Pauquunnuppeet, Peter

Variant last names: Pohquonnoppeet; Pauquaunaupeet; Pohquonnappeet; Pohquannopput; Pohqunohpeet; Poquanopeet; Pohquenumpec; Ponknepeet
honorificSir
Birth: Unknown
Death: Unknown
Affiliation:

Moor’s Indian Charity School (1771-1775); Dartmouth College (graduated 1780)

Education:

Moor’s Indian Charity School (1771-1775), Dartmouth College Class of 1780

Faith:

Christian

Nationality:

Stockbridge Tribe, Mahican

Occupation:

Tribal councilor, Schoolteacher

Residence:

Stockbridge

New Stockbridge

Events:

During the winter of 1787 Pauquunnuppeet, Occom, and David Fowler of the Brothertown Indians embarked on a journey through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York to raise funds to support Occom as New Stockbridge’s minister. The tour was did not raise as much funding as they had planned.

Biography:

Sir Peter Pauquunnuppeet (there are several variant spellings), a son of an Indian deacon by the same name, was a Stockbridge Mohican Indian and student of Eleazar Wheelock, who studied at Moor’s Indian Charity School from 1771 until 1775, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1780. Together with Daniel Simon, class of 1777, and Lewis Vincent, class of 1781, he was one of the three Indian students to graduate before the turn of the century, and they became the last native graduates until 1835. The “Sir” that precedes Pohquonnoppeet’s forename originated from his status as a senior in school, and remained a part of his name for the rest of his life. After graduating, Pauquunnuppeet returned to Stockbridge, where he taught school and was involved in tribal affairs. Joseph Quanaukaunt (Quinney) became sachem in 1777, and along with Hendrick Aupaumut and John Konkapot, Pauquunnuppeet was a member of the his council. Pauquunnuppeet was also influential in the Brothertown movement and the founding of New Stockbridge six miles from Brothertown, New York. In 1785, when Americans in New York were driving the Oneidas to cede land that bordered Pennsylvania, Pauquunnuppeet represented the Stockbridge Indians in what became the Treaty of Herkimer. Pauquunnuppeet had an influential friendship with Samson Occom. Occom recorded many occasions in his diary during his missionary tours of 1785-1787 when Peter hosted him, and noted a few instances when they traveled together. Often during Occom’s visits to New Stockbridge Captain Hendrick and Pauquunnuppeet would translate his sermons for those who could not understand English. The Stockbridge Indians favored Occom over the white missionary John Sergeant, Jr., and on August 29, 1787 Pauquunnuppeet was one of nine Indians to write to Occom declaring their devotion and inviting Occom to become their minister. However, the tribe had no means by which to pay Occom, and so, in the winter of 1787 Pauquunnuppeet, Occom, and David Fowler embarked on a fundraising journey through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. They were not, however, able to raise as much money as they had sought to collect. Pauquunnuppeet’s strong presence within the tribe may have led to his death, although the precise date and circumstances of his decease is unknown. Sectionalism within New Stockbridge was growing due to the friction between those who supported Occom and those who preferred Sergeant, Jr. as their minister. The politics of Brothertown as an independent entity contributed to the tension. Finally, when Hendrick Aupaumet rose to the position of chief, Pauquunnuppeet became the leader of a rival faction. It has been suggested that Pauquunnuppeet’s increasing authority provoked his enemies to poison him.

Documents written: retrieve them
Documents received: retrieve them
All related documents: retrieve them
Sources:

Calloway, Colin G. The Indian History of an American Institution: Native Americans and Dartmouth. Hanover: Dartmouth College Press, 2010. Love, DeLoss W. Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England. Boston: Pilgrim Press, 1899.

General note:

Colin Calloway notes a “Peter Indian” who enlisted in John Wheelock’s battalion along with John Konkapot and Lewis Vincent during the Revolution. Pohquonnoppeet’s connection to John Konkapot and his Stockbridge heritage suggest that he may be the “Peter Indian” to whom Calloway is referring. Calloway proposes that this was the same man who broke a window at the College in February of 1773 with “Joseph Indian” (Joseph Mecheekampauh) and Ebenezer Brown.