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WISER NEWSLETTER

Volume 4 Issue 6                                                              June 1999


 

RESEARCH FINDINGS

James Wiser, also known as

Qualapanii

A recent research trip revealed a few interesting records about our family.

 

I will first start with James Wiser, who I believe was born about 1660 in Nipmuc Country (Central Massachusetts), possibly Natick, MA.

 

I know that he is the father of at least two sons; Benjamin, born about 1680, who died November 1737 in Natick, MA; and James, born about 1685, who died July 1741, also in Natick.

Land Records of Middlesex County, MA.

 

James lived through a turbulent period of history for the native Americans of New England.

 

From “A Brief History of Natick”; it tells us that, (everything in italics is from this source), Natick was established in 1651 by the Puritan missionary, John Eliot, who settled a group of “Praying Indians” here on lands granted by the General Court which was part of the Dedham Grant.  To the Indians it was a “Place of Hills”.  The Speen family (Indian) owned much of the land in the Natick area and they deeded it to the Praying Indians taking house lots for themselves.

 

It is probable that James’ father came to Natick at this time.  His name may have been John Wiser, who was of Quaboag.  Quaboag is present day Brookfield, MA.

 

In the area now called South Natick, the Indians settled on both sides of the Charles River.  Over the river they built a wooden bridge with a stone foundation that was eighty feet long and eight feet high to withstand the high water during floods.  Next, three streets were laid out.  To the north Eliot and Union Streets, and to the south Pleasant Street, as they are now called.  The Indians then built a meetinghouse with the help of an English carpenter.  The two story building was used as church, school, and warehouse, and as a place for Eliot on his fortnightly visits. The building, which stood about where the present Eliot Church stands, was palisaded with a circle of tall trees.

 

For more than twenty years Eliot instructed and preached to the Indians.  A school was set up, a government established , and the Indians were encouraged to convert to Christianity.  Eliot learned their language and with the help of the Indians, who had no written language, transcribed the Bible into the Algonquin language. 

 

The prosperity of the village was destroyed when King Philip, son of the chief, Massasoit, attacked the white settlers causing such fear among them that in 1675 the Indians were restricted to their villages, which made it difficult for them to farm or to tend their livestock.  In October of that year, over Eliot’s protest, the General Court ordered the Natick Indians sent to Deer Island.  Many Indians did not survive the lack of food and the cold and those who returned seven months later found their homes destroyed. 

 

The Praying Indians did not flourish after their return to Natick and Eliot died in 1690.  An Indain named Takawampbait had been ordained by Eliot and he carried on until his death in 1716.  Tow other Indians preached before the New England Company sent first Rev. Olver Peabody and later Stephen Badger to fill the Indian church pulpit.

 

The land in the Natick Plantation was held in common by the Indians until 1719 when twenty men were named as Proprietors to oversee any division of land.  Eliot had given the Indians their form of governemnt and they held their own town meetings and elected their own officials.  However, they were under the Guardianship of the Court and had to have permission to sell land.

Grantors Index-

1685, Apr 7-all Wiser/Wyser;

James Wiser et al to Town of Marlborough, Volume 9 page 293

 

From the “History of the Town of Marlborough, Middlesex County, Massachusetts”, by Charles Hudson, Boston: 1862, pages 88 to 91; “Though the township was granted to the proprietors in 1656, by the General Court, which had, by previous treaty with the Indians, an undoubted right to convey the land, the Indians who remained in Marlborough, after the close of Philip’s war, laid claim to the township, after the English had been in possession of it for nearly thirty years.  The inhabitants of Marlborough could have no doubt of the validity of their title; yet, moved perhaps by sympathy for the remains of a once powerful but now fallen tribe, and wishing, no doubt, to secure the friendship of this remnant for the future, they chose a committee to confer with them, and satisfy their deman, if it could reasonably be done.  This committee consisted of Lieut. John Ruddocke, Abraham Williams, and Joseph Rice, assisted by maj. Peter Bulkley and Capt. Thomas Hinckman; and after several interviews with the Indians, they agreed to pay them thirty-one pounds, on condition that they execute a good and sufficient deed, relinquishing all right and title to the lands within the township granted by the General Court.  This offer of compensation must have been regarded as a mere gratuity; for it could not be considered as a legal claim.

At a meeting of the inhabitants of Marlborough, held April 21, 1684, the town unanimously accepted of the propsition, and voted to raise the sum of thirty-one pounds, to be collected and brought to the meeting-house on the 20th of May; which was accordingly done, and the deed signed by the Indians was presented to the town.  This deed was given by the Indians of Natick and Wamesit, (now Lowell), the Marlborough Indians being a part of the same tribe.  Indian Deed of the Plantation of Marlborough.  To all Christian people to whom these presents shall come, Greeting:

Know Yee, That we, the Indian inhabitants of the Plantations called Natick and Wamesit, in the Massachusetts Colonie in New England, viz. [the names of the grantees, as written below, tith the omission of Andrew Philim or Pitimee, and John Wamesqut, and the additon of Edmund Asowanit, making the whole number 25,] for and in consideration of the sum of thirty-one pounds of lawful money of New England, which said sum , wee the said [here the names are repeated] do acknowledge ourselves to have received of Abraham Williams and Joseph Rice, both of th etown of Marlborough, in the County of Middlesex, in New England...

Andrew Pilim  (Pitimee.), attorney to Old F. Waban, John Nasquanet, William Wononatomog, John Speen, Lawrence Nowsawane, Jacob Ponopohquin, Jeremy Sosshquoh, Samuel William, Nathaniel Quankatohn, James Speen, John Wamequt, Job Pohpono, Benjamin Tray, Soswun Noo, James Wiser, Simon Betogkom, Great John, Thomas Waban, Abraham Speen, Great James, Jacob Petowat, Johoja Kin, Peter Ephraim, attorney for John Awoosamug, John Awoosamug, Thom. Dublet, Benjamin b. Boho, signed, sealed and delivered in presence of us witnesses: Simon Crosby, John Curtis, Henry Rice, and Indians, John Mugus,and Daniel Takawompait.

1714, Apr 15-James Wiser to H. Willard et al, 16-511

 

This indenture made the twentieth two of December in the year of our Lord One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty Six between Joseph Trask alias Puagushon of Pennicooke and Job alias Pompomemay of Natick Simon Pitacum alias Sonaka-compon of Wumasick and Sosowanow of Natick and James Wiser als [alias] Qualapanii of Natick these five Indians     in his majesties territorys in America all the above named on the one part and Henry Willard Joseph Rowlandson Joseph Foster Benjamin Willard Cyprian Stevens on the other party know ye that fore and in consideration of twenty three pounds in hand paid do hereby acknowledge ...to be fully satisfied consented and paid and for the sume doth hereby fully and absolutely a a certain tract of land meadows swamps timbers containing twelve miles square

Recorded 15 Apr 1714.

1715, Aug 31-James Wiser to J. Prescott, 17-489

1741, Nov 30-James Wiser to B. Wiser, 42-430

1742, Apr 29-Joseph Wiser to J. Parker, 43-15

1743, June 13-Benjamin Wiser to J. Perry, 43-440

1743, June 13-Benjamin Wiser to J. Lealand, 43-442

1749, May 2, Benjamin  Wiser to J. Ephraim, 49-3

1751, Mar 11, Benjamin Wiser to J. Winn, 48-284

1754, Dec 20, Benjamin Wiser to N. Smith, 53-40

1763, Feb 3-Benjamin Wiser et al to S. Bacon Jr., 59-638

1763, Feb 21-Benjamin Wiser to B. Kendall, 60-338

1763, Apr 11, Benjamin Wiser to C. Drury, 61-49

1763, Jul 8, Benjamin Wiser et al to J. Travis, 62-5

1763, Jul 8, Benjamin Wiser to J. Travis, 62-7

1765, Oct 30, Benjamin Wiser et al to S. Wells, 65-382

1771, Jan 5, Benjamin Wiser admr to A. Dewing, 71-145

 

POSTSCRIPT

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Ron Wiser                                     6 Baton Rouge                   Roswell, NM  88201

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