Petition of the Indians at Okokamy or Christiantown to the Massachusetts General Court

To His Excellency Jonathan Belcher, Esq., Captain General, Governour, Etc., and to the Honourable His Majesty's Council, and House of Representatives in General Court Assembled


The humble petition of us, the subscribers, Indian inhabitants of Okokame or Christiantown, humbly sheweth that whereas we, your petitioners, being with others proprietors of said town, are very much aggrieved by several ill-disposed persons among us, who cut down, and sell off large quantities of the wood growing on said lands without any order first legally obtained of said proprietors, and to their great grief and disturbance, there being a prospect that if a stop be not seasonably put to the ill practice above expressed, it will prove the ruin of our town, not only because we are like in a few years, if this trade goes on, to have no firewood and fencing stuff left for our use, but also because a great part of said wood and timber is converted into strong drink and brought about to the great hurt of our people. And this being a matter we cannot see any way to prevent, and our land not being dividable as other properties commonly are, we, therefore, your petitioners, do humbly pray that Your Excellency and Your Honors would take our case into your wise consideration and do as in your great wisdom you may think proper and expedient, and if it may be, put a stop to a practice so grievous and prejudicial to us and our neighbours.


At least we pray that if nothing else can be done at present, Your Excellency and Your Honors would please to put a stop to the cutting and carrying away any more of our wood till there can be some hearing of our case in our court at the Fall Sessions, for we perceive there is a design to cut and carry off some hundreds of cords besides the vast quantities that have already been carried away.


If Your Excellency and Your Honors shall please to give us, your humble petitioners hereunto subscribing, some relief in this our difficult case, we as in Duty bound, shall ever pray, etc.,


Zachariah Howwaswee

Joseph Unquet

Bash Ompany

Ned Chummock

Dorothy Painter

John Kerotomman

Rachel Charles

Benjamin Toby

Jerusha Toby

The mark of Ruth Unquet

Thomas Samson, mark

Obediah Nananit

The mark of Moses Charles

Isaac Micah

Samuel Sopposon, Sr.

Daniel Sopposon

Hannah [ illegible ]

The mark of Joel Sopposon

Samuel Ompany

Amos Ianoxoo, Jr.

David Capey

Samuel Sopposon, Jr.

John Robin

Solomon Ned

Elizabeth Ompany

Rebecca Hannet


Legislative Action:

In Council. July 23, 1741. Read and In answer to this Petition Ordered that all Persons whatsoever be and hereby are forbidden from cutting, felling, or destroying, or carrying off any of the timber, trees, or wood growing or being on the common and undivided land within the town called Okokame or Christiantown in the Island of Martha’s Vineyard, excepting the Indian proprietors of the said land, and then only for their own use. And John Allen, Esq., and Mr. William Tilton are hereby authorized and impowered as agents in the name and behalf of the said proprietors  to prosecuted in the law all persons that shall cut fell or destroy or carry off any of the said timber, trees, or wood, contrary to the true intent of this order. Sent down for concurrence, J. Willard, Secretary. In the House of Representative, August 4, 1741.  Read and concurred.  J Hobson, Speaker.  Consented to, Jonathan Belcher


Indians Petition 1741

Indian [ illegible ] of Christiantown Petition, August 4, 1741


315, 316