Minutes respecting the Marshpee Difficulties

Minutes respect the Marshpee difficulties from the research by Dr. Walker[1] incident to 1812 (1835)


In February 1811, the Corporation[2] petitioned the Legislature to build a parsonage at an estimated expense of three thousand dollars, intimating a willingness in case that is done to support a missionary.

At a meeting April 8, 1811, "A letter was received from Mr. Fish[3] relating to his connection and

respecting advantages to a missionary being permanently established.[4]


"Voted, That the Corporation are ready to fix him in the Office of Missionary at Marshpee on

such terms as shall be determined by the Corporation, and assented to by him, and that the President,[5] Dr. Lothrop[6] and Judge Davis[7] be a Committee to communicate this vote to Mr. Fish and to request a conference with him in the subject; and to prepare a report on the terms of the settlement to be laid before the Corporation for their final determination"


At a meeting July 11, 1811

"The Committee appointed April 8 in the subject of Phineas Fish's settlement at Marshpee, reported: That Mr. Fish has assented to the following terms of settlement, namely, He shall take the pastoral charge of the Indians at Marshpee, and perform occasional services for the Indians at Herring Pond and receive five hundred and twenty dollars annual salary to be paid quarterly yearly, and two hundred and fifty dollars as a settlement, said salary to be paid him so long as he shall continue in the service above named.  Voted to accept the above report; and that the Corporation will proceed to the ordination of Mr. Phineas Fish at Marshpee, the third Wednesday in September, and that the Reverend Messrs. Kendall,[8] Simpkins,[9] Pratt,[10] Lincoln[11] and Thaxter[12] with their churches be invited to attend as a Council; Mr. Burr[13] and Superintendent of the Indians[14] be invited, Mr. Kendall be requested to give the right hand of fellowship,[15] the President to preach, Mr. Simpkins to give the charge, and that the President be requested to take measures for convening the council and proceeding to the ordination."


October 1811

                  Expenses at Mr Fish's ordination charged to Indian Fund.[16]


At a meeting July 16, 1812


                  "Voted one hundred dollars of the Indian Fund be granted to Ebenezer Williams[17] to assist

him in becoming qualified as a missionary among the Indians, that sum to be paid to Dr. Ebenezer Hunt of Northampton for this use.

Memoranda                                                                                                                    59


The Society for Propagating of the Gospel at this annual meeting 1809 voted to propose to the Corporation of Harvard College to take the whole charge of the Marshpee and Martha's Vineyard Indians; and this proposal was accepted.[18]

[19]  Christiantown, Chappaquiddick, Gay Head, [20] Charlestown

From twenty to thirty at Chappaquiddick attend church, all Coloured, all mixed


Comes every seventh Sunday

Sometimes about two months, without making it up

Resisted application of Methodists to add to the Church and so lost most of his hearers

Only twelve-thirteen at his meeting

Comes so seldom, little

Mr. Fish [ illegible ] 1828 to  two-thirds of the proceeds of the Fund in M H I Co.,[21] from 390-436.

Distance from West Barnstable six miles Mr [ illegible ].  Eight miles to East Falmouth.  Nine miles to Sandwich

1830 Two School Houses

Six on the Committee to act for Indians,

Solomon Francis

Jeremiah Babcock

Gideon Nautumpum

Abraham Squib

Richard Cabot

Nathan Pocknet

From twelve to thirty at Mr. Fish's meeting

Clear Indians -- Two only men Isaac Simons, William Amos, and about six family

six Families:

Mercy Henson

Mercy McGregor

Patience Allen                       

Bathsheba Richards     

Hannah Freeman

Desire Attaquin   




[1] James Walker

[2] The Harvard College Corporation

[3] Phineas Fish

[4] Fish's letter has not been found.

[5] John Thornton Kirkland

[6] Mr. Lothrop

[7] Judge John Davis

[8] Rev. James Kendall

[9] Rev. John Simpkins

[10] Rev. Enoch Pratt

[11] Rev. Henry Lincoln

[12] Rev. Joseph Thaxter

[13] This particular Mr. Burr has not been identified.

[14] Mashpee Overseer 1811

[15] Extending the right hand of fellowship is used to acknowledge another person as a fellow Christian or to refer to the act of one sect, denomination, or church, recognizing another as a concomitant branch of the larger Christian Church.  OED

[16] Fish was ordained on September 18, 1811.

[17] Ebenezer Williams may be the missionary from New York who served at Racine, Wisconsin then at Mineral Point.  The Spirit of Missions, 10 (1845), 262.

[18] The Annual Meeting of the Society took place at Boston in June of that year.  The Daily Advertiser, June 6, 2809, 3.

[19] The following text in italics was written in pencil and appears to be some answers to the questions posed in James Walker's questions regarding Mashpee, Herring Pond, and Martha's Vineyard, with Partial Replies, 1835.00.00.02.

[20] Deleted Text: Farm Neck

[21] The meaning of this acronym, MHI Co.,  is unknown.