Stiles' Notes on Quinnipiac Indians

New Haven, Extracts from New Haven Old Records

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November 24, 1638.  Theophilus Eaton, and John Davenport and others bought the land and place called Quinnipiac of the sachem Momauguin, his counselors and a squaw sachem Shaumpishuh, sister to the sachem, for twelve coats, twelve alchemy spoons, twelve hatchets, twelve hoes, two dozen knives, twelve porringers, and four cases of French knives and scissors, reserving or desiring from the grantees “such portion of ground on the east side of the harbor towards the fort at the mouth of the River of Connecticut as might be sufficient for them being but few in number to plant in.”1 The deed was signed Momauguin, his mark; Sugcogisin, his mark; Qussuckquansh, his mark; Carroughood, his mark, Weesaucuke,2 his mark; Shaumpishuh, her mark.3

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December 11, 1638.  Montowese, son of an Indian sachem living at Mattabeseck4 and nephew to Sequin, claimed this tract of land in right of his deceased mother, to whom, he said, the lands did appertain, which right he quitclaimed to Mr. Eaton, etc., reserving in it land for his “small company being but ten men in number besides women and children.”  In this deed the bounds of Quinnipiac, I find I am in part mistaken. 

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Montowese says that “the lands on both sides the River of Quinnipiac from the northerly bounds of the land lately purchased by the English of the Quinnipiac Indians, namely from the pond in the great meadow about two miles above the great hill to the head of the river at the great plain toward the plantation settled by the English upon the River of Connecticut, southerly, which is about ten miles length from north to south.  The bounds of which land also run eight miles easterly from the River of Quinnipiac toward the River of Connecticut, and five miles westerly toward Hudson’s River, doth truly and solely belong to him the said Montowese in right of his deceased mother, to whom the said land did appertain, and from whom it justly descends upon him as his inheritance.5 And that neither his said father nor any other person whatsoever have any right, title, or interest in any part of the land.”  He being accompanied with Sauseunk, his friend, they both signed the deed: Montowese, his mark, Sauseunk, his mark.6

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Cataloguing:    420, 421

                                   

 
  • 1. While forty-seven warriors accompanied Momauguin to the negotiations with Eaton and Davenport, a local historian of the 20th Century estimated the number of the New Haven Quinnipiac at English settlement to be one hundred and fifty.  Charles H. Townshend, The Quinnipiak and Their Reservation (Morehouse and Taylor, 1900), 11.
  • 2. Weesaucuke was a councilor to the Quinnipiac sachem Momauguin who sold tribal land in New Haven to John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton in 1638.  Menta, The Quinnipiac, 55, 85.
  • 3. See copy of deed, Articles of Agreement between Theophilus Eaton, John Davenport, and Others and Momaugin, Sugcogsin, Quesaquauch, Caroughood, and Wesaucucke, 1638.11.24.00
  • 4. Soheague
  • 5. Stiles follows the text of first article of the original deed fairly closely, but at this point he omits the following sentence, “soe yt he hath an absolute & independent power to give, alien, dispose or sell all or any part of sd land, as he shall think good.”  See text of December 11, 1638 deed, Articles of Agreement between Theophilus Eaton, John Davenport, and Others, and Montowese, son of an Indian sachem living at Mattabesec, 1638.12.11.00.
  • 6. Stiles was incorrect about the relationship between Sauseunk and Montowese. Sauseunk, the son of the Wangunk leader Sowheage, was the sachem of Pyquag (Wethersfield, Connecticut) at the time of its sale to the English. He was also an advisor to his brother Montowese in the sale of Quinnipiac land in 1638.