It was decided in 1783 that the site of the old French fort at Cataraqui, originally selected for the Iroquois, would be a good place for the settlement of the other Loyalists. Arrangements were made for the movement of troops, equipment, and even buildings from Carleton Island, located on the American side of the new border. It was at this time that Molly decided to settle at Cataraqui.1 She received a substantial military pension for her service to the King during the war, an amount of £100.2 In a letter dated September 10, 1783, from Major Mathews to Governor Haldimand, no objection is voiced to Molly Brant's request to have a house built for her.3 Molly lived in the barracks until the house was complete.

Unlike the other Loyalists, Molly did not have to draw for lots. The property that she was assigned was Farm Lot A in Kingston Township, along the northern limit of the town. It was only 116 acres instead of the standard 200 acres because it was encroached upon by the Clergy Reserve.4 She was however, as dispossessed as the rest of them: it is probable that she would have arrived with very few personal items.

Historical records and recent writings present Molly Brant as a strong individual who retained her native heritage throughout her life, often to the disdain of her European contemporaries. Molly is a controversial figure because she was both pro-British and pro-Iroquois. She insisted on speaking Mohawk, she dressed in Mohawk style throughout her life, and she encouraged her children to do the same. She argued on behalf of the Iroquois before, during, and after the American Revolution. She sheltered and fed her people. She complained when she thought the government was ignoring the Iroquois.5

On April 16, 1796, at the age of about 60, Molly Brant, a true Canadian Heroine, died. She was laid to rest in the burial ground of St. George's Church in Kingston.

More than 200 years after her death, we should continue to honour this exceptional woman. In the words of Ian Wilson, in a past tribute to Molly Brant, "Posterity has done scant justice to this remarkable woman. In her life time she commanded respect from Indian and white alike. Soldiers, statesmen, governors and generals wrote her praise. Her life from the Ohio and Mohawk Valleys to Kingston was not easy. It was fraught with danger and uncertainty and little seemed settled. She survived this turmoil with dignity, honour and distinction as a mother and a leader."6
  1. Quinn, 1980: 78-79; Green, 1989: 241.
  2. Green, 1989: 241; Thomas, 1989: 146; Graymont, 1979: 418.
  3. Cruikshank and Watt, 1984: 108.
  4. Bazely, 1993: 4.
  5. Green, 1989: 241.
  6. Wilson, 1976: 57.

Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation
Susan Bazely, Hannah Roth

© 2007, Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

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