The Mohicans of Stockbridge

By Patrick Frazier | Go to book overview

4
CENTRALIZE, CHRISTIANIZE, CIVILIZE, PROSELYTIZE, CAPITALIZE

When Stephen Williams and John Ashley spoke to the Mohicans in January of 1735, they not only talked of religion, they mentioned a government plan along the lines of what Governor Belcher had suggested in 1730. If the Indians agreed and the General Court approved, Massachusetts would lay out a tract of land large enough to accommodate both Housatonic bands and any other scattered Mohican tribes. The tract under consideration was one adjoining the north side of the upper Housatonic township that the Indians had sold in 1724, which included Konkapot's settlement and sufficient meadowlands to support crops. The Housatonic River winds east to west at this point and turns south around the base of a small mountain. A large pond nestles in the upland, and the small, steep Berkshires are clustered throughout the area.

The site contemplated would actually take more than 9,000 acres out of the new township and require relocation of several claims, as well as removal of some settlers. At the Deerfield conference Governor Belcher had mentioned the subject to the Housatonics, and he later recommended the plan to the legislature, although he indicated to them that the Housatonics had broached the idea. The legislature agreed to the plan and appointed a committee to meet with the Indians and settlers who would be involved. John Sergeant suggested that certain exemplary English families be settled among the Indians to help in the angliciz-

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