Grand River, ON

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[1846-1850] from Abraham Nelles to Townley

Place: [Grand River]

From: A. Nelles

To: Townley

Details: 2pp

Notes: Reverend Abraham Nelles of the Mohawk Chapel for the Six Nations on Grand River writes to Reverend Adam Townley, thanking him for offering to give an account of the bishop's recent visit to the Mohawk. Rev. Nelles then relates some details of the visit and names some of the people who participated, including students of the Mohawk Institute school.

The letter is undated, but certain assumptions can be made.

  • Reverend Abraham Nelles refers to Reverend Adam Elliot, who took the position of missionary in the Grand River area in 1838.
  • Rev. Nelles then refers to the "young man Peter Martin who interpreted some of the speeches . . . & is now studying for ordination" which seems to be a reference to Oronhyatekha, the famous leader of the Independent Order of Foresters, who was baptized Peter Martin and attended the Mohawk Institute industrial school near the Grand River reserve from 1846–54.
  • "The chief who first addressed the Bishop is a Mohawk by name Johnson." This may be a reference to Chief John “Smoke” Johnson, who was well known for his oratorial gifts in the English and Mohawk languages. Smoke Johnson's son, George Henry Martin Johnson, served as interpreter for Rev. Elliot and lived with the missionary's family during the 1840s. Given the close relationship George Johnson had with the missionaries, it seems unlikely that he was the chief Rev. Nelles referred to by surname only.
    From these references, it appears this letter was written in the late 1840s.

Nelles, Abraham