British Maps

Contemporary British maps 49K (MAP 1756; MAP 1757), in spite of their small scale, seem to offer substantial weight to the argument for a location near the "Ft. Canajoharie" marker, very nearly opposite the mouth of East Canada Creek, which enters the Mohawk from the north. While such maps can hardly be relied on to attribute absolute position to any features indicated, they can be expected to portray with some accuracy the relative position of features to one another. And certainly the mouth of East Canada Creek represented a major eighteenth century landmark, relative to which it would be fairly easy to position other natural and cultural features.

Detail of 1757 map.

Virtually all the mid-eighteenth century British maps available indicate either Fort Hendrick or some form of the "Castle" at Canajoharie (Figure 2). And they do so against a matrix of lateral streams intersecting the Mohawk that assist us in relocating these sites today.

The matrix of intersecting streams.

On the south side of the valley the streams shown include the "Canouwedage Creek", also labeled the "Iurhandanuondage" or "Inchannando", currently known as Nowadaga Creek and entering the Mohawk at the Hamlet of Indian Castle; "Otsquage Creek", now known as Otsquago Creek and entering the Mohawk at the Village of Fort Plain; and "Canajohary Creek", also labeled "Canaiohare Creek", now called Canajoharie Creek and entering the Mohawk at the Village of Canajoharie. From the north side of the valley the principal stream shown is "Canada Creek", also called "Gaioharo", "Ciohana", and "Tegawyuhaarounwhe" and now called East Canada Creek.

We can today easily identify the courses of these streams and of the Mohawk on eighteenth century maps66K, and can be relatively certain that they have not changed their positions significantly over the past 300 years. As each eighteenth century map is examined, almost without exception a pattern is seen that places the "Indian Castle" nearly opposite and slightly above (upstream or westward) East Canada Creek. In no case is it shown more westerly than 25% of the distance between that creek and Nowadaga Creek. Since the actual distance between these points is about three kilometers, we may conclude that the Upper Castle at Canajohary, with its associated Fort Hendrick, was about 2.4 kilometers east of the present hamlet of Indian Castle and on a height overlooking the Mohawk from the south. Confirmation is seen in a contemporary manuscript map (MAP 1765b) that shows "Fort Hendrick" and "Connajohary Castle" situated immediately on the south bank of the Mohawk opposite East Canada Creek, and is even more emphatically expressed on another version of the map (below).

Detail of 1765 map.

A survey of lands on the north side of the Mohawk immediately west of East Canada Creek was completed in 1755 (MAP 1755). The creek is described as the "Canady Kill which falls into the Mohawk River opposite to the Canajohari Castle...". A 1765 survey identifies the stream a decade later as "Tegahuharoughowe or Canada Creek" and explains that "This is the River opposite Connajoharry Castle" to differentiate it from West Canada Creek, also often just called "Canada Creek". It also positions the complex within the 1731 Van Horne Patent, a crucial factor in the final resolution of this issue.

This need for differentiation is still evident a quarter century later in a protest drawn up against the separation of what is now Herkimer County from what was then Montgomery County. Written in 1790, it cites the proposed line running through "the mouth of the easternmost Canada creek, opposite the Indian castle, ... where it empties in the Mohawk river." (Beers 1879:33) It is this same line which today divides the counties. By 1793, the present name of the stream had begun to come into common usage, as evidenced when the State Legislature voted for the erection of "a bridge over the East Canada creek nearly opposite Canajoharie castle." (Beers 1879:33)

In 1769 a survey of Johnson's Royal Grant along the north side of the Mohawk "near to the Conajohare Castle" began at a point "on the Bank of a Creek or Kill called by the Indians Dekayowaronwe ... which Creek falls into the said Mohawk River about 200 yards below Fort Hendrick or Conajohara Castle..." (JP 6:771) This reference confirms again that Fort Hendrick and Canajoharie Castle were synonymous and the precise measurement given indicates this complex was located 183 meters west of a point opposite the mouth of East Canada Creek in the mid-eighteenth century. The exact location of the creek's mouth prior to the twentieth century was some distance below (east of) its present position, as confirmed by several detailed maps of the area, including several very accurate canal surveys. We may justifiably, therefore, interpret this reference to indicate a location roughly opposite the present mouth of the creek, as realigned during construction of the Barge Canal.

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