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
the Six Nations Public Library
October 1968 - October 1988
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:
|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
||Woolrich and Pilkington
Townships, sold to Richard Beasley, James Wilson and John Rousseau,
94,012 acres for £8,887.
||Waterloo Township, sold to
William Wallace, 86,078 acres for £16,364.
||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.
||Moulton Township, sold to W.
Jarvis for £5,775, then sold to Lord Selkirk, who in turn sold it to
Henry J. Boulton.
||Canboro Township, given to John
Dockstader, sold for the benefit of his Native children to Benjamin
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
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
" 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.
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
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.
||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.
||Where did the
||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.
||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.