Grand River Branch

United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada





Selected Reprints from the

Grand River Branch Newsletter, Branches

"Tuscarora Township of Brant County; A Township of Native Reserves, Six Nations and New Credit"

Angela E.M. Files, June 1990, Vol.2 No.2, Pages 6-7


In honour of the Twentieth Anniversary of

the Six Nations Public Library

October 1968 - October 1988



  Tuscarora Township is the name given to the township which is all that remains of the former large territory given to the Six Nations: six miles on each side of the Grand River from 'its mouth to its source" by the Haldimand Treaty of 1784.  The original grant of land represented 1200 square miles covering the townships of Sherbrooke, Moulton, Dunn, Camboro, Cayuga, Seneca, Onondaga, Brantford, Dumfries, Waterloo, Woolrich, Pilkington, Nichol and Tuscarora.  On February 5, 1798, Captain Joseph Brant, the agent or attorney of the Six Nations, sold large tracts of land as follows:

Block 1

Dumfries Township, 94,305 acres, sold to P. Steadman for 8,841.  This tract passed into the ownership of William Dickson who paid the price and opened the land for settlement.
Block 2 Woolrich and Pilkington Townships, sold to Richard Beasley, James Wilson and John Rousseau, 94,012 acres for 8,887.
Block 3 Waterloo Township, sold to William Wallace, 86,078 acres for 16,364. 
Block 4 Nichol Township, sold to the Hon. Thomas Clark for 3,564 payable in 1,000 years from the date of the bond, the interest to be paid annually.
Block 5 Moulton Township, sold to W. Jarvis for 5,775, then sold to Lord Selkirk, who in turn sold it to Henry J. Boulton.
Block 6 Canboro Township, given to John Dockstader, sold for the benefit of his Native children to Benjamin Canby.

  The Six Nations subsequently sold additional parts of their land to new settlers..

  According to the Haldimand Papers, about 1,600 Native allies settled on the Six Nations Reserve, Brant County, after the American Revolution.  It was an impossible task to expect this small community to clear the thick forests of their land and develop the Grand River region!  The conservative Iroquois of the longhouse religion also believed Iroquois Lands were a sacred trust, not to be sold to the white man!  Through the treaties of 1784 and 1794, sales and treaty violations, the Native people have only about 77,000 acres of Reserve land remaining.  Today, the Six Nations Reserve is approximately 10 miles wide and 12 miles long, and the population is about 7,000.  The New Credit Reserve is approximately 4.5 miles long and 2.5 miles wide, and the population is  about 400.  A block of these Reserves is partly in Haldimand County and the rest is in Brant County.

  In the front of the old Council House of the New Credit Reserve is a historical plaque explaining the early history of the New Credit Reserve.  It reads as follows:

" Faced with the pressure of white settlement the Mississauga Indians began considering in 1840 the relocation of their Credit River Village near Toronto.  In 1847, the Six Nations Council made them an unsolicited offer of land on the Grand River Reserve.  Native spokesmen for resettlement, including the Rev. Peter Jones, a Mississauga Chief, selected land in Tuscarora and later in Oneida Township.  Although several had located elsewhere, some 256 Mississauga settled on lots on the New Credit Reserve.  Many of these belonged to the Methodist Church and in 1848, a mission was established here by Rev. William Ryerson.  With the mission growth and the increase in cultivated acreage, New Credit became a prosperous farming community and in 1903 the Mississauga purchased the Reserve. "

  In 1816, the lands of Onondaga and Tuscarora Townships became part of the District of Gore, in the County of Wentworth.  In 1852, the Township of Tuscarora was incorporated, and it became a part of Brant County.  Local band lists, minute books from the early Confederacy, vital statistics, etc., are kept in the respective Council Houses on the New Credit Reserve, R.R. #6, Hagersville, Ontario, and the Six Nations Reserve, Ohsweken, Ontario.  Mrs. Anne General, librarian of the Six Nations Public Library, Ohsweken, is interested in preserving the history of the Native people of Tuscarora Township and she welcomes any donation of records.

  Ohsweken, the place of meeting, is 12 miles southwest of Brantford and is also the chief community and governing centre of Tuscarora Township.  Geographically located in Brant County, the township is the Reserve for the Six Nations and Mississaugas.  It is not within county jurisdiction as Native affairs are administered in their own councils.  Ohsweken is the site of a modern council house where local government affairs are conducted by their own elected council.  The old council house became the Six Nations Public Library, which has served the community for twenty years.

Questions often asked about the origin of the Native people in

Tuscarora Township.

1. To which Confederacy did the Six Nations belong?
  The Six Nations belonged to the Iroquoian family founded in the 16th century in the region of Central New York.  The original Confederacy consisted of five tribes, the Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida and Seneca, and was known as the Five Nations.  Between 1715 and 1722, the Tuscaroras, an Iroquoian tribe of North Carolina emigrated to New York and was formally admitted to the Confederacy.  The name of the league was changed to the Six Nations.  Most of the Six Nations, with the exception of the Oneida and part of the Tuscaroras, joined the British during the American Revolution.  The Cayuga Tribe, some of the Tuscaroras and the Mohawks came to Upper Canada; some Oneida settled in Green Bay, Wisconsin; most Senecas in Western New York; Onondaga still hold the valley near Syracuse, New York.
2. To which tribe did the Mississaugas belong?
  The Mississaugas belonged to the Ojibway, also called the Chippewa tribe, the largest and most important North American tribe of the Algonquian language.  The Ojibway, scattered over a vast area, were comprised of a number of large bands made up of more than 20 clans.  During the American Revolution and the War of 1812, they sided with the British against the Americans.  They sold a greater part of their former territories and lived on a number of Reservations in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana and Ontario.
3. Where did the Delawares originate?
  The Delawares lived along the Delaware River in the southernmost region of the Middle Atlantic states.  In 1720 they were conquered by the Iroquois, who dominated them until 1760.  Some Delawares moved to Oklahoma and others to Canada.
4. Why was the Reserve named Tuscarora Township?
  The Tuscaroras were a powerful tribe of the Iroquoian family living in what is now North Carolina.  In 1711 they began a war against British settlers who had been annexing Tuscarora territory, kidnapping their children and selling them into slavery.  In 1713 the Tuscaroras were defeated and the remnants of the tribe fled north, settling mainly in New York State, where they were allowed to join the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy about 1722.  The Five Nations honoured the sixth nation of the Confederacy by naming the township 'Tuscarora' in Brant County.