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Samuel Ashpo, confession, 1742 February 12

ms-number: 742162.1

abstract: Ashpo confesses to forsaking the rules of Christian marriage by taking another wife after discovering that his first wife has been unfaithful.

handwriting: Handwriting is somewhat informal yet clear and legible.

paper: Single small sheet is in good condition, with light staining, creasing and wear.

ink: Black-brown.


The Confeſsion of Samll Aſhbo of Mohegan
Sometime Ago I went to Sea and was Gone 14 months When I Came
home I underſtood by Common Publick Report which had Gaind
Credit with Many and So far a I know a General beleif yt my
wife had before Sufficient Evidence been Guilty of Groſs adultry
In my abſence & yt She had for Sometime accompanied & traveld
about ye Country with the Man She had been thus Guilty with
& that She was publiſhd to him — I Waited Some Conſiderable
time to See if She wod not Came & make an acknoledgment
to me, & aſk my forgiveneſs but She Did not Come than I took
another Wife after the Indian Manner—a few Days after she was married but Since I was
married I am Convinced yt what I have Done was Evil in the
Sight of God and have been very Sorry
1. yt I Cast her off with out a trial of the Case & proving the fact
againſt her
2. in that Seeing She [gap: blotted_out] Did not Come to me yt I Did not go
to her & use Endeavours to Convince her of her ſin
3. I am ſorry yt I was married in ye old Indian Moode & not in
a Chriſtian manner— and Whereas I was under ſome ſmall Concern
& had Set up ye form of Religion in my family before I was mar‐
‐ried & Such a procedure being So Contrary to the Laws & Rules
of Jesus Chriſt I am afraid it has been & will yet be unproved
much to the Diſhonour of God & Prejudice of Religion. Which
I have a Great Deſire So far as in me Lies to prevent but at
preſent know not how better than by Confeſsing of it in the most
open manner to God & man & aſking pardon and forgiveneſs of
all which I heartily do. & Reſolve by the help of Divine Grace
to Live Devoted to God and act in all Reſpects according to the Laws
of Jesus Chriſt for time to Come
ſamuell Aſhpo
Lebanon
Feby 12. AD. 1742, 3.
Samll Ashpo's Confeſsion
AD 1742, 3.
Lebanon

Lebanon is a town located in the state of Connecticut southwest of the town of Hartford. The land that became Lebanon was inhabited at least 10,000 years ago based on the archeological record. By the 1600s, the land was permanently inhabited by the Mohegan Indians, who used the area primarily for hunting. Lebanon was officially formed in 1700 when English settlers consolidated a number of land tracts, including several land grants by the Connecticut General Assembly and lands purchased from the Mohegans. However, these purchases were controversial. In 1659, the Mohegans entrusted their reserve land to Major John Mason, and in the following year, Mason transferred this land to the Connecticut colonial government with the understanding that there would be enough land left for the Mohegans to farm. The Mohegans claimed that they never authorized a transfer to the colonial government and only Mason’s heirs were entrusted with their land. In 1662, Connecticut, which included the Mohegan land that had been entrusted to the Masons, was incorporated by a royal charter. Based on this charter, the colony argued that the land was now the property of the government. In 1687, the colony began granting the Mohegan land to townships, and in 1704 the Masons petitioned the Crown on behalf of the Mohegans, claiming that such transfers of land to townships were illegal. Between the years of 1705 and 1773 legal disputes and controversies persisted, finally ending in a verdict by the Crown against the Mohegans. In 1755, Wheelock received property and housing in Lebanon that he would use as his house and school. While Lebanon was originally incorporated as a part of New London County in 1700, in 1724 it became a part of New Windham, before once again becoming a part of New London County in 1826. Lebanon was central to the American Revolution with half of its adult population fighting for the colonists and hundreds of meetings convened in the town for the revolutionary cause.

Mohegan

Mohegan is a village in southeastern Connecticut at the site of the present-day town of Montville, and is the location of the Mohegan Indian Reservation. The village gets its name from the Mohegan Tribe, or wolf people, who split from the Pequots in the early 17th century under the leadership of the sachem Uncas. In the 1720s, the Mohegans requested the colony of Connecticut provide them with an English educator. An English minister and schoolteacher named John Mason (no relation to Captain John Mason) moved to Mohegan in order to provide English-styled education to the Mohegans, convinced his sponsors, the New England Company, to build a schoolhouse at Mohegan, which eventually served as a boarding school for other Native American children from the surrounding area. During the 17th century, the Mohegan Tribe became embroiled in a complicated controversy over control of Mohegan land — known as the Mason Land Case or, more specifically, Mohegan Indians v. Connecticut — that included the village of Mohegan. The Tribe claimed that it never authorized a transfer of their lands, held in trust by the Mason family, to the colonial government. In 1662, the colony of Connecticut was incorporated by a royal charter, which included the disputed tribal land. The land controversy was revived in 1704 when descendants of John Mason, the original trustee, petitioned the Crown on behalf of the Mohegans, but the suit was finally decided against the Tribe in 1773. Born in Mohegan, Occom became involved in the Mason Land Case and vehemently argued for the rights of the Mohegan Indians to maintain their land, opposing Eleazar Wheelock and other ministers in the area. Although Occom left Mohegan for a 12-year mission with the Montauk Indians of Long Island, he returned at the end of 1763 with his large family to build a house in Mohegan, establishing it as his base of operations. Even after the creation of the Brothertown settlement in Oneida country, for which he served as minister, Occom continued to commute back and forth from Mohegan; he didn't sell his house in Mohegan and move his family to Brothertown until 1789. Many members of his family remained in Mohegan, including his sister Lucy Tantaquidgeon, who lived there until her death at 99 in 1830.

Ashpo, Samuel

Ashpo was born into a very powerful Mohegan family, considered equal to the Uncas line, and became an influential Mohegan preacher. He was converted at Mohegan during the Great Awakening, and became a schoolteacher among the Indians at Mushantuxet from 1753 until 1757 and from 1759 until 1762, when he left to attend Moor's. Between 1757 and 1759, he worked as an interpreter, and supposedly struggled with alcohol. He attended Moor's for only six months, and then continued his teaching and missionary career on successive trips to Chenango (the first was cut short because of violence in the region). On July 1, 1767, the Connecticut Board dismissed him from their service because of further charges of drinking. He continued to preach successfully to various New England Indian tribes until his death in 1795. The variations of his name exist in part because Ashpo is an abbreviated form of Ashobapow.

Ashpo, Hannah (née Mamnack)
HomeSamuel Ashpo, confession, 1742 February 12
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