Petition of Zerviah Gould Mitchell to the Governor and Council of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

To His Excellency The Governor and the Honorable the Council of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts          
 
The petition of Zerviah Gould Mitchell of North Abington, widow, respectfully showeth that she is an Indian, daughter and only living descendant[1] of Phebe Gould, the wife of Brister Gould and daughter of Lydia Squinn; that Lydia Squinn was the lineal descendant of Benjamin Squinnaway,[2] an Indian, who owned in his right certain lands in Indian Town, Fall River, and that all his right, title, and interest therein now belongs to, and is vested in your petitioner.
          
And your petitioner shows that by the laws of this Commonwealth, as she is informed, the legal title to said lands is entrusted to, and vested in Benjamin F. Winslow, of Fall River, Guardian, of the Troy Indians,[3] for the use and benefit of your petitioner, and as the guardian; that said Phebe Gould, the mother of your petitioner, from time to time during her life, asserted her interest therein,[4] and caused the same to be recognized by the then Indian Agent, and that since her decease[5] the rights and interest of your petitioner in the premises have been fully recognized and regarded by the Indian agent for the time being, except as herein after stated.
           
And your petitioner further shows that said lands are the lots numbered 19, 20, 21, 22 on a plan of lands drawn by Zebedee Terry,[6] dated December 5, 1763, and ever in the control or keeping of the said Winslow, and that the name of your petitioner has been written thereon designate her interest in the premises.
             
And your petitioner says further that the said Winslow about two years ago advised and urged her to have the wood cut off her said land, and sold, and the proceeds applied for her benefit, but not obtaining her consent, he made no attempt to cut the wood then; that in the fall and winter of the present year 1855, 1856, the said Winslow has, without the knowledge or consent of your petitioner, cut from her land and converted to his own use wood to the value of several hundred dollars, and has refused to render her any account or make her any payment therefor, (except the sum of ten dollars given to get rid of her) and utterly denies her title or interest in the premises; that the title of your petitioner as herein set forth may be confirmed and established, and  that she may receive full and ample redress for all the wrong and injury done her; and that said Winslow may be removed from the office of agent or guardian of the Troy Indians, and from all right or control over the land of your petitioner.[7]
 
And your petitioner will ever pray,
 
Zerviah G. Mitchell by Thomas K. Lothrop, her attorney
 
Legislative Action:
Petition of Zerviah G. Mitchell, Indian woman, for her redress, etc. / Council Chamber, April 15, 1856 / Referred to Committee on Accounts
 

[1] Zerviah survived all eight of her siblings, Betsy (1797-1824), Melinda (1805-1824), Lydia (1799-1855), Jane (1801-1844), Ruby (1803-1851), Benjamin (1809-), Martin Rossiter (1792-1792), and John Rossiter (1793-1851).
[2] Benjamin Squinnaway is also known as Benjamin Tuspaquin.
[3] Sidebar Text: appointed [crossed out: about 8 years ago] June 1, 1848
[4] See, for example, the petition of Phebe Gould and Zerviah Johnson, Senate Unpassed 1816, Docket 5299.
[5] Phebe Squinn Gould died on August 18, 1839.
[6] Terry surveyed the property in 1763 when the General Court reexamined the reservation bounds. Massachusetts Archives 33:274. For Terry's descriptive narrative, see Earle Report, lxxx-lxxxii. Dubuque, Fall River Indian Reservation, 11. Earle Report, 79. 
[7] In 1709, Major Benjamin Church conveyed 160 acres of land to the Province of Massachusetts Bay for use as "a plantation & settlement for the Indian Natives" of Captain James Church's Indian Company during King Philip's War. The lots were subsequently surveyed and marked out to individual members of the Company. Squinnaway's rights to the reservation came through a second resurveying in 1763. Dubuque, Fall River Indian Reservation, 11. Earle Report, 78, 79.