ISSUE 23, October 2007

Editorial
Quarterly Communication: Speech of the Pro Grand Master : Quarterly Communication
Grand Secretary: Exciting times ahead
Historic: Telford - Mason extraordinary
Travel: Cruising round Sicily
Samaritan: Helping the distressed
Younger Masons: The common bond
Jersey: Local Masons guard the Duke
   Classic car run: Down memory lane
International: Joseph Brant - a Masonic legend
Universities Scheme: The way ahead
Grand Chancellor: The importance of external relations
Education: Events : Understanding the symbols of the craft
Specialist Lodges: Australia link
Royal Arch: Why join the Royal Arch?
Lbrary & Museum: Major award for Library & Museum
MQ Signs off
Masonic Charities: Grand Charity : NMSF : RMBI : RMTGB
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

 Previous Page 
PLEASE USE THE LINKS ABOVE - OR ON THIS LINE - TO MOVE BETWEEN PAGES
 Next Page 










Joseph Brant (1742–1807), whose Mohawk name was Thayendanegea, meaning two–sticks–of–wood–bound together, denoting strength. Oil on canvas, circa 1807
    The story of Joseph Brant, the Mohawk American Indian who fought for the Loyalists during the American War of Independence has been retold by the Iroquois peoples of the Six Nations and American Freemasons for centuries, and today Brant is featured in many Masonic Histories and is the topic of many websites.
     The story that is the most endearing is how Brant, a Mohawk chief, witnessed an American prisoner give a Masonic sign and spared the life of his fellow Mason.
     This action went down in history, and Brant became the embodiment of the ‘noble savage’ to Victorian England.
     This article will explain the events leading up to this event, and how Brant, in death, created even more controversy as the legends of his life grew and expanded.
     Brant was born in 1742 in the area around the banks of the Ohio River. His Indian name was Thayendanegea, meaning ‘he places two bets’ and as a child he was educated at Moor’s Charity School for Indians in Lebanon, Connecticut, where he learned English and European History. He became a favourite of Sir William Johnson, who had taken Brant’s sister Molly as a mistress, although they were married later after Johnson’s wife died. Johnson was the British Superintendent for Northern Indian Affairs, and became close to the Mohawk people, and enlisted their allegiance in the French and Indian War of 1754-1763, with a young Brant taking up arms for the British.
     After the war, Brant found himself working as an interpreter for Johnson. He had worked as an interpreter before the war and converted to Christianity, a religion which he embraced. He translated the Prayer Book and the Gospel of Mark into the Mohawk language, other translations included the Acts of the Apostles and a short history of the Bible.
     Around 1775, after being appointed secretary to Sir William’s successor, Guy Johnson, Brant received a Captain’s commission in the British Army and set off for England, where he became a Freemason and confirmed his attachment to the British Crown.
     Brant was raised in Hiram’s Cliftonian Lodge No. 814 in London, early in 1776, although his association with the Johnson family may have been an influence in his links to Freemasonry. Guy Johnson, whose family had Masonic links, had accompanied Brant on his visit to England. Hiram’s Cliftonian Lodge had been founded in 1771, and during Brant’s visit to the Lodge, it had met at the Falcon in Princes Street, Soho. The Lodge was erased in 1782. Brant’s Masonic apron was, according to legend, personally presented to him by George III.
     On his return to America, Brant became a key figure in securing the loyalty of other Iroquois tribes in fighting for the British against the ‘rebels’, and it was during the war that Joseph Brant entered into Masonic legend. After the surrender of the ‘rebel’ forces at the Battle of the Cedars on the St. Lawrence River in 1776, Brant famously saved the life of a certain Captain John McKinstry, a member of Hudson Lodge No.13 of New York, who was about to be burned at the stake.
     McKinstry, remembering that Brant was a Freemason, gave to him the Masonic sign of appeal which Brant recognized, an action which secured McKinstry’s release and subsequent good treatment. McKinstry and Brant remained friends for life, and in 1805 he and Brant together visited the Masonic Lodge in Hudson, New York, where Brant was given an excellent reception. Brant’s portrait now hangs in the Lodge.


 Previous Page 
PLEASE USE THE LINKS ABOVE - OR ON THIS LINE - TO MOVE BETWEEN PAGES
 Next Page