Poquiantup, Prudence, 1756 - 1828
Prudence Poquiantup was born circa 1756, the daughter of Sampson Poquiantup and Esther. Prudence was the youngest of three sisters. Her older siblings, Esther and Eunice, were both enumerated in Rev. Jacob Johnson’s 1755 listing of Mashantucket scholars. Eleven years later, in June of 1766, Johnson provided the Connecticut General Assembly with a list of men and women living at Mashantucket. Again, parents Sampson and Esther, elder daughters, Esther and Eunice, and young Prudence, likely counted among the 28 girls within the age range of 4 – 12 years old, were enumerated.
At the age of 24, Prudence married Jeffery Cujep in North Groton, CT on October 5, 1780.1 The couple had son Henry Cujep, born circa 1783. The Cujeps were one of many Mashantucket familes to remove to Brothertown, NY. It’s assumed that Jeffery, Prudence, and Henry traveled together up to Brothertown sometime after 1792, but the death of Jeffery Cujep left Prudence a widow there by September 16, 1795. This was the date that the 75 acre parcel of land, Number 104, at Brothertown, was allotted to the widow Prudence Cujep and her 12 year old boy, Henry.
Prudence Poquiantup Cujep eventually remarried to fellow Brothertowner, Gideon Harry, who had in October of 1796, received Lot 1, an 82 ½ acre parcel, for his and his family’s use. While the date of Cujep/Harry union is unknown, the two were married sometime before 1807, when Prudence appears in the records as Prudence Harry. Gideon and Prudence had at least one child, Gideon Harry, who eventually moved with others from the community to White River, Indiana.
The account book of Thomas Dean, a non-Native neighbor to the Brothertown, provides something of a glimpse into the everyday life of Prudence Harry. Between 1807 and 1809, Dean’s ledger includes expenses for hiring teams of oxen, rum for medicine, shoes, tea, pork, whiskey, and iron for the repair of her fireplace. Prudence was also compensated for the care of Susannna Charles and Esther Sampson.
Interestingly, Prudence, and perhaps others, returned, for a short while, to Mashantucket from Brothertown, New York prior to October 8, 1821. It’s then she she appears in the records of the state appointed overseer. Reservation tenant, Charles Chester, billed the overseer for three pecks of oats delivered to her. It seems she may have also collected some money from the rent of lands to which she had rights through her father, Sampson Poquiantup. The aforementioned Charles Chester rented the Sampson Poquiantup place for a number years in the 1820s and perhaps even longer. In March of 1825, Prudence's name was included in a list of individuals belonging to the Mashantucket Pequot community. She eventually returned to her home in Brothertown, New York at some point during this period, because she passed away there on February 24, 1828, at the approximate age of 72. Her gravestone includes an inscription indicating that she was the daughter of Sampson and Eunice Poquiantup2.
Several years later in 1832, portions of Prudence Poquiantup Cujep Harry's land at Brothertown were leased out to others in the community, with the proceeds returning to the tribal coffers.
De Loss Love, Samson Occom, 340, 348-349; Brown and Rose, Black Roots, 315; Jacob Johnson’s Account of Indians at Groton, June 20, 1755, Misc. Bound Manuscripts, MHS; List of Indians now Living in Groton, 1766.06.00.00; CSL, MV 974.62, L51ger, Marriages performed in North Groton by Robert and Amos Geer, 1773-1807; Thomas Dean Papers, 1796-1844, Account Book, State Historical Society at Madison; Bill from Charles Chester to Eneas Morgan and Stephen Billings, Overseers to the Western Pequot Indians, 1822.03.09.00; Names of the Western Pequot Tribe Submitted to the New London County Court, 1825.03.00.01
- 1. A certificate for that marriage was supplied to the couple over a decade later on October 24 1792. This was likely in preparation for their emigration, with others from Mashantucket to the Brothertown Christian Indian community in upstate New York.
- 2. The inscription of the name Eunice appears to be a mistake, as the rest of the historical record regarding this family, including her own gravestone indicate her mother's name to be Esther.
Died:February 24, 1828