Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Stockbridge-Munsee Community, Genealogy, and a lot more

Do you remember this magazine cover? In 2006, Time named "You" as their person of the year. Blogs are part of the "social media," and Algonkian Church History is no exception. Although I have lots of ideas about where this blog is headed, I also like to respond to your questions and comments. I've had a few of them recently, plus a few that I've put on the "back burner," so let's get to it.

Scott Seaborne pointed out that the tribe which I refer to here as the "Stockbridge Mohicans" legally adopted "Stockbridge-Munsee Community" as their name in their 1937 constitution. He asked me if I knew why and added that he'd heard that the federal government expected or required once-unrecognized tribes to use the word "community" in their name. I don't know how the name "Stockbridge-Munsee Community" was chosen, or who chose it. All I can say is that the tribe is in the process of writing a new constitution now and maybe they'll give themselves a different name.

Genealogist Debra Winchell has agreed to write a guest-post for Algonkian Church History. She is from New York State and one of a number of people that I had a chance to talk to when I attended the Algonquian Peoples Conference in Albany during the spring of 2007. Starting from nothing more than a rumor that there was Indian blood in her family, Debra researched her ancestors all the way back to John Van Gelder, a Mohican-Wappinger.

I'm also looking forward to a guest post from an accomplished blogger whose screen name is Dumneazu. Since he has formal training in Algonkian languages, his contribution should be valuable.

Daniel Burr is trying to prove that he's a descendant of both the Housatonic Mohican Chief Konkapot and the renowned Mohegan/Brothertown minister Samson Occom (also spelled Occum). Although I do not question that some of his ancestors were named Konkapot, one expert, Lion Miles, of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, says that not all of the Konkapots were descendants of the original Konkapot. One family apparently took on that name in honor of the chief. Whether or not Daniel Burr is descended from Samson Occom depends on the truth or falsehood of a statement preserved in the old book Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England by W. DeLoss Love.

I'll quote from Daniel Burr's e-mail here:
I am looking for a Samson Occum who was a grandson of Rev.Samson Occum from his son Andrew Gifford Occum.W. Deloss Love's book Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England states this under Rev Samson's family son Andrew Gifford, born 1774 went to Brothertown, and had a lot there which he leased April 12,1792. He married, and his death occurred before 1796, when "widow Patience Occum" was given lot 41. They had a son, Samson Occum, who lived at Brothertown, received part of lot 19 in 1827, and removed, it is said, with his wife Elizabeth to the White River, Some Indians say he joined the Stockbridge tribe. Writing his name Yoccum,and has descendants among them.
There was a Housatonic Mohican living in the 1700's whose name was spelled "Yocun," "Yokun," "Yocon," "Yokim," and "Yocum," (according to page 367 of Shirley Dunn's book The Mohican World 1680-1750,) it is more likely (in my opinion) that Daniel Burr is descended from that Housatonic Mohican than he is from Samson Occom.

Another reader, Carleen Vandezande, has taken the trouble to get me some papers form the Madison County Historical Society in New York. According to one of the papers, Samson Occom returned from his preaching tour in Britain with a gold-plated walkingstick. There was also a lot of information on an Iroquois chief named Skenendoah. As a convert to Christianity, his story could become the topic of a future post.

No comments :