Memorial of the Selectmen of the Towns of Middletown and Chatham

To the Honorable General Assembly of the Colony of Connecticut Now Sitting at New Haven

The memorial of the selectmen of the Town of Middletown and Chatham, both in the County of Hartford, humbly sheweth that in October 1765, a committee was appointed, viz.,  John Chester, Esq., now deceased,1 Elisha Williams, James Wadsworth, and William Welles, Esqs., by the General  Assembly to make sale of certain lands in said Middletown, then situated, belonging to the Wangunk Indians, to distribute the avails among the said Indians, or to purchase other lands, or to put to usury agreeable to instructions then given,2 and the said Assembly then ordered the sum of about twenty one pounds fifteen shillings and ten pence to be paid to the then select men of said Middletown, which sum they had expended in taking care of and providing for one Tyke, alias Mary Cushoyan Indian squaw of said Wangunk tribe and relict of Cushoy, a sachem of said tribe, since which time the said Towns of Middletown and Chatham have been obliged and necessitated to expend in taking care of and providing for said Tyke, alias Mary Cushoy, from October 1765 to 1771, three hundred and twelve weeks at four shillings six pence per week, which is the sum of seventy pounds four shillings lawful money, of which sum the said Town of Middletown has expended eighteen pounds eleven shillings and said Chatham the residue of said sum, which expenses, the memorialists humbly conceive, ought to be paid to them by said committee out of the interest of the monies which arose from the sale of said lands and are now in their hands.

Whereupon the memorialists humbly pray this Honorable Assembly to order and direct the said surviving committee to pay to the selectmen of said Middletown the said sum of eighteen pounds eleven shillings lawful money and unto the selectmen of said Chatham the sum of fifty one pounds ten shillings like money out of the interest of said monies now in their hands.

As in duty bound, they shall ever pray, etc.

Selectmen of Middletown,

Jabez Hamlin

Richard Alsop

Selectmen of Chatham,

Ebenezer White    

Nathaniel Freeman

Dated at New Haven, October 15, 1711

Legislative Action:  In the Lower House, the prayer of this memorial is granted and   liberty, etc.  Test, William Williams, Clerk.  Concurred in the Upper House.  Test, George Wyllys, Secretary.                                                  

Selectmen of Middletown Memorial / October 1771 x / May 1772 / Passed Lower House / Passed in Upper House / June 5, 1772 p.m. / Bill / Passed Lower House / Passed Upper House / June 5, 1772 p.m. / Entered

Cataloguing:     232                                                                                                                

  • 1. The death of Chester, only five weeks earlier, may have been the motivation for the selectmen's petition.
  • 2. It is unknown which option--the distribution of the sale funds outright or setting the funds to usury--was pursued by the Wangunk. If the first, then the selectmen's petition six years after the sale would indicate that not all purchase monies had been collected. Money from the land sale was put aside for the expenses of Mary Cushoy's support, but if the later option were taken, then the fund would be generating income for both Mary and the absentee Wangunk as well. As for the alternative option, there is no evidence that the Wangunk purchased land elsewhere for the tribal land base.