Letter from Joseph Fish to the Commissioners of Indian Affairs


In this Society,1 about four miles from my dwelling house and three from our meeting house, there is a small Indian town consisting of sixteen houses and wigwams; in which there are seventy-one persons; great and small; which are one branch of the Pequot Tribe,2 brethren of those in Groton.  I formerly preached to them, at times; and have lately revived my labors among them, lecturing once a fortnight, which I purpose to continue as long as it appears to be the will of Providence.  They have hitherto given a very general and serious attendance; profess satisfaction, and a desire of further instruction.  They have twenty-one children of a suitable age to be put to school; and the parents are very desirous of having them taught to read English, in order to which it necessary that they should have a school master steadily among them.  But they are poor, and altogether unequal to the charge of a school.  Whereupon they have made applications to me, desiring that I would forward their request to your honors for assistance.  For though they live on lands, devoted to their use by the colony, which are somewhat profitable (though the profits have not fully come into their hands till now,3) yet as they tell me, and I can’t say but with good reason, they shall really need the most or all the profits of their lands, for several years at least, to defray other necessary charges.

Wherefore, in their behalf, I would humbly ask your help for the support of a school among them, if it is in your power and consistent with your trust; hoping that by this means the ignorance, in which their poor children are growing up, may be happily exchanged for the knowledge of truth.  The Indian parents profess a willingness to submit to your orders, respecting the school proposed, if they may obtain your help.  And, if no better hand presents, I shall readily take all needful care of them, touching the school, or anything you may direct, as far as ability serves.  If any further information, respecting particular circumstances, should be thought proper, your command shall be cheerfully complied with, by your honors most obedient, humble servant.

Stonington, North Parish, March 15, 1757


To the Honorable and Revered Commissioners for Indian AffairsDescription: nknown Object in Boston

Post script:

PS. A line per the bearer, Doctor Woodbridge, signifying your pleasure, would be very grateful and obliging.  If the school should be set up, they will need a number of books suitable for beginners, which would be very acceptable. Yours humbly, Joseph Fish

As the Indians above have increased from seven or eight houses to sixteen within five or six years past, so they are still growing.  Two or three families more, with eight or ten children, are coming to join their brethren this spring which I forgot to observe in its place.


Reverend Joseph Fish to the Commissioners for Indian Affairs / March 1757

  • 1. The Society referred to is the north parish of the Town of Stonington, CT, present day North Stonington.
  • 2. Eastern Pequot
  • 3. Fish may be referring to the most recent flare up of a long standing land controversy between the Eastern Pequots and some of their non-native neighbors centered on disputed property boundaries, timber removal  and planting and herbage rights.