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Traces the Descent of Three Women

 Native American Nations | Massasoit of the Wampanoags                    

General Ebenezer W. Peirce in his "Indian History, Biography and Genealogy" traces the descent of these three women from Benjamin Tuspaquin, giving names in each successive generation, and mentioning another sister, Emma J., who marred Jacob C. Safford and had two children living at the time of the writing of his book in 1878. I am recently in receipt of a communication from Charlotte L. Mitchell, the Wootonekanuske named in the resolve quoted above, in answer to an inquiry, in which she writes that one of these children, Helen G. Safford is still living, but is confined in a hospital for the insane. She also speaks of her own brother Alonzo as still living, unmarried and in feeble health. Of the three annuitants above named, Zerviah Robinson was born (Mitchell) June 17, 1828, Teeweleema (known as Melinda) April 11, 1836, and Wootonekanuske (known as Charlotte L.), my correspondent, November 2, 1848.

So if these five are all the living descendants of Massasoit, as Peirce asserts, the royal line will become extinct in the next generation.

1917, the General Court of Massachusetts also passed the following:

"Resolve To Authorize The Payment Of An Annuity To Fannie S. Butler Through The Mayor Of The City Of Boston.

Resolved, That there be allowed and paid out of the treasury of the Commonwealth to the mayor of the city of Boston an annuity of two hundred and fifty dollars, to be expended by the mayor for the benefit of Fannie S. Butler, granddaughter of the late Sylvia Sepit Thomas and daughter of the late Mary Angeline Thomas Butler, members of the Wampanoag tribe of Indians, for the rest of her natural life, beginning with the first day of December in the year nineteen hundred and sixteen, and payable in equal quarterly installments.
Chapter one hundred and seventeen of the resolves of the year nineteen hundred and fourteen is hereby repealed. (Approved February 17, 1917.)"

This was an increase in an annuity first granted in 1914, at which time the press spoke of the annuitant as a descendant of Massasoit, and the last of the Wampanoags. That she is a descendant of Massasoit is contrary to the conclusion of Peirce, and evidently was not satisfactorily established before the Committee of the Legislature which considered the matter, otherwise they would have been likely to set out that fact, as they did in the case of the Mitchell family. Miss Mitchell, in her letter to me, says that Fannie S. Butler is not of the family. That she is not, as was stated in the newspapers of that day, the last of the Wampanoags, is conclusively shown.

My correspondent may, however, have followed the same family traditions that guided Peirce in his writings, which fail to take account of the possibility of other branches of the Benjamin Tuspaquin family.  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.

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Massasoit of the Wampanoags

Massasoit of the Wampanoags


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