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The United Empire Loyalist Settlement at Long Point, Lake Erie
Chapter XIV. The Indians of the Long Point District

The tribe of Indians which inhabited the country between Lake Erie and Lake Huron, in the 17th century, was called the “Neutrals,” for they had preserved a strict neutrality in the savage* wars of the Hurons and the Iroquois. Champlain speaks of them in his account of his trip west in 1626, saying that they had twenty-eight villages and more than four thousand warriors. These Indians seem to have been favorable to the French, for in 1(J2G when three Frenchmen named Daillon, Lavelle and Grenolle visited their country, the Indians hospitably entertained them, the chief, Souharissen, adopting them as members of his family. In fact, it was with some difficulty that the three Frenchmen finally escaped from the affectionate hospitality which was lavished on their devoted heads.

Unfortunately for the Neutrals they were ultimately drawn into the fierce tribal wars, and in the conflict, about the middle of the century, were dispersed, and absorbed into the neighboring Indian tribes.

Thereafter, the Indians who roamed round the western part of Ontario were chiefly Iroquois. After the war Brant and his Mohawks settled on the Grand River. Between the Thames and Lake Erie, further west, dwelt the Delawares, and bodies of the Chippawas, Hurons, Shawnees, Potawatamies, Ottawas, Fustans, and the Six Nations (Mohawks, Senecas, Oneidas, Cayugas, Onondagas, Tuscaroras).

The attitude of these Indians to the Loyalist settlers seems to have been one of unchangeable courtesy and kindness. Chief Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea) was a personal friend of Governor Simcoe, and with twelve Indians accompanied him in 1795 on his visit to Detroit on a prospecting tour through western Canada.

In spite of the fact that England had neglected to provide for the Indians in the Treat}’ of Paris, the loyalty of the Six Nations never wavered. The allegiance of Brant to the British brought him the enmity of the American revolutionists, the consequence being that the Mohawk valley was the most frequently of all districts invaded and overrun, and that, too, by an enemy more barbarous than the Indians themselves. Their towns and villages were ruthlessly burned, and the whole district turned into a scene of widespread and sickening desolation. Let not the Americans censure England for the use of Indian tribes in the war and the atrocities alleged to have been committed by them, until they have excused, to some extent at least, the terrible depopulation of the Mohawk valley after the war, for they left there only a third of the inhabitants, and of that third there were three hundred widows and two thousand orphaned children.

There are many traditions of the kindness of the Indians to the early settlers. More than once when a pioneer family was reduced to the verge of starvation a kind-hearted Indian would come with a fish or a deer or some wild fowl, although perchance he needed it himself almost as badly.

The Indian was always welcomed at the settler’s shanty. The door was never shut against him, and they continued to live on terms of peace and good fellowship. Such instances of treachery as will be described in connection with the history of the Maby family are likely untrue, and if they were true the singular exception only proves the rule.

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