Memorial of Richard Ranney

To the honorable General Assembly of the English Colony of Connecticut in New England in America to be holden at Hartford in the County of Hartford in said colony on the second Thursday of May next, the memorial of Richard Ranney of Newtown in the County of Fairfield in said colony humbly showeth that certain of the Indian Native owners and proprietors of the lands within the Township of Middletown in said Hartford County long since sold and conveyed the lands within said township to the proprietors thereof, saving and reserving to themselves a certain part and proportion of said lands for their own habitation, improvement, and support; whereon they for a long time dwelt and used and improved the same as their own, according to their usage and customs. But on the after settlement of said Town of Middletown, it being found that the said reserved lands were so situate as to impede and prejudice the farther settling and peopling of said town, to remedy said inconvenience the said proprietors of said Middletown agreed with said Indians to exchange said reserved lands and to give them other lands on the east side of Connecticut River, in lieu of said lands so by them first saved and reserved as aforesaid and accordingly made and executed to the said Indians a conveyance of a tract of land containing in quantity about three hundred acres, lying on the east side of said river within said township of Middletown abutting westwardly on said river, lying on both sides of the present highway which runs through the parish in said Middletown [on] the east side of said river, and near the meeting house, which tract of land the said Indians accepted of in lieu of said first reserved land, and accordingly entered and dwelt thereon; but in the course of time, have suffered the common fate of the Indian Natives of this country, and are reduced to a very small number.

That Your Honors’ humble memorialist is the only son of one of the daughters1 and co-heirs of Doctor Robin, the last sachem of the said Middletown Indians, whose progenitors were principally interested in the lands aforementioned, but by reason of the variety and obscurity of the Indian customs, manners, and usages, and the confusion and uncertainty of the Indian titles and descents, as well as his own illegitimacy, it is impossible for him to determine what part in certain of said lands does rightfully belong to him.

That your memorialist, having been bred entirely among the English and learned to write and read English, hath been baptized, and is a professor of the Christian faith in which he humbly hopes by divine assistance to live and die, and having been taught the joiners’ trade doth altogether associate himself and dwell with the English, and fully purposes, as he hath been thus educated to live and behave according to the English customs and manners, and in all things to be subject to the laws of this colony.  And to these purposes, and that he may to the utmost of his ability be a useful member of society and contribute, as well to his own, as to the public weal, is extremely desirous to have his just and reasonable part share and proportion of said lands set off, divided, and apparted to him, and to obtain an English title and confirmation of this honorable Assembly thereof that so he may enter upon, enjoy, and improve the same in the English manner and as subject to the laws of this government, which however he is sensible he cannot obtain but by the mere favor and kindness of this Honorable Assembly.

But to induce Your Honors to grant him this favor, he humbly begs leave with the deepest submission to suggest that he is advised that the Christianizing and reducing the Indians to the English manners has been always a principal object of the attention of this Honorable Assembly, and the ultimate end and design of all their care for them, and of all the laws of this colony made relative to them.  And as by a kind providence he has been made acquainted with the Christian religion and the English manners (for which he can never be sufficiently thankful) so he would humbly hope that such favor as your memorialist humbly asks, being shown him by this Honorable Assembly and the enabling of him to enjoy the estate of his ancestors in a proper manner, may be some inducement to others of his blood and nation to follow the example of Your Honors’ memorialist, and conform themselves to the religion, laws, and manners of the subjects and inhabitants of this Colony.

Whereupon your memorialist humbly prays Your Honors to take his case into your wise and kind consideration and to appoint a committee to inquire into the matter aforesaid and to assist him to agree with the other heirs and Indian claimants of said lands about his share and proportion in the same and to ascertain such his right and, if Your Honors think proper, also to give him liberty to buy the rights of such as are willing to sell, and as such committee shall think ought to sell their rights in said lands; and that said committee report the result of such their inquiry into the matters aforesaid with their opinion thereon to this Assembly in their sessions in October next, and that his right and interest in said lands, so being ascertained and made out, may be made sure to him by grant or confirmation of this honorable Assembly or in some other way grant relief to your memorialist, and he as in duty bound shall ever pray, etc.

Richard Ranney

Dated in Newtown, this 15th day of April in the year of our Lord 1757

Endorsement:   To the Sheriff of the County of Hartford, his Deputy or either of the Constables of the Town of Middletown in said County, Greeting.  In His Majesty’s name you are hereby required to summons and give notice unto Cushoy, an Indian of said Middletown, etc.

            Notation:          May 1757

            Cataloguing:    133, 133b

  • 1. The identity of this woman in unknown, but she may have been the daughter who became known for her healing abilities.
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