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.
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
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"
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).
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
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.
NYS Museum Home