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KELLOGG (Kellug, Kalogg), JOSEPH, militiaman, Indian agent, interpreter, trader; b. 8 Nov. 1691 at Hadley, Massachusetts, eldest son of Martin Kellogg and Sarah Lane, née Dickinson; d. summer of 1756, at Schenectady, New York.

Joseph Kellogg moved with his family to Deerfield, Massachusetts, about 1692 and was taken captive by Indians in February 1704 in the infamous Deerfield raid led by Jean-Baptiste Hertel* de Rouville. His younger brother Jonathan, was killed on the spot. His parents and elder half-brother, Martin, escaped within a short time, but Joseph and his sisters, Joanna and Rebecca, were held prisoner in Canada. His sisters subsequently married Indians, and Joanna refused to return to Massachusetts. Joseph was held at the Caughnawaga mission at Sault-Saint-Louis (near Montreal) for a year. He learned the Mohawk language readily and proved to be such a good linguist that he was delivered to the French, who naturalized him in May 1710, and employed him as an interpreter on trading expeditions. He later reported that he travelled about freely, learned the languages of all the Indians with whom he traded, and made a considerable amount of money.

Interest in Joseph Kellogg probably springs chiefly from a manuscript in the archives of the Royal Society of London: “A short account of a trading voyage performed by Joseph Kellug . . . to Missasippi in the year 1710. . . .” The account was written in 1721, after Kellogg’s return to Massachusetts, by Paul Dudley, at the time a judge of the Superior Court of Massachusetts as well as an amateur scientist long in correspondence with the Royal Society of London. In March 1721 Dudley wrote: “The Journall is what I took from his own mouth and then digested into the method you see, and tho’ he be not a man of Letters, yet has so much probity and ingenuity that you may depend upon the truth of what he says.” The report excited much interest in the Royal Society, especially because it contained materials which corrected geographical details of the Illinois country recently portrayed in John Senex’s map of North America (1710) and confirmed some of the information in Father Louis Hennepin*’s Description de la Louisiane (1683).

It appears that Kellogg was the first Englishman to penetrate the Illinois country. His party of “Six French Men of Canada” went from Montreal via Lake Nipissing to Lake Huron, and wintered at Michilimackinac. They then proceeded along Lake Michigan to “Chigaquea” (Chicago) and portaged to the Illinois River, which they followed to the Mississippi and southward to the mouth of the Ohio. Here, in 1711, “Mr. Kellug’s Company ended their trading Voyage and so returned back to Canada.” In addition to geographical features, Kellogg commented upon the flora and fauna of Illinois with some remarks about the French settlements along the route.

Kellogg’s half-brother, Martin, accompanying a Massachusetts commission to recover captives from Canada, brought him back to Massachusetts in 1714. Joseph returned to his family, now settled at Suffield, Connecticut. On 20 June 1716 the Massachusetts government appointed him an interpreter to the Indians and sergeant of the guard at Northfield, Connecticut. Thus he entered upon a career to which he devoted most of his life. He rose to lieutenant and second in command at Northfield in 1721, to captain in 1723, and, after Fort Dummer (south of Brattleboro, Vt.) was constructed in 1724, he served as commander there from December 1726 until June 1740. On 26 December of that year, he was appointed “an established interpreter for this province [of Massachusetts],” a post he held until 1749.

Kellogg had set up a trading post at Fort Dummer, to which he was appointed “truck master” in 1728. He made at least two visits to Canada (1721 and 1727–28) to seek the release of captives held there. He also served repeatedly both as agent and as interpreter in Indian negotiations, and died in this service in 1756 at Schenectady, where he had accompanied Governor William Shirley of Massachusetts. He was rewarded with lands and several gifts of money by the provincial government and held in high regard as a dutiful, fearless, judicious, and vigilant Indian agent, the best interpreter of his day. He had married Rachel Devotion of Suffield in 1720 and had five children.

Raymond P. Stearns

[Dudley’s account of Kellogg’s voyage is in the Royal Society of London, Archives, Classified papers (1660–1740), VII/2, no.1, and is entitled: “A short account of a trading voyage performed by Joseph Kellug an English man of New England in company with six French men of Canada to Missasippi in the year 1710 in two cannoos made of birch bark, with some general remarks made by the said Kellug.” A copy is in the Register book, XI (1722–24), pp.132–36. It has been published by R. P. Stearns: “Joseph Kellogg’s observations on Senex’s map of North America (1710),” Mississippi Valley Hist. Rev., XXIII (1936), 345–54. Dudley’s letter concerning the account is also in the Royal Society Archives, Guard-book, D/1, no.73 (copy in Letter-book, XVI, pp.195–96). Quotations from these materials are with the permission of the president and fellows of the Royal Society of London. Senex’s map is found in BM, K. Top., 148.e.3.  r.p.s.]

Mass., Archives, Council records, VI, VII; Court records, XIV; “Mass. Archives,” XXXI, XXXII, LXXII. The acts and resolves, public and private, of the province of the Massachusetts Bay (21v., Boston, 1869–1922), XII. “Belcher papers,” Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., 6th ser., VI (1893), VII (1894). “Indian treaties,” Maine Hist. Soc. Coll., 1st ser., IV (1856), 124–25, 129, 131. Massachusetts, Journals of the House of Representatives . . . (40v., in progress, Mass Hist. Soc. Pub., Boston, 1919–  ), I, IV–VI, VIII–XVII, XXXI, XXXII. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., 1st ser., IV (1795); X (1809). New Eng. Hist. and Geneal. Register, IV (1850), IX (1855). New-England Courant (Boston), from 26 Nov. 1722 onwards, contains occasional notices concerning Kellogg. Coleman, New England captives. Dean Dudley, History of the Dudley family, with genealogical tables . . . (2v., with supplements, Wakefield, Mass., 1886–1901). Timothy Hopkins, The Kelloggs in the old world and the new (San Francisco, Calif., 1903). [This work contains an inaccurate copy of the “Short account” of Kellogg’s voyage.  r.p.s.] Sylvester Judd, History of Hadley, including the early history of Hatfield, South Hadley, Amherst, and Granby, Mass. . . . (Springfield, Mass., 1905). J. P. Kellogg, A supplement to notes on Joseph Kellogg of Hadley ([Geneva, Switzerland], 1899). Kellogg, French régime. J. H. Temple and George Sheldon, History of the town of Northfield, Massachusetts, for 150 years . . . (Albany, 1875).

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Cite This Article

Raymond P. Stearns, “KELLOGG, JOSEPH,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 16, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/kellogg_joseph_3E.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/kellogg_joseph_3E.html
Author of Article:   Raymond P. Stearns
Title of Article:   KELLOGG, JOSEPH
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1974
Year of revision:   1974
Access Date:   June 16, 2024