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By Maeve Kane
In 1776, the American Revolution started. In New York, many Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people lived in the same areas as colonists. But some Haudenosaunee people sided with the British. In Canajoharie, New York, the local government was angry with the Haudenosaunee people who had sided with the British. They also thought it was hard to claim New York with the Haudenosaunee living in it. In the fall of 1777, people in Canajoharie raided the homes of Molly Brant and other Haudenosaunee families. It was a scary nighttime attack. The attackers painted their faces black. They stole silver candlesticks, clothing, cash, window glass, and prayer books. They also dug up the graves of recently buried Haudenosaunee men. They stole blankets and coats from the graves. After the raid, many Haudenosaunee families fled. They went Niagara and Canada. These were places where the British were still in charge. That is where Molly Brant and her children stayed for most of the rest of the war.
Did You Know?
- Molly Brant was the sister of Joseph Brant, a Mohawk Chief and ally of the British during the American Revolution.
- Molly lived at Johnson Hall with Sir William Johnson where they had eight children together.
- After the war, Molly moved to Kingston,Ontario, Canada and received a military pension for her service to the British. She died in 1796.
- Johnson Hall State Historic Site
Johnson Hall was the 1763 Georgian-style estate of Irish immigrant Sir William Johnson (1715–1774) and his wife, Molly Brant, a Mohawk Indian, and their eight children.
- Fort Stanwix
In 1777, it was Molly that sent word to Sir John Johnson’s and Joseph Brant’s forces that Herkimer was marching to rescue the besieged Fort Schuyler (Stanwix). As a result of these actions, she was forced to flee her home in the Mohawk Valley, leaving it behind to be plundered and occupied.
- Newtown Defense
There are several historical markers throughout the Mohawk Valley documenting the involvement of New York’s indigenous communities in the American Revolution. You can find additional markers at the William G. Pomeroy Foundation’s Historic Marker Map website.