Petition of Cynthia Smith and Others to Sell Real Estate


To the Honorable General Assembly of the State of Connecticut to Be Held at Hartford in and for said State on the First Wednesday of May A.D. 18451

The memorial of the subscribers, members of the Mohegan Tribe of Indians in the Town of Montville and County of New London in said state, by and with the consent and approbation of John G. Fitch, the overseer of said tribe, humbly sheweth, that the individual members of said tribe not being under the disability of either minority or of married females, have not the right to convey their lands even to members of the same, that individual members of said tribe often move from said Town of Montville into other states2 and even into the territories,3 and permanently locate themselves in such places, and leave their lands in said Montville, from which at such distance they can derive very little benefit, that some of the individual members so moving away are in want of the money for which their lands in said Montville might be sold to vest in lands in the places to which they have moved.  And some of the individuals thus moving away from said Montville are respectable persons and competent to manage their business, and one of them by the name of William Fowler is a Justice of the Peace in the Territory of Wisconsin. Your memorialists therefore pray the Honorable General Assembly to pass a public act, authorizing and empowering individual members of said Mohegan Tribe of Indians, on petition in writing made to the county court in and for said County of New London, to permit, on hearing, the sale of the land of individual members of said tribe from one to another member of said tribe, at an estimate of the value of such lands to be made by two suitable persons to be appointed by said court, to sell and give, a legal conveyance of their land or lands to other members of said tribe by deed to be executed either by the overseer of said tribe or by the overseer and the owner of the land to be conveyed.  Your memorialists would further state that these  are small pieces of land belonging to members of said tribe so located as to be of very little benefit to the owner which by exchange with some other member of said tribe might be very beneficial to both parties, and in some cases individuals of said tribe by industry and good habits lay up money and are able to purchase the land of those who have moved away and settled in other places or states.  Occasionally one part of a family goes away, leaving the other part here, in which case it would be very beneficial for both parties for the one going away; to be able to sell to the part of the family remaining, and they confidently trust there could be no impropriety in trusting the propriety of selling the lands with the County Court for New London County.  Now there is no mode of getting permission to sell, but by petition to the General Assembly, which is expensive and attended with delay.  Your memorialists pray the General Assembly to grant the prayer of this petition and pass a public act in conformity thereto.

And they as duty bound will ever pray,

Cynthia Smith, her mark
Sarah Fowler
Sarah Tantaquidgeon, her mark
Peter G. Cooper, his mark

I consent to and approve of the foregoing petition.

John G. Fitch, Overseer
Dated at Montville, April 23, 1845

Legislative Action:

Petition of Cynthia Smith et al, Mohegan Indians, praying for leave to sell and convey real estate / Entered 5/4, May Session 1845, Daniel P. Tyler, Secretary / House of Representatives, May 12, 1845, Referred to Committee on Sale of Lands, James H. Holcomb, Clerk / Senate, May 13, 1845, Concur, Nelson L. White, Clerk / Senate, June 3, 1845, Leave to withdraw, Nelson L. White, Clerk / House of Representatives, June 3, 1845, Leave to withdraw,

William H. Bowers, Assistant Clerk / paid fifty cents



  • 1. The first Wednesday of May in 1845 was May 7th.
  • 2. I.e., Brothertown in upstate New York.
  • 3. The document is referring to the removing of several Mohegan members to the Brothertown community in Wisconsin Territory.