Charles, Benjamin, 1776 - 1811
Born circa 1776 Benjamin Charles was a prominent member of the Mashantucket Pequot Community. Over his relatively short life he was involved in several of tribal legal and political matters.
On October 15, 1799 he married fellow Pequot, Lois Phillips, although records seem to suggest that they lived as common law husband and wife prior to this formal union.
The turn of the nineteenth century saw a number of modest land sales authorized by an act of the General Assembly. In November of 1800, Benjamin Charles, together with fellow Pequots, Benjamin George, James Sunsamon, James Boney, and Josiah Charles Scaudub sold, on behalf of the tribe, in two transactions, a total of 22 acres of tribal land, a 3 acres parcel to Peter Williams and a 19 acre parcel to the Town of Groton.
Several years later, in May of 1804, he along with Peter and Benjamin George petitioned the Connecticut General Assembly for the appointment of Thomas Grey as overseer in the stead of Samuel Mott and Isaac Avery. There was some resistance to this request from both within and outside the tribe, with accusations being made regarding the legitimacy and intent of the memorialists Benjamin and Peter George. Benjamin Charles, it seems, was spared of this criticism. Nevertheless, the petition was not granted and Samuel Mott and Isaac Avery stayed on as Overseers for a number of years.
In the summer of 1811 ,Benjamin Charles, died, at the age of 35, of heat exhaustion while in the neighboring Town of Norwich. His widow, Lois, remained on the Mashantucket reservation for at least the next decade. While Benjamin Charles’ death occurred prior to the time frame covered by extent overseer records, the name Benjamin Charles persists in the record, being associated until the 1830s with a parcel(s) of land ( the Ben Charles Place or the Benjamin and Polly Charles Lot ) leased out to neighboring non-Natives, Thomas Smith and, later, John Wilcox.
CSL, MV 974.62. L5lger, "Marriages performed in North Groton by Robert and Amos Gere, JP.", p. 36; Brown and Rose, Black Roots, 72; Groton Land Records, Vol.14, p.165-165b; Petition of Benjamin George and Other Groton Pequot Indians Requesting the Appointment of Thomas B. Gray as Overseer, 1804.05.21.00; CHS, Ms 27960 Geer & Morgan Families Papers, 1717-1850, Folder 19; CSL, RG3, NLCC:PbS, Indians, Mashantucket Pequot
Died:July 4, 1811