OHQUANDAGEGHTE (Atquandadeghte, Kointaguettez, Kouategeté, Otkwande, Otqueandageghte), Onondaga warrior; fl. 1757–73 in the upper St Lawrence River region; m. 10 May 1760 at La Présentation (Ogdensburg, N.Y.).
In 1701 the Six Nations declared their neutrality in the conflict between the French and British in North America, but rumours of conspiracy and double-dealing among them frequently circulated among the Europeans, particularly at periods of crisis. The difficulty of assessing such reports has not lessened with the passing of time. According to Pierre Pouchot*, Ohquandageghte spied for the British and acted as an intermediary in illicit trading between them and the French commanders of Fort Frontenac (Kingston, Ont.). His supposed friendship with the British did not, however, prevent him from accepting from Governor Vaudreuil [Rigaud] in 1757 a commission as head warrior of Oswegatchie, the village at François Picquet’s strategic mission-post of La Présentation. In April 1758 he led a raid on German Flats, a part of the Mohawk valley near the mouth of West Canada Creek. At about that time Sir William Johnson, who was responsible for managing Britain’s relations with the Six Nations and their confederates, was notified that Ohquandageghte’s body along with a knife inscribed “Otqueandageghte le Camera [camarade] de Jeanson” had been found. The spelling of the Onondaga name appears to be in the English style, and the story behind the report remains a mystery; the body was not Ohquandageghte’s.
Pouchot believed that John Bradstreet’s capture of Fort Frontenac in August 1758 so offended Ohquandageghte that he committed himself to the French cause. The warrior’s enthusiasm for fighting the British had, however, diminished by March 1760, when Pouchot arrived to command at Fort Lévis, located near the La Présentation mission. Ohquandageghte would no longer go on war parties, claiming religious scruples arising from his recent conversion. “He understood none of our distinctions,” the Frenchman remarked. Pouchot appears not to have considered that Ohquandageghte’s newly found pacificism might have resulted from the British victories of the previous year. Ohquandageghte was willing to gather information for the French, however. Early in the summer of 1760 he went to Oswego to find out what the Six Nations were planning to do regarding the forthcoming British move down the St Lawrence against Montreal. He warned the Six Nations there that the British intended to extirpate their people; on his return he told Pouchot that he had spoken with Major-General Jeffery Amherst and he reported on the size of the assembled British force.
In 1762 he was involved in plans to make war on the British. Sir William Johnson instructed his deputy Christian Daniel Claus to warn him against such an action. Whether Ohquandageghte received the message is not known, but shortly after it was sent he went to the commandant of Fort William Augustus (formerly Fort Lévis), Henry Gladwin, told him of French attempts to stir up the indigenous people, and gave him the names of Iroquois at Oswegatchie who had been implicated. He declared repentance of his own involvement and relinquished his commission from Vaudreuil. When Major-General Thomas Gage attempted to investigate the story further, however, Ohquandageghte was reluctant to confront the people against whom he had informed.
In the fall of 1763 he was reported to be residing at Cataraqui (Kingston, Ont.) and to have planned with some Mississaugas and others to cut off the movement of troops and provisions on the St Lawrence. The next fall he was sent as a prisoner to Montreal for having attempted to cross the checkpoint at nearby Les Cèdres without a pass. (Pontiac*’s uprising of 1763 had aggravated British fears of conspiracy among the First Nations.) He was apparently charged with further intrigues in 1766 but he denied the allegations. “Deserted by the Swegachy Indians,” he was by 1769 living at St Regis. He was given a British commission as a chief and a medal but was, Claus reported, “so dashed & conscious of not deserving it [the medal] that he would not wear it.”
In 1773, at St Regis, Ohquandageghte sided with the priest in a power struggle, the exact nature of which is not known. He went to see Johnson about the dispute and on returning distorted Johnson’s answer to make it appear that he and his faction had the superintendent’s support. The Iroquois chiefs of Caughnawaga, who had some authority over St Regis, complained to Claus of Ohquandageghte’s actions and pretensions. They asserted that his appointment as chief had not had their approval and that he was “an Indn that had no certain place of Abode.”
Inv. des papiers de Léry (P.-G. Roy), III, 10. Johnson papers (Sullivan et al.). [Pierre] Pouchot, Memoir upon the late war in North America, between the French and the English, 1755–60 . . . , ed. and trans. F. B. Hough (2v., Roxbury, Mass., 1866). W. L. Stone, Life of Joseph Brant – Thayendanegea . . . (2v., New York, 1838; repr. New York, 1969, and St Clair Shores, Mich., 1970).
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Cite This Article
in collaboration, “OHQUANDAGEGHTE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 8, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/ohquandageghte_4E.html.
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|Author of Article:||in collaboration|
|Title of Article:||OHQUANDAGEGHTE|
|Publication Name:||Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4|
|Publisher:||University of Toronto/Université Laval|
|Year of publication:||1979|
|Year of revision:||2021|
|Access Date:||June 8, 2023|