I recently traveled to Switzerland County, Indiana, in hopes of finding some shred of evidence pointing me towards the origins of one Amos Gilbert, Sr., my 5th Great-Grandfather (seven generations ago), known to have arrived there around 1816. A ‘slam-dunk’ would have been the discovery of a birthdate, from a tombstone or a public record, that would help pinpoint which Amos Gilbert this guy was back on the East Coast before arriving in Indiana. (There were a surprising number of contemporaries sharing that name.) No such luck, however. After inspecting five likely cemeteries and a lot of potential family plot locations, the was no trace of Amos Gilbert Sr., or even Sally Magruder (a previous wife) and her father, Revolutionary War veteran Norman Bruce Magruder. While contemporary Gilbert graves were found, many of the nearby stones were worn to nubs or otherwise unreadable. Also, considering the seemingly wholesale disappearance of graves of Amos Sr. and those closest to him, and having learned from local historians that many family plots closer to town (as his would have been) were destroyed by development, it is possible that his resting place is gone forever. Not all was lost, though. There were some promising leads.
The original deed, granting lands of the United States to Amos Gilbert Sr. in 1816, (and corroborated by entries into Switzerland County deed records) describe its location as straddling current Highway 56 about 1 mile outside of Vevay’s city limits. As it stands now, it is an unremarkable and modest housing development on a slight ridge with manicured-lawn homes, one or two 1800’s structures, and a small machine hauling business. No extant burial plots were to be found there, having likely succumbed to the plow and the bulldozer long ago. However, just ten miles up the same road is the small town of Allensville. According to the “History of Switzerland County 1815” on hand at the local museum, “Among the earliest residents of Allensville were…Ezra Gilbert, a blacksmith, who, with Orin Richmond, also manufactured oil from the castor bean, which they grew in large quantities…” This leads one to the question “Who the heck is Ezra Gilbert?” While research needs to be done, according to https://ancestors.familysearch.org/en/LB4C-P26/ezra-gilbert-1791-1850 Ezra Gilbert:
“…was born on 7 April 1791, in Strafford, Orange, Vermont, United States, his father, Ezra Gilbert, was 28 and his mother, Huldah Warner, was 23. He had at least 3 sons and 1 daughter with Sarah Kimberly Robins. He died after 1850, in Cotton Township, Switzerland, Indiana, United States, at the age of 60.”
According to this and other records that I am still mulling over, Ezra Gilbert was part of a long line of Ezras, Ebers, and other Gilberts who lived on the same road as Amos Gilbert Sr. at the same time! I have even found a contemporary newspaper with both Ezra the blacksmith and Amos Sr. having advertisements on the same page (https://newspapers.library.in.gov/cgi-bin/indiana?a=d&d=WM18321124.1.1&e=——-en-20–1–txt-txIN——-). I would find it remarkable if these two Gilbert families were not somehow related! With Ezra ostensibly being of a well-known family traceable to Vermont (providing the source documents check out), then the next task would be to discover how Amos Gilbert Sr. ( https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Gilbert-15822#_ref-14) connects to him – other than by proximity.
I am getting back to work on our Barkhamsted Lighthouse Village Descendant’s Association!
I have set up a main contact page for those that believe they might be a descendant for those I have yet to work with. Click here to get to the page: BLVD ASSOCIATION
Those that are already in my files – I will be updating soon with all the cool new things we are gonna offer you~ As you can see, I have totally revamped my blog here at: conidubois.com
So many new exciting things happening and looking forward to get back to blogging!
I am in the middle of redoing and updating this blog!
A LOT of NEW THINGS are happening!!!
We have a couple new Authors that will be joining us: Roxanne Wehnes & Mark Rogers~
Super EXCITED to have them join our blog!!!
They will be posting on different family lines in their trees and stories of our Ancestor’s.
I can’t wait to see what they write about!
I have updated my Menu’s bar on the top of this blog and have started a NEW PROJECT called:
I will be adding all of my direct lineages to this page.
Each ancestor will have their person report and photo album in attached PDF –
just click on blue or green names to open PDF to view.
I am starting with my Grandparents and working my way back in history – I will be doing individual pages for each generation I move back to.
I have so much to share and looking forward to getting back to blogging!
I was fortunate enough to get AT&T Fiber Optics in my neighborhood – 1st installed on my street LOL!
*Don’t forget to click the following “Ever Widening Circle” button on top right of this blog to get all of our updates~
*In cell viewing there is a MENU button at top of this page – click it to view all my menu’s.
Adding things constantly~
I am in so many directions & projects right now 👀
I am at the moment going through my files and fixing missing photos from all my merges & updates I have done over the years. Not many – a 100 or so needing to be fixed.
I am also rearranging photos of individuals I am working on in their photo albums, trying to make them match on their timelines. Looks better and not so jumbled up in my research books. 😁
I am currently in 3 lines:
Allen’s, Gilberts and Barkhamsted Lighthouse.
Past few months have been cleaning up my files and rearranging them.
I will be coming out with newer versions in a few months 😉
Recently, Jane and Chris Gilbert of the Gilbert Y-DNA Project informed me that there were some errors in my research. They backed this up with solid science in the form of an extensive study that matches haplogroups of Gilbert men with demonstrable and documented lineages. To wit, they can find no documented connection between the Yardley Gilberts and the Gilberts of Compton. Further, most of the Somerset Gilberts are demonstrably a different family altogether. A second break in the lineage, demonstrated by the Y-DNA, is that the Vevay, Switzerland County, IN, line of Gilberts does not connect to the Bucks County, PA, line. Both errors are likely due to mistakes made by antiquarians and early genealogical researchers who, as I’ve pointed out in previous articles, could be a bit slapdash at times – inscribing word-of-mouth into family trees as fact. (For an example of this, go back to my article about the supposed relationship between the descendants of Gilbert Crispin and the Gilberts of Compton.) Rather than being a disappointment, this is a unique opportunity to set the record straight using modern technology and information systems. After all, it is the truth that matters.
The result of all this rethinking is that my line can only be conclusively demonstrated through Amos Gilbert Sr. (b. ca. 1780 – d. April 14, 1843, Vevay, IN) The quest now is to discover Amos’s birthday so we can try to distinguish him from the surprising number of Amos Gilbert’s who were floating around New England at the time. I say New England because part of Amos’s travels from east to west have been documented in the form of wills, marriage records, census records and land grants. Fascinatingly, we know that Amos Sr. was in Cincinnati, OH, receiving a government grant for land in Switzerland County, IN, in 1816 – a grant document that was signed by President Madison and which was discovered in a Vevay attic by a homeowner in 1900! Before that, we know he married Sally Magruder in Washington County, OH, in 1810, who was the daughter of a respected Virginia family who lived across the Ohio River in Wood County (now in West Virginia). Remarkably (and confusingly), there seems to have been another couple named Amos and Sarah (Sally being the diminutive of Sarah) Gilbert at about the same time, but married in Kentucky and living in Tennessee.
We know a lot about Amos Sr., to include that he owned three slaves when he lived in Wood County, and had many dealings with his father-in-law, Revolutionary War veteran Norman Bruce Magruder. The extended family appeared to move down the Ohio river to Switzerland County, IN, where we know Norman is buried. We also know that Amos Sr. was married at least twice and likely three times. What we don’t know is: Where the heck does Amos Gilbert Sr. come from? This is important because there are a number of possible East Coast Amos Gilberts showing up in contemporary records. Knowing which (if any) of these Amos Gilberts is our Amos Gilbert will likely be enough to tie him to a known New World Gilbert family and perhaps back to a known Old World family. Key to this will be knowing his birthdate. Finding his obituary was a tremendous help, telling us he was 63 when he died on April 14, 1843. In a later census, one of his sons said his father was from New York. Though that may not be where Amos Sr. had been born, we can say with some certainty that our Amos was born sometime around 1780 in New England.
To further nail down the date, I’ve received tremendous help from the Switzerland County Historical Museum, Library, and Cemetery Commission. They have been providing me resources and information that I hope to use during a fact-finding trip I am planning there this summer. Physically present in their archives are various deeds and licenses issued to Amos Sr. during his lifetime, to include tavern, grocery, and butcher’s licenses. My hope is to find Amos’s grave or some other item that might indicate his actual birthdate. Interestingly, while there I can stay at the Swiss Inn, a place Amos Sr. lived from 1827 to about 1833 when it was the Switzerland Hotel. This is just up the road from a three-story brick building, Russell House, that Amos built near the ferry landing on the Ohio River – which stands to this day.
UPDATE: I have since discovered that the house described below is likely NOT the aforementioned house, the site of Amos Gilbert’s tavern and market. Property deeds and newspaper articles mention that his building stood on lot 181 of the original town plat, making its location caddy-corner from this one – a lot currently occupied by a coin operated laundromat.
Interesting person/cousin in my files (from my Ralph Allen Book)
Richard Stockton was born in Princeton on November 8, 1791.
He worked as an Attorney General.
He studied law and practiced in New Jersey before moving to Mississippi, where he was made one of the judges of the State Supreme Court.
Became Attorney General.
Richard was killed in a duel with John P. Parson in New Orleans, Jefferson, Louisiana, on February 5,
1827, at the age of 35.
He did not fire.
A letter in his pocket stated his purpose not to fire.
Read more by Jimmy Robertson in his article: Judicial Review Comes to Mississippi, and Stays
This is my Ralfe Allen & Esther Swift research book:
Free to read on Adobe (don’t have to have Adobe to open)
Some time ago I had created a Wikipedia article on the Gilberts of Compton, based on the research and sources cited in this blog. Recently, a Wikipedia editor took it upon himself to delete whole paragraphs from that article saying they were ‘irrelevant’. Comically (and amateurishly) , in the process of ‘fixing’ the article, he conflated several facts that were correct in the earlier article – even switching the birth order of people without seeming to notice. Specifically, the editor deleted the entire three paragraph section called “Origins” that discussed the strengths and weaknesses of various sources because (sigh) some of the sources were unreliable. That was sort of the point of the discussion. Also, he deleted the entire section “Myths and Legends” because, you guessed it, they were myths and legends. Rather than have a back-and-forth of editing and re-editing Wikipedia (aside from fixing the birth order mistake he made), I’ll just publish the original here since it summarizes the research completely to-date:
The Gilberts of Compton
The Gilberts of Compton were a noted Anglo-Norman family of knightly class,[i] having seats at both Compton Castle and Greenway Estate, Devon, England, who were prominent in the British colonization of the Americas during the Elizabethan era.[ii]
There are conflicting origin stories of the Gilberts of Compton among antiquarians. A popular story is that the Gilberts descended from Gilbert, Count of Brionne, through his sons Richard Fitz-Gilbert and Baldwin Fitz-Gilbert.[iii][iv] While the Fitz-Gilbert brothers were active in Devon, there is no evidence to suggest that their progeny became the Gilbert family. This claim is especially dubious considering the name Fitz-Gilbert was not, at that time, a hereditary surname under the Norman naming system.
A second claim is that the Gilberts “possessed lands in Manaton, (in or near Dartmoor,) in Edward the Confessors’ days”, placing the Gilbert family in Devon before 1066.[v][vi][vii] Though surnames at that time were rare in Europe, it is possible that the name Gilbert existed as a contemporary surname as evidenced by Guillaume I Gilbert, Bishop of Poitiers.[viii][ix][x][xi] However, the quote was likely a misreading of a passage from an earlier work: “This riveret parts Manaton, alias Magneton, and Lustlegh. Many have possessed lands here: in the Confessor’s time Gilbert; after Sauls, Horton, Le Moyn, and others”, itself based on entries in the Domesday Book.[xii] This passage simply states someone named Gilbert, a popular first name at the time, lived in Devon.
What is more demonstrable is that the male line leading to the Gilberts of Compton likely rose from obscurity with the marriage of a William Gilbert of Devon to Elizabeth Champernowne of Clist, a descendent of William the Conqueror, sometime in the first few decades of the 13th century. Their great grandson, Sir Geoffrey (Galfried) Gilbert (Member of Parliament for Totnes in 1326) married Lady Joan Compton, heiress of Compton Castle, thereby becoming “of Compton”.[xiii][xiv]
Little is known of the family’s activities during the Middle Ages aside from Sir Otho Gilbert of Compton serving as High Sheriff of Devon from 1475 to 1476. It was descendants of this Otho Gilbert who would set out during the Elizabethan period on the family’s “hereditary scheme of peopling America with Englishmen”.[xv] Most famous among these were the half brothers Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Walter Raleigh, both famous explorers of the New World and perhaps infamous military figures in Ireland. Their lesser-known brother, Sir Adrian Gilbert of Compton, was nonetheless of the same cloth, having an especially savage military reputation in Ireland while also seeking a Northwest Passage to China under a patent from Queen Elizabeth I.[xvi] Another brother, Sir John Gilbert, was Sheriff of Devon, knighted by Elizabeth I in 1571, and was Vice Admiral of Devon – responsible for defense against the Spanish Armada.[xvii]
In the following generation, Bartholomew Gilbert named Cape Cod during his 1602 expedition to establish a colony in New England. He was killed by a group of Algonquians during a voyage the following year in search of the missing Roanoke Colony. In 1607, Sir Humphrey Gilbert’s son, Raleigh Gilbert, established a fortified storehouse he called Fort Saint George on the coast of Maine. In the face of “nothing but extreme extremities”, this colony ultimately voted to return to England. It is said that they were so resolute in this goal that they built a ship to facilitate the return voyage, which would probably have been the first oceangoing vessel built in America.[xviii]
Later, brothers Jonathan and John Gilbert would have a hand in establishing Hartford, Connecticut, acting as emissaries between the Governor in Hartford and the local indigenous tribes. Jonathan was a skilled linguist of local tribal languages and served as a militia leader.[xix] John’s young son, another John Gilbert, was famously captured by Narragansett, Wampanoag and Nashaway/Nipmuc tribes led by Monoco after their attack on Lancaster, Massachusetts.[xx] In another unfortunate incident John’s sister-in-law, Lydia Gilbert, was sentenced to death for witchcraft in Windsor, Connecticut, in 1654.[xxi] However Jonathan’s younger son, Captain Thomas Gilbert, was said to have been “a brave and successful officer, and a leading man in the primitive navy of the colony”. Thomas commanded the twelve-gun ship, Swan, during King William’s War, capturing the French ship Saint Jacob. He was captured in 1695, spending the rest of the war as a prisoner in France.[xxii]
Compton Castle is still today in the hands of the Gilbert family. Geoffrey Gilbert, a modern descendant, resides at Compton and administers the estate for the National Trust. His wife, Angela Gilbert, was appointed High Sheriff of Devon in 2016.[xxiii]
Myths and Legends
According to one of the many purported versions of the Battle Abby Roll, a T. Gilbard (Gilbert) fought alongside William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. This claim comes from a 1655 work called The church-history of Britain from the birth of Jesus Christ until the year M.DC.XLVIII, written by Thomas Fuller. Fuller relied on source material provided by an antiquarian named Thomas Scriven, who was operating under the alias Mr. Fox. There is no evidence so far to corroborate this claim.[xxiv]
Another, more modern legend, is based in Adrian Gilbert’s noted intelligence and love for mathematics and alchemy, having served as laboratory assistant to Mary, Countess of Pembroke. This new claim from the 2000 book Following the Ark of the Covenant, by Kerry and Lisa Boren, claims that the famous mathematician John Dee entrusted to Adrian the Arc of the Covenant to carry to the New World on one of his voyages.[xxv]
[i] A view of Devonshire in MDCXXX, with a pedigree of most of its gentry, Thomas Westcote, Exeter, 1845
[ii] Genealogical Memoir of the Gilbert Family in both Old and New England, J. Wingate Thornton, Boston, 1850
[iii] An historical survey of the County of Cornwall : to which is added, a complete heraldry of the same / by C. S. Gilbert., v.2 pt.1, Plymouth-Dock :J. Congdon,1817-1820
[iv] Genealogical Memoir of the Gilbert Family in both Old and New England, J. Wingate Thornton, Boston, 1850
[v] Burkes Landed Gentry
[vi] Magna Britannia
[vii] An historical survey of the County of Cornwall : to which is added, a complete heraldry of the same / by C. S. Gilbert., v.2 pt.1, Plymouth-Dock :J. Congdon,1817-1820
[viii] Dictionnaire universel, dogmatique, canonique, historique, géographique et chronologique, des sciences ecclésiastiques, Volume 6, 1765
[ix] Bibliothèque sacrée, ou Dictionnaire universel, historique, dogmatique, canonique, géographique et chronologique des sciences ecclésiastiques, 1827
[x] Archives historiques du Poitou, Volume 25, 1895, Societe des Archives Historiques du Poitou
[xi] Acte n° 3637 dans Chartes originales antérieures à 1121 conservées en France , Cédric GIRAUD, Jean-Baptiste RENAULT et Benoît-Michel TOCK, éds., Nancy : Centre de Médiévistique Jean Schneider ; éds électronique : Orléans : Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes, 2010. (Telma). En abrégé, citer : « Charte Artem/CMJS n°3637
[xii] A view of Devonshire in MDCXXX, with a pedigree of most of its gentry, Thomas Westcote, Exeter, 1845
[xiii] Devonshire wills: a collection of annotated testamentary abstracts, together with the family history and genealogy of many of the most ancient gentle houses of the west of England, Charles Worthy, Bemrose (.V Sons, LTD, 23, Old Bailey and Derby, 1896
[xiv] The visitations of the county of Devon : Comprising the herald’s visitations of 1531, 1564, & 1620 /
With additions by Lieutenant-Colonel J. L. Vivian. Vivian, J. L. 1830-1896. Exeter, 1895.
[xvi] Genealogical Memoir of the Gilbert Family in both Old and New England, J. Wingate Thornton, Boston, 1850
[xvii] https://www.rammuseum.org.uk/elizabethan-silver-spoon-saved-for-devon/, Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter City Council, Elizabethan Silver Spoon Saved for Devon, 19 September 2013
[xviii] Genealogical Memoir of the Gilbert Family in both Old and New England, J. Wingate Thornton, Boston, 1850
[xix] Genealogical Memoir of the Gilbert Family in both Old and New England, J. Wingate Thornton, Boston, 1850
[xx] Tragedies of the Wilderness, by Samuel Gardner Drake, 1844
[xxi] Taylor, John M.; The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut, 1647-1697; Grafton Press, New York, 1908.
[xxii] Genealogical Memoir of the Gilbert Family in both Old and New England, J. Wingate Thornton, Boston, 1850
[xxiii] http://www.englishrivieramagazine.co.uk/riviera-people-angela-gilbert-lady-castle/, English Riviera Magazine, Riviera People – Angela Gilbert, Lady of the Castle, Julian Rees, Aug. 9, 2016
[xxiv] The church-history of Britain from the birth of Jesus Christ until the year M.DC.XLVIII, written by Thomas Fuller
[xxv] Following the Ark of the Covenant, Kerry Boren, Lisa Boren, Cedar Fort, 2000
👋 HI Everyone! Has been a while, I know~
I have had a lot going on these past few months.
One of the neat things we did, was we bought a house!
I have been setting up my new office and going through all of my files/documents/records as I do it. The goal is to get better organized!
I was making reference books on my direct lines and Ancestors and decided to share them. Still have tons of work to do, but believe I have about 85% of it done and needed a visual of the whole of the work and to use as reference of where I need to focus more work on.
These research books are the Ancestors of my Grandparents.
Just click book cover to open the file to view (Google Documents)
New Britain herald. [volume],
October 08, 1927, FINAL EDITION, Page 3, Image 3
The Indian Races of North and South America…
By: Charles De Wolf Brownel
Pequot remnants, 1655……..
The tyranny and exactions of Uncas over the Pequots who had become subject to him, aroused their indignation; while his treachery towards his own people, and alliance with the whites, secured him the hostility of every neigh boring tribe. He was engaged in perpetual quarrels with Ninigret, a celebrated Nehantic sachem; with Sequassen, whose authority at an earlier date extended over the Tunxis tribe, at the westward of the Connecticut; and with the grieved and revengeful Narragansetts.
Whenever these interminable disputes were brought be fore the court of the New England commissioners, the decisions of that body appear to have favored the Mohegan. Assisted by the counsel of a crafty and subtle Indian, named Foxun or Poxen, who served him in the capacity of chief advocate and adviser, and whose wisdom and sagacity were widely noted, he generally managed to explain away his iniquities; at least so far as to satisfy an audience already prejudiced in his favor. When his crimes were not to be concealed, a reprimand and caution were generally the extent of his punishment.
On the other hand, when suspicions arose against the Narragansetts, the most prompt and violent proceedings were re sorted to: the payment of an immense amount of wampum was exacted; the delivery of hostages from among the principal people of the tribe was demanded; and threats of war and extermination were used to humble and humiliate them.
In September, 1655, a few of the scattered Pequots who had not joined the forces of Uncas, were allowed a resting-place by the commissioners, upon a portion of the south eastern sea-coast of Connecticut, and their existence as a separate tribe was formally acknowledged.
This little remnant of the crushed and overthrown nation had been, for some time, under the guidance of two self-constituted sachems, one commonly called Robin Cassinament, a Pequot, and the other Cushawashet, a nephew of Ninigret, known among the English as Hermon Garret.
They had formed small settlements upon the tract now allotted to them, which they were allowed to retain upon payment of tribute, in wampum, to the colonies, and the adoption of a prescribed code of laws. Their governors were to be chosen by the English; and Cushawashet and Cassinament received the first appointment.
It will readily be perceived to what an extent the power and control of the colonists over the affairs of the Indians in their vicinity, had increased, even at this early period. The natives were now glad to settle down under the protection of their masters; to pay yearly tribute as amends for former hostilities; and to hire the lands of which they had been so short a time previous the undisturbed possessors.
It is pitiful to read of the coarse coats, the shovels, the hoes, the knives, and jews-harps, in exchange for which they had parted with their broad lands. Utterly improvident, and incapable of foreseeing, or hopeless of averting the ascendancy of the whites, they yielded to their exactions, and submitted to their dictation.
Sauntering indolently about the settlements, and wasting their energies by excess in the use of the novel means of excitement offered by “strong waters,” they lost much of that native pride, dignity, and self-respect which distinguished them when intercourse with foreigners first commenced. Their numbers, which appear to have been grossly exaggerated, even in their most flourishing days, were rapidly diminishing; their game was becoming scarce and the refinements and comforts of civilization, rude indeed as compared to what now exists, presented to their eyes at the white settlements, only aggravated the consciousness of their own poverty and distress.
The Tunxis and Podunk Indians, who inhabited either side of the Connecticut, in the vicinity of the English settlements; the Quinnipiacs on the sound, where New Haven now stands; the Nehantics, to the eastward of the river; and the feeble Pequot settlement, were subject to, or in effect, under the control of the colonists: Uncas was their “friend and fast ally;” and the Narragansetts, though under suspicion of various treacherous plans, were nominally at peace with the whites, and quelled by the terror of their arms.
This condition of affairs continued, with the exception of the great and final struggle between the colonists and the natives, known as Philip’s war to be detailed in a succeeding article until the death of Uncas, about the year 1682. He left the title to his extensive domains involved in inextricable confusion. In consequence of deeds and grants from himself and his sons Owenoco and Attawanhood, to various individuals among the white settlers, and for various purposes, the effect of which conveyances were probably unknown to the grantors, numerous contradictory claims arose. The same tracts were made over to different persons; one grant would extend over a large portion of another; and, to crown all, Uncas, in the year 1659, had aliened his whole possessions by deed, regularly witnessed, to John Mason, of Norwich. This conveyance was evidently intended by the sachem merely to confer a general power as overseer or trustee upon a man whom he considered as friendly to his interests, and whose knowledge would prove a protection against the overreaching of pro posed purchasers. According to the Indian understanding of the transaction was the claim of Mason and his heirs, who arrogated to themselves no further interest or authority than that above specified. The Connecticut colony, by virtue of a general deed of “surrender of jurisdiction,” obtained from Mason, insisted on an unqualified property in the whole domain.
Owenoco succeeded his father as sachem of the Mohegans, and pursued a similar course to secure his lands, conveying them to the sons of Mason as trustees. His Indian improvidence and intemperance led him to disregard this arrangement, and to give deeds of various tracts included in the trust conveyance, without the knowledge or assent of the overseer. In July, of the year 1704, in order to settle the conflicting claims of the whites and Indians, and to restore to the tribe the portions illegally obtained from them, a royal commission was obtained from England, by some friends of the Mohegans, to examine and settle the disputed questions.
The colony protested against the proceeding, denying the authority of the crown to determine upon the matter, and refused to appear before the commissioners. The conduct of the case being exparte, a decision was given in favor of the Mohegans, restoring them to a vast extent of territory alleged to have been obtained from their sachems when intoxicated, or by other under-hand and illegal courses. From this decree the Connecticut colony appealed, and a new commission was granted, but with no decisive result, and the case remained unsettled for more than half a century from the time of its commencement.
Owenoco lived to an advanced age, becoming, before his death, a helpless mendicant, and subsisting, in company with his squaw, upon the hospitality of the neighboring settlers. His son Caesar was his successor as sachem.
Ben, the youngest son of Uncas, of illegitimate birth, succeeded Caesar, to the exclusion of the rightful heir, young Mamohet, a grandson of Owenoco.
Mason now renewed his claims, and, accompanied by his two sons, carried Mamohet to England, that he might present a new petition to the reigning monarch. A new commission was awarded, but both the applicants died before it was made out. “When the trial finally came on in 1738, distinguished counsel were employed on both sides, in anticipation of an arduous and protracted contest; but by a singular course of collusion and artifice, which it were too tedious to detail, the decision of 1705, on the first commission, was repealed, and the Connecticut claims supported. This was appealed from by the Masons, and good cause appearing, a new trial was decreed.
Five commissioners, men of note from New York and New Jersey, met at Norwich in the summer of 1743, and the great case brought in auditors and parties in interest from far and near. The claims, and the facts offered in support of them, were strangely intricate and complex: counsel appeared in behalf of four sets of parties, viz.: the Connecticut colony; the two claimants of the title of Sachem of the Mohegans, Ben and John, a descendant of the elder branch; and those in possession of the lands in question.
The decree was in favor of the colony, which was sustained on the concluding examination of the case in England. Two of the commissioners dissented. The Mohegans still retained a reservation of about four thou sand acres.
Their number reduced to a few hundred; distracted by the uncertain tenure of their property, and the claims of the rival sachems; mingled with the whites in contentions, the merits of which they were little capable of comprehending; with drunkenness and vice prevalent among them; the tribe was fast dwindling into insignificance. Restrictive laws, forbidding the sale of ardent spirits to the Indians, were then, as now, but of little effect.
Of the celebrated and warlike tribes of the Mohegans and Pequots, only a few miserable families now remain upon their ancient territory. These are mostly of mixed blood, and little of the former character of their race is to be seen in them except its peculiar vices. They are scantily supported by the rents of the lands still reserved and appropriated to their use. A number of the Mohegans removed to the Oneida district, in New York, some years since, but a few still remain near the former head quarters of their tribe, and individuals among them retain the names of sachems and warriors noted in the early ages of the colonies.
Much interest attaches to the efforts which have been made for the instruction and improvement of this remnant of the Mohegan nation; especially as connected with the biography of Samuel Occum, their native preacher; one of the few Indians who have been brought under the influence of civilization, and have acquired a liberal education.
In reviewing the character and history of these, as of most of the native tribes, and reflecting upon their steady and hopeless decline before the European immigrants, we cannot but feel influenced by contradictory sympathies. Their cruelties strike us with horror; their treachery and vices disgust us; but, with all this, we still may trace the tokens of a great and noble spirit. It is painful to reflect that this has more and more declined as their communion with the whites has become the more intimate. They have lost their nationality, and with it their pride and self-respect; the squalid and poverty-stricken figures hanging about the miserable huts they inhabit, convey but a faint idea of the picture that the nation presented when in a purely savage state; when the vices of foreigners had not, as yet, contaminated them, nor their superior power and knowledge disheartened them by the contrast.
Quest For Our Ancestral Roots
DOUBLE GENEALOGY: the ADOPTION WITNESS
Samson Occom's trip through England
Proclaim liberty throughout the land
Marldon Village, Life in a Devon Parish
This site is dedicated to the ancestors of the Johnson, Booker and Petruff families of Rhode Island, Connecticut and Pennsylvania and thier connecting lines of lineage.
My quest of finding my ancestors (& a bit of my life)
Searching for Forgotten Forebears - A Work in Progress
Myths, legends, folklore and tales from around the world
the spaces between
Serving the interests of genealogists since 1967
Essays on Heritage and Culture