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Massasoit's Children's Children

 Native American Nations | Massasoit of the Wampanoags                    

This writer took great pains to trace the descent of this particular branch, but appears to have been content to establish their lineage and rest there. He names the four children of Benjamin, as Esther, Hannah, Mary and Benjamin second.

     Esther married Tobias Sampson, a "praying Indian" who lived on the reservation set off by resolve of the General Court of Massachusetts in 1701, and is said to have died without issue. There was an Esther Sampson living on the reservation in 1764, but whether the same or another of the same name is not clear, although there is some reason for believing that it was not Benjamin's daughter.

Hannah married and had two children, neither of whom married.

     Mary married Isaac Sissel and had three children, Mary, Mercy and Arabella. The family tradition says that two of them died in infancy; but in 1764, Mary and Mercy were on the reservation. This leaves only Arabella unaccounted for; and it is so easy to drop a link in the attempts to pass such matters down from generation to generation that it may well be that there were two children of Isaac and Mary Sissel who died in infancy, besides these three; and that Arabella, like Mary and Mercy, may have lived to womanhood, but unlike them, she may have married and left progeny who, through the long lapse of time and by reason of the remoteness of the relationship, may have been lost sight of by those who attempt to hand down traditions without complete records.

     Benjamin second, as I have at least suggested if not plainly stated, married Assawetough, a daughter of John Sassamon, the Indian alleged to have been murdered for disclosing to the whites King Philip's plan for a general uprising among the Indians; and who, according to tradition, was the same man who had given to him for his services in the Pequot war, and as his share of the spoils of that war, a "young little squaw," whom he afterwards married and who is said to be a daughter of Sassacus. If the family tradition which connects John Sassamon with the Massachusetts Indian of a somewhat similar name who served with the English in the war against Sassacus is reliable, it will be seen that this "young little squaw" became the mother of Assawetough or Mercy Felix, as she appears in history and tradition; and that their great grandchildren, the Mitchell family of Lakeville, are descended in the direct line, not only from Massasoit, but also from Sassacus, the Pequot Chief; for Benjamin and Mercy had ore daughter, named Lydia, who married an Indian named Walmsley and had five children.

     Four of these do not appear in the pages of any known history, biography or genealogy; nor do any public records, so far as known, indicate what became of them. Whether they married and have descendants living is not definitely known, notwithstanding the "family tradition."

The fifth, Paul, had seven children, four of whom are not mentioned beyond their names; two of whom are mentioned by Peirce as having married, and are left there; and the other, Phebe, was the mother of the annuitants named in the first of the resolves quoted above. The records of those early days were not as complete as those of today; and it may well be that some of these whom I have mentioned have handed down the blood of the Great Sachem, the "friend of white men," to succeeding generations.

     In 1701, the General Court of Massachusetts set aside a tract of land in what was then Freetown but is now a part of Fall River, as a reservation for the friendly Indians, and of the twenty-five lots into which this reservation was divided, four, numbered 19, 20, 21, and 22, were assigned to the lineal descendants of Benjamin Tuspaquin. At the first survey of these lots in 1707, Isaac Sissel received as his share lot No. 20. In 1764, on the second survey, this lot was in possession of his daughters, Mercy and Mary. At this second survey, lot No. 19 was found to be in possession of "Sarah Squin and Esther Sampson," said to be grandchildren of Benjamin Squamnaway.

     The ease with which Tuspaquin could be contracted to Squin, together with the fact that these two women were occupying a lot assigned to the descendants of Tuspaquin, leads to the conclusion that Benjamin Squamnaway was Benjamin Tuspaquin. The only Esther Sampson mentioned in history in connection with the descendants of Massasoit, outside of this reference, was the daughter of Benjamin Tuspaquin, and she died childless. It is possible, of course, that the Esther Sampson who was on that lot in 1674 was  Benjamin Tuspaquin's daughter and not his granddaughter; but this is extremely doubtful, for in that case she would be  the sister of Benjamin Tuspaquin second who married the daughter of John Sassamon and the young little squaw whom he had given to him at the conclusion of the Pequot war, one hundred and twenty-seven years before, and Sassamon had been dead ninety years at the time of this second survey of the lots.

     However it may be, there is a numerous family in Fall River and vicinity who, through an old family tradition, claim descent from the Esther Sampson who resided on the reservation in 1764. If this tradition is well founded, and if "Sarah Squin and Esther Sampson" were granddaughters of Benjamin Tuspaquin, it will be readily seen that this family of which I write are lineal descendants of Massasoit. To all appearances they are pure whites, although there is another strain of Indian blood running through the family besides the one I have mentioned.

     I speak of this matter, not for the purpose of establishing the claim of any particular persons to the honor of the royal blood of the house of Massasoit, as it will be noticed that I have carefully refrained from any mention of names; but to call attention to the ease with which a people may be lost in so far as its original identity is concerned, and yet may live on and on through the intermingling of its blood with that of other races, with the result that after a few generations all direct trace of it is lost by reason of the incompleteness of the early records. So it may well be that the blood of Massasoit and other noted warriors and chiefs of the early days flows in the veins of men who are themselves ignorant of the fact.

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Massasoit of the Wampanoags

Massasoit of the Wampanoags

 

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