Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
September 2004

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Peter Jones (Kahkewaquonaby)



[This text was originally published in 1907 by the Bureau of American Ethnology as part of its Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico . It was later reproduced, in 1913, by the Geographic Board of Canada. The work done by the American Bureau was monumental, well informed and incorporated the most advanced scholarship available at the time. In many respects, the information is still useful today, although prudence should be exercised and the reader should consult some of the contemporary texts on the history and the anthropology of the North-West Indians suggested in the bibliographic introduction to this section. The articles were not completely devoid of the paternalism and the prejudices prevalent at the time. While some of the terminology used would not pass the test of our "politically correct" era, most terms have been left unchanged by the editor. If a change in the original text has been effected it will be found between brackets [.] The original work contained long bibliographies that have not been reproduced for this web edition. For the full citation, see the end of the text.]



Jones, Peter (Kahkewaquonaby, Kahkewagwonnaby). A mixed-blood Missisauga chief, missionary, and author; born Jan. 1, 1802, died June 29, 1856. His father was a white man of Welsh descent named Augustus Jones, who maintained the closest friendship with Brant during the latter's life. Peter's mother was Tuhbenahneeguay, daughter of Wahbanosay, a chief of the Missisauga of Credit. Peter and his brother John were born at the extreme W. end of lake Ontario, on a tract of land known as Burlington heights. He remained with his tribe, following their customs and accompanying them on their excursions, until his 18 th year, when his father, who was then a government surveyor, had him baptised by Rev. Ralph Leeming, an English Episcopal minister, at the Mohawk church on Grand r., near Brantford, Ont. Having professed religion at a camp meeting held near Ancaster, Ont., and taken an active part in the religious exercises of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Peter was sent on a missionary tour, in 1827, to lake Simcoe, lake St. Clair, Muncey, and other points in W. Ontario, although not yet ordained. He had by this time entered upon his literary work, as in this year was published a hymn book translated by him into Chippewa. He was constituted a deacon of the Wesleyan Methodist conference in 1830, and as minister by Rev. George Marsden at the Toronto conference in 1833. The remainder of his life was devoted chiefly to missionary work among the Missisauga and Chippewa, and to some extent among the Iroquois. His position as a Christian pastor and ruling chief of his tribe gave him great influence, not only among his own people, but among all the Chippewa tribes. He visited England and New York , and made repeated journeys to Toronto in the prosecution of his work and in behalf of his people. It was largely through his efforts that the titles of the Credit Indians to their lands were perfected. Although inured to outdoor life and of a somewhat robust frame, his constitution began to yield to excessive exposures, resulting in his death near Brantford , in 1856. A monument was erected to his memory, in 1857, with the inscription: "Erected by the Ojibeway and other Indian tribes to their revered and beloved chief, Kahkewaquonaby (the Rev. Peter Jones)". A memorial tablet was placed by his family in the Indian church at the New Credit settlement.


Ryerson (Ojebway Indians, 18, 1861) describes Jones as "a man of athletic frame, as well as of masculine intellect; a man of clear perception, good judgment, great decision of character; a sound preacher, fervent and powerful in his appeals; very well informed on general subjects, extensively acquainted with men and things." His wife was an English woman, who with 4 sons survived him. His seventh son, Peter E. Jones, who bore his father's name (Kah-ke-wa-quo-na-by), was editor of a periodical, The Indian, published at Hagersville, Ont., in 1885-86.


In addition to the volume of hymns, first printed in 1829, republished in 1836, and in various enlarged editions in later years, Jones translated also into Chippewa a volume of Additional Hymns (1861), an Ojibway Spelling Book (1828), Part of the New Testament (1829) The First Book of Moses (1835), and Part of the Discipline of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Canada (1835). He also wrote the Life and Journals of Kah-ke-wa-quo-na-by (Rev. Peter Jones), 1860, and a History of the Ojebway Indians, with Especial Reference to their Conversion to Christianity, 1861. Consult Pilling, Bibliog. Algonq. Lang., Bull. B. A. E., 1891.


Source: James WHITE, ed., Handbook of Indians of Canada, Published as an Appendix to the Tenth Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, Ottawa, 1913, 632p., p. 231.


© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College