Petition of the Heirs of Simon Wicket to Governor Belcher and the Massachusetts General Court

Province of the Massachusetts 

To his Excellency Jonathan Belcher, Esq., Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over Said Province and to the Honorable Council and Representatives in General Court Assembled at Boston   November, 1737

The petition of Zaccheus Wicket, Jabez Wicket, Mary Natumpum, Esther Tarros, Robin Wicket, Gideon Natumpum, Moses Wicket, Esther Wampus, Benjamin Wicket, all Indians and some of Mashpee inhabitants, owners of Oyster Island in Barnstable in the County of Barnstable most humbly sheweth that they are the heirs and legal representatives of Simon Wicket, Indian, deceased and from whom the said island descended.  And that your petitioners and their ancestors have been put to great cost and charge in defending their rights and title to the said island in their several actions brought against the heirs of said Simon Wicket.  The first action was with the Town of Barnstable.  The second action was with the Popmonets1​.  The third was with one James Richards2.   All the aforesaid actions were finally tried by a review and judgment in favor of the heirs of the said Simon Wicket and the title beyond all dispute is settled in your petitioners.  But the court charges of nine trials, namely, three trials in each action was very considerable and the bill of costs taxed amounts but to one-third of the time and cost necessary expended in the said lawsuits.  And your petitioners are thereby brought into debt and very considerable sums remain yet due to the estate of their attorney, Daniel Parker, Esq., deceased, and sundry other debts due from the petitioners as by the account given in to the Justices of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas for the County of Plymouth agreeable to an order of this Court the 2nd June 1725 and herewith exhibited and your petitioners humbly beg leave to inform Your Excellency and this Honorable Court that notwithstanding the title to the said island is settled in so firm a manner upon them yet being leased to said Daniel Parker, Esq., their aforesaid attorney, to respond the charges of said trials and now held by said Parker's heirs as a security for the same who have the sole profit of the said island, making strife and waste of the timber growing thereupon. And your petitioners are not advantaged one farthing for the profits of said island and still remain in debt and under difficult circumstances.  But so it is they have land enough to live upon at Mashpee and Titicut and elsewhere and are very loathe ever to contend in the law again about Oyster Island or to sue for the great spoil and waste committed there, the charge of the former trials being so heavy and burdensome and one or two more lawsuits will totally ruin the petitioners though in an honest and just case.  Your petitioners or those who are the heirs of the said Simon have several times applied themselves to the General Court touching the premises and that they might sell the said island.  And in particular, the General Court upon their petition in the year 1735 ordered a committee to inquire into the particular affairs and circumstances thereof and to report what was proper to be done therein.  But so it happened the said committee never met on the affairs and so made no report.  And your petitioners still remain under their difficult circumstances.

Wherefore, they once more beg Your Excellency and Honors to take their case in your just and wise consideration and enable them to sell the said island and to pass and execute good deed or deeds thereof the produce arising by the said sale to be applied [illegible ] their debts and relieving them as their necessities and circumstances call for.

And as in duty bound shall ever pray, etc.,

    Zaccheus Wicket, mark
    Jabez Wicket, mark
    Mary Natumpum, her mark
    Esther Tarros, her mark
    Robin Wicket, mark
    Gideon Natumpum, mark
    Moses Wicket, mark
    Esther  Wampus, mark
    Benjamin Wicket, mark
 

Legislative Action:

In Council.  December 13, 1737.  Read and ordered that Melatiah Bourne and Seth Williams, Esqrs., with such as shall be joined by the House be a Committee to consider of this petition and report as soon as may be what may be proper for this Court to do thereon.  Sent down for concurrence. Simon Frost, Deputy Secretary / In the House of Representatives. December 20, 1737.  Read and concurred and John Russel, William Payne, and Stephen Skiffe, Esqrs., are joined with the gentlemen appointed by the board in the affair.  John Quincy, Speaker.  As consented to Jonathan Belcher

Cataloguing:

214, 215, 215R, 215LR

 
  • 1. It is possible that this is a reference to the Mashpee Popmonet family.
  • 2. It is unclear if this is referring to the Mashpee Richards family or a non-Native family by the same name.