Papers : 1774-1889.

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LFR .B7J6P3
Category: Family
Creator: Brant, Joseph.
Description: 1 microfilm textual records (6 volumes) ; 35 mm
            Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea) (1742-1807) was born at Cayahoga (near Akron, Ohio). After his father died, his mother returned with Joseph and his sister Mary to the Mohawk Valley in northern New York. In 1761 he was sent to school in Connecticut where he learned to read, speak, and write in English. During the French and Indian War (1753-1765), Brant was an active participant. He was an interpreter for the British Indian Department, aided missionaries, and helped translate religious writings into Mohawk. With the outbreak of the American Revolution, Brant aligned himself with the British cause, and through his position as chief of the Mohawk nation and one of the principal chiefs of the Six Nations Confederacy, he and his sister Molly Brant (who had a relationship with Sir William Johnson, superintendent in the British Indian Department) were able to retain the loyalty of the greater part of the Confederacy for the British cause. He was commissioned a captain by the British in 1780 and fought as a war chief throughout the Revolution as the leader of an indigenous-loyalist band. After the war, Brant led the Mohawk Loyalists and other Indigenous peoples to a large tract of land on the Grand River, in what is today the province of Ontario; it was granted to the Six Nations in compensation for their losses in the war.

In 1780, Brant married Catherine (Adonwentishon) Croghan, daughter of Irish Indian agent George Croghan and a woman from a prominent Mohawk family. They had seven children: Joseph, Jacob, John, Margaret, Catherine, Mary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth, born in 1796, married William Johnson Kerr, grandson of Sir William Johnson and Brant’s sister Mary. Her son later became a Mohawk chief. Brant’s son John, who became superintendent of the Six Nations circa 1826, distinguished himself in the War of 1812.            
            Some or all of this material is available electronically; see Finding Aid section.

The reel contains one volume of the Joseph Brant Papers, 1783-1807, and five volumes of the Kerr Collection, Brant Papers, 1774-1889. The Joseph Brant Papers includes a letter from Brant to William Halton and one to Sir John Johnson, and an autograph of Brant; as well as, correspondence from Frederick Haldimand, William Claus, Alexander McKee and Joseph Chew (17 pages). The Kerr Collection consists of five volumes of material accumulated and preserved by the Kerr family of papers of Joseph Brant and his descendants. The bulk of the collection consists of papers of Elizabeth Brant and her descendants. These include correspondence, estate records, photographs and prints, and miscellaneous papers and accounts. The major subject area is native or indigenous history pertaining to the Six Nations Confederacy, including the Mohawk and Iroquois nations.

Brant Papers in the Kerr Collection are arranged chronologically in different series as follows:

Volume 1 consists of Correspondence, 1791-1885, of Joseph Brant, Sir John Johnson, Thomas Talbot, William Johnson Kerr, William L. Stone, John Clark, William John Simcoe Kerr, and others. (Pages 1-213)

Volume 2-4  consists of Estate records, 1774-1884, chiefly concerned with the estates of Joseph and Catherine Brant, John Brant, Elizabeth Brant Kerr, and Mary Margaret Clark.  Documents include letters patent, maps and plans of grants; and deeds of gift, leases and mortgages. Of note is a copy of Sir William Johnson's will, 1774, as well as petitions, speeches and powers of attorney relating to lands of the Six Nations. (Pages 214-576)

 Volume 5 contains Photographs, prints and clippings, 1799-1889, including minutes of the General Council (10-18 June 1870) and a copy of St. Matthew's Gospel in Mohawk and English [1831]. Miscellaneous papers and accounts, 1807-1882 includes, among other things, a Notebook of the minutes of meetings of the Council of the [Six Nations], 14 October 1829 to 15 July 1832, with a few personal accounts and notes by Walter Kerr (1853-1854). (Pages 577-645)

Photographs, prints and clippings include: "Indian" matriarch, ancient council house of the Senecas, gathering of "Indians" at a Council, Old Seneca council house (Caneadea), middle-aged man (Topley), Six men (Ewing), middle-aged man in military dress, young man, (glass plate) of young woman, damaged ambrotype of an "Indian Chief", wampum, and Chiefs of the Six Nations.            
Originals: The original records are held by Library and Archives Canada (LAC).
Archival Ref. No.: LAC MG 19, F 6.
Finding Aids:

Finding Aid 479, providing a listing of each of the documents, is available online through Library and Archives Canada (LAC). A genealogy of Joseph and Mary Brant, showing their family tree, is found at the beginning and as a PDF in the electronic finding aid section.

Some material from the Papers is available online via
Electronic Finding Aid Record: Finding-Aid_Joseph-Brant-Family_Papers.pdf

Related material:

There are Joseph Brant Papers in the Draper Manuscripts, Series F (HIL-MIC F A1 no. 13, reel 17).

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