Eighteenth century selection of documents relating to Indian Affairs

Available reels: 2

Document Record

Claus (family), , fl. 1727-1886.
Eighteenth century selection of documents relating to Indian Affairs
MG 55 / 19 No 4
Document source
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
Christian Daniel Claus (1727 - 1787) was known as an Indian department official who was born into a prominent family of southwestern Germany. He arrived in Philadelphia in late 1749 as part of a reportedly false scheme to export raw silk and tobacco from America to Germany. When the ruse was apparently discovered, he was both unable to afford the voyage home and also knew few people in the United States. Christian decided to find work in America during the winter so that he could return to Germany in the spring. Instead, he made the acquaintance of Johann Conrad Weiser Jr. (1696 - 1760), Pennsylvania's Indian agent, and, in 1750, Christian accompanied Weiser on a journey to the Hudson-Mohawk valley of New York. During their stay with the Onondagas, he began to compile a vocabulary of Indian words. On his return to Philadelphia he met the governor who, recognizing his interest in languages, arranged for him and Weiser's son to be sent to live among the Mohawks. Christian was promoted to being a lieutenant and deputy secretary when Sir William Johnson (c. 1715 - 1774) became colonel and superintendent of the Six Nations in 1755, and Christian worked as an interpreter and diplomat in that capacity. In 1760, he became deputy superintendent for the St. Lawrence Valley, and lived in Montreal. In 1762, Christian married Johnson's daughter, Ann. With the start of the American Revolutionary War in 1775, he lost both his New York property and his job because he was loyal to Britain. Two years later, he became deputy agent for the Six Nations, and was responsible for the region of what would eventually be called Upper Canada, fostering the Six Nations settlements at the Bay of Quinte and on the Grand River. He died in Great Britain while trying to recoup his losses in America.
This collection was created by a researcher and consists of selected documents of the period 1696-1796 from the Claus family papers, the official records of the Indian Commissioners at Albany, Colonial Office 323 and 324, the Contrecoeur papers, the Monckton papers in the Northcliffe Collection and other sources.