Mary (Molly) Brant was the consort, or common-law wife of Sir William Johnson, superintendent of Indian Affairs for the northern colonies. Mary bore him nine children, who he referred to in his will as "natural" children by his housekeeper. It was rumored, however, that they were married in an Indian marriage ceremony. Sir William Johnson died in 1774. His will was generous to Mary and her children, and she returned to her native village of Canajoharie on the Mohawk River.
During the American Revolution, Mary informed the British of patriot movements before the battle of Oriskany.
Mary's brother, Joseph, was one of the most notorious Iroquois warriors of the Revolution, and her
son, Peter Johnson, captured Ethan Allen during the fighting at Montreal, Canada.
After her spying was discovered, Mary went to live with relatives among the Six Nations and used her political connections to keep the Cayugas and Senecas loyal to the British.
After the war, Mary moved to Canada, where she lived on an annual pension from the British government in recognition of her assistance during the war, until her death in 1783.
Since 1994, Brant has been honored as a "Person of National Historic Significance" in Canada. She was long ignored or disparaged by historians of the United States, but scholarly interest in her increased in the late 20th century. No portraits of her are known to exist; an idealized likeness is featured on a statue in Kingston and on a Canadian stamp issued in 1986.
Alice Plouchard Stelzer has been writing in one form or another for over 25 years.