Garrett, Benjamin

Variant last names: Garret; Garrat
Birth: 1725
Death: Unknown
Affiliation:

Stonington Pequot Tribe

Faith:

Christian

Nationality:

Pequot

Marital status:

Married; only child identified is Hannah Garret, who married David Fowler.

Biography:

Benjamin Garrett was a Stonington Pequot Indian from a prominent family of sachems and Christian converts. He was the great grandson of Hermon Garret or Wequash Cook (Wequashcuk), an early convert to Christianity who played a role in the Pequot War of 1637; and grandson of Catapezet (Kottupesit), who had two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph, sachem of the Niantics of Lyme, CT, was the interpreter for the New England missionary Experience Mayhew (1673-1758) and helped him translate the Lord's Prayer into Pequot. Mayhew also met Benjamin, who spoke some English and, according to W. DeLoss Love, had a seven-year-old son he was "willing to devote to learning so that he may be a minister." That boy was Benjamin Garrett, father of the Hannah Garrett who married David Fowler. Further information on Benjamin Garrett and the spelling of his surname is sometimes conflicting, leading scholars to speculate that there was more than one person of this name. The historical records show that between June 1741 and July 1742, 15 members of the extended Garrett family affiliated with one of the three Stonington churches, five of them on the same day at the First Stonington Church. There is also a record of the Stonington magistrates giving financial aid to a Benjamin Garrett in 1793-4. It is possible that Benjamin was the brother of Elizabeth Garrett, the mother of Joseph Johnson, a Moor's alumnus, Occom's son-in-law, and co-founder of the Brothertown movement. That would make him Johnson's uncle, a term Johnson uses in his journal for Benjamin that could be familial or honorary. At the very least, Garrett was part of an extended Christian Indian network that sustained the work of Occom and Johnson.

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Sources:

Fisher, Linford. The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012; Love, W. DeLoss, Jr. Samson Occom and the Christiann Indians of New England. 1899. Rpt. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2003; Murray, Laura J. ed. To Do Good to My Indian Brethren: The Writings of Joseph Johnson 1751-1776. Amherst: Unviversity of Massachusetts Press, 1998.