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THE PEQTJOT INDIANS.
AN HISTORICAL SKETCH.
BY RICHARD A. WHEELER.
THE PEQUOT INDIANS
AN HISTORICAL SKETCH.
BY RICHARD A. WHEELER.
The origin of the Pequot tribe of Indians must forever remain a
mystery. Some writers have supposed that not long before this
country was settled by Europeans they were an inland tribe, who,
by their superior numbers and prowess, fought their way !o the
seaside, and established their fortresses in what is now the town
of Groton. Others have supposed that they belonged to the Mo-
hegan tribe of Indians, who, under the leadership of Pequoate, the
father of Sassacus, seceded from the Mohegans, and established an
independent tribe, taking the name of their Sachem, and in time
overwhelmed the Mohegans, and held them as tributaries.
Not satisfied with their success, they sought to establish their
dominion over the surrounding tribes ; and had so far succeeded
as to extend their power and authority eastward to Wecapaug in
Westerly, Ehode Island, where they were met and held in check
by the powerful tribe of Narragansett Indians ; southward they
extended their sway to, and in some places beyond, the Connecti
cut river, and as far north as the town of Windsor. When these
events transpired cannot now be determined, or whether they ever
happened as here narrated is not certainly known ; but this we do
know, that when Adrian Block, a Dutch navigator, explored our
sea coast in 1614, the Pequot and Mohegan Indians were located
in the same places that they occupied in 1633, when our State was
first settled by the English.
The Pequots were governed by a powerful Sachem, whom they
idolized and regarded " as all one God." Under his leadership
they had become a terror to the neighboring tribes, with whom
they had frequently been engaged in deadly hostilities.
The various tribes and clans tributary to the Pequots hailed the
coming of the white man as an omen that foreshadowed their re
lease from the tyranny of Sassacus. The Connecticut river In
dians made the first effort to secure an alliance with the Massachu
setts and Plymouth colonies.
In the year 1631, an Indian Sachem by the name of Wah-qui-ma-
cut visited the Governors of the Plymouth and Massachusetts colo
nies, and offered them strong inducements to come and settle in
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the beautiful valley of the Connecticut, and proposed that two men
should be delegated to view the country and report to the Govern
ors. Gov. Winthrop declined the offer ; but Governor Winslow,
of Plymouth, held the matter under consideration, and soon after
visited the place, and on his return home gave a glowing descrip
tion of its fertility, which tempted many a Puritan to leave his
sterile home at Plymouth and explore this Indian paradise from
the mouth of the river far back towards its sources.
Meantime the shrewd and active Pequots were watching with
sleepless vigilance the movements of the Plymouth people, doubt
less foreseeing the danger that would result to them from a settle
ment of the English upon the Connecticut river, and sought to
counteract and prevent it by an alliance with the Dutch. For as
early as 1632 they sold lands at Saybrook to the Dutch . Governor
at New Amsterdam, and in June, 1633, Wa-py-quart, a Pequot Sa
chem, sold to the West India Company, through their agent Van
Culer, a tract of meadow land now covered by the city of Hartford,
on which h immediately proceeded to erected a fort, which he
called the "House of Good Hope."
During the month of September, 1633, John Oldham, with sev
eral others of the Dorchester plantation, visited Connecticut, and
were kindly received by the native chiefs, who gave them some
valuable presents of Indian hemp and beaver skins. During this
year the Plymouth people formed a trading company, and sent
William Holmes in October to erect a trading house at a place pre
viously selected on the west side of the Connecticut river, just be
low the mouth of the Farmington, or Tunxis river, in the present
town of Windsor. Captain Holmes reached the Connecticut river
in safety, and sailed up the same, and passed the Dutch fort at
Hartford in proud defiance, and erected the house at the place de
signated, and with the utmost haste surrounded it with palizadoes.
He carried back to their native place Attawanott and several other
Indian Sachems, who had been driven away by the warlike Pequots,
and of whom the Plymouth people purchased the land. The Dutch
fort at Hartford was a harmless affair, and soon ceased to exist as
The Dutch Arms at Saybrook were torn down by the English in
1634, and replaced with a fool s head. Thus ended practically the
power of the Dutch in Connecticut, and the hopes of the haughty
Pequots in that direction were blasted forever. But they were so
incensed at Holmes for bringing back Attawanott and his Sachems
to Windsor, that they kept him and the friendly Indians continual
ly on the defensive, and at every opportunity attacked the English
settlers, and murdered such as they could lay their hands on.
In 1633, as two English traders, viz. Captain Stone and Captain
Norton, were ascending Connecticut river in a vessel, being unac
quainted with the channel, they hired Indian pilots to direct theno ;
but faithless and treacherous guides they proved to be, for they
murdered both officers atitl ciew. consisting of nine men.
Soon after the murder of Captain Stone, the old feud between
the Narragansetts and Pequots began to exhibit itself, which
alarmed Sassacus and his Sachems ; so that they sought an alii-
ance, offensive and defensive, with the English in Massachusetts,
and sent a messenger to Boston to propose a treaty. But the
governor, distrusting the position of the ambassador, ordered him
to return, and say to the Pequots, that they must send men of
more consequence, or he would not treat with them.
Soon after two Pequots of royal blood appeared with an accept
able present. Negotiations were entered into which resulted in a
treaty by which the Indians were to give the English all their title
to the lands on the Connecticut river, if they would send men to
live there and trade with them ; they would also give them four
hundred fathoms of wampum, forty beaver skins, and thirty other
Soon after the conclusion of this treaty, and during the year
1635, four English plantations were commenced upon Connecticut
river, three of them by congregations that came with their minis
ters from the Massachusetts settlements, and the other was effect
ed by John Winthrop, Jr., at Say brook, under a commission from
Lord Say and Seal, Lord Brook, and others.
Notwithstanding this treaty, the government of Massachusetts
distrusted the friendship of the Pequots, and inasmuch as Sassa-
cus did not use his influence to procure the murderers of Captain
Stone and Norton, and deliver them to the English, as was promis
ed by the Pequots preliminary to said treaty, they sent instructions
to Mr. Wintbrop, then at Sav brook, to demand of the Pequots "a
solemn meeting of conference," and lay before them certain charges,
which, if they could not refute or render suitable reparation there
for, then all the presents made by the Pequots to the Massachu
setts government were to be returned to them, with a protest,
equi vale ut to a declaration of war.
Their instructions were dated at Boston, July 4th, 1636, and
were brought to Saybrook by Mr. Fenwick, Hugh Peters, and
Capt. Oldham, with whom came Thomas Stanton to act as inter
The Pequot Sachem was sent for, who appeared ; the conference
was held ; but no satisfaction could be obtained from him ; where
upon the presents were returned ; but war was not declared, though
they separated with unfriendly feelings toward each other.
About the time that Mr. Fenwick left Boston for Saybrook to
treat with the Indians, Capt. Oldham, while on a trading expedi
tion, was murdered by the Indians near Block Island, and all on
board his vessel perished with him. Another trader, Capt. John
Gallup of Boston, speedily avenged his death, and sent his murder
ers to the bottom of the deep.
The brutal murder of Capt. Oldham was traced to some of the
Narragansett Sachems, who had contrived the plan to murder him.
It is not probable that the Pequots had anything to do with it. It
is more probable that he was murdered by the Narragansetts be
cause he was supposed to favor peace with Pequots, having visited
them a short time before, with Mr. Fenwick, for that purpose.
The Governor, acting uuder the advice of the magistrates and
ministers of Massachusetts, resolved that the Block Island Indians
should be chastised. John Endicott, with ninety men, was order-
ed to sail for Block Island, and put to death all the men, and take
the women and children prisoners, after which he was directed to
sail for Pequot harbor, and demand of the Pequots the murderers
of Captain Stone and his crew ; if the Pequots failed to comply, to
Endicott repaired to Block Island, killed fourteen Indians, de
stroyed their corn and burned their wigwams ; then sailed for Pe
quot harbor, via Saybrook, and reported to Lyon Gardener, who
commanded the fort there, what he bad done at Block Island. Gar
dener, who believed the Narragansetts, and not the Block Island
Indians, guilty of the murder of Oldham, complained bitterly of
this rash act.
Endicott lost no time in reaching Peqaot harbor, and took the
Indians by surprise. He landed on the east side, and ascended the
hill, where he found Indian cornfields, dotted here and there with
wigwams, and demanded the heads of the Pequots who had killed
Captain Stone, or he would fight. He demanded an interview with
Sassacus, and was told that the chief was at Long Island, and
could not be seen. After a fruitless attempt to find a responsible
Sachem with whom to confer, he advanced and burned all the wig
wams that he could find, and at night re-embarked his men.
The next day they landed on the west side of said harbor, prob
ably where the city of New London now stands, and burned and
desolated th country. Gardener, while disapproving Endicott s
expedition, furnished him with twenty men, and instructed them to
bring back corn, if not Indians. In undertaking to get the corn,
after Endicott and his men had left, they were attacked with such
force by the Indians that it was with the greatest difficulty that
they reached their vessel with their plunder. Endicott and his
men returned to Boston, and thus ended an unwise expedition,
fruitful of unhappy events.
The Ptquots lost but one man, which, with the destruction of
their wigwams and corn, made them all the more troublesome and
dangerous. They first attacked Saybrook fort, whither some of
their corn had been transported, and in October took one Butter-
field prisoner, and roasted him alive with horrible tortures. Soon
after, they captured a man by the name of Tilly, who commanded a
vessel. They killed his attendant outright, then cut off Tilly s
hands, amputated his feet, and then by the most infernal ingenuity
that devils could invent, tortured him to death. They invested the
Saybrook fort so closely that Gardener lost a number of his men,
who were ambushed and slain by the Indians. So closely was he
pressed, that daring the winter of 1636 and 37, Captain Mason and
twenty men were sent down to reinforce the garrison at Saybrook.
In March, the Indians took a shallop, as she was sailing down the
river with three men. One was killed in the fight, and the other
two were murdered, cut to pieces, and bung upon the branches of
the trees, to taunt and defy the power of the English.
In April following, the Pequots went up to Wethersfield and way
laid the planters. They killed six men, and took two girls captive,
whom they finally allowed the Dutch to ransom when they returned
About this time Massachusetts sent John Underbill to reinforce
the garrison at Saybrook. When he reached the fort, Mason and
his men returned to Hartford.
On the first day of May, 1637, the General Court of Connecticut
assembled at Hartford. These horrible Indian massacres had
aroused the English, and caused them to make a desperate effort to
save themselves from a like fate. The four English plantations on
the river consisted of less than three hundred souls, surrounded
by more than ten thousand savages resident within the present
limits of our State. The frequent secessions that had occurred
among the Indians had torn them into a large number of tribes
and clans, antagonistic to each other.
For a long time previous to the coming of the English, Uncas
and the Mohegans had been subject to the Pequots. They had
made four attempts to secede and establish an independent tribe,
but failed ; but as soon as the English had commenced their settle
ment on the Connecticut river, Uncas with his adherents seceded
and joined the Connecticut river Indians in the vicinity of Hartford
and Windsor, who had previously invited the planters to come and
settle among them.
The failure of the Pequots to make a satisfactory treaty with the
English, who had restored the Connecticut river Indians to their
rightful territory, and ousted the Dutch from the land sold them
by the Pequots, and finally had sided with and sheltered Uncas,
the arch rebel, who had so often defied them, was too much for the
proud, warlike Pequots to endure ; so they resolved to extirpate the
English, not by a bold, manly effort, but by cutting tbem up piece
meal, with fire and torture, the most diabolical and inhuman.
So, when the General Court assembled, they declared war, offens
ive war, against the Pequots, and raised an army of ninety men to
invade the territory of the most warlike and cruel of all the New
England tribes, and appointed Captain John Mason commander in-
chief of the expedition. The soldiers were enlisted, equipped and
provisioned in ten days, and sailed from Hartford, May 10th, 1637,
accompanied by Uncas and seventy friendly Indians. The fleet
consisted of three vessels, and the English being unacquainted with
the navigation of the river, ran their vessels aground several times,
but after five days they reached Saybrook fort.
Uucas and his men were so impatient of delay that they begged
to be set ashore, promising to meet the English at Saybrook, to
which Mason consented. Uncas kept his word, and on his way
down fell in with a clan of Pequots, killed some of them, and took
one prisoner, who happened to be a spy, whom he executed in true
Capt. Underbill tendered to Mason his services, with nineteen
men, for the expedition, on condition that Capt. Gardener, the com
mander of the fort, would consent, which was cheerfully granted.
Mason then sent back twenty of his own men to guard the well-
nigh defenceless settlement during his absence.
His little fleet lay wind-bound near the mouth of the river until
the 18th, during which time Mason summoned and held a council
of war, which, after protracted discussions and advice of their chap-
lain, decided to change the order of the General Court, and set sail
for Narragansett Bay. They left Friday morning, and reached
there Saturday evening, but were not able to land on account of the
weather before the next Tuesday evening, May 23d, when they im
mediately set out for the residence of Miantouomoh.
During the night, an Indian runner brought news to Mason, that
Capt. Patrick, with forty men from the Massachusetts colony, had
reached Providence, on their way to join in the expedition against
the Pequots. But Mason decided not to wait, but marched the
next morning, May 24th, for the Pequot fort. As he proceeded he
was joined by a large party of Narragansetts sent on by Miantono-
He reached the Niantic fort the next evening, which he surround
ed until morning, when, after a fatiguing march of twelve miles, he
reached the fording place in Pawcatuck river, when Mason and his
army halted and rested. After dinner, they marched on to Taug-
wonk in Stonington, where they found a field just planted with In
dian corn ; here they halted and held another council of war. Ma
son now learned for the first time that the Pequots had two forts,
both of which were very strong. At first it was decided to attack
both, but after learning that the one where Sassacus commanded
was too remote to be reached in time, they resolved to go ahead and
attack the fort at Mystic.
Their line of march all the way from Narragansett had been
along the old Indian path, traveled from time immemorial by the
natives, until they crossed Pawcatuck river, and reached Taugwonk.
But from Taugwonk onward they deployed to the north, to avoid
being discovered by the Pequots at Mystic fort, and at early eve
ning they reached a place now known as Porter s Rocks, in Groton,
where between two high ledges "they pitched their little camp."
The night was clear, with a shining moon, and after Mason had set
his guards he and his men lay down and slept. About two hours
before day, the men were called, and ordered to get ready, and after
commending themsevles to the keeping of the all-wise Disposer of
events, they set out for the fort, which was about two miles off.
There were two entrances to the fort, and it was decided that
Mason should enter on the northeast side, and Underhill on the
southwest side. Mason went forward, and when within a rod of
the fort was discovered by a Pequot, who cried out, " Owanux !
Mason and his men entered the fort through the northeast pas
sage, while Underbill and his men passed in at the southwest. A
hand to hand contest ensued on both sides of the fort. Mason
soon saw that his only hope of complete success lay in burning
their fort and wigwams, and immediately set fire to them, which
spread with wonderful rapidity. The scene which followed was
awful beyond all human description, the result of which was the
complete overthrow of the Pequots as a tribe, and the consequent
salvation of the English settlement on the Connecticut river. It
was the most fearful chastisement that any tribe of Indians ever
received ; but they were the Modocs of their day, and when we
consider the terrible cruelties perpetrated by them, the awful tor-
tures that they inflicted upon their English captives, who shall say
that justice did cot overtake them ?
After the close of the battle, and while Mason and his men were
consulting what course to take, they discovered their vessels sailing
before a fair wind for Pequot harbor, and immediately resolved to
reach them by a march across the present town of Groton. But
before they were ready to move they were attacked by about three
hundred Pequots from the other fort at Weinshawks. Captain
Mason, with a file or two of his men, repelled the attack, and then
began his march towards his vessels.
As soon as he had left the scene of the battle, the Pequots visited
the site of the fort, and after beholding what had been done by the
English, stamped their feet and tore the hair from their heads, and
then pursued them down the hill with all the power that their
thirst for vengeance could inspire.
As soon as Mason discovered their approach, he ordered his rear
guard to face about and engage them, when, after a few volleys,
they retired, giving the little army time to rest and refresh them
selves by a brook at the foot of the bill on the top of which the
fort stood. Then, after a little while, they again commenced to
march, and on their way fell in with and burned several wigwams.
The Pequots followed, but kept at a distance, trying in vain to
reach and kill some of Mason s men with their arrows, receiving in
turn severe punishment, for every Pequot that fell by their deadly
aim was scalped by the friendly Indians.
Getting tired of their pursuit, and of its fatal consequences to
them, they abandoned it, when Mason was within about two miles
of the harbor, after which he was unmolested until he reached
Captain Patrick, with his men, who reached Iljarragansett soon
after Mason left, and before the fleet set sail on their return, em
barked his men on board the shallop, and came in her to Pequot
Some difficulty arose between Captain Underbill and Captain
Patrick about re-embarking Underbill s men, which, after high
words, was arranged so that Underbill, with all the Connecticut
men but about twenty, set sail for Saybrook, while Mason and
twenty of his soldiers, joined by Captain Patrick and his men, with
the friendly Indians, marched overland to the Connecticut river.
About midway they fell in with the Niantic Indians, who fled on
their approach, and being exhausted with their long march, they
did not pursue them, but passed on to the river, reaching it about
sunset, where they encamped for the night. The next morning
they crossed over to Saybrook, and were welcomed back by Capt.
After providing for the safe return of the Narragansett Indians,
Mason and his men returned to Hartford, where they were received
with great rejoicing and praising God.
After the Pequots abandoned the pursuit of Mason, they imme
diately returned to Sassacus s fort, and charged him with being tb
sole cause of all the troubles that had befallen them ; and would
have slain him on the spot but for the entreaty of their Sachems
and counsellors. After a long consultation, they concluded to de
stroy their fort and flee from their homes into various parts of the
country. The largest portion fled to the westward, crossing Con
necticut river some ways above Saybrook, where they took and slew
three Englishmen that they captured in a shallop.
The Governor and Council of Massachusetts decided to follow up
Mason s success. They raised and sent forward one hundred and
twenty men, under the command of Mr. Stoughton, with instruc
tions to prosecute the war to the bitter end. They reached Pequot
harbor in June, 1637, and landed on the west side, where they en
camped, and from which they pursued the remaining Pequots with
Captain Stoughton was joined by Miantonomoh, and one of his
Sachems called Yotash, with a band of Narragansett warriors, who
proved a most efficient aid in hunting out the concealed Pequots.
They drove a large number of them into a swamp in Groton, and
took about on hundred prisoners. One Sachem was spared on
condition that he would conduct the English to Sassacus. The
women and children were reserved for bondage, and the men, thirty
in number, were walked overboard on a plank from a vessel at the
mouth of the Thames river.
The General Court of Connecticut met at Hartford in June, and
ordered that forty men should be raised and put under the command
of Mason to prosecute the war. They soon joined the Massachu
setts men under Stoughton, at Pequot. A council of war was held,
which decided to pursue Sassacus in his flight toward the Hudson
river. They soon found traces of the Pequots, who were evidently
moving at a slow pace, doubtless encumbered with their women
and children. But it was difficult to tell, from the number of trails
they were pursuing, which was the trail of Sassacus band. So
they called up the Sachem that Stoughton had spared on condition
that he would point out the trail of the great chief, but he refused
to give any information, and was put to death.
They still pursued the flying Pequots, and drove them into a
swamp in the town of Fairfield, where they surrounded them ; and
after a severe conflict, they captured about one hundred and eighty
prisoners, twenty lay dead upon the field, and about sixty warriors
escaped. Most of the property that the Pequots were endeavoring
to take with them fell into the hands of the English.
Sassacus was not in the swamp, for he had previously fled to the
Mohawks for protection, but in vain. He had defied them in his
prosperity, and now in his evil days they avenged themselves. They
beheaded him, and sent his scalp as a trophy to Connecticut.
On the 21st of September, IJncas and Miantonomoh, with the
remaining Pequots, met the magistrates of Connecticut at Hartford.
A treaty was then entered into between Connecticut, the Mohegans
and Narragansetts, and by its terms there was to be a perpetual
peace between those two tribes and the English. Then, with im
posing ceremonials, the magistrates divided the remainder of the
Pequots among the Narragansetts and Mohegans ; to Uncas they
gave eighty, to Miantonomoh eighty, and to Ninigret they gave
They were to be called Pequots no more, but Mohegans and Nar-
ragan setts ; nor were they ever to dwell again in their old haunts,
or occupy their planting or hunting grounds. Nearly all of those
that were assigned to Miantonomoh left him almost immediately
after they went with him to Rhode Island, and sought a home on
the old territory of the Pequots, in what is now the town of Wes
terly. The most of the Pequots given to Ninigret remained with
him until 1654, when, upon the demand of the English, they were
given up. They located themselves on both sides of Massatuxet
creek, where they built a large number of wigwams, and when the
spring returned again they planted their Indian corn and lived
quietly, disturbing no one.
But the General Court of Connecticut, in 1639, sent Captain Ma
son with forty men, and Uncas with one hundred friendly Indians,
to break up this new settlement of the Pequots, burn their wig
wams, and carry off or destroy their corn ; claiming that it was in
violation of the treaty between the English, Narragan setts and
Mohegans, for the Pequots to occupy any of the old Pequot lands.
Mason and Uncas set sail from the Connecticut river for Pawca-
tuck river, and first landed their forces on the Connecticut side of
the same, then marched up to Pawcatuck rock, (so called,) where
they drew up their Indian canoes, and in them crossed the river,
and marched immediately up to the wigwams and corn fields of the
Pequots, which, after a parley with them, they burned and destroy
ed, carrying off all the corn they could, and twenty of the Pequot
The destruction of their wigwams did not cause them to abandon
their new home, but as son as Mason and Uncas left, they com
menced rebuilding their wigwams, and from the corn that they had
stored, and the fish and game at hand, they managed to subsist
until another harvest gave them food in abundance.
Notwithstanding the displeasure of th@ Connecticut authorities,
they continued to reside at Westerly until some time after that
town was settled by the English, in 1661-2. They cultivated at
different times over a hundred lots. Their principal village was
located near Massatuxet creek.
It is not known that any Sachem was chosen by or placed over
these Indians by the English for several years. Wequash, who
guided Mason to the Pequot fort, was an Eastern Niantic Sachem,
who had a younger brother, known by the name of Harmon Garret.
They were the sons of Momojoshuck, a Niantic Sachem, who had a
younger brother, Ninigret or Ninicraft.
After the death of Wequash, Harmon assumed the name of We
quash Cook, and claimed to succeed his father as the sachemdo of
the Niantics ; but his uncle Ninigret, having married Wequash s
sister, outranked him, and became the recognized sagamon of the
Wequash Cook then mingled with the Pequots, and soon became
their recognized chief. Subsequently he was appointed, by the
commissioners of the United Colonies and the General Court of
Connecticut, Governor of the Pequots at Pawcatuck.
That portion of the Pequot Indians assigned to Uncas by the
Hartford treaty of 1638, refused to live with the Mohegans. They
sought a home where they had formerly lived, on a portion of the
territory now embraced within the limits of the towns of New Lon
don and Waterford. They were known by the name of the place
they then occupied, viz : Nameaugs or Namearks. Another por
tion of the tribe, containing some that were given to Uncas, with
others who escaped from the fort under cover of the smoke, and
quite a number who were not there at the time of its destruction,
located themselves at Noank. They refused to amalgamate with
the Mohegans, for they could net bear the tyranny of Uncas, who
lorded it over them with a high hand.
In 1643, the Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut and New
Haven plantations, entered into a combination or confederation un
der the name of the United Colonies of New England, for purposes
offensive and defensive, mutual advice, protection and support, with
power to regulate and adjust all matters concerning the welfare of
In 1649, a missionary society was formed in England, under the
influence of Gov. Winslow, of Plymouth, and was incorporated by
an act of the Long Parliament, passed July 27th of that year, un
der the name of " The President and Society for Propagating the
Gospel in New England."
In March, 1650, this society appointed the Commissioners of the
United Colonies agents to assist them in disseminating the Gospel
among the Indians of New England.
When Gov. Winthrop begun the settlement of New London, in
1645, he found a small portion of the Nameaugs still occupying
their old haunts, with a nominal chief by the name of Cassasinamon,
whom the English called Robbin. They were not only held tribu
tary to Uncas, but subject to every indignity that his savage inge
nuity could invent.
Notwithstanding the Nameaug Pequots had so recently been at
war with the English, they now received them with open arms, and
extended to them every accommodation in their power. Cassasina
mon became the servant of Gov. Winthrop, and many of his sub
jects rendered the English all the assistance they could.
The English planters took the part of the Nameaugs against Un
cas, and labored to soften the severity of his treatment of them. In
consequence thereof, he became jealous of Gov. Winthrop, and
sought in various ways to terrify and intimidate the inhabitants of
the new settlement.
The first display of Uncas displeasure towards the planters, on
account of their partiality to the Nameaugs, took place in 1646.
The Rev. Thomas Peters, then residing at New London, had been
seriously indisposed, and with returning health his appetite craved
some venison, which he requested the Nameaugs to procure for
Fearing that Uncas might interfere, they hesitated at first, for
he claimed the sole privilege of making a hunt in his dominions ;
but being encouraged, and wishing to gain the friendship of the
planters, they concluded to make the attempt. But before engag
ing in the sport they sought an alliance with the Pequots and East
ern Niantics under Harmon Garret ; so Robbin, with twenty of his
men, accompanied by a number of the whites, crossed the river, and
joined their friends under Wequash Cook, and sallied forth with
high hopes of catching a fine deer for Mr. Peters.
But Uncas, who had obtained notice of their design, waylaid
them with about three hundred of his warriors. Watching a favor
able opportunity, they sprang forth from their hiding place, com
pletely surprising the sportsmen, whom they drove in every direc
tion, pursuing the Nameaugs back to the new plantation, wounding
several of them severely, and plundering some of their habitations,
and threatening to pillage the whites, who became alarmed at such
During the month of September, 1646, the Commissioners of the
United Colonies met at New Haven, and Mr. Peters complained of
Uncas for interfering with his huntsmen, who were peaceably en
gaged in hunting on the old Pequot territory, only a part of which
belonged to him, whereupon he was summoned to appear and an
swer for himself.
He went to New Haven, and asserted his right to control the
Nameaugs, under the tripartite treaty of 1638 ; and further, that a
large number of his ^subjects had been lured from him under the
plea of submitting to the English. He managed his case with so
much shrewdness and address before the Commissioners, that he
obtained their favor, ancl Mr. Peters with his coadjutors were un
ceremoniously dismissed ; so Uncas came off victorious.
At the next meeting of the Commissioners, which took place in
July, 1647, Gov. Winthrop put in an appearance, with a petition
signed by sixty-two Pequots residing at or near Noank, entreating
to be released from the tyranny of Uncas, and to be allowed to set
tle together in one place, under the protection of the English. Af
ter a full hearing, Uncas was fitly rebuked for his sinful miscar
riages, and fined one hundred fathom of wampum ; but the Pequots
were ordered to return to his control, and to amalgamate with the
Mohegans, an order which was never carried into effect.
By this time a large portion of the Indians under Robbin had
taken up their residence at or near Noank, where they had a good
opportunity to fish and raise corn for a living.
In 1648, the Commissioners again re-enacted their decree, and
ordered all the Nameaugs to remain under the sway of Uncas. The
Commissioners continued to favor his claims to the control of the
Nameaugs, and disapproved of their withdrawing from him ; but in
1649 consented that they might go and settle by themselves in
some place that would not prejudice the town of New London, and
also on condition that they would own Uncas as their chief Sachem.
About this time, and for several years after, the haughty Mohe-
gan had his hands full to keep clear of the grasp of his Indian foes.
From the time he executed Miantonomoh until 1660, and in fact
until Norwich was settled by the English, Uncas was repeated
ly driven from Mohegan, and compelled to seek shelter among the
western Niantics ; nor does it appear that he ever lorded it over
the Nameaugs after they were located in the vicinity of Noank, un
der the immediate control of Robbin, where for a few years only
they were permitted to live in peace, and not again to be disturbed
by Uncas, but by the English.
It was during the year 1649, that Chesebrough began the settle
ment of Stonington, which was soon followed by grants of land by
New London to Winthrop, Mason, Stanton, Denison, Miner, Bur
rows, Gallup, and others, between the Thames and Pawcatuck riv
ers, covering the most eligible locations along the seashore, some of
which included lands planted by the Nameaugs. The Indians did
not confine their planting to their villages, but broke up land where-
ever they could hold control from planting to harvest time.
The English claimed all the Pequot territory as belonging to
them by conquest ; not only the jurisdiction, but the fee thereof.
They regarded these Indian settlements as only by sufferance and
for temporary purposes. It was the object of the English, after
the Pequot war of 1637, to merge the remnant of that tribe with
the Mohegans and Narragansetts, so as to uncover and open up all
their lands to the English for settlement.
It will be remembered, that by the treaties between the English
and Indians at Hartford in 1638, and at Boston in 1645, the Pe
quot s were required to pay tribute to the English, which for some
reason was not carried into full effect until 1650, when the Com
missioners appointed Thomas Stanton to demand and receive it,
and make a return yearly of the amount collected.
In 1651, Mr. Stanton reported to the* Commissioners at New
Haven, that he had collected three hundred and twelve fathom of
wampum from all the clans of the Pequots. When this tribute was
laid down before the Commissioners, Uncas and others, who claim
ed that the Pequots were tributary to them, demanded to know
why this tribute was required, and how long it would continue, and
whether it would be visited upon their children. The Commission
er, by Thomas Stanton, said that this tribute was by agreement
due yearly since 1638 ; that it was required of them for sundry
murders without provocation, committed by them upon several of
the English at different times, as they had opportunity refusing
to deliver up the murderers, or to do justice upon them ; hence the
tribute, which had nob been paid, and twelve years tribute was
then due. But on further consideration it was declared by the
Commissioners, " that upon the payment of the same for ten years
thereafter they should be free therefrom (unless they drew trouble
upon themselves.) "
During the years 1653 and 1654, Niuigret became involved in
war with the Long Island Indians, very much against the policy
and wishes of the Commissioners. He had neglected to collect
and pay the wampum tribute due the English from the Pequots
living with his tribe, and had also employed them in his expeditions
against the Long Island Indians. Upon his being called to account
by the Commissioners for the course he was pursuing, he answered
them defiantly ; whereupon they ordered a large number of men to
assemble and rendezvous at Thomas Stanton s in Stonington, and
with him to go and take the Pequots from Ninigret. The men were
mustered in as ordered, and marched to Ninigret s fort, and de
manded an interview with him ; but he was not there. After maneu-
vering awhile, they learned his whereabouts, and finally succeeded
in making a treaty with him, by which he gave up the Pequots,
and they consented to the control of the English.
About eighteen years had now elapsed since the Pequot war, dur
ing which time the English had made every possible effort to merge
and amalgamate the Pequots with the Mohegan, Niantic, and Nar-
ragansett tribes, but in vain. So in 1655, the Commissioners de
cided to take a new departure, and adopt a different policy, by
which the Pequots should remain in two distinct tribes or bands,
one at Miequamicut (Westerly,) and the other at Noank (Groton.)
The Commissioners adopted certain orders and instructions for
their government, and then appointed Cassasinamon Governor of
the Groton tribe, and Wequash Cook of the Westerly tribe, com
manding them to obey their governors at their peril. The wampum
tribute was to be paid to Thomas Stanton, and by him reported to
In 1656, Cassasinamon and Wequash Cook were re-appointed
Governors of the Pequots, and at their request, for certain reasons,
Mr. Wmthrop, Major Mason, and Captain Denison, were appointed
to assist them in compelling the obedience of the Pequots.
In 1657, when Cassasinamon and Wequash Cook made their an
nual report to the Commissioners, they made application for more
land, for the use of their respective tribes, and after due consider
ation it was agreed and ordered by the Commissioners, that We
quash Cook and his company should have a meet proportion of land
at Squamicut, This was really an enlargement of the land then oc
cupied by them. It was also ordered that Cassasinamon and his
company should have a fit proportion of land allowed them at Ware-
mouke, near the path that leads from Mystic river to Moheag,
about five or six miles from the mouth of Mystic river, and advised
the General Court of Connecticut to appoint proper persons to
bound out the same for them.
Connecticut did not at first, nor until 1666, respond to the order
of the Commissioners to lay out land for the Pequots.
After the Pequot war, Connecticut claimed the entire conquered
Pequot territory. Massachusetts, which furnished men and means
for the war, also claimed a share thereof. The matter was referred
to the Commissioners of the United Colonies, who, in 1658, decid
ed that all of that territory lying west of Mystic river should belong
to Connecticut, and all east of that river should belong to Massa
chusetts. Prior to this, and as early as 1649, Connecticut had
asserted jurisdiction as far east as Wecapaug brook, and had made
liberal grants of land to the early planters there.
After the decision by the Commissioners in 1658, Massachusetts
granted land to Harvard College (including Watch Hill,) and made
liberal grants to other parties, covering the entire lands occupied
and planted by the Pawcatuck Pequots, and nearly half of the pre
sent town of Stonington.
In 1660, Sosoa, who claimed to be a valorous Narragansett chief
tain, but by some believed to be a renegade Pequot captain, sold
Misquamicut, or all the land between Pawcatuck river on the west
and Wecapaug brook on the east, to William Vaughn, Robert Stan-
ton, and others, who took possession the next year, under the au
thority of the colony of Rhode Island, ousting the Massachusetts
claimants as well as the Pequots. A long and bitter controversy
ensued between the colonies, as well as among the planters and
It will be remembered that the Commissioners, in 1658, had as
signed Misquamicut lands to Harmon Garret s company of the Pe
quots, and at their sension in 1660 advised said Indians to keep
their possessions, and urged the Connecticut colony to lay out lands
for Cassasinamon at Warramouke.
In 1661, the Commissioners, recognizing the Massachusetts and
Connecticut grants, sugges ed an arrangement which was agreed to
all around, which was that the Indians should occupy their grounds
for five years, and then go to new land, which was to be assigned
them by the Massachusetts General Court, reserving the right of
travel to the river and sea.
At the same time the Connecticut people were stirred up to lay
out lands for Cassasinamon. Complaint was also made against the
Rhode Island planters, who were then occupying some of the lands
in question, whereupon the Commissioners wrote a letter to the
Governor of Rhode Island, protesting against their doings. A
message was also sent to Harmon Garret forbidding him to sell
any lands near Wecapaug.
Soon after the Rhode Island men took possession of Misquami
cut (Westerly,) they drove the Pequots from their planting grounds
at Massatuxet over Pawcatuck river into the town of Southertown
(now Stonington,) where they broke up and planted lands belong
ing to the English planters, by whom they were not disturbed.
It was in view of this condition of affairs that the Massachusetts
General Court, instead of following the advice of the Commission
ers, that the Pawcatuck Indians should retain possession of their
lands at Misquamicut until 1665, granted them eight thousand
acres of land, the same to be located on the Pequot territory in
The next year the Commissioners ordered that this land should
be laid out at Cosattuck, now North Stonington, or in some other
place satisfactory to the Indians. They also wrote a letter to
Southertown, saying that three thousand acres would be as little as
could well satisfy them, also reminding the town that one thousand
acres had been promised the Indians at Cawsut Neck, before any
English grants were made. This land was finally laid out at Cosat
tuck in such a manner as to include some English grants, already
occupied by the planters.
As soon as the town ascertained the boundaries of the Indian
lands at Cosattuck, a meeting was called, in 1664, which refused to
assent to the settlement proposed by the Commissioners, and ap
pointed a committee to go and warn the Indians off of the town lands.
By the charter of King Charles II, of 1662, Southertown had
again become a part of the Connecticut colony ; so the town, in 1665,
appealed to the General Court of Connecticut for redress, who ap
pointed a committee to consider the matter and report back to the
This committee decided against the towD, who remonstrated, and
the court ordered the committee to revise their work, which was
done, and after mature deliberation an agreement was reached in
October, 1666, and another committee was appointed to lay out
lands for the Pequots at Pachog, outside of the bounds of Ston-
But no lands were laid out for them at Pachog, nor in any other
place, mainly because there was not at that time an unoccupied
tract large enough for their wants. And wherever a portion was
designated for them, it would be found intrenching upon some
Pending all these proceedings, the Indians were dispossessed of
their land at Misquamicut ; but not so in Stonington, for they oc
cupied and planted land wherever they could find it unenclosed by
the English. When they first crossed the river in 1661, a majority
of them located themselves at Pawcatuck and Cawsut Neck, near
the salt water. Thomas Stanton and the heirs of Walter Palmer
held grants of these lands from the colony of Connecticut, and they
labored to have the Pequots removed to Cosattuck, which was an
Catapeset, a son of Harmon Garret, with a considerable company
of the Pequots, located themselves on Taugwonk, on lands belong
ing at the time to Ephraim Miner. There they remained for a long
time, cultivating some of the best land in Stonington, and there
they had a village, and there to-day is their burial place.
Stanton and the Palmers did not succeed in getting rid of the
Indians for a number of years, though under their influence a large
part of them went up to Cosattuck to live, while a large part of
their young men lived with and worked for the English. Pawca
tuck river was their favorite fishing place, and after their removal,
for years and years, they would with every returning spring repair
to their old haunts, and remain during the fishing season, and carry
back to their inland wigwams an innumerable host of smoked
For several years after their failure to secure eight thousand
acres of land at Cosattuck, they were none of the best of neighbors.
They were so much dissatisfied that in 1669-70 they lent a listen
ing ear to the wily messengers of King Philip, and their chief men
attended a big dance at Robbinstown, where were congregated a
large number of Indians hitherto hostile to each other. But
through the influence of Mason, Stanton, Denison, and others, they
were persuaded to remain friendly to the English, and finally took
up arms in their defense.
At the swamp fight in Rhode Island, in 1675, Captain John Gal
lup, of Stonington, commanded the warriors of Harmon s company,
and Captain James Avery, of New London, commanded the warriors
of Cassasinamon s company, where they distinguished themselves
for their bravery, and fidelity to the English.
They also joined the expeditions under Captain George Denison
against the Narragansett Indians and the remnant of King Philip s
men, and performed good service.
and Cassasinamon were present and assisted in captur
ing Quonochut in Rhode Island, and aided at his execution at An
guilla Lands in Stonington, in 1676, for all of which they received
valuable presents from the English, and were afterwards treated
with more lenity by them.
In October, 1676, Harmon and his son Catapset gave to the Eng
lish a quit-claim deed of all their lands in Stonington bounds, on
condition that the General Court of Connecticut would restore to
them their old grounds at Misquamicut, which the court undertook
to do, and granted them more than one half of the present town of
Westerly. It is difficult to tell what sort of a title, if any, either
party had to the lands conveyed. The Indians did not undertake
to get possession of Misquamicut again, nor abandon their Ston
The year previous, the General Court enacted a code of laws for
the Pequot Indians under Cassasinamon and Harmon Garret, and
authorized the appointment of an Indian constable to execute their
laws. The General Court continued these Sachems in power as
governors of their respective tribes as long as they lived, and after
their death selected and appointed trustworthy Pequots to fill their
places, with English assistants to aid them in the discharge of their
duties until 1699 ; after which the Indian Governors were dispensed
with, and guardians and overseers were substituted in their places.
Harmon Garret did not live to see his tribe settled on land they
could call tbeir own, nor did he get even a glimpse of his promised
land. He died in 1678, leaving a Will, by which he bequeathed
land to Major John Talcott and John Allen, one hundred acres each.
After his death, Momoho, a noted Pequot, was appointed Gover
nor in place of Harmon Garret, whose first exploit was to lure Cas-
sasinamon s company away from him. He so far succeeded as to
cause a portion of them to ask the General Court for liberty to join
Momoho ; but before the matter came up for a hearing they with
drew their application and abandoned the project.
Notwithstanding the promises made to the Indians, no lands had
as yet been assigned to the Pequots in Stonington as a permanent
home for them to occupy, either by the General Court or the town
Most of the Indians hired lands of the English to plant with
corn, paying the rent in labor for the owners. But this paying
rent for lands once their own, and being compelled almost every
year to change their habitations and break up new lands, was not
at all agreeable to the Indians, and they made repeated efforts to
secure for themselves a permanent home.
In May, 1678, they petitioned the General Court for lands for
that purpose. The court appointed Capt. James Avery and Captain
George Denison a committee to consider where may be found a
suitable tract of land for Momoho and the Pequots with him, and
to be as near the sea as convenient.
What was done by this committee does not appear ; but the
General Court, in May, 1679, advised the town of Stonington to
lay out a sufficient tract of land for the Indians to plant, on or as
near the sea as may be five hundred acres at least.
The town declined to act upon the Court s advice, and in October
following the General Court appointed another committee, consist
ing of Mr. Willis, Major John Talcott, and Captain John Allen, to
treat with Mr. John Pyncheon, of Springfield, for lands for Momo-
ho and his company.
In 1680, the Court notes the fact that said committee had been
treating with Major Pyncheon for lands for Momoho near the sea,
and that Mr. Pyncheon had taken the same into consideration ; but
if that failed, then other lands as convenient as can be should be
procured and laid out for them.
In May, 1681, another committee was appointed by the General
Court to procure a commodious tract of land for Momoho and his
company, either by exchange or moderate purchase.
The town of Stonington had been from the outset opposed to the
location of these Indians within their boundaries, and in 1681 they
made an effort to purchase lands of Catapeset, situated in the town
of Westerly, Rhode Island, and the General Court granted liberty
to Nehemiah Palmer, of Stonington, to purchase said land on cer
tain conditions, and Catapeset agreed to sell a part of said tract to
the town of Stonington for 20 ; but Westerly men disputed Cata-
peset s title, and the town abandoned the purchase.
The next year, in May, the General Court appointed another com
mittee to buy lands for these Pequots, and to sell lands hitherto
reserved for them, and to apply the avails in payment thereof.
In May, 1683, the General Court appointed another committee to
move the people of Stonington to lay out a suitable tract of land
for them ; but if they neglected to do it, the Committee were to
use their best endeavors to suit the Indians with a commodious
tract of land, which they were to procure by exchange of colony
land, or by settling them on some unimproved or colony land, inti
mating that the law required every town to provide for their own
But the town refused to make any provision for the Pequots that
looked to their permanent location in Stonington. So this com
mittee purchased a tract of land of Mr. Isaac Wheeler, containing
about two hundred and eighty acres, situated in said town, a little
way south of Lantern Hill. The deed was dated May 24th, 1683,
and conveyed the land to said committee in trust for the benefit of
said Indians, reserving the herbage for Mr. Wheeler, who received
in payment for said tract five hundred acres of colony land.
This purchase was confirmed by the General Court at its Octo
ber session in 1683, and so to remain during the Court s pleasure.
Momoho and his tribe reluctantly abandoned their claim to lands
by the seaside, and at last found an abiding place bordering upon
the sources of the Mystic river.
There they found a permanent home, and there, among those
grand old hills, they and their descendants have resided ever since ;
and the land is now held by the State in trust for their benefit.
The reservation of the herbage in Mr. Wheeler s deed led to a good
deal of trouble for the Indians, because it compelled them to fence
every patch they planted to protect it from his cattle, and prevent
ed the Indians from owning or keeping cattle for themselves.
Mr. Wheeler, in 1685, took up three hundred acres of his said
colony land within the present town of Plainfield, and another tract
of three hundred acres at Pachog. Owaneco claimed the Pachog
land, which claim Mr. Wheeler purchased for 3.
Mr. Wheeler s youngest daughter, Experience, married the Kev.
Joseph Coit, of Plainfield, who, in 1713, petitioned the General
Assembly to lay out to him the three hundred acres of land grant
ed to Mr. Wheeler in Plainfield, which Assembly directed the sur
veyor of New London county to lay out said land to Mr. Coit, who
was the grantee of said Wheeler s right, and to lay it out at the
choice of Mr. Coit and the people of his charge.
Isaac Wheeler, by his last will and testament, dated 1712, gave,
with lands adjoining, his said right of herbage to his son, William
Wheeler, who, by his last will, dated 1747, gave the same to two of
his sons-in-law, viz : William Williams and Nathan Crary.
Some time before 1716, Samuel Miner, of Stonington, and his
brother-in-law, Josiah Grant, formerly of the town of Windsor, pur
chased four grants of land made by the General Court of Connecti
cut in 1671 and 1672 to certain Pequot soldiers, containing in the
whole just two hundred and eighty acres.
In 1716, Mr. Miner (having previously purchased Mr. Grant s in
terest in said land grants) laid out and located the same upon the
land sold by Mr. Isaac Wheeler to the colony for the benefit of the
Pequots, and laid claim on the same ; which claim was not only re
sisted by the Indians, but by Mr. Wheeler, because if allowed it
would extinguish his right of herbage on said lands.
After the death of Mr. Miner, his brother James Miner, as his
executor, brought, in 1723, a petition to the General Assembly,
praying that his late brother s grants laid out upon said tract of
land might be confirmed to him, saving to the Indians what might
be needful for them ; whereupon the Assembly appointed a com
mittee to investigate the matter, first giving notice to all parties
Mr. Wheeler also appeared and claimed the lands, or his right of
herbage in them. The committee were not called upon to fix the
rights of the parties, because Mr. Miner and Mr. Wheeler compro
mised the matter in 1723, Wheeler giving Miner 60 for his inter
est therein. Soon after, Mr. William Wheeler fenced in the entire
tract, and improved it for the herbage, thereby compelling the In
dians to fence in their gardens and such lands as they wished to
plant, and in this manner the land was occupied by the Indians
during the life of Mr. Wheeler, he taking all the hay and grass that
the land produced.
After his death, in 1748, his sons-in-law, Williams and Crary, and
their wives, divided the land between them, and Crary and his wife
sold a part of their share to Simeon Miner. These lands were now
claimed by Williams and Crary in fee, subject only to the right of
the Indians to plant corn, build wigwams, and live there.
The result was, that the Indians received but little benefit from
the lands, and became dissatisfied, and appealed to the General
Assembly, in May, 1750, for redress ; whereupon a committee was
appointed to inquire into the matter, who upon due consideration
reported to the October session, that another committee, with full
power to act in the premises, should be appointed to visit Stoning-
ton and investigate the matter.
This committee proceeded to the discharge of their duty, and
finally agreed upon a compromise which was satisfactory to the In
dians, as well as to Williams and Crary, which compromise was ap
proved by the Assembly, and was as follows : The Governor and
Council agreed to release to Williams and Crary two strips of land,
one of thirty-five acres, on the south side of the original tract, and
the other of twenty acres, on the east side thereof, and permit
them to locate their ancient Pequot grants of two hundred and
eighty acres on any ungranted lands in the colony ; on condition
that the said Williams and Crary would release the balance of the
entire tract to the Governor and Council for the benefit of the In
dians, to which they agreed, and subsequently conveyed all their
interest in the main tract to the colony, receiving in turn an abso
lute deed to the two gore strips, with the assurance that their
ancient Pequot soldier grants should be laid out to them by Roger
Sherman, who subsequently located them in the town of Plainfield.
Cassasinamon and his company had lands laid out for them, un
der the authority of the General Court at Mashantuxet, in the pre
sent town of Ledyard, in 1665. Though this grant was made at
the request of Cassasinamon, it was not satisfactory to him nor his
company. They wanted their lands laid out at the head of the
Mystic river, nearer to their fishing places ; but the committee ap
pointed to locate it thought otherwise, and established their lands
at Mashantuxet, and the Court ratified their doings in 1666.
So great was the dissatisfaction of Cassasinamon with this grant
that he never occupied it. He continued his home at Noank until
he died in 1692.
Some portion of his company occupied and planted lands at Ma
shantuxet soon after it was granted to them ; but others, with Cas
sasinamon, lived at Noank, and even after his death continued to
reside there until 1712, when the town of Groton claimed the Noank
land, and contended that the Pequots had no title to the same, and
that the colony had given them a sufficient quantity of land at
Mashantuxet ; consequently the Indians were ousted from their
possessions at Noank, and reluctantly went to their inland home.
They brought a petition to the October session of the General
Assembly in 1713, complaining of the town of Groton for taking
their lands at Noank, in answer to which the General Assembly
ordered that a survey of both tracts of land should be made and
returned to the Assembly the May following, and further ordered
that no one should interfere with their hunting, fishing and fowl
ing at Noank.
When the Assembly met in 1714 a full hearing in the premises
was had, which resulted in an order that the Indians must not oc
cupy Noank any longer, but should have full liberty to improve the
Mashantuxet grant of two thousand acres, with the right to come
to the salt water upon Noank neck, for clamming, fishing and fowl
ing purposes, as theretofore.
These early grants by the colony to the Indians were not consid
ered as conveying to them the fee simple thereof, which of course
remained in the colony, and which by the several patents subse
quently issued by the colony passed to the towns or proprietors
So the town of Groton, in 1719, voted to divide their commons,
reserving to the Indians lands at Mashantuxet to live on, and ap
pointed a committee to carry said vote into effect, who, in 1720,
gave them a deed of one thousand seven hundred and thirty-seven
acres, at Mashantuxet, reserving the herbage for the said proprie
tors, who brought a petition to the General Assembly in 1732 for a
final determination of all matters in controversy between them and
Whereupon a committee was appointed, which came to Groton,
and after hearing all parties concerned, reported that the Indians
at Mashantuxet consisted of sixty-six males, from fourteen years
and upwards, a large part of which lived with their English neigh
bors, and that the Indians do not require all the lands previously
granted them, and that the west half of the reservation or common
should be laid out in fifty-acre lots, and the proprietors allowed to
fence them, so as to secure their herbage and the Indians their
corn and apple trees, and the proprietors be allowed to clear the
said lots, leaving ten acres of forest on each lot of fifty acres for
fire wood for the Indians, with liberty for them to remove their
planting to other lots once in three years if they desire, leaving the
other half of the lands unsurveyed and unfenced as formerly.
The report was accepted and allowed, with this condition, " that
the liberty granted to the proprietors to fence said lands shall con
tinue no longer than this Assembly shall think proper."
This act of the Assembly did not satisfy the expectations of the
Indians, who repeatedly complained of encroachments on their lots
by the English, who really secured the lion s share of their pro
To such an extent were the Indians defrauded, that the General
Assembly, in 1752, interposed in their behalf, and summoned the
proprietors of Groton to show reasons why the grant of 1732
should not be annulled, who appeared, and after a full hearing the
Assembly repealed said act.
The Indians remained in possession of the west part of their
lands until 1761, when the Assembly granted them the use of the
east part also. This grant was made in consideration of their ser
vices in the then late war with France.
A large proportion of the Pequots of both reservations entered
the Connecticut forces that were raised to join the expeditions
against Ticonderoga, Louisburg, and Crown Point, and suffered
severely in those campaigns.
So many of them were killed in battle and died of disease, that
the women and children at home were well nigh reduced to starva-
tioD. Their condition was made known to the General Assembly in
1766, by the Rev. Jacob Johnson, then preaching in Groton, where
upon a committee was appointed by the Assembly to visit them,
who repaired to Mashantuxet, and after a patient examination re
ported back to the Assembly, at the same session, that there were
one hundred and fifty persons of all ages, a large part under the
age of sixteen years, and widows whose husbands were killed in
the late war, and they were too poor to provide decent clothing for
themselves, in vietf of which the Assembly granted them 20.
In 1773, they again complained of encroachments without redress.
In 1785, they again asked the Assembly for protection against the
encroachments of the English, which resulted in the appointment
of a committee to fix the bounds of their lands, which were subse
quently established by the committee.
After they recovered from the destitution occasioned by the loss
of so many of their warriors in the French war, they managed to
subsist by their own labor, either on their lands, or for their Eng
lish neighbors, and the colony was not further burdened with their
It will be remembered, that the Commissioners of the United Col
onies were in 1650 appointed agents of the Society for Propagat
ing the Gospel among the Indians in New England. In pursuance
of which, in 1657, they proposed to Rev. Richard Blinman to be
come the missionary of the Pequots and Mohegans, offering him a
salary of 20 per annum, which he declined.
The same year they employed the Rev. William Thompson, son
of the Rev. William Thompson, of Braintree, Massachusetts, to
preach to the Pequots, at a salary of 20 per annum.
He came to Southertown in 1658, and began his labors with Har
mon Garret s company, and was assisted by Thomas Stanton as in
terpreter. He continued to preach to the English and Indians for
about three years, and then went to Virginia.
After this the Commissioners, in 1662, invited the Rev. Abraham
Pierson, of Branford, Connecticut, to remove his habitation to
Southertown, and to apply himself in a more special way to the
work of preaching the gospel to the Pequots, but he declined.
Previous to this, and in the year 1654, the Commissioners of the
United Colonies, at the request of the Connecticut members there
of, provided for the education of Mr. John Miner with the Rev. Mr.
Stone, who was to fit him as a teacher and missionary to the Pe-
Soon after Mr. Thompson left, the Commissioners, in 1664, in
structed the Connecticut members to employ this Mr. John Miner
to teach the Pequots to read ; but whether he was so employed or
not does not appear. The Commissioners also, in 1654, offered, at
the expense of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, to
educate Thomas and John Stanton, sons of Thomas Stanton, the
Interpreter General, at Cambridge, Massachusetts. The object
was to fit them as teachers for such Indian children as should be
taken into college to be educated. They accepted the Commission
ers offer, and entered college, but did not remain long enough to
graduate, nor does it appear that either of them was ever engaged
in teaching the Indians.
The efforts of the English to civilize and christianize the Pequots
were not very successful, the reasons for which may be more easily
imagined than described. The agents of the London Missionary
Society did not wholly neglect them, for as late as 1766 they em
ployed Mr. Hugh Sweatingham to teach the Pequots, at their
schoolhouse at Mashantuxet, at 12 per annum. They also em
ployed Mr. Jacob Johnson to preach to them at 5s. 8d. per sermon.
The Assembly, in 1766, granted Mr. Johnson 5 for his labors,
and Mr. Sweatingham 4 for his services. During the great
awakening of the 18th century, and for a long time before and af
ter, the more peaceable attended the religious services of the Eng
lish, and some were baptized and united with their churches. But
they were mostly females, who worked for and lived in the families
of the whites. Now and then some stern old Pequot captain
would own the Christian covenant, and try to live up to the half
It will also be remembered, that the Commissioners at first at
tempted to carry out the policy of merging the Pequots with the
Mohegans and Narragansetts. They at first refused to permit the
remaining Pequots to be relieved of the tyranny of Uncas ; but af
ter their connection with the London Missionary Society, they
adopted a different policy, and gradually favored the Pequots.
They exerted themselves to secure permanent homes for them,
with ample lands, and then labored to furnish them with religious
instruction. But the colonies preferred to hold and treat the In
dians as wards, subject at any time to their control ; keeping the
fee of their lands in the colony, and giving them only the use there
of ; which policy has been pursued by our State ever since, except
with the Mohegan Indians, who, by law enacted in 1872 and 1873,
had the rights of citizenship bestowed upon them, and their lands
set out to them in severalty as an absolute estate in fee simple.
So it appears that the descendants of Uncas and the Mohegans
have been more kindly treated in these later days than the de
scendants of the Pequots. The services of the Mohegans in our
early Indian wars have been recognized by the Congress of the
United States, which appropriated for their benefit a large sum of
These Pequot reservations, though located in the ancient towns
of Groton and Stonington, were less than a mile apart, with two
small lakes or ponds between them ; each reservation had its vil
lage, called " Indian town," which consisted at first of a cluster of
wigwams built in the Indian fashion.
By-and-by framed houses came into vogue, and the old wigwams
passed away. The reservation at Mashantuxet was by far the larg
est, and the Indians more numerous than the tribe at Lantern
Hill. It was proposed at first to give Cassasinamon s company two
thousand acres at Mashantuxet, but when surveyed by the town it
amounted to only one thousand seven hundred and thirty-seven
The subsequent controversies with the English had the effect of
reducing the area of this reservation. After the English ejected
the Indians from the Noank lands, the town of Groton divided the
same between the inhabitants thereof equally.
They were subsequently surveyed and divided into lots, and
assigned by lottery to the proprietors. Notwithstanding that the
bounds of these lands were established in 1785, no accurate survey
of them was made until 1793, which was preserved, and when the
Legislature of 1855 ordered a survey and sale of a part thereof by
a committee to be appointed by the County Court of New London
county, all that was found remaining of the original two thousand
acres by said committee was a trifle less than nine hundred acres.
Under this authority, seven hundred and thirteen acres were sold
at public auction, bringing about seven thousand dollars, which is
now held by the overseer of that tribe for their benefit, or such as
may need support.
The reservation at Lantern Hill has not been reduced since Wil
liams and Crary were assigned in compromise settlement of their
claims two small strips on the south and east sides.
The Legislature, in 1873, ordered the overseer to survey and sell
all of this reservation but one hundred acres, and invest the avails
thereof for the benefit of the Indians. But owing to the great de
pression in real estate, nothing has been done in the premises.
It is well nigh impossible to ascertain at the present time how
many Pequots belong to, or have an interest in, these reservations.
The Indian towns of the olden time have run down to two small
houses on each reservation, which are now occupied by four fami
lies. How many are living elsewhere cannot be determined.
So, after two hundred and thirty nine years since the conquest
of Mason, only a small remnant remains of the once powerful and
haughty Pequots. No one can defend the horrible tortures that
they inflicted upon the English who fell into their hands as prison
ers. Their overthrow by Mason humbled their pride, and so far
subdued them that ever afterwards they were the friends of the
English. They joined our forces in King Philip s war, and in the
great swamp fight in 1675 performed prodigies of valor under Gal
lup and Avery. During the French war, they voluntarily joined
the expeditions that were raised to repel the invasions of the French
and northern Indians.
But who can successfully defend all of the acts of the English
towards the Pequots, especially after they had yielded to their
authority, and became subservient to their power ? It is not to be
wondered at, that the English failed in their efforts to christianize
The Commissioners of the United Colonies, and nearly all of the
clergymen of New England, made praiseworthy efforts to afford the
Indians religious instruction. But, after all, the treatment that the
Pequots received from the authorities acting under the Colonies of
Connecticut and Rhode Island, in the assignment of lands for their
benefit, and in other matters, was so unjust and oppressive, that it
well nigh outweighed every consideration that was urged upon
them by Elliott and his co-workers to effect their conversion, and
make them believe in the white man s God.
Most of the Pequot warriors preferred the favor of their Good
Spirit Kritchian, and died believing that in the beautiful southwest
land were hunting grounds of boundless extent, and game of end
less variety, where no Hobomoke could charm the arrow from its
fatal plunge, nor mar their happiness in the Indian s summer land.
&. B. & J. H. Utter, Steam Printers, Westerly, JR. L
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