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Brotherton & Weekping Indian Communities of NJ

Removal to New York, 1793 - 1803

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Tennent's Account of Move from Cranbury (Bethel) to Brotherton
1759 Map of Proposed Layout of Brotherton
Pictures of Brotherton
Primary Documents Related to Brotherton Indians
Native Men in the French & Indian War
Brotherton in 1761 & 1795
Message from the Brothertons to the Ohio Indians, 1767
Removal to New York, 1793 - 1803
Robert Skikkit - And Indian Soldiers of the Revolution
Weekping or Coaxen
Pictures of Weekping/Coaxen
Indian Rules of Descent of Lands
The Will of Charles Moolis & Legal Action to Stop It
The Court Battle over Moolis's Will
Court Action in Trenton
Confused Tenants & Powers of Attorney
State Control of Weekping
Efforts at Compromise at Weekping
Petition of the Indians, 1817
1819 Letter to the President
Federal Court Action
The Loss of Weekping
Miscellaneous Documents
Occum, Quakers, Moravian Texts & More
Books for sale
Guest Book

Life at Brotherton was in a steady decline from about the time of the American Revolution, to John Brainerd's death in 1781, and finally to the virtual abandonment of the community by the government.  The plight of the Brotherton Delawares was not lost on their kinsmen to the west and to their fellow Christian Indians in New York.   During the colonial period, there was an interaction amongst the Presbyterian missionaries and Indian mission communities throughout the northeast and into the mid-west.  This interaction led to the relocation of the Brothertons to the Stockbridge Mohican community of New Stockbridge, New York.
 
The Mohicans had emigrated from Stockbridge, Massachusetts to New York right after the American Revolution due to the decline of Stockbridge as an Indian community.  As Mohicans, they viewed the Delaware as their "Grand Fathers," a term demonstrating the ancient covenant amongst native people long before the arrival of Europeans.
 
These documents show how the Mohicans first came to invite the Brothertons to New York and the process by which that emigration occurred.
 
Invitation from the Mohicans to the Brotherton Delaware, October 26, 1793

My Grand Fathers
I have the same Desire as it was Last Spring - In my Speach - I wish you to go to Our Place and there you will share or Partake with us in all the Privilidges we Enjoy both in temporal and Spiritual and that we may help Each other to Promote the welfare of our Children and grand Children


Hendrick Aupaumut, Sachem of the Muh,he,con,nuk

Phila. Octbr. 26th 1793 } { The above was Directed to Jacob Skekett Delaware Chief

To which the following is an answer by the Indian

Grand Children
Since the overthrow of our forefathers we have Wondered [wandered] about like Chickens [Children ?] bereaft of theire Mother who wander about by two or three till Night overtakes us where we rest in the kind arms of oure Brothers the White people uninterrupted, And since the loss of our Father (if we may so call him) the Reverent John Brainard who kept us together in his arms, we have wondered still more

My Grand Children
you tell us that you open a Door for us to your fire place that we shall Enjoy the same Privelidges as you Do of your Land and likewise of the Gospell, Now of all these three things we Esteem the last one the Most, and now Grand Children we humbly thank you for your kind Invitation and likewise of your Rememberance of us, we like your Proposalls very much and have some amongst us who are willing to go & see your fire place if in case they were provided with Necessaryes but as [yet] tarry here being short and our notices sudden we have not the abilityes sufficient to Equip them for such a Journey,

The above are copyed from the originals by Josiah Foster [NJ Indian Commissioner and son of Wm. Foster, an original commissioner]


Mohican invitation to the Brotherton Delaware, Nov. 12, 1794


My Grandfather } Kanadague Novr 12th 1794
Attend }

I now take this opportunity to inform you that we are well and that we live in Peace

Grand father
I remember the conversation we have had near three years ago at Philadelphia and allso Near two years ago I have take hold of your hand and from hart gave you strong invitations that you and your nation should rise up and remove to our contrey where we have a good Dish in which we could Eat together as truly Grand father and Grand children Wherein we could be satisfyed and where we could help one another = Long as we remain in this world = and you complyed with my Invitation = But you Never come to our contrey yet

Now Grand father
I must again invite you I hope that you would Exert yourselves and be sensible of your Dismal situation at Wachpillauk - and Do Set out once - Or send some of your Men to see our Land and if you could not Do Either of these two - Still you must let me know the same by letter, - But I must Expect to see some of my Grand fathers heare before next Spring - as I have said that we will Eat in one Dish you and your Nation shall have Equel Privilidge with us which you may be Depend upon -

from your friend and well wisher
Hendrick Aupaumut

Jacob Skekat Sachem and to the rest of his nation}

copy from the original by Josiah Foster Comr.

New Commissioners appointed for Brotherton
 
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE TWENTIETH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF NEW-JERSEY.

TRENTON, Saturday, February 20, 1796.

The House met.

Mr. Biddle, from the Committee to whom was referred the Petition of Joseph Salter and Josiah Foster, Esqr. in Behalf of the Indians at Brotherton, in the Township of Evesham, and County of Burlington, requesting a Law may pass to appoint Commissioners to take charge of the real Estate formerly purchased for their Use, reported as follows:
THAT, in Order to effectuate the benevolent Object of the Government in making said Purchase, it is necessary that a Law should pass, appointing Commissioners to take charge of and lease out the said real Estate, under such Regulations and Restrictions as shall appear most conducive to the Advantage of the said Indians, and present a Bill for the Purposes aforesaid.
By Order of the Committee,
STACY BIDDLE
To which Report the House agreed; whereupon, Mr. Biddle presented a Bill intitled, 'A Supplement to an Act, intitled, "An Act to empower certain Persons to purchase the Claims of the Indians to certain Lands in this Colony, passed August the 12th, Anno Domini 1758," which Bill was read, and ordered a second Reading.

The Law enacted was as follows:

WHEREAS the above-mentioned act authorized certain pesons therein named, together with the governor or commander in chief, to purchase certain lands, and take deeds in trust for the same to and for the use of said Indians; and it appearing that a tract of land was purchased accordingly, situate in the township of Evesham, in the county of Burlington, commonly called and known by the name of Brotherton; and also that it would conduce to the advantage of said Indians if commissioners were appointed to take charge of, in trust for their use, the said lands and premises; therefore,

Sect. 1.  BE IT ENACTED by the Council and General Assembly of this state, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That Joseph Saltar, Josiah Foster and Thomas Hollinshead be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners to take charge of the said tract of land and premises, with the appurtenances, and lease out the same, from time to time, on such terms, and in such manner as shall most conduce to the advantage of the Indians:  Provided always, That leases or contracts shall in no instance be made fore a longer term than ten years, and the rents shall be paid quarterly or yearly.

2. And be it enacted, That the said commissioners, and their successors in office, shall have full power to call to account and settle with all persons who heretofore have received property and not accounted for the same, or shall hereafter take off any property whatever, without leave of the said commissioners; and also to commence, prosecute and carry on to effect any action or actions against any person or persons trespassing on said lands in any manner whatever, in the same way as if the fess to said lands were vested with them; which money when recovered shall be applied to the use of the said Indians.

3.  And be it enacted, That the said commissioners shall pay forward, annually, the whole monies arising from said lands unto said Indians, or the value thereof in necessaries, such as provisions and cloathing, or to such of them as shall appear to stand most in need thereof.

4. And be it enacted, That the said commissioners shall yearly and every year, render a just and true account of all monies received and expended in supplying the said Indians with necessaries as aforesaid, unto the court of common pleas for the county of Burlington, ant their sitting in May Term, who are hereby authorized and required to examine and settle the same; but in case the commissioners accounts are not satisfactory to the said court, then the said court are hereby authorized to appoint arbitrators, if the said commissioners agree thereto, to settle said accounts, which settlement, after being approved by the said court, shall be final and conclusive; but in case the said commissioners do not agree to submit to arbitration, then the said court shall cause process to issue, in the name of the clerk of the said court, to bring the said commissioners to a settlement at any subsequent term, which shall be by jury, in the same manner that private actions are prosecuted and carried on.

5. And be it further enacted, That is case the said commissioners do not act fairly and justly, touching the charge committed to them by this act, it shall and may be lawful for the said court to remove them from office, and case of death or refusal to act, or removal from office, to appoint others in their stead, who are hereby vested with the same power and authority, and subject to the same restrictions as those particularly named in this act.  Provided always, That nothing in this act contained shall be construed to prevent the said Indians from residing on their lands aforesaid, or cutting wood or timbe for their immediate use.

6.  And be it enacted, That the said commissioners hereby appointed, or that may hereafter be appointed pursuant to the directions of this act, shall be entitled to receive, out of the monies they may collect by virtue of this act, so much per cent for their trouble as the said court of common pleas of the county of Burlington, on a settlement of the accounts, may allow for the same.

Passed Trenton, March 17, 1796

Note:  No annual reports were filed the the commissioners with the Court of Common Pleas for Burlington County, contrary to this law.  See 1799 below.

 

Letter from Brothertons to Josiah Foster asking for advice, April 19, 1796

Worthy Sir,

After paying you due Respect for the great Condescension you show in taking uppon yourselves be our Commissioners we the Proprietors of Brotherton who act for our selves & the Inhabitants of this Place do humbly lay before you our indigent Circumstances Having met this Day concerning the repeated Invitations we have [received] from our Grand Children, Muh hek con nuk Tribe of Indians of coming to partaking of their Lands and likewise Privilidges we think it proper to inform you that we look to you as Children to their Parents for Advice that whether by your Wisdom you find out means whereby Provision may be made for the Journey of those who are more willing to go & see the situation of our Grand children likewise the Lands Whereas by their last Letter they seem to intimate that they are almost wearied out with their Invitations we not paying them a Visit nor returning an Answer Therefore we now wait for nothing else but an Answer from you which if you please we would wish to have as soon as it was convenient as we are to send word by Willm Holmes when he returns Home again whether we intend to go or not which will be some time in next Month

This from you most obedient and Humble Servants
Jacob Skekit [written with a shaking hand]
Barthw Calvin
Mary Calvin her mark
&c. &c.


Mohican Council at New Stockbridge welcoming Brotherton Chief, Oct. 9, 1796

Grand Father attend to the words of your Grand Children

I am glad that the goodness of the great good Spirit we are allowed to meet together by the side of this fire place to smoke the pipe of Friendship while we talk together in commemoration of antient covenants which our fore Fathers established and Esteemed -

I am glad that the great Spirit puts it [in] your mind to visit your Grand Children and preserve you through the tedious Journey so to arrive here safely -

Grand Father, when I look on I see your tears flowing down from your eyes on account of the dust which flew about on the way as your coming for this fire place hither In remembrance of the antient customs of our Ancestors I now stretch forth my hand and wipe off your tears that you may see your Grand Children in real appearance - In like manner I clean your ears that you may hear plainly the voice of your Grand Children and also clear your throat and losen your Tongue that you may speak freely. -

Grand Father, and I find also that your heart is hanging downwards on account of the many losses in your Nation these many days and according to the customs of our fore Fathers I now set your heart upright, and lay aside all the sound which white Birds have sounded in your ears that you may without prejudice be enabled to consider what your Grand Children may say to you -

Grand Father, having done so much I see mud all over your Legs & feet on the account of the long muddy path which you have walked through - I now wash your Legs & feet but still I discover Briars & Thorns sticking fast in them. Now I pull out everyone of them and the Weesques in which our Ancestors use to put healing oil in and oil your Legs and Feet that you may feel well and walk around the fire place of your Grand Children.

Then delivered 4 Strings of white wampum

Grand Father again listen
I am glad to find that you still retain the talk which passed between us at Philadelphia when we saw each other there (about four years ago) at which time I took hold of your hand and directed you to my fire place which Invitation our Chiefs with our young men do now renew

I spread this Mornuhkun, or Mat wide on which I put you likewise the Pillow to lay your head on, then I stretch forth my hand to your fire place and roll your Mat which you used to set on and spread it over on the other Mat which I just made ready for you that you may feel more easy and comfortable - Here you will eat with your Grand Children out of one dish and use one spoon - By the side of this fire place you can cook what you please and at night you can lay down to rest and dream about the welfare of your Men Women and Children and in the morning you can get up and promote the same - Grand Father

Lastly I let you know that I put a broom by the side of the Bed so that whenever you feel anything hard upon this Bed then we will use this broom and sweep off everything that nothing may interupt our rest - nunnehthkeh -

Seven Strings of Wampum

Grand Father once more attend
We will now let you know the reasons which induced your Grand Children to give you such Invitation. -

1st I believe that it was the will of the great good Spirit that our Ancestors did enter into covenant and establish such strong Friendship between them which we have ever maintained bright

2nd Because by the goodness of the same Spirit we obtained this good dish wherein we eat peaceably and by this kind providence we were enabled to see your dismal Situation} And further I believe that this is the same good Spirit that influenced our hearts to have the compassionate feeling towards your Nation -

3d Because I believe that if you can only once make out to bring the whole of your Nation here you can have a better chance to try to live as a people this dish being much better than yours -

4th Because you will here have the priviledge of hearing the glad tidings of the Gosple preached and your Children instructed to read & write -

5th Because here we can live together as one family coun[s]el comfort and exort each other dayly so long as we shall be allowed to live this side of eternity -

Sachems} Joseph Shauguahguaut
Hendrick Aupaumut

Counsellors of the } John Quinney
Mauheconnuk Joseph Quinney
Nation

Deliverd in full Council
New Stockbridge, Octr. 9th 1796
To the Chiefs of Delawares


Brotherton Response to Mohicans, Oct. 18, 1796

New Stockbridge, Octr 18th 1796

Grand Children attend,
I am glad that by the goodness of the great good Spirit above we are permitted to meet together by the side of this fire place to smoke the pipe of Friendship as our Ancestors were accustomed to do -

Grand Children, I am glad to find the Token of Friendship which you manifested at your Grand Fathers arrival at this Fire Place, likewise ever since, for which I am extreamly thankful and ever shall be greatly remembered -

Gr. Children, at my arrival you wiped off the Tears from my eyes which were caused by the dust which blew into them on my long Journey as also on the acc't of the many tall Trees which are fallen among us -

Likewise you clear'd out my ears & throat & losen'd my tongue & set my Heart upright, in like manner you have wiped off the Mud from my legs & feet which was caus'd by the long muddy path in which I had traveled & finding them full of briars & thorns you pull'd them all out, & applied the healing Oil of our own dec'd Ancestors to them -

Gr. Children, since your performance of this kindness to your Grand Father I see you clearly, I see the Tears running down from your eyes on the Acc't of the many losses of your Nation & the many tall Trees which are fallen -

Gr. Children, now in remembrance of our antient Customs I stretch forth my Hand & raise your Head & obliterate from your eyes & minds all Tears & Sorrows & fix your eyes forward that they may not be obstructed from looking forward on the happy days which are yet coming in looking back on the Trees which are fallen -

Gr. Children, I also clear your ears that you may hear plainly, likewise your throats & strengthen your Tongues that you may be capable of speaking the Things which may be profitable for your Nation both temporally & spiritually - Likewise I set your Heart upright that you may be able of contemplating the weal, welfare & happiness of the riseing & risen Generation -

Now Gr. Children attend, by these Stings of Wampum you renew the kind Invitation you gave your Grand Father when we saw each other in Phila. about four years ago, I think it needless to repeat the same but for which I now again thank you -

Gr. Children, be it known unto you that I have deeply consider'd your Invitation & finding it heartily sincere & your dish so durable & your Paths straight, I accept your Invitation & lay hold of it with both my Hands, hoping that the great good Spirit may enable & protect us in promoting each others welfare & happiness & that we may live & die together by the side of this fire place

Now Grand Children, I must inform you that I am about turning my eyes towards my fire place hoping that as you have begun & enter'd the good Path you may still continue to persevere therin & altho we shall be absent sometime in Body our heart shall still be present with you -

[end]
 
Indian Commissioners Petition to the NJ Legislature, February 1, 1797:

To the Honourable the Legislative Coucil and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey

We the subscribers Commissioners appointed by Law to Superintend the affaires of the Indians Residing at Brotherton in the Township of Evesham in the County of Burlington in the State afforesaid,

Beg lieve to Lay before you a Petition from said Indians, Requesting that a Law may be passed authorising us or some other Persons to Sell and Dispose of their Land Heretofore Purchised for them by Government whereon they now Reside at Brotherton affores,d and from the Report of the Indians who have been to view the Contrey to which they have been Invited by theire tribe Residing at New Stockbridge in the State of New York, to which Place they Propose to Remove, we are of the oppinion that it will be to theire advantage to have theire Request granted.

We therefore on theire behalf, to say that som[e] Persons may be by Law authorised & Impowered to Run out and Devide theire Land into farms and sell and convey the same in fee, and to secure the Payment of the moneys arising from such sales to the Governor for the time being or some other Person or Persons in trust for the us[e] of the said Indians, with such other Regulations as your wisdom may think proper

1st Febry 1797     Jos Saltar    Thomas Hollinshead    Josiah Foster


Petition of Brotherton Indians to the State of New Jersey, Feb. 2, 1797

To the honorable house of Assembly of the State of New-Jersey in general assembly met.

The petition of us the Subscribers, Indians and Inhabitants of the said State humbly sheweth That whereas we have been informed, that some of our brother Indians of the said State, who call themselves the Chiefs of us Jersey Indians, though we know not how they came to posest with such authority, have petitioned your honorable house, to pass a Law, Impowering them or some other persons to sell all our Lands lying and being in the County of Burlington in the State aforesaid, commonly called by the name of Edgpelic or Brotherton, and with the Money arising from the sale thereof to Remove themselves into a back cuntry to dwell amongst Indians who are strangers to us and we to the, And as we your petitioners think ourselves Equelly and Justly Entitled to our Equel proportion of said lands with those who have petitioned for the said Law, though we have not heretofore, nor do we at this day, receive any benifit there from, and as we do not chuse to remove ourselves our wives and our little ones back to a strange cuntry to dwell amongst strangers, But rather chusing to stay in the State of New-Jersey, where we have lived all our days hitherto, and are known to the Inhabitants thereof (or at least some of them) and they to us; we therefore humbly pray, that no law may be passed by your honorable house that may prove Injurious to our Interest in such lands, and that Every Indian in the State (Entitled thereto) may receive his just proportion thereof, Either by setting off the share of Each person or family by Meets and bounds (which Method would be most agreeable to us Indians, as then Each person would know his own part, and might sell or Improve and Cultivate the same as he thought proper) or otherwise by providing in such Manner for the general benifit of all the Indians interested in said Lands, as the Legislature in their wisdom, may think best adapted to answer that purpose, And your petitioners shall, as in duty bound, etc.

February 2nd 1797

[names are mostly in pencil, very hard to read; this is not the complete list]
[none could write their names; all have X's next to them]

John Mytop
Dinah [?] Mytom
Israel [ ]
John Williams
Rebeccah Williams
Hannah Ashatama
John Pomblis
Mary Pomblis
Isaac Swanneluh
Mary Briant
[ ] Pomblis
Sara Cush [Cuish?]
Henry Ashatama
Joseph Chonchy
Mary Chonchy
Joseph [Thompson ?]
Abigal [Hetmin ?]
 
 
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE TWENTY-FIRST GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF NEW-JERSEY.

TRENTON, Tuesday, February 7, 1797.

The house met.

Mr. Hough, from the committee to whom the petition of Joseph Salter, Thomas Holinshead and Josiah Foster, commissioners, appointed to take charge of the lands at Brotherton, in the county of Burlington, belonging to the Indian natives, reported,
THAT they have examined the letters sent by the Indian natives from Stockbridge, in the state of New-York, to the Indians at Brotherton, likewise their answer to them, and their petition to the aforesaid commissioners, and are of opinion, that it is reasonable and just to grant them the prayer of their petition, and that a committee be appointed to report a bill, which they submit to the house.
By order of the committee,
SAMUEL HOUGH.
To which the house agreed; whereupon, Messrs. Coxe, Wallace and French were appointed a committee for that purpose.
 

Gilder Lehrman Document Number: GLC00540.02

The below document was written and signed by those Brotherton residents, including the five leaders of the community - called by Foster as the Proprietors of the reservation - who wished to remove to New York to the Stockbridge Mohican land.  It was this group that the signers of the 1797 petition was referring to.



 

Brotherton Jany 20th 1798

 

Gentlemen/  [addressed to Joseph Saltar]

 

We the poor Indians at Brotherton, having met on saturday the 20th of Jany 1798, agreable to publick notice given, for the purpose of taking into more serious consideration, as well as, in peace & friendship to assemble together, to consult each other’s minds, & make a publick expression of our sentiments, respecting the propriety of leaving our fine place in Jersey, & moving to our grand Childrn

 

This is therefore, to inform you that we unanimously, to make this our public expression, that we still acquiese in the same opinion we were in before.  In witness whereof we have here unto set our hands the day & year above written.

 

Your Humble Servants.

 

Jacob Skekit  

Bathw. Calvin 

Benjamin Nicholus

Mary [inserted: her mark] Cavin Senior

Mary Moore                      

 

Elias [inserted:  his mark]Ashatama

Rebecca [inserted: her mark] Calvin junr.

Robert [inserted:  his mark]Skicket

Mary  [inserted: her mark] Calvin

Job [inserted:  his mark] Skicket

Catherine  [inserted: her mark] Skekit

Elizabeth  [inserted: her mark] Skekit

Ann  [inserted: her mark] Joshua

Sarah [inserted: her mark] George

Rebecca Nicolus

Isaac [inserted:  his mark] Skekit

David [inserted:  his mark] Moore

Ruth  [inserted: her mark] Quish

Isaac Ashatama

 
Burlington County Court Documents:
 
August Term of Court 1799    Report of the Committe on Indian Affairs
The Subscribers a Committee of the Court of Common pleas apointed in the May term of 1799 to settle the Accounts of the Commissioners of Indian affairs of said County Having met & had the Allegations of Jacob Skekit the only Indian attending and examined the accounts of Josiah Foster & Thomas Hollinshead Esq. two of the Commissioners (Joseph Salter the other Commissioner not attending) Do report That it appears to your Committee That the Indians have been for many years & now are in the practice of Leasing their Lands & receiving the rents Issues & profits of the same & that it does not apear that part of the Rent Issues & profits aforesaid is in the Hands of either of the Commissioners And that there is due to Josiah Foster Esqr for Surveying said Land for his time & Expences at Trenton & for Cash expended for the use of the said Indians the sum of Forty eight Dollars & Ninety three Cents & to Thomas Hollinshead for attending at trenton and on deviding the Lands the sum of twelve Dollars.  Mt. Holly August 13, 1799
 
 
Job Pricket, Rehoboam Braddock and William Branner Commissioners of Brotherton Indians presented to the Court their resignation and also of their Accounts, which were ordered to be filed.    May Term   1803
 
Terms of Sale for the Brotherton Lots, 1802:
 
Conditions of the Sale held the 25th day of May 1802 are as follows.
1st  The highest bidder to be the purchaser;
2nd  One third of the purchase Money to be paid in thirty days, one other third in one year and the remaining one third in two years, with Interest on the whole from the day of sale the Purchaser to be Most  [delivery] for security of the purchase Money
3d  The green corn on the Premises that is let up on Shares, also whatever Cord wood that is cut, and likewise the new Rails in Fences are excepted;
4th  If there is any Indian Corn planted or should be any planted on the Premises before the same is sold the purchaser is to be entitled to the Indians share.
William Stockton
Abraham Stockton
Charles Ellis } Commissioners

American Indian Research
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