Field Notes of George Grant MacCurdy relating to Ledyard and North Stonington Pequots
Four Indian Town Ledyard Pequot1 families still live here:
1) Mrs. Durfee ( first husband black2, second husband white) Mrs. Durfee looks more white than anything else.
2) Mrs. Martha Langevin (née George)3, a daughter of Mrs. Durfee by her first husband. Mrs. Langevin’s second husband is a French snake tamer (gets his snakes at Lantern Hill). She has ten children living by both husbands (her first husband was Indian). She looks more negroid than anything else.
3) Mr. and Mrs. Ephraim Williams. I did not see them, but one of their daughters looked negroid.
4) Mr. and Mrs. Ammon Potter. These are evidently more than half Indian. Both seem to have some negro blood. A cousin of Ammon Potter , John W. Merriman, lives at 39 Broad St., New Haven.
There are also three Pequot families at North Stonington.4
5) Mrs. Phebe Spellman
6) William Jackson
7) Mrs. Calvin Williams ( her husband was uncle of Mrs. Potter5). Mrs. Potter thinks that Mrs. Williams must have some relics.
Calvin Williams died in 1913 at the age of more than 80 years. He made baskets of white oak. I purchased, from his second wife, the knife he used in basket-making and one of his baskets.
Mrs. Durfee’s grandmother, Betsy Ann Meazon, “Queen Betsy of the Tribe”, gave Mrs. Durfee an old iron kettle marked “Agawam 10”, an old skillet, and knife with whale bone handle. These I bought of Mrs. Durfee for $2.00. She also sold me five arrow points, a large wooden soup ladle, a knife for preparing basket splints, and a coarse, unfinished basket with some basket-maker’s material. The material is the sapwood of black swamp ash. Mrs. Durfee obtained the wooden ladle many years ago, 30, from one of the tribe. The unfinished basket was made by Mrs. Durfee.
From Mrs. Langevin I obtained an iron tomahawk that had been given to her years ago by one of the tribe. She told me that her son, Amos George, had carried away and sold her stone mortar and pestle and a collection of arrow heads.
From Mr. Potter I obtained a curious, semi-phallic stone ploughed up by him in his garden. Mrs. Potter sold me a small basket that one of the tribe gave her 40 years ago. She had some baskets made by her uncle, Calvin Williams, but she would not part with them. I obtained from her a stone pestle, the wooden mortar for which she had lost some years ago.
North Stonington Pequots
Rev. Calvin Williams died August 1913 at age of 80.6 Was basket maker, used white oak. I got one basket and one knife (used in basket making) and one celt. Also, one small long basket that his first wife (Marinda Nedson, almost pure blood) made. The Stonington Pequots all seem to be part negro.
- 1. Ledyard Pequots, Groton Pequots, Western Pequots, and Mashantucket Pequots are terms referring to the same community.
- 2. The first husband referred to is John Noyes Hoxie, also known as Noyes Hoxie. He was associated with both the Eastern Pequot and Narragansett communities.
- 3. Her pre-married name was actually Hoxie. George was the surname of her first husband.
- 4. North Stonington Pequots, Stonington Pequots, Lantern Hill Pequots, and Eastern Pequots are terms referring to the same community.
- 5. Calvin Williams was the uncle Ammon Potter, therefore an uncle through marriage of Eliza Niles Potter.
- 6. His actually death date was July 8, 1913.