Anti-Mason Party

The Occom Circle

Anti-Mason Party




The Anti-Mason Party was not a formal political organization, but rather is Wheelock’s way of referring to the Mohegan tribe’s opponents in the Mason Land Case. The Mason Land Case was a 70-year-long legal battle between the Mohegan tribe and the colony of Connecticut (1705-1773). In brief, the legal question at hand was whether Mohegan land was in trust to the Mason family or the colony of Connecticut. The Mohegan tribe had entrusted their lands to John Mason, a major in the English army, in 1659, and Mason had then transferred the land to the colony of Connecticut. The question was whether this second transfer was valid. If it was valid, then the land was in trust to Connecticut and the colony was free to do as it pleased. If the transfer was invalid, then the land was still in trust to Mason’s descendants, who were much friendlier to Mohegan interests. The case was finally decided against the Mohegans in 1773. Despite formal avowals of disinterest, Occom was very involved in the Mason Case, and both he and Wheelock experienced backlash from the New England Company over it. Wheelock implies that because of the controversy over the Mason Case, Captain Shaw refused to supply Mary Occom, Occom’s wife, with the goods she needed.


Brooks, Joanna. The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan: Leadership and Literacy in Eighteenth-Century Native America. Oxford 2006. Brooks, Lisa. The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press 2008. Fisher, Linford. The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America. New York: Oxford University Press 2012. Silverman, David J. Red Brethren: The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians and the Problem of Race in Early America. Ithaca: Cornell University Press 2010.