Pronounces: “Shaw-gum, Shawm-gum, Shoggum”
Other Spellings associated with Chagum name: ChagumSands, Chaugham, Chaughom, Chaugum, Chaggum, Changum, Chaugam, Chauccum, Choggum, Choccum, Choggin, Chogan, Chogum, Chagam, Chogam
Sometime around 1740, give or take a few years, there lived in the town of Wethersfield a full-blooded Narragansett Indian who went by the unlikely name of James Chaugham (probably pro- nounced “Shawm” or “Shawn”). Born on far-away Block Island, the young man had somehow found his way to Connecti-cut’s second oldest community, adopted the ways of his white neighbors and, through hard work and a pleasing personality, established himself quite well in their regard. If he fancied the English-sounding name “Chaugham,” they said, why not let him use it?
Note from Coni: Throughout history the Chogam/Chagum name has been spelled in several forms and I am hoping with this post that I can show why all the confusion as to the spelling of our Chief James of the Barkhamsted Lighthouse Village. As you see throughout my work I use Chagum due to his cattle brand (as you will see further down).
“I believe the reason the name was changed was due to who was writing out the documents/records and that of the Author Lewis Mills and his book along with that of newspapers copying from each other throughout history inacurate facts and also a cover up via towns people to change the name’s of the town of Barkhamsted CT & of the Lighthouse Village in April of 1874”
Quote from “The Story of Connecticut” by Lewis Sprague Mills, 1932
“And there’s the Lighthouse,” rang the driver’s shout,
As down the valley toiled the Hartford stage
Past where the lights were feebly shining out
From cabins high on Ragged Mountain side
Story goes: About the year 1740 Molly Barber of Wethersfield was prevented by her parents from marrying the man of her choice. She then declared she would marry the first man who offered himself. This man was James Chaugham, a Narragansett Indian, born on Block Island. Molly came with her husband to Barkhamsted, where they reared a family of eight children. A daughter, Mercy Chaugham, married Isaac Jacklyn, a servant of Secretary of State Wyllys of Hartford. Others who married into the Chaugham family were Wilson, Elwell, Webster, and Green, for the children of Molly and James Chaugham were respected among the white settlers as well as among the Indians. These descendants with their husbands and wives became knows as the “Lighthouse Tribe” from the fact that the Hartford and Albany stage drivers, after leaving Riverton and coming in sight of the lights which shone through the cracks and windows of their cabins, would remark, “There’s the Lighthouse, and we’re only five miles from port.” New Hartford was their destination for the night. The cellar holes and the graves of about fifty of these Indians may still be seen on the lonely western slope of Ragged Mountain in People’s Forest above Pleasant Valley in Barkhamsted.
There is a plaque nearby which reads:
THIS PORTION OF THE PEOPLE’S FOREST
WAS GIVEN BY THE CONNECTICUT DAUGHTERS
OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
NEAR THIS SPOT WAS THE SITE OF AN INDIAN VILLAGE
Per my research & that of our research team we can show a timeline for James and Molly. Here is what we have proven & documented.
Coni’s Note: “I believe” James of Barkhamsted is ACTUALLY “James Hazard” (son to Janey2 Chagum daughter of Great James & Janey1 Chagum) and it is from here we will start my path of proof for you at the Will of Janey1 Chogam whom I believe to be the “Grandmother” to our James~
I do want to note – Other theories is that James is the son of Samuel Chagum that stole the canoe on Block Island (Mother possibly Pricilla) Which “I don’t believe also to be correct” Also some believe that he could be James Noka – Son of Joseph Noka/No Cakes/Chagum – Which I am pretty sure he isn’t also”
At this time I STRONGLY believe he is gonna be the James Hazard as mention above~ From 1705 to 1760’s we find proof of ‘several possible facts’ attached to our James of Barkhamsted – but I am going to start at: March 22, 1762 in a will by Janey1 Chagam where she gives most of what she has to her “Beloved Grandson James Hazard” & why I believe this to be our James of Barkhamsted. (UNCERTAIN who his Father is at the time – possible James Hazard?)
Let’s look at the facts/proof on this: Starting with Author Jeff Howe and his book: The History and Genealogy of Descendants of Indians and Slaves of Block Island
From: Jeff Howe – To: Coni Dubois Sent: Wed, May 5, 2010 8:24:32 AM
Subject: Re: Block Island Chaugums – Coni: It is ok to contact me I’m glad to see anyone doing this work and are proud of their heritage, it was buried for far to many years. Heartening to see that descendants have picked up some of my research and run with it with such enthusiasm. I was totally engrossed myself for years while doing my book on the Island Slaves and Indians, which came about while doing my own white Island family. I did not send everything I had naturally by reason of pure volume. Both my book (The History and Genealogy of Descendants of Indians and Slaves of Block Island) and the typescript book of records (Book 1) by George Burgess are in the R.I. Historical Soc. Library in Providence. As far as I know there is only one copy. My books are also in the Island Free Library and Island historical Soc. (limited hours) I might also have the book spiral bound) of Sachems you speak of called “A Genealogical Report of the Grand Royal family” Sept 1988. It might be a different source but am priviliged to have it as there are few copies outside the tribal families. A tribal member gave me a copy when she saw the work I was doing. You may also cite my work with the usual credit. My interest has shifted to local early history of my town from 1645. Although I am a frequent contributor of Black and Indian records I compile and submit to the R.I.Genealogical Society quarterly publication R.I.Roots. Fortunately the editor has even greater passion than I do for early non white history. I’m not sure what more I can offer and have limited research time now devoted to my new projects (we only have so much time on this planet). Jeff Howe
From: Jeff Howe To: Coni Dubois Sent: Wed, May 5, 2010 6:54:39 PM
Subject: Re: Block Island Chaugums
About my book. I think I sold the last bound hardcover copy, I’ll have to look. All my books are self published and as such have limited copies. It has gotten to expensive for me to continue publishing them. I kept a master set so i can make more if needed. The problem is hard cover binding. The manufacturer refuses to sell minimum quantities so I have to purchase boxes of 100 at $10 a cover. Anyway I have done about 10 genealogies of Island families and they are in the Island Free Library on Block Island . I also had done a slide show of the book on Indians and Slaves. George Burgess’s book 1 is the transcription of Block Islands very first town book starting in the late 1600’s. These are the copies I sent to Barkhamsted. It is an indexed thick hardcover bound single copy that is only in the R.I. Historical Society Library in Providence. The original town book is unavailable to the public and almost unreadable anyway. George’s book is thankfully the best transcription. The information in my book was gathered from 300 years of town books read on microfilm. Many pages are almost unreadable from ink fade and also ink bleedthru. Anything we know about the Chagums is in Burgess’s book or mine. The name dissappears fairly early from the R.I. area. The Island Chagums were Manasee, a sub tribe of the Narragansetts (sort of), actually I believe most of the island Indians were more closely related to the Eastern Niantics from Westerly R.I. and into Ct. along the shoreline to Groton. The historical relationships within the local tribes is a very complicated subject I don’t even understand sometimes. It’s mostly political alliances done thru war or marriage whichever suits the need.
Note from Coni: Picked up his book – The History and Genealogy of Descendants of Slaves and Indians from the Island of “Manissee” Block Island. (Cost: $50.00 & a road trip to Rhode Island – He autographed this book for me – wonderful man – was an honor meeting him~)
7/23/2010 – Jeff emailed – Sent: Friday, July 23, 2010 5:21 PM Subject: LOVED YOUR BOOK!! Via Jeff Howe to Coni: You can do anything you like with the information Coni, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. You are quite lucky in that you were able to trace back as far as you have, many can’t even get back to the 1700’s never mind 1600’s. – Jeff
7/27/2011 Email from Jeff Howe/Author in regards to my search for Jane Chagum – I don’t know if you had found her will in Charlestown 1756 (I think) it was published (abstracted) in R.I. Genealogical Register vol 7 #1 but basically names her daughter Janey Chagum, lands given to her by Tom Ninnegret in Ch. but says her father George Ninegret gave her lands in New Shoreham. Jeff
Abstract of Will for Janey Chagam
RIGR Vol 7: Chagam, Janey, female, Indian, of Ch. Will dated 22 Mar 1762, proved 1st Mon Apr 1762, pg 55. Mentions: Daughter Janey Chagam. Grandson James Hazard son of daughter Janey Chagam. Land in Ch belonging to Neigrett & his tribe in Indians, said land now in the possession of James Chagam & was given me by the Present Sacham Thomas Nenigrett, Father George Nenigrett. Land in New Shoreham. Witn: Peleg Cross, Jonathan Ladd, John Welch.
Will of Janey Chagam – Transcribed by Coni Dubois 8/8/2011 – blanks are words I just can’t make out~
Charlestown March of 22 day in the Second year of the _ King George the third over Great Brittan and in the year of our Lord Christ 1762
I Janey Chagam of Charleston in King County in the Colony of Rhode Island (of) being of perfect mind and memory do make and ordain this my last will and testament that unto (into) say first I will that all my funeral charges and just debts be paid in reasonable time after my deacas by my execater hereafter named out of my estate. Items I give and bequeath into my will beloved Grandson James Hazard son of my daughter Janey Chagam all my personal estate item I likewise give to my said Grandson all my rights and property of lands in said Charleston belonging to Nenigrett and his tribe of Indians said lands that I claime in now in the posesion of Jams Chogam and was given to me by the present Sacham Thomas Nenegrett Father George Nenigrett Item I likewise give to my said Grandson James Hazard all my right and tile of land lying on New Shoreham in the county of Newport and Colony above said to him his heirs and asign forever item my will is that my Grandson James keep and maintain me in sufficient meet, drink, clothing, washing and lodging during my natural life and at my deceas to give a decent buryal and I due appoint ordain my said Grandson James my whole and sole Executor of this my last Last will and testament hereby acknowledging and Disannulling all other former wills Leaguels and bequeaths ratifying and confirming this and do other to be my last will and testament in witness where of I have hereunto set my hand and seal the date afore written Sign Sealed and delivered by the Janey Chogam as her last will and testament In presence of us The word and property was (inbrothed?) before signing and sealing
Peleg Cross Her
Jonathan Ladd Janey X Chogam (+) seal (which is a circle with a cross in it)
John Welch Mark
____ (?) Town Clerk
Now let’s take a look at the land that James Chagum of Barkhamsted was involved in which gives us a time frame of 1770’s to 1790’s in Litchfield CT. As you see below we have several spellings of the name in civil/documented records.
From the 1770’s we have several documents to show how the name was mixed up and written in several forms.
Starting with Noadiah Hooker in Dec of 1770 and 1st recorded land transaction and where Chagum was spelled in several forms in one document…
To all the People to whom these Presents shall Come, Greeting
Know Ye, That I Noadiah Hooker of the town of Farmington in the County of Hartford and Colony of Connecticut in New England. For the Consideration of five pound of Shillings full money Recieved to: full Satisfaction, of James Chaugum of New Hartford in the County of Litchfield and Colony of Connecticut in New England Do Give, Grant, Bargain, Sell, and Confirm unto the said James Chaughin one Certain piece or parcel of Land Situate in Sd town of New Hartford sd land formly Belonging to Heith (?) Esq Lewis of sd New Hartford ____ for Nehemiah (?) Lewis & Phinchas (?) Lewis all of Farmington as by the records of the town of New Hartfor will fully appear To have and to hold the above Granted and Bargained Premises, with the Appurtenance thereof, unto him the said James Chaugham his Heirs and Assigns for ever, to his and their own proper Use and Behoof. And also the said Noadiah Hooker Do for my self and Heirs, Excutors and Administrators, Covenat with the said James Chaughim Heirs and ASsign that at and until the Ensealing these presents I am (missing lines) Right to Bargain and Sell the same in Manner and Forms as is above Written and the same is free of all Incumbrances whatsoever. And Futhermore, I the said Noadiah Hooker do by these Presents bind my self and Heirs for ever, to Warrant and Defend the above Granted and Bargained Premisses to him the said James Chaugm …. Heirs and ASsigns, against all Claims and Demands whatsoever. In Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the 11 Day of December in the 11 year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third of Great Britain, &c King anno Domini, 1770 Signed, Sealled and Delievered in Presence of Elijah Cowles James Weedsworth (?) Noadiah Hooker ( ) Hartford County of Farmington Decembr 11th 1770 personally appeared Noadiah Hooker Signer and sender of the for going and acknowledged the same ___ to ___ andDecd Before me James Weedsworth (?) Just Peace
2nd: Sep 16, 1771 – Cornelius Indian to James Chaughom
40 acres – vol: 3 pg: 219 – Have this deed – N2T
Notes from Coni: 1739 Cornelius bought this land plus 4 acres from Samuel State. Also there is property that Jonathan Merrill sold to Kaceton of Hartford/41 acres in 1737 then 37.5 acres to Corneluis, Mary, Sunkaway, Patience & Nawas in 1758
Moving thru the records let’s take a look at the SELL of the above lands of 34 acres of that of James Chogan to Oliver Delown/land of N. Hooker (1770)
June 21, 1776 – James Chogam to Olive Delown
34 acres – land of N. Hooker (1770) vol 4 pg 28 – Have this deed
James Chogam to Oliver Delown Recd May 30th 1778
Know all men by these present that I James Chaugon of New Hartford In the County of Litchfield and Colony of Connecticut in New England for for the Consideration of the Sum of Eighteen pounds Lawfull money in _ Recievd to my full Satisfaction of Oliver Delown of Hebron in the County of Hartford and Coloney afore Sd Do give, grant Bargain Sell Convey & Confirm unto him the said Oliver Delown and to his Heirs and ASsigns foreever one Certain Pe_ or Parcel of Land Lying and being in the Town of New Hartford in the County of Litchfield and is Bounded as followeth viz bounded South of the heirs of Oliver Lewis _ and west on the River North on McKight Land & East on a highway and Contains about thirty four acres of Land to have and hold the above granted and Described with the Appurtenances thereof unto him the said oliver Delown and to his heirs and ASsigns to his & there only use benefit and Behold forever and also I the said James Chogum Do for my Self my heirs Escutors and Doministrators Covenant with the Sd Oliver Delown & with his heirs and assigns that at and _ the Ensealing of these presents I am seized of the promises as a good indefeasable estate in the simple and have good Right to (Bargain-crossed out) _ sam in manor & form as is above written & that the same is free from all Incumbrances Whatsoever & furthermore I the Sd James Chogam Do by these presents Bind my Self and my heirs forever to warrant & Defend the above granted and Bargained __ to him of sd Pliver Belowm and to his heirs ASsigns against all Claims & Demands Whatsoever In witness whereof I have here unto Set my hand and seal this 21st Day of June 1776
Signed Sealed and Dilliverd his
In Presence of James X Chogan (Seal)
As you see that his names was written differently every time… I believe most on the fact of the sound of it “Shaw-Gum” or “Sha-Gam” when spoken.
Purchase of Ragged Mountain which became known as the Barkhamsted Lighthouse Village – Abraham Kellogg to James Chogam – 70 Acres – Volume:1 Pages: 205 & 206
May 3, 1779 – Abraham Kellogg to James Chogam
70 acres – vol:1 pg: 205 & 206 – Have this deed
To all peoples to whom these Presents Shall Come – Greeting
Know ye that I Abraham Kellog of New Hartford in the County of Litchfield and State of Connecticut for the Consideration of twenty one Pounds Lawful money Recieved to my full Satisfaction of James Chogam of New Hartford in the County and State afore said Do Give Grant Bargain Sell and Confirm unto the Said James Chogan and his heirs forever a Certain Piece of Land Lying in the town of Berkhamsted in said County Butted and Bounded as _ (viz) East and west on Highways North on Nathll Gillet South on James Mc_____ Land Lyeth at the place Called Ragged Mountain and Contains Seventy acres to have and the above Granted and Bargained Premisses with _ appurtenance there of unto him the Said James and his heirs and assigns for his and their own proper use and Behoof and also I the said Do for my self and my heirs Excutors and administrators with the said James and his heirs Executors and administrators with the said James and his heirs and assigns that it and until Ensealing of this Presence I was well seized of the premisses and Indefeasible Estate in fee- Simple and have good rights to have and sell the same in manner and form as is above written that the same is free of all Incumebrances whatsoever & further I the said Abraham Do by these Presents Bind my self and my heirs forever to warrant and Defend the above Granded and Bargained Premises to him the said James and his heirs assigns __ Claims and Demands whatsoever in Witness where of I have hereunto my hand and seal the 3 day of March in the year of our Lord 1779
Signed, Sealed and Delivered in Presence of
Zebulon Merrill Abram Kellogg (Seal)
Litchfield County of New Hartford March 3, 1779
Personally appeared Abram Kellog Signer and Sealer of the foregoing Instrument and acknowledged the Same to be his free act and Deed Before me,
Zebulon Merrill Just. Peace
The foregoing Deed was Given in for Record June 22, 1785 and Recorded by me John Crane Town Register
To see more on the James Chagum and Land Deeds: View my Barkhamsted Lighthouse Land Deeds PDF – 41 pages
To be continued…
James Chagum’s Cattle Brand – December of 1785
Narratives of the Fischer, Knight, Clarke and Gilbert families
Research by Coni Dubois
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