1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

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 Clarke Indian Manuscripts

 Manuscripts, 1641-1787

 Size: .5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 350

 Processed by: Lori Salotto, May 2001

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Samuel Clarke (1672-1769) was born to Joseph Clarke (1642-1726/7) and Bethiah (Hubbard) Clarke (1646-1707). They had nine children and resided in Charlestown, R.I. Samuel Clarke married Anne (Champlin) Clarke (d. 1719) and they had twelve children. He later married Susannah Champlin and together they had two children.

            Samuel's son, Joseph Clarke (1705-1783) married Sarah Reynolds (b. 1709) in 1727. She was the daughter of Joseph and Mercy Reynolds. Clarke lived in Richmond, RI and apparently operated an iron forge.


Stattler, Rick. "A Guide to the Joseph Clarke Record Book in the Clarke Family Collection," Rhode Island Historical Society Library, 1999.

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Scope and content:

            This collection, ranging from 1641-1787, consists of copies of original deeds and depositions relating to Indians in Rhode Island. The material is primarily deeds for Narragansett Indian lands in southern Rhode Island with the many in Charlestown. There are also several folders of testimony regarding the rightful successor as Sachem of the Narragansetts after the death of Sachem Charles Ninigret in 1735. The individuals competing for the title of Sachem were Charles Ninigret Jr., George Ninigret, and his son, Thomas.

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            These papers may have been donated by descendants of the Marchant family in 1972, as part of a large gift of Marchant Papers. This provenance is highly hypothetical. The documents were processed by Harold Kemble in the early 1980s and do not seem to be well-known to scholars, making an accession date in the 1970s or early 1980s likely. Many of the documents relate to Joseph Clarke (1705-1783) of Richmond, R.I. and his father Samuel. They were co-authors of the memorandum book donated by the Marchant family in accn. #1972.81.2 as part of the Marchant Papers. There was no master inventory of that large gift, and a small portion such as these manuscripts could easily have been removed without being noted in writing.

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Processing note:

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Box 1, folder 1. Land deed between Annaquatum and Benedict Arnold, 1641, for land around Pawtucket Falls in Providence

Box 1, folder 2. Land deed between Wonaconchat (alias Ninigret, sachem of the Nianticot) and John Porter, Samuel Wilber, Thomas Mumford, Samuel Wilson, and John Hull Gouldsmith, 1657, for land around Petequoimscutt

Box 1, folder 3. Land deed between Quesquance and Kacha-aquant (sachems of the Narragansett) and John Porter, Samuel Wilber, Thomas Mumford, Samuel Wilson, and John Hull Gouldsmith, 1657, for land around Petequoimscutt Hill

Box 1, folder 4. Land deed between Wanomatchine (sachem of the Narragansett) and Samuel Wilbur, et. al., 1661, confirming the deed of land given by Wonachonchat (alias Ninigret) in 1657

Box 1, folder 5. Land deed between Wamsitta (alias Alexander), Waunnamah, and Tekamum and Capt. James Cadworth, 1662, for land of the two westernmost of the Elisabeth Islands known as Puck:ye:ta:hautak and Wonamanutt

Box 1, folder 6. Land deeds between William Manannion (Minnien or Minion) and Edward Inman and John Mawry, 1669, 1672

Box 1, folder 7. Land deed between Nannawnantennew (alias Quanonchett, eldest son of Myantenomye, chief surviving sachem of the Narragansett) and Stephen Arnold, 1674, for land around the Pawtuxet River

Box 1, folder 8. Land deed between Tsowoacum (father was Pocatowaug, alias Mommute) and Daniel Wilcox, 1667, for land of the Elisabeth Islands known as Paseachanest and Powinockust

Box 1, folder 9. Ninigret trustees: 1717-1741

Deed between William Wanton, Thomas Fry, Joseph Stanton and Samuel Clarke and Edward Larkin, 1718/19

            Deposition of household members of Joseph Stanton, 1739

            Deposition of Susannah Clarke, wife of Samuel Clarke, 1739

            Deposition of Daniel Peckham and Sam Mott, 1741

Box 1, folder 10. Overseers and guardians of George Ninigret and the rest of the royal family: Richard Ward, Thomas Fry, Joseph Stanton, Samuel Perry, and George Wanton

                         Land deed with Jeremiah Clarke, 1741

Land deed with William Basset,1754

Box 1, folder 11. Deposition of Samuel Pucks concerning his acquaintance with Charles Ninigret and his presence at the marriage of Charles to Kate and that the marriage was before the birth of their son, Charles Jr., 1745

Box 1, folder 12. Dispute over whether Charles Ninigret, Jr. was the true sachem of the Narragansett tribe after Charles Ninigret, Sr. dies, 1745

Box 1, folder 13. Land deed between George Ninigret and Christopher Champlin, 1745

Box 1, folder 14. Thomas Ninigret, 1747-1757

Petition arguing that Thomas's Ninigret has no rights in a case of trespass brought by Thomas, son of George, against Samuel Clarke, tenant on land leased from the trustees of sachem land, 1747

Action of trespass brought by Thomas's guardian, John Nicholls against Benoni Sash and Jonathan Tindal for trespass, 1755-1757, many depositions from various Indians about who was elected sachem and the marriage between Charles Jr. and Kate

Action of trespass brought by Thomas' guardians, James Hanuman and Christopher Champlin against Nathaniel Pullman, 1757

Box 1, folder 15. Deposition of a Toby Cohoes, 1753, claiming that Charles Jr. was the son of Charles Sr. and Toby's daughter, Betty. Also states that George was crowned sachem upon Charles Sr.'s death

Box 1, folder 16. Deposition by Sarah Tom, 1753, claiming that Charles Ninigret, Jr. is the son of Charles Sr. and Kate

Box 1, folder 17. Claim of trespass by Joseph Clarke, guardian of Charles Ninigret, Jr. against Christopher Champlin, 1756

Box 1, folder 18. Power of attorney given to Joseph Clarke and John Clarke by Charles Ninigret, Jr., 1757

Box 1, folder 19. Lodowick Hope's (alias Paul Indian Man) examination for the complaint against him for breaking open Henry Mallard's mill house in Richmond and stealing cloth, 1787

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Indians, Rhode Island
Manuscripts, 1641-1787
Deeds and depositions
Arnold, Benedict.
Arnold, Stephen.
Basset, William.
Cadworth, James.
Champlin, Christopher.
Charlestown (R.I. : Town)
Clarke, Jeremiah.
Clarke, John.
Clarke, Joseph, 1705-1783.
Clarke, Samuel, 1672-1769.
Clarke, Susannah.
Coyhees, Toby.
Fry, Thomas.
Gouldsmith, John Hull.
Honyman, James.
Hope, Lodowick.
Indians of North America.
Inman, Edward.
Larkin, Edward.
Mallard, Henry.
Manannion, William (Minnien or Minion)
Mawry, John.
Mott, Sam.
Mumford, Thomas.
Nannawnantennew (alias Quanonchett)
Narragansett Indians.
Nichols, John.
Ninigret, Charles, d. 1735.
Ninigret, Charles, Jr.
Ninigret, George.
Ninigret, Thomas.
Peckham, Daniel.
Perry, Samuel.
Porter, John.
Pucke, Samuel.
Pulman, Nathaniel.
Richmond (R.I.)
Sash, Benoni.
Stanton, Joseph.
Tindale, Jonathan.
Tom, Sarah.
Wamsitta (alias Alexander)
Wanton, George.
Wanton, William.
Ward, Richard.
Wilbur, Samuel.
Wilcox, Daniel.
Wilson, Samuel.
Wonaconchat (alias Ninigret)

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