Joseph Brant – Freemason and Useful Tool of Kevin Annett’s Crusade

ImageBrant, Joseph “Thayendanegea”

Principal Chief of the Six Nations Indians.

Initiated in Lodge No. 417, 1776.

First Master of Lodge No. 11, Mohawk Village (near Brantford) in 1798.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been interested in learning more about the influence of Freemasonry on Aboriginal culture and Canadian History because of Kevin Annett’s crusade to bring down the Vatican English Royalty and it’s vestiges of Freemasonry.  Kevin has accused certain RCMP officers of being Freemasons involved in the disappearance and murder of women at the Picton Farm.  Freemasonry is described as a paternal organization where men of scientific minds and God-fearing countenances can meet and do good works.  Without getting into the links to Illuminism and Freemasonry’s dark aspects, I thought it would be interesting to probe the link between the most famous Indian Freemason, Joseph Brant, and the rebellions that shaped America and Upper Canada.  Brant was an instrumental historical figure who because of his initiation into a Freemasonic Lodge was afforded priviledges and protections allowed him to become a ‘civilized savage’ and a useful tool.  In the end, Brant’s loyalist attitudes did little to secure land rights for his people as much as it led to his own personal prosperity. Below is a little history….

An Excerpt from The Masonic Trowel:

Joseph Brant, or Thayendanegea (1742-1807), Principal Chief of the Six Nations Indians, had been initiated in Lodge No 417 on the English Register (Moderns), which met at “The Falcon,” Princes Street, Leicester Fields, London, in 1776, and served as the first Master of Lodge No 11, Mohawk Village (near Brantford), in 1798. And these are but a sample. About each of them, a lot more could obviously be said. People such as these will have played a pivotal role in the continued evolution of
democracy.

From the MasonicDictionary.com:

A Mohawk Indian Chief, made a Freemason “and admitted to the Third Degree” at London, England, on April 26, 1776. This was in a Lodge of the Moderns, the Falcon, in Princess Street, Leicester Fields.

Brother Hawkins records that during the War of American Independence Brant was in command of some Indian troops on the British side, by whom Captain McKinsty, of the United States Army, had been captured. The Indians had tied their prisoner to a tree and were preparing to torture him, when he made the mystic appeal of a Freemason in the hour of danger. Brant interposed and rescued his American brother from his impending fate, took him to Quebec, and placed him in the hands of some English Freemasons, who returned him, uninjured, to the American outposts. Clavel has illustrated the occurrence on page 283 of his Histoire Pittoresque de la Franc-Masonnerie. Joseph Brant, or Thayendanegea, to use his native name, was bom on the banks of the Ohio River in 1742 and was educated at Lebanon, Connecticut.

He was a member of Lodge No. 11 at the Mohawk village, about a mile and a half from Brantford, and was also affiliated with Barton Lodge No. 10 at Hamilton, Canada. Brother Robertson, History of Freemasonry in Canada, records (on page 687) that Brother Brant translated the Gospel of St. Mark into the Mohawk language and this was published in 1787.

– Source: Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry

From the Committee on Masonic Education (.pdf)

Sir William (Johnson) was one of only two colonial Americans who had been created a baronet, in recognition of his distinguished services in the Seven Years War. He was Superintendent-General of the Northern Indians, member of the Governor’s Executive Council, and probably the best known and most influential man in the colony.
No man before or since possessed the influence he had over the Indians; indeed, his last wife of twenty years, Molly Brant, was a full-blooded Mohawk. The final ten years of his life were spent in constant striving for peace between Indians and the settlers threatening their lands and hunting grounds. He died in July, 1774, in the shadow of the gathering storm. The Loyalist cause received a staggering blow. Johnson Hall, which contains the chamber where the members of St. Patrick’s met, is now a New York Historical Monument. Some of the original furniture has beenpreserved, and the first set of officers’ jewels may be seen there. Sir John Johnson, eldest son of Sir William, was made a Mason in the Royal Lodge, London. He probably affiliated with St. Patrick’s Lodge upon his return. In 1771, at the age of 29, he was installed as the fifth Provincial Grand Master of New York. No records remain of Sir John’s official acts, except the chartering of three Lodges. In mid-1776, to avoid imprisonment, Sir John fled into the wilderness with a band of friends, guided by a few faithful Mohawks. The weaponless party survived on berries, roots and leaves of the beech tree. After a journey of nineteen days, he arrived at Ft. Caughnawaga, having endured almost every imaginable hardship. In his flights, Sir John had been forced to leave behind his pregnant wife, and because of theimperative need to travel light, had buried his silver plate, as well as valuable papers worth at least 20,000 pounds. Other than the barest minimum of supplies, all he took were his Grand Master’s warrant, and the warrant and jewels of St. Patrick’s Lodge.Joseph Brant, brother-in-law of Sir William, had been educated in Connecticut. At the age of 29, he became principal chief of the Six Nations Indians. Five years later, he visited London with Sir John, and pledged his loyalty to the King. He returned to lead his people into battle several months later. While in London, Brant was initiated into Masonry at “The Falcon”, on Princess Street, London, and was presented with a Masonic apron by King George III. His acceptance into Freemasonry made a profound impression upon the young warrior. During this period of the War, the Rebel cause was
universally triumphant. Every one of the thirteen colonies was in rebellion, and every Royal governor had been expelled. Canada had been invaded, and the rebels had captured Montreal. In March of 1776, the British evacuated Boston. Quebec, the sole remaining British stronghold on the North American continent, was under siege by rebels under the command of Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold, both of whom were members of the Craft. The siege of Quebec failed, and the rebel army was in retreat. A British counter-attack on the Cedars, a small fortified post thirty miles above
Montreal, was successful. A rebel colonel, John McKinstry, of Hudson Lodge No.13, New York, was captured by the Indians, bound to a stake, and was about to be burnt alive, when Joseph Brant appeared, McKinstry proceeded to make that sign which is never refused, and Brant immediately had him released. From that time on, Brant and McKinstry were life-long friends.
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Further history (earlyamerica.com)shows how Brant was instrumental in leading the Six Nations Tribes to oppose the rebellion uprising who outwardly remained a fierce Loyalist, but in whom his Indian nature could never be extinguished:”Brant and a number of young Mohawks were selected by Johnson to attend Moors Charity School for Indians at Lebanon, Connecticut–the school which in future years was to become Dartmouth College. Here he learned to speak and write English and studied Western history and literature. He is the only one of those chosen known to have derived any benefit from the educational process. He left school to serve under Sir William from 1755-1759 during the French and Indian War (1754-1763). After this, he became Sir William’s close companion and helped him run the Indian Department, administered by the British out of Quebec. He also became an interpreter for an Anglican missionary and helped translate the prayer book and Gospel of Mark into the Mohawk language.””About 1768 he married Christine, the daughter of an Oneida chief, whom he had met in school. Together, they settled on a farm near Canajoharie which Joseph had inherited. While here, Brant assisted in revising the Mohawk prayer book and translating the Acts of the Apostles into the Mohawk language. He also joined the Anglican Church, was a regular communicant, and evinced a great desire to bring Christianity to his people. His wife died of tuberculosis about 1771, leaving him with a son and a daughter. In 1773, he married his wife’ss sister, Susannah, who died a few months afterward, also of tuberculosis.”
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“In 1774, Sir William Johnson died and was succeeded in his territories by his son Sir John Johnson, and as Superintendent of the Indian Department by his son-in-law, Col. Guy Johnson, both of whom were Masons. The Johnsons, together with Brant and the Tory leaders Col. John Butler and Col. Walter Butler (also both Masons) were to become leaders of the Loyalist resistance and terrorism in Northwest New York.”
 
“Those who remained loyal to England, known as “Loyalists” or “Tories”, were not all colonists. Other allies of the British were numerous Indian tribes, more especially the Iroquois tribes who occupied the lands from upstate New York south to northern Pennsylvania with scatterings further south and north and extending west to the Great Lakes. The Iroquois League, also known as the Six Nations, was a confederation of upper New York state Indian tribes composed of the Mohawks, Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas, Oneidas, and Tuscaroras. They lived in comfortable homes, often better than those of the colonists, raised crops, and sent hunters to Ohio to supply meat for those living back in New York.”
In August, 1775, the Six Nations staged a big council fire near Albany , after news of Bunker Hill had made war seem imminent. After much debate, they decided that such a war was a private affair between the British and the colonists, and that they should stay out of it. Brant feared that the Indians would lose their lands if the colonists achieved independence. The Johnsons and Brant used all their influence to engage the Indians to fight for the British cause, and ultimately succeeded in bringing four of these tribes, the Mohawks, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas into an alliance with England — the Oneidas and Tuscaroras ultimately sided with the Colonists.About the year 1776, Brant became the principal war chief of the confederacy of the Six Nations, due perhaps to the patronage of the Johnsons and the unusual circumstances in which he was placed. With this high office of leadership, he also received a Captains commission in the British army in charge of the Indian forces loyal to the Crown. Immediately after receiving this appointment, Brant made his first voyage to England. By making this trip, he gained time, and was enabled to observe for himself the power and resources of the King and British government. He also went to protest the policy of Guy Carleton, commander of the British forces in Canada, who refused to invite the Six Nations to join the war against the Americans, except to use 40 to 50 men as scouts.
Northwest Hew York Area of Operations Northwest New York
Area of Operations
“Brant was well received in England, and was admitted to the best society. His own education and his close association with educated men and his naturally easy and graceful manner facilitated his reception, and as he was an “Indian King” he was too valuable a person to be neglected. The members of the British cabinet and the nobility fawned over him; gave him expensive presents; invited him to their great estates, and arranged to have his portrait painted by famous artists like Reynolds, Romney, and others. Among his particular friends was the English diarist Boswell. He received official assurances that the Indian Loyalists would be utilized to a greater extent in the American conflict than that indicated by Carleton. Also during this trip Brant received the Masonic degrees in either Falcon Lodge or Hirams Cliftonian Lodge in London in April 1776. He had the distinction of having his Masonic apron given to him from the hand of King George III.””Brant returned from England in time to see some action in the Battle of Long Island in August 1776. He then departed for his homeland, traveling by night to elude the Americans guarding the Hudson highlands and the area around Albany. He told the young Iroquois braves of his trip to England and of the strength and friendship of the British. He denounced the Iroquois 1775 decision to remain neutral and called the Americans the enemy of all Indians. A tradition says that he promised each of his warriors an opportunity “to feast on a Bostonian and to drink his blood”. The speech was received with wild enthusiasm and Brant departed on a tour of regional Iroquois villages to similarly stir up support for the British cause.””Brant was certainly not dissuaded or criticized by the British or the Tories for his efforts. In fact, the intent of the British with respect to the use of Indians in the Revolutionary War was aptly expressed in the following poetic example of Gen. John Burgoyne, Deputy of the British forces in Canada, and taken from the Introduction to Burgoynes Orderly Book, page xxii:
” I will let loose the dogs of hell,
Ten thousand Indians, who shall yell
And foam and tear, and grin and roar,
And drench their moccasins in gore:
To these Ill give full scope and play
From Ticonderog to Florida…”
“About 1782, Brant married for the third time to Catherine Croghan, daughter of an Irishman and a Mohawk. He discouraged further Indian warfare, but kept his commission in the British army. He was awarded a tract of 675,000 acres on the Grand River in Ontario to which he led 1,843 Mohawk and other Indian Loyalists in 1784 where they settled and established the Grand River Reservation for the Mohawk.””He became affiliated with Lodge No. 11 at the Mohawk village at Grand River of which he was the first Master (presiding officer); he later affiliated as well with Barton Lodge No.10 at Hamilton, Ontario. In later years, the town of Brantford, Ontario, on the Grand River was named for him.””Due to some legal difficulties with the title to the Reservation land, Brant again went to England in 1785, where he was again well received. At this time, he was able to obtain compensation for Mohawk losses in the U.S. War for Independence and received funds for the first Episcopal Church in Upper Canada, but failed to obtain firm title to the Reservation, whose legality remains in question today (5). On being presented to the King, he declined to bend his knee or kiss his hand, saying,” I bow to no man for I am considered a prince among my own people. But I will gladly shake your hand.” (5) However, he added he would willingly kiss the hand of the Queen. Again, he sustained himself well in the best circles of the British metropolis, and became a friend and companion of the Prince of Wales. Another objective of his visit was to find out whether the Indians could rely on the support of Great Britain if a general war between the Indians and the United States should erupt. The British government declined comment on so delicate a matter, and referred him to the governor of Canada. Brant returned home to Canada in 1786.””The United States government sought his aid in securing an end to the wars with the Indians in the North- west Territories newly ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Paris, and he went alone to Philadelphia in 1792 for a meeting with President Washington and his cabinet; and he claimed to have received 1000 guineas down payment, plus the offer of an ultimate reward of 20,000 pounds for arranging ” a peace with the Ohio Indians”. He assured the United States he would help, but upon his return home he changed his mind and actually worked to foment unrest and rebellion among the Ohio valley Indians against the Americans, traveling in the American West to promote an all-Indian confederacy to resist land cessions. Following this, he devoted the remainder of his life to the interests and moral improvement of his tribe, continuing his missionary work and translations of Bible passages into the Mohawk language.””Brant constructed for himself a spacious dwelling in Canada, where he lived in handsome style with a host of slaves, as many as the aristocratic Virginians who would later rule the United States. His clothes were of the finest material, and in his luxurious home elaborate meals were served on crisp Irish linen. At home, he was a hospitable and convivial man, treating those who visited him kindly and courteously. His children were all well educated and his sons Joseph and Jacob were sent to Dartmouth. Unhappily, in 1795, his oldest son, Isaac, made a drunken assault on his father, who drew his dagger and inflicted a mortal wound. The case came before the Council of Sachems and Warriors, which exonerated Brant on the grounds of self-defense. Also, throughout his life, Brant maintained friendly relations with the English, and favored the introduction of agriculture and the useful arts among his tribe. (15)”

“What more, then, can be said about this remarkable individual, who was at ease drinking tea from fragile china cups, but could also hurl a tomahawk with deadly accuracy? We know that he was well educated; his compositions are highly respectable in point of thought and style, far beyond many of the farmers he had fought against. Perhaps it would have been impossible for Brant to have supported the American cause; he being too vain and too closely allied with the British Lords of the Mohawk valley to consider casting his lot with the humble farmers who spoke of freedom. For Brant, they had the stink of manure and earth about them; he was more familiar with buckled shoes and cologne. It is hard to imagine any other native American, though, who profited so greatly from the Revolutionary War. (15)”

“Brant died on November 24, 1807, at the age of nearly sixty-five years, at his own house on Grand River, Ontario, and was buried by the side of the Episcopal church he had built there. In 1850 Freemasons restored his tomb and placed an inscription on it, and a bronze statue of him was unveiled at Brantford in 1886. His last words, uttered to his adopted nephew, were: ” Have pity on the poor Indians; if you can get any influence with the great, endeavor to do them all the good you can.” (4)

Is it a coincidence that Kevin has aligned himself with Mohawk elders is also at war with Freemasonry?  If Freemasonry is seen by Kevin as loyal to the Crown and it’s colonial institutions in Canada (Hey, did you know that most of the Fathers of Confederation were Freemasons?) then it makes sense that he would be against Freemasonry.  He seems less interested in Brant’s Freemasonic beginnings and Anglican influence on the Mohawk nation and in Canadian history.  There can be no doubt that Brant was a formidable force in the formation of Canada and the US and there can be no doubt that his Freemasonic allegiance helped influence key players in political and military circles.  But Brant, like many other Indian Freemasons like him may have been useful tools in the rebellions in Canada and the U.S.  and it is true, that for Brants sacrifice he was made prosperous, indeed a ‘lord of the land’.  The question is to what degree that Freemasonry continues to be an influence in modern Aboriginal Affairs.  That, however, is a question for another blog post….

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