Ashpo, Robert


Mohegan Tribe




Mohegan Indian


tribal leader

  • Mohegan, CT
Marital status

Married by 1782 to Betty; they had two children, Hannah and Joel.


Robert Ashpo was the brother of Samuel Ashpo, the influential Mohegan preacher. They were born into a powerful Mohegan family, considered equal to the Uncas line, and Robert became a tribal leader. We have no specific evidence of his education or conversion. But he was one of the signers of at least three important petitions that were submitted to the Connecticut General Assembly. The first, entitled "Appeal of the Mohegan Indians agst the Colony of Connecticut & Others" is dated July 23, 1746; Ashpo was one of over 80 signatories. The second was written by Occom in 1785 on behalf of five other signatories: Henry Quaquaquid and Robert Ashpo of the Mohegan Tribe and Phillip Cuish, Joseph Uppuiquiyantup, Isaac Uppuiquiyantup of the Niantics, expressing their dismay over restrictive fishing prohibitions (manuscript 785340). The third from May 14, 1789 is signed by Ashpo and Henry Quaquaquid, and using the metaphor of the "dish," complains bitterly about the loss of Mohegan territory and asks the Assembly to divide the "common dish" of the Tribe into individual dishes so each may do "as he pleases." These petitions invoke Tribal sovereignty, show collaboration between tribal leaders, and also employ the rhetoric of "improvement" to save their lands. Occom and Joseph Johnson record Ashpo's speaking and leadership at several meetings at Mohegan and elsewhere in the 1770s and 1780s. Ashpo did not move to Brothertown and remained in Mohegan.


Fawcett, Melissa Jayne. The Lasting of the Mohicans, Part I: The Story of the Wolf People. Uncasville: The Mohegan Tribe, 1995; Murray, Laura J. To Do Good to My Indian Brethren: The Writings of Joseph Johnson 1751-1776. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998; Brooks, Joanna, ed. The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Brooks, Lisa. The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008.