1600-1700: Brothertown Indian Parent Tribes
New England was inhabited long before the first Europeans arrived. Experts estimate there were between 70,000 and 100,000 Indigenous living in this area at the beginning of the 17th century. They were Algonquin and shared a similar language and culture. Our parent tribes and villages included Mohegan, Montaukett, Narragansett, Niantic, Tunxis, and Western (Mashantucket) and Eastern (Stonington) Pequot.
It was a simpler time and they lived in small villages where women tended fields of corn, beans, and squash which were grown together for the good of each and known as “the three sisters”. Men supplemented this diet by fishing and hunting. Women and children also gathered nuts and berries from the plentiful forests of New England. Beginning in the 1600s, the Native Americans also began to trade with European merchants, exchanging beaver pelts for metals and textiles. Unfortunately, the Europeans also brought unknown deadly diseases as well. The focus of the resources available in this area is to provide a deeper knowledge and understanding of our Ancestors and Parent Tribes.
** note – while these links go to a variety of Sources, they are publicly available open pages (many can be downloaded) others may require you to Register for “free” (i.e., Academia.edu) as well as to access other research papers and research sites.
Considered one of the best resources for an initial overview on the formation and early years of Brothertown and its Parent Tribes, is William DeLoss Love’s book, Samson Occom, and the Christian Indians of New England. Also included is information on Samson Occom and other key Brothertown ancestors and descendants of the Northeast woodland Indigenous people.
“Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England [electronic resource]” / by W. DeLoss Love, you can directly download a copy (link above) of this original 1899 scanned book of our ancestors in early New England. This book covers from 1620 through 1898. It starts with the Brothertown Indian parent tribes in the woodlands of New England to their western migration to Oneida New York and on to Brothertown Wisconsin. Another link to download a different scan (click on the dots on the upper left https://archive.org/details/samsonoccomchris00love/page/n9/mode/2up)
Our Parent Tribes and Early History:
The Mohegans are an Algonquian tribe located in New London County, Connecticut. The Mohegan Tribe spent most of the 18th century struggling to regain control over its territory from the colony of Connecticut in a protracted affair known as the Mason Land Case. The groundwork for the dispute was laid in 1659, when Uncas, the first Mohegan sachem after the tribe separated from the Pequot, entrusted the Tribe’s lands to John Mason, an Anglo-American who had been Uncas’ ally in the war against the Pequot. (Source: The Occom Circle, Dartmouth) information continues here…
- “NOTES ON THE MOHEGAN AND NIANTIC INDIANS” By F. G. Speck written in 1909 covering the 1600’s in New England. (Abstract: The following ethnologic notes refer to two tribes of the eastern branch of the Algonquin linguistic stock residing in Connecticut, east of the Hudson River. These tribes with others of the Atlantic coast region were among the first to encounter European settlers, almost three hundred years ago.)
- “Part I: Uncas, the Mohegan Tribe, and the Founding of Norwich)” By Faith Damon Davison and is featured in a collection entitled “Where I Live: Connecticut”.
- “Part II: The Mohegans and the New Nation” By Faith Damon Davison and is featured in a collection entitled “Where I Live: Connecticut”.
- The Lasting of the Mohegans: The story of the wolf people by Melissa Jayne Fawcett (Mohegan Historian) 1995. (Abstract: A wealth of information covering the Tribe’s early history, Important Mohegans, sacred sites, rituals and traditions, and Stories.)
- Mohegan History: taken from Mohegan oral history (taken from the Mohegan website 2003).
Stonington Pequots – The Stonington Pequots (also called the Lantern Hill Pequots, Pawcatuck Pequots, or Eastern Pequots) are an Algonquian tribe in North Stonington, Connecticut. In the 1660s, after the Pequot War of the 1630s in which the English attempted to eradicate the Pequot tribe, two separate groups of survivors were allotted reservations, producing the Eastern and Western Pequot (Groton) tribes. The Stonington Pequots had limited engagement with Christianity until James Davenport, the charismatic evangelical, preached there in 1741. (Source: The Occom Circle, Dartmouth) information continues here…
Groton Pequots – The Groton Pequots, also called the Mushantuxet Pequots or Western Pequots, are an Algonquian tribe in Groton, CT. In the 1660s, after the Pequot War of the 1630s in which the English attempted to eradicate the Pequot tribe, two separate groups of survivors were allotted reservations, producing the Eastern (Stonington) and Western Pequot tribes. The Groton Pequots received sporadic evangelical attention from the New England Company before the Great Awakening, but it was not until James Davenport, the famous evangelical, visited in 1741 that they expressed much interest in Christianity. Although the New England Company paid Jacob Johnson, the local Anglo-American reverend, to preach to the Pequots, the Pequots expressed a continual preference for indigenous religious leaders and teachers. The local indigenous congregation played host to the likes of Samuel Niles, Samson Occom, and Philip Occuish, although it did not have its own minister. (Source: The Occom Circle, Dartmouth) information continues here…
- “A Brief History of the Pequot War” (1736) (Abstract: John Mason’s posthumously published account is the most complete contemporary history of the Pequot War of 1636–1637. Written around 1670 and published in part in 1677 (although misattributed by Increase Mather to John Allyn), and the text was edited by Thomas Prince in 1736. That text is reproduced here in a corrected and annotated edition that includes Prince’s biographical sketch of Mason and various dedicatory and explanatory documents. Credit: This can be read and downloaded at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln – digital commons.)
- “Shared History Understanding the Impact of the Pequot War” (Michael Brown 2016) (Abstract: The Pequot War, America’s first war, is significant because the men who fought against the Pequot and were present at the Massacre at Mystic changed permanently the dynamics of the relationship between the English and the Natives. It is highly significant to English colonization. Alden T. Vaughan wrote in his book New England Frontier: Puritans and Indians 1620-1675: “The effect of the Pequot War was profound. Overnight the balance of power had shifted from the populous but unorganized natives to the English colonies. Henceforth [until King Philip’s War] there was no combination of Indian tribes that could seriously threaten the English. Credit: This can be both read and downloaded from Academia.com.)
- “Cultural perception in early New England Europeans, Indians, and the origins of the Pequot War of 1637” (John Lazuk, The University of Montana copyright of 1976) (Abstract – The Pequot War in early New England is one of the most frequently cited but least understood episodes in the literature of Indian-White relations in America. Historians split over placing the blame for the struggle on Puritanism, land greed, and racism or in defending the English colonist’s motives and condemning the Pequot as bloodthirsty and deceitful….)
- “Pequot Cultural Entanglement in 17th-Century Connecticut” (William A. Farley University of Connecticut) (Abstract: Recent scholarship has revealed that colonial entanglements starting in the early seventeenth century forced New England’s indigenous polities to renegotiate their modes of subsistence to maintain their group and individual identities. This paper explores the means by which, one particular group shifted their economic strategies to meet new challenges presented them by early encounters with Dutch and English settlers. The Pequots, who in the 1620s dominated much of southern New England, were one of the native groups most significantly affected by the European settlement of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. (Credit: Paper was presented in the session Exploitation and Survival: Indigenous Americans and the Commercial Whaling Industry at the 2014 Society for Historical Archaeology Conference in Quebec, Canada, January 9th, 2014, and linked to Academia.edu).
The Narragansetts are an Algonquian tribe based in Southern Rhode Island. Narragansett students (including the Simons, the Shattocks, and the Secutors) attended Eleazar Wheelock’s Moor’s Indian Charity School, and Charlestown, RI, was also one of the seven communities that participated in the Brothertown movement (the pan-Algonquian coalition organized by former Moor’s students). The Narragansetts were recognized in the 18th-century for their indigenous Christian Separatism, and a Separatist congregation under the leadership of Samuel Niles commanded much of the Tribe’s spiritual life from the 1740s onward. (Source: The Occom Circle, Dartmouth) information continues here…
- History of the Narragansett Indian Nation (Providence College digital Library) (Brief Abstract: a concise look at the history of the Narragansett Tribe from the 1600 to present day).
- Connecticut Unscathed: Victory in The Great Narragansett War (King Philip’sWar), 1675-1676 (Thesis by Major Jason W. Warren – 2011) (Abstract: King Philip’s War (1675-1676) was one of the bloodiest per capita in American history. Although hostile native groups damaged much of New England, Connecticut emerged unscathed from the conflict. Connecticut’s role has been obscured by historians’ focus on the disasters in the other colonies as well as a misplaced emphasis on “King Philip,” a chief sachem of the Wampanoag groups. He later published a book based on this Thesis).
- The Narragansett Dawn (Abstract: was a monthly newspaper that discussed the history, culture, and language of the Narragansett tribe. It was published in 1935 and 1936, with a total of sixteen issues. Princess Red Wing and Ernest Hazard were the paper’s founders and editors. Both were Narragansett tribal members.)
- 0102_June_1935.pdf – Volume 1 Issue 2: June 1935)
- 0103_July_1935.pdf – Volume 1 Issue 3: July 1935)
- 0104_Aug_1935.pdf – Volume 1 Issue 4: Aug 1935)
- 0105_Sept_1935.pdf – Volume 1 Issue 5: Sept 1935)
- 0106_Oct_1935.pdf – Volume 1 Issue 6: Oct 1935)
- 0107_Nov_1935.pdf – Volume 1 Issue 7: Nov 1935)
- 0108_Dec_1935.pdf – Volume 1 Issue 8: Dec 1935)
- 0109_Jan_1936.pdf –Volume 1 Issue 9: Jan 1936)
- 0110_Feb_1936.pdf – Volume 1 Issue 10: Feb 1936)
- 0111_Mar_1936.pdf – Volume 1 Issue 11: Mar 1936)
- 0112_Apr_1936.pdf – Volume 1 Issue 12: Apr 1936)
- 0201_May_1936.pdf – Volume 2 Issue 1: May 1936)
The Montauks, or Montauketts, are an Algonquian tribe from Montauk on eastern Long Island. The Montauketts are closely related to other Algonquian tribes, including Mohegans, Pequots, and Shinnecocks, and the Mohegan and Montaukett languages are very similar. The Montauketts played an important role in Occom’s life and the history of the Brothertown tribe. Shortly after European arrival, the Montauketts found themselves in the unenviable positions of occupying a strategically important piece of land. English commanders made several treaties with the Montauketts in attempts to secure the eastern end of Long Island as a foothold against the Dutch. (Source: The Occom Circle, Dartmouth) information continues here…
- The Material History of the Montaukett (Transcript of Lecture Delivered by Gaynell Stone, Ph.D. 1998 at the East Hampton Library) (Brief Abstract: To retrieve that story for our recent volume, The History & Archaeology of the Montauk, a variety of documentary records were used — censuses, diaries, histories, public records, and ephemera such as newspaper articles. This is one of the most comprehensive accounts of a Native American group in the northeast.)
- The Ancestors: An overview of Montaukett Prehistory (Transcript of Indians of Eastern Long Island Lecture Delivered by John Strong) (Abstract: John Strong begins with a “prehistory” of the Montauk region but following that introduction he moves on to the “early contact period”. The early stages of interaction between the Native Americans and the English settlers on Long Island were distinguished by a pattern of equal status trade and voluntary adaptation. This pattern gradually shifted to one of directed acculturation wherein the English imposed their values and customs on the Indians.)
- DISRUPTING THE NARRATIVE: LABOR AND SURVIVANCE FOR THE MONTAUKETTS OF EASTERN LONG ISLAND by Allison Manfra McGovern (CUNY academic woks 2015) (Abstract: This dissertation investigates the economic and social struggles faced by the indigenous Montaukett peoples of coastal New York, and their strategies for survivance, through the analysis of documentary and archaeological data from the eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries. The term “survivance” is borrowed from indigenous studies and employed here to emphasize a Native presence that is informed simultaneously by indigenous continuity and the challenges of colonialism.)
- Wyandanch: Sachem of the Montauks by John A. Strong (chapter 3 in his book detailing this topic.)
The Farmington Indians were the inhabitants of the Algonquian town of Farmington, CT. Before European contact, the Indians at Farmington were predominantly Tunxis. Disease and violence decimated the tribe and, by 1725, only 50 members survived. They were joined in the mid-18th century by members of the Quinnipiac, Sukiaugk, and Wangunck tribes, and the new group became known as the Farmington Indians. (Source: The Occom Circle, Dartmouth) information continues here…
- The Heritage Trail Guidebook – brief discussion of Tunxis history (Connecticut Digital Archives) (Abstract: The Tunxis sold their territory to the white settlers and about 150 acres of land were reserved for the Tunxis along the east bank of the Farmington River, near the bend called Indian Neck. Later the Tunxis moved their settlement to higher ground, Fort Hill. The relations between the Tunxis and the settlers was generally harmonious.
- Brief article on the Tunxis from Farmington Valley by Cynthis Griggs (from the Brothertown Citizen files (Abstract: During the Woodland Period (1000 B.C. to Contact with Europeans) agriculture was introduced, and people planted gardens of corn, squash, and beans (called “the three sisters), and other crops. Corn replaced acorns and hickory nuts as diet staples. Bows and arrows replaced spears for hunting. Wigwams were constructed in a village setting. English Colonists encountered large villages in Windsor, Farmington, and Simsbury.)
The Niantic tribe is an Algonquian-speaking Native American group that inhabited southern New England, specifically southeast Connecticut, and Rhode Island. They used the Niantic River and the Long Island Sound as a fishing source and grew corn, squash, and beans. The invasion of the Pequots divided the Tribe into the Eastern Niantics living in southwest Rhode Island and the Western Niantics living in Niantic, Connecticut. They were further divided when the Pequot and Mohegan Tribes favored the Dutch and English, respectively; the Western Niantics allied with the Pequots, while the Eastern Niantics sided with the Mohegans and Narragansetts, but mostly remained neutral in the conflicts with the colonists. (Source: The Occom Circle, Dartmouth) information continues here…
- Good and brief overview of the Niantic Tribe written by Lee Sultzman (Author of “History of the Niantic people”
- Notes on the Mohegan and Niantic Indians by F.G. Spec January 1 1927 (Abstract/notes this probably came from a historical journal – it is out of print and could only find this one link to download it and read it.)