Please note that the Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation and the Kingston Archaeology Centre have closed. This site is still available for historical and informational reasons, but none of the services or products described here are available anymore.


After the American Revolution and Molly Brant's subsequent relocation to Kingston, she was assigned the property known as Farm Lot A in Kingston Township, along the northern limit of the town. It was only 116 acres instead of the standard 200 acres because the Clergy Reserve encroached upon it.

After Molly's death, the Brant farm remained in the family: it was passed on to her daughter, Magdalene Ferguson, and then to another daughter, Margaret Farley. By this time, 1829, the land ownership was being questioned, and the Board of Ordnance attempted to dispossess Margaret several times. Upon Margaret's death, sometime between 1844 and 1846, the property was passed on to her widowed daughter-in-law, Jemima Farley. Jemima maintained the homestead from 1847 to 1874 on behalf of her son and daughter, who were the heirs and great grandchildren of Molly Brant. Jemima Farley is presumed to have been deceased by 1875, marking the end of the Brant ownership of Farm Lot A. According to the Assessment Rolls, by 1892 neither of the two Brant homes were standing. The property was in the possession of the Brant family for ninety-five years.

In 1988, archaeological testing was conducted on the site of the new Rideaucrest, and salvage excavations were carried out during the summer of 1989. In general, much of the original site of the Brant homestead had been disturbed by recent industrial activities. The site of the Brant homestead was eventually turned into the Kiwanis Playing Field, and was not disturbed by industry until Imperial Oil purchased the property in 1938. It was at this time that the below ground remains of the Brant homes were probably removed, in preparation for the construction of the oil storage tanks.

The excavation in 1989 discovered a mortared limestone structure measuring 3 x 3 metres. It has been positively identified as one of the two buildings shown on the 1869 Fortification Survey of Kingston, and is most likely the more southerly of the two. This was probably a privy for the Brant homes, which could easily be cleaned out into the then closer Cataraqui River.

All that remained of Molly Brant’s house.Excavating within the walls of this structure was like walking on eggshells. It was found to be filled with over 5,000 artifacts, including ceramics, bone, nails, glass, buttons, clay smoking pipes, and a variety of interesting personal items. It was possible to distinguish which layers accumulated after the structure had been demolished, because the artifacts contained in these layers were clearly from the twentieth century. The upper deposits within the privy contained artifacts which can be dated to the mid to late nineteenth century. A lower deposit, beneath a layer of bark, contained artifacts representative of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, probably deposited while the privy was in use.

Main privy for the Brant homes.Some of the more interesting artifacts found within the privy included: bone combs and hair pins; a lady's finger ring, possibly set with amethyst; an ivory toothbrush; creamware and pearlware ceramic chamber pots; hand-painted pearlware ceramic dishes; crystal stemware; a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours of beads; bone, shell, glass and metal buttons; intact medicine bottles; clay smoking pipes including a detailed painted human effigy bowl; bone from cow, sheep, pig, and domestic chicken, which was probably raised on the site, and from goose, duck, passenger pigeon, and a variety of freshwater and Atlantic fish. Detailed analysis allows us to determine the relative wealth and status of the family within the community: food related items provide information on diet and butchering practices used. Such analysis is the only real way of gaining insights into the personal lives of some of the people who lived on the shore of the Cataraqui River in centuries past.

Ivory toothbrush excavated from the Brant privy.

Hand painted pearlware demitasse excavated from the Brant property.