I have been in a friendly debate lately regarding the
location of the Jesuit mission of St Ignace or what has become known as St Ignace ll that was designated as a National Historic site in 1955. As a result
of these discussions I was reviewing the other purported locations for this
Jesuit mission of 1649 and thought that it might be interesting to create a
list of other named localities existed in Tay township during the historic
Jesuit era of 1635-1649.
In review of various records it would appear that there are
approximately 80 archaeological sites in Tay that relate to this time period.
About 12 of these are ossuaries and another 30 or so relate to the period of
first contact that the involved the relationship between the Huron/Wendat, the
French/Jesuit. The Jesuit records found within the Jesuit Relations and Allied
Documents (this would include maps of the 1600s) identify the following locals
within what is now Tay township:
1. - The best known of these sites is Ste Marie among the
Huron on the Wye river. This was the home of the Jesuit and a French fort
between 1639-1649 and is designated as a National Historic site. It was not a
native village and hence had no native name.
2. - Kaontia - this was a Wendat village reported to be
within 1 league or 4km from Ste Marie and some think that it was called Ste
Anne by the Jesuits.
3. - Ekhiondastsaan - this was a Wendat village that does
not appear to have been given a name by the Jesuits but may have been known by
the French as La Chaudiere.
4. - St Louis mission/village is designated as another
National Historic site whose location is very much associated with the location
of St Ignace ll. Not all agree to the true location of this village and it does
not appear to have had a native name.
5. - St Denis appears on some Jesuit maps relating to this
time period but does not show up with a native name.
6. - St. Jean appears on some Jesuit maps but does not show
up with a native name.
7. - St Joachim appears on some Jesuit maps to be north of
St Jean but does not show up with a
8. - St Ignace 1 shows up on some Jesuit maps.
9. - Ataratiri, this village location was once thought to be
that of St Ignace ll and efforts were made to start the development of the Martyrs' Shrine and was known a Martyrs' Hill.
10. - Arethsi, is thought by some to have been a major village of the Cord Nation of the
Wendat that occupied Tay township at the time of the Jesuits and that no Jesuit
or French name is associated with it. Some think that this location was St
Joachim and there is one purported Jesuit map that links Arethsi with St Ignace
Given that the Wendat villages moved when they ran out of a
sufficient supply of wood or the land was no longer productive, it is no wonder
that we have far more archaeological sites dating to this period that we have named
villages/missions in this list and given that each of these locals was the home
of 500 to 1500 individuals the population of Tay might have been quite close to
what it is today.