Sometimes this project takes you down paths on journeys you didn’t anticipate.
Today’s journey was to the Paugussett Tribe in Stratford., Ct. While searching for works by Wesley (White) Taukchiray Jr. in 1975 and 1988, which I never found, I instead found a document entitled The Final Determination for the Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe.
In essence, in the 1990s tribal members applied for federal recognition. For a variety of reasons, it was denied, but the history and genealogy, as best can be documented, is included in the findings.
In 1762 the general assembly set aside 80 acres as a reservation for the benefit of the Indians at Stratford. By 1763, non-Indian settlers were occupying all but 8 acres of the 80. Sarah Shoran and Eunice Shoran, the “surviving heirs of the Pequanok/Paugussett Indians” petitioned to have the land reclaimed. At this time, Eunice who had married Thomas Sherman and their children were the only Indians remaining and they were given a place to live at Golden Hill.
Sarah Shoran married Elijah Wampey, a Brotherton Indian, and moved to Oneida, NY. She was no longer found in the Connecticut records.
Eunice died before 1797 and Tom Sherman, her husband, died in either 1800 or 1801. It is unknown if he was all or part Native, and if so, what tribe. After his death, the “remainder of the tribe” which consisted of their 4 children and a man named John Chops petitioned for the land to be sold. It was, and the proceeds were put into a fund for the benefit of the Indians.
In the 1840s, two additional individuals were identified as descendants, Ruby Mack or Mansfield and Nancy Sharpe alias Pease. A Henry Pease who was somehow related to Nancy is also documented as being a tribal member.
A William Sherman appears on the scene about this time. The current tribes consternation revolves around this man, whether he was a descendant of Tom Sherman’s wife, who was documented as Native, and if so, how. The descendants who were applying for tribal status in 1996 apparently all descended from this man who was documented to be Indian in at least two places, the 1870 and 1880 census, but in others was documented as white.
Additional information is available in the document, if you are interested.
The outcome of this particular petition was that tribal status was denied based on a number of factors, the first being their inability to document his descent from Sarah Shoran and Tom Sherman, their inability to document him as Native without conflicting evidence and the fact that a tribe, as was defined at that time, could descend from one person.