the United States. The news- 
papers in New York announced his arrival 
in that city in the following terms : ^^ On 
Monday last arrived in this city from his 
settlement on the Grand Kiver, on a visit 
to some of his friends in this quarter, 
Capt. Joseph Brant, of the British Army, 
the famous Mohawk Chief, who so emi- 
nently distinguished himself during the 
late war, as the military leader of the Six 
Nations. We are informed that he in- 
tends to visit the city of Philadelphia;" 
which he did in June, 1792, and was re- 
ceived by the President of the United 



0:^(PQ:jOB.^Iti3:JT<3:. 57 

States with cordiality and respect. There 
is no dQubt that strenuous efforts were 
made at this time to engage his active 
interposition with the Indians to bring 
about peace, and also to conciliate his 
friendship to the United States. Although 
nothing could divert him from his loyalty 
to the Government of his choice, yet the 
visit seams to have given mutual satis- 
faction to himself and the President. 

The Secretary of War wrote to Gen. 
ChapiQ, U. S. Superintendent of Indian 
affairs, as follows: ^* Capt. Brant's visit 
will, I flatter myself, be productive of 
great satisfaction to himself, by being 
made acquainted with the humane views 
of the President of the United States." 

The Secretary also wrote to Gen. 
Clinton : *^ Capt. Brant appears to be a 
judicious and sensible man. I flatter my- 
seKhis journey will be satisfactory to 
himself and beneficial to the United 

6& J^EJiOIIi OF 

states." A change in the Government 
of Canada about this time, creating a 
separate Government for the Upper 
Province, brought new men and new 
measures upon the stage of action. Col. J . 
G. Simcoewas appointed Lieut.-Governor 
of the newly organized territory. The * 
new Governor brought out from England 
letters of introduction to the Mohawk 
Chief. They became fast friends, and in 
all the peace negotiations with the 
Western Indians, Capt. Brant became an 
active participant in the interests of the 
Government of Great Britain. 

The beautiful tract of country 
upon the Grand Eiver which had 
been designated for the settlement 
of the Mohawks, attracted the cupidity 
of white men, as their equally beautiful 
country in the valley of the Mohawk and 
Western New York had done before; and 
Capt Brant exerted his influence with his 

GfiCPO:. JOB. 'S^j3:J^^. b9 

people to induce them to exchange their 
hunting for agriculture. In furtherance 
of this idea, ho conceived the plan of 
making sales and leases of land to skilled 
white agriculturists. But the Colonial 
Government interposed objections, claim- 
ing that the donation from Government 
was only a right of occupancy, and not of 
sale. Capt. Brant combatted this idea, 
but Was overuled by the oflficers of the 
Government, including his friend, Gov» 
Simcoe. Very general dissatisfaction 
seems to have prevailed among the Indi- 
ans in regard to the legal construction of 
the title to their lands, and attempts 
were made to negotiate a peaceful settle- 
ment of the difficulty but with indifferent 
success. Capt. Brant was anxious to en- 
courage and promote the civilization of 
his people ; and, in his negotiations with 
Gen. Haldimand, stipulatedfor the erection 
of a church, which was built upon their 

60 JlEJlOIIi OF 

lands upon the Grand Biver, and furnished 
with a bell and communion service, brought 
from their former home in the valley of 
the Mohawk, and is believed to be the 
first temple erected to the worship of 
Almighty God in the Province of Upper 

Capt. Brant continued to be the 
unyielding advocate of the rights of 
his people as an independent nation to 
their lands, to the end of his life. His 
views, and the arguments by which he 
sustained them, may be gathered from an 
extract of a speech which he delivered at 
a meeting of Chiefs and Warriors at 
Niagara, before Col. Sheafe, Col. Claus 
and others, on the occasion of a govern- 
ment proclamation forbidding the sale and 
leasing of any of their lands by the 
Indians. ^^ In the year 1776," said he, 
** Lord Dorchester, then Sir Guy Carlton, 
at a numerous council, gave us every en- 


Gficpo:, JOS. ^lijij^o:. 6i 

oouragement, and requested us to assist 
in defending their country, and to take 
an active part in defending His Majesty's 
possessions, stating that when the happy 
day of peace should arrive, and should 
we not prove successful in the contest, 
that he would put us on the same footing 
in which we stood previous to joining 
him. This flattering promise was pleas- 
ing to us, and gave us spirit to embark 
heartily in his Majesty's cause. We took 
it for granted that the word of so great a 
man, or any promise of a public nature, 
would ever be held sacred. We were 
promised our lands for our services, and 
these lands we were to hold on the same 
footing with those we fled from at the 
commencement of the American war ; 
when we joined, fought and bled in your 
cause. Now is published a proclamation 
forbidding us leasing those very lands, 
that were positively given us in lieu of 

6^ JlEJlOIIt OF 

^ ^ u ^_mi-_ii.u_ ■_ ■!■ .MTi j_jtij ii»_jr I _ 

those of which we were the sovereigns of 
the soil, of those lands we have forsaken, 
we sold, we leased, and we gave away, 
when, and as often as we saw fit, without 
hindrance on the part of your Govern- 
ment, for your Government well knew 
we were the lawful sovereigns of the soil, 
and they had no right to interfere with us 
as independent nations." 

QfiCpcCJOB. ^liiiJTQ:, 63 


Capt. Brant entered into an extensive 
correspondence with his friends. Men 
of distinction, both in the United States 
and England, principally in regard to the 
title of the lands of his people, and their 
settlement and civilization, an object 
which seemed to lie very near his heart. 
His correspondence, in relation to the 
settlement of a missionary at Grand 
Eiver, shows that he considered it of 
great importance to the realization of his 
wishes, in regard to the moral and spirit- 
ual interests of his people. He was op- 
posed in this matter, but finally succeeded 


64 }lB}lOlIi OF 

in procuring the settlement of the Eev. 
Davenport Phelps, who had married a 
daughter of the Eev. Dr. Wheelock, the 
early friend and preceptor of Capt. Brant. 
Mr. Phelps was a graduate of Yale Col- 
lege, and became a missionary of the 
Episcopal Chucrh in Western New York. 
He was ordained in Trinity Church, New 
York, in December, 1801, and immedi- 
ately entered upon the active duties of a 
missionary. He had settled in the 
Province of Upper Canada; his residence 
being upon a farm near Burlington Bay, 
at the head of Lake Ontario. In 1806 
he removed his family from Canada to 
Onondaga, N.Y. 

It has been already stated that Capt. 
Brant was thrice married. He had two 
children by his first wife, none by 
the second, and seven by the third. 
Isaac Brant, his eldest child, be- 
came the source of the greatest trou- 

GiiCpQl. JOB. SIiJlJ<[Q:: 65 

ble to bim through a love of strong 
drink, and while under its influence at- 
tempted the murder of his father; but in 
the assault, which was made in the 
presence of a large number of persons at 
a public gathering, the son received a 
wound, which though not dangerous, 
proved fatal, by reason of excitement and 
intoxication. Capt. Brant immediately 
surrendered himself to the civil autho- 
rities, and resigned his commission, which 
he yet retained in the British service. It 
was not accepted, however. A council 
of the principal Sachems and Warriors 
was held ; all the facts and circumstances 
were considered with great deliberation ; 
when the following certificate of opinion 
was signed unanimously and a copy de- 
livered to Capfc. Brant. 

^^ Brother^ — We have heard and con- 
sidered your case ; we sympathize with 
you. You are bereaved of a beloved son. 


But that son raised his parricidal hand 
against the kindest of fathers. His death 
was occasioned by his own crime. With 
one voice we acquit yon. of all blame. We 
tender you our hearty condolence, and 
may the Great Spirit above bestow upon 
you consolation and comfort under your 

The names of his children by his third 
wife, in the order of their birth, were 
Joseph, Jacob, John, Margaret, Catharine, 
Mary and Elizabeth. 

The education of his children seems 
never to have been lost sight of amid all 
the cares and perplexities of his public 
life. The following letter written by 
Capt. Brant to James Wheelock, son of 
the early President of Dartmouth College, 
his former preceptor in the '^ Moor's 
Charity School," will best illustrate his 
views on that subject : 

Gjicpo:. JOB. J^ii:fijTQ:, 67 

Niagara, 3rd October, 1800. 
Dear Sir, — 

Although it is a long time since I 
have had the pleasure of seeing you, still 
I have not forgot there is such a person 
in being, and now embrace the kind offer 
you once made me in offering to take 
charge of my son Joseph, whom I cer- 
tainly at that time should have sent out, 
had it not been that there was apparently 
a jealousy existing between the British 
and Americans ; however, I hope it is not 
yet too late. I send both my sons, Joseph 
and Jacob, who I doubt not will be par- 
ticularly attended to by my friends. 

I could wish them to be studiously at- 
tended to, not only as to their education, 
but likewise to their morals in particular. 
This is, no doubt, needless mentioning, as 
I know of old, and from personal expe- 
rience at your seminary, that these things 
are paid strict attention to. Let my sons 
be at what schools soever, your overseeing 
them will be highly flattering to me. I 
should, by this opportunity, have wrote 

68 J\£EJlOIIi OF 

Mr. John Wheelock on the same subject, 
but a hurry of business at this time pre- 
vents me. I shall hereafter take the 
first opportunity of dropping him a few 
lines. Until then, please make my best 
respects to him, and earnestly solicit his 
friendship and attention to my boys, which, 
be assured of, I shall ever gratefully ac- 

I am, Dear Sir, wishing you and 
your family health and happiness, 

Your friend and well-wisher, 

Joseph Bbant. 

To Mr. James Wheelock. 

The two boys, Jacob and Jaseph, weie 
sent to school at Hanover, and prosecuted 
their studies quite to the satisfaction of 
their teachers, exhibiting not only excel- 
lent capacity and diligence, but good de- 
portment, and great amiability of charac- 
ter. Unfortunately a difficulty sprung up 
between the boys, which resulted in 
Joseph leaving the school and returning 

Gji<PQ:. JOB. SliJiJ^Q:. 69 

to his parents. Jacob remained a while 
longer, when he too visited home ; but 
subsequently returned to the school to 
resume his studies. On the occasion of 
his sons return, Capt. Brant writes to his 
friend, Mr. James Wheelock, the follow- 
ing letter : 

'' NiAGABA, 14th December, 1802. 

'' My Dear Sir — 

^' I received your very polite and 
friendly letter by my son Jacob, and am 
very much obliged to you, your brother, 
and all friends, for the great attentions 
that have been paid to both of my sons, 
and to Capt. Dunham for the great care 
he took of Jacob on the journey. 

^^ My son would have returned to you 
long before this but for a continued sick- 
ness in the family, which brought Mrs. 
Brant very low. 

'^My son Jacob and several of the 
children were very ill. My son returns 
to be under the care of the President, and 

70 ]\lEJ\l01Ii OF 

I sincerely hope he will pay such attention 
to his studies as will do credit to himself, 
and be a comfort to his friends. The 
horse that Jacob rides out, I wish to be 
got in good order, after he arrives, and 
sold, as an attentive scholar has no time 
to ride about. Mrs. Brant joins me in 
most affectionate respects to you and Mrs. 

^^ I am, Dear Sir, with great respect, 
^* Your sincere friend 

^' And humble servant, 

^^ Joseph Beant." 
To James Wheelock, Esq. 

The correspondence of Brant, after his 
retirement from military to civil life, be- 
sides that pertaining to the current busi- 
ness which engaged much of his attention 
with literary and scientific men, was con- 
siderable. His replies to letters of this 
class show him to have been a man of 

OjirpccjOB. ^liiiJfQ:. 71 

deep reflection, independent thought, and 
of intelligence above most of the white 
men of his time, and are characterized by 
good common sense. 

None of the sons of Capt. Brant seem 
to have achieved distinction, if we 
except John, the youngest, who succeeded 
to his father's title. He received, it is 
said, a good English education, and im- 
proved his mind by study a,nd travel; 
became distinguished for his literary ac- 
quirements, fine commanding presence 
and polished address. His society was 
sought by gentlemen of the first distinc- 
tion, both in Europe and America. 

A few years before his death, Capt. 
Joseph Brant built a fine dwelling on a 
tract of land presented him by the British 
Government, at the head of Lake Ontario, 
occupying a fine commanding eminence, 
affording an extensive view of the lake 

7^ Jl^MOIIi OF 

and surrounding country, now called 
Wellington Square. Here he removed 
with his family, and here he closed his 
extraordinary and eventful life, on the 
24th of November, 1807, at the age of 
nearly sixty-five years. His remains 
were interred at the Mohawk Village, on 
the Grand Kiver, by the side of the 
Church built through his instrumentality, 
together with the other deceased members 
of his family, where a monument marks 
the spot, on which is inscribed the follow- 
ing epitaph : 

^' This Tomb is erected to the memory 
of Thayendanegea, or Copt. Joseph Brants 
principal Chief and Warrior of the Six 
Nations Indians^ hy his fellow -subjects^ 
admirers of his fidelity and attachment to 
the British Grown. Born on the ianJcs of 
the Ohio river y 1742. Died at Wellington 
Square, U.G., 1807. 

Oj3:(PQ:jOB.J^Iii3:JsrQ:. 7S 

^^It also contains the remains of his son, 
AhyouwaighSy or Gapt. John Brant ^ who 
succeeded his father as TeJcarihogea, and 
distinguished himself in the war of 1812 
and 15. Born at the MohawJc village, 
U.G.J 1794. Died at the same place y 1832. 
Erected 1850." 


The English historian, Weld, in his ** Travels 
through the States of North America, and the 
Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, during the 
years 1795, 1796 and 1797," has the following 
notice of Capt. Brandt, page 485 

'Brandt, at a very early age, was s^nt to a college 
in New England, where, being possessed of a good 
capacity, he soon made very considerable progress 
in the Gre^k and Latin languages. 

'^Uncommonpains were taken to instill into his 
mind the truths of the Gospel. He professed him- 
self to be a warm admirer of the principles of 
Christianity, and in hopes of being able to convert 

76 :^(P(PEJTQIX. 

his nation on returning to them he absolutely trans- 
lated the Gospel of St. Matthew into the Mohawk 
language ; he also translated the established form of 
prayer of the Church of England. 

** Before Brandt, however, had finished his course 
of studies, the American war broke out, and fired 
with that spirit of glory which seems to have been 
implanted by nature in the breast of the Indian, he 
immediately quitted the college, repaired to his 
native village, and shortly afterwards, with a con- 
siderable body of his nation, joined some British 
troops under the command of Sir John Johnstou. 

** Here he distinguished himself by his valor in 
many different engagements, and was soon raised, 
not only to the rank of a war chief, but also to that 
of a war chief in His Majesty's service. 

"It was not long, however, before Brandt sullied* 
his reputation in the British army. A skirmish 
took place with a body of American troops ; the 
action was warm, and Brandt was shot by a musket 
ball in the heel; but the Americans, in the en^, were 

defeated, and an officer with abont sixty men were 
taken prisoners. The officer, after having delivered 
up his sword, had entered into conversation with 
Col. Johnston, who commanded the British troops, 
and they were talking together in the most friendly 
manner, when Brandt, having stolen slily behind 
them, laid the American officer lifeless on the ground 
with a blow of his tomahawk. The indignation of 
Sir John Johnston, as may readily be supposed, 
was roused by such an act of treachery, and he re- 
sented it in the warmest language. Brandt listened 
Unconcernedly, and when he had finished, told him 
that he was sorry what he had done had caused his 
displeasure, but that indeed his heel was extremely 
painful at the moment, and he could not help re« 
venging himself on the only chief of the party he 
saw taken. Since he had killed the officer, his heel^ 
he added, was much less painful to him than it had 
been before. 

When the war broke out the Mohawks resided on 
the Mohawk river, in the State of New York, but on 
peace being made, they emigrated into Uppelr 

7& j3:(P(PBjr(^IX. 

Canada, and their principal village is now situated 
on the Grand Eiver, which falls into Lake Erie on 
the north side, about sixty miles from the town of 
Newark, or Niagara. There Brandt at present re- 
sides. He has built a comfortable habitation for 
himself, and any stranger that visits him may rest 
assured of being well received, and of finding a 
plentiful table well served every day. He has no 
less than thirty or forty negroes, who attend to his 
horses, cultivate his grounds, &c., &c. These poor 
creatures are kept in the greatest subjection, and 
they dare not attempt to make their escape, for he 
has assured them, that, if they did so, he would follow 
them himself, though it were to the confines of 
Georgia, and would tomahawk them wherever he 
met them. They know his disposition too well not 
to think that he would adhere strictly to his word. 

Brandt receives from Government half-pay as 
Captain, besides annual presents, &c., which in all 
amounts, it is said, to five hundred pounds per 
annum. We had no small curiosity, as you may 
Tf:ell imagine, to see this Brandt, aad we procured 

i3:(P(PEJT(^IX. 79 

letters of introduction to him from the Governor's 
Secretary, and from different officers and gentlemen 
of his acquaintance, with an intention of proceed- 
ing from Newark to his village. 

Most unluckily, however, on the day before that of 
our arrival at the town of Newark, he had embarked 
on board a vessel for Kingston at the opposite end 
of the lake. You may judge of Brandt's conse- 
quence, when I tell you that a lawyer of Niagara, 
who crossed Lake Ontario with us from Kingston, 
where he had been detained for some time by con- 
trary winds, informed us the day after our arrival 
at Niagara, that by his not having reached that 
place m time to transact some law business for Mr. 
Brandt, and which had consequently been given to 
another person, he should be the loser of one 
hundred pounds at least. 

Brandt's sagacity led him early in life to discover 
that the Indians had been made the dupe of every 
foreign power that had gained footing in America, 
and indeed could he have had any doubts on the 
subject they would have been removed when be 

&0 ^(p(PEj<r(^ix. 


saw the British after haying demanded and received 

the assistance of the Indians in the American war, 

so unjustly and ungenerously yield up the whole of 

the Indian territories east of the Mississippi and 

south of the lakes, to the people of the United 

States, the very enemies, in short, they had made 

to themselves at the request of the British. He 

perceived with regret that the Indians, by espousing 

the quarrels of the whites, and espousing different 

interests were weakening themselves, whereas, if 

they remained aloof, guided by one policy, they I 

would soon become formidable, and treated with 

more respect. He formed the bold scheme there^ 

fore of uniting the Indians together in one grand 

confederacy, and for this purpose he sent messengers 

to different Chiefs, proposing that a general meeting 

should be held of the heads of every tribe to take 

the subject into consideration. But certain of the 

tribes suspicious of Brandt's designs, and fearful 

that he was bent upon acquiring power for himself 

by this measure, opposed it with all their influence. 

Brandt has, in consequence, become extremely 

obnoxious to many of the most warlike, and with 

msj I ______ _ ■ ■ I ■ - ,■ -jif ^ 

such a jealous eye do they now regard him that it 
would not be perfectly safe for him to return to the 
Upper country. 

He has managed the affairs of his own people 
with great ability, and leased out their superfluous 
lands for them for long terms of years, by which 
measure a certain annual revenue is ensured to the 
nation. He wisely judged that it was much better 
to do so than to suffer the Mohawks, as me-ny 
other tribes had done, to sell their possessions by 
piecemeal, the sums of money they received for 
which, however great, would soon be dissipated if 
paid to them at once. Whenever the 'affairs of his 
nation shall permit him to do so, Brandt declares it 
to be his intention to sit down to the study of the 
Greek language, of which he professes himself a 
great admirer, and to translate from the original 
into the Mohawk la^iguage more of the New Testa- 
ment ; yet this same man, shortly before we arrived 
at Niagara, kUled his own son with his own hand. The 
son it seems was a drunken, good-for-nothing fellow, 
who had often avowed his intention of destroying 


his father. One evening he absolutely entered the 
apartment of his father and had begun to grapple 
with him, perhaps with a view to put his unnatural 
threats into execution, wh«^n Brandt drew a short 
sword and felled him to the ground. Brandt speaks 
of this affair with regret, but at the same time 
without any of that emotion which another person 
than an Indian might be supposed to feel. He con- 
soled himself for the act by thinking that he has 
benefitted the nation by ridding them of a rascal. 
Brandt wears his hair in the Indian style, and also 
the Indian dress. Instead of the wrapper or blanket 
he wears a short coat such as I have described, 
similar to a hunting frock." 


The following is an extract from the history of 
Schohorie County, page 220 : 

It appears that in July 1778, Joseph Brant had 
then with some eighty warriors commenced his 
marauding enterprises on the settlements at Unadilla, 
by appropriating their cattle, sheep and swine to 
his own benefit. To obtain satisfaction for those 
cattlfe, and if possible to get the Indians to remain 
neutral in the approaching contest. Gen. Herkimer 
in the latter part of June, with three hundred and 
eighty of the Try on County militia proceeded to 
Unadilla (an Indian settlement on the Susquehanna 
Eiver) to hold an interview with Brant. That 
celebrated Chief then at Oquago, was sent for by 
Gen. Herkimer, and arrived on the 27th, after the 
Americans had been there about eight days waiting. 

&4 ji(P(p:e.j<1(^ix. 

Col. John Harper who attended Gen. Herkimer ' 

at this time, made an affidavit on the 16th of July 
followilig the interview, showing the principal 
grievances of which the Indians complained, as also 
the fact that they were in covenant with the King, 
whose belts were yet lodged with them, and whose 
service they intended to enter. 

The instrument farther testified that Brant in- 
stead of returning to Oswego as he had informed 
Gen. Herkimer was his intention, had remained in \ 

the neighborhood on the withdrawal of the Ameri 
can Militia, and was proposing to destroy the frontier 

The following relating to the interview between 
Gen. Herkimer and Brant is obtained from the 
venerable Joseph Wagner, of Fort Plain. He states 
that at the first meeting of Gen. Herkimer with 
Brant, the latter was attended by three other Chiefs, 
William Johnson, a son of Sir William Johnson by 
Molly Brant, which son was killed at the battle of 
Oriskany the same year. But, a smart looking 
fellow, with curly hair, supposed to be part Indian 
and part Negro, and a short dark skinned Indian. 

The four were encircled by a body guard of some 
twenty noble looking warriors. When in hig presence 
Brant rather haughtily asked Gen. Herkimer the 
object of his visit, which was readily made known. 
But seeing so many att6ndants, the Chief suspected 
the interview was sought for another purpose. 

Said Brant to Gen. Herkimer, I have five hundred 
warriors at my command, and can in an instant 
destroy you and your party ; but we are old neigh- 
bors and friends, and I will not do it. Col. Cox, a 
young ofl&cer who accompanied Gen. Herkimer ex- 
changed several sarcastic remarks with Brant, 
which served not a little to irritate him and his 
followers. The two had a quarrel a few years 
previous about lands around the upper Indian Castle. 
Provoked to anger. Brant asked Cox if he was not 
the ** son-in-law of old George dlock ?" ** Yes," 
replied Cox in a tone of malignity, ** and what is 
that to you, you d — d Indian." 

At the close of this dialogue, Brant's guard ran 
off to their camp firing ' several guns and making 
ihe hills echo back their savage yells. Gen. Herki- 

36 :^(P(PEJ<f(^lX. 

mer assured Brant that he intended his visit for 
one of a pacific character and urged him to inter- 
pose to prevent anything of a hostile nature.. A 
word from Brant hushed the tumult of passion, 
which a moment before threatened serious conse- 
quences. The parties, however, were too much ex- 
cited to proceed with the business which had 
convened them. Brant, addressing Gen. Herkimer, 
said, it is needless to multiply words at this time ; 
I will meet you here at precisely nine o'clock to- 
m6rrow morning. The parties then separated to 
occupy their former position in camp. They again 
met on the 28th of June. Brant was the first to 
speak. ** Gen. Herkimer,'* said he, ** I now fully 
comprehend the object of your visit ; but you are 
too late, I am engaged to serve the King. We are 
old friends, and I can do no less than to let you re- 
turn unmolested, although you are in my power." 
After a little more conversation, of a friendly nature, 
the parties agreed to separate amicably. Tho con- 
ference ended, Gen. Herkimer presented to Brant 
seven or eight fat cattle that had just arrived, owing 
to obstructions on the outlet of Otsego lake, down 

— • - - ■ - 1 1 . . 

ivhich stream they were driven or transported. For 
three days before the arrival of the cattle, the 
Americans were on short allowance. It is said that 
at this second interview of Brant with Gen. Herki- 
mer, the latter had taken the precaution to privately 
select four reliable men, in case any symptoms of 
treachery should be exhibited, to shoot down Brant 
and his Chiefs at a given signal, but no occasion to 
execute these precautionary measures occurred. 

The following anecdote is related of Brant as 
occurring in connection with the capture of prisoners 
Q(t Cherry Valley. Among the captures made by 
him at that place was a man named Vrooman with 
whom he had been formerly acquainted. He con- 
cluded to give Vrooman his liberty, and after they 
had proceeded several miles, he sent Vrooman back 
about two miles alone, ostensibly to procure some 
birch bark, expecting, of course, to see no more of 
him. After several hours Vrooman came hurrying 
back with the bark, which the Captain no more 
wanted than he did a pair of goggles. Brant said 
ie sent his prisoner back on purpose to afford him 

1^8 j3:(P(PEJsf(XIX. 

an opportunity to escape, but he was so big a fool 
he did not know it, and that consequently he was 
compelled to take him along to Canada. 

The history of Schoharie County, page 884, con- 
tains the following note : 

*^ In person Brant was about middling size, of a 
square, stout build, fitted rather for enduring hard- 
ships than for quick movements. His complexion 
was lighter than that of most Indians, which re- 
sulted perhaps from his less exposed manner of 
living. This circumstance probably gave rise to a 
statement which has been often repeated, that he 
was of mixed origin. The old people in the 
Mohawk Valley, to whom he was known generally, 
agree that he was not a full blood Indian, but was 
part white. 

** He was married in the winter of 1779 to a 
daughter of Col. Croghan, by an Indian woman. 
The circumstances of this marriage are somewhat 
singular. He was present at the wedding of Miss 
Moore, from Cherry Valley, who had been brought 
away a prisoner, and who married an officer of the 

:0:(P(PEJT(^IX. &9 

garrison of Fort Niagara. Brant had lived with 
his wife for some time previous according to the 
Indian custom without marriage, hut now insisted 
that the marriage ceremony should be performed. 
This was accordingly done by Col. Butler who was 
still considered a Magistrate. After the war he re- 
moved with his nation to Canada. There he was 
employed in transacting important business for his 
tribe. He went out to England after the war, and 
was honorably received there. Joieph Brant died 
on the 24th November, 1807, at his residence near 
the head of Lake Ontario, in the 65th year of his 
age. Not long before that event the British Govern- 
ment refused for the first time to confirm a sale of 
lands made by him, which mortified him exceedingly. 
The sale was afterwards confirmed, at which he was 
so much elated that he got into an excitement that 
is said to have laid the foundation of his sickness. 

** The wife of Brant who was very dignified in her 
appearance, would not converse in English before 
strangers, notwithstanding she could speak it