Online Encyclopedia

JOSEPH BRANT (1742-1807)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 431 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
JOSEPH BRANT (1742-1807), American Indian chief of the Mohawk tribe, known also by his Indian name, THAYENDANEGEA, was born on the banks of the Ohio river in 1742. In early youth he attracted the attention of Sir William Johnson, who sent him to be educated by Dr Eleazar Wheelock at Lebanon, Conn., in Moor's Indian charity school, in which Dartmouth College had its origin. He took part, on the side of the English, in the French and Indian War, and in 1763 fought with the Iroquois against Pontiac. Subsequently he settled at Canajoharie, or Upper Mohawk Castle (in what is now Montgomery county, New York), where, being a devout churchman, he devoted himself to missionary work, and translated the Prayer Book and St Mark's Gospel into the Mohawk tongue (1787). When Guy Johnson (1740-1788) succeeded his uncle, Sir William, as superintendent of Indian affairs in 1774, Brant became his secretary. At the outbreak of the War of Independence, he remained loyal, was commissioned colonel, and organized and led the Mohawks and other Indians allied to the British against the settlements on the New York frontier. He took part in the Cherry Valley Massacre, in the attack on Minisink and the expedition of General St Leger which resulted in the battle of Oriskany on the 6th of August 1777. After the war he discouraged the continuance of Indian warfare on the frontier, and aided the commissioners of the United States in securing treaties of peace with the Miamis and other western tribes. Settling in Upper Canada, he again devoted himself to missionary work and in 1786 visited England, where he raised funds with which was erected the first Episcopal church in Upper Canada. His character was a peculiar compound of the traits of an Indian warrior—with few rivals for daring leadership—and of a civilized politician and diplomat of the more conservative type. He died on an estate granted him by the British government on the banks of Lake Ontario on the 24th of November 1807. A monument was erected to his memory at Brantford, Ontario, Canada (named in his honour) in 1886. See W. L. Stone, Life of Joseph Brant (2 vols., New York, 1838; new ed., Albany, 1865) ; Edward Eggleston and Elizabeth E. Seelye, Brant and Red Jacket in " Famous American Indians " (New York, 1879) ; and a Memoir (Brantford, 1872).
End of Article: JOSEPH BRANT (1742-1807)
BRANKS (probably akin to Irish brancas, a halter; G...

Additional information and Comments

Sir William Johnson was a wealthy landowner and loyalist who was also Joseph Brant's brother-in-law. In 1775 he went to England, where he was treated like a celebrity. Joseph met the king and told him that the Mohawks are a free people and must remain so. The king agreed. He assured Joseph that the Mohawks would be given land in Canada when the conflict with the colonists is over and as long as they fought against the colonists. Swearing loyalty to Great Britain, Joseph pledged to support England with 1,500 warriors. During the war, Joseph led four of the six Iroquois nations against the colonists.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.