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JONES, JOHN (Thayendanegea, Tyantenagen), surveyor, schoolmaster, Methodist exhorter, translator, and Mississauga Ojibwa chief; b. 10 July 1798 at the Humber River, Upper Canada, son of Augustus Jones and Tuhbenahneequay (Sarah Henry), the daughter of a Mississauga chief; d. 4 May 1847 in London, Upper Canada.

When John Jones was born, Joseph Brant [Thayendanegea*], his father’s close friend, gave him his own Mohawk name. Young Thayendanegea and his brother Kahkewaquonaby [Peter Jones*] were raised at the western end of Lake Ontario among their mother’s people. She taught them the religion of her ancestors and the skills of a successful hunter. Their father, whose legal wife was a Mohawk woman, lived near by and took an interest in the welfare of his Mississauga sons. In 1805 he secured for them from some Mississaugas two tracts of land at the Credit River, each two square miles in area. The boys saw him in the summer months when their mother’s band camped in the still-forested section of his large farm. During a visit in 1809 William Case*, a Methodist preacher, baptized John. Later, probably after the War of 1812, his father sent him to a local school. In 1817 John and Peter accompanied their father and stepmother to their new farm on the Grand River. Six years later John was studying his father’s profession, surveying, in Hamilton.

After Peter converted to Methodism in 1823, John immediately became his greatest ally in spreading the Gospel among the Mississaugas. He taught at the Indian mission school, first at Davisville (near Brantford) [see Tehowagherengaraghkwen*] and then at the Credit Mission (Mississauga). John West, an Anglican clergyman, visited his classroom in July 1826 and reported, “He appeared every way qualified as a schoolmaster, and under the lively influence of Christian principles, was devoted to his work.”

In late 1823 Jones had married Kayatontye, or Christiana Brant, the granddaughter of Joseph. She contributed a great deal to village life. Trained in the white woman’s “housekeeping,” she taught these skills to the Mississauga women, then valiantly trying to adjust to living year round in log cabins rather than in wigwams. An excellent singer, she also instructed them in singing. In the 1830s a series of tragedies struck the family. Disease carried away Christiana and four of the children. The only surviving child drowned in the Credit River. Around 1830 Jones became consumptive and was obliged to resign from the Credit Mission school, although he continued to teach Sunday school.

In 1835, after his recovery, Jones married Mary Holtby, the daughter of an English-born Methodist preacher who lived just north of the mission. The band welcomed the young woman, giving her an Indian name, Pamekezhegooqua. One of the four children born of this marriage, Alfred Augustus Jones (Misquahke), later taught at the mission school and served as superintendent of the New Credit Sunday School for 35 years.

At the Credit Mission, John Jones loyally supported his brother Peter and his uncle Joseph Sawyer [Nawahjegezhegwabe*], both chiefs of the band. He taught farming techniques to his people and was secretary treasurer of a company that was established in 1834 to operate wharfs and warehouses at the mouth of the Credit River and that was partly owned by the band. He acted as a Methodist exhorter and helped put the Scriptures into Ojibwa, translating with Peter’s help the Gospel of St John. About 1840 John himself became one of the band’s three chiefs, and in 1845 he served as the secretary of the Grand Council of Ojibwas at Saugeen (Saugeen Indian Reserve). Peter Jones provided his industrious brother’s best epitaph when he wrote a few months after John’s death, “His loss to me and to the Tribe will never be replaced.”

Donald B. Smith

A letter from John Jones to the editor of the Christian Guardian, dated 16 Aug. 1845, was published in the issue of 27 August under the title “The Indians of Canada West.” His translation of The Gospel according to St. John, edited by Peter Jones, appeared in London in 1831.

UCC-C, Credit Mission, record-book. [Elizabeth Field Jones], Memoir of Elizabeth Jones, a little Indian girl, who lived at River-Credit Mission, Upper Canada (New York, 1847). Peter Jones, Life and journals of Kah-ke-wa-quo-nã-by (Rev. Peter Jones), Wesleyan missionary, [ed. Elizabeth Field and Enoch Wood] (Toronto, 1860). Benjamin Slight, Indian researches; or, facts concerning the North American Indians . . . (Montreal, 1844). John West, The substance of a journal during a residence at the Red River colony, British North America: and frequent excursions among the north west American Indians . . . (2nd ed., London, 1827), 292. Christian Guardian, 6 Nov. 1833, 19 May 1847, 12 Jan. 1848. Betty Clarkson, Credit valley gateway; the story of Port Credit ([Port Credit (Mississauga, Ont.)], 1967).

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

Donald B. Smith, “JONES, JOHN (1798-1847),” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 7, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 15, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/jones_john_1798_1847_7E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/jones_john_1798_1847_7E.html
Author of Article:   Donald B. Smith
Title of Article:   JONES, JOHN (1798-1847)
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 7
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1988
Year of revision:   1988
Access Date:   April 15, 2024