J O U R N A L 

It is never too late to be what you ought to have been. George Eliot


Canada West 1841–1867  (Upper Canada 1791–1841, Ontario, 1867–)

The Grand River Navigation Company Swindle

This story is about a scandal. By the time the digging stops on the Grand River Navigation System, colonials will have, once again, robbed and left destitute their invaluable Indigenous allies, who have already lost everything on account of Great Britain.   Upper Canada’s William Hamilton Merritt and David Thompson 1 are entrepreneurs and visionaries and… Read more …

Isabel Thompson Kelsay’s Joseph Brant 1743-1807: man of two worlds

To date Isabel Thompson Kelsay has written the definitive study of Joseph Brant.  (See, however, James Paxton’s brief and shiny tome Joseph Brant and his world: 18th century Mohawk warrior and statesman for a better thesis than Kelsay’s on Brant’s view of a sovereign Grand River territory. Paxton’s book reviewed elsewhere on this site.) Kelsay’s research is comprehensive. Her style is readable…. Read more …

“Canajoharie Joseph Brant” and Thayendanegea’s mansion

There is much to love in James Paxton’s Joseph Brant and his world: 18th century Mohawk warrior and statesman (2008). Exceptional writing and heart-rending illustrations and even the book’s silky pages. More to love is Paxton’s thesis: Joseph Brant is an 18th century Mohawk warrior and Pine Tree Chief who understands as well as any modern Canadian the necessity… Read more …

Thayendanegea Joseph Brant (Rumpelstiltskin)

Bargaining is fraught with danger. You may pick the wrong prize. You may make a deal with the wrong person(s). You may wager the wrong amount and lose more than you can afford. The wrong partner may trick you to ruin the deal. A bad bargain is awful enough. But what happens when you cannot make the good… Read more …

Ruthven Park, Cayuga, Ontario

The lie Ruthven Park tells, through omission, is one with both a long nose and short legs. David Thompson 1 [not the map-maker] was not a law-abiding person nor an honourable businessman. A fascinating character, he was nonetheless a schemer and a fraudster. The historic site’s failure to mention David Thompson’s unlawful activities is unfair to… Read more …

Joseph Thayendanegea Brant by Gilbert Stuart sells for $7.5 million

Joseph Thayendanegea Brant (and his Volunteers) and John Butler (and his Rangers) pretty much save Canada/British North America for the Crown during American revolution. Artistic and/or historical worth to Canada of Gilbert Stuart‘s portrait of Thayendanegea is priceless. If value were a cow the painting would jump over the silvery moon. The Haudenosaunee’s Mohawk Pine Tree Chief wears… Read more …

Bloody Assize Revisited

Bloody Assize revisited, 17 May 2012: 3 articles from The Hamilton Spectator  Artist Lori LeMare speaks about the paintings she did for the War of 1812 exhibit at Fieldcote Museum. The legs of the men hanged for being traitors are seen behind her. Hamilton Spectator By Mark McNeil  It must have been an incredible spectacle… Read more …

United Empire Loyalists and late loyalists

The American Revolution blazes a hasty trail to British Québec and the blazing continues into Upper and Lower Canada until 1815. Two kinds of American folkways come to Upper and Lower Canada: first round (pro British) in 1784, and second round (pro American) in 1790. Ruth McConnell says the immediate effect of the American Revolution (1775-1783)… Read more …