After the Pequot War

The Pequot tribe was declared extinct as part of the 1638 Treaty of Hartford. Because the Puritans initially insisted that the survivors join a friendly tribe, about 800 were incorporated into the Mohegan; another 440 lived under Narragansett authority (which would later become the Eastern Pequot); and about 400 remained nominally under Mohegan control around the Thames River and Niantic Bay.

Within five years, Connecticut settlers, anxious about Mohegan ambitions, allowed the reconstitution of two Pequot groups under the leadership of Wequash and Robin Cassasinamon, who had been English allies. Their bands would, over the next few decades, become the Stonington or Lantern Hill (eastern) and Mashantucket (western) Pequot communities. Ironically, Uncas’s continued efforts to enlist members of the two bands in his tribe enabled the Pequot survivors to obtain more autonomy and power although under English domination.

When the Pequot and their English neighbors complained of Mohegan raids, Puritan leaders in the new United Colonies rebuked Uncas and arranged autonomy and reservations for Wequash and Cassasinamon in exchange for tribute paid to Uncas. In 1651, the colony gave land to Cassasinamon’s band at Noank, which had been part of the original Pequot territory. In September 1654, the commissioners of the United Colonies declared the Pequot remnants under their protection and a year later appointed Wequash and Cassasinamon community leaders. They also issued rules that included an end to traditional ceremonies. In 1658, the Pequot got Connecticut colonists to recognize their right to additional land at Mashantucket (near Stonington) and persuaded the colonies to give them access to the wampum shell beds on Long Island.

When King Philip’s War broke out in 1675, the Pequot men fought for the English in independent units and as scouts with the Connecticut militia. When the war ended, the Pequot were allowed to resettle in peace. The smaller eastern band made their home on 280 acres claimed by both Massachusetts and Connecticut but granted by both to the Pequot group. The western band soon faced problems with a conflict over community leadership as well as efforts by the town and colony to take their lands at Noank, although they were still allowed to fish and hunt there.

After making the move to Mashantucket, two distinct communities developed, one associated with Cassasinamon, the other under Daniel and then Schadab. As with the Mohegan, efforts by Connecticut authorities to choose the Pequot sachem, favoring Daniel and Schadab rather than Cassasinamon, failed to unite the tribe and left at least half very unhappy with the province.

During the early 1700s, about 325 Pequots lived at Mashantucket and about 150 at Lantern Hill, both probably maintaining residence and subsistence patterns very similar to those of a century earlier. Slash-and-burn cultivation of maize, hunting, and seasonal movements to the coast (at Noank) continued. At Mashantucket, the only archaeological evidence of European ways is apple orchards and pig bones.

During the eighteenth century, the Pequot population on the reserves declined steadily as men died in the colonial wars or as they moved away to work as laborers or seamen and the colonists encroached on their reserves. As with the Mohegan, members of the tribe resisted Christianity until the Great Awakening offered a sense of spiritual equality and renewal; after 1740, native Christian preachers and teachers like Samuel Ashbow at Mashantucket and Edward Nedson at Stonington became Pequot leaders. At Mashantucket, the embrace by some of evangelical Christianity, along with long-standing political conflict over tribal leadership resulted in the formation of separate conservative and reform groups. The latter established a nuclear settlement, Indiantown, with about twenty-five families, who increased their use of animal husbandry and began to build farms and framed houses. The remaining conservative Pequots, about fifty, continued to live on small, scattered homesteads, in very small framed houses or traditional wigwams, without farm implements or fencing.

In total, about 200 western Pequots remained at Mashantucket by the middle of the century, whereas the smaller eastern band retained only about forty members, mostly women. In March 1773, reformers from the two Pequot bands, along with five other southern New England tribes Narragansett, Montauk, Niantic, Farmington, and Mohegan made plans to create a new Christian Native American community, Brothertown, among the Oneida of New York, far from their shrinking homelands. Indiantown was abandoned by 1795, suggesting that its residents were part of this Brothertown movement. By the end of the century, the two Pequot groups were approximately about the same size, each comprising about fifty residents. Daniel R. Mandell See also: King Philip’s War; Massachusetts Bay Colony; Native American-European Conflict; Native American-European Relations; Native Americans; Philip, King (Metacom). Bibliography Cave, Alfred. The Pequot War. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1996. De Forest, John W. History of the Indians of Connecticut, From the Earliest Known Period to 1850. Hartford, CT: William Jason Hamersley, 1851. Hauptman, Laurence M., and Wherry, James D., eds. The Pequots in Southern New England: The Rise and Fall of an American Indian Nation. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990.

Photo Gallery After the Pequot War

After the Pequot War Images


Timeline | Battlefields of the Pequot War

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