STORY OF ALDERVILLE INDIAN VILLAGE - 1922

(The following is the story of an Indian girl of Alderville, who won the County prize for Northumberland County.

* Please note that I have taken the liberty of making some punctuation changes to the original transcript to make this piece a little easier for us to read in 2003.

I am an Indian girl about Sixteen year of age, but when I think that my fore-fathers have been civilized only about sixty years, of course, while I try to write for prize my readers will not expect of me more than they would of a white girl of twelve or fourteen years of age, my village Alderville in the township of Alnwick and county of Northumberland, and Province of Ontario, came to receive its name in the following way.

In the year 1825, when my Indian fore-fathers were brought from darkness to the light of the Gospel by the Rev. Wm. Case and Peter Jones, the two first converts were John Sunday and Wm. Beaver who laboured amongst their own people, amongst whom some mighty revivals have taken place; they immediately formed a settlement below Belleville on Grape island, an island containing about twelve acres, where about twenty-five houses were built, and also a log church 20 x 20 in which school also kept until a new school-house was built. The Indians made every effort to encourage their children in acquiring an education. The Indians also built a large workshop where mechanics were employed to teach the young men trades such as car entering, shoemaking and tailoring. Mrs. Case took charge of the girls, showing them the art of housekeeping and other useful labours; consequently the Indians made great progress in the way of cultivating the land.

Mr. Case called a council of the band to consult the best method of procuring a larger tract of land. It was therefore agreed to send the chief and two others to the commissioner of Indian Affairs and from him to the Governor-General through whom they got a grant from the Government of three thousand acres situated in the township of Alnwick. Five young men were sent to view the land. When they returned they reported that the land was good. As a result, in the year 18? a company of forty started with their axes, and, arriving on the Reserve commenced chopping a space twenty rods wide for about one and a half miles long. A saw mill was built in the same year to saw lumber to build forty houses. The first sawyer that ran the mill was Mr. Thackery, the father of the Present John Thackery, now Indian Agent of this band. In the year 1834 a final settlement was made. In the year 1833 the Rev. Robert Alder from England visited the village and called it after his own name, ever since it has gone by the name of Alderville.

When the Indians settled on the reserve they numbered over five hundred, of those only eleven are now living who moved from Grape islands, viz. Rev. Allan Salt, Rev. Henry Chase, George Blaker, George Comego, Francis Beaver, Mitchell Chubb, Thomas Marsden, Peggy James, Sarah Ann Franklin, Mary Simpson, and Eliza Shippegaw, the Present number of Indians now living on the Reserve, however, numbers only about two hundred.

Mr. Chase just before he died expressed a wish to be buried with the Indian People. Accordingly his remains today lie in our Indian cemetery of our village. The Ministers and Indians have together erected a monument, which reads:

SACRED TO THE MEMORY

of Rev. William Case, the father of Canadian Methodist Missions of the Canadian tribes died at Alderville, October 19th 1855 in the 76th year of his life, and the 56th year of his ministry.

Since the death of Rev. Mr. Case our village has been still making progress, we have had some good missionaries and schoolteachers. those of the teachers that I can remember and to whom I went to school are as follows: (1) Miss Williams she was about 26 years of age but do not remember much about her. (2) Miss Sanderson. She was about 30 years of age, (3) Miss Hyndsman. She was about 30 Years of age. (4) Mr. Wellington Salt. He was a very good teacher he was very kind and good looking, and was well liked by his Pupils. He has since found his way into the ministry as a missionary to the Indians at Turtle Mountain, Dakota. (5) Miss Cross. She was about 25 years of age, she was only here about five months, she was the daughter of a Methodist Minister, the missionaries that I can remember are: (1) Rev. William Andrews. of him I have very little remembrance. (2) the Rev. Robert Brooking. He was here for a long time and was liked by all the Indians. (3 - the Rev. George Jacques he remained with us till he finished his active works in the ministry and was superannuated. (4) The Rev. Jos. C. Bell. He was missionary to the Indians only two years. It was under him our mission was merged with the white work. (5) The Rev. John Davis. (6) The Rev. John Lawrence, he is our Present Missionary.

Supplementing these remarks I would like to say that on the appointment of the Rev. Mr. Bell five years ago, our Alderville Indian mission was put in with the white work and was called to an appointment on the Fenella and Alderville circuit. they wanted their own missionary as in the days gone by. Accordingly, they made application to the proper headmen and their request was granted and our present missionary and teacher was sent to us. I attend his school. I think he is about the best teacher I ever went to. Under his tuition I am trying to learn all I can, and I want to try for the Prize, of course you will not refuse to give it to me because I am an Indian girl, if I write the best essay, which I will try than though of course I may fail in the attempt, we in our village now have a very nice, neat frame church with tower and Bell, in which we have a nice toned pipe Organ, a Beautiful pulpit and matted aisles, we pay our Organist $40 a year, and our sexton $60, our missionary is paid by the Methodist Missionary society which has done so much for our Ontario Indians. we have also a beautiful brick building which includes both council hall and school house, the latter on the ground floor and the former in the upper story, in our hall can be seen a large photographic Picture of our Indian Council. and also a much larger one of our Canadian Premier, sir John A. Macdonald, both in gilt frames, we have also in it a cabinet Organ for the use of our people at concerts and Indian feasts we have also a beautiful two story brick residence for our Missionary with a nice shady lawn in front and only a few steps from both school house and church, our church and school ground are both enclosed with wire fence in front, we have also a splendid Brass and of 12 instruments all played by Indian young men.

Our present chief is Mr. Mitchell Chubb, one of the names formerly mentioned amongst those who came with his people from Grape Island. He is one of the class teachers in our Indian church, and a man much respected by his people, the other members of our council are Messrs. Thos. Marsden, Allen salt, Hiram Beaver and Wm. Blaker, with Mr. Wm. Lukes, secretary.


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