Last night I attended a lecture at the Binghamton Public Library on the topic of Joseph Brant, notorious Mohawk leader.  The speaker was “Buzz” Hesse, who has done a lot of research and archeology on the area, especially regarding prehistory in the upper Susquehanna Basin.  Right from the start he was “politically incorrect”.

Here is a man who discovered and excavated the Iroquois site at Unadilla; who uncovered 4 original letters written by Joseph Brant (one describing the Cherry Valley massacre, one written from Unadilla, and one written from Onaquaga [Windsor]); and who owns the only cannon ever recovered from the Clinton/Sullivan campaign down the Susquehanna. 

Here is a man who gives all the credit to God.

He prefaced his remarks by saying that the things he has been able to do could not be done by a normal person under normal circumstances; and that he is certain that whatever success he has achieved has resulted from God’s blessings.  (The full house sat in tolerant but uncomfortable silence at this declaration.)

He went on to illustrate his point.  As a teen he had discovered half a trade bead on the Sidney side of the river; some 20 years later, at the village site he unearthed across the river, he found the other half of the same bead and recognized it.  He was able to join the two halves (which matched perfectly) and had it photographed and on display.  The odds of that happening are incalculable; it clearly showed the grace of God bestowed on this man’s work.

When he discovered the Unadilla site, it was about to be developed for construction of a new building; he had 4 days to excavate, map, and recover artifacts; then the bulldozers came in.  If he had been one week later, the site would have been lost forever.

Mr. Hesse also pointed out a little-known aspect of Joseph Brant’s character.  This fierce warrior killed dozens (if not hundreds) in battle, but protested the slaughter of women, children, and the elderly; and when he retired from life on the battlefield, he translated and published the Book of Mark in the Mohawk tongue, so that his people could have the Gospel in their own language.  He, too, gave the credit to God.

God does not seem to fit into the modern presentation of history; but He did last night.  It wasn’t a church service, but it was a clear testimony.  Thank you, Mr. Hesse.

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