Vanished Worlds, Enduring People

Language and Education

Daniel Claus. A Primer for the Use of the Mohawk Children. Montreal: F. Mesplets, 1781. [view]

Born in Germany, Daniel Claus immersed himself in the study of Mohawk soon after he arrived in Philadelphia in 1749. To facilitate his studies, he lived in the Mohawk Valley with the families of Indian leader Joseph Brant, and Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indians in Canada. He joined the Indian Department as an interpreter and Johnson’s secretary in 1755, and was named Deputy Secretary of Indian Affairs five years later. The unsettled Revolutionary War years forced him to relocate to Canada, where he developed this primer, a bilingual attempt to teach Mohawk children the alphabet and to read Christian doctrine in both Mohawk and English.

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