The Kindness Connection – Part 1

While surfing the web for mentions of Kanistanaux, I came across a number of message board postings suggesting Layton Kanistanaux was born Thomas Layton Kindness, a member of the Brothertown community of New York and Wisconsin.

Today I will discuss what I learned about the connection between the Kanistanaux family and the Kindness family.

Message boards are a good place to troll for ideas, but the majority of information found in these boards is unsourced and often speculative or outright false. The Kanistanaux messages are no exception, so the first thing to do is try to find collaborating evidence to support what is being claimed.

I found an excellent website put together by Caroline Andler called The Genealogy and History of the Brothertown Indians. Caroline is the retired genealogist for the Brothertown Indian Nation. This seemed like a good place to start.

History of the Brothertown Community

The Brothertown community was officially formed in 1785 as a Christian Community of Native Peoples from a variety of southern New England tribes. The Mohican and Pequot appear to have contributed the majority of members. They first settled in New York on lands provided to them by the Oneida Nation near modern day Waterville, NY (see the 1829 map). In the 1830s they left New York and established a new community in Calumet Co., Wisconsin. In 1839, the tribe requested and received from the U.S. Congress full U.S. Citizenship for its members and tribal land was divided among the new citizens. This allowed them to stay in Wisconsin on their individually owned lands while other tribes were being forced to move to Kansas.

Learning more

I contacted Caroline Andler via e-mail explaining what I was up to and she very generously shared the data she has collected for the Kindness family. When I asked if she would like me to include her e-mail address when giving her credit, she wrote

An email address would be helpful for people to contact me about the Kindness family or any question about the Brothertown Nation.  I am always willing to share my knowledge of both the history and the genealogy of the Brothertown people.

Caroline K. Andler, Retired Brothertown Indian Nation Genealogist can be contacted at

Facts About Thomas Laton Kindness



Thomas Layton Kindness/Kanistanaux
From the collection of Jerry Walentoski
Used by permission of Caroline Andler

  • He was born 14-Aug-1833 at Brothertown, Onieda Co., NY .
  • He was the son of James Jay Kindness (1803-1862, Pequot) & Hannah Dick (1807-1861, Narragansett).
  • His family consisted of
    1. George b. 1831 in New York. Probably served during the Civil War.
    2. Ira b. 1832 in New York.
    3. Thomas Laton b. 1833 in ew York.
    4. Isaac J. b.abt.1836 in Wisconsin. He is probably the Dr. I.J. Kanistanaux at East Chatham, PA c1900.
    5. James b. 8-Feb-1836 in Wisconsin & d. 1909 Wisconsin. Served in 38th Wisconsin Infantry and briefly with the 1st Kansas during the Civil War.
    6. Lewis M. b. 1838 in NY, served in the 5th Wisconsin during the Civil War. He was living with Layton in Stockton in the 1900 Census and still there in the 1910 Census.
  • 1850 Census shows Thomas L., age 17 with his parents in Stockbridge, Calumet Co., Wisconsin.
  • He married on 2-Apr-1857 in Manchester, Calumet Co., Wisconsin to Almira Jeanette Sampson (b.1835 NY, d.1917 WI).
  • His son Purcell Adelbert Kindness was born 25-Jan-1858, Brothertown, Calumet Co., WI.
  • He enlisted during the Civil War in Co. G, 14th Wisconsin Infantry. (I can find no evidence he ever mustered in or actually served)
  • No record has been found of a divorce between Layton and Almira.
  • Almira married 2nd on 21-Nov-1871 to Clark D. Dick in Wisconsin.



Well now, this is all wonderful information, but it sure does poke a big hole in the picture I had of the Kanistanaux family of New York.

In the 1900 Census, Layton & Marleah stated they had been married 45 years, placing the marriage about 1855. In the 1875 NYS Census they had 3 children in the household listed as sons & daughter born about 1857, 1859, and 1873. There is also another supposed daughter, Lee-o-netto who was born about 1869.

Now I learn Layton was in Wisconsin, he married Almira in 1857, and had a child with her in 1858. I also see he enlisted from Wisconsin, probably in late 1861 or early 1862. They must have divorced, because Almira remarried in 1871.

It appears Layton and Marleah married sometime between 1861 (when I can still place him in Wisconsin) and 1875 (when he is found with Marleah in New York).

So where does that leave the kids found with him in the 1875 Census in New York State? Carrie was born in c1857 and Henry c1859 both in Canada. I guess it’s possible Layton was traveling back and forth from New York or Canada to Wisconsin and had a family on both ends, but it does seem a bit far fetched. Travel would be expensive moving through the Great Lakes and overland would be nearly impossible at this time.

Perhaps I am looking at two different men? No, there are enough records showing the connection between the New York man and the Brothertown Kindness family.

  1. Lewis Kindness is living in the household of Layton Kanistanaux in Stockton in the 1900 Census.
  2. On 25-Feb-1902 Lewis Kindness was admitted to the Chautauqua County Almshouse. He listed his relative as Layton  Kindness of Stockton.
  3. Caroline Andler states there are letters in existence between Layton in New York and the son, Purcell, in Wisconsin.
  4. In my next post I will show you another connection.

Chautauqua County Almshouse 1902


So, as is so often the case in genealogy research, I found a great resource with additional information (Caroline Andler and the Brothertown Tribe), but the information creates more questions then it answers and the research must continue.

Winking smile

See the Kanistanaux Home Page for more.
Do you have any information to add or questions?
Please leave a comment.

Canyon Wolf 
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2 thoughts on “The Kindness Connection – Part 1

  1. Anonymous

    I've heard and seen on an Eastern Pequot Petition concerning land issues that stated the original Kindness and another Indian man named Ned who were both the Grandson of Wootagongquam, who is said to be the son of Mamoho, Chief Sachem of the Stonington Pequots from 1675 – 1694

  2. Thank you for this information. It is always nice to know about other possible sources of information. It would be even more helpful if folks would provide an actual source citation, to make it easier to locate the potential information for verification.
    For my Kanistanaux project, the ancient ancestry of the Kindness family is not a goal. I will pass the information along to the Brothertown Tribe, since it would probably be of much more interest there.

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