As we are well aware, our ancestor, Benjamin Wiser Senior was most likely the great-great-grandson of Awassamug, nephew of the Nipmuc sachem [leader] Wuttawushan and Yawata, the daughter of the Pawtucket sachem Nanapeshamet and Squaw Sachem. Awassamug and Yawata, their three sons, and other family members were some of the earliest settlers of the Praying Indian Village of Natick, Massachusetts. It is our Nipmuc ancestry that this newsletter will focus on.
For the past twenty-five years, some of the known descendants of members of the Nipmuc Nation, have been petitioning the federal government for formal recognition. In one of the last actions of President Clinton, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) gave preliminary recognition to the Nipmuc Nation, but this was quickly suspended when President Bush came into office. After a lengthy process, on June 18, 2004, it was announced that the Nipmuc Nation would be denied federal recognition by the BIA.
The two hundred and eight page document summarizing the BIA’s final determination against the federal acknowledgment of the Nipmuc Nation can be found on the internet at: http://nipmucnation.org/Downloads/Final%20Determination%202004.pdf. There are interestingly a few references to members of our Nipmuc family in this document.
To begin with, one can find on page 21 of the document; “During this period, land sales continued: Joseph Aaron, June 4,1790; James and Mary Thomas, June 22, 1792; James and Patience Cook, February 15,1795; Dorothy Wiser, widow of Benjamin Wiser February 4,1796; Alithia Johns widow of Isaac Johns, February 4, 1796; Joseph Aaron and Deborah his wife, February 10, 1796, and February 2, 1797; Sarah Phillips, 23 June 1797; Sarah Philips, January 27, 1815; Sarah Philips, January 19,1816; (Earle Papers; Nipmuc 69A Supplement 1997). There was also one purchase recorded, November 12,1801, by the trustees on behalf of Hannah Brown, wife of Andrew Brown, from Aaron Bull of Princeton, Massachusetts (Earle Papers; Nipmuc 69A Supplement 1997).” The Benjamin Wiser mentioned here is a first cousin of our Benjamin Wiser Senior, and it is likely that the Thomas’ above are also related as our Benjamin’s first wife was probably Abigail Thomas (prior to his marriage to Kezia).
Next, one can find on page 56; “Mohawk Club-The minutes of the Mohawk Club, which have survived sporadically for the period from its formal organization on May 30, 1914, “under the direction of Miss Sarah M. Ciscoe,” at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Shepard (non-Hassanamisco) through 1917 (Mohawk Club Minutes 1914.05.30 - 1951.12.15), do not reflect matters of tribal business or tribal concerns. Rather, they show a social club, focused on Indian heritage, and social activities such as suppers, picnics, and concerts (Mohawk Club 1914.06.24; Rules for the Mohawk Club 1914.00.00 post). The membership included Arnold/ Sisco descendants (Sarah M. Ciscoe, George H. Ciscoe, Jessie Louisa (Sisco) Mays) and Hector descendants (Mrs. David [Irene] Brown, president of the Providence, Rhode Island, club, who assisted in organizing the one in Worcester).” Also a member was Lucinda B. (Hemenway) Cummings, a descendant of Hepsibah Bowman (who was on the 1861 Earle Report in the “Supplementary List” of Hassanamisco). Hepsibah Bowman was also a first cousin of our Benjamin Wiser.
Then, one can also find on page 85; “The current 69A membership list differs from that for the proposed finding in that it no longer
contains names from the Thomas and Hazzard/Ransom lines, which were explained by the petitioner as not meeting enrollment criterion 2 of their enrollment criteria (see analysis under criterion 83.7(e)). The PF found that these lines did not have Hassanamisco or Dudley/Webster ancestry. This Sprague/Henries line is reduced from 235 to 40, including 23 of the Sprague/Henries/Morse extended family. The number enrolled from the Curliss/Vickers, Jaha, Humphrey/Belden and Pegan/Wilson lines remained more or less the same. The already small Printer/Arnold line (that of Zara CiscoeBrough) remained at 11; the Gigger (Hassanamisco) line was eliminated entirely, as was the Hepsibah (Bowman) Hemenway line (Earle Report 1861, Hassanamisco Supplementary List), whose members had not been in contact with other Hassanamisco or Dudley/Webster families since the early 20th century. The Dorus/Bates line dropped sharply from 151 to 43. There remain 26 individuals, who are on both the 69A and 69B membership lists, a sharp decrease from the 126 who were on both petitioners’ membership lists for the proposed finding. This part of the document contains another reference to Hepsibah Bowman.
And finally on page 165; “For the purposes of an evaluation under criterion 83.7(e), the petitioner is evaluated as defined by its membership. Petitioner 69A’s 2002 certified membership list of 526 individuals is substantially reduced from the list of 1,602 members used for the 1997 PF. A total of 376 names on the 2002 membership list match those on the 1997 list, but about 1,224 of the 1,602 names on the 1997 list are not on the 2002 list. The list of individuals who no longer appear on petitioner 69A’s membership list represents a broad spectrum of the family lines previously represented in the 1997 membership list. The most significant omissions are all 122 of the Bowman/Hemenway and all six of the Gigger family members, who descend from families identified as Hassanamisco Indians on the 1861 Earle Report. A reference to the Bowman family, Ruth Bowman is believed to be the mother of our Benjamin Wiser.
Please accept our condolences to those who recently lost family members.
Ontario, OR Argus, 8 Nov 2005; Ardith A. Witte, 77, Weiser died Sunday, Nov. 6, 2005, in Caldwell. Graveside Services will be at 2 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11, 2005, at Hillcrest Cemetery in Weiser. Thomason Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Thomason Funeral Home obituary-Ardith A. Witte age 77 passed away Sunday 6 Nov 2005 in Caldwell. Graveside services will be conducted Friday, 11 Nov 2005 at 2:00 P.M. at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Weiser, ID. Ardith was born on February 3, 1928 in Fruitland, ID to Kenneth & Irene Murphy Anderson. She graduated from Weiser High School. She married John A. Witte in Winnemucca, Nevada in August 1950. She had work as a secretary for the Washington County Extension office, County Clerk’s office and the 4-H offices. She enjoyed camping and fishing and making family dinners. She enjoyed all her family and especially nieces and nephews which they look forward to raiding the goodie drawer she always had ready. She was preceded in death by her husband John A. Witte and her parents. She is survived by her two daughters and son in laws; Geri & Bruce Hilt, Weiser, ID; Neena & Tony Moura, Ontario, OR; a sister Pat Harberd, Weiser, ID; brother and sister-in-law, Monte & Gerri Anderson, Ogden, UT; grandchildren, Jeff & Jeannettee Moura, JL & Stacey Hilt, Trisha Hilt. Great-grandchildren; Chance Hilt, Conner Hilt and Lainey Hilt. Numerous aunts & uncles. Memorials may be made to the 4-H Club or a charity of one’s choice. Thomason Funeral Home in charge of arrangements
Yakima, WA Herald-Republican, 29 Nov 2005. Valley Hills Funeral Home; YAKIMA - Darrel Keith Bishop, 78, of Yakima, passed away Friday, Nov. 25, 2005 at Yakima Regional Medical Center. Darrel was born Oct. 24, 1927 in Windsor, CO to Ralph and Etta (Carr) Bishop. He grew up in Ft. Collins, CO. He moved to Yakima in 1944, marrying Eva L. Cunningham on Sept. 28, 1946. Darrel served in the U.S. Army Military Police Corp from Jan. 1946 until June 1947. Upon returning to Yakima, he drove a fuel truck, then went to work for Boise Cascade as a forklift driver. He continued to work at Boise Cascade for nearly 30 years. Darrel loved woodworking, traveling and working in his yard. He was devoted to his church work and was known for his sense of humor. He is survived by his wife, Eva of Yakima; a son, Jim K. Bishop of Yakima; two daughters, Sandra Marquis of Spokane, and Shirley Heady, of Yakima; a brother, Fred Bishop; two sisters, Thelma Fox and Lois Day; 10 grandchildren, Jim Bishop, Jr., Aaron Bishop, Judy Kondor, Ron Marquis, Michelle Fleck, Renee Timmermans, Mary Owen, Eva Heady, Jim Heady, and Corey Bishop; and twenty-four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Evan Bishop; and a sister, Peg Shelton. Funeral Services will be held Wed., Nov. 30 at 2 p.m. at the Yakima L.D.S. Stake Center, 705 S. 38th Ave. Burial will follow in Terrace Heights Memorial Park, under the direction of Valley Hills Funeral Home, Yakima. Viewing will be held at the church on Wed. from noon until the time of services and at the Funeral Home on Tuesday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
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