Chief Joseph Brant   National Gallery of Canada

Joseph Brant, Mohawk chief

Brant Street appeared on the Stratford map of 1922, but was laid out much earlier by part of the George Forman survey of 1870. Brant Street is named for Brant County which in turn was named for the Mohawk Indian chief,  Joseph Brant, whose Indian name was Thayendanaga. 

Joseph Brant, principal chief of the Six Nations Indians, was born on the banks of the Ohio River in 1742. He fought on the British side in the Revolutionary War (1775-83), also known as the American Revolution. After he led the Mohawk tribe to the valley of the Grand River in Southern Ontario. 

Both the County of Brant and city of Brantford are named after Brant. The leader of the Six Nation Indians and his followers routinely crossed the Grand River in the vicinity of Brantford; hence the name taken from "Brant's ford."  

Though Joseph has no direct connections with Stratford, his son John Brant was a close friend of John Galt and Tiger Dunlop (see Dunlop Place). 

John Grant has a fascinating history and close connection with Tiger Dunlop. (See below) While Grant and Dunlop were mapping the wilderness of what would become Perth County, John Galt travelled to Goderich by the well-known and well-travelled waterways by boat from Penetanguishene and around the Bruce Peninsula to meet Dunlop and Brant, who had guided the land exploring party along what would be the Huron Road through Stratford in 1827. Galt arrived in Goderich on His Majesty's gunboat the Bee. He met Dunlop and Brant and celebrated with a bottle of champagne  which Dunlop saved for several months for the occasion. By Stanford Dingman

For more click on Joseph Grant    

John Brant, son of Joseph Brant 

John Grant was a friend of Tiger Dunlop (see Dunlop Place) and worked with him in 1827 to explore, map and survey the land that is now known as Perth County. The land was part of the million acres of the Huron Tract that the Canada Comapny received from the Crown and had to open up for settlement as part of their agreement. 

In particular, he was involved with the unwanted and largely neglected area that would become Perth County. Other places around what would later be Perth had been more desirable for settlement and Perth County was late to the settlement table. 

Dunlop and Grant must have met or at least had known of each other 12-15 years earlier during the War of 1812. Back then, John Grant, though still in his late teens, was a war chief for the Mohawks, who were allies of the British. He was involved at the Battle of Queenston Heights, where the Mohawk counterattack proved decisive, and later at Beaver Dam. Dr. Dunlop was a surgeon tending wounded at Lundy's Lane. 

John Brant (Ahyonwaeghs), Mohawk grand chief and Indian superintendent, was born near Brantford in 1794 and died there in 1832, five years after his work with Dunlop. He was the son of Joseph Brant, Mohawk chieftain and the first Indigenous person to receive a commission in the British Army, as a captain in 1757. 

Lithograph based on an original portrait by Charles Bird King 1838.  Wikimedia 

After the War of 1812, John Grant became involved with land rights work for the Mohawks. His work culminated in 1821 when Brant and his brother-in-law, William Johnson Kerr, successfully campaigned for land rights (Haldimand Proclamation) for the Grand River Mohawk and other Six Nations. 

This tract of land, known as the Haldimand Grant or Haldimand Tract, extended for 10 kilometres on both sides of the Grand River, from its source to Lake Erie. Throughout the late 1700s and 1800s, the Crown and Haudenosaunee disputed rights to the land title. Negotiations about title to the Haldimand Tract continue between the Canadian government and the Six Nations Confederacy. 

In 1827, Brant was a leader with Dunlop of the expedition to chart roads and map what would be known as Perth County. Perth County had been neglected. It wasn't on water. Immigration and exploration had bypassed this area.  The Niagara area, Lake Erie and Lake Huron all had settlements, but not the unmapped interior, densely forested wilderness that would become Perth County. 

The exploration and mapping happened during three months in the spring and summer of 1827. The area amounted to about 60 miles from the known and mapped area of the Nith River near present-day New Hamburg to the known shores of Lake Huron and Goderich. Between was an uncharted, unmapped and unsettled mystery. 

The forests were dense, and when the explorers encountered swampy areas, they had to retreat and blaze another route. The trails they blazed are now the highways known as 7 and 8.  The place where they made note of a possible mill site, where there was river that could be forded, and where a dam could be built, is present-day Stratford. They named this spot Little Thames after they came to another larger river, which they called Big Thames, where Mitchell later was situated. 

Today, the main streets of Stratford, Sebringville and Mitchell run exactly on the line chosen by John Brant and Tiger Dunlop and mapped by surveyor Mahlon Burwell. The chipped tree trunks and stakes driven into the ground were further mapped by surveyor John McDonald in 1828 and 1829. 

In 1828, the British Indian Department appointed John Brant Resident Indian Superintendent for the Grand River Mohawk. When Brant was elected to the Upper Canada legislative assembly in 1830, he was the first Aboriginal to sit in the Upper Canada assembly as a member. His election was challenged the following year, and he lost his seat to John Warren. In 1831, John Brant was named Grand Chief of the Grand River Mohawk (Tekarihoga), succeeding his maternal uncle, Henry Crogan, who died in 1832 of cholera.  Sources: History of Perth County to 1867 by Stafford Johnston and Hugh Johnston. Also, Canadian Encyclopedia.