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WISER NEWSLETTER

Volume 5 Issue 3                                                            March 2000


RESEARCH FINDINGS

 

Josiah Wiser

Recently on the internet, I found the following information.  From the Wisner Burying Ground, (7/1802-10/1877), also called Baptist Burying Ground, Church Street Cemetery, Main Street Cemetery, old Church Street Cemetery, Baptist Church Cemetery, City of Elmira, Chemung County, New York, Wiser, Achsah E., born 31 Apr 1826, died 10 Jun 1834, age 8 years 1 month 10 days, daughter of Josiah and Philema Wiser.  (An error was made in computing her age, as April has only 30 days.  Towner read the gravestone, Fall, 1875 [birthdate should be 30 Apr 1826]).

 

Theodore Wiser

Also, in the cemetery, Elizabeth Wiser, [may be first wife of Theodore Wiser, who we believed was named Elisa Hunt], no data.  Towner read stone Fall, 1875.

 

Benjamin Wiser

Holland Land Company, Cazenovia Establishment Land Books, 1793 to 1816, summaries arranged by Tract and Lot Number, Road Township, Lot 66, 150 acres to Noah Taylor, 1794, 75 acres to Jonathan Ferre (Ferry), 1803, 75 acres to Benjamin Wiser, 1805.  Benjamin Wiser purchased 75 acres of Lot 66 for $5.00 per acre on 10 Oct 1805 for a total price of $375.00; paid in full in 1811.  Jonathan Ferre, purchased 75 acres of Lot 55 for $4.18 per acre on 21 Apr 1803 for a total price of $313.625; paid in full in 1810.  Lot 66 is just a little bit east of present-day New Woodstock, Madison County, New York.

 

This now documents that our Benjamin did own land in Madison County, NY.  This is the same property that was sold by his son, Josiah Wiser in 1819.

 

Wiser Indians

As mentioned in previous newsletters, there was a cousin of our ancestor Benjamin Wiser, also named Benjamin Wiser who married Sarah Printer.  Benjamin and Sarah were married October 19, 1747 in Southboro, MA.  Sarah was born about 1717 in Hassanamisco (present-day Grafton), MA, and was the granddaughter of James Printer, through his son Ammi Printer and his wife Sarah Thomas (who I believe is related to our Abigail Thomas, who married our Benjamin Wiser).

 

A distant relative of Sarah died in 1988 as mentioned in the following obituary.  Taken from a Grafton, MA paper, Tuesday, 13 Jan 1988; obituary of Zara Cisco Brough-Zara Cisco Brough, 68, formerly of 80 Brigham Hill Road, Grafton, died last Thursday in Willows at Westboro, 1 Lyman St., Westboro.  She was also known as Princess White Flower in the Hassanamisco Indian Reservation.

 

Miss Brough was vice president of the former Ibis Corp. in Walthan, an electronics and ecological consulting company retiring several years ago.  She previously worked in Washington, D.C. and New York City.  She held jobs as a draftsman, designer, technical writer and supervisor of government projects.  She was also once a joint owner of a textile printing company; and a fashion designer in New York City.  Miss Brough also presided over the 4 ½ acre Hassanamisco Reservation, where she also lived, and its Museum, which she founded in 1962, to preserve the culture and history of the American Indian by displaying artifacts, and presenting native crafts skills such as weaving and leather working, from dying out.  The museum also includes a library with books on the New England tribes, collections of stories and legends, and information, largely through newspaper clippings, on about 200 Indian tribes throughout the United States that retain their identities.  She also initiated construction in the early 1970’s of a replica of the original Indian longhouse that reportedly dated back to 1500, and did some of the carpentry herself.

 

Miss Brough also wrote books on her poetry, Indian recipes and a history of the Nipmuc Indians…Miss Brough was a member of the Hassanamisco Band of the Nipmuc Indains   She was a direct descendant of a line of Indian chiefs and traced her ancestry to James the Printer, a “Praying Indian” who was converted to Christianity by the Rev. John Eliot in the 17th Century.  She held the title of Chief of the Nipmuc Tribe…

 

There is a memorial to the burial ground of the Hassanamisco Indians.  It reads as follows; The Friendly Hassanamiscos Indian Burial Ground, Naos, 1596-1676 His Descendants: James the Printer, Tukapewillen, Ami, the Printer, Lucy Ann Gimbee Arnold, Sarah M. Arnold, Harry A. Arnold, Harry Le Arnold Jr., Sarah M. Arnold Cisco, Samuel O. Cisco, James L. Cisco, Emma J. Ferrie Cisco, Delia B. Cisco Hazzard, Jessie L. Cisco Mays, Sarah M. Cisco Sullivan, Dedicated July 4, 1974.

 

There is an interesting article about this family in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, April 1999, pages 173-179, by Richard W. Cogley, “William of Sudbury, who was also known as Naaos, Naoas, Nataous, and Nattous, was born about 1596 and died after 1676.  He served as deacon in the native church at Hassanamesit (now Grafton).  William had four sons:

1. Anaweakin, a civil ruler at Hassanamesit, d. between 1674 and October 1676.

2. Joseph Tuckawillipin, lay preacher and later pastor in the Hassanamesit church; also served as non-resident preacher in the praying town at Quantisset (now Pomfret, Conn.); d. after 1676.

3. James the Printer, worked as a typesetter in Cambridge, Mass., and also as a preacher to the Christian Indians at Waeuntug (now Mendon), and at Hassanamesit; d. 1712, eighteenth-century descendants included Moses Printer, Ammi Printer, Mary Printer, and Sarah Printer.

4. Job Kattananit, lay preacher in the praying town at Magunkog (near present-day Ashland and Hopkinton); assisted the English troops during King Philip’s War, d. after 1676.”

 

There is a close relationship between our Wiser family and the Printer family of Grafton.   I am confident that additional research will help uncover more about the connection.

 

The following is more information on the Nipmucks taken from an article of a Springfield, Mass. paper, dated Feb. 5, 1956. 

 

Nipmuck Indian Tribe Welcomed White Settlers to Western New England.  Peace Loving Band Made Possible Settlement of Conn. Valley; Hostiles Destroyed Prayer Villages; Sold Goods to Westfield Residents.

 

“While much has been written about the various warlike Indian tribes, very little is known about the Nipmucks who raised crops and welcomed the White settlers.  Still it was the Nipmucks who held immense tracts in what is now Massachusetts and Connecticut.  They themselves claimed all the land between the Connecticut and Merrimac Rivers.  In contrast with the warlike tribes bordering on their settlements the Nipmucks were unable to hold any of their lands with a firm grip.

 

It was the love for peace among the Nipmucks which made it possible for the Whites to settle in the Conn. Valley and tributaries.  Thanks to the Nipmucks, the early settlers of our area made the long trip inland with very little loss of life from Indian attacks…What is certain is that the Nipmucks were friendly to the Whites and not given to warfare with other tribes of Indians.  It was among the Nipmucks where John W. Eliot established prayer villages.  Much of the Nipmuck territory had been devastated by tribal battles and forest fires.  The Nipmuck areas in this state included what are now several towns south of Worcester and a larger area in Conn. Extending westerly to the Connecticut River.  The tribe had suffered heavy losses by epidemics of small pox and other diseases.  It was customary for warring bands from other tribes to visit them each year and take away all the grain that could be found.  Of course, the Nipmucks wanted the Whites to settle in the Conn. Valley to help safeguard their crops and lives.

 

Like other Indians, the Nipmucks were not much given to handing out information.  They were accustomed to visit families in the Westfield valley having background in the Norwich, Conn. Section.  The visits were usually in springtime, the purpose being to sell willow baskets and woven or knitted goods.  The trips were made on foot, so far as appeared.  It is recalled that two or three squaws usually went together and were glad to receive some food or sell some goods.  Among white children, who knew no better, they were called as of the chipmunk tribe but the squaws said that was not right.  They said they were not related to the chipmunks…In the History of Roxbury, by Francis S. Drake, published in 1878, it is stated that William Pynchon, a gentlemen of learning and religion, was one of the founders of Roxbury and that in 1636 he “led” a party to the Conn. River and founded Springfield.  It is not stated whether the leading was by land or water.  Proof that the Old Conn. Path was used by colonists proceeding westward is seen in the statement by this same authority that in 1636 a party from Roxbury went the Conn. Valley over the Conn. Path.

 

Early records refer to the “Indian path” leading westward to Roxbury and beyond to the Conn. Valley.  In later years, after settlements were made at Windsor and Hartford, the route through the Nipmuck country is designated as the Conn. Path and again, after the settlement at Springfield was established, there is reference to the Bay path, indicating the original route rather than a still later one through the Brookfields.  Settlers seeking locations in the Springfield area presumably had to turn northerly from the old Indian path as taken by the Conn. Settlers, perhaps through a route laid out by scouts went westward by William Pynchon the year before his group left Roxbury.  It is quite well established that many of the early settlers at Hartford and Windsor followed the old Indian path.  Wahginnicut, the sachem at East Windsor, probably followed it when he visited Boston in 1631.  John Oldham traveled the path several times.  The Conn. Path led through Weston, Wayland and Framingham.  Then it turned southward through Ashland, Hopkinton and Marlboro to Grafton where there was an Indian village known to Rev. John Eliot.  The path then led through Millbury north of Singlewary pond to Oxford and Chatham where it was known as the Quaboag path.” 

 

As mentioned in previous newsletters, John Wiser, our earliest known ancestor, was from Quaboag, now present day Brookfield, MA.

 

POSTSCRIPT

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Ron Wiser                                          6 Baton Rouge                         Roswell, NM  88201

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