Hannah Sowas was a member of the prominent Sowas family from the Eastern Pequot tribe, one connected to leadership at Eastern Pequot and Mohegan. She may have been the daughter or granddaughter of Jacob and Sarah Sowas
On December 19, 1784, Hannah married fellow Eastern Pequot Cyrus Shelly in Stonington, Connecticut. Four years later in May of 1788, Hannah Sowas Shelly signed a petition along with nearly 30 other Eastern Pequots, seeking the appointment of new overseers for the tribe. Among other things, the petition complained of inconsistent distribution of profits stemming from the rental of tribal lands. Hannah’s marriage to Cyrus may have ended by divorce or through her death, possibly as early as 1810, as Cyrus married again, this time to Betsy Rogers in North Stonington on April 8, 1822.
It is possible that the Hannah Shelly that appears sporadically in the records of the state appointed overseer of the Eastern Pequot Tribe from June 1822 until June 1836 is not Hannah Sowas Shelly. In part because that Hannah Shelly had school-aged children in 1835. Hannah Sowas Shelly would have been about 70 years old at this time, not likely the mother of school-aged children.
Brown and Rose, Black Roots, 370; Petition by Eastern Pequots Requesting Appointment of Overseer, IP 1.2.252, 1788.05.05.00; NLCC:PbS, Indians, Eastern Pequot