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Major John Norton Teyoninhokorawen. (1770 c.

The Scottish Chief: Metis Hero of the War of 1812. John Teyoninhokorawen (The Snipe) Norton, was the Metis son of a Cherokee father and a Scottish mother. His father had come from the Cherokee nation, having been taken, a boy, from Kuwoki, when that village was burnt by the English, according to one report. His mother was an Anderson who was probably living near Dunfermline, Scotland, when their son John was born Norton's father had joined the British Army and eventually settled in Scotland where he later married. John Norton was most likely educated in Scotland and followed his father into the army at a young age. He was stationed in Ireland at the age of fourteen and found himself in Quebec in 1785. While with his regiment at Niagara in 1787, he deserted the army. It must have been during this time that he became involved with the Six Nations of the Grand River. He came to Canada as a private soldier. The muster rolls of the 65th Foot record his enlistment at Mullingar (Republic of Ireland) early in 1784. He arrived in the province of Quebec with the regiment in the following year and accompanied it to Fort Niagara (near Youngstown, N.Y.) in 1787. There he deserted. In 1788 he received his discharge. Norton then appears as a schoolmaster in the Mohawk settlement established by John Deserontyon at the Bay of Quinte. Norton found this to be too tedious and he resigned in 1791.

He next went to the old northwest to become a fur trader, employed by John Askin of Detroit from 1791 until 1795. After Anthony Waynes defeat of the western Indians at the battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, Norton returned to the Upper Canadian side and became an interpreter in the Indian Department at Niagara.

Captain Joseph Brant [Thayendanegea] soon drew Norton into his own service as an interpreter, made him an emissary, and adopted him as a nephew, deputy, and successor. Norton resigned from the Indian Department and began living at Onondaga on the Grand River. His appointment as Teyoninhokarawen, a rank as a chieftain for diplomacy and leadership in war, came in 1799. When the War of 1812 broke out, Norton was an adopted war chief of the Six Nations. Many of the other Six Nations leaders were ambivalent about partaking in the war, but upon Nortons own initiative, he organized and led a band of warriors to assist in the defence of Upper Canada. Norton participated in many battles throughout the war, including nearly every major engagement fought in the Niagara Peninsula. His finest hour arguably came on October 13, 1812, when he found himself fighting alongside General Isaac Brock at the Battle of Queenston Heights. Norton played a decisive role in this pivotal battle, which claimed Brocks life and decided the fate of Upper Canada. He and his Iroquois warriors, fighting on the right flank, kept up a withering flanking fire on the American invaders atop Queenston Heights, while the British and Canadians waited for reinforcements to arrive from Fort George. Some American troops were so terrified of Norton and his warriors that they actually threw themselves to their deaths over the cliffs rather than risk being captured and scalped. They eventually captured 900 American soldiers. (Reference Carl F. Klinck, Canadian Dictionary of Biography, Toronto: University of Toronto, 2000.)

Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell Coordinator of Metis Heritage and History Research Louis Riel Institute This is an excerpt from the book Metis Soldiers of the War of 1812, available on the Virtual Museum of Metis History and Culture.

John Norton (Teyoninhokarawen or "the Snipe")

Author: Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Date: 2012 QS-: QS-6281-000-BB-A1

John Norton (Teyoninhokarawen or "the Snipe"), Six Nations War Chief (ca. 1765-1831)
John Norton, son of a Cherokee father and Scottish mother, joined the British Army as a young man and served in British North America. After deserting the army, he was adopted by the Mohawk Nation and rose to become a diplomat and war chief. During the War of 1812, Norton recruited Six Nations and Delaware warriors to assist Major-General Sir Isaac Brock on the Niagara frontier, where they played a key role in the defeat of the Americans at Queenston Heights. Along with Six Nations War Chief John Brant, Norton commanded warriors at the battles of Fort George, Stoney Creek and Beaver Dams.