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Tuscarora Township

History of Brant County 1883, transcribed by Bill Bowman

Part of Page 489


This political subdivision originally belonged to the County of Wentworth, in the District of Gore. On the formation of Brant County in 1852 it was attached to this county. It occupies the south-eastern corner of the county, and is bounded on the north by Onondaga Township; on the east by Oneida Township, Haldimand County; on the south by the Townships of Walpole, Haldimand County, and Townsend, Norfolk County; and on the west by the latter township and the Township of Brantford. It has an area of 41,122 acres, and in shape is almost square, the irregular side of the square being formed by the Grand River, which flows in a tortuous manner along the northern boundary.

The township comprises the largest portion of the Indian Reserve belonging to the Six Nations, who originally owned 634,910 acres lying along the Grand River, the greater portion of which has been surrendered to the Crown in trust, to be sold for the benefit of the tribes. The following is a list of the principal surrenders that have been made by the Indians:

January 15 and February 6, 1798.- The lands forming the Townships of Dumfries, Waterloo, Woolwich and Nichol, extending downwards on both sides of the river, from the northern extremity of the reserve, and the greater part of the Townships of Canboro' and Moulton on the eastern side of the entrance of the Grand River, 352,707 acres.

April 19, 1830.- The site of the Town of Brantford on the Grand River, 807 acres.

April 19, 1831.- The northern part of the Township of Cayuga, on the same part of the river, 20,670 acres.

February 8, 1834.- The residue of the Township of Cayuga, the Township of Dunn, and part of Canboro' and Moulton, 50,212 acres.

On March 26, 1835, all the surrenders made up to that time were confirmed.

January 18, 1841.- The residue of the lands, with the exception of a reserve of 20,000 acres, and the lands actually in the occupation of Indians, amounting to upwards of 220,000 acres.

As regards the money-consideration for this land, the Government stand to the Indian in the relation of trustees, accounting for and apportioning to him, through the agency of their officer and appointee, the Indian Superintendent, at so much per capita of the population, the interest arising out of the investment of such money. Sales of lands among themselves down to cases where an Indian, with the possession of a good lot, of fair extent and with a reasonable clearing, vested in him, leaves it to pursue some calling or follow some trade amongst the whites; and treats perhaps with some younger Indian, who, disliking the pioneer work involved in taking up some uncultivated place for himself, and preferring to make settlement on the comparatively well cultivated lot, buys it.

The land is rolling and almost level, with gentle depressions along the streams, and no hills of any consequence. The soil is deep and fertile, and well adapted to the cultivation of almost any crop. It is particularly well favoured for the raising of wheat and other cereals. It is composed of a rich clayey loam, underlying a strata of rich alluvial deposit. Gravel is found in places, and excellent stone for macadamizing the highways is found in the beds of the streams. A good supply of the finest timber abounds, furnishing lumber for building and other purposes. But little bottom or wet or swampy land exists, and no land in the township could be pronounced to be uncultivable.

About three miles south of the Grand River is situated the noted "sour Spring." The country for some distance around is thickly wooded, but in the immediate vicinity of the spring is a small clearing on a rising ground, on one side of which is the spring, in an enclosure some eight or ten rods square. in the centre of this is a hillock six or eight feet high, made up of the gnarled roots of a pine now about decayed. The whole soil is saturated with acid water, and the mound at the top of the hillock is strongly acid. The principal spring is at the east side of the stump, and has a round basin about eight feet in diameter and four or five feet deep. There is no visible outlet to the basin; at the centre a constant ebullition is going on from the evolution of small bubbles of gas, which is found on examination to be carburetted hydrogen. The water is strongly acid and stypic to the taste, and at the same time decidedly sulphurous, and the odour of sulphuretted hydrogen is perceived for some distance round the place. Within a few feet of this is another smaller basin, two feet in diameter and a foot deep, which is evolving gas more copiously than the other, and is somewhat more sulphurous to the taste but no more acid. In other places are three or four smaller cavities partly filled with a water more or less acid, and evolving a smaller quantity of gas. the temperature of the larger spring is 56 degrees F., that of the smaller one is 56 degrees near the surface, but on burying the thermometer in the soft mud at the bottom the mercury rises to 60 degrees 5'. (The foregoing description is taken from an article furnished by Mr. Hunt to "Smith's Canada")

The following statistics, taken from the census of 1880, will give an idea of the number and condition of the inhabitants of the township: there were 721 houses, 726 families, and 2,891 inhabitants. Of Baptists there were 552; Brethren, 56; Catholics, 20; Church of England, 1,156; Church of Canada Methodists, 410; Episcopal Methodists, 92; Presbyterians (Church of Canada), 47; Universalists, 20; pagans, 537. There were 19 Africans, 150 English, 29 French, 2 Germans, 2,509 Indians, 134 Irish, and 45 Scotch. Nineteen were born in England and Wales, 15 in Ireland, 8 in Scotland, 4 in Quebec, 2,831 in Ontario, and 14 in the United States.

The people live under separate laws of the Crown, have no representation in the councils of the County of Dominion, and are not amenable to the laws, except for crimes and capital offences. They elect their chiefs among themselves, and settle all their differences in council of the chiefs, for which purpose they have a council house built in the township. There is but one post office in the township, at Ohsweken.

The first Church of England built in the Province was erected by the Indians in this township, and is still standing. It is known as the Mohawk Church, and is situated about a mile and a half south of the City of Brantford, on the site of the old Mohawk Village. They have now in their possession a communion service of silver, the gift of Queen Anne, which is fully spoken of elsewhere in this work. From a sketch of the life of Captain Joseph Brant, by Ke-che-ha-gah-me-qua, a Brantford lady a pamphlet filled with interesting facts, laboriously collected and pleasantly presented, we take the following history of the old Mohawk Church, a church of which Brant was the founder:

"In 1784 the rev. John Stewart, who had interested himself so much for their (the Six Nations) spiritual improvement in the States, emigrated with his family to Canada. In 1786 he visited the Indians, who were his former charge at their new settlement at the Mohawk Village. Here he found them comfortably located on a fertile soil- the village containing about 700 souls. Mr. Stewart was delighted with their beautiful church, and remarks: 'As they hd no stated clergyman at the time, I preached to a very large audience, and it cost me a struggle to refuse the unanimous and pressing invitations of this large settlement, with additional salary, to remain amongst them.' The late Rev. Dr. Addison, of Niagara, visited them twice a year to perform baptisms and marriages. He was succeeded by the Rev. R. Leeming, then resident at Ancaster, who visited them occasionally. Their first resident minister was the Rev. Mr. Hough, sent out by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, succeeded by the Rev. R. Luggar, whom the New England Corporation Co. supplied, who remained but a few years, being obliged in 1836 to return to England on account of ill health, where he soon after died, much regretted. Since that time the Rev. A. Nelles (now Canon Nelles), assisted by the Rev. A. Elliott, have, by God's help, been their indefatigable and self-denying missionaries.



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