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WISER NEWSLETTER

Volume 6 Issue 10                                                       October 2001

 

RESEARCH FINDINGS

 

I had promised a few months back to summarize findings from the book, The Indians of the Nipmuck Country in Southern New England, 1630-1750, An Historical Geography, by Dennis A. Connole, McFarland & Company, Inc., 2001, on our ancestor, James Quannapohit (alias James Wiser, Quenepenet, and Rumney Marsh). James is found in this book on pages; 131, 175, 176-178, 179-180, 183-184, 200, 206, 208, 227, 233, 242, 247, and chapter 9, note 3.  The majority of these references to James Wiser relate to land transfers and his involvement in King Philip’s War.  I will spend the next few months expanding on some of these references.

 

Chapter 8, titled Conflict in English and Indian Attitudes Regarding Land Ownership: The Story of John Wampas, beginning on page 122, summarizes the life and history of John Wampas, “a Nipmuck of considerable note.” John Wampas was the son of “Old Woampas”, and in 1646 was placed in an English household as a young child (with three others) to be “trained up among the English”.  When Wampas’ father was asked why these children were given to the English to be raised, he responded, “Because they would grow rude and wicked at home, and would never come to know God, which [he] hoped they should doe if they were constantly among the English.” 

 

Chapter 8 details major events in the life of John Wampas.  He led an interesting life, received an education to be a minister but withdrew, became a merchant seaman, married an Indian princess, and spent time in prison in Massachusetts and England for creating “disturbances” and not paying debts.

 

However, John Wampas is best known for his involvement in various land transactions in which he deeded land that other Indians argued that he had no right to sell or transfer.   Regardless of what the other Indians believed, Wampas represented that he had the right to negotiate these transactions because of his family’s standing and inheritance. On page 130 of the book, it tells how Wampas sold land in July 1679 while in England, stating that he was the “Sachem” of “Asanamiscock [Hassanamesit] in the Nipmuck Country in New England”, and therefore had the right to transfer the described property. 

Thomas L. Doughton, in his website, http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~massasoit/grafton1.htm, explains; “In 1704, a portion of Indian lands at Hassanamesit is taken for a new township, Sutton and later Millbury, the remainder of Hassanamesit reserved for the exclusive use of Nipmuc Indians; this loss of Indian land is based on a deed allegedly executed in London, England in 1679 by which John Woampus claiming to be the "Sachem" of Hassanamesit "sold" an eight by ten mile parcel or some 41,560 acres along the eastern shore of Quinsigamond Lake”.

In 1686, explained on page 131; James Rumnymarsh (Quannapohit) is mentioned as part of a group of Indian claimants arguing that John Wampas had no right or authority to sell their land.  For many years, the Massachusetts authorities spent time trying to resolve the title and land disputes caused by John Wampas.

 

Sometime after September 5, but before October 1, 1679, John Wampas died in London, England.  His will detailed how his land “was to be divided three ways.  First, he gave to three of his Indian kinsmen John a Wonsamock [Awassamug?], Pomhamell and Norwarunnt his estate in New England known as ‘Assenham East-stock’ [Hassanamesit].”  As a near kinsmen, John Wampas probably was a close relative (exact relationship is not known) to our family as it would appear that the John mentioned here, is John Awassamug, father of our James Quanahpohkit Rumneymarsh Wiser.  We also know that James married Mary Ponham, who may be a relative of this Pomhamell. 

 

Our family had long ties with Hassanamesit, as Thomas L. Doughton also states, “ In 1670, James Wizer, a Nipmuc connected to both Hassanamesit & Washekim, deeds away land near what’s now Clinton, claiming that only "Adagunpeke and his aunt and sister reserve one acre a year" at the site.”

 

Hassanamesit is now part of Grafton, Massachusetts, and means “place of small stones” and is the present-day reservation site of the Nipmuc Indian Nation.  For many years, members of the Nipmuc Indian Nation have worked on gaining formal recognition as an Indian Tribe by the United States government. Our ancestors and relatives were part of the Nipmuc Indian Nation and lived in Hassanamesit and its neighboring communities (one such community is Westborough, this is where Joseph Morse lived, father of Luther Morse who married Alithea Wiser).

 

On the reservation site, there is a historical sign which reads, “1630-1930, INDIAN RESERVATION, THESE FOUR AND ONE-HALF ACRES HAVE NEVER BELONGED TO THE WHITE MAN, HAVING BEEN SET ASIDE IN 1728 AS AN INDIAN RESERVATION BY THE FORTY PROPRIETORS WHO PURCHASED THE PRAYING INDIAN TOWN OF HASSANAMESIT.”

 

From the book, The Bay Path and Along the Way, by Levi Badger Chase, The Plimpton Press, 1919; Grafton is described in more detail, “This town was called Hassanamisco by the Indians, and went by that name until 1735, when it was incorporated and named Grafton. It was one of the reservations for the Christianized Indians set off by the provincial government, upon the petition of Rev. John Eliot, in 1654. In 1674, Rev. John Eliot and Maj. Gookin visited all the Christianized Indians of the Nipmuck country; and of this place; Gookin says: "Hassanamesit signifieth a place of small stones, it lieth about thirty-eight miles from Boston west-southerly, and is about two miles eastward of Nipmuck river (Blackstone) and near unto the old roadway to Connecticut.” No Indian town gave stronger assurance of success than Hassanamesit; at that time it had become the central point of civilization and Christianity to the whole Nipmuck country.”

OBITUARY

LOUISE M. JACOBE

 

Syracuse Post Standard, Sunday, October 28, 2001, page B-4; Louise M. Jacobe - Louis M. Clough Jacobe, 81, formerly of Liverpool and Fabius, died Friday at Loretto (nursing home). Born in Pompey, she lived many years in Fabius and 21 years in Liverpool. She was a member of Fabius-Pompey Senior Citizens, the Fabius American Legion Post and Fabius Home Bureau. She attended Loretto Chapel. Her husband, Charles F. (Ivan James Jacobe, Cora M. Albro, Andrew J. Albro, Sabra S. Morse, Alithea Wiser, Benjamin Wiser), died in 1996.  Survivors: Three sons, James F. of Liverpool, John F. of Tampa, FL and William of North Wales, PA; a brother, Charles Clough of North Syracuse; two grandchildren.

Services: 10 AM Tuesday in the Chapel at Loretto. Burial, Immaculate Conception Cemetery, Pompey. Calling hours, 6 to 9 PM Monday at Richard F. Ayers Funeral Homes, 38 Sullivan St., Cazenovia.  Contributions: American Cancer Society.

 

POSTSCRIPT

Please let me know if you find any new information in your research.  I appreciate any thing you can add to our research efforts.

Once again, thanks for your contributions to our family newsletter.  You may contact me at or 6 Baton Rouge, Roswell, NM  88201, or (505) 623-2534.