Farmington Tribe

Variant name:

The Tribe at Farmington

Address:

Farmington, CT

Description:

The Farmington Indians were the inhabitants of the Algonquian town of Farmington, CT. Before European contact, the Indians at Farmington were predominantly Tunxis. Disease and violence decimated the tribe and, by 1725, only 50 members survived. They were joined in the mid-18th century by members of the Quinnipiac, Sukiaugk, and Wangunck tribes, and the new group became known as the Farmington Indians. Farmington was one of the seven towns (along with Mohegan, Montauk, Niantic, Charlestown, Groton, and Stonington) that participated in the Brothertown movement, a composite tribe comprised of Algonquians from around the Long Island Sound that immigrated to Oneida territory in 1775, and again in 1783. Farmington was a predominantly Christian town. It was first evangelized by Rev. Samuel Whitman, a minister under the employ of the New England Company, who preached and taught at Farmington from 1732 until his death in 1751. Although Whitman’s successor, Rev. Timothy Pitkin, did not pursue the mission with the same zeal, the Farmington Indians were more than capable of attending to their own religious needs. Farmington became an active participant in regional networks of Algonquian Christian worship, along with the six other settlements that eventually joined the Brothertown movement. Samson Occom preached there, and, in 1772, he introduced his soon-to-be son-in-law Joseph Johnson as a schoolteacher and preacher. Although Johnson only formally taught at Farmington for 10 weeks, he subsequently used the town as his base of operations for organizing the Brothertown movement. The Farmingtons were instrumental in Johnson’s cause. They made up the bulk of immigrants in the aborted 1775 expedition (which then found shelter at Stockbridge, MA, where some Tunxis were already living) and, when Brothertown was re-founded in 1783, Elijah Wampy (a Farmington leader) formed part of the town’s leadership. Some Farmington Indians remained at Farmington rather than immigrating to Brothertown. However, by the late 19th century, those Farmington Indians had emigrated, died out, or been assimilated.

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Sources:

Fisher, Linford. The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America. New York: Oxford University Press 2012. Love, Deloss. Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England. Pilgrim Press 1899. Murray, Laura J. To Do Good To My Indian Brethren: The Writings of Joseph Johnson, 1751-1776. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press 1998. Silverman, David J. Red Brethren: The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians and the Problem of Race in Early America. Ithaca: Cornell University Press 2010.