Molly Brant Gonwatsijayenni
Molly Brant (c. 1736 – April 16, 1796 in Mohawk), also known as Mary Brant, Konwatsi'tsiaienni, and Degonwadonti, was influential in New York and Canada in the era of the American Revolution. Living in the Province of New York, she was the consort of Sir William Johnson, the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs, with whom she had eight children. Joseph Brant, who became a Mohawk leader and war chief, was her younger brother.
After Johnson's death in 1774, Brant and her children left Johnson Hall in Johnstown, New York and returned to her native village of Canajoharie, further west on the Mohawk River. A Loyalist during the American Revolutionary War, she migrated to British Canada, where she served as an intermediary between British officials and the Iroquois. After the war, she settled in what is now Kingston, Ontario. In recognition of her service to the Crown, the British government gave Brant a pension and compensated her for her wartime losses, including a grant of land. When the British ceded their former colonial territory to the United States, most of the Iroquois nations were forced out of New York. A Six Nations Reserve was established in what is now Ontario.
Since 1994, Brant has been honored as a Person of National Historic Significance in Canada. She was long ignored or disparaged by historians of the United States, but scholarly interest in her increased in the late 20th century. She has sometimes been controversial, criticized for being pro-British at the expense of the Iroquois. Known to have been a devout Anglican, she is commemorated on April 16 in the calendar of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church (USA). No portraits of her are known to exist; an idealized likeness is featured on a statue in Kingston and on a Canadian stamp issued in 1986.
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