“How to find Onepenny: Re-telling Connecticut’s Native History through Wongunk Genealogy”

On May 25, 2018 Prof. Katherine Hermes, J.D., Ph.D. and Prof. Alexandra Maravel, J.D.  of Central Connecticut State University, New Britain sat down with Ronna Stuller on the public access television show, “Thinking Green,” to discuss their genealogical research on the Wongunk (Wangunk), the Native people who lived (and in some cases still do) along the Connecticut River from Hartford (Suckiog) in the South Meadows, Wethersfield (Pyquag), South Glastonbury (Nayaug), Middletown, Portland (Wongunk Meadows), Haddam and Thirty Mile Island, East Hampton, Killingly and other towns.  The Wongunk were connected to the Tunxis of Farmington as neighbors and relatives. Beginning with Alterbaenhuit, the first Wongunk sachem encountered by the Dutch in 1614, and his son, Sowheag (aka Sequin),  Hermes and Maravel  have reconstructed the family trees of the Wongunk who appear in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts records. They became especially interested in the family of Sarah Onepenny. This is the story of their research.

 

RelationshipTree of Native Wills by the Onepenny family

The Descendants of Sowheag

Recommended Reading:

  • Katherine Hermes and Alexandra Maravel, “Finding the Onepennys Among the Wongunk,” Special Issue of the Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut, 2017, edited by Lucianne Lavin.
  • Lucianne Lavin, Ph.D., “Pre-colonial History of the Wangunk,” Institute for American Indian Studies

  • Katherine Hermes, “Law of Native Americans, to 1815,” in Cambridge History of Law in America, eds. Christopher Tomlins and Michael Grossberg, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
  • Katherine Hermes and Alexandra Maravel, “‘I, Pampenum’: Native American Women’s Use of Connecticut’s Colonial Courts,” in Communities of Women, eds. Barbara Brooks and Dorothy Page, (Dunedin: University of Otago Press, 2002).
  • Katherine Hermes, “‘Justice Will Be Done Us’: Algonquian Demands for Reciprocity in the Courts of European Settlers,” in The Many Legalities of Early America, eds. Christopher L. Tomlins and Bruce H. Mann, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture, 2001).
  • Katherine Hermes, “‘By Their desire recorded: Native American Wills and Estate Administrations in Colonial Connecticut,” Connecticut History38, no. 2 (1999).