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.