CHAUDIÈRE NOIRE (“Black Cauldron”), one of the most formidable of the Onondaga chiefs, an enemy of the French; d. 1697.
In 1682, after 17 years of peace, the Iroquois were trying to pick a quarrel with the French. Some of these Indians, and particularly Chaudière Noire, bore them a great deal of ill will. In that year the great Onondaga warrior brought four Ottawa prisoners back to Montreal. In revenge for being badly received by the governor of the place, François-Marie Perrot, Chaudière Noire pillaged Fort Cataracoui (Frontenac), which he again attacked in August and September 1687.
In 1688 Chaudière Noire took part in the embassy that the Five Nations sent to Governor Brisay* de Denonville. In August 1691 the Onondaga chief and about 600 men, “like a river overflowing its banks,” fell upon the most isolated villages. From Montreal the Chevalier de Callière* sent 300 Frenchmen and friendly Indians to war against the Iroquois. At a short day’s march beyond Cataracoui the expedition terminated in a French victory.
In the spring of 1692 a group of Senecas, accompanied by Chaudière Noire and some of his men, were hunting at the Chaudière rapids. They were to spend the summer months there, ready to pounce upon the French who used to pass on their way to and from Michilimackinac. When they reached the Long Sault, the French were attacked and scattered by Chaudière Noire at the head of 140 men.
On 15 July 1692 at La Chesnaye Chaudière Noire carried off 3 Indian boys and 14 settlers who were busy drying their hay. Immediately Callières launched in pursuit a party of Frenchmen who were reinforced by 26 Indians from the Saint-Louis falls (Sault Saint-Louis) and the village of La Montagne (at Montreal). Two leagues above the Long Sault they caught up with Chaudière Noire, who succeeded in escaping by swimming across the Ottawa River. The expedition freed 9 Frenchmen and the 3 young Indians, killed a score of Chaudière Noire’s warriors, and took about the same number of prisoners, among whom was the Iroquois chief’s wife. Because she wished to escape, she was killed some months later. On their side the French lost 11 men, including 4 officers.
When Frontenac [see Buade] was thinking of making peace with the Iroquois, Chaudière Noire came close to Cataracoui on the pretence of hunting and sent a message to the commanding officer, M. Dufrost de La Gemerais, saying that the elders of the upper cantons were going to Quebec to conclude peace. It was true. While these Iroquois were hunting game along the Bay of Quinte, 34 young Algonkins took them by surprise. Chaudière Noire was killed by a young Indian, Kiouet. His new wife and half the people in his expedition also perished.
Charlevoix, Histoire, III. La Potherie, Histoire, III, IV. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), IX. Ferland, Cours d’histoire du Canada, II, 133. Gérard Malchelosse, “Kiȣet et La Chaudière Noire,” La Revue Nationale, IV (1922), 341–45. Vachon de Belmont, Histoire du Canada.