Quocheats, Joseph, - 1818
Joseph Quocheats was likely the son of Daniel Quocheats, the head of one of the more prominent Mashantucket families in the mid 18th century. While Joseph’s exact birth year is undetermined, he was a child in 1755, when the Rev. Jacob Johnson included him in a list of scholars at the school on the reservation and noted that Quocheats was proficient in his spelling book.
The Quocheats’ household was enumerated in a 1762 informal census of the Mashantucket reservation. On March 4th of that year, Mr. Isaac Smith provided Rev. Ezra Stiles with a listing of the reservation community and noted that Daniel Quocheats, age 60, and his wife were raising their 6 children in a wigwam there. Eleven years later, in June of 1766, Johnson provided the Connecticut General Assembly with a list of men and women living at Mashantucket. If the Joseph Quocheats enumerated in this document is the same individual, he would have been a young man, at least 17 or 18 years old.
In the early 1770s Quocheats put his name to two petitions, the first on May 10, 1773 when he along with 25 others from tribe remonstrated against encroachments on tribal lands by neighboring non-natives. A year later, Quocheats and others from the tribe, in a memorial to the Connecticut General Assembly, petitioned for the appointment of Edward Mott as overseer.
Joseph Quocheats served in the Revolutionary War in the Connecticut Line from 1776-1781 for the Towns of Groton and Preston. From 1781-1783 he was with Webb’s 3rd Connecticut Regiment, in Capt. John Riley’s Company. It’s unclear as to whether Quocheats returned home immediately following his military service.
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 and later in May of 1801, Joseph Quocheats, together with fellow Pequots, Benjamin Charles, Benjamin George, James Sunsamon, James Boney, and Josiah Charles Scaudub sold, on behalf of the tribe, in three transactions, a total of 60 acres of tribal land, a 3 acres parcel to Peter Williams and 57 acres to the Town of Groton.
With age Quocheats came to be recognized as a leader within the community. In February 17, 1817, he and Moses Sunsamon, “ Chiefs and Warriors of the Tribe of the Pequot Indians”, along with Overseers Ebenezer Morgan and William Williams, filed suit against John and Benajah Packer, alleging that months earlier the Packers trespassed on tribal lands and removed timber, walnut trees, to the value of 84 dollars.
A short year later, in March of 1818, Joseph Quocheats, one of the “headmen of the Tribe” died. It took several years to fully settle his medical debts as evidenced by 1822 bill from Dr. Daniel King to the overseer of the tribe, described as an old account in the hands of a former overseer Ebenezer Morgan.
Johnson's Account of the Indian's in Groton 1755; Guild Hall, London ms.8011a, copy at the Massachusetts Historical Society (microfilm); List of Indians now Living in Groton, 1766.06.00.00; Ezra Stiles Papers, Misc., Vol. 200, Doc. 386; Memorial of Daniel Quocheats and Others, 1773.05.10.00; Representation of Groton Indians Regarding a New Overseer, 1774.05.00.01, Mancini and Naumec, CT African & Native American Rev. War Enlistments, MPMRC, p.52; Groton Land Records, Vol.14, p.165-166; CSL, RG3,NLCC:PbS, Indians, Mashantucket Pequot Account of Shubael Whitney for a Coffin for Joseph Cochut, CSL, MV 970.1 P31; Bill from Dr. Daniel King to Eneas Morgan and Stephen Billings, Overseers to the Western Pequot Indians, 1822.03.06.00