History of Calumet County Indians
Calumet County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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History of Calumet County Indians

The following information was contributed by Dave Thomas

Two curious facts have stimulated me to write this message. First, I have tried without success to find ancestors in our NY Indian genealogical database for some people with ties to NJ, KS and OK Delawares. Second, in creating historical timelines of our NY Indian tribes, I have read Lee Saltzman’s very useful brief histories of our predecessor New England and New York tribes to find that he totally confuses the completely separate Brothertown and Brotherton communities.

As a result of The Great Awakening (a Christian reformation movement which spread throughout the colonies during the 1730s and 1740s), 4 missionary efforts began which were important to our history.

Praying Communities were established in southern New England in the 1740s. Sampson Occom and other Indian graduates of Eleazar Wheelock’s Charity School in Lebanon CT, ministered to these and other Indian communities, whose members had Montaukett, Narragansett, Niantic, Pequot, Mohegan and Tunxis ancestors. In the 1780s, many of their followers moved to NY (where Oneida Indians had sold them land) to establish the Brothertown Community. Its members came to be known as the Brothertown Indians.

The Stockbridge Community was established among the Mohicans in Stockbridge MA in 1734, by missionary John Sergeant. Its members came to be known as the Stockbridge Indians. In the 1780s, they moved to NY (where Oneida Indians had sold them land near to, but separate from the Brothertown Community) to establish the Stockbridge NY Community.

In 1744, the missionary brothers David and John Brainerd begin establishing the Brotherton community which was at various times located in Cranbury NJ and Crosswicks NJ (between present New York City and Philadelphia). The members of the Brotherton community were mostly Munsee Delaware. Shortly after 1800, some of these moved to moved to NY to merge with the Stockbridges, not with the Brothertowns. A few remained at the Edgepollick reservation near Medford NJ.

Moravian missionaries began creating Christian communities among Delaware Indians in PA in the 1840s, but these Delawares appeared to include few if any Munsee Delawares from NJ. They were apparently Unami and Unalachtigos from south of the Munsees. Directly in the path of the advancing colonists, these Delawares were pushed west to OH to IN to IL to MO to TX, with most finally ending up in Canada, KS or OK. Except for one Konkapot in KS, I have not been able to find any genealogical relations or shared surnames between these Indians and our New York Indians.

Beginning in the 1820s, Oneidas, Stockbridge-Munsees and Brothertowns moved from NY to the Fox River Valley west of Green Bay WI. The Oneidas soon moved to their present location at Duck Creek. The Stockbridge-Munsee and Brothertowns moved to Calumet Co. on the eastern side of Lake Winnebago. Many of the Stockbridge-Munsee moved in the 1850s to their present lands in Shawano Co. WI. The Brothertowns lost their BIA recognized tribal status, but many remained in the Calumet Co. area for about a century before dispersing.

In conclusion: The Brothertown Indians of NY and later WI traced their ancestry to tribes in Long Island, RI and CT. The totally different Brotherton Indians of NJ had Munsee Delaware ancestors. Some of these joined the Stockbridges, They did not join the Brothertowns in NY. The other Delawares served by the Moravians had very little to do with the NY Indians.

Having tried to present simply a complicated history of a chaotic time, it should be noted that exceptions may have occurred as a few Delawares of one community moved to another. In addition, while there were no formal relations between the Munsees with a Brotherton background and the Brothertowns, there has always been much intermarriage among members of the Oneida, Stockbridge-Munsee and Brothertown communities. Thus many of us may have ancestors associated with both the Brothertown and the Brotherton communities.

I welcome any corrections and additions to this brief history.

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Transcribed by Debie

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