William Hillhouse's Report on the Funeral of Ben Uncas

To the Honorable the Governor  and Council of his Majesty’s Colony of Connecticut

Pursuant to Your Honors’ command, I repaired to Mohegan on the fifteenth instant and there met with Colonel Saltonstall and Captain Adams, where we attended the funeral of Benjamin Uncas, late Sachem of Mohegan, and endeavored the funeral rites might be performed in as decent a manner as the state and circumstances of affairs would admit.  The Reverend Mr. Jewett preached a sermon on the occasion to a large concourse of people, both of English and Indian of the Mohegan, and neighboring tribes, who were assembled together.  If Your Honors please, I would hint some things that occurred and shall submit whether they may not be worthy of Your Honors’ notice.

The tribe were generally met on the occasion but before divine service was over, Samson Occom withdrew and went off and was soon followed by others of the tribe, so that for want of their help and assistance to carry the corpse and its being very heavy and by reason of its having been so long kept, rendered it almost impossible to bury at their usual burying place at Norwich. Therefore, by and with the consent and agreement of the sachem family, the remains was interred at Mohegan on their own land.

The tempers of a number of the Indians is worked up to the highest pitch of jealousy and distrust of the government, and also of any dependence on them, either for advice, protection, regulation, friendship, or even so much as to be treated with, as friends and allies.

There is no1 such thing (at present) as bringing any number, (save the sachem family and some four or five perhaps of others) to acknowledge any sachem that the government would approve that, itself might perhaps be a sufficient objection.  It seems Mr. Mason and his party are continually plying them with their secret negotiations, councils, etc., but what their particular plans are does not transpire.  It’s said that some petition or representations home is or hath been on foot.  It’s also said that the recognition of John’s title to the sachemship hath been early taken care for by an installment of him as soon as the late sachem died.  Even the same day it’s said to add no more.  They seem ungratefully to consider all the past acts of kindness, protection, and care of the government as mere acts of power and authority, exercised for the purpose of depriving them of their freedom and estates.

All which is submitted by Your Honors’ most obedient and humble servant,                      

William Hillhouse

New London, May 17, 1769

Post Script:      One thing more I beg leave to add.  It is said that Samson Occom, John Cooper, Jo Wyyougs, and a number of the leading men in their councils and intrigues against the [  illegible  ] government, are not Mohegans but only interlopers, introduced by marriage or some other way.  Clerk

            Cataloguing:    286a, 286b

  • 1. Deleted text: probability by
Tribes