THE MOHAWK UPPER CASTLE HISTORIC DISTRICT NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK

Dean R. Snow, Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania

David B. Guldenzopf, U. S. Army Environmental Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland

The Mohawk Upper Castle Historic District, a large multicomponent property in Indian Castle, Herkimer County, New York was designated as a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1993. Containing both rare standing structures and one of the largest, most diverse, best preserved, and most intensively documented eighteenth-century archaeological assemblages in Iroquoia, the Mohawk Upper Castle Historic District meets NHL significance criteria 2 and 6 as a property that "is associated with significant figures in American history and culture" and that has "yielded or may be likely to yield information and major scientific importance."

This article is an abridged version of the NHL nomination form used to document the significance of the Mohawk Upper Castle Historic District (Snow, Guldenzopf, and Grumeet 1993). Much of the information utilized in the nomination form was drawn from Guldenzopf (1986) and Lenig (1977).

Background and Overview

The Secretary of the Interior designated the Mohawk Upper Castle Historic District as a National Historic Landmark (NHL) on April 19, 1993. The Mohawk Upper Castle was on of the 17 properties designated for their significance in documenting relations between Indian people and colonists in the Northeast in the Historic Contact Theme Study (Grumet 1995).

This article is an abridged version of the designation form used to nominate the Mohawk Upper Castle Historic District as a MHL (Snow, Guldenzopf, and Frumen (1993). Dean R. Snow, current head of the department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, who served as director of the State University of New York at Albany archaeological investigations at the Mohawk Upper Castle and David B. Guldenzopf, then a graduate student working as excavation field director under the supervision of Snow and who presently heads the Cultural Resource Section of the U. S. Army Environmental Center, provided documentation and reviewed both nomination form and revised article text prepared by National Park Service Archeologist Robert S. Grumet. The NHL's significance is based upon archaeological and architectural resources within the District reported in Guldenzopf (1986) and Lenig (1977). The nomination form was reviewed by Charles T. Gehring, William A. Starna, and the joint Society for American Archaeology and Society for Historical Archaeology Archaeological NHL Committee.

The Mohawk Upper Castle Historic District is located in the village of Indian Castle, Town of Danube, Herkimer County, New York. Resources contributing to the national significance of the Mohawk Upper Castle Historic District consist of archaeological and architectural evidence associated with Nowadaga, the most westerly part of the major eighteenth-century Mohawk Indian community of Canajoharie. Then as now, the people of the Mohawk Nation belonged to the easternmost constituent of the Iroquois Confederacy. During the eighteenth century, Mohawk people regarded Canajoharie as the most important community in the western half of Kanyenke, their name for the Mohawk River Valley heartland (Snow 1994, 1995:488-95).

Also called Upper Castle, Canajoharie was a large community stretching for a mile and a half along the southern bank of the Mohawk River from a point opposite the mouth of East Canada Creek west to the Nowadaga Creek outlet. One of the two main Mohawk Indian towns in Kanyenke at the time, Canajoharie also was the home of the influential and widely-known Mohawk leaders Theyanoguin or Hendrick, Molly Brant, and Joseph Brant. Canajoharie's Nowadaga locale also is the site of the Indian Castle Church and the Brant Family Barn. The Indian Castle Church is the only surviving standing example of the many religious structures built by Christian mission societies in Indian communities located in and around the Iroquois heartland during the historic contact period (Figures I and 2). The nearby Brant Family Barn is an extremely rare example of the Dutch-style pre-revolution barns formerly common in the Mohawk Valley in the years before the War of Independence.

<- Indian Castle Church before its rotation and relocation. From an 1838 sketch by Benson Lossing.

Commanding the western approaches to the lower Mohawk and upper Hudson valleys, residents of this strategically located community figured prominently in relations between Indian people and colonists throughout the 1700s - This importance is reflected in the number and extent of references to Canajoharie and its people in contemporary accounts appearing in Colden (1747), O'Callaghan (1849-50), O'Callaghan and Femow (1853-87), and Sullivan et al. (1921-65) and in later regional historical and anthropological studies such as Fenton and Tooker (1978), Graymont (1972), Kelsay (1984), Lydekker (1938), and Stone (1838). Test excavations conducted by archaeologists at Canajoharie during the 1970s and 1980s showed that cultural resources capable of verifying extant documentation and revealing new information associated with eighteenth-century Nowadaga community life survived intact within the borders of the Mohawk Upper Castle Historic District (Guldenzopf 1986; Lenig 1977).

<- Indian Castle Church as it appears today, moved and relocated with the main door moved to the gable end.

Two properties clearly documenting eighteenth-century Mohawk Indian life at Nowadaga are preserved in the 51.5 acre portion of the Canajoharie community within the Mohawk Upper Castle Historic District. One of these, a property consisting of two stone foundations, a stratified midden deposit, and the above-mentioned wooden-framed Dutch barn, contains resources associated with the Brant Homestead built sometime around 1754. The other includes the also above-mentioned Indian Castle Church, a wooden-framed Anglican chapel built for the Canajoharie Mohawk Indian community in 1769, and a Mohawk Indian cemetery. Archaeological remains of other buildings and structures possessing values contributing to the documentation of the national significance of this major eighteenth- century Canajoharie Mohawk Indian community also may survive in and around District boundaries. Non-contributing properties located within these boundries include archaeological remains of two nineteenth-century carriage houses flanking the Indian Castle Church and the present-day Welden family farm house complex northwest of intersection of New York State Route 5-S and River Road. The modern Indian Castle Church cemetery, situated just south of the church on a 1.9 acre tract administered by the Town of Danube, is a publicly owned in-holding not included the District. The Upper Castle Church rests atop a knoll near the edge a terrace rising steeply above Nowadaga Creek to the east.

Brant Homestead resources are located at the northern edge of a level terrace overlooking the broad Mohawk River floodplain to the north. Both properties are situated in an area of glacial outwash deposits generally consisting of gravelly, sandy, clayey, or silt loam soils. Altitude elevations within District boundaries range from densely forested uplands above 380 ft just behind the Indian Castle Church, to lower lying Brant Homestead cultural resources in and around a section of unplowed open pasture land below 360 ft.

Nowadaga Creek and community appear in eighteenth century documentary records under such variant spellings as Anadagie in 1713, Icannanodago in 1731, Canouwadge in 1756, and Inchananedo in 1764 and 1789. Linguist Marianne Mithun traces the term Nowadaga to the Mohawk expression Kanawata:ke, "on the creek" (Guldenzopf 1986). Mithun further supports Floyd Lounsbury's etymology (in Lounsbury 1960) tracing the name of the Mohawk town of Canajoharie to the toponym Kanatsyohare, "a washed kettle."

Canajoharie's English names, Indian Castle and Upper Castle, are both holdovers from an earlier time when Mohawk people lived in fortified communities surrounded by wooden palisade walls called "castles" by Europeans. Colonial records affirm that settlers in the Northeast frequently identified large or fortified Indian communities as Indian Castles. The term Upper Castle, for its part, specifically distinguished Canajoharie from the Mohawk Lower Castle, a somewhat larger town called Thienderego Tionondorage by Mohawk people, located 30 mi. downstream at the confluence of Schoharie Creek and the Mohawk River.

The primary focus of Mohawk townlife centered upon the Upper and Lower Castles after French soldiers and their Indian allies burned the three major Mohawk towns in Kanyenke during a raid launched from Canada at the height of King William's War in 1693 (O'Callaghan and Fernow 1853-87[4]:20, 654, 907). Eighteenth- century maps locating the Upper Castle community at its present geographic position clearly show that Europeans were well aware of Canajoharie's location and importance. A hand-drawn map and a field survey book penned in 1764 by surveyors platting Van Home Patent boundaries set out in a deed signed a year earlier specifically delineated the main center of the Canajoharie Indian town (Van Vechten Papers n.d. 8-9). Chronicling the division of this patent into six allotment areas, these documents identify four contiguous 850- acre lots between streams listed as "Canady Kill" and "Inchananedo Brook" in the sixth and most westerly allotment as land, claimed by the Canajoharie Indians."

Like most eighteenth-century Iroquois towns, Canajoharie was a complex multiethnic community. Politically and socially, it was universally recognized as a major Mohawk community during the 1700s (Guldenzopf 1986; Fenton and Tooker 1978; Snow and Lanphear 1988). Despite this fact, relatively few of Canajoharies's residents could trace direct descent to Mohawk ancestors. War, epidemic disease, and emigration to Canadian mission towns like Caughnawaga had reduced the total population of Mohawk people living in Kanyenke from as many as 6,700 individuals at the beginning of the 1600s to little more than 600 people by the end of the century. Although most of the 200 to 300 people living at Canajoharie in 1700 regarded themselves as Mohawks (Guldenzopf 1984), linguistic evidence showing the influence of foreign Indian languages in dialect differences among eighteenth- century Mohawks (Lounsbury 1960:50) corroborates Mohawk family histories chronicling Huron, Mahican, Susquehannock, Canadian Algonquian, and other Indian ancestors.

Community complexity increased as Dutch, German, Irish, Scottish, and English settlers moved to the Upper Mohawk Valley. Palatine German families forced from homes at Schoharie and along the Hudson River by powerful New York landlords began building new communities for themselves near Canajoharie at places like German Flats and Stone Arabia during the 1720s. Dutch and British settlers from Schenectady, Albany, and other communities also started moving to the area at this time. Increasing in numbers as the century wore on, the total population of European immigrants settling around Canajoharie gradually grew from a few families to several hundred people by the time the War for Independence broke out in 1775 (Guldenzopf 1986; Snow and Lanphear 1988).

Mohawk Indian population, by contrast, continued to drop during this same period. Periodic outbreaks of smallpox, typhoid fever, and other diseases ravaged Mohawk communities. Emigration to French Canadian settlements or to new Iroquois-dominated Upper Susquehanna Valley multicultural communities like Tioga further reduced population at Canajoharie and other places in the Kanyenke heartland.

Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Northern Department and Mohawk Valley immigrant Sir William Johnson tried to augment waning Mohawk numbers by relocating families of Hudson, Delaware, and Susquehanna Valley Mahican and Munsee refugees to Mohawk towns between 1755 and 1756 during the Seven Years War. Such efforts met with indifferent success (O'Callaghan 184950[2]:792; O'Callaghan and Fernow 1853-87[7]:94-96, 111; Sullivan et al. 1921-65[2]:613, 623; [9]:903).

A British census undertaken in 1758 found 165 Indian women and children at Canajoharie (Sullivan et al. 192165[10]:49, 53). Assuming that the number of uncounted Indian men was slightly greater than the 76 women enumerated in the census, no more than 250 Mohawk people probably called Canajoharie home at the time. Crop failures and new outbreaks of epidemic disease following the end of the fighting in 1760 further reduced the Mohawk population at Canajoharie and elsewhere in Kanyenke (Guldenzopf 1984, 1986; Snow and Lanphear 1988).

Canajoharie Mohawk people nevertheless repeatedly exerted an influence far out of proportion to their small numbers at critical junctures during the 1700s. The 100 or so warriors living in the town represented the only coherent permanent fighting force in the strategically important upper Mohawk Valley. Situated within a day's travel of the Carrying Place, a short overland portage linking the Mohawk Valley with Lake Ontario's Oswego River drainage, Canajoharie lay at a critical point along the long exposed forest borderland separating British New York from French Canada. Warriors from Canajoharie formed a first line of defense against invaders approaching the Mohawk Valley from the west. A convenient base for scouts guarding the northern and western approaches to the strategic Hudson Valley, Canajoharie also served as a springboard for strikes against French Canadian outposts on Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence.

Iroquois Confederacy chiefs often worked to exploit the strategic position of Canajoharie and other League towns by pursuing an official policy of neutrality in the four wars fought between France and Great Britain from 1689 to 1760. Formally allied with Great Britain through their Covenant Chain alliance, Mohawks and other Iroquois League nations struggled to play French and British colonial administrators off against one another. In so doing, they managed to hold the balance of power between France and Great Britain for more than five decades.

Canajoharie's hereditarily appointed civil Confederacy chiefs struggled to maintain community cohesion as they worked to balance the interests of rival pro-French and pro-British factions. Compelled by geography and history to favor the policies and actions of their British neighbors, Confederacy chiefs could do little to stop pro- French community members from relocating to Caughnawaga and other expatriate Iroquois communities in French Canada. As guarantors of League neutrality, these same leaders had to limit the influence of aggressive and increasingly influential pro-British Canajoharie Mohawk leaders like Tejonihokarawa, Theyanoguin, and Joseph Brant.

Known among the British as Hendrick Peters, the Mohawk leader Tejonihokarawa first rose to international prominence as the skillful diplomat who traveled to England with three other "Indian Kings" (another may have been Joseph Brant's grandfather) and their provincial sponsors to obtain support for an invasion of Canada during Queen Anne's War in 1710. Creating a sensation wherever they went, Hendrick and his associates had an audience with Queen Anne, met with her ministers, and had their portraits painted by court painter John Verhelst. Enthusiastically endorsing the Canadian invasion scheme, they also asked that Anglican missionaries be sent to their towns.

The Canadian invasion attempt miscarried when promised support failed to materialize. Hendrick's request for a missionary, however, was quickly fulfilled. Well aware of the fact that the Anglican Church was a state religion whose liturgy called on celebrants to affirm loyalty to the British Crown, Queen Anne quickly authorized construction of a chapel in Mohawk country (O'Callaghan 1849-50[3]:902; O'Callaghan and Fernow 1853-87[51:279-80). The building subsequently was erected within the walls of Fort Hunter next to the Mohawk Lower Castle in 1712. Supporting fundraising efforts to maintain a missionary in Mohawk country, the Queen donated a specially engraved silver communion service for use in the chapel. Led by Hendrick and other Anglican communicants, Canajoharie people soon began traveling to the Lower Castle to attend services at the new chapel.

A younger Hendrick Peters, Theyanoguin, and other Canajoharie leaders tried to rouse support for the British when King George's War broke out in 1744. Fearing French retaliation after the younger Hendrick led several raids against Canadian outposts, Canajoharie leaders permitted the British to build a small blockhouse for their protection on a hill at the eastern end of their Upper Castle town across from the mouth of East Canada Creek in 1747. After the war, the blockhouse continued to be used as a trader's warehouse and as quarters for visiting gunsmiths and armorers commissioned by Sir William Johnson to repair the firearms of his Canajoharie Mohawk allies.

Johnson arranged for the construction of a more substantial fortification, "on the flatland out of gun shot from the hill where the old blockhouses now stand" in Hendrick's community, soon after the final war between France and Great Britain began in 1755. As he had done in earlier conflicts, Hendrick quickly rallied Mohawk support for the British war effort. Supporting their Mohawk allies, the British erected a new post at the locale in 1756. The fortification was named Fort Hendrick, in honor of the aged Canajoharie leader Theyanoguin, who had met his death while fighting alongside the British the year before at the Battle of Lake George.

Many scholars, including both of us, have long assumed that the two Mohawk men both known to the English as Hendrick Peters were in fact one person (Snow 1996). However, Barbara Sivertsen's (1996) meticulous genealogical research has shown that they were two men. Hendrick Peters Tejonihokarawa was a member of the Wolf Clan, while Hendrick Peters Theyanoguin was a member of the Bear Clan. Tejonihokarawa was born around 1660; Theyanoguin was born in 1692. Theyanoguin would have been an improbable 95 years old at the time of his death in battle at Lake George if he had been the same man who visited England in 1710. Separation of the two as distinct historic Mohawk figures also clarified what is a very confusing and inconsistent array of contemporary portraits (Garratt and Robertson 1985).

People living in Canajoharie and other Mohawk Valley Indian communities managed to avoid French raids that had devastated their towns during earlier Anglo-French conflicts. The Seven Years War was nevertheless a disaster for the Mohawk people. Mohawk Valley warriors fought against kinsfolk from Caughnawaga and other French Canadian Indian towns. Scores of Mohawk men fighting on both sides were killed in battle by the time the North American phase of the war ended in 1760.

Unknown numbers of other Mohawk people were killed in a series of smallpox and typhoid fever epidemics that ravaged native Northeastern communities during and after the war. Demoralized by these losses and pressured by colonists to sell their lands and move elsewhere, many Mohawk people immigrated to Canada or to new communities built along the frontiers of the Iroquois heartland in the Susquehanna and Allegheny river valleys. Those remaining at Canajoharie and other Mohawk Valley towns suffered from periodic famines brought on by game shortages and crop failures caused by drought, insect pests, and plant diseases. Neighboring colonists intent on forcing Indian people from their lands caused further problems by driving cattle across Mohawk fences and fields (Guldenzopf 1984).

By the winter of 1760, William Johnson's brother Warren wrote that the Mohawks were "prodigiously reduced" (Sullivan et al. 1921- 65[13]:194). In 1769, the year the Anglicans constructed their chapel at Canajoharie, colonial chroniclers recorded the deaths of many Mohawk people from malnutrition and disease. One year later, Sir William Johnson estimated that Canajoharie's population had dropped to 180 people living in 38 houses. Situated in what was still the western fringe of British settlement in the Mohawk Valley, this tiny community of less than 200 people persisted in a county whose total White and Black population was reckoned at 42,706 in a census taken in 1771 (Guldenzopf 1986).

Life changed considerably in the Canajoharie community during these years. Unlike their ancestors, who had lived in 60-ft- to 100-ft- long bark-walled multifamily clan longhouses, most eighteenth century Canajoharie townsfolk resided in small rectangular, one-room single-family log or bark cabins. Houses were lit by cooking and heating fires tended in open hearths located at the center of packed dirt floors. Smoke was usually vented through gaps in roof rafters. Possessions generally were stored in woven bags, clay pots, or splint baskets crafted by Mohawk women using tools and techniques introduced from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe during the 1720s.

Most Canajoharie houses were surrounded by planting fields and orchards. Small plots traditionally were tended by women using hoes and employing slash-and-burn shifting cultivation methods. Colonial officials began hiring neighboring colonists to plow and fence Indian fields during the 1700s. Increasing numbers of Mohawk people began adopting colonial agricultural techniques. By mid-century, most Mohawks were living in permanent houses, using European style household implements, building hams, utilizing plows, harrows, draft animals, and wagons, and raising cattle, sheep, and horses (Guldenzopf 1986; Haldimand Papers n.d. [24]:299-305).

Conforming to matrilocal residence rules traditionally favored by Mohawk society, Canajoharie women generally remained in or near the homes of their mothers and female blood relations for much of their lives. Most managed households, raised children, farmed, made clothing, and worked for nearby colonists. Mohawk men, by contrast, tended to live lives of movement. Most adhered to residence customs requiring movement to other locales at various times in their lives. Moving to households of spouses or friends, Canajoharie men also continued to travel widely throughout the Northeast to hunt, trade, trap, and wage war against enemy nations. Many found employment among the British as warriors, scouts, and laborers as the fur trade declined during the middle years of the eighteenth century.

Mohawk men and women increasingly produced goods for export during these years. Men trapped furs and carved wooden bowls, spoons, ladles, and other utensils while women sewed skin moccasins and other articles of clothing and crafted baskets, brooms, and corn husk dolls and rugs. Both also gathered ginseng, medicinal herbs, and other woodland plants. Canajoharie people often exchanged these and other products for European metalwares, textiles, ceramics, and glasswares. Unable to make such items themselves, these imports become indispensable to Mohawk people who had long since stopped producing most aboriginal stone and ceramic tools and implements. Gifts and payments for services made by Sir William Johnson helped make up for some deficiencies. Land sales and rental or lease agreements with neighboring colonists provided additional income.

Upper Castle community leaders finally signed over most of their remaining lands around Canajoharie to Van Home Patentees in 1763 in exchange for clear title to a 3,400-acre tract encompassing the heart of their town lands between East Canada and Nowadaga creeks. Although much of this tract remained communal property available to all members of the Mohawk community, extant records also indicate that increasingly influential warriors like Joseph Brant also acquired private title to substantial portions of Canajoharie acreage (Haldimand Papers n.d. [24]:299).

Joseph Brant was born in the Lower Castle in 1743 (Kelsay 1984). The Brant family first moved to Canajoharie shortly after Joseph's mother married her second husband, Brant Canagaradunck, in the Anglican chapel at the Lower Castle in 1754. Joseph, whose Mohawk name was Thayendanegea, lived with his mother at Nowadaga. His older sister, Molly (her Mohawk name was Wary Ganwatsijayenni) lived with Sir William Johnson as his consort, mistress, and housekeeper at Johnson Hall in nearby Johnstown, New York for more than a decade. Shortly after his death in 1774, she moved into a new house at the Upper Castle constructed for her and the eight children she had by Johnson. In accordance with Mohawk matrilineal descent rules, Molly evidently inherited all of their mother's property at Upper Castle following the elder woman's death sometime during the early 1770s.

A Continental Army officer traveling to the Brant Farm in 1776 to purchase skin moccasins sewn by Molly and her daughters noted that the Brants lived more in the English manner than most other Mohawks. Mohawk Revolutionary War loss claims filed in 1783 (see below) list the total value of Molly Brant's property, which included her house, her mother's home (where Joseph Brant lived), and her barn, at 400 pounds. These figures stand in contrast to other listed claims. Fully 60 percent of all Mohawks listed in this inventory, for example, pressed claims for standing property evaluated at 50 pounds or less. These figures document a major shift from a traditional cooperative kinship-based economy to a system favoring private property and competitive economic relations (Guldenzopf 1986).

The Brants were among the many Canajoharie residents belonging to the Anglican church. Anglican missionaries periodically visiting Canajoharie often dispensed tools, medicines, and advice to congregants as they ministered to the spiritual needs of the Mohawk community. Prominent Canajoharie Mohawk families like the Brants had regarded membership in the Church of England as a mark of loyalty to the Crown since Anglican ministers established the first permanent mission at the Lower Castle in 1711. Initially, British authorities supported the Lower Castle mission as a counter to Catholic priests who had been successfully inducing Mohawk converts to settle in French Canadian mission communities like Caughnawaga since the middle decades of the seventeenth century.

New threats to British authority arose closer to home when New England missionaries critical of Crown policies began working in eastern Iroquois communities during the 1750s. Determined to prevent them from making inroads into Canajoharie society, Sir William Johnson, himself an Anglican and an honorary member of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, completely underwrote construction of a chapel at the Upper Castle.

Beginning work in the fall of 1769 and laboring through the winter, Johnson's workmen erected a rectangular Georgian-style wooden frame building covered with lap-siding measuring "50 feet long, by 32 wide" (Sullivan et al. 1921-65[6]:639). Like most Mohawk Valley churches of the period, the chapel's longitudinal axis was oriented east to west. Surmounted by a steeply pitched roof capped by a simple wooden steeple, its entranceway faced north along the structure's long wall. Arches were located above the door and atop all windows along both long walls. Smaller rectangular lights were cut into the eastern and western ends of the building. All windows consisted of undecorated sheets of clear window glass simply framed with lead stripping (Lenig 1977:44).

Dedication services were held in the newly-completed chapel on June 17, 1770 (Lydekker 1938:128). Unable to find a missionary willing to live permanently at Nowadaga, Johnson paid to have Lower Castle missionary John Stuart preach frequently at the chapel (Lydekker 1938:131). Entries in Johnson's account books also indicate that he frequently furnished aid and support to Canajoharie Mohawk Anglican congregants displaying particular loyalty to the Crown (O'Callaghan 1849-50[4]:426).

Canajoharie people closely connected with powerful British imperial administrators like Johnson were able to exert increasing influence over Mohawk property and power relations during these years. Ancient patterns of reciprocity broke down as ambitious entrepreneurs, supported by influential British patrons, sidestepped the traditional hereditary Confederacy chiefly hierarchy. One family in particular, the Brants, was able to accumulate an extraordinary amount of wealth, prestige, and power through its close relations with Johnson.

Earlier-mentioned war loss claims (Haldimand Papers n.d. [24]:299-322) inventorying Mohawk Loyalist household goods and other property confiscated by Americans during the Revolutionary War graphically document distributions of wealth, land, and power emerging from this new system of clientage with British authorities. Joseph Brant, Johnson's mission-educated protégé who rose to international prominence as the most effective Indian military leader fighting on either side during the war, claimed losses totaling 1,500 pounds. Joseph's sister, Molly, recorded total losses of more than 1,200 pounds. These losses included two frame houses and a barn, substantial amounts of luxury items, household goods, cash, and landholdings. Together with the claim of Brant Johnson, one of Molly's sons by Sir William, Brant family losses collectively comprised more than 30 percent of all Mohawk war loss claims (N= 7,805 pounds).

These figures suggest that pro-British Mohawk military leaders financed by imperial patrons managed to concentrate increasing amounts of capital in their hands. Hereditary civil chiefs, for their part, evidently continued to redistribute the increasingly meager share of subsidies given them by British officials to family and followers.

Although Canajoharie Mohawk Indian people remained loyal to the British Crown following the outbreak of the War for Independence in 1775, most initially tried to uphold the traditional Iroquois neutrality policy. Surrounded by distrustful Whig neighbors and influenced by the strongly pro-British Brants, most Mohawks soon found themselves drawn into the conflict. Many of these people were compelled to abandon their homes at Canajoharie shortly after Mohawks, led by Joseph, who was by then a British army captain commanding Indian and non-Indian Loyalist troops, helped destroy a large body of Mohawk Valley militia and Oneida warriors marching to the relief of Fort Schuyler (the post at the Carrying Place in Rome, New York originally and currently called Fort Stanwix) at the Battle of Oriskany in 1777.

Most of these people joined the Brants in refugee camps at distant Fort Niagara, far from the reach of vengeful former Mohawk Valley neighbors. Under their leadership, many of these Mohawk Indian refugees joined mixed forces of Indian and non-Indian Loyalist rangers on raids led by Joseph and other commanders. Caught in an ever widening vortex of raids and reprisals, the Valley was devastated. Many houses and nearly all of the barns built before 1775 lay in ruins by the time the war ended in 1783 (Charles T. Gehring, personal communication, 1993).

Devastating as it was to non-Indians, the war caused the almost total dispossession of the Mohawk people. Continental Army troops on their way to attack more westerly Iroquois towns in 1778 arrested the few remaining Mohawks at Canajoharie as collaborators and spies. Throwing these people into prisons, they confiscated their property and that of absent Mohawk townsfolk. Much of this property was soon distributed to families of local patriots.

Unlike the homes of most other Mohawk people, the Brant Homestead escaped destruction during the war. Looted and pillaged by Rebel soldiers and their Oneida allies, two patriot families moved into the unoccupied farmstead. Other patriot families evidently also occupied the Mohawk Upper Church after rebel forces drove the last members of the Mohawk community away from Canajoharie (Guldenzopf 1986).

The few Indian people trying to return to their old Mohawk Valley homes after the end of the war found themselves unwelcome by old neighbors. Most soon moved elsewhere. The majority of these people moved with the Brants and main body of the Canajoharie community to what became known as the Six Nations Reserve along the banks of the Grand River in upper Ontario. Remaining a commanding figure, Joseph Brant continued to serve as a major leader of the Six Nations Reserve community until his death in 1807.

In 1789, the four lots originally set aside for the Mohawk Indian people at Canajoharie in the 1763 Van Horne deed were subdivided into 32 lots and apportioned among prominent patriots. Most were soon purchased and occupied by newcomers who flooded into the Upper Mohawk Valley during the early decades of the nineteenth century.

Although Indian people no longer lived at Canajoharie, few local residents forgot that Upper Castle had been an important Mohawk town and the home of perhaps the most notable Indian military leader in the late conflict. Quaker missionary Jeremy Belknap, for example, wrote in 1796 that he "passed by a church and a village which I suppose to have been the upper Mohawk castle... This was the residence of Joseph Brant before the war" (Snow et al. 1996:35 1).

The Brant house itself soon fell into ruin. No datable ceramics postdating 1820 were found in intact deposits beneath layers of ash in the two Brant Homestead cellar holes subjected to test excavations in 1984 and 1985. Analysis of these findings indicates that both buildings burned down sometime between 1795 and 1820. Travelers passing by the locale in 1835 and 1878 subsequently noted that a sunken cellar hole and some apple trees were all that remained of the old Brant home at the times of their visits (Guldenzopf 1986).

Unlike the Brant homes, the Indian Castle chapel survived its occupation by Whig families. Regular services probably were resumed at the church sometime during the 1790s. Observing that the chapel remained intact, the peripatetic Belknap also noticed that "there are several graves around the church, enclosed with square cases of wood" as he traveled past the place in 1796 (Snow et al. 1996:35 1).

The chapel subsequently became a place of worship for a succession of Protestant congregations (Lenig 1977:44). A Dutch Reformed Church minister who also served the nearby Fort Plain community is known to have held services in the building between 1800 and 1820. An interdenominational Union Congregation briefly using the building was succeeded by a short-lived Presbyterian Congregation. Lutheran congregants using the church from 1838 to 1855 were maintaining the structure when historian Benson J. Lossing sketched the church during his 1848 trip through the area. Publishing both the sketch and an account of his visit years later, Lossing noted that the chapel stood on land that had belonged to Joseph Brant (Lossing 1859). Describing the condition of the Brant Homestead at the time, he wrote that the long-vanished structure had originally "stood about seventy-five rods [1,240 ft] northward of the church. Bricks and stones of the foundation were still to be seen in an apple orchard north of the road, and the locality well defined when I visited it, by rank weeds, nowhere else in the field so luxuriant" (Lossing 1859[l]:261).

<- A corner of the Brant barn, with Indian Castle church in the background.

A new Union Church Society consisting of Methodists, Presbyterians, Calvinists, Lutherans, and Universalists began meeting at the Indian Castle chapel in 1855 (Lenig 1977:44). As eager to update the aged building's obsolescent style as they were to restore its deteriorated structure, the new congregation quickly underwrote badly needed repairs. Renovations generally transformed the exterior of the building from the colonial Georgian to the then-popular Greek Revival style. Workers hired by the congregation began by turning the building 85 degrees on its axis so that its short walls faced north and south. Possessing neither the funding nor the inclination to reproduce the carefully crafted foundation of dressed stones laid by the church's original builders, workers placed the reoriented building upon hastily piled limestone walls. The main entrance was moved to the northern short wall facing the dirt road following the right-of-way of present New York State Route 5-S. Both this door and the building's arched Georgian windows were framed with rectangular moldings. Reusing the original structure's wooden frame and flooring, workers added a metal ceiling and replaced the old steeple with an open belfry surmounted by turrets.

The tract containing the remains of the Brant Homestead was purchased by members of the Green family during the early 1800s. Operating the property as a farm, the Green family sold the tract to Ralph Welden in 1940. Welden family members continue to farm on the 49.6-acre property.

Interested in protecting the cultural resources located on the tract, cur- rent property manager Charles A Welden maintains places known to contain archaeological deposits as unplowed pastureland. Mr. Welden also maintains the Dutch barn, believed to be the only remaining standing structure associated with Brant family occupation at the site, as a lightly used storage facility (Figure 3).

The nearby Indian Castle Church has not been used for regular services since the Union Church Society disbanded in 1925 (Lenig 1977:44). Concerned citizens intent on saving the old church from destruction subsequently formed the Indian Castle Church Restoration and Preservation Society. Continuing to maintain the property as a nonprofit organization chartered by the New York State Board of Regents, the Society sponsored research supporting the listing of the Indian Castle Church in the National Register of Historic Places on February 18, 1971. The Society continues to operate the church as a historic site open to the public. The modern Indian Castle Church Cemetery, a 1.4-acre in-holding not included within District boundaries, presently is owned and operated by the Town of Danube, New York as an active burial ground.

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Opening Page for Indian Castle Church