Memorial of Isaiah Johnson and Other Chappaquiddick Indians to the Governor and Council of Massachusetts

To His Excellency the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Honourable Council

The memorial of the undersigners, Indian Natives and People of Colour, being tenants in common in the Indian lands on the Island of Chappaquiddick in the County of Dukes County, humbly shew that the said land set off to the Indians and to be holden as aforesaid under the care and oversight of Guardians, agreeable to an act passed January 26th day A. D. 1789,1 has been improved from said time by the Indians inhabiting the same, till lately interrupted by a few of the heads of several families, being women,2 who openly avowed, from time to time, that they would not be governed by the regulations of the Guardians in the division of the lands for improvement severally allotted to them but with force have intruded and forced others to abandon their improvements to their great injury, which has occasioned much ill will and some litigation.  Your memorialists are of opinion that the said law is wisely intended for our benefit and happiness, neither do we wish the same abrogated, yet, nevertheless, if Your Excellency and Honours, in your wisdom, conceive that any further additional law may be necessary to govern and regulate the improvement of said lands for the advantage of the whole under the care and oversight of Guardians.

We shall consider ourselves in duty bound to ever pray,

Chappaquiddick, May 22, 1809


We, the subscribers, do hereby certify that the within statement are a true state of facts, whereof we are personally knowing and that George Johnson, one of the subscribing memorialists for many years, was one of the Guardians appointed to have the care and oversight of said Indians, who will be the bearer hereof.  Guardians at this time over said Indians,  Jethro Worth, Martin Pease, George Johnson, Edgartown, May 3 22, 1809



  • 1. An Act to Set off to the Patentees, and Other Purchasers, Certain Lands on the Island of Chapequiddick, in the County of Dukes County, and Finally to Adjust and Determine all Disputes between the Said Patentees and Other Purchasers, and the Indians on the Said Island, and to Prevent Cattle, Horses, Sheep, Goats and Swine from Going at Large on the Said Island, at Certain Seasons of the Year, Chapt. 35, Acts and Resolves (Massachusetts, 1788-89), 56-63.
  • 2. The women Johnson is addressing may have been those who memorialized the Legislature the following year. See petition of Hannah Porridge, 1810.05.24.00.
  • 3. Deleted Text: 10