22 August 2012

Hassanamisco Indians

I love this document. It's a survey of property allotted to Hassanamisco Nipmuc Sarah Robins who married Peter Muckamaug. Though Native, Peter was not from Hassanamesit so the land could not be allotted to (or owned by) him. When Sarah Robins died, the land passed to her children.

Image from the American Antiquarian Society

The Muckamaug allotment was originally 106 acres. The land came from the division of the Hassanamisco Praying Plantation. Praying Plantations, or towns, were the colonial Massachusetts equivalent to today's reservation system. The Praying Town at Hassanamesit was 8000 acres. In 1728, the MA Bay government allowed those 8000 acres to be divided up between 40 English proprietors and 7 Native families. Land was also set aside for a Native church and school and stipulations made for a minister and teacher. The 7 Native families received 1200 acres in separate parcels. The rest was sold to the 40 proprietors and monies from the sale deposited for use by the Hassanamiscos. Since it was not believed that Native people could control their own resources, guardians were appointed to oversee their assets. Native people throughout Massachusetts could not sell their land or spend even the interest on their money without asking their guardians to petition the legislature until 1869.

Another map from the collections of American Antiquarian Society showing part of the 1728 allotments. This was posted on a Grafton, MA town webpage.

Part of the Muckamaug allotment is now owned by the town of Grafton and is preserved as "Hassanamesit Woods".The Fiske Center for Archaeological Research is conducting an archaeological dig in Hassanamesit Woods where the Muckamaug's great-granddaughter's house stood from at least 1790 to 1923 when it was bulldozed over. The story of 4 generations of Nipmuc women living on this land will be coming to this blog soon!

(You may have noticed that sometimes I write Hassanamisco and sometimes Hassanamesit. Hassanamesit refers to the land and means "the place of many small stones". Hassanamisco refers to the people of that land.)

Until next time,

15 August 2012

Who is Molly Pegan? (Part 2)

Molly Pegan is my sixth great grandmother and a source of much controversy in my small Nipmuc community.  Some of us believe her to be Nipmuc, especially since her maiden name is Pegan - a known Nipmuc name. Others (including nameless BIA researchers) don't think she is Nipmuc and that the name is simply coincidence. Now her last name is not the only reason folks believe she was Nipmuc but you can read my previous post for more information on that here.

Molly is our tribal brick wall. We have no documentation on who her parents were. Her granddaughter identified her as a Dudley Indian (Dudley Indians are a band or subset of Nipmuc Indians) slightly more than 100 years after Molly's alleged birth. But why take the granddaughter's word for it? I created a research plan to try and crack this brick wall in my previous Molly post. Here's an update on my progress:

Before I move on to records that I haven't researched yet, I want to review the ones I've already read through. I can't help but think I'm missing a clue. Molly's Revolutionary War widow's pension file is full of detail on Molly's life. Perhaps reviewing the file here will lead to a new clue. Page 33 of the file is a favorite of mine so I'll start there. (Yes, I know it would be more orderly to start at page one. But this is my quest!)

I have a paper copy from the National Archive but this .jpg is from Fold3.com. It's the deposition of Sarah Howe Warren, the granddaughter of Rev. Aaron Brown's wife, Damaris Cady Howe Brown. Sarah lived in her grandparents' home during Molly's teenage years. Below is the transcribed document.

           “I Sarah Warren of Killingly in the County of Windham
           and State of Connecticut aged 73 years & able
           & duly sworn according to law. do testify & say
            that the Rev’d Aaron Brown formerly a Minister in
            said Killingly, was my Grandfather & I was
            frequently at his house & I lived [crossed out word] at
            his house when young & went to school. He
            brought up a coloured [sic] Girl named
            Molly Piggen who I knew very well. when
            Molly was about 18 years old she was courted
            by a black man from Thompson and
            my Grandfather was opposed to having
            Molly marry him & he by means of a ladder
            used to visit her unbeknown to most of
            the family. & it was said in the time
            of it that he married her & went to live with
            him, in Thompson. I well remember I
            was there and enquired [sic] for Molly & was told {by my grandmother}She
            had married a negro & gone off To Thompson.
                 After Molly had her first child she
            made a visit to my Grandfather Browns where
            she was brought up & I was there & saw her &
            her child, & remember of asking to hold the
            child & it was put into my arms & I held it
                 I was not at the wedding & did not
            see them married, but have no doubt of
            the fact.       according to recollection Mollys
            husbands name was Pollock.           Sarah Warren

      State of Connecticut Windham p Killingly. March 12” 1838 then
      Personally appeared Sarah Warren signer of the above deposition
      & made solemn oath to the truth of the same. And I
      further Certify the deponent is a person of Credibility & from
      personal knowledge of the [?] truth & veracity
              Before Simon Davis Justice of the Peace”
So, what clues are in this document?
1. Molly was not raised by her parents.
2. Molly was raised by Rev. Aaron Brown of Killingly, CT.
3.Molly's race is referred to as "coloured".
4. Molly's husband's race is called "Black" and "Negro".
5. Molly was 18 when she married.
6. She moved to Thompson (CT) after she married.
7. Rev. Brown was opposed to the union.
8. Molly had more than one child.
9. Her husband's surname was Pollock.
10. A wedding did take place.

I am curious about a couple of things. Sarah specifically states that her grandfather raised Molly. She doesn't include her grandmother in the "raising" of Molly. Also, why was the Rev. opposed to the marriage? Molly was already 18. And, of course, why wasn't Molly with her family? Were they deceased? Was she indentured? Taken from her Native family to be raised "properly"? Also, why the distinction between coloured, Black and Negro?

Until next time-

05 August 2012

Bostics, Then and Now, Part 1

My nephew is one of the last in our family with the surname of Bostic. The other day, while driving with my daughter through the local cemetery, he asked to see the monument with his name on it. (Yes! My children consider cemeteries as appropriate sightseeing destinations - after all, they were raised by me.) My daughter called me for the street name it was nearest to, and my nephew got to see the monument with his name on it - again!

My daughter called me later to ask about the some of the names on the monument that were unfamiliar to her. It was a little too complicated to explain the relationships of the eight people listed over the phone. And so, my darling Erica, this post is for you.

My grandfather, Walter A. Bostic placed that 4-sided monument on the site and moved some of his ancestors remains to that plot. Currently, the plot holds the following relations:

Walter A. Bostic and his 2nd wife, Corrine E. (Chase) Bostic occupy one side:

Walter A. Bostic
Corrine E.
Wife of
W.A. Bostic
1927 -1981
(Walter passed in 1999. This picture was likely taken before then.)

William S. Bostic
1838 - 1911
Rachel A. 
Wife of
W.S. Bostic
1840 - 1887

Eveline F.
Daughter of
W.S. & R.A. Bostic
1882 - 1894
Alice B.
1888 - 1898

Wife of
W.S. Bostic
1839 - 1925
Alice B.
1866 - 1923

As for the relationships between these folks, William S. and Rachel A. were the great-grandparents of Walter A. Bostic which would make them my 3rd great-grandparents. As indicated on the stone, Eveline F. is the younger daughter of William and Rachel. Abbie is William's 2nd wife. The Alice B. Moore born in 1866 is William and Rachel's eldest daughter and the second Alice is the first Alice's daughter.

Now for a quick genealogical sketch of the names on the tonbstone -

1. William S. Bostic was born about 1838 in Avondale, PA to Peter and Annie (Jones/Kent) Bostic and died on 3 July 1911 in Worcester, MA. He married (1) Rachel A. Steemer about 1865. Rachel was born about 1840 in Oxford, PA to James and Ann (Pierce) Steemer and died 7 December 1887 in Worcester, MA. William married (2) Abbie (Freeman/Hardy) Wiggins on 5 May 1896 in Worcester, MA. Abbie was born about 1839 in Wichendon, MA to Elijah Hardy and Esther Freeman and died 2 March 1925 in Worcester, MA.

The known children of William S. Bostic and Rachel A. Steemer were:
2. i.   Alice Ann Bostic was born 3 May 1866 in Worcester, MA and died 17 August 1923 in New Bedford, MA.
    ii.  Walter St. Clair Bostic was born 4 December 1868 in Worcester, MA and died 15 April 1931 in Worcester, MA.
    iii. William H.J. (Irving) Bostic was born 4 October1872 in Worcester, MA and died most likely between 1913 and 1920 in Boston, MA.                         
    iv. James Franklin (Frank) Bostic was born 16 October 1874 in Worcester, MA and died probably between 1910 and 1920.
    v.  Benjamin F. Bostic was born 1 April 1876 in Worcester, MA and died 15 June 1937 in Shirley, MA.
    vi. Evelyn Florence Bostic was born 5 October 1882 in Worcester, MA and died 11 July 1894 in Worcester, MA.

There are no known children of William S. Bostic and his second wife, Abbie.

2. Alice Ann Bostic was born on 3 May 1866 in Worcester, MA to William S. and Rachel A. (Steemer) Bostic. She married Walter H. Moore, the son of Sylvester and Lucretia D. Moore, on 1 August 1887. Alice and Walter had one known child, Alice B. Moore. Alice B. Moore was born on 23 November 1888 in Worcester, MA and died at age 9 on 17 May 1898 in Boston, MA of tuberculosis. Alice A. Bostic Moore died in New Bedford, MA on 17 August 1923.

3. Abbie (Freeman/Hardy) Wiggins Bostic was born in 1839 according to her tombstone. She was the daughter of Esther Freeman and Elijah Hardy. She married (1) George H. Wiggins on 13 January 1872 in Ayer, MA. George was the son of David and Matilda Wiggins of New Bern, NC. Abbie married (2) William S. Bostic on 5 May 1896 in Worcester, MA.There were no known children from either of Abbie's marriages. She died at 63 Parker St in Worcester, MA on 2 March 1925.

4. Walter Andrew Bostic was born 30 September 1919 in Worcester, MA to Walter Andrew Louis and Harriet McKinley (Anderson) Bostic. He married (1) Angenette Irene Morse on 2 March 1941 in Worcester, MA. Angenette was the daughter of Charles Emerson and Elizabeth Rogers (Henries) Morse and was born on 7 February 1924 in Northborough, MA. She died on 25 May 2005 in New York City. Walter married (2) Corrine Eva Chase who was born in Rhode Island on 28 March 1927. Corrine died on 7 October 1981 in Worcester, MA. She was the daughter of Milton J. and Corinthea (Johnson) Chase.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates.....

02 February 2012

Were William and James the Same Man?

One of the quandries in my family tree is following the trail left by my maternal great-great-grandfather, William James Scott of Rutland, Vermont and Worcester, Massachusetts. He was born William James and was married to my great-great-grandmother, Hannah (Scott) Scott, as sometimes William C. Scott and sometimes William S. Scott. After Hannah’s death in 1896, he hangs around as William for a few years but then abruptly becomes James Scott and marries for a second time in 1898.

08 January 2012


On September 6, 2011, the National Register of Historic Places added the Hassanamisco Reservation to its list of national treasures. Known as Hassanamesit, the under 4 acre reservation serves as the cultural and spiritual center of the Nipmuc Nation, a state-recognized tribe in Massachusetts. Located on the reservation is the Cisco Homestead, which for two centuries served as home to Nipmuc tribal leaders and now houses the Hassanamisco Indian Museum.

Nipmucs occupied Hassanamesit since before recorded time. In the mid 1600s, missionary John Eliot established a "Praying Plantation or Town" in Hassanamesit in an effort to "Christianize" the native population. Metacom's Rebellion (June 1675 - August 1676) brought an end to the praying town era, and in 1728, English settlers divided Hassanamesit into lots reserving some parcels for the Nipmuc families still living there.
Hassanamesit Allotments - 1728
 The current reservation is all that remains of the Moses Printer allotment. A wood frame house was built in 1801 for Moses' great-granddaughter, Lucy Gimby. Lucy's granddaughter, Sarah Arnold Cisco, became the Nipmuc tribal leader in the mid 1850s and the house became known as the Cisco Homestead. In 1962, it became the Hassanamisco Indian Museum although the family still occupied the addition in the back of the building. The last member of the Cisco family to occupy the Homestead was Shelleigh Wilcox who moved from the reservation in 2006.
Cisco Homestead
Hassanamesit has meaning for all Nipmucs as it is the only land in Massachusetts that has never been occupied by non-Natives. And the Homestead is the oldest structure in southern New England to be continuously occupied by Native people.

Thanks to all who assisted and supported this journey, in particular Chief Natachaman of the Nipmuc Nation and the Hassanamisco Band of Nipmuc Indians.
Many thanks and an abundance of gratitude to our ancestors who kept this land intact for our generations and those to come.

01 January 2012

Writing & Genealogy

As the calendar refreshes, I'm going to take advantage of the newness and set some goals for the coming calendar year. Some are personal and perennial, like losing weight, taking better care of myself, and fixing different parts of my house and yard. Stuff like that.  Writing is also personal to me. Before nursing, I made my living in corporate communications but always loved fiction.  I still do lots of writing for nonprofits and, of course, genealogy clients. But this year I'm gonna write for myself. My immediate goal is to combine my freelance writing business, Creative Writings, with my genealogy business, PastTense Genealogy.
My Writing Goals for the next 12 months-
1. Schedule time on a weekly basis to outline and draft the histories of 2 of my own family lines.
2. Write every day and update blogs at least weekly.
3. Schedule time every week for marketing my business including a set number of queries per month.
4. Complete (as best I can) the research on and begin to outline the report on a study on the emigration patterns of Black farmers in Vermont (3 of my family lines are in this group!)
5. I really want to find Molly Pegan's parents.
6. Finish and publish 2 E-books. Maybe three!
7. Create an online Nipmuc history course for tribal members who live out of the area.
8. Write one grant per quarter for the museum.
9. Finish the short story I'm currently writing and parlay that into a cozy mystery series. (Hey! A girl can dream, can't she?)
10. That's enough!
My personal goals include slowing down and focusing only on those things that truly matter. The past 12 months were truly unpleasant for me both personally (I really miss you Antonia) and professionally (my nursing job).  I actually cut ties with those who only sought to do harm (you know who you are) and wound up hurt and confused regarding a very basic emotion (what was I thinking? Am still thinking?)
There were some positives in those 12 months. My oldest daughter married (wait, I went into debt over that...), my community is actively working on working together (although there are some that continually try to derail that), I refinanced my mortgage and cut mucho money from my monthly bills, my oldest nephew got engaged and bought his first home, and I reconnected with some very important family members that I'd missed terribly.
For now, back to Molly. I will take yet another look at each piece of evidence that I have for her. I've already expanded my search to the records and histories of her guardians and their families. I should also investigate all known Pegans from that era to see if there is any connection - of course, I did this some years ago but it won't hurt to do it again.