A History of the Rice Lake Indians by Mary Jane Muskratte Simpson

Mississaugas of Alnwick

This band has been collected at different times from the wandering bodies of Indians who were formerly to be found in the neighbourhood of Kingston, Gananoque, and on some of the islands in the Bay of Quinte. They were then known as the Mississaugas of the Bay of Quinte. They were the remnants of the powerful tribe which ceded a large tract in the Johnstown, Midland and Newcastle Districts to the Government. This block contained 2,748,000 acres and was surrendered in 1822, for an annuity of £642 10s.

They claim, however, to have retained the following reserves:

1. Mississauga Point, about 6 miles below Belleville on the south side of the Bay of Quinte, being the East part of the Township of Ameliasburg, containing about 1,200 acres.

2. Grassy Point, in Sophiasburg, containing about 600 acres.

3. Cape Vesey, to the northwest of Point Pleasant in the township of Marysburgh, between Two Creeks, lying about 6 miles east of Waupoos Island comprising about 450 acres.

4. Bald Head, at Weller's Bay, at the southwest end of the township of Ameliasburg stated to comprise about 100 acres.

They also claim the islands Eastward from Presqu'Isle to Gananoque. Lake Ontario, opposite Pleasant Bay: Nicholson's Island, about 250 acres. Huck's Island, so-called, in Pleasant Bay Lake, size not known. West Lake near Wellington, Wenn's or Tubb's Island; MacDonald's Island; Sugar Island, altogether comprising about 1,000 acres. Bay of Quinte, several islands from the headwaters at Trenton to Kingston.

South Bay and Lake Ontario; Green's Island, Timber Island, the False Ducks, the Ducks, with other islands. Kingston Bay to Gananoque, islands not known.

Meagre as this information is, it sufficiently stamps the value of the lands claimed by the Kingston and Alnwick Indians.

With respect to the former four, it does not appear that any surrender of them which might have been made is extant, and as the accompanying tracings from a map in the Crown Land Office will show, Grassy Point and Point Vesey were held to be reserves as late at 1835 (the date of the map from which the tracings were taken). A similar map also exists in the Treasurer's Office for Prince Edward. Nevertheless, the former was granted in 1818, and the latter occupied by a settler of the name of Stevenson.

We conceive then that the Mississaugas have an equitable ground for compensation for these two reserves, and we also hold their claim to the others to be tenable, unless it can be shown that the land has ever been conceded by them since the Government have by their treaties recognized the whole tract to have originally been in their occupation.

Their claim to the islands is in our opinion also good. It appears from Sir John Johnson's letter to the Military Secretary, dated Lachine, October 1797, that "no islands were ceded to the Crown, but Grenadier" Island and the small islands between it and Kingston; two of which "were granted to me with the lands at Gananoque by the Governor and "council, together with the island of Tontine above Kingston, at the "entrance to Lake Ontario".

The acceptance of the surrender from the Indians in 1856 by the Government, is an acknowledgement that those islands had been ceded by them.

They also assert that a mistake has been made in respect of the land intervening between those ceded for their annuity in 1822, and those sold to the Government for the use of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.

They hold that the treaty as they intended it, and as it was explained to them, only yielded up a tract bounded in that direction by the height of land from which the waters fall into the Ottawa, a line corresponding nearly to the 45th parallel of north latitude, whereas it has been construed to extend 30 miles more to the southward of the headwaters of the principal streams flowing into Lake Ontario. This embraces a territory of about 60 miles in length by a mean depth of 30 miles.

The limits of the surrender of 1822 are shown in the accompanying diagram copied from that attached to the original treaty. We cannot, however see that this claim is made out. The cession which is alluded to in the grant to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte is not on file in the Indian Department, but the fact that the small reserves before specified were made in the County of Prince Edward, and that the Townships of Rawdon, Bedford and Crosby are marked on the sketch just mentioned, would go far to prove that this territory had been surrendered inasmuch as it had been regularly surveyed, while there would be no object in reserving portions, if the whole had been retained by the Indians.

Appendix # 33

The letter of Mr. W. Crawford to Sir John Johnson, Bart; dated Cataraqui, August 14th, 1784, and of the letter dated Montreal, September 20th, 1798, militate strongly against the ideas entertained by the Indians. It is clear from these documents that the coastline had then been ceded. We have no evidence how far back this surrender extended, but unless the first treaty of surrender is forthcoming we do not feel justified in upholding the views of the Indians on this point.

Their numbers have slightly decreased since 1844, being at present (1858) 216 as against 233, their strength at the former period. The census last year shows a preponderance of deaths over births in twelve months of 5. There is also a slight diminution owing to emigration from the Band. They are all Christians, having adopted the Wesleyan form of belief before their removal from the Bay of Quinte.

They now occupy a block of 2,000 acres divided into 25-acre farms in the Township of Alnwick, on which they have a large village built by the Gov't; for them out of their own funds. It contains 18 frame, and 22 log houses, besides 27 barns, of which 11 are frame buildings. They also possess an old wooden church built for them by the Methodist Missionary Society, and a saw-mill, which is being repaired at their own expense. Their land which is not very good, being light and sandy, is tolerably well-farmed, though as usual their cultivation lacks the neatness of white men.

Adjoining this tract on a farm belonging to the Rev. Mr. Case, the Methodist Society had a manual labour school, which seems from the account given of it to have succeeded very fairly. It has, however, been broken up, for reasons which we are not in possession of.

Twenty-three families have adopted a settled life, and commenced farming since 1845.

Last year (1857) they had 491 acres under crop, on which they raised: Wheat, fall; 588 Bu; Wheat, spring; 330 Bu; Indian Corn, 58 Bu; Peas, 305 Bu; Oats, 259 Bu; Potatoes, 1370 Bu; and 50 tons of hay.

The greatest quantity of land cropped by an individual Indian is about 40 acres, on which 125 bushels of wheat, besides other produce was grown.

Their livestock is considerable, consisting of 53 head of horned cattle, 42 pigs, and a few horses and sheep. They are well supplied with agricultural implements. One of the Industrial Schools is situated on this reserve.

Their present revenue is $3,664 of which $2,570 is derived from their annuity and $1,094 from the interest of their land sales in Thurlow and the Bay of Quinte. This last item will, of course be increased, as the residue of their land is disposed of, and the unpaid installments are received.

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