While the colonies of New
France and British America were warring in the French and Indian War (1754–63
CE), a young Mohawk Native named Thayendangea or Joseph Brant began
his risefrom obscurity. During this war Joseph Brant, still in his
early teens, was involved in conflicts at Fort Niagara and Lake George.
being the first action at which I was present I was seized with such a tremor
when the firing began that I was obliged to take hold of a small sapling to
steady myself; but after the discharge of a few volleys, I recovered the use of
my limbs and the composure of my mind so as to support the character of a brave
man, of which I was especially ambitious.” – Joseph Brant, around
the age of 12.
^ French (blue) and British
territories (red) c.1750 CE.
There was an influential,
rich and Native-friendly man named William Johnson who was a Freemason Charter
Master, the Superintendent of Northern Indian Affairs and was Joseph Brant’s
brother-in-law. This youth had potential, believing so, William Johnson sent
him to Eleazar Wheelock’s “Moor’s Indian Charity School” in Lebanon,
Connecticut (a predecessor of the famed Dartmouth College) where he was given a
Christian education and converted to the Anglican church. Joseph Brant was also
known for acting as a translator and aiding Anglican Reverend John Stuart in
translating Christian works into Mohawk.
After William Johnson’s death Joseph
Brant visited London alongside Guy Johnson (William Johnson’s nephew and
son-in-law) in 1755 with the intent of negotiating a deal. If the
Iroquois Confederacy were given a tract of land in Quebec, Canada, then the
Iroquois Confederacy would aid the British in the American Revolutionary War
(1775-83). While there Joseph Brant was enrolled as a Freemason and given a
ritual apron, he was the first native American to be accepted as a mason.
^ Portrait of Joseph
Brant. Brant was visiting England with Guy Johnson at age 33 or 34 when Romney
painted him in his London studio.
There are some mentions of
Joseph Brant sparing the lives of fellow Freemasons despite them being on the
side of the Patriots. One such occurrence mentioned was one following the Battle
of the Cedars (May 18–27, 1776) in which the American POWs were about to be
executed but a captain named John McKinstry, who was a member of the Hudson
Lodge No.13 of New York, recalled that Joseph Brant was a Freemason. Captain
John McKinstry gave Joseph Brant a ‘Masonic sign of appeal’ in the hopes
of being saved from his fate of being burned at the stake; the two became and
remained friends from that point on. In 1779 this is again repeated
as a Patriot scout by the name of Lt. Boyd was ambushed along with Private
Parker and taken captive, Lt. Boyd asked to speak to Joseph Brant himself and
gave him the ‘Masonic sign of appeal’. Joseph Brant assured them their freedom
and safety but in his absence Colonel Butler had them interrogated, tortured
and then beheaded.
Battle of Long Island August 27, 1776
George Washington understood
that the New York Harbor would be an advantageous place for the British to use
as a naval base, because of its significant location, he thought it to be the
next likely point that the British would attack so he brought the Continental
Army to defend it. This was the largest battle of the American Revolutionary
War, with about ten thousand on the side of the Continental Patriots and twenty
thousand on that of the British in Long Island. The British decided to use
their center and right forces to both assault and distract the front while a
large force was sent to assault the weak American left flank. Joseph Brant is
believed to have been involved with the aforementioned, flanking maneuver.
The Fracturing Of the Iroquoian Confederacy (Mohawk,
Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Tuscarora)
During the American
Revolutionary War all sides, “Whites” and Natives alike, wished to keep the
Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) neutral but in time the “whites” on both
sides were desperate to win over the neighboring tribes to their cause. The
Haudenosaunee were confused as they were allied with the British which were now
two factions, the British Loyalists and the Continentals Patriots, which should
they back? The Haudenosaunee began to fracture; the nations and tribes that
were once unified were now divided between the two warring powers.
had long opposed the British by continuing to trespass on and settle in Native
American territories. Many of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquoian Confederacy) that
favored the British did so because they feared, rightfully, that without the
British to hold back the settlers the frontier would be swarming with settlers
in much larger scale. Joseph Brant was able to gather four of the six
Haudenosaunee nations together, the conference took place at Irondequoit on the
13th of July 1777, and here the Haudenosaunee were showered with
gifts of rum and other provisions.
^ Joseph Brant, painted
in London by Gilbert Stuart in 1786.
Despite Seneca (Iroquois) leaders
like Guyasuta and Cornplanter wishing to continue their policy of neutrality,
the majority of the other Haudenosaunee (Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga) voted to
side with the British – because of this the Seneca respected their decision and
followed suit. Only the Oneida and Tuscarora refused to join the council and
instead sided with the rebels, since they had long lived beside them they had
grown accustomed to the colonists. There was also a Presbyterian missionary
named Samuel Kirkland who baptized and educated the Oneida and Tuscarora, with
the outbreak of war he swayed them over to the side of the American
St. Leger’s Expedition: Siege of Fort Stanwix and
Battle of Oriskany (August 1777)
The British planned a three-pronged
offensive aimed at crippling any chance for the Patriots (Continental rebels)
to invade Canada while also separating New England and the middle colonies.
Since George Washington’s army was so limited he would then be forced to choose
which to defend or to divide up his forces. One of these prongs was an
expedition led by Barry St. Leger. While the British were laying siege to Fort
Stanwix, Molly Brant sent word to Joseph Brant that a Patriot militia of 800
men from Fort Dayton in New York along with sixty Iroquoian Oneida warriors
marched westward toward Fort Stanwix seeking to relieve the besieged fort and
get revenge for the slaying of an innocent woman named Jane McCrea.
^ Treetop Advantage by Doug
Subsequently Barry St. Leger
sent Joseph Brant and John Johnson to cut the Patriot reinforcements off. With Joseph
Brant was his newly formed ranger corps called ‘Brant’s Volunteers’ which
were made up of about 20% Loyalist Natives and 80% white Loyalist New Yorkers
of English, Irish and Scottish descent. The Loyalists set an ambush about
six miles from Fort Stanwix, near the Oneida village of Oriskany (Battle of
Oriskany). In this dark ravine they laid in wait, deciding to assault the
Patriot militia once they were surrounded but the British-allied
Natives were too impatient and excited so they chose to leap out from
behind the cover of foliage and assault the Patriot rebels. The Patriots at the
rear fled and were then pursued by Joseph Brant and his Mohawk allies, armed
with tomahawks and spears. After the initial clash, the conflict slowed in pace
as both sides engaged in close combat or fired at each other from behind the
cover of trees.
This was truly a battle
where brother fought brother, sons and fathers clashed; as the Iroquoian
Mohawks and Oneidas fought for each side respectively, as well as many “whites”
– with many on both sides knowing their “enemies” personally. The leader of the
Patriot (rebel) force was General Nicholas Herkimer, during the conflict his
horse was shot and his leg was wounded, despite his injuries he sat beneath a
tree and smoked his pipe while continuing to issue commands and orders –after
the battle he would later die from complications after a leg amputation.
the British (Loyalists) inflicted far more casualties on the Patriots (rebels),
the latter still held the field and after hearing of a skirmish by Fort
Stanwix, the British (Loyalists) fell back. Most of the losses on the British
side were that of the allied Native Mohawks and Senecas so in revenge these
Natives slaughtered as many prisoners as they could and even retaliated against
an Oneida village, which would eventually strike back by burning Mohawk
villages. This conflict also marked a shift within the Iroquois Confederacy as
the pact made long ago to half hostilities amongst brethren had been tarnished.
^ Herkimer at the Battle of
Oriskany by F. C. Yohn.
All hope for the fate of
Fort Stanwix seemed lost, but Patriot (rebel) General Benedict Arnold came up
with a strategy to turn the tide. General Benedict Arnold led a small Patriot
(rebel) force towards Fort Stanwix while turning a British soldier into his spy
by holding his brother hostage. This spy, named Han Jost Schuyler, was to sow
doubt and fear into the British besiegers by warning them of a massive Patriot
reinforcement which sought to engage them in battle personally. The ploy worked
as many of the British-allied Natives deserted, being that the Iroquois made up
at least half of the British force, their loss prevented any chance for
succeeding to take Fort Stanwix.
The remaining British and Loyalist forces
retreated in haste, leaving their camp supplies made up of money, clothing,
tents, provisions, hospital supplies and private papers. Joseph Brant and Molly
Brant both headed to the Onondaga Council seeking to sway the others into
siding with the British and separating the Oneida from the rebels (Patriots).
The Six Nations sent out wampum belts as far west as Detroit in the hopes of
winning the assistance of the western tribes; the Iroquoian Mingoes and
Algonquian Shawnees, whom were already dissatisfied with the “white” settlers,
began raiding Kentucky.
^ Lost Documents by Robert
Battle of Cobleskill (Massacre) – May 30, 1778
Joseph Brant led a force
near to the settlement of Cobleskill (New York), there a small portion of said
force made themselves visible in order to lure the local militia into pursuing
them. This ruse worked and after being pursued for about a mile, Joseph Brant set
off the trap, killing about half the militia force. They then raided the
settlement and its crops while also massacring the inhabitants. Joseph Brant
prevented his Native allies from slaughtering five settlers by taking them
captive and allowing them to choose whether they would like to become adopted
into the Natives or be taken to the British (Loyalist) held Fort Niagara
instead, they chose the latter.
Battle of the Wyoming Valley (Wyoming Massacre): July
A Seneca war-chief named
Sayenqueraghta Old Smoke, earlier mentioned as being involved in the Battle of
Fort Niagara and the Battle of La Belle-Famille; the taking of forts Venango,
Le Boeuf, and Presque Isle; as well as the ‘Devil’s Hole Massacre’; planned to
retaliate against Wyoming, in his cause he was joined by Cornplanter and Major
John Butler alongside “Butler’s Rangers”. After taking two forts and setting
them ablaze, the militia in ‘Forty Fort’ rushed toward the direction of the
British (Loyalist) and the smoke that rose from their allied forts. In their
haste they fell into an ambush the British had laid, much like the Battle of
Oriskany, the Natives couldn’t wait for the enemy to be surrounded as they
sprang up from their prone position to attack them despite them being 30 yards
Nevertheless, the ambush was
successful as the militia was wedged between the British (Loyalist) and the
Seneca, leading to a complete rout in which more than two hundred Patriots were
killed. ‘Forty Fort’ surrendered and Major John Butler signed an agreement with
them assuring them of their safety but once he left the Natives, whom were
still upset over their losses at Fort Stanwix and Oriskany, completely
plundered the Wyoming Valley; destroying over a thousand settlements and farms,
burning crops, killing or driving away cattle and massacring the settlers.
^ Depiction of the
battle by Alonzo Chappel, 1858.
Joseph Brant was not present
in the Wyoming expedition as he was still attempting to rally Natives and
“whites” to his cause but he would nevertheless be blamed for almost every
British-allied Native conflict, “crime” and atrocity that occurred, even for
those in which he wasn’t present. Almost every band of British-allied Natives that
were seen were thought to be led by Joseph Brant, a man seemingly present in
several locations at once. He became sort of a bogeyman, with the Patriots
(rebels) spreading propaganda which framed him as a bloodthirsty savage referred
to as “Monster Brant”.
Chief Joseph Brant, who was
in dire need of provisions such as cattle and crops, led raids (July, 1778)
against the settlements of Springfield and Andrewstown (Jordanville).
Casualties were low, with only eight being killed and fourteen being taken
captive (two elderly men were set free) in both settlements. Joseph Brant saved
many women and children from being harmed by his fellow Native brethren. Joseph
Brant was known for being against harming women and children. Joseph Brant’s next
target were the ‘German Flatts’, arriving on the seventeenth of
September (1778 CE), Joseph’s raiding party destroyed their homes and
barns, killing three; yet another raid was led against Peenapack.
The last raid that was
launched (November 11, 1778 CE) before winter fell was one against
Cherry Valley, New York. An Oneida spying for the Patriots (rebels) warned
his allies of this proposed expedition but they had warned them before and
nothing came of it, it seemed that once again the Oneida were crying wolf and
this supposed threat seemed unlikely as winter was coming. Nevertheless the
expedition neared its target location, with Joseph Brant being stripped of
almost all of his Natives and overall command as a young man named Walter
Butler had threatened and bribed them into following him instead.
Unbeknownst to Walter
Butler, the Iroquoian Seneca were angry and vengeful after learning of the
Patriots destroyed their settlements of Tioga and Oquaqa. The young and
inexperienced Walter Butler was unable to control the Iroquoian Seneca as they
massacred or captured men, women and children – despite Joseph Brant’s attempts
to save the innocent and unarmed. Even those who were Loyalists or friends of
Joseph Brant (the Wells family) were slaughtered. So troubled was he that
instead of returning to Fort Niagara with Walter Butler, Joseph Brant left the
party and returned to the Mohawks for some time.
^ Cherry Valley
massacre, the fate of Jane Wells, one of thirty non-combatants killed during
Sometime later (1779 CE)
as Joseph Brant and company traveled to Quebec, where General Haldimand had
summoned them to, the General thought over how much of a great support Joseph
Brant had been to the British cause, all the while receiving little economic support
from them, and how virtually every important British officer praised both his
character and ability. While there British general General
Haldimand awarded Chief Joseph Brant the office of ‘Captain of the Northern
Confederated Indians’; he was also given a commission equal to a white captain
and even a pension after the war’s end.
Sullivan-Clinton Expedition, “The Winter of the Deep
The massacres at Wyoming and
Cherry Valley led to a massive surge of refugees fleeing from the frontier.
These atrocities however unified many behind the Patriot (rebel) cause. The
Patriots were now cornered into either surrendering or into launching an
assault against the Natives, by taking the offensive and assaulting the Haudenosaunee
(Iroquois Confederacy) at their very homelands they would be able to cripple
the main power strengthening the British (Loyalists). The following summer
George Washington organized a military campaign led by Major General John
Sullivan and Brigadier General James Clinton, this Sullivan-Clinton Expedition
was aimed at:
Expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile
tribes of the Six Nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The
immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their
settlements, and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as
possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and
prevent their planting more.
I would recommend, that some post in the
center of the Indian Country, should be occupied with all expedition, with a
sufficient quantity of provisions whence parties should be detached to lay
waste all the settlements around, with instructions to do it in the most
effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed.
But you will not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total
ruinment of their settlements is effected. Our future security will be in their
inability to injure us and in the terror with which the severity of the
chastisement they receive will inspire them.” – George Washington
to John Sullivan: May 31, 1779.
This plan was effectively
enacted, the Patriot forces destroyed as many as forty Iroquoian settlements
and stored crops which lead to large-scale deaths to starvation and the elements
(freezing to death) the following winter as well as refugees seeking shelter.
am well persuaded that, except one town situated near the Allegana, about 50
miles from the Chinessee, there is not a single town left in the country of the
Five nations.” – John Sullivan to Congress.
A little known fact is that
George Washington was referred to as Conotocarious (“Town Destroyer”),
and would even refer to himself by that same name.
me kindly to our good friend Monacatootha (a leader of the Iroquoian
Oneida), and others; tell them how happy it would make Conocotarious to
have an opportunity of taking them by the hand at Fort Cumberland, and how glad
he would be to treat them as brothers of our Great King beyond the waters.” –
George Washington to Andrew Montour, 1755.
The name first appeared in
reference to George Washington’s great-grandfather named John Washington but
when Seneca leader Half-King Tanacharison met a young George Washington in
1753 he also gave him that name, eerily foreshadowing the future. Over two
decades later, Seneca chief Cornplanter recalls the Sullivan-Clinton
Expedition, its effects and George Washington.
your army entered the country of the Six Nations, we called you Town Destroyer:
and to this day when that name is heard, our women look behind them and turn
pale, and our children cling close to the necks of their mothers,“ – Seneca
^ Joseph Brant by Charles Willson Peale (1797).
In the early months of 1780
CE Joseph Brant began a series of successful retaliatory raids against the rebel
colonists and their Iroquoian allies until being decisively defeated at the Battle
of Klock’s Field (October 19, 1780 CE). Eventually Brant’s expeditions petered
off as the British were nearing peace terms with the rebels colonists,
concluding with the Treaty of Paris (1783 CE). With Native lands now
given by the British to the Americans, the Natives were embittered. Joseph
Brant traveled westward were he aided in the creation of a ‘Western Confederacy’
which consisted of many Natives from different nations or tribes like the Haudenosaunee
(Iroquois Confederacy), the Wabash Confederacy (Wea, Piankashaw, Kickapoos,
Mascoutens, etc.), the Council of Three Fires (Ottawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibwe)
and the Illinois Confederation – among many others.
^ 1830′s lithograph based on the last portrait of Brant, an 1806 oil on canvas painting by Ezra Ames.
Joseph spent the rest of his life either allying the Natives against future American
encroachments while also buying land back from the ‘whites’ for his Native
brethren. At the age of sixty-four he passed away (November 24, 1807 CE):
a Mohawk Native born in a difficult time where his people were trapped between more
powerful and advanced world powers. Joseph Brant or Thayendangea (“places two bets”), was a sort of prodigy
caught between two worlds: the old world of the Natives and the newer one the ‘whites’
brought. He was the first Native American to be invited into the Freemason
order and was also one of the few Natives to visit Paris, France and London,
England. He rose from obscurity, a relatively unknown Native American who was taught
in white schools, invited into the Freemason order and rose in the ranks by
means of his bravery, loyalty, skill, honesty, integrity, respect and honor. As
he did in life, even his last words reflected his hope for a future for his
“Have pity on the poor Indians. If you have
any influence with the great, endeavor to use it for their good.”
If there are any errors please privately inbox me so I can update it. As always, if you’d like to read or learn about any specific historical subjects just let me know what they are and I will take note of them.
THE COUNCIL OF THREE
FIRES AND THE PONTIAC-GUYASUTA UPRISING– This post covers some of the history, culture and religion of
the Native American inhabitants of the Great Lakes region of North America,
focusing on the Pontiac-Guyasuta Uprising and the Council
of Three Fires (the Ottawa, Ojibwe and the Potawatomi); the peace-pipe,
the Delaware prophets, Rogers’ Rangers, the sport that
inspired lacrosse, and some Native battle tactics.
THE IROQUOIS CONFEDERACY: THE “SAVAGE”
EMPIRE – The
origins of the Iroquois Confederacy, the early wars they were
involved in, the effects that disease epidemics incurred upon them,
the Iroquoian cultural use of torture, scalping, and cannibalism,
the tomahawk and its symbolism (bury the hatchet), as well as
the taking of captives during mourning wars and adopting them
in order to replace lost tribal members.
THE IROQUOIS CONFEDERACY: THE RED
ROMANS AND THE RED COATS – This post covers the religious beliefs of the Iroquois
Confederacy, their origin story, their belief in duality (like
yin and yang), their secretive and mysterious masked societies, and
their involvement in the conflicts between their two great colonial neighbors
(New France and the New England) like the famed French and Indian War.
I’ll also speak of their involvement in the American Revolutionary War. It is
believed that without the aid of the Iroquois Confederacy, North America would
now be speaking French instead of English and that France would’ve held a
massive portion of the eastern half of North America, leaving a massive
battlefield for the French and Spanish to battle over.
Air Jordan 12 Retro “French Blue” Release Date: March 26, 2016
Although the French Blue 12s aren’t an original color-way, they were an instant hit back when they first dropped in 2004, and we will finally see them again next year in March. Keep in mind that the “Cherry” 12s AKA “Varsity Red” 12s might also be dropping next year although no specific date has been announced for them to drop. Stay tuned for more on these releases.
The Air Jordan 12 “Flu Game” Will Also Be Returning In 2016
*Image Above Is The ‘09 Release*
So far it looks like 2016 will be lit with everything that’s going to drop, now adding to the heat is the return of the Air Jordan 12 “Flu Game” along side the Air Jordan 12 “French Blue” and “Cherry” 12s, Nike seems to be dropping all our Air Jordan 12 “Grails” next year. The last time we saw the “Flu Games” up on the shelves was back in ‘09 which switched up materials from a full leather upper from the ‘03 and OG drop to a nubuck upper with the added details on the heel of the year and points scored by MJ during that game. Who’s ready for these?