John Norton ~ Mohawk

Published on May 9, 2012 by Amy

Love this article and want to save it to read again later? Add it to your favourites! To find all your favourite posts, check out My Favourites on the menu bar.

The Mohawk Chief
The Mohawk Chief

The Mohawk Major John Norton (Teyoninhokovrawen) played a prominent role in the War of 1812, leading Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) warriors from Grand River into battle against American invaders at Queenston Heights, Stoney Creek, and Chippawa.

dna testing, dna ancestry testing, ancestry, genealogy, indian genealogy records, paternity testing, turquoise jewelry, native american jewelry

Early life

Norton was born of a Cherokee father and a Scottish mother, in the early 1760s His father was taken as a boy by British soldiers when his hometown of Keowee was destroyed by the British. It seems that Norton’s father eventually joined the British Army and moved to Scotland, where he married. John Norton was likely educated in Scotland. He served an apprenticeship as a printer, but ran away to join the army. He was stationed in Ireland before being relocated to Lower Canada in 1785.

While with his regiment at Niagara (Upper Canada) in 1787, he deserted the army. For a time, Norton taught at Tyendinaga on the Bay of Quinte, west of Kingston, Ontario. In 1791 he traveled through the Ohio region as a trader and established many contacts. During this time, he became increasingly involved with the Six Nations of the Grand River. In 1794, he returned to Fort Niagara where he served as an interpreter for the Indian department. He was adopted by the Mohawks, with Joseph Brant as his uncle. Norton moved to Grand River where he married an Iroquois woman.

Bible translator

In the spring of 1804, Teyoninhokarawen (John Norton), arrived in England to negotiate treaties with the English. At the request of the British and Foreign Bible Society, he translated the Gospel of John into Mohawk. His work would represent a number of firsts for the newly-formed Bible Society: the First translation; First publication; First distribution in a foreign land.

In the Mohawk Chapel at Brantford Ontario, there is a memorial window of unusual significance which portrays the distribution of the Gospel in Mohawk in 1806. the bottom panel of the window records Norton’s preface to his translation: “Let us strictly adhere to what the Lord has transmitted to us in the Holy Scriptures, that thereby the unbelievers may know that love we bear the commandments of God.” (from bookmark produced by the Canadian Bible Society)

As a Mohawk Chief

Norton was especially inspired by the Mohawk chief, Joseph Brant (Thayendanega). Norton acquired the Mohawk language and culture, and was adopted into the community as Thayendanega’s nephew and appointed a “Pine Tree Chief” according to Iroquois custom in a public ceremony. Norton led a handful of Six Nations warriors into battle in Tecumseh’s offensive against the Americans at Tippecanoe. When war between the United Kingdom and the United States began the following year, Norton was quick to join General Isaac Brock at Detroit, despite the official neutrality of the Canadian Six Nations. Following Brock’s success at Detroit, more Six Nations Iroquois joined the British, and their timely arrival at Queenston Heights, under the leadership of Major Norton, John Brant (Joseph’s son), and Lieutenant Kerr of the Indian Department, was crucial to British victory.

Following Queenston Heights, John Norton continued to lead increasingly numerous Iroquois contingents into several of the war’s most significant battles. His journal, published under the title The Journal of Major John Norton, 1816, offers one of the most thorough firsthand accounts of the War of 1812 as well as a rare firsthand account of life among the Cherokees around 1809-1810, at the start of their final golden age before the Trail of Tears. Norton’s journal was not a private diary, but rather intended for publication.

Historian Carl Benn addresses the question of “how Mohawk” John Norton was and how “Mohawk” his journal account of the War of 1812 is, since his formative years were spent in the United Kingdom and he had Cherokee and Scottish parents. Benn concludes that “by the Mohawk standards of the period, John Norton was a Mohawk,” while noting that “some of his adversaries used his origins to defame him.”

Family tree

(MEN) Walter G. McNaughton; George S. Norton; John (Teyoninhokovrawen) Norton; Abrham Q. Norton; Theodore D. Norton; Daniel Sheldon Norton; John M. Norton Sr.; John M. Norton Jr.; Daniel J. Norton; David R. Norton; Connor J. Norton; Alec R. Norton; Robert Norton; Peter Norton.

(WOMEN) Martha A. McNaughton; Florence T. Norton; Elizabeth M. Norton; Agness W. Norton; Jane P. Norton; Barbara W. Norton; Kathleen E. Norton; N/A, Amanda G. Norton.

Source: wikipedia Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
Cite This Source | Link To John Norton ~ Mohawk
Add these citations to your bibliography. Select the text below and then copy and paste it into your document.

American Psychological Association (APA):

John Norton ~ Mohawk Unabridged. Retrieved May 27, 2015, from website:

Chicago Manual Style (CMS):

John Norton ~ Mohawk Unabridged. Native American Encyclopedia (accessed: May 27, 2015).

Modern Language Association (MLA):

"John Norton ~ Mohawk" Unabridged. Native American Encyclopedia 27 May. 2015. <>.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE):, "John Norton ~ Mohawk" in Unabridged. Source location: Native American Encyclopedia Available: Accessed: May 27, 2015.

BibTeX Bibliography Style (BibTeX)

@ article {NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com2015,
    title = { Unabridged},
    month = May,
    day = 27,
    year = 2015,
    url = {},
You might also like:

Tags:  , , , , ,

Facebook Comments

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Latest Articles
Did You Know?

Tequila was invented by the Meso Americans of Central Mexico in about 100 A.D. They discovered that the Agave Plant would ferment and turn onto alcohol, thus inventing Tequila.

In the Spotlight
Most Favourited Posts
Photo Galleries
Native American Tribe SalishanNative American Tribe DieguenoFamous Native ActorsNative American Tribe Osage