Wilcox, John (1820)
John Wilcox lived on the Mashantucket Pequot lands as a non-native tenant farmer from at least 1820 until about 1835. During this period, he and his young family leased several parcels of land, including the “Josiah Charles Place” which presumably included the house in which they lived and an adjacent barn. In the first three years of his tenancy, Wilcox invested no small sum in repairing the house and barn, digging and stoning a well, and putting in a fireplace. The other parcels that comprised his farm were the “Benjamin and Polly Charles Lot”, “Kate Tikens Lot”, and, eventually, the “Manuel Simons Field” and one half of the “Sampson Place”, all of which he leased from the tribe.
Wilcox offset the expense of renting this land in several ways. As per the lease agreement with the tribe’s overseer, he received credit for improvements made to the property. Usually these “betterments” were in the form of labor, often the building of stonewalls to serve as property boundaries or as animal enclosures or exclosures. Wilcox also provided goods and services to members of the tribe. These “necessaries” were weighed as credit against his account.
By 1835 it seems as if the Wilcox family may have moved from the Pequot lands. John Wilcox is no longer referenced as a leasee, nor does he bill the tribe for goods and services provided as he had consistently done for more than a decade. In December 1836 the tribe invests $2.54 for 99 linear feet of boards to repair the house and barn on the Wilcox place. That same month the overseer, Elisha Crary, spent a “day at town with Wilcox and William Fanning”. This may have been to settle issues of the lease, as William Fanning, very shortly thereafter, appears in the list of leasees. And although the parcel he rents is not named, the annual rental amount was nearly the same as what Wilcox was paying for the “Josiah Charles Place”, “Kate Tikens Lot”, and “Benjamin and Polly Charles Lot”.
1820 US Federal Census, Groton, CT, Ancestry.com; 1830 US Federal Census, Groton, CT, Ancestry.com; CHS, Ms. 27960 Geer & Morgan Families Papers, 1717-1850, Folder 19; CSL, RG3, NLCC:PbS, Indians, Mashantucket Pequot.
Sources for this biography also come from the Related Digital Heritage Items listed below.