Unseen Neighbors: Native Americans of Central Massachusetts,
A People Who Had “Vanished”
©1997, Thomas L. Doughton
The following chapter on Nipmuc history was published in a shortened version in AFTER KING PHILIP’S WAR, PRESENCE AND PERSISTENCE IN INDIAN NEW ENGLAND, edited by Colin Calloway of Dartmouth College and published by the University Press of New England in 1997. This collection of essays is available through Amazon.com.
The text reproduced here is the extended original writing as made available to Nipmucnet by Thomas L. Doughton and offered here with his permission through Nipmucnet, webpages of the Quinsigamond Band of Nipmucs, an association of Nipmuc Indians and supporters in Worcester, Massachusetts, Comments on this writing can be addressed to Nipmucnet or Thomas L. Doughton.
Unseen Neighbors: Native Americans of Central Massachusetts, A People Who Had “Vanished”
For every time we make others part of a “reality” that we alone invent, denying their creativity by usurping the right to create, we use those people and their way of life and make them subservient to ourselves. Roy Wagner, The Invention of Culture
To elaborate a fact is to construct it…All history is choice…seeks out and accentuates the facts, the events, and the tendencies in the past that prepare the present, that permit understanding it, and help to live it…makes for itself the past that it needs.. Lucien Febvre, Inaugural Lecture, Collège de France, in Combats pour l’histoire
Acquiring real estate in the Washakamaug Pond area of Framingham, near a site of Native American occupation, an earlier town resident, Thomas Eames, “found everything as the Indians had left them.” The fields nearby were “ready for the plow, from previous cultivation by the squaws,” with “meadows…ready for the scythe.” Scattered about were “fresh signs of savage life,” including wigwam poles, heaps of firestones, open granaries, hoes and axes, domestic utensils, large sized stone mortars, smaller mill stones and ornaments. These objects, however, “awakened a sense of insecurity, rather than curiosity, and they were shunned and destroyed, rather than gathered up and preserved.” [Note 1]
“[L]andscape naming and renaming as a means of imposing conceptual and propriety order” constitutes a proof of “conquest, proprietorship, and ultimately incorporation,” as Curtis Hinsley has written. Yet, a “sense of insecurity,” confronting reminders of Indian culture at Framingham was awakened at a town where “both tradition and authentic history” provided “the proof of Indian occupancy” of the region.
The Eames farm, by the variety of artifacts found there suggesting a cluster of Native wigwams, the location also containing a sweat pit. At a Cochituate Pond site were found lithics such hoes, axes, gouges, mortars, pestles, spear heads, buttons, kettles and fire stones, the tools “the work of successive generations.”
At some Framingham locations were granaries or “underground barns,” about five feet deep, smaller ones some three to five feet in diameter, the larger ones, twelve to sixteen feet across,” dug in the sloping side of a knoll or bank, some of them “set close together…that they might be protected from bears and other enemies by a picket.”
Other features of Native occupation were known to Framingham residents, sites suggesting a “typical” arrangement of core settlements in regional Indian homelands.
At Long Pond, for example, there were remains of an “Indian fort,” a circular earthen work, covering an acre and a half, ditch in front of it, enclosed by a wall some four feet high, a raised mound at its center. Several “cellar holes” were built into the embankment. A weir had been built near the fort. “Quite recently,” according to Temple, two large mortars were unearthed at the fort site, along with an “abundance” of pestles, mortars, gouges, spearheads and steatite kettles, where “large granaries are still visible.” At the Hopkinton and Framingham border was another knoll upon which had stood a second “Indian fort.”
As further example, there was a deposit in town of red ochre, a pigment used in the manufacture of body paint, moulded into “little elongated cakes which could be readily carried,” some of these “lately found near the spring, showing plainly the marks of the moulds in which they were pressed.”
A “rock house,” created by a natural inclining at a forty-five degree angle of two granites slabs, thirty feet long, perched like an attic, formed a “cave” area some five and half feet in height, “the whole interior …blackened by smoke…used…as a shelter for a fortnight’s sojourn,” within Temple’s memory.
In 1870s, during road construction at the center of town, a sweat pit, four feet deep and three feet in diameter, was uncovered.
Additionally, several Native burial grounds were “discovered” at Framingham. One burial site was on an island in a town meadow, where are “still plowed up ornaments and weapons. ” Near the Framingham and Hopkinton town lines was a burial ground, “on a sandy knoll,” where “many skeletons were brought to light…buried not more than three feet below the surface.” A Native had been found in town buried in “the remnant of a coarse kind of sack,” while in 1873, another Indian grave was opened, showing a skeleton with a set of tools and finding a thirty-inch bark peeler a few feet below the surface indicated the probability of more graves at the site. Three years later, in 1877, more Native skeletons were found at Framingham “in a fair state of preservation but were carelessly handled and badly broken up.” Other burial grounds included the site of the Framingham Baptist Church, on the town common, where another grave was opened revealing a skeleton with “five or six new spear heads.”
Some Natives are memorialized in Framingham place name still employed in the nineteenth-century like Boman’s Brook, Jacob’s Brook, Benjamin’s Meadow, Indian Head Hill, Captain Tom’s Hill or Jacob’s Field.
The “Indians” Temple describes, however, are in caricature: …aside from war and games for the young men—an Indian was averse to everything that required bodily labor. He trapped and hunted only when necessity compelled him. It was the duty of his squaw to supply him with food…it was only when her stores failed that he would go hunting. His idea of true dignity and true happiness was, to bask in the sun or over his fire, smoke his pipe, eat to repletion and doze.
The Framingham history nonetheless confirms a nineteenth-century association of Native people with the landscape, as do several other types of period texts.
Like Framingham, other towns retained the connection of specific, identifiable Nipmucs with lands they occupied within their homelands. For example, George Hill in Upton and Grafton, and Misco Springs at Mendon and Misco Brook in Upton, refer to George Misco or Memisco. At Boylston, to the north of Worcester, Mount Tom, an oblong elevation, mound-shaped hill with a level area cleared at the summit was recalled as the site where an Indian named Tom had a wigwam. [Note 2]
In eastern portions of the central Massachusetts region, Euroamericans at Hopkinton recognized that Native had occupied sites near Whitehall Pond, “one of their favorite resorts,” along with “every hiding-place and cave” in some nearby ledges. Town tradition identified an area near the ledges covered, in the nineteenth-century, by pine growth as an Indian cornfield, a sizeable rock at the site, “a depression probably once used by them as a mortar…near it was found a large rounded stone, its surface worn smooth by grinding corn.” In the nineteenth-century, “Wigwam yards” remained a designation for a site along the Marlborough and Sudbury borders, with “immense” chestnut trees, where Natives had been previously erected a settlement; and, between Northborough and Marlborough was what was assumed a burial mound, a raised embankment of some seventy-five by twenty-five feet, but “there is now no trace of graves, and no one who has dug into the various mounds has been fortunate as to find remains of these first inhabitants.” [Note 3]
At Sudbury, [Note 4], where allegedly, there was “no evidence that many Indians” lived in town and “not very much is known, at most” of these Natives, a nineteenth-century town history proceeds to detail Native occupation of the area. “Relics” had been found “in various localities” of Sudbury: arrow and spear heads; tone plummets; chisels and gouges; mortars and pestles; stone tomahawks or hatchets; stone kettles; fired cooking stones; and human remains—all indicating “the former existence of a wigwam or cluster of wigwams.”
One of the Sudbury sites was a river meadow, an area of one or two acres, of “light, sandy upland, in places, almost or quite without sod,” where materials were found “in abundance.” Objects including arrow-heads and plummets, were not only “unearthed there by the plow or spade, but some have been uncovered by the wind.”
The history of Sudbury describes another twelve comparable Native habitation sites, quoting the nineteenth-century owner of one of these locations: I have found on my land, east of Cedar Swamp, a stone axe, part of a tomahawk, a gouge, chisel, flaying knife, and other strange things; also about four hundred arrow-heads, one half of them broken. I have plowed over seven or eight collections of paving stones that were discolored by fire, that I suppose were the hearthstones of Indian wigwams.
At another Sudbury location was a burial ground where “an Indian skeleton has been exhumed by the roadside…discovered when the road was built, by a person passing by,” who “drew it from the bank, together with several Indian relics.” A second Native burial ground of two or three acres existed at Sudbury, where “remains of human skeletons have been exhumed.” An older Sudbury resident, claimed that in his boyhood when men were working at this site,” he saw bones which they dug up, that he thought belonged to several human skeletons and that he himself in later years dug up a human skull.”
From all of this was concluded, “no distinct tribe is known to have existed” at Sudbury, but, rather, “a race that has passed away.” Before Metacomet’s Rebellion, John Eliot’s missionary efforts “radiating like light through the dark shadows of the unenlightened land” brought “peace to the people” and “a loving, neighbor-like spirit” pervading “the life of both the Indian and his white benefactors.” After 1676, however, Natives in the area became “a weak and broken band.” It is “true the Indian is still in the land, but how neglected and lone,” since “this race is passing.” As, the Sudbury history phrases it: The last family hereabouts has long since disappeared, their name is unspoken, and their very graves are unknown. They have been gathered to their fathers, with little to tell the stranger where once they dwelt. The streams still sparkle, but not for them; the hills are crowned with our corn; in the valley our garden smile; our grain makes yellow the plain. The town’s natural outlook, in a measure, remains unchanged, but a race has vanished, and the customs, language, and life of another race are here.
Period texts frequently speak of fixed seventeenth-century settlements encountered by Europeans during the “invasion” of central Massachusetts, for example, Washakim, [Note 5], a major Nipmuc encampment site at Lancaster, or Tatnuck and Packachoag at contemporary Worcester, [Note 6], or Wabaquasset, now Woodstock; they also document subsequent “purchase” of many Indian growing areas, “broken up land” and “old cornfields.”
At Woodstock, for example, a map of the town drawn in 1883, included with Bowen’s Woodstock history, has marked on it: pre-Contact habitations sites at Senexit meadow, the location of an “Indian fort” built in the 1670s and two burial grounds, as well as position of older Indian homesteads in the town.
In fact, it’s the rare town history from this period that fails to mention Indian occupation of this region. Although labeling their Indian neighbors “specimens” of a “doomed and degenerate race,” many regional town histories from the last century associate the landscape with its aboriginal Native occupants.
n southern Worcester County, for example, at Quabaug or Podunk Pond in Brookfield, “the distinctive remains of Indian occupancy were still plainly visible” in the last century, underground storage areas identifiable; pottery kettles, pottery, personal ornaments and “more or more skeletons” were taken from the site since “as far back as any one remembers” in the 1880s “this vicinity abounded in Indian relics of various kinds.”
An early history of Warren, originally called Western, mentions “some vestiges of the aboriginals,” unearthed in the eastern part of Warren which had formerly been part of Brookfield, where “large beds of clam-shells were discovered under the soil,” along with “Indian utensils.” On the southern bank of the Quinebaug River, along the Sturbridge and Brimfield borders, nineteenth-century residents were aware of “large planting-fields,” from which “many relics, of various kinds” were retrieved. [Note 8] In this area, for example, one West Brookfield amateur collected objects on a farm family now at the Haffenreffer Museum, Mount Hope, Rhode Island. [Note 9] In 1923 documentation William E. Lincoln affirmed that in the previous sixty years, he and his brother David, found material on their farm including: twenty pestles, twelve axes, two pipes, twenty-seven arrow points and “other specimens.”
According to the first history of Sturbridge, a group of “hardy pioneers,” in the 1720s, found themselves in “solitary, self-denying circumstances” in “the impenetrable thicket” of area woodlands, “chiefly on foot and alone into an almost unbroken forest, with each a good axe on his shoulder, and a pack on his back containing whatever provisions and utensiles would best enable him to grapple with rude nature in single combat.” This vision of the settling of the Sturbridge area by Euroamericans was repeated almost twenty years later, in a second town history, asserting that immigrants were “surrounded by an unbroken forest.” [Note 10]
At neighboring Monson, Native people had inhabited Deer Pond and Moose Mountain. At Brimfield, Nipmuc people had created a 2,000-acre growing field while in the nineteenth-century, Indian-field Hill recalled another area where older town inhabitants had seen Native cornfields. “Relics” and “traces” of Natives were to be found at several locations in Brimfield. In this area claims a period history, “Indians roved about in large bands, generally friendly, but frequently troublesome and insolent in demanding food and lodging.” They disappeared, however, “utterly, without leaving a record behind…rude savage tribes of whom not enough is known even to say ‘he lived—he died.’” [Note 11]
Together, all selected citations are part of a discourse of the disappearance of Indians, in their marking of the regional landscape insinuating Native Americans were people “of the past.” The nineteenth-century discourse of the disappearance of Native Americans projects the extinction, dissolution and vanishing of the Indian peoples of central Massachusetts. In this, it perpetuates almost “canonical” or regulatory distortions and simplifications of Native experience long part of New England history.
A conventional historical wisdom continues repeating that Nipmuc Indians disappeared in the wake of the King Philip War. [Note 12] This is less than an ambitious or inspired reading of New England history since the “disappearing Indian,” like, for example, the “sturdy yeoman” or the “thrifty Yankee,” has become a stock character. He is first encountered in the works of the Bay Colony’s seventeenth writers.
At the beginning of the “errand” into the wilderness, Massachusetts Native people were nearly “wiped out” in the “virgin soil epidemic” of 1618-19, called by Winslow, in 1621, a “wonderful plague” to destroy them and leave their lands free for occupation. The epidemic prior to English arrival was the “meanes Christ…not only mad roome for his people to plant,” but he also “tamed the hard and cruel hearts of those barbarous Indians,” in the words of William Johnson.
As Winthrop explains it, “God hath consumed the natives with a miraculous plague, whereby the greater part of the country is left void of inhabitants.” Thus, “there are very few left to inhabit the country,” with a result that “the Indians are not able to make use of the one fourth of the land; neither have they any settled places, as towns, to dwell; nor any ground as they challenge for their own possession, but change their habitation from place to place,” as there was an “abundance of ground that they cannot possess of make use of,” wrote Francis Higginson in 1629. [Note 13]
Moreover, a second epidemic in the early 1630s so ravaged an already small Native population along the coast that “Thus did the Lord allay their quarrelsome spirits, and made roome for the following part of his Army,” in Johnson’s language; and, Winthrop wrote in 1634, Bay State Indians “are neere all dead of the small Poxe, so as the Lord hathe cleared out title to what he possess.” [Note 14]
The digest of early records of Charlestown, for example, reported that “By which awful and admirable dispensation it pleased God to make room for his people of the English nation; who after this…without this remarkable and terrible stroke of God upon the natives, would with much more difficulty have found room, and at far greater charge have obtained and purchased land.”[ Note 15]
These themes have resonated in New England historiography, ennobling “our” Puritan “Fathers” who merely acquired unused, unneeded or vacant Indian territories, in a contest between “civilized” land improvement and a “savage” under-utilization of their “uncouth wilderness.” New England had “far excelled” other regions in the production of literary texts furthering this opposition, what Berkhofer called “the paradigm of polarity” through which occur “the imaginative transformation of the Native American from the Indian of contact into the Indian of symbol and myth.”[Note 16]
Part of this transformation re-created the Indian as “vanishing.” In the words of Samuel Eliot Morison, for example, Metacomet’s Rebellion concerned “the survival of the English race in New England” that required “the eventual disappearance of the Algonkian Indians,” a topic more critically explored by Slotkin, Salisbury, Jennings, Pugliese and others. [Note 17]
This interpretation, however, justified the “founding fathers” in their dealings with Indians, it furthered an entire vision of New England’s past as an “errand into the wilderness,” forging so many “little commonwealths” in “vacant lands, ” cleared of Indians. [Note 18]
An “official story” resonates across the discourse banishing Indian people from our historical consciousness, denying a past of Indian adaptation, removing Natives from the region’s present as it erases persisting Indian community. Imagining Native experience only across variations of a “disappearance” model, the “authorized” version of New England history is deaf to the voices of individual Indian men and women, blind to actualities of multiple layers of social and political interactions constituting regional Indian community. A world of dynamic nineteenth-century Native social practice is “unseen.” Indians who are part of this community are dismissed as racially mixed; they become “colored” and not Indian. The authorized version alleges that what it calls “traditional” culture is gone. Economically exploited as cheap labor, individual Natives are “marginal,” people at the edge, disconnected from the social landscape? Or, even as some contemporary scholarly texts put it, regional Indians are “disappeared,” a people who vanished in the wake of Metacomet’s Rebellion.
Native American peoples of central New England, however, [Note 19] were part of the nineteenth-century social landscape, pursuing established patterns of persistence and cultural survival, affirming their Indian identity. A minority of area residents, Indians lived unevenly distributed in regional towns, in some instances scattered or isolated, at other locales in clusters or concentrations of small yet marked and visible Native communities. They were not, all of them, creatures of white imagination: intemperate, immoral, drunken, or childlike. On the contrary, many were rooted in area towns, stable residents, some of them property-owners, woven into the region’s social fabric, seemingly “just like their neighbors,” but affirming their “Indianness,” and often publicly “recognized” or “seen” as Indian. The public Native identity they affirmed, as individuals and as a collectivities, can be demonstrated through ongoing corporate, legal relationships involving municipal, county and state entities and Natives, as aboriginal tribal or band communities, relating to governments on the basis of treaties and legislative covenants; through individual relationships between the state and Indians as “wards of the Commonwealth,” an arrangement by which guardians administered legal affairs of Indians connected to families living on corporate tribal lands; through official enumeration as Indian for the Commonwealth, in legislative reports and state census returns; through documentation as Indian in original birth, death and marriage records; through depiction and description as Indian in town histories, antiquarian publications and period newspaper accounts; and, through verification of Indian status in court records, many generated, for example, as part of legal actions for recovery of trust money withheld by the Commonwealth when Bay State Indians became citizens in 1869.
Their sense of themselves as distinct and separate was demonstrated in their social practice. Five representative Nipmuc families viewed from the eighteenth century to present, for example, reveal a long-standing pattern of inter-marriage with Indian cousins and other relatives, in towns along the Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island borders, these families remaining part of a persistent, centuries old, and socially complex movement of kinship clusters of Indians within their homelands. [Note 20]
Far from “disappeared,” however, Natives of central Massachusetts in the nineteenth-century were farmers, plumbers, washerwomen, mariners, chair bottomers or chair caners, “Indian herb doctors,” barbers, shoemakers, domestic servants, baggage masters, itinerant entertainers, day laborers, railroad engineers, mill operatives, specialty bakers, broom and basket makers, housewives, and stage coach drivers. Their number included “well-known” individuals identified as Native in nineteenth-century town histories: Benjamin Wiser, deacon and elder of Auburn’s Baptist Church in the first quarter of the century; Polly Johns, of Leicester, one of the many “last of the Nipmucs;” Hannah Dexter, apparently “known to many now living” in 1830 as “a doctress, well skilled in administering medicinal roots and herbs,” who, in 1821 burned to death, “a tragical end…while endeavouring to quell a riot in her household…raised by a set of unwelcome visitants, chiefly of a mixed breed of English, Indian and African blood;” Julia Jaha Dailey, allegedly “the last of the Nipmucks” living at Oxford, according to one town history, while a period chronicle of a second town labeled her sister Mary Jaha “the last survivor of the once powerful tribe of Nipmuck Indians;” Ebenezer Hemenway, a well-known janitor at the Worcester city hall, whose mother was an equally familiar Worcester Indian, celebrated in the 1820s and 1830s for custom-ordered wedding cakes; Jacob Glasgow a “hunter and fisherman” and “Old Jim Injun” or James Walmsley who died, aged 75, in 1865, among Woodstock Connecticut Natives where Nedson and Dorus family members also lived; and, other Natives like Peter Stebbins, known by many Paxton residents, or John Field of Worcester, in the 1830s, a young ventriloquist and musician, entertaining at different regional venues. Numerous Native men from the area who saw military service during the Civil War, especially those who became casualties are likewise described in various town histories. [For Civil War List, Note 21]
Moreover, many regional town chronicles, even if they often employ conventional nineteenth- century Indian stereotypes, depict individuals like Polly and Joseph Dorus with four children “reduced to begging and asking for a place to sleep,” sometimes “hired out to put splint seats in chairs;” Aunt Sarah Green, who “often said she was a doctor and carried herbs in her basket,” and the Qaun family who lived in a “shanty” and “wandered for months at a time,”—all of them in Sturbridge area, in the first quarter of the century. Before 1869, some of the region’s Indian people lived at a reservation in Webster [originally part of Dudley] while many others resided in cities and towns, part of extended family and clan clusters. The majority of Indians in the area were “Nipmucs,” or alternatively members of various southern New England tribal groups, including several individuals part of families connected to or returned from the Brothertown experiment in New York. [Note 22]
Indians from other areas had also moved to the region in the antebellum period or later. [Note 23] Additionally, Natives from northern New England passed through Worcester County, making extended visits; in the late 1830s, a group of Penobscots from Maine, made annual summer journeys to Worcester for religious services at the region’s first Catholic church. [Note 24]
Other Northeastern Natives whose “migrations” into the area are documented include: Narragansett-Niantic individuals and families from Rhode Island into towns along the Blackstone River, like, for example, Joseph Noka, of a prominent Charlestown political clan, living first with the Cisco family at Grafton, years later marrying at Worcester. Some families were people from southern Connecticut like the Nedsons; an eighteenth-century Pequot-Mohegan Nedson whose uncle ran a school at Stonington married Nipmuc Mary Pegan; their daughter Polly Nedson married Joseph Dorus, a Mahican, and nineteenth-century Dorus family members married other Nipmucs in towns at Massachusetts and Connecticut. Border. Other Native families in the area were people from New York state, like the Burr and Jackson families, living in Holland, West Brookfield and Sturbridge were, according to John M. Earle of a chiefly family at Oneida. Still Indians from more even distant areas took up residence Nipmuc homelands. Moreover, in 1900, when New York Indian claims were being resolved in Congress, area Native people connected to Brothertown unsuccessfully filed petitions for their families who had lived at Brothertown to be part of financial settlement for lands taken in New York State. The practice of these and other families suggests “unseen” Native American community dynamics. A characteristic extension of Indian families in the area can be sketched across the Vickers family: Natives of “Quineshepauge,” the Nipmuc homelands of the Blackstone Valley region, members of the Vickers family joined the Natick community in the 1730s, where they remained throughout the century, connected to towns including Mendon, Medway, Medfield, Natick, Grafton and Upton. Christopher Vickers, a son of Revolutionary War soldier Christopher Vickers, married Mary Curless. In the first half of the nineteenth- century, thirteen children of Mary Curless and Christopher Vickers were both at Burrillville, Rhode Island and Thompson, Connecticut. Of six daughters: one married James Pegan at Thompson where their family lived; another married a Nipmuc at the reservation at Webster; a third moved to Worcester where she married, eventually locating to Oxford; and another three daughters, each married Nipmuc men at Worcester. Of their sons: five lived and raised families at Oxford, one married a Woodstock Nipmuc, another married a Hampton, Connecticut Native, a third marrying a Native from Burrillville; and fourth son married a Native at Hampton, Connecticut.
In the next generation: grandson Edgar Pegan married a Columbia Connecticut Native at Thompson; grandson Peleg Brown Jr., at Woodstock, married Nipmuc sisters Ida Shelley and Hannah Nichols [daughters of Lydia Sprague]; grandson Orin Vickers married cousin Emma Vickers, at Oxford, one of their sons, Edwin Vickers, marrying Nipmuc Amanda Dorus; and another grandson, Charles K. Vickers, married Woodstock-born Nipmuc Polly Dorus, whose children were born at Sturbridge, including, for example, Charles Henry Elmer Vickers, 1887-1946, who married Orianna Hewitt, a daughter of Martha Dorus Hewitt, and Samuel Vickers, who married at Woodstock, Nipmuc Alice Susan Dorus. A more detailed discussion of this single family would demonstrate Native kinship connections to virtually all of the towns of southern Worcester County and northeastern Connecticut.
These examples of extensive Native interactions highlight a diversity of Native persistence and point towards a world of long-term regional Indian interaction on the social and physical landscape of Nipmuc homelands, —homelands which eurocentric cultural imperialism imagines purged of Indians.[Note 25]
Despite a droning chorus of regional and national commentators telling them they were “vanishing,” the area’s nineteenth-century Natives were “living proof,” contradicting the spurious “extinction” of their peoples. For example, several extended families called by others the “Dudley” or “Pegan Indians” who lived at a “reservation ” in Webster up to 1869, maintained a relationship to the town of Webster and the Commonwealth, that reflects a measure of a continued corporate existence of the region’s aboriginal people. Recipients of some $27,059 from the state treasury from 1808 to 1869, they were visited by a legislative committee in 1849 and found to comprise forty-eight individuals, in eleven families, some farming on the twenty-six acre reservation, others employed in surrounding towns. [Note 26] During the 1860s, twenty-seven individuals living at Webster, Spencer, Worcester, Oxford, Gardner, New Bedford and Thompson Connecticut, received cash payments or other benefits from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through their state-appointed guardian, on the basis of their status as Dudley or Pegan Band Nipmucs. [Note 27] In the year 1863, twelve individuals or families of this community were provided with foodstuffs, clothing, medicines, tools, and firewood, and their medical, burial and legal expenses were also paid by the Commonwealth. [Note 28]
Natives were seen and identified as Indians when, from 1790 to 1813, twenty-seven individuals received cash payments from guardians of Indians at Grafton. Between 1786 and 1829, guardians at Grafton also sold twenty real estate holdings, on behalf of sixteen individuals considered Native by the Commonwealth, while guardians purchased real estate for Nipmucs at Princeton in 1801, at Royalston in 1803, and at Worcester in 1825, 1844 and 1857. [Note 29]
In 1839 the state provided funds to the Worcester County Judge of Probate to be used, for ten years, to meet the needs of some area Indians; in 1849, the provision was extended for an additional ten years. [Note 30] In 1859, another $1000 was allocated to Worcester Probate Court for the needs of Indians at Grafton and Worcester; and, in 1865, state funds were paid to the Grafton Selectmen for needs of the town’s Indian residents. [Note 31] Even after formal “detribalization” in 1869 when the Act of Enfranchisement terminated guardianship and made Nipmucs state citizens, several individuals applied for and received annuities or cash payments, as Indians, from the Commonwealth. [Note 32]
As Massachusetts Indian Commissioner, in 1860, John M. Earle [Note 33] was able to find many Natives, in part, through contact with living Native families whose voices he heard. Earle identified [Note 34] 181 men, women and children, including non-Indian spouses, as connected to the region’s Nipmuc peoples: 147 of these individuals resided in area towns (forty-eight in Worcester); another twenty-one persons lived beyond central Massachusetts borders; two young Nipmucs were institutionalized, one at a reform school, the other at an insane asylum; and the whereabouts of another eleven Nipmucs, including among them, Mrs. Amey Robinson, a “migratory Indian doctor,” could not be ascertained. Earle also reported a Nipmuc among several Bay State Indians moving to California, presumably, between 1849 and 1861. [Note 35]
The Massachusetts state census of 1865, on the other hand, claimed there were ninety-nine “Indians” in Worcester County including eighteen persons at Mendon; thirteen at Webster, at Dudley and at Grafton; ten at Southbridge; and eight Indian people at Sturbridge. [Note 36]
Both Earle’s tallies and the state census returns were probably incomplete, but they do provide clear documentary evidence of a nineteenth-century Indian presence. Natives represented a distinct minority of the region’s total population, but the figures suggest a significant clustering or concentrating of Indians at specific locales, homeland towns where Native communities coalesced during the antebellum period. As early as 1800, Isaac Glasko, [Note 38] a Native from Cumberland, Rhode Island and his Native wife Lucy Brayton from Smithfield, also Rhode Island, located to North Uxbridge, Massachusetts, one of the towns in the Blackstone Valley. His father Jacob and brother George Glasko, both of whom lived at Northbridge, in southern Worcester County, also in the Blackstone area, followed Isaac Glasko to Massachusetts. In 1807 the three Glasko men moved from Northbridge to Connecticut. Jacob Glasko [I] settled at Preston, where his first wife Martha died, sometime after the birth of Jacob Glasko [II] in 1815; at Putnam, he married Native Elizabeth Dailey and died at Griswold in 1824. George Glasko, a shoemaker, settled first at Preston, then Killingly and finally at Thompson, his children including a Miss Elsie Glasko, taking up residence in various Connecticut towns. When he moved from Northbridge, Isaac Glasko settled at Griswold, Connecticut where he operated a forge, manufacturing axes, hoes, harpoons and other metal tools, his children also settling in various Connecticut towns; Isaac Glasko died, 85 years old, in 1861 while visiting a daughter at Norwich. [Note 39]
In the 1830s and 1840s, for example, connections within this area can also be seen through the Cisco family, Natives, moving from Massachusetts/ Rhode borderlands up the Blackstone River: Of the children of Hannah Potter and Edward Cisco or Scisco, several moved into Worcester County from Cumberland or Slatersville, Rhode Island. Brother Francis R. Cisco, [1811-1892], located to Mendon, in 1832 marrying a Medfield-born Native, Lucy Coffee, their children and grandchildren, all born at Mendon. In the early 1840’s, sister Harriet Cisco married a Native from Uxbridge, where she established her family. In 1843, at Mendon, another brother George W. Cisco, [1819-1902], married Native Lucretia Coffee, their family living at Mendon and Milford, whose son, for example, George Cisco Jr. [born 1848], was a teamster resident at Smithfield, Rhode Island in 1870 when he married a Greenwich RI born Native. In 1844, at Grafton, another sibling, Samuel C. Cisco married Sarah Maria Arnold, [1818-1891], whose Nipmuc family had been resident at Grafton, Upton and surrounding towns since the seventeenth century.
In 1850, the federal census recorded 621 persons of color recorded in the federal census for Worcester County. Of these eighty-four were Native Americans, in sixteen families, lived in Blackstone Valley towns. There was a small Native community here: seven families, and an additional four persons living in white households, at Uxbridge; one family at Douglas; another family at Charlton; four families at Mendon; one family at Grafton; one Native woman in a white household at Blackstone; and one family at Milford. Native families in the Blackstone Valley comprised almost twenty percent of “colored” people in Worcester County’s rural towns and thirteen percent of all people of color in the County. [Note 40]
Although some Native families were among town poor, [Note 41] many in the area continued working family farms, functioned as day laborers, or, like the family of Mary Vickers, a Burrillville Rhode Island Nipmuc, began seeking employment in Blackstone Valley mills. With adult children or other relatives, Mary Vickers and her sons lived, at different times, in several Blackstone Valley towns. Many in her family were shoemakers in Connecticut in 1850 from where they returned to work in mills at Uxbridge, Milford and Oxford by the decade’s end. In Connecticut, they had been part of an Indian concentration in the greater Woodstock area, including another thirteen Native households, four of them headed by Indian shoemakers. [Note 42]
In 1860, Worcester County had fifty-four Native households: thirty-eight were in County towns, thirty-three headed by males, five headed by women. [Note 43]
There were another sixteen Native households in Worcester. However, most of the area’s Natives lived in rural settings. Data indicate a wide clustering of Indians along an arc extending from the Blackstone River Valley along the southern Worcester County and Connecticut border where and eighty-five percent of Native families in County towns and seventy percent of all Worcester County’s Indian families, rural and urban combined, were concentrated. [Note 44]
A comparable, almost arcing or radiating movement can be drawn, in silhouette, in the actual world of Nipmuc family extension, from Framingham and Natick, through the Blackstone Valley to southern Worcester County towns: David Munnalow, participant in a wartime raid, moved from Grafton and Upton to Westboro and Marlboro; his son Abemelich David married at Grafton and his wife, Patience Abraham, was known as Patience David. Her father had been an English scout during the war, with connections to Nipmucs at Natick; a daughter of Abemelich, known as Patience Abemelich, grew up at Grafton and married Samuel Pegan at the Nipmuc reservation at Dudley. A daughter of theirs, Patience Pegan married Julius Caesar and they were the parents of Betsey Caesar. Betsey Caesar and husband, in turn, raised a family at the reservation, three of their children marrying Nipmucs. One of the daughters, Angenette White Dorus Hazzard married one Nipmuc at Sturbridge and another at Woodstock where she died. She was mother of eight children born at Sturbridge, Union CT or Woodstock named Dorus and two named Hazzard, born at Woodstock. The only son to marry, at Sturbridge, wed a Nipmuc from the reservation. One daughter married another Native at Sturbridge, a second married a Native from Abington, Connecticut, and a third was the mother of eight children, from three different marriages. She was married to a Native at Worcester, children born at Dudley; her second marriage was to a Nipmuc at Woodstock, children born at Woodstock and Dudley; and the final marriage was with a Stonington Connecticut Native at Webster. [A child from the first marriage, Angenette Arkless, born in 1872, choose a husband from another extended Nipmuc family and until recently had living children; she is connected to several hundred contemporary Nipmuc people.]
At Shrewsbury, Westborough and Grafton, Native people clustered. Though she wrote in an idiom presenting Natives as debased, drunken, quick to anger, violent, wasteful, willing to work only until alcohol can be purchased, and colorful, amusing characters long remembered and discussed, Harriette Forbes presents a squatters’ settlement located in the once great cedar swamps along the intersecting borders of these three towns. Here, “degenerate” whites, emotionally disturbed or mentally ill without family to care for them, Nipmuc Indians, former slaves left to their own resources when emancipated, and others, in the Forbes version, lived virtually uncivilized lives in swamp “hovels.” Her work documented a regional oral tradition, among Euroamericans, retaining information and “quaint” anecdotes about almost twenty-five Nipmuc people resident in the three towns between 1785 and 1840. Additionally, she described, in detail a group of “celebrated” tramps “wandering” from Framingham to Grafton and Upton, associated with Sarah Boston or Phillips. Sarah [her father was named Boston Phillips] was a “gigantic Indian woman…weighing nearly three hundred pounds and… very tall,” who dressed in garments usually worn by men, wrapped in a blanket, and earned her living working in the fields, alongside men. [Note 45]
Part of a Nipmuc family at Grafton, Sally Boston has been depicted in several area town histories. At antebellum Southbridge there was a recognized locale called “New Guinea,” occupied by members of related Nedson, Dorus and Dixon Nipmuc families. Dismissed in a 1901 writing as “Negroes, Indians, or half-breeds,” [Note 46] the occupants of this neighborhood, however, were of an Indian heritage, so well documented, that this small gathering at Southbridge can be “recovered,” and seen inscribed within the spheres of extended regional Native American social community.
At Woodstock, [originally “New Roxbury,” a Massachusetts town], on the Connecticut side of a border drawn through specific Nipmuc settlement areas, thirty-eight Indians [including Nedson, Dixon and Dorus families] constituted a small community during the early nineteenth-century. In 1850, for example, eighteen Indian families in the Woodstock area and in adjoining towns represented a continued Native presence in the townships of northeastern Connecticut created from the pre-contact Nipmuc settlements Wabaquasset, Senexet and Quantasset. In the second half of the nineteenth-century, the Woodstock Native community continued expanding to become, in 1900, a site to which almost all Nipmucs had social connection. Even Nipmuc craftsmanship was retained here, as recently as the 1920s baskets were collected from this community [now at the Connecticut Historical Society, in Hartford] as “there could be found in many Woodstock homes specimens of this handiwork.” [Note 47]
Additionally, there was a Native presence in Worcester County, associated with individual family or clan groups, [For documentation, See Note 48] like Nipmucs associated with Esther Pegan Humphrey in western County towns:Esther Pegan [1763-1860] was wife of Thomas Humphrey. Born at the reservation at Dudley, Esther married Thomas Humphrey lived in Sturbridge and, then, Barre where some of their children were born. One of their sons was married twice at Spencer, raising a family, his first wife Native; a second was married three times, also, at Spencer; one established himself in the Woodstock area; one settled at Charlton. The only daughter married at Spencer, moving to New Braintree. In the next generation, the daughter’s children lived in Barre, Palmer and New Braintree, two women marrying other Natives in these towns. Of the other grandchildren: two women from Spencer were married at Spencer, one groom a Nipmuc from Dudley; one grandson married at Brookfield; and, another married a Hopkinton-born Nipmuc, settling at Gardner. A great-grandchild, for example, Mary Etta White [born 1869] married another Nipmuc, James Belden at Worcester in 1888 and one their daughters, Mary Olive Belden [born 1890] had, in this century, two marriages, children from each, at Putnam, Connecticut, both to men from other Nipmuc families.
While a Native community existed in rural areas of the Worcester County, and Connecticut and Rhode Island borderlands, an urban Indian community grew at Worcester, which mushroomed from a village to a major industrial metropolis in the course of the nineteenth-century.
In 1840, 144 people of color lived at the Worcester, in some twenty-seven households. Seven of these households were Indian families. The thirty-two people in Native households were more than twenty percent of all “colored” people at Worcester. [Note 49]
By 1845, Worcester’s total population had grown to 12,000 persons in 2,000 families. Among these residents, as listed in the city directory, were twenty-two “colored” households, nine of which represented a clustering of Indian families. [Note 50] More friends and relatives of Indians at Worcester made their way to town in the late 1840s. In 1850, there were fifty-one people in twelve Native households at Worcester. Five of the fourteen “colored” barbers in town were Native household heads, five other were laborers and one of the Native household heads reported no occupation. Male Native household heads were five of the fourteen “colored” barbers in town, five were laborers and one reported no occupation. Barbering which could be seen as providing a service as an extension of 18th century Indian labor, whether bound or free, serving in white households. But, in 1850, live-in domestics in Mass. earned $1.48 a week and day laborers without board earned $1.09 a week, (from 1850 Census Abstract); barbering was better work. It became one of the successful occupations in the community of people of color, some wealthy and successful city “colored” men barbers. By 1860, out of 39 adult males in the “colored” community at Worcester reporting employment, some 14 or 30% of all these males were barbers, but barbering employed 14 males while day laboring employed 11 men and some 11 men reported no occupation. At Worcester, as elsewhere, “colored” clergymen were also barbers or hairdressers. Whether African or Native, “colored” people at Worcester in 1850 were, in many ways bound to regional landscapes: of the 185 people of color, most had been born in Northeastern states and it was a community of more mature adults. [Note 51]
Natives were part of a stable “colored” community forming at Worcester in the 1850s: some eight of thirty-four households heads owned property; seventy percent of women had been born in the state, eighty-six percent born in the Northeast; ninety-two percent of adults were literate; sixty percent of minors were attending school; and, only seven adult women, three adult men, and two minors were in white households. Additionally, individuals from Mid-Atlantic states were six percent and those from southern states eight percent of the colored population.
In 1855, of fifty adult males in Worcester’s “colored” community, sixteen were connected to Native American households: seven of them were barbers (half of the town’s “colored” barbers), three were laborers, (out of eleven “colored” laborers in town), two were Worcester’s only “colored” shoemakers; one was a waiter; one was a farmer; and two males part of Indian households reported no occupation.
In the decade from 1845 to 1855, occupations reported by twenty-one male heads of Indian households included: laborer ; barber or hairdresser ; shoemaker ; cook ; farmer ; clicker or specialized shoe worker ; railroad engineer ; and vault or privy cleaner , while eleven Native women were listed in directories as laundresses, one as a “root doctress,” and two as wedding cake makers.
In this decade, Native people had anchored themselves at Worcester: of some thirty-three “colored” births during the 1850s eight were in Native households; and, of forty-five deaths, ten were in these same Indian households. [MS Worcester Vitals, Vol. 1:100 and passim] Additionally, at this time, Nipmuc men owned two hairdresser’s or barber’s shops: Edward B. Gimby owned his place of business with Native relatives among his employees; the second establishment was owned by James J. Johnson where other Nipmucs including cousin Alexander Hemenway and John Morey earned livings.
In 1860, there were seventy-one Native people at Worcester, comprising forty-eight percent of the city’s thirty-four “colored” households and twenty-six percent of the aggregate “colored” population. These figures reflect the arrival at town of many single adults, boarding with families in these thirty-four family units. In this community adults aged sixteen to thirty-nine comprised seventy percent of the “colored” population, seventeen percent of the total born in the South, another eleven- percent from Middle Atlantic states. Native families, however, remained stable while “colored” Worcester underwent transformation. Among the thirteen adult males part of Indian families in 1860, were five barbers, four-day laborers, and one shoemaker, one farm laborer, one carpet cleaner and one jobber. [Note 52]
Finally, in 1870, at Worcester, there were ninety-three individuals in twenty-two Native families. [Note 53] Twenty of these units were headed by males, two by women; they were part of a total “colored” population of 524 persons. The ninety-three Natives represented almost eighteen percent of total population, and the twenty-two Native families represented twenty-three percent of the city’s “colored” families. [Note 54]
“Colored” Worcester, however, had undergone changes in these decades: for example, in 1870, only twenty percent of the adult population had been born in Massachusetts. [Note 55] In many ways, “colored” Worcester was becoming a southern city, fifty-four of 193 adult males and fifty-five of 188 adult females from Virginia, the District of Columbia or Maryland, a majority of adults from the South. In this altering environment, Native families persisted. [For example, in a federally funded tribal census of Nipmuc people in 1992, over 33% of 1,400 officially enrolled Nipmucs lived at Worcester, many representing Native families who settled at Worcester between 1840 and 1900] Movement of Indians into Worcester between 1845 and 1870 reflected the city’s development as an administrative, industrial and commercial center of central Massachusetts. Options for finding mates often more limited in rural settings, many Natives had been drawn to the city for social opportunities including marriage. Like their white neighbors in the country, and for many of the same reasons, some Indians left smaller towns and villages in search of employment. What should be considered here is not so much absolute number, but that regional Native individuals and families persisted. Worcester County’s population grew from 46,437 in 1776 to 95,313 persons in 1840. From 1840 to 1860, the County’s population increased to 159,659 residents in 1860. Native individuals and families endured. Though small, numbers of Natives demonstrate a survival or presence, not any absence. Native families and individuals came to Worcester from Grafton, Westborough, Upton, Charlton, Oxford, Mendon, Uxbridge, Dudley, Webster, Sturbridge, New Braintree, Warren and Middleborough, all in Massachusetts. Others were drawn from Connecticut towns including Woodstock, Thompson, Ashford, Haddam, Hampton, Union and Griswold. Several households connected to the Rhode Island Narragansett communities moved to Worcester. Additionally, Wampanoags from the New Bedford and Fall River area settled here, often marrying individuals of Nipmuc heritage. Seeking employment in some instances, marriage in others and residence with or near relatives in still other cases, Natives—entire families and single individuals, came, incorporating the city in a dense regional web of Native kinship and social structures extending through Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Some of the complexity of Nipmuc social structures can be seen in the marriage of Mary O. Belden, born at Worcester in 1890. She was a great-granddaughter of Esther Pegan Humphrey. She married Ernest Lewis, a great-grandson of Nipmuc Lydia Sprague. Lydia Sprague, the mother, was married four times, at different periods, living in Webster, Dudley, Douglas, Sturbridge, Stockbridge and Woodstock. Of her daughters: one married four times, at Woodstock, Putnam CT and at Webster, children from each union, three of the husbands Nipmucs of the greater Woodstock area; another married Nipmuc Henry Dorus at Sturbridge where they established their family; and, one married, at Sturbridge, a Dudley-born Nipmuc named Peleg Brown, who in second marriage, wed another of the daughters, sister of his late wife. Of the sons of Lydia Sprague: one married and settled at Woodstock; another moved to Sturbridge where he and his family lived; and, a third married a Nipmuc at Putnam, and Nipmucs at Woodstock in second and third marriages Confirming continued kinship networks among Nipmucs, for example, a Putnam-born granddaughter married another Nipmuc, their son, Ernest Clinton Lewis [born 1891] married Nipmuc women: his first wife connected to Webster reservation families, the second Mary O. Belden from Worcester. Further, a Sturbridge-born grandson [Peleg Brown] was father of Edgar Brown. Edgar Brown married Native Mary E. [maiden name Brown], of Woodstock. They were parents of Maud L. Brown [born 1894], who married three Nipmucs; a cousin Lemuel Henries, and two Hazzard brothers, several of her thirteen children still  living in central New England.
Despite the many forms of Native American presence, nineteenth- century Indian people of central New England are “unseen.” They have “vanished,” according to insinuations of a discourse of disappearing Indians. They did not “behave” as Indians should act, therefore, they are culturally, less than Indian; they were “disappearing” as a culture. They represented racial and tribal mixtures, therefore, they were, biologically, not Indian; they were “disappearing” as a race. Confronting communities of Natives adapting and adjusting to changes in nineteenth-century New England and still affirming their identity as Indian, the discourse of disappearing Indians employs models, patterns, templates and paradigms by which it judges and finds deficient the concrete practice of evolving Indian communities. It projects the “Indian” as a social construction, claiming a monopoly in defining the Native American; it transforms a dynamic presence of nineteenth- century Natives to an “absence of Indians.” This discourse even postulates an inability to “find” Natives because it assumes they are “hidden.” As they will not be “found,” there is little necessity to look for them, to try to “see” them; they are a people who have “vanished.” While it is true that Nipmuc Indians had been dispossessed of much of their individual and tribal lands by the last century, [Note 56] the disappearance of the Natives of central Massachusetts is part of a “cant of conquest,” repeated uncritically from nineteenth- century writers telling us Indians were “doomed” to disappear. [Note 57]
It is part of an appropriation of regional Native American history and an expropriation of Indian identity. In various disguises, notions of the disappearance of Indians limit the historical vision, obliterating the complex social practice of Native communities in their survival as Indians. The more obvious articulation of disappearance, simply, tells us Nipmuc Indians “vanished” in the seventeenth century. [Note 58]
Disappearance is, however, expressed in the notion of widespread marginality of period Natives, described, for example, by Barry O’Connell. “[I]n an economic order run by people who despised them,” Natives had to find a means to survive, according to O’Connell, so they “labored in the lowest occupations when they had employment at all.”
Unable “to obtain dependable employment,” they worked “outside the prosperous parts of the New England economy,” and seemed “to have lived in places as out-of-the-way as their occupations…or in racially mixed neighborhoods in cities,” often “at the far edge of settlements in poor housing,” in “economic marginality.” For these reasons, many Indians sold baskets and brooms or “worked the lowest rungs as servants in wealthy whites’ households.” [Note 59
O’Connell acknowledges that this is not the only role nineteenth- century Natives played, and recognizes a need to explore the diversity of Indian survival in the last century, but others advance marginality as if it were the universal condition of regional Natives. [Note 60]
Such a view erases the sometimes quiet but ongoing and active participation of Native people in nineteenth- century social and economic spheres. The development of a kin-based urban community at Worcester, and other sites in the region, as suggested here, challenges “marginality.” Central Massachusetts Indian families achieved a stability in residence and employment, in comparison to the region’s African Americans and European immigrants. Further, “marginality” as an external economic determination tells little about the relationship of the poorest Indian to Native community: for example, Lydia Sprague [1830-1890], married Shelley married Nichols married Henries, and her family appears in several regional histories as quintessential derogatory Indian stereotypes, yet fourteen children, some thirty grandchildren and fifty great-grandchildren, most of whom married other Nipmucs, place Lydia Sprague at the heart of nineteenth-century Nipmuc community—despite the poverty, illiteracy, mean living circumstances invoked to make her “marginal.” Because it anticipates finding “marginal” Natives, the discourse of disappearance can see little other than “marginality.”
This discourse also conflates nineteenth-century notions of “people of color” and African American, as if “ethnicity” or “race” and “pigmentation” or “color” are synonymous. It overlooks a certain “fluidity” or ambiguity in ethnic or color labeling in period documents, causing Natives to “vanish” among “colored” people. With families tallied in the Earle’s Report, for example, individuals of Nipmuc heritage are sometimes recorded as “Indian,” but also are recorded other designations or attributions including: black, black Indian, yellow Indian, African, colored, Negro, African, red Indian, mulatto, mulatto part Indian, of Indian descent, and mixed. [Note 61] Ambiguity is also discernible at individual towns like Thompson, Connecticut, where from 1847 to 1868 in fifty-three manuscript records for “people of color,” including Natives, [Note 62] individuals are listed as “Indians” once, as “colored” once, as “black” in some twenty-seven instances and, without any color designation, in twenty-three of these records. Of the only family recorded as “Indian” at Thompson during this period, the household of James Pegan and his wife Hannah Vickers, however, there is inconsistency: Pegan family members are sometimes “black,” sometimes “Indian,” and other times “mulatto.” Earle had found forty-eight persons in Indian households at Worcester, a number representing over a third of the Natives he enumerated for Worcester County, but there is a comparable inconsistency, if not uncertainty, in identification of “people of color” in Worcester’s vital records. In published vitals from 1714 to 1849, for example, the same individuals, some of whom are Native, are “colored,” “black,” “negro,” as well as “Indian.” [Note 63]
Additionally, in death records for the period from 1807 to 1831, not included within the town’s published vitals, another thirty-seven manuscript death notices use the same color descriptors for former slaves and Natives; here, one even encounters a “black child of Fanny Proctor colored person.” [Note 64]
Likewise, review of all vital records at Worcester from 1849 to 1890 for an individual Native family confirms the same inconsistency and confusion. An emerging nineteenth-century race consciousness and the discourse of disappearance, thus, argue extinction of Indians as “mixed bloods,” problematizing the designation “people of color.” Period source materials suggest that “colored” refers to Euroamerican descriptors describing pigmentation or perceived skin color. “People of color,” as tied to the discourse of disappearance, tells us little about “ethnicity,” cultural affiliation or identity linked to self-affirmation.
It should not be assumed that application of the term “people of color” in nineteenth-century town histories, state and federal census returns, or vital records indicates any careful, reflective or thoughtful attempt by Euroamericans to offer an accurate identification or descriptions of individuals. Rather, a review of records identifying specifically Native American individuals suggests a capriciousness, intimately bound to the discourse of disappearance, in labeling Indians “people of color.”
On the one hand, the historian turning to nineteenth-century federal census returns for information on Native American families must remember that instructions to census enumerators, generally considering “Indians” those tribal residents of reservations west of the Mississippi, failed to provide guidelines for recording Natives in an area like New England. Difficulties are suggested in the following schematic outline of these instructions: Instructions to Census Enumerators 1790-1860 How to enumerate based on “race” or color
1790: white heads of households, free white males & females ; “all other free persons”
1800: whites and, “all other free persons, except Indians not taxed,” including slaves
1810: whites and “all other free persons, except Indians not taxed,” including slaves
1820: whites plus “male & female slaves and free persons of color…except Indians not taxed”
1830: whites, “the number of slaves & free colored,” no instructions for recording “Indians”
1840: whites, “the number of slaves & free colored,” no instructions for recording “Indians”
1850: “white, black or mulatto” as color, no instructions how Indians should be defined
1860: “white, black or mulatto” as color, no instructions how Indians should be defined
1870: “color” as a category, “including Chinese and Indian”
1880: individuals were to be listed according to “race,” which was not defined
1890: “race” from 1880 was replaced by categories “white, black, mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, Chinese, Japanese or Indian”
On the basis of these instructions, census enumerators in central New England, accordingly, reveal their subjectivity in labeling Native Americans. In several instances, enumerators from this area listed individuals as “Indian” in manuscript returns despite limitations of instructions from Washington [in some instances manuscript returns reading “Indian” in one handwriting are amended to “M” for “mulatto” or “B” signifying “black,” in a second hand accomplishing statistical or demographic tallies], yet, for the most part, regional Native people appear in census returns as “colored,” “black,” or “mulatto.” However, this is not a uniform or absolute practice as Native people do appear as “Indian” in some federal census returns. [For further discussion, See Note 65]
To appreciate Native American community in the region, particularly with reference to federal census records, it becomes necessary to realize there are Native Americans within “colored” populations enumerated.
On the other hand, although Native American people are identified as “Indian” in Massachusetts state census returns, these documents would, for comparable reasons, only suggest an extent of Native American community. State census returns do identify and enumerate hundreds of regional Natives as “Indian,” yet still many other Native American families or individuals part of families appearing as “Indian” are “colored” in these records. If we shift our attention to specificity of these “colored communities” in New England instead of viewing them exclusively from the perspective of Euroamericans imagining that all nonwhites are colored, therefore, African American, it can be demonstrated that within larger “colored” communities, Native American people maintained a separate and distinct identity for themselves as the “Indians” they were. Complicating the Euroamerican prejudice projecting all non-Europeans as “colored ” and “African,” we can see t within these “colored” communities Native people often self-affirmed their identity as Indian, and were, at the same time, known and recognized by African Americans as Indian.
Ebenezer Hemenway, [1804-1880], a prominent and politically active member of Worcester’s community for almost forty years exemplifies individuals considered “colored” by Euroamericans who maintained a Native American identity within the larger African American population. He and other members of his family the affirmed their Native heritage in opposition to contemporary Euroamerican presumptions about “ethnicity” as linked to color. Hemenway had been born at Worcester, the youngest of the eight children of Jeffrey Hemenway [1736-1819] and Hespsibeth Bowman [1763-1847]. Jeffrey Hemenway, his father, in earliest source materials is referred to as “mulatto,” [Note 66] of uncertain parentage, raised in the household of Ebenezer Hemenway, member of a socially and politically prominent Framingham family; a veteran of French & Indian wars involved in a 1762 expedition to Canada, Jeffrey Hemenway had married a Euroamerican at Framingham where children from his first marriage, including Revolutionary War soldier Thaddeus Hemenway, were born. He had been a member of the Framingham Minute Man company, seeing action at Concord and Cambridge, before moving Worcester, at the same time that some members of the white Hemenway family relocated there from Framingham. In the late 1770s, Jeffrey Hemenway enlisted in the Continental Army and after military service took up permanent residence at Worcester, in 1789 marrying Hepsibeth Bowman, possibly a member of a Nipmuc Indian family, the Bowmans, whose Nipmuc Indian heritage is documented back to the seventeenth-century. The Nipmuc heritage of the Bowmans is clearly established in records and Hepsibeth’s mother is listed as Lydia Bowman, however, the relationships Lydia Bowman to Nipmuc Indian Bowmans of the region remains to be established.
Recipient of a Revolutionary pension, Jeffrey Hemenway was among the first “people of color” to acquire real estate at Worcester, purchasing a farm valued at $350 on the then outskirts of the town. Hemenway and family became stable and established residents of Worcester, as suggested by the estate inventories at the time of his death in 1819; in addition to their farm, the family possessed a variety of oak and maple furniture pieces; painted chairs; quantities of pewter and crockery; three beds with large numbers of quilts, blankets, towels, coverlets and pillow cases; a looking glass and painted oil portraits of family members. Records of household accounts listing items charged during the last months of Jeffrey Hemenway’s life imply a standard of living higher than that of almost all of the town’s “colored” residents as well as that of many of the less prosperous whites at Worcester. Additionally, their status in the community is underscored by several period descriptions of the Hemenways as “nice colored people,” on easy and familiar terms with many of Worcester’s Euroamerican residents. For example, Among possessions of the Hemenway family traceable through 19th century family wills and estate inventories is an oil portrait of Hepsibeth Bowman Hemenway, now at the Worcester Historical Museum, its provenance uncertain; the whereabouts of a companion oil portrait of Hannah Hemenway, the daughter of Jeffrey and Hepsibeth Hemenway, also mentioned in family probate records, has not been determined. Offspring of Hepsibeth and Jeffrey Hemenway remaining at Worcester in the antebellum period included: Hannah Hemenway, with her mother, a celebrated wedding cake maker, in her old age “venerated and esteemed” as one of the earlier members of the [First] Baptist Church; Lydia Hemenway Johnson, with her children and grandchildren; and, their brother Ebenezer, for a long time janitor at Worcester City Hall, with his own children and grandchildren. Although considered “colored” by some Euroamericans, the Hemenways affirmed their Native American heritage, the family listed within the Earle’s Report as Indian.
Several members of the family publicly identified themselves as Native American including Lucinda B. Cummings, a daughter of Ebenezer Hemenway, as late as 1902, applying for and receiving an annuity, as Indian, from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. One of the few Worcester men to attend state “colored” conventions in the antebellum period. In 1858, for example, at New Bedford, Ebenezer Hemenway from Worcester, was elected one of the vice presidents and steering committee member, along with such nationally known activists as W.C. Nell and Lewis Hayden, of the Convention of Colored Citizens of Massachusetts. Ebenezer Hemenway may have expressed his earlier political affiliation in naming a son born in 1838, William Lloyd Garrison Hemenway, and another child Francis Greenleaf Whittier Hemenway. He was also involved in many of the fraternal and social organizations addressing needs of “colored” people at Worcester, while another of his sons, Alexander F. Hemenway played comparable leadership roles in the “colored” community.
In 1854, for example, Alexander Hemenway was one of four men “of color,” two of them part of Native American families, arrested and charged in what Worcester historians call the “Butman Riot.” U.S. Marshall Asa Butman who had been involved in several “notorious” cases at Boston apprehending runaways under the unpopular Fugitive Slave Law, came to Worcester, ostensibly in search of William Jankins who, years earlier had escaped from slavery in Virginia, becoming a visibly successful barber at Worcester. Averted through a handbill published and distributed by John Milton Earle’s Worcester Spy, area residents, “colored” and white, including Rev. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, demonstrated in front of the hotel where Butman was housed. Four men “of color,” including Alexander Hemenway and John Francis, both part of Native families, allegedly burst into Butman’s hotel room, threatening him as a “slave catcher;” they were subsequently charged, their cases dismissed in court. Fearing violence, Worcester politician Sen. George Frisbie Hoar escorted Asa Butman from his hotel to the local train station where he returned to Boston without Jankins, who had been spirited out of town. The involvement of younger Hemenway in political and social affairs of Worcester’s “people of color” continued through the 1850s and into the war years. Alexander Hemenway was one of area men part of Native families joining the 54th Regiment or other “colored” units of Civil War volunteers, and it is known that his wife, Emily, [herself listed as “Punkapoag” in the Earle’s Report] was among women visiting and delivering baked treats to area men at the Readville training camp outside Boston where “colored” troops were prepared before being sent South. For example, we learn from MS “Brown Family Papers,” American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass., that a few days before the departure of the 54th Regiment from Readville to the South, Thomas D. Freeman wrote to Worcester resident William Brown May 8, 1864, “I should like much to see all my Worcester friends before I leave…Mrs. Bundy, Mrs. Hemenway and Sister, and a Host of Boston people Have visited our Camp. We all had a nice time and I am Happy as a King.”
Following military service in several Southern campaigns, Alexander Hemenway returned to Worcester where he continued playing prominent active roles in community affairs until his death in 1896. [Note 68]
Likewise, Alexander Johnson, a familiar Worcester personage during the Reconstruction period, founder of the city’s first “colored” drum & bugle corps and Civil War veteran of the 54th Regiment [which he served as a drummer], long active in G.A.R. and “colored” veterans’ organizations, was part of a Native family. Moving to Worcester in 1870, he married Mary Ann [maiden name: Johnson] Johnson, herself part of the Hemenway family. She was the daughter of James Jeffrey Johnson and Mary Ann Vickers, a Native from southern Worcester County, Lydia Hemenway Johnson being the mother of James J. Johnson; in this way, the wife of Alexander H. Johnson was the grand-niece of Ebenezer Hemenway and a cousin of Alexander F. Hemenway, of Native heritage through both her father and mother’s families. Both Alexander H. Johnson and his wife Mary Ann Johnson would publicly affirm their Native American identities in documents submitted to the federal government at the time of “settling” land claims of Brothertown Indians and their families.
In the nineteenth-century, however, regional Natives were often not “seen” because, on the one hand, “Indian” was constructed for Euroamericans in cultural terms advocated early ethnographers like Morgan and Schoolcraft, and, on the other hand, “Indian” was considered in biological terms of an emerging eurocentric “race science.” The new “science” codified notions of red, black and white “races,” in such a way that the only real Natives were racially distinct and “clear-blooded,” the revealing period designation for “full-blooded.” Part of a rising binary racial epistemology, this “science” advocated what Marvin Harris called a “policy of hypodescent,” designating as “black,” “African,” “negro,” or “colored,” everyone not imagined “pure white.” In this way of conceptualizing identity, “one drop” of African “blood” is antithetical to Indian identity, making a person a “negro.” Hypodescent occurs when “racial” heritage governs membership in one or two groups which “stand to each other in a superordinate-subordinate relationship” and when an individual who has a lineal ancestor who is or was a member of the subordinate group, is likewise considered a member of that group. In the U.S. this means that “all persons with any demonstrable degree of Negro parentage, visible or not, fall into the subordinate caste,” in such a way that “anyone who is known to have had a Negro ancestor is a Negro,” explained anthropologist Harris. [Note 70]
Part of the disappearance paradigm is, thus, the allegation of an emergent biological system of classification that nineteenth-century Natives were not Indian, but “degenerate remnants” and “impure mixtures of races.” As “Indians,” they were not to be “seen.” The hypothesis that seventeenth-century Massachusetts “tribes” became eighteenth-century “enclaves” on the way to becoming nineteenth-century “ethnic groups,” in a subtle way, is part of a discourse of disappearing Indians. In a reading of some of the same sources cited here for confirmation of Indian presence, Daniel Mandell, for example, maintains that Native tribes vanish as “tribes,” doomed to become “ethnic groups.” [Note 71]
Part of the disappearance of Indians is also the result of an assumption that all nineteenth-century Native people live in the countryside, producing a myopia that fails to “see” Natives as part of regional urban landscapes. A closer look at the “colored” community at Worcester clearly challenges these stereotypes. Extensive family history data compiled, for example, by Brown and Rose [Note 72] for southern Connecticut confirms a Native American persistence throughout the 1850s within the “colored” communities of New Haven as well as other smaller Connecticut cities and towns. Additional urban areas in New England where nineteenth century Indians resided remain unexplored although outlines of these small clustered communities are embedded within Indian enumeration undertaken by the Commonwealth at the end of the 1850s, as suggested by the accompanying table.
Selected Sites of Massachusetts “People of Color” in 1865
Town Indian Black Mulatto Total
Boston 151, 940 393 2,348
New Bedford 187917081517
Fall River 283468130
While the above graphic outline is derived from 1865 state census returns, at the start of the 1860s Earle had found some thirty-eight Natives [with spouses included] at Boston, and nine individuals in Indian households at Cambridge. They were among some 2,719 “people of color” in the greater Boston area. Other Natives not tallied by Earle can be shown to have resided in the greater Boston metropolitan region.
Further, Earle tallied some 218 persons, including non-Native spouses, in Indian households of Bristol County cities and towns: at Dartmouth, [27 persons]; Fairhaven, ; Fall River, ; Fall River Reservation, ; New Bedford, ; Swansea, ; and, Westport, [51 persons]. These probably under-countered Bristol County Native totals suggest a persistence and survival of nineteenth-century Indians in that region.
Additionally, some sixteen people connected to Massachusetts tribes were in Native households at Providence, according to Earle, and four people in Native households at Portland, Maine, both urban areas where other Indians would have resided, Narragansett-Niantics at Providence and individuals from Maine’s aboriginal peoples at Portland. [Note 73]
Published texts arguing that, within the historical record, there is a self-imposed Native “invisibility” and “silence,” as it were, “obscuring” the area’s Indians, are also prolongation of the discourse of disappearance. From this alleged “invisibility” are postulated “evasion,” “hiding” and forms of “covert behaviors,” when, in actuality, the region’s Native Americans were hardly “hidden” or “invisible” in the last century. [Note 74] Ann McMullen, for example, writes that nineteenth-century New England Natives responded to the “stigmatization of their identity” by “covering…recognizable symbols” to give an “impression of assimilation;” they opted for “coversion,” hiding languages, ceremonies and symbols “rationalizing invisibility,” in part, because of a mixed racial heritage, or “the lack of a recognizable Indian phenotype.”
Instead of “coversion” and “hiding” Indian identity, “camouflage” and “disguise,” terms used by historian James Merrell [Note 75] might more accurately describe Native interactions with the dominant culture. Moreover, the concrete practice of this region’s Natives challenges Indian “invisibility.” [Note 76]
Failure to “see” Indians refers only to the “vision” of a Eurocentric observer. Not only do Native people “disappear” in nineteenth-century New England, according McMullen, but their “disappearance,” through an imagined “silence,” was a self-selected strategy for survival. Native “invisibility,” here, is embraced as if historical fact; it becomes a regulative concept at the core of a “new” interpretation” implying Natives cannot be “found” on a historical landscape because they, themselves, were hiding. This variant of the discourse of disappearance would accept an Indian “absence,” but claims this was because Indians were “hiding.”
Other variations of the discourse of disappearance include an overarching assumption that Native people cannot be “found” or identified within the conventional source materials: vital records, census returns, military documents, probate files, real estate transactions, and, secondary sources, like town histories. One after another, texts represent an “absence” of documentation required to “prove” Native survival and persistence, a position clearly unsupported by closer study of specific Native individuals and Indian communities in this region. Nineteenth-century Natives in central Massachusetts persistently affirmed their identity and lived the actuality of their extended kinship-based community. They are “absent” — only in a discourse laboring to erase them as part of a dynamic and engaged continued presence of aboriginal people within their traditional homelands. Regional Indians remain a “vanished” people, who are not “seen” because they are assumed already “gone,” only within contemporary prolongation of this discourse.
NOTES TO THE TEXT
Note 1: Native American occupations sites in the Framingham/ Natick area are discussed in Josiah H. Temple, History of Framingham Early Known as Danforths’s Farms 1660-1880, hereafter Framingham History (Framingham MA.: Town of Framingham, 1887) pp. 37, 44-5, 49, 55-6. One of the more careful and accurate of regional 19th century historians, Temple [1815-1893], a lifelong Framingham resident, was author of still equally useful histories of Whately , Northfield , North Brookfield  and Palmer .
Note 2: George L. Wright, “The Local Names of Place In and Around Boylston,” in Vol. 1 (1980) Boylston Historical Series, Boylston [Mass.] Historical Commission, pp. 24-5, where he notes “During the construction of the Wachusett Reservoir, the finding of many stone implements, Indian knives, arrow points, tomahawks, and axes in both a complete and semi-complete condition showed that the region and ledges around Diamond Hill, and the woods and forest adjacent to it were favorite localities of the Redmen…and many traces of their cornfield and granaries were found on the intervales of the Nashua River.”
Note 3: Harriette Merrifield Forbes, (1856-1951), was author of several works on Worcester County and Massachusetts history and editor of the diary of Westborough’s 18th century minister Ebenezer Parkman. An early photographer she documented older residences and regional gravestones. She is commemorated in active book purchasing fund at the American Antiquarian Society, at Worcester. She collected local oral history stories and “legends” about local Indians, discussing Nipmuc people in The Hundredth Town, Glimpses of Life in Westborough 1717-1817, hereafter Hundredth Town (Boston: Rockwell & Church, 1889), pp. 172-185. She is, for many, often eclipsed by her daughter, Esther Forbes [1874-1967], author of Pulitzer Prize winning Johnny Tremaine and other works of historical fiction. Cf. biographical notice titled “Mrs. William Trowbridge Forbes,” in Worcester Historical Society Publications, New ser., Vol. III, #6 (April 1952), pp. 29-34
Note 4: Information here on Native sites at Sudbury is contained in [Rev.] Alfred Sereno Hudson, The History of Sudbury, Massachusetts 1638-1889 (Sudbury MA: Town of Sudbury, 1889), pp. 8-25, 569. Hudson [1839-1907] was also author of Wayland, Maynard and Concord histories.
Note 5: “There were Indian settlements besides the one as Washacum, at the following places, viz. near the house of Samuel Jones, not far from the road to Leominster; one on a neck of land running into Fort pond; a third, east of Clam Shell pond, and north of John Larkin’s near Berlin; and a fourth, above Pitt’s mills in the south part of town,” Joseph Willard, Topographical and Historical Sketches of the Town of Lancaster in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Worcester MA, 1826) p. 46
Note 6: Caleb Wall, Reminiscences of Worcester From the Earliest Period
Historical and Genealogical With Notices of Early Settlers and Prominent Citizens, and Descriptions of Old Landmarks and Ancient Dwellings, Accompanied by a Map and Numerous Illustrations, hereafter Reminiscences of Worcester (Worcester MA: Tyler & Seagrave, 1877) p. 10, estimating that a “tribe” of “Nipmuck Indians,” approximately on 100 persons in twenty families, “dwelt on Tetaeset (Tatnuck) hill, under Sagamore Solomon…,” in 1674, Solomon “alias Woonaskochu, Sagamore of Tatasessit” and while another “tribe” of approximately the same size, were under neighboring John “alias Horrawannonit or Quiquonassett, Sagamore of Packachooge.”
Note 7: In some instances, local historians identify 19th century Natives as remnants connected to the landscape, cf. Biglow’s 1830 Natick history’s claim that Solomon Dexter “is now the only full blooded survivor of the tribe, unless we reckon a small number, who reside in or about Mendon, in the County of Worcester, who occasionally visit this place, as the land of their ancestors,” Natick History, p. 84, or Temple’s statement that Natives from Natick came to Framingham “in early summer to cut white ash and walnut trees for basket stuff. It was understood by all landowners, that Indians had an hereditary or reserved right to such trees,”
Note 8: The Quabaug site at Podunk Pond is discussed in Temple Brookfield History, pp.28-29; Whitney, History of Warren; the Quinebaug River site or Putikookuppoge is described in Temple, Brookfield History, p. 31
Note 9: David W. Gregg, “The Archaeological Collections,” in Passionate Hobby Rudolf Frederick Haffenreffer and the King Philip Museum, Brown University Studies in Anthropology and Material Culture, Vol. VI, (Providence: Brown University, 1994) p. 143
Note 10: Joseph S. Clark, [pastor of the Sturbridge Congregational Church], An Historical Sketch of Sturbridge, Massachusetts From Its Settlement to the Present Time, (Brookfield MA: E. & L. Merriam Printer, 1838), p. 6; cf. George Davis, A Historical Sketch of Sturbridge and Southbridge (West Brookfield MA: O.S. Cooke & Co., 1856), p. 8
Note 11: [Rev.] Charles M. Hyde, Historical Celebration of the Town of Brimfield, Hampden County, Mass., Wednesday, October 11, 1876, (Springfield MA: Clark W. Bryan Co., Printers, 1879), pp. 19-21
Note 12: For example, a recent scholarly work claims that, following the 1675-76 conflict, “Many Nipmucks who survived…were captured and sold into slavery. Those avoiding English captivity moved further away to Western Abenaki County, to Maine, or to Hudson Valley Indian towns. Few returned to Nipmuck County after the war ended,” and some “Nipmuck people returning to their lands generally camped briefly on old homesites before moving on to new homes farther from English settlers,” in Robert S. Grumet, Historic Contact Indian People and Colonists in Today’s Northeastern United States in the Sixteenth Through Eighteenth Centuries ( Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995) p. 104
Note 13: Francis Higginson’s New-England’s Plantation, [short title] various editions, first published London, 1630, here Young’s Mass. Bay Chronicles, pp. 256-57
Note 14: For 1618-1619 Plague: Johnson, Wonder-Working Providence, [Jameson, ed.], pp. 39-42; The Planters Plea, London, 1630, chap. IV, [various editions]; Thomas Morton, New English Canaan, chap III; John Smith Advertisments for the Unexperienced Planters of New England, etc., [1639, various editions], p. 9, Edward Winslow, letter of Dec. 11, 1621, in Alexander Young, ed., Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1841) pp. 232-33; cf. Winthrop, History of New-England,[various editions] I, 119-20; General considerations For Planting New-England, pp. 275-77, in Alexander Young, ed., Chronicles of the First Planters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay from 1623 to 1636 (Boston: James Little & Co., 1846); Francis Higginson’s New-England’s Plantation, [short title: various editions, first published London, 1630] here Young, ed., Mass. Bay Chronicles, pp. 256-57
Note 15: Johnson Wonder-Working Providence, p. 80; Winthrop, Letter of May 22, 1634, Winthrop Papers, III (Mass. Historical Society, 1943) p. 167; Young, ed., The Early Records of Charlestown, pp. 386-7
Note 16: Massachusetts Historiography and Native Americans
“New England far excelled other regions in the production of these literary genres [journals, chronicles, promotional tracts, sermons, and histories], and it is primarily there that the imaginative transformation of the Native American from the Indian of contact into the Indian of symbol and myth took place during the colonial period of American cultural history,” and that Native Americans “held meaning for Puritans in terms of the larger drama and the vision of their own place in it. Under these premises ‘the Indian’ was but another tool of the Lord to help or hinder the future salvation as well as the earthly life of the Puritan. When the Indian helped the early settlers in New England, he became an agent of the Lord sent to succor the Puritan devout; when he fought or frightened the Puritans, he assumed the aspect of his master Satan and became one of his agents,” in Robert F. Berkhofer Jr., The White Man’s Indian Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978) pp. 80-1
Note 17: Michael J. Pugliese, for example, situates the King Philip War as one of the beginning events of a 25-year period of trial and tension for 17th century Mass. residents, the conflict with Natives interpreted at the time as a punishment on Puritans from Jehovah for backsliding and moral laxity; Bay State Indians, the true victims of the war, were merely the means by which Puritans were chastised. Even in their “extinction,” Indians were used by Jehovah, their “disappearance” part of a cosmic great plan involving the forces of light and darkness, in The Legacies of King Philip’s War in Massachusetts Bay Colony (Ph.D. diss., College of William & Mary, 1987), particularly, Chap. I: “Punishment and Repentance,” pp. 7-37; Chap. II: “The Victors and the Vanquished,” pp. 38-75
Note 18: The Historiography of Metacomet’s Uprising
For Michael J. Pulgiese, The Legacies of King Philip’s War in Massachusetts Bay Colony (Ph.D. diss., College of William & Mary, 1987) the “myopic view that the English were innocent of any affront” against Natives, allowed attribution of Metacomet’s Rebellion to God’s punishment for sins, with warnings against backsliding preceding the war,” but the violent eruption of unconverted Indians, the targets of the New England mission, brought a virtual flood of literature condemning the colonists’ wrongdoing.” p.13, so that “the belief God’s punishment might be unleashed in an Indian war was well established” in Puritan thinking. From this view, he maintains there was a widespread notion that “The Lord would not punish His chosen people without a purpose,” p. 18.
And the Natives? Just as Puritans had explained that God “employed a supposedly heathen and satanic people to punish their backsliding, the New England faithful had no trouble believing that their loving God would turn on the natives who carried out His plan. In this view, the Almighty used the Indians as pawns to accomplish His ends and then cast them aside when they were of no more use to Him. This God sounds little like the one who called for the natives’ conversion and salvation, but throughout the seventeenth century the Puritans saw themselves as the center of God’s attention. They believed with confidence that He would employ any means available to them His people a lesson and ensure their repentance.” p 29.
The Natives were “the heathen Indians, who were temporarily serving the Almighty in the punishment of New England, would eventually face destruction due to their evil role in the conflict,” pp. 18-19, as predicted in a psalm frequently invoked by contemporaries, “The Lord scatters those who desire war,”(68:1). However, just as they failed to seriously consider an Indian sense of injustice in dealing with them, they “never considered that Metacomet’s followers were guided by their own strategy and expertise, p. 18. Puritans did not imagine Natives “rational beings driven by human needs and desires. “At best in tranquil times, the natives might be ignorant pagans worthy of conversion and possible salvation. But in periods of conflict…irredeemable members of the animal kingdom,” pp. 19-20 , whose very strategy seemed “to lack organization and purpose. ” This was because they could not “recognize that the natives had a secular motive for their actions,” their warfare, including frequent “barbarism” of ambushes “could not proceed in a rational manner on their own initiative,” pp. 20-21.
Note 19: Taken as “Nipnet,” or Nippienet, the homelands area of the Nipmuc or “Fresh Water People,” corresponding to all of contemporary Worcester County, portions of abutting Middlesex, Hampden, Bristol, and Franklin Counties in Massachusetts plus northeastern portions of Connecticut, and of northwestern Rhode Island, an extensive territory in the 17th century, cf. Contact era statement of Thomas Dudley, that “About seventy or eighty miles westward from these are seated the Nipnett men, whose sagamore we know not, but we hear their numbers exceed any but the Pecoates and the Narragansets, and they are the only people we yet hear of in the inland country,” in his “Letter to the Countess of Lincoln,” Young, ed., Mass. Bay Chronicles, p.306
Note 20: Thomas L. Doughton, “Native American Presence and the Politics of Representation: Indians in Nineteenth-Century Central Massachusetts, On Native Americans, Power and the Regional Discourse of their Disappearance,” pp. 10-12, 29-32, paper distributed part of program March 4, 1996, Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Mass., for “Native American Voices in New England, 1600-1995,” a workshop series of the Mass. Foundation for the Humanities, co-sponsored with New England Museum Association & Bay State Historical League; cf. idem, “Nineteenth- Century Mass. Indians and the Discourse of Disappearance,” paper, presented Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, New York City, January 4, 1997
Note 21: Men Part of Nipmuc Families Who Saw Military Service in Civil War Units
Some Natives part of Nipmuc families who served in Union troops during the war included: Hezekiah Dorus, from Webster, laborer, a casualty at Andersonville, cf. Office of the Adjutant General, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Civil War, 9 volumes, hereafter MSSMCW, (Norwood, MA: Norwood Press, 1931) V, 715; Daniel Gigger, from Shirley, “A soldier in the Civil War. He never returned,” Ethel Stanwood Bolton Shirley Uplands and Intervales Annals of a Border Town of Old Middlesex, With Some Genealogical Sketches (Boston: George Emery Littlefield, 1914) p. 363. Other volunteers included: Benjamin W. Gigger, MSSMCW VI, 516; George Rome, a Narragansett living in Worcester, ibid., IV, 713, 730; Rufus Hazard, from Mendon, bootmaker, ibid., VI, 446; Alexander Hemenway, from Worcester, ibid., IV, 686; Webster brothers Joseph E. Bowman, shoemaker, and William H. Cady, a shoemaker, casualty at Andersonville, ibid., V, 713, VI, 523; Joseph H.P. White, from Webster, ibid., IV, 336; James M. Pegan of Thompson, who served with Connecticut troops; Theophilus D. Freeman, from Webster, barber, ibid., 686; James E. Belden, from Worcester, miller, ibid., VII, 322; brothers James Hazzard and Lorenzo T. Hazzard, of Brookfield, both farmers, ibid., VI, 495, 528; Hiram Ransom from Southbridge, miller; Charles W. Brown of Framingham, farmer; Rufus Hazard, from Mendon, boot maker; Albert E. Esau from Warren, sailor, ibid., IV, 681; William G. Hector, born 1824, at Grafton, dying in 1864 at Ft. Jackson, Louisiana, a member of the 14th Battery, US Heavy Artillery, MS Births, Marriages and Deaths, Worcester, Mass., 1849-1890, Deaths: Vol. 2, p. 20; Rufus Vickers, born 1821, at Burrillville, RI, shoemaker, married to an Indian from Woodstock, Fanny Thomas, enlisted in 1863, from Oxford, Mass., in the 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Regiment, was taken prisoner at Plymouth, NC in April 1864 and died in the prisoner of war camp at Florence, SC the same year,
MSSMCW, V, 724; Christopher Vickers, born 1830, at Thompson, CT, shoemaker, brother of Rufus Vickers, married an Indian from Hampton, CT., was mustered in the 2nd Mass Heavy Artillery Regiment, was taken prisoner in April 1864 at Plymouth, NC and died at the Andersonville prisoner of war camp in November 1864, ibid., V, 724; James Nedson, ibid., IV, 575; V, 665.Benjamin Brown, and Anstis Dailey, son of Julia Jaha Dailey mentioned above, both from Woodstock, served with Connecticut troops, along with Lewis Dailey, Marcus Lewis and Stephen M. Lewis, all from Thompson; John A. Glasgow from So. Windsor, cf. Office of the Adjutant General, Catalogue of Connecticut: Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery In the Service of the United States 1861-1865 with Additional Enlistments, Casualties, etc., etc. and Brief Summaries Showing the Operations and Service of the Several Regiments and Batteries (Hartford, CT: Brown & Cross, 1869) pp.908, 913-14
Note 22: Brothertown was established in Marshall, Oneida County, New York, on lands set aside by the Oneida Nation in 1788 for several hundred Natives from southern New England where they lived in community until 1833 when some of their number were removed to Wisconsin, others returning to their southern New England homes.
te 23: In the region were also other Natives like Pennsylvania born Native Susan Walker, Tommy Black Bear from “South America;” with some Indians from Vermont, Maine, and Canada; Cf. Doughton, “Native American Presence,” p. 44
Note 24: Ivan Sandrof, Your Worcester Street (Worcester, MA: Franklin Publishing Co., 1948) p.143
Note 25: Native peoples “moved around homelands according to daily, seasonal and ceremonial calendars, and between homelands to visit kin, they did not abandon or desert these places until forced to,” Russell Handsman wrote, and even when Natives moved “their removal was neither complete nor irreversible,” [Russell G. Handsman, “Illuminating History’s Silences in the ‘Pioneer Valley’,” Artifacts 19(2), 13] A homeland area was a series of interconnecting cores. The core of each of these homeland was typically five-to-ten-square miles in extent, containing one or two important settlement places, often at long-used fishing sites. Here clan ceremonies and elders’ councils were held. Extensive corn fields were near, as were sacred sites such as cemeteries, memory piles, and sweat lodges used for curing. Throughout the core area and, surrounding spaces of each homeland were dozens of wigwams, alone, in pairs, or in small hamlets not very different in size from a traditional meeting place. Indians living in each homeland, however, were joined to one another and to their kin in other homelands by enduring social and economic relations, connected in trade, diplomacy and kinship mirroring intricate trails and water routes traversing the landscape, [This description follows a significant discussion of the concept of homelands by Russell G. Handsman and Trudie Lamb Richmond, “Confronting Colonialism: The Mahican and Schaghticoke Peoples and Us” unpublished paper prepared for “Making Alternative Histories,” an Advanced Seminar at the School of American Research, Santa Fe, NM, April 1992, pp. 8-9, 18]
Note 26: In 1857, individuals were relocated from their reservation on the outskirts of Webster to a five-family tenement house, on an acre of land, about half a mile from Webster Center, that they may be “better accommodated” and “more directly under the public eye, where a healthy public sentiment could have its sanitary influence, and where the civil authority could have a more direct supervision over them;” cf. Acts & Resolves, April 9, 1839 .
Note 27: In 1860, recipients of payments and benefits as established through Public Documents of Massachusetts Being The Annual Reports of Various Public Officers and Institutions…For 1860, (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1861), #41, pp. 1-2; for 1861, (Boston: Wright & Potter. 1862), #36, pp.1-2; for 1862 (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1863), # 36. pp. 1-2; for 1864 (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1865), #36, pp. 1-2; for 1867, (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1868), #31, pp.1-2; for 1868, (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1869), #31, pp. 1-2; and., for 1869, (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1870), # 31, pp. 1-2.
Note 28: Untitled octavo volume, in MS “Webster, Massachusetts Records 1863-1904,” American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass., reading on Page One, “This book was kept by the Town of Webster Authorized with the State of Massachusetts for the Remnant of the Indians of Webster;” cf. Earle’s Report, p.103
Note 29: Some 31 recipients of cash payments from the guardians of Grafton Indians, named in account book of Daniel Heywood, pp. 1-52, [from August 1790 through February 1813], in Octavo Volume 2, Records of the Proceedings of the Trustees for the Indians of Hassanamiscoe, in MS “John Milton Earle Papers 1652-1863,” American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts, hereafter, Earle Papers; real estate sales on behalf of Nipmucs, all requiring legislative approval in Box 1, Folder 5, Earle Papers, which contains attested copies of separate resolves of Mass. House of Representatives authorizing sales; real estate purchases for Nipmucs, the last in 1857, are in Earle Papers, Box 1 Folder 1, “Surveys, maps, plots of land, deeds, receipts, documents of Benjamin Heywood…,” as unbound individual documents; cf. Worcester Registry of Deeds, [Worcester County Courthouse], Bk. 144, 554; Bk. 215, 206; Bk. 391, 333; Bk. 575, 335 and Bk. 578, 518
Note 30: Mass. Acts & Resolves, April 9, 1839 ; cf. ibid., 1849, pp. 325, 385
Note 31: Mass Acts & Resolves, 1859, chap. 88, pp. 464-65 allocating $1,000 to Worcester Probate Court; Legislative Documents, House 174, 1865, for allocation of $200 from state treasury to Grafton Selectmen.
Note 32: Some Nipmuc Individuals receiving annuities: Mass. Resolves of 1896, chap. 28; Mass. Resolves of 1895, chap. 96; Resolves of 1896, chap. 28; Mass. Resolves of 1908, chap. 16 ; Mass. Resolves of 1909; cf. “Why Annuity Is Paid To Indians,” Gardner News, March 13, 1909,
Note 33: Mass. Indian Commissioner, author of the Earle Report. Cited throughout this writing as the Earle’s Report is Mass. Senate Report #96 of 1861, or Report to the Governor and Council Concerning the Indians of the Commonwealth Under the Act of April 6, 1859 (Boston: William White, 1861) by John Milton Earle. Through a Mass. legislative Act of 1859, Earle, politician and publisher of the Worcester Spy, was appointed Commissioner “to examine into the condition of all Indians and the descendants of Indians domiciled in this Commonwealth, and make report to the governor, for the information of the general court,” dealing with four issues: [a] “The number of all such persons, their place of abode, their distribution:…” [b] “The social and political condition of all such persons…” [c] “The economic state of all such persons…” and [d] “All such facts in the personal or social condition of the Indians of the Commonwealth, as may enable the general court to judge whether they can, compatibly with their own good and that of the other inhabitants of the State, be placed immediately and completely, or only gradually and partially, on the same legal footing as the other inhabitants of the Commonwealth.” The actual report, submitted by Earle in 1861, consists of three sections: a 132 page report; a proposed act to enfranchise Bay State Indians; and an appendix of 78 pages, listing Native families, his so-called “census.”
Note 34: The appendix, often mistakenly called a census, provides information on some 387 households totaling 1,610 individuals including Natives and non-Native spouses. Under headings “Natick Tribe,” [xli]; “Hassanamisco Tribe,” [li-lv]; and “Dudley Tribe,” [lv-lix], are enumerated individuals connected to the aboriginal peoples of central Massachusetts. Excluding non-Native spouse, Earle tallied two “Natick” households, twenty-five “Hassanamisco” households and twenty-six “Dudley” households for an aggregate population of 131 men, women and children distributed in the following local townships: totals: Brookfield 1; Douglas 6; Dudley 7; Eastford CT 1; Framingham 5; Grafton 6; Holden 2; Leicester 1; Natick 4; Oxford 3; Putnam CT 1; Shelburn Falls 1; So. Gardner 7; Spencer 4; Stockbridge 7; Templeton 2; Thompson CT 4; Uxbridge 4; Warren 8; Webster 18; Westboro 2; Worcester 36; Insane Asylum 1; Reform school 1; and, Amey Robinson, migratory.
Note 35: On Oct. 20, 1854, James Anthony, a Native from Uxbridge was left for dead, his father and a child killed and his wife “massacred” at Monterey, California, after being robbed of some $2,000, their house set on fire, as reported by the Worcester Spy, Vol. lxxxii, No. 48, Nov. 29, 1854; Earle’s Report, lvi and passim: from “Dudley” tribe, 1 miner; from Mashpee 4 miners and a seaman, from Punkapoag, 2 men; from Herring Pond, a barber and carpenter; and from Dartmouth 2 men including a sailmaker, with his family at San Francisco
Note 36: Oliver Warner, ed., Abstract of the Census of Massachusetts 1865; with Remarks of the Same and Supplementary Tables (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1867) pp. 231-33, 46-55, for the whole County, enumerates some 489 blacks, 278 mulattos and 99 Indians, 63 females and 36 males, part of 866 “people of color,” representing .005% of Worcester County’s total population of 165,529; however, some Native people could be included with black and mulatto categories
Note 37: The numbers in Earle can be demonstrated to be low, undercounting; two of numerous omissions: the Gimbys of Worcester, mentioned within Earle’s text but not included with relatives nor counted in appendix totals. Or, in other situations where Earle was unclear about family relationships as in the case of the family of Samuel White of Sturbridge he failed to include individuals, White, for example, had been married to Asenath Nedson whose mother was Polly Pegan. The children of Samuel White and Asenath Nedson were, thus, allied with Nipmucs at the Webster reservation. One suspect Earle didn’t know the kinship connection so the White children and grandchildren are not listed with their relatives.
Note 38: Cf. Barbara Brown and James M. Rose, Black Roots in Southern Connecticut 1650-1900 (Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1988), an excellent source compiling a variety of types of family documentation for “colored,” or African American and Native American, households in southern Connecticut, pp. 162-163
Note 39: For some other members of this family in Nipmuc areas: Jacob Glasko [1815-1885] was a familiar Native written about in Woodstock, Connecticut histories, a tintype portrait of him reproduced by Woodstock historian Clarence Bowen; and in May 1870, William A. Glasko, 22 years old, an unmarried railroad engineer resident at Worcester, died of consumption while in September of the same year, possibly visiting relatives or friends, Miss Elsie Glasko, a 55-year old unmarried aunt of William Glasko, a resident of Putnam, Connecticut died at Worcester, also of consumption. Jacob Glasgow is described in Bowen, The History of Woodstock, Connecticut, I, 536; for deaths of William Glasko and Elsie Glasko, MS Worcester Vital Records: Deaths, Vol. 2, 1864-1870, pp. 115, 124
Note 40: Data here extracted from the Seventh Census of the United States , Worcester County, Mass., Microcopy #432, Roll 344, pp. 749 and passim; Roll 345, pp. 305 and passim
Note 41: For example, poorer Indian people at Uxbridge included Marrietta Sisco, aged 28, who died at the town almshouse of typhus in 1844; Rufus Vickers, a town pauper dying at the almshouse in 1849; and John Wilber, aged 28, “Indian,” from Hampden CT, former boot bottomer, a state pauper, dying at the almshouse in 1860. In 1843, the Uxbridge Selectmen requested that Douglas overseers of the poor remove from town, one “Cyra Jepherson, his wife & three children,” all “lawful residents” of Douglas who were “sick and in destitute circumstances;” the Douglas overseers apparently failed to act, since the Uxbridge Selectmen’s request was renewed. Additionally, Charles Anthony received temporary relief from the town in 1850 following a work injury and 62-year old William Anthony died at the almshouse in 1863. These Native individuals, however, were among another forty-seven persons buried at the town almshouse between 1835 and 1871; Cf. Ricardo I. Elia and Al B. Wesolowsky, eds., Archaeological Excavations at the Uxbridge Almshouse Burial Ground in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, OPA Report of Investigations No. 76 (Boston: Boston University, Office of Public Archaeology, 1989) pp. 74 and passim
Note 42; Mary Curliss Vickers, in 1850, was 50 years old, living at Thompson, Connecticut, with a household including sons Thompson-born Rufus Vickers, a 25-year old shoemaker; Almon Vickers, a 21-year old shoemaker; and Christopher Vickers, 18, also a shoemaker. Besides daughters Esther and Betsey Vickers, her household contained 25-year, Windham-born Indian cousins George Wilber and his Hampton-born 18-year old brother John Wilber, both of the Wilbers also shoemakers. A nephew of Mary Vickers, 32-year old Erastus Vickers was living in Thompson with his wife, and four children; he was also a shoemaker. And, at Hampton, Connecticut, lived the widow Susan Vickers with her two children and another son of Mary Vickers, the 28-year old Samuel Vickers, a laborer, with his wife Abigail and four children; Mary Vickers & family, Returns of the Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Microcopy 432, Roll 51: Windham County, Connecticut, pp. 307:4-11 and passim. Additionally, there were 13 other Natives households at Thompson or Woodstock, 12 headed by males, 4 who were shoemakers. Ibid., pp. 520: 32-39 and passim.
Note 43: Returns of the Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Microcopy #653, Worcester County, Massachusetts, for County towns Rolls 528, 529, 530, 531, 533, & 534, for Worcester, Roll 527, pp. 7 and passim & Roll 532, pp. 11 and passim. The returns of the 1860 federal census; among the thirty-five family units headed by males is Asa Walker, 35 years old, white, at Petersham, with his wife Susan Walker, born in Pennsylvania, listed an “Indian,” along with three Mass. born children recorded as “mulatto;” additionally, of the five female heads, Mary Toney, 46, at Fitchburg. and Martha Fiske, 25, at Oxford, were living alone while 55-year old Martha Wilbur, at Uxbridge and 61-year old Mary Vickers at Oxford plus 54-year old Julia A. Daley, also at Oxford, were heads of families.
Note 44: Of these thirty-three Native male household heads, some 20 percent [N or Native household heads=7] were “day laborers,” 20 percent, [N=7] were “farm laborers;” eight or 22.85 percent [N=8] were “laborers,” 11.4 percent[N=4] were involved in shoe manufacture, 5.7 percent [N=2] had no occupation listed, and their number included a Baptist minister, barber and servant, each representing 2.8 percent of the total. Further, Individuals listed as day laborers, farm laborers and laborers, combined as a group of unskilled labor, represented a total of twenty-two individuals or some 62.8 percent of male Native household heads.
Note 45: Forbes, The Hundredth Town, pp. 172-185
Note 46: Lucius E. Ammidown, “The Southbridge of Our Ancestors, Its Homes and Its People,” in Quinebaug Historical Society Leaflets, 3 vols., (1901) I, 18.
Note 47: Oliver A. Hiscox, “The Last of the Wabbaquassets,” in Allen B. Lincoln, ed., A Modern History of Windham County, Connecticut, 2 vols., (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1920) I, 62
Note 48: On The Humphrey Family Rice, ed., Vital Records of Barre, p 49, birth of “Humphrey, William s Thomas an Indian and Esther, Apr. 6, 1795,” while births of children Aaron, Joseph and Ruama Humphrey, with same parentage, do not include the “Indian” identification. Death record for Esther Humphrey in Ms Spencer Vital Records,[Town Clerk’s Office, Spencer, Mass.] Vol. 3, Oct. 12, 1860, Esther Humphrey, “Indian,” 93-0-0, born Dudley, Joseph Pegan, born Dudley & Esther Pegan, born Dudley, diarrhea. 6 weeks. Family of Thomas Humphrey at Sturbridge in 1790, cf. [n.a.] Heads of Families At The First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Massachusetts, (Washington DC: Geneaological Publishing Co., 1908) p. 238. Documentation relative to William Humphrey and family: marriages of William Humphrey, Franklin P. Rice, ed., Vital Records of Spencer, p.171 and idem, Vital Records of Charlton, Massachusetts To The End of the Year 1849 (Worcester, MA: F.P. Rice, 1905) p. 170; for Mary E. Humphrey White and Samuel White, cf. Worcester Probate Registry: Ser. B, Case #41243, Vol. 720, 172, administration of the estate of Mary E. White of Spencer, Ms Sturbridge Vital Records:[Town Clerk’s Office, Sturbridge, Mass.] Births 1660-1891, p.22, for birth of Oscar Wm. White, Oct. 2, 1866 and Ms Worcester Vital Records: [City Clerk’s Office, Worcester, Mass.] Vol. 6, p. 172 for marriage Oscar White and Lillian F. Jackson; for birth of Mary Etta White, Ms Worcester Vital Records, Vol. 3, p. 100, and marriage to James H. Belden, son of James E. Belden, ibid., 6, 172; for marriages Mary Olive Belden, Ms Putnam [CT] Vital Records, [City Clerk’s Office, Putnam, Connecticut] Vol. 3, 1900-1926, Marriages, pp. 408-09, 532-33, to Charles S. Henries, son of Winfred Henries & Ida Lewis and for earlier marriage to Ernest Clinton Lewis, at Putnam, son of Marcus C. Lewis and Prussia Dixon, certificate in possession of James P. Lewis Sr., of Providence, son of Mary O. Belden and Ernest Lewis.
Earle’s Report, p. lviii, for Esther Humphrey in household of William Humphrey at Spencer; Aaron Humphrey at Eastford CT; Luke Humphrey, whereabouts “unknown, along with Cyrus Humphrey, Jonas Humphrey and Ira Humphrey and family; Aaron Humphrey married Eliza Wilbur at Spencer in 1821, Roxa Smith at Charlton in 1839, and Ann Goff at Charlton in 1845, Rice, ed., Vital Records of Spencer, p. 171, idem, Vital Records of Charlton, p. 170 and Ms Charlton Vital Records: [Town Clerk’s Office, Charlton, Mass.] Marriages 1844-1862, p. 1, where his occupation is listed as basketmaker; Luke Humphrey married Mary Ann Hampton at Charlton in 1843, Rice, ed., Vital Records of Charlton, p. 170; and Cyrus Humphrey, dies Spencer 1880, had been married at Charlton, Worcester Probate Registry: Ser. B, Vol. 474, 331; cf. Ms Charlton Vital Records: Deaths 1844-1862, for death of Calvin Humphrey, 1845, 5 year old son of Cyrus and Roxa Humphrey.
Amey Humphrey married a Thomas Freeman, and was mother: of Mercy Freeman Oliver, born 1822; Theophilus Freeman, born 1824; Melany Freeman Willard; Eleanor E. Freeman Esau; and, Thomas Jefferson Freeman; cf. Worcester Probate Registry: Ser. B, Vol. 474, 331, administration in 1880 of the estate of Syrups Humphrey, late of Spencer, identifying nieces, Mary Humphrey of Spencer and Mercy Oliver of Worcester and nephews T.D. Freeman of Worcester, T.J. Freeman of So. Gardner; Earle’s Report, p. lix, Sophia [Esau] Kyle at Worcester, Mercy H. Oliver at Brookfield, ibid., lvii, T.D. Freeman at Brookfield, T.J. Freeman at So. Gardner, ibid.,lvi, Luke and Eleanor Esau at Warren. For further distribution of this family: Melanie Freeman was married at New Braintree, cf. Franklin P. Rice, ed., Vital Records of New Braintree Massachusetts To The End of the Year 1849 (Worcester MA: F.P. Rice, 1902) pp. 83, 56, where child Harriet Willard or Williard was born in 1847; Eleanor Freeman married Luke Esau of Barre, at New Braintree, cf. Rice., ed., Vital Records of New Braintree, p. 83; Ms. Barre Vital Records: [Town Clerk’s Office, Barre, Mass.] Deaths 1844-1895, p. 57, her children Elizabeth, Albert, Edward, Robert, Lorenzo, Phebe, Melanie and Josephine Esau, born at Warren, Hardwick, New Braintree or Barre, cf. Ms. Worcester Vital Records, Marriages Vol. 3, p. 20, and ibid., Births: Vol. 3, pp.
3,44, 70, 103, 136, and ibid., Deaths: 4, p.136; Worcester Probate Registry: Ser. B., Case #11392, Vol. 476, p.123, petition to administer estate of Josephine Esau, died 1875 at Barre, from uncle T.J. Freeman, Elizabeth Cooper, sister of Worcester, Melanie Tanner, sister of Worcester; Rufus Esau, brother of Gardner, Alonzo Esau, brother So. Gardner; ibid., Case #11394, Vol. 476, p.125, same parties to administer estate of Phebe Ann Esau, last dwelt Barre, died Palmer in 1874; Thomas J. Freeman, of Spencer, married Esther Hardy of Grafton, at Gardner where their Winchendon-born daughter Harriet Freeman was married in 1871 to a William Rich from Troy, NY and where other children Warren A. Freeman, Esther M. Freeman, Christina Freeman and Thomas F. Freeman, were also born, cf. Ms Gardner Vital Records: [City Clerk’s Office, Gardner, Mass.] Marriages 1853-1892, pp. 55, 79, 174; Births 1857-1891, pp.17, 31, 83; Deaths 1858-1892, p.103
Note 49: Data here is based on the Returns of the Sixth Census of the United States , Worcester County Massachusetts; Roll 199, p. 164 and passim
Note 50: In the period from May 1844 through May 1845, there were 299 births, 79 marriages and 227 deaths in a population of 11,566 in 2001 families, Worcester Almanach Directory and Advertizer for 1846, hereafter WorcCty Dir for successive years (Worcester MA: Henry J. Howland, 1845) p. 12 WorcCty Dir does not record “color” in listings, Natives are identified utilizing Earle’s Report, federal census returns, state census rosters, MS records of Indian trustees, published town vitals, MS town vital records; military documents; MS legal records including family identification data from suit against Commonwealth; and real estate and probate files, cited and some of the data reproduced in endnotes, Doughton, “Native American Presence, ” pp. 45-47. The 9 Native families were 41% of the town’s 22 “colored” households in 1845.
WorcCty Dir 1846-1850. Six of these nine Indian households were headed by males: four of these household heads were “day laborers;” one was a shoemaker; and, another two male household heads were barbers, each operating his shop, while a total of eight women in Indian households were listed as laundresses.
Note 51; Data extracted from Seventh Census of the United States (1850),
Microcopy 432: Roll 342, pp. 338 and passim: of 185 people, 68% of adults and 80% of minors, 15 and under, were born in the Northeast; 12% [N=9] were born in the South; minors were 33.5% of the total “colored” population, the average age of a “colored” resident was 33.55 years; adults between 16 & 39 years old were 50.2% of the population, adults between 16 & 49 years old, 60.5% of the all “coloreds.”
Note 52: Worcester 1855, data based on MS State Census of Massachusetts 1855, Vol. 43, unnumbered pages, reproduced in Doughton, “Native American Presence,” p. 46; Worcester 1860, from Returns of the Eighth Census of the United States , Worcester County, Massachusetts, Rolls 527 & 532: 532, 11:38-40, 12:1-3 and passim.
Note 53: Data here is from analysis of the 1870 census for Worcester as found in Returns of the Ninth Census of the United States : Worcester County, Massachusetts, Rolls 658, 7:7-16, and passim, 659, 97:24 and passim.
Note 54: In 1870, twenty male heads of Native families reported the following occupations: laborer ; barber ; stone worker ; hardware store worker ; whitewasher ; farmer ; paperhanger ; truckman ; waiter ; and carpenter .
Note 55: In 1870, [N=40] of 193 adult males, and 28 percent [N=52] of 188 adult females, were born in Massachusetts; 13% of both men and women were unlettered; some 45 percent [N=87] of men, and 36 percent [N=68] of adult women had come from the South. Factoring the fourteen percent [N=27] of women and 11 percent [N=21] of males, born in Mid Atlantic states, fifty-six percent [N=106] of adult males and fifty percent [N=95] of adult women were born beyond the Northeast
Note 56: Dispossession of Nipmuc land and resultant poverty are discussed in David R. Mandell, Behind the Frontier Indians in Eighteenth-Century Eastern Massachusetts (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995). Jean O’Brien’s forthcoming Dispossession By Degrees (Cambridge University Press) presents a far more systematic overview of the means by which Nipmucs and other Natives part of the 18th century Natick community, at the mercy of state-appointed guardians, were separated from their lands. Nipmuc dispossession is also discussed in Thomas L. Doughton The Indian Reservation at Hassanamesit and the People of Hassanamesit, later Grafton, Massachusetts (Worcester MA: Nipnet Press, 1990), and “‘That Justice Be Done Them;’ Nipmuc Indians and their Eighteenth-Century Guardians,” unpublished paper; cf., idem, “The Pegan Band of Nipmucs and Their Reservation at Dudley, Massachusetts 1665-1890,” pamphlet published , Nipmuc Tribal Acknowledgment Project, pp.2-5
Note 57: For almost “classic” articulations of Nipmuc disappearance: Stephen Badger, “Historical and Characteristic Traits of the American Indians in General, and Those of Natick in Particular; in a Letter from the Rev. Stephen Badger, of the Natick, to the Corresponding Secretary,” Mass. Historical Society Coll., 1st ser., 5 (1790), pp. 32-45; Joseph Allen, Topographical and Historical Sketches of the Town of Northborough (Worcester, MA: W. Lincoln & C.C. Baldwin, 1826), p. 25 or William Lincoln, History of Worcester Massachusetts, from Its Earliest Settlement to September 1836 with Various Notices Relating to the History of Worcester County (Worcester, MA: Moses D. Phillips and Co., 1837),16-7, 27-8
Note 58: For example, a recent scholarly work claims that, following the 1675-76 conflict, “Many Nipmucks who survived…were captured and sold into slavery. Those avoiding English captivity moved further away to Western Abenaki County, to Maine, or to Hudson Valley Indian towns. Few returned to Nipmuck County after the war ended,” and some “Nipmuck people returning to their lands generally camped briefly on old homesites before moving on to new homes farther from English settlers,” Robert S. Grumet, Historic Contact Indian People and Colonists in Today’s Northeastern United States in the Sixteenth Through Eighteenth Centuries ( Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995), p. 104
Note 59: Barry O’Connell, ed., On Our Own Ground The Complete Writings of
William Apess, A Pequot, (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988), pp. xiv-lxxvii, 166-80; 180-90; cf., idem, “William Apess and the Survival of the Pequot People,” in Peter Benes, ed., Algonkians of New England: Past and Present, Dublin Seminar for New England Folklore Annual Proceedings for 1991 (Boston: Boston University Press, 1993) pp. 93-5
Note 60: For example, Ann McMullen, who writes, that “native people formed a social and economic subclass” and “remaining communities and individuals were spatially, socially and economically marginalized,” in the 19th century. For Indians, “life was tough, however, as all groups attempted to eke out a living on dwindling amounts of land. Indians suffered discrimination, poverty and starvation. Indian communities were never economically or politically integrated into mainstream white societies,” in “What’s Wrong with this Picture? Context, Coversion, Survival, and the Development of Regional Native Cultures and Pan-Indianism in Southeastern New England,” in Laurie Weinstein, ed., Enduring Traditions The Native Peoples of New England, (Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey, 1994), p. 54
Note 61: For example, of some sixty-five manuscript records, from various regional towns, for the family of Lydia Sprague, in thirteen instances individuals were listed as “Indian,” while in other instances she and her many family members are “colored,” “mixed,” “black Indian,” African, “brown” and mulatto. A comparable review of some thirty-five records, also from various towns, for Betsey White and family, from Sutton, Charlton, Webster and Sturbridge, reveals individuals defined as “Indian” in some eight records while “red,” African, “colored,” black, mulatto, “yellow,” or white are designations employed in other remaining birth, death and marriage documents, Doughton, “Native American Presence,” pp. 32, 57-60, analyzing comparative manuscript vital records for three Indian families from several towns, at different, successive parts of the nineteenth- century
Note 62: MS Thompson, Connecticut Births, Deaths, Marriages: Volume 3: 1847-1868, Town Clerk’s Office, Thompson CT, p 14, and passim
Note 63: Franklin P. Rice, Worcester, Massachusetts Vital Records to 1849, Collections Worcester Society of Antiquity, Vol. 12 (1894), throughout. Here 205 records document “people of color;” in 60 percent [N=123] of citations individuals are identified “colored,” in 8.7 percent [N=18] defined “negro,” in 4.3 percent [N=9] “black,” and 3.4 percent [N=7] of the total records individuals are labeled “Indian.” Further, in 23.4 percent [N=48] of these records, identifiable “people of color” are listed without any color attribution or other descriptor.
Note 64: From unnumbered MS pages in “Bills of Mortality: Town of Worcester 1807-1831,” in Box 4, Vital Records 1686-1831, in MS Worcester Mass. Collection, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.; cf. Doughton, “Native American Presence,” pp. 31, 58-59, for discussion and documentation unpublished Worcester vitals describing family of Nipmucs John and Susannah Toney Hector
Note 65: On Color and Ethnicity
Particularly since the appearance of Jack D. Forbes, Africans and Native Americans: The Language and Race and the Evolution of Red-Black Peoples (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993), it is assumed that after 1790, “colored” replaced “mulatto” as a term for all nonwhites, with federal census takers separating “black” and “mulatto” people in such a way that Natives become classified as “mulatto.” While this may be demonstrated in federal census returns from this region, where between 1860 and 1900 few area families are listed as “Indian,” it is shown here that in numerous instances of Native people are described as “Indian” in town vital records in such a way that generalization of Natives as “colored” people is not supported by documentary materials, many individuals identified as “Indian.”
“Colored” Deaths Worcester 1807-1831
Year MS Description of Individual
1807 Wife of Cato Walker, Sept. 17
1811 Child of widow Lydia Johnson, Aug. 15
1813 Phillis, a black woman, May 20
1813 Levi Henry, a man of color, July 3
1813 Phillis Donahue, Dec. 16
1814 Child Jonas Brooks, man of color, May 23
1814 Black child, June 13
1814 Dau Peter Rich, black, Nov.
1816 Dr. Still, man of color, fits, Nov. 11
1816 Cato Walker, man of color, old age, 80, Feb. 29
1817 Son of Jack Gardner, fever, black, 3, Oct. 1
1818 Monday Morey, man of color, casualty, 30, Sep.11
1818 Child Jack Gardner, colored person, 3, Dec. 29
1819 Child Jack Gardner, unknown, May 3
1819 Child Jack Gardner, 3, June 7
1819 Jeffrey Hemenway, man of color, old age, 83, Aug. 15
1820 Solomon, black man at Geo Lynde’s, 24, Jan. 11
1821 Phares Robbins, man of color, 35, April 19
1821 Child of color at poor house, 8 months, Jan. 19
1822 Girl of color at [John] Milton Earles, 24
1822 John Francis, man of color, 56, March 17
1822 Bristol Green, man of color, worn out, 65, Dec. 23
1824 Child of Moses Gimbee, person of color, 4, April 1
1825 Child Elias Toney, 5, Feb. 20
1826 Lott Morey, man of color, May 26
1826 Rebecca Robbins, a colored woman, June 12
1826 Mrs. Relief Finamer, woman of color, 41, Sept.
1827 Dau Lydia Johnson, woman of color, June 12
1829 Nero Powers, man of color, April 17
1829 Child Henry Jackson, colored person
1830 Illegitimate child Miss Brooks, a girl of color, May 16
1830 Mingo Proctor, man of color, buried May 15
1830 Zilpah Farrar, girl of color, 30, July 7
1830 Charles Vanvacter, a man of color, buried Oct. 9
1831 A black person of Poor House, March 27
1831 Black child Fanny Proctor, colored person, April
1831 Child person of color, July 7
Further inconsistency in labeling “people of color” can be seen in the attached summary of individuals whose deaths, between 1807 and 1831, were not included within the published Worcester vital records. Here, a variety of attributions is employed in describing “colored people,” their number including African-Americans like the former slaves Cato Walker and Phyllis Donahue and Native-connected individuals like Lydia [Hemenway] Johnson, John Francis, Moses Gimby and Elias Toney.
Is there a distinction in these manuscript records between what’s called “black,” a “woman of color,” and a “colored person?” What is a “black child” of a “colored person?” And, are there differences, within these records, between African Americans and Natives?
It would appear that for individuals creating these records, at Worcester, during this period of time, Native Americans and African Americans are the same: they are “colored,” they are “other” than white Euroamerican. Of some sixty-five manuscript records for the family of Lydia Sprague, mentioned above, in thirteen instances individuals were listed as “Indian,” while in other instances she and her many family members are “colored,” “mixed,” “black Indian,” African, “brown” and mulatto. A comparable review of some thirty-five records for Betsey White and family, also mentioned above, demonstrates individuals defined as “Indian” in some eight records while “red,” African, “colored,” black, mulatto, “yellow,” or white are designations employed in other remaining birth, death and marriage documents. When asked in 1996 about her birth record reading “Indian,” a sister’s record reporting “white,” and a brother’s record claiming “colored,” an 80-year old Nipmuc woman responded, “Pa [her father, considered a “chief” of the Nipmuc, Pequot and Shinnecook peoples] always used to say ‘They stole all our land and
that’s that. Who cares what they say? They’re going to call you whatever they want to call you. But we know who we are.’ Colored, Indian and white, with the same parents, and in the same town, that’s a problem for the white people, not for me. Should I try to get the records corrected? Why? So white people can straighten out their lies? I don’t think so.”
Hectors in the Worcester Area
Unnumbered page in Mass. Census of 1865, the Hectors living in Ward 7 at Worcester: John Hector, 73, Indian, born Mass., married, laborer; Susanna Hector, 66, Indian, born Mass., married; Cornelia Hector, 24, Indian, born Mass., single, no occupation; and Martha A. Hector, 42, Indian, born New York, widowed, seamstress. John Hector died in 1865, aged 65, his death record reading “Indian,” Ms Worcester Vitals, Deaths, Vol. 2, p. 36, and when his wife Susannah Toney Hector died in 1868, she was recorded as “Indian mixed,” ibid., p. 78. While there are these examples of family members appearing in Worcester records as “Indian,” there is an inconsistency in racial or color designation for the Hectors. When Frederick Hector, John’s son, died of consumption at Worcester in 1849, no color or racial designation was entered into the record, ibid., Deaths: Vol. 1, p. 1; when Frederick’s sister Susan J. Hector died in 1857, again of consumption, the record contains neither color nor racial attribution, ibid., 90. When John Hector [Jr.] died in 1875, from consumption, the death record listed him as “Indian,” ibid., Vol. 3, 124. William G. Hector, son of Susannah Toney and John Hector, died in 1864, while serving with the military in Louisiana, his death record reading “mulatto,” ibid., Deaths, Vol. 2, p. 20 yet in 1865, when his sister Cornelia A. Hector dies, with same parentage, she listed as “Indian,” ibid., p. 26. When Asa E. Hector, son of Susannah Toney and John Hector, and Lucretia Reed were married at Worcester in 1855, they are both described as “colored,” ibid., Marriages: Vol. 1, p.106. The birth record of Laura Lucretia Hector, daughter of Asa E. Hector and Laura Reed in 1859, reads “Indian descent,” ibid., Births: Vol.1, p. 175 where her death record in 1859 contains no racial or color attribution, ibid., Deaths, Vol. 1, p 121; the record of Cornelia or Cora C. Hector, same parentage in 1860, reads “mulatto, part Indian,” ibid., Births, Vol. 2, p. 12 while her death record from six months later also reads “mulatto, part Indian,” ibid., Deaths, Vol. 1, p. 142; the record of Lucretia L. Hector, same parentage in 1862, reads “mulatto,” ibid., Births, p. 51, her death record within the same year, also reading “mulatto,” ibid., Deaths, Vol. 1, p. 167, while a child of Asa E. Hector’s second marriage, Asa W. Hector, born in 1883 reads “black,” ibid., Births, Vol. 5, p. 21. When Mrs. Asa Hector, the former Lucretia Reed, dies in 1874, she is listed as “black,” ibid., Deaths, Vol. 3, p. 95, while Asa E. Hector is labelled “African” in his own 1887 death record, ibid., Vol. 4, p.18. Richard Hector was another child of Susannah Toney and John Hector. The birth of Filena Izabella Lucina Hector, daughter of Richard A. Hector and Philena Fields, in 1866, records that she is “Indian,” ibid., Births, Vol. 3, p.46, while the record for the birth of William F. Hector, same parentage in 1873, reads “Black Indian,” ibid., Vol. 4, p. 83, the death record of William Hector, the same year, reading “black,” ibid., Deaths, Vol. 3, p. 78. Lucretia M. Hector, daughter of Richard and Philena Hector, died in 1875, recorded as “black,” ibid., Deaths, Vol. 3, p.113. Augustus A. Hector, son of Richard and Philena Hector, died in 1882, his death record reading “African,” ibid., Vol. 4, p. 68. When Richard Hector dies in 1874, he is listed as “mulatto,” ibid., p. 89. Appearing in previously cited manuscript records of the guardians of Nipmuc people connected to Grafton the Hectors are listed in the Earle’s Report, p. liii. Grafton-born John Hector Sr. was one of the two sons of Lucy Gimby Hector. Harry Arnold, father of Sarah M. Arnold Cisco, is the other of Lucy Gimby Hector’s two children. Both Hector and Arnold are mentioned in previously cited Grafton guardian records as recipients of payments from trust monies. The Hazzard/ Ransom Family: Southern Worcester County, Northern Connecticut
The family of Manly Ransom is at Charlton, federal census of 1830: Manly, an adult female, two boys and one girl. This same family is at Spencer, federal census of 1850: Manly, aged 40, listed as “black;” Nancy Henries] Ransom, aged 35, with children Caroline, aged 14, Willard, aged 13, and Nancy, aged 5, Mrs. Ransom and the children labelled “mulatto.” Additionally, at this time, married daughter Julia Ransom Jackson was also at Spencer. Cf. newspaper account, “Manlius Ransom Tried For Murder of His Wife,” Worcester Spy, Vol. LXXXII, No. 42, Oct. 19, 1853, reporting that: Nancy Ransom, of Spencer, was murdered on July 11, 1851 by her husband, “Manlius,” stabbing her in her right side. Ransom allegedly was in the habit of “beating” and “kicking” his wife, coming home “intoxicated” on July 11, demanding his supper, then, stabbing Nancy Ransom, an act witnessed by their 11-year old son Charles. Charles Ransom, according to the account, swore he saw his father kill his mother, running “for his sister Julia Ann [Jackson] living in another part of the village.” Manly Ransom, however, disappeared, living under the assumed name of “George Brown,” until apprehended in August 1853. Found guilty of manslaughter, Ransom was sentenced to three years of hard labor at the state penitentiary.
By 1860, Willard Ransom, son of Manly and Nancy Henries Ransom had located to Woodstock, while his brother Hiram Ransom and family were living at Sturbridge. The family of Hiram Ransom [Jr.] at Sturbridge: here in 1850, Hiram Ransom was a day laborer owning real estate; the wife of Hiram Ransom was Laura Dixon, born at Woodstock, a daughter of Hosea Dixon and Eunice Sampson, Cf. Returns of the Eighth Census of the United States : Massachusetts, Worcester County: Roll 533, p. 928:29-31, where they are listed as “black;” Ms death record, Sturbridge Vital Records for “Laura Dixon Ransom,” no color, or racial designation, widow, born CT, daughter of Hosea Dixon, born RI and Eunice Sampson, born Woodstock, June 3, 1897; Bowen, Woodstock History, I, 536, mentions “An Indian living today  and aged ninety-one, Lovan Tiffany Dixon, daughter of Hosea Dixon and “Aunt Hopey,” whose protograph is reproduced, 535. In 1870, the widow Laura Ransom and her family are “mulatto,” still at Sturbridge, owning real estate, Returns of the Ninth Census of the United States : Massachusetts, Worcester County: Roll 656, 28A:40, 29:1-3), household containing Laura Ransom and children Betsey, Laura and Hiram E. Ransom. In 1880, Laura Ransom and her family now “black,” continue at Sturbridge, consisting of daughters Betsey, Margaret Myrtle and son Hiram [E.] Ransom and “cousins” Fanny A. Nedson, 18 years old, and 7 month old Ada E. Nedson, ( Returns of the Tenth Census of the United States : Massachusetts, Worcester County: Roll 563, 573A, 45-573A:1). Additionally, Hiram E. Ransom [III], died at Sturbridge, “mulatto,” 36-year old laborer on May 22, 1900. On Willard Ransom and family: he was a 75-year old head household, listed as “black,” at Woodstock in 1900 with daughter-in-law Bridget and 3-year old grandson Charles W. Ransom in 1900, (cf. Returns of the Twelfth Census of the United States : Connecticut: Windham County: Roll 152: 1B:67-69), where he died Jan. 21, 1914, listed as “colored.”
Willard Ransom had been married at least three times, his wife Lucinda died in 1871 (cf. consumption death, Aug. 15, 1871 at Sturbridge of 37-year old Lucinda Ransom); his wife Lucretia Henries Ransom, died in 1878 (cf., death at Sturbridge Feb. 6, 1878, of 39-year old Lucretia Henries Ransom, at Sturbridge) and, in 1878, at Sturbridge he married a Georgie Davis from Fall River, (cf. marriage Willard Ransom “Indian” and Georgie Ann Davis “Indian” from Fall River, his third, and her first, at Sturbridge Aug. 27, 1878). The children of Willard Ransom born at Sturbridge included: Prentiss Ransom, no color attribution, dying 7 days later, Jan. 12, 1861; Charles Ransom, born May 12, 1872; Julia Alice Ransom, “mixed,” born in 1873, dying eight months later Feb.27, 1874; Frances Ransom, born Feb. 12, 1875 and an older child, Nancy Ransom, born in 1864 in Rhode Island. On Julia Ransom Jackson: daughter of Hiram Ransom [Sr.] and Nancy Henries Ransom, of Spencer, married Henry Jackson, part of an “Oneida” family listed in the Earle’s Report, her family spread out through towns of southern Massachusetts and northern Connecticut; she died at Sturbridge, aged 86, Feb. 2, 1909.
On Miss Nancy L. Ransom: daughter of Hiram Ransom [Sr.] and Nancy Henries, died 1909 (see below), lived at Southborough MA, servant in a white household in 1870 (cf. 1870 Census Returns, op. cit, 38A:18), head of household in 1900 census, (cf. 1900 Census Returns., Roll 694: 9,48). On Caroline Ransom Randall: daughter of Hiram Ransom [Sr.] and Nancy Henries: married and lived with her family at Harmony RI, (cf. Worcester Probate Registry: Ser. B, Case #40054, July 21, 1909: inventory of estate of Miss Nancy L. Ransom, late of Southborough MA identifying heirs including brother Willard Ransom of Putnam CT and sisters Julia Jackson, of Sturbridge and Caroline Randall of Harmony RI.) As yet another example of the complexity of regional Native American family history, and confirmation of persistence of these families within homelands into the 20th century, is Nancy Ransom, the daughter of Willard Ransom. She married Edwin Hazzard, another Native, from Brimfield, at Sturbridge in 1880. In the federal census for that year, she and family are at Brookfield where their first child was born, (Returns of the Tenth Census of the United States : Roll 562:103B, 16-18). In 1900, they were at Quinebaug, after 20 years of marriage with 7 out of their 10 children still alive (Returns of the Twelfth Census of the United States : Roll 691:6, 83-90). Some of the marriages between children of Nancy and Edward Hazzard and other regional Natives: Mary Hazzard, in 1887, married at Woodstock, her cousin Chester Jackson who had been born at Dudley; Della Hazzard who married at Thompson CT John Abbott of Worcester, his Native mother part of the Field family; and Edward Hazzard, at Woodstock, marrying Maud L. Brown. This Maud L. Brown was a child of Native parents: her father Edgar Brown was through his mother Hannah Nichols Brown, a grandson of Lydia Sprague Nichols Shelley Henries, from the Wesbster reservation and through his father Peleg Brown, grandson of Natives Peleg Brown and Sally Vickers; and, her mother Mary Estella maiden Brown, was from the Brown/Dailey family of Pequots living at Woodstock. After Edward Hazzard died in an accident, Maud Brown Hazzard married his brother George Hazzard; with the two Hazzard brothers, Maud Brown Hazzard had 15 children living to be adults in this region [some alive at this writing in 1996].
Note 66: The “ethnicity” of Jeffrey Hemenway remains uncertain. Older town histories mention that Mrs. Mary Hemenway, wife of Ebenezer with whom he lived, had been taken captive by Indians, as if to explain the presence of a “colored” child in their household. Some period sources state Jeffrey was the “foster son” of Ebenezer Hemenway while other authors claim he was a slave, but in an 1890 newspaper interview discussing her family, including their Native American heritage, Miss Hannah Hemenway, daughter of Jeffrey and Hepsibeth Hemenway, informed he was a “mulatto” from Boston given to the Hemenways to “bring up and educate.” Several scholars, most probably Lawrence Towner, have documented the “giving away” of the Mass. slave offspring in the first half of the 18th century, nonetheless, the relationship of Jeffrey Hemenway to the Framingham Hemenways cannot be conclusively established.
Note 67; Philip S. Foner and George E. Walker, eds., Proceedings of the Black State Conventions 1840-1865, 4 vols. (Philadelphia, 1980) II, 94, 96, 97, 104
Note 68: Some of Alexander Hemenway’s activities are discussed in Nick Salvatore, We All Got History, The Memory Books of Amos Webber (New York: Times Books, Random House, 1995) pp. 103-4, 107, 118, 209, 218, 237, 280, 290, 310, a work which conflates “colored” and black and African-American, seemingly unaware that several leaders of Worcester’s 19th century “colored” community, including Hemenways were Nipmuc Indians, as listed in the Earle’s Report and/or recipients of benefits, entitlements, etc. as Indian. In fact, Nipmuc Indians are never once mentioned in Salvatore’s text
Note 69: Again, without recognition of his Native American heritage, Alexander H. Johnson is discussed in Salvatore, We All Got History, pp. 168-89, 278, 280
Note 70: Marvin Harris, Patterns of Race in the Americas, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1964) pp. 37, 56, 108.
Note 71: Mandell, Behind the Frontier, pp., 68-69 and passim
Note 72: Barbara Brown and James M. Rose, Black Roots in Southern Connecticut 1650-1900 (Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1988), an excellent source compiling a variety of types of family documentation for “colored,” or African American and Native American, households in southern Connecticut.
Note 73: Mass. population figures, here, from Warner, ed., Abstract of 1865 Mass. Census, 88, 90, 108, 118, while totals and distribution of Natives tallied by John Milton Earle are extracted from the 78-page Appendix of the Earle Report
Note 74: In “What’s Wrong,” McMullen offers an important discussion of regional Native culture and Pan-Indian political movements of the 1920s and l930s, but maintains that 19th century Natives “were seldom recognized as native because of the relative invisibility of their covert cultures they maintained and the lack of a recognizable Indian phenotype.” Indian identity became “a stigmatized category” in southern New England following Metacomet’s armed resistance in 1675, with the result that “Native people reacted to the stigmatization of their identity by covering its recognizable symbols to give the impression of assimilation…In trying to manage information about themselves…New England’s native people restricted use of identifying symbols to avoid recognition and appear, superficially, to be like non-Natives, a process I call ‘coversion’.” We’re told “native people developed oral traditions and ideologies rationalizing invisibility” and “hid their languages and ceremonies and altered material aspects of culture to appear similar to non-native neighbors.” Through this “subversion of visible symbols,” in McMullen’s opinion “native people maintained significant covert cultures unrecognizable to non-Natives.” In the 19th century, then, “native people and their cultures survived despite an ideological system that defined them as a marginal underclass…[w]ithin this milieu they altered the use of cultural symbols to coexist with non-natives and maintain invisibility of their covert cultures,” in “What’s Wrong, “pp. 124, 130, 133, 135-7.
Note 75: “But if neighboring Indians did not prosper, they did survive” in the 18th century, writes Merrell,” one secret of their survival was the ability to make themselves inconspicuous.” He gives examples of Indian drinking, cursing nd dressing like Europeans at that time “and this camouflage, too, was crucial to their survival.” Some Braintree Indians had so well “perfected their disguise,” that they were often mistaken for English, but “as important at this mimetic talent was the ability to retain a distinctly Indian identity,” James H. Merrell, “‘The Customes of Our Countrey’: Indians and Colonists in Early America,” in Bernard Bailyn and Philip D. Morgan, eds., Strangers Within The Realm Cultural Margins of the First British Empire (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991), p. 154
Note 76: Aware that some area Natives, for a variety of reasons, would have selected “invisibility, “obscurity” or “evasion” or “silence,” to protect themselves and resist, much in the manner described by James C. Scott in Domination and the Arts of Resistance (New Haven: Yale U.P.: 1990) and other works, my objection is that it should not be assumed, without specific reference to actual living Indian people, that area Natives in the 19th century, universally or generally, employed these and other “weapons of the weak” to survive and resist the racism or class bias of the period’s dominant culture.