JANUARY 7, 1811


Deserontyon, Mohawk chief and British ally, likely was born in New York’s Mohawk Valley in the 1740s.  His name meant “Where Thunder Was.”  Like fellow Mohawk chief Joseph Brant, he was educated in a white school and was familiar with white customs.  As a boy during the French-Indian War, he was with Jeffrey Amherst at the battles of Niagara and Quebec, and capture of Montreal.  By the American Revolution, he was a chief at Fort Hunter, NY.  Like most Mohawks, he sided with Britain.  During John Burgoyne’s invasion of New York, he and Brant jointly participated in the siege of Fort Stanwix and the Battle of Oriskany.  After the war, the 1783 Treaty made no provision to restore Mohawk lands in New York.  He and Brant sought sites for Mohawk resettlement in Canada.   Deserontyon chose the Bay of Quinte; Brant, the valley of the Grand River.  He remained active in the educational and spiritual welfare of his people for the remainder of his life.  The town of Deseronto is named for him.

Source:  C. M. Johnston, “DESERONTYON, JOHN,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. V (1801-1820), University of Toronto/Université Laval (1983).  Retrieved 6/5/2019, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/deserontyon_john_5E.html
Drawing:  John Reuben Chapin (1823-1894), 1857, from engraving by Charles F. Damoreau.  “Battle of Oriskany.” Library of Congress.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 100 years or less.

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