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Black Chief

Burlington Gazette – History by Helen Langford

Black Chief
Tues., March 7, 1978

How good a detective are you? Did you notice that Augustus Bates already had the still working in 1806 – the one his brother William asked to be delivered to Schenectady? The mill stones were likely sold – the only mill on Augustus’ property was a sawmill.

The affidavits attached to Augustus’ claims for damages during the winter of 1813-14 are very revealing. In one, John Chisholm swears that he saw the Indians encamped on Augustus land, using the hay, wheat and burning the fences.

Asahel Davis, saw the Indians cutting the timber and that he believed greatest damage was done on Augustus’ land due to the large encampment.

Lieutenant James Fraser of the Indian Department boarded most of his time with Augustus Bates during this winter and that ‘he is knowing of their taking a Barrel of Spirits’ and ‘he believed their motive for doing it was because he refused to sell them ‘liquor for their money’. When the same party returned for the remainder ‘it was with difficulty he prevented them’.

John Brant (son of Joseph) signed the following affidavit:

I John Brant Lieutenant of the Indian Department: Certify that the Black Chief and his party came to the house of Augustus Bates while I was there and offered him a twenty five dollar bill for spirits, which the said A. Bates refused to accept – immediately after I retired – soon after which I was informed that the Indians had taken his Barrel of Spirits. I further certify that I am knowing to the said Bates’ fences being destroyed and do believe the Indians to have done it – in consequence of which his farm lay open to the commons until the spring 1815.

JOHN BRANT
Lieut. Indian Dept.

Does anyone know more about the Delaware Indians and the Black Chief? The Delawares were not part of the Six Nations.

Augustus Bates raised a large family and aided other relatives, particularly a nephew Phile D. Bates who became a sea captain and influential in Port Nelson. There are still Bates in our area, among them W. Augustus of Freelton and James McF. Bates, our well known retired high school principal.

Source: Langford, Helen. Burlington Gazette [Ontario], 7 Mar. 1978. Microfilm. Burlington Public Library – Central Branch. Reel 50.

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