Remembrances of John Hubbard and Caleb Gardiner and the Quinnipiac and Narragansett Indian Populations
Father Hubbard tells me that he was told by Captain Nichols of Stratford (whom I judge about sixty five years old) that since he was grown up, he well remembered five hundred Indian men passed by in one day going towards East Haven, forty years ago.1
Captain Gardner of Newport told me that he travelled Narragansett above fifty years ago, and there were but two houses (English) from the Ferry to Colonel Stanton’s in Charlestown, and that the road was all along settled with Indian wigwams. He said from Tower Hill to Pawcatuck he judged about one hundred and fifty wigwams. I traveled it from 1752 to 1760 and don’t remember to have seen one wigwam on the road. The king or sachem has an English-built house on the road.2 The body of Indians have for many years been removed back in the woods, where they now have a meeting house and Indian preacher.
- 1. This may have been at the death of the sachem Shambisqua (c. 1721) or the election of her successor, John Sauk.
- 2. Narragansett sachem Thomas Ninigret (1736-1769, sachemship 1746-1769) had an English-style residence built for himself in Charlestown, Rhode Island on land that became known as King Tom Farm. The cost of construction of the house put Ninigret into debt. To pay his expenses, he needed to sell a considerable amount of Narragansett tribal land. See John Wood Sweet, Bodies Politic: Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003) p. 15, 20.