Joseph Brant

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Thayendanegea, a prominent Mohawk leader, was born in 1742 along the Ohio River. His parents lived in New York but were in the Ohio Country on a hunting trip when Thayendanegea was born. His English name was Joseph Brant. Thayendanegea attended Moor's Charity School for Indians in Lebanon, Connecticut, while still a boy. He learned English and white customs as a student there. His brother-in-law, British General Sir William Johnson, financed Brant's education. Johnson hoped Brant would provide him with assistance in negotiating with the American Indians residing in the northeastern British colonies. The French and Indian War interrupted his education. Johnson withdrew the thirteen year old Thayendanegea from school to assist him against the French and their American Indian allies. Thayendanegea returned to the school following the conflict. It was at Moor's Charity School for Indians that he converted to the Anglican faith. He would eventually serve as a missionary among the American Indians for the Anglican Church. Upon graduating from school, Thayendanegea served as an interpreter for Johnson and his eventual successor, Guy Johnson.

As the American Revolution loomed closer, British military officials appointed Thayendanegea as a captain in the British Army. They hoped that this appointment would convince the Mohawks to side with Britain in the hostilities. British officials in America also sent Thayendanegea to Britain to confer with the king. He thus met King George III -- on two separate occasions. The British government promised Thayendanegea that the Mohawks would have all land returned to them seized by British colonists before the conflict if the American Indians remained loyal to Britain. During the Revolution, Thayendanegea served in the British military. He participated in the capture of New York City in 1776. He also led attacks against American settlements and outposts in New York and Pennsylvania.

With Britain's defeat in the American Revolution and their relinquishing of all land south of Canada, north of Florida, and east of the Mississippi River in the Treaty of Paris (1783), Thayendanegea now had to deal directly with the Americans, who claimed his tribe's land. He eventually settled his followers in Canada but spent the remainder of his life encouraging American Indians in New York and the Northwest Territory to work together to stop further American seizure of rightful American Indian lands. Thayendanegea called for the American Indians to unite together as one in negotiating with the whites. His message was a precursor of Tecumseh's Confederation, which Tecumseh formed in the early 1800s.

Thayendanegeadied in Canada on August 24, 1807.

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