Petition of John Conet and Other Herring Pond Indians to the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

To the Honourable Senate and the House of Representatives in General Court                                                 

The undersigned, inhabitants of the Plantation of Herring Pond and Indians, proprietors, and People of Colour, beg leave to represent that they are destitute of a schoolhouse, and nowhere to send our children to school.  Formerly we sent them to a schoolhouse owned by White people, we paying therefor, supporting the school in part.  We are now deprived that privilege in part, although we have but a small number of children to send to school, yet we feel anxious about them and wish to give them some education that they may be useful citizens and not a burden.  We have an old meeting house very much out of repair and standing in an inconvenient place.  It is not fit to hold meetings in during winter.  It was built we believe nearly a  century ago.  It was repaired by the State nearly thirty years ago and now must be abandoned or much repairs put upon it.  We now propose and wish to take down the meeting house and build a  small schoolhouse, which will much better accommodate us for a place to hold our meetings, and, by this arrangement, we shall have a place to send our children to school, which we deem very important, and we think our people will go to meeting more punctually, and, as we have preaching regularly, only one-fifth part of the time, if we have a tight and comfortable house, kind friends, we believe we'll be more likely to hold meetings among us.  Our whole population is fifty one.  The number of children from four to sixteen years of age are seventeen.  We would humbly ask Your Honorable Body to give us some little aid in accomplishing our object – the Marshpee Tribe of Indians and the Indians at Martha's Vineyard have been aided, we believe, in building school houses.  We believe, although our voice is small, that Your Honourable Body will hear us and answer our prayer if you think it reasonable.1

As in duty bound will ever pray,

Antone Francis (non-Proprietor)
Herring Pond Plantation, March 1838

Whole population is 51

Number of children from 4 to 16 years of age are 17



Legislative Action:

Petition of John V. Conet and others, Indians of the Herring Pond Tribe, praying 3 aid to build a schoolhouse.  Charles Marston of Barnstable / Petition of Sundry Herring Pond Indians for aid to build a schoolhouse. Senate. March 29, 1838. Referred to the Committee on Education.  Charles Calhoun, Clerk



  • 1. In a report printed eleven years later, the state of the schoolhouse was "better than at Marshpee," serving twenty-thre children. The tribe received $38 for educational purposes from the Commonwealth, with the addition of an average of $75 a year from tribal funds. Bird Report, 40.
  • 2. Deleted Text: Honorable Charles Marston (member of the Senate), Boston
  • 3. Deleted Text: pecuniary