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Black-Indian History

The first black slaves were introduced into the New World (1501-03) ostensibly to labor in the place of the Indians, who showed themselves ill-suited to enforced tasks and moreover were being exterminated in the Spanish colonies. The Indian-black inter-mixture has proceeded on a larger scale in South America, but not a little has also taken place in various parts of the northern continent. Wood (New England’s Prospect, 77, 1634) tells how some Indians of Massachusetts in 1633, coming across a black in the top of a tree were frightened, surmising that; ‘he was Abamacho, or the devil.” Nevertheless, inter-mixture of Indians and blacks has occurred in New England. About the middle of the 18th century the Indians of Martha’s Vineyard began to intermarry with blacks, the result being that “the mixed race increased in numbers and improved in temperance and industry.” A like inter-mixture with similar a results is reported about the same time from parts of Cape Cod. Among the Mashpee in 1802 very few pure Indians were left, there being a number of mulattoes1 Robert Rantoul in 18332 states that “the Indians are said to be improved by the mixture.” In 1890, W. H. Clark3 says of the Gay Head Indians: “Although one observes much that betokens the Indian type, the admixture of black and white blood has materially changed them.” The deportation of the Pequot to the Bermudas after the defeat of 1638 may have led to admixture there. The Pequot of Groton, Connecticut, who in 1832 numbered but 40, were reported as considerably mixed with white and black blood, and the condition of the few...

Shinnecock Tribe

Shinnecock Indians. An Algonquian tribe or band on Long Island, New York, formerly occupying the south coast from Shinnecock Bay to Montauk Point. Many of them joined the Brotherton Indians in New York. About 150 still remain on a reservation of 750 acres, 3 miles west of Southampton, having intermarried with Negroes until their aboriginal character is almost obliterated. Nowedonah, brother of the noted Wyandanch, was once their chief, and on his death his sister, wife of Cockenoe, became his successor. In Dec. 1876, 28 Shinnecock men lost their lives in an attempt to save a ship stranded off Easthampton, since which time a number, especially the younger people, have left the reservation and become scattered. They have a Presbyterian and an Adventist church; the men gain a livelihood by employment as farm-hands, baymen, berrypickers, etc., and the women as laundresses. A few families make and sell baskets and a sort of brush made of oak splints; there is almost no agriculture. They have lost all their old customs, and but few words of their native language survive even in the memory of the oldest people, although it was in more or less general use 60 or 70 years ago. For Further Study The following articles and manuscripts will shed additional light on the Shinnecock as both an ethnological study, and as a people. Consult: Harrington in Jour. Am. Folk-lore, XVI, 37-39, 1903 Harrington in So. Workman, XXXII, no. 6,...

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