Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe Historical Timeline

We are the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe

For thousands of years our ancestors roamed these lands. The arrival of the Pilgrims in 1620 changed all that once was four our people.

Of all the remaining Tribes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the “Herring Pond Indians” were the only Tribe to have been allotted lands in Plymouth Massachusetts.

Historical Events

1617 – 1619

After the so-called plague that devastated the natives living at Patuxet, the remainder of the Patuxet people were active and are still members of the herring Pond Wampanaog tribe today.


Landing of the Pilgrims

1632 - 1678

John Eliot, (born 1604, Widford, Hertfordshire, England—died May 21, 1690, Roxbury, Massachusetts Bay Colony [now in Massachusetts, U.S.]), Puritan missionary to the Native Americans of Massachusetts
Bay Colony whose translation of the Bible in the Algonquian language was the first Bible printed in North America.

1666 - 1667

John Cotton Jr, First Preacher to the Herring Pond Indians wrote a diary of his preaching’s and an Indian vocabulary list Herring Pond surnames brought down from here.

1689 - 1692

A Kings Charter merged Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth Colonies into the province of Massachusetts Bay, thereby bringing forth the creation of the Herring Pond Planation and putting our reservation under provincial control.


Thomas Tupper preached to the Praying Indians in and around Herring
Pond and create a list of his congregation "1693 List of 'Praying
Indians' in Herring Pond Congregation" Many of the surnames (ie;
Conet, Sepit) mentioned in his writings are Herring Pond Indians
mentioned in historical document through, 18th, 19th and the 20th
Century and exist within our Tribal Community today.

1693- 1838
  • Herring Pond Indian Petitions:
  • 1693 list of Sandwich Indians (Massachusetts Historical Society,
  • 1710 list of Monument & Herring Pond Indians (American Antiquarian
    Society, Worcester)
  • 1757 list of Sandwich Indians (Massachusetts Historical Society)
  • 1761 list of Sandwich Indians (Massachusetts Historical Society)
  • 1762 petition of Herring River Indians (Massachusetts State Archives)
  • 1783 petition of Plymouth & Sandwich Indians (Senate Unpassed
    Legislation, Mass. State Archives)
  • 1789 petition of Herring Pond Indians (Massachusetts Resolves, Mass.
    State Archives)
  • 1801-04 petition of Herring Pond Indians (Senate Unpassed
    Legislation, Mass. State Archives)
  • 1807 petition of Herring Pond Indians (Spooner Papers, Pilgrim Hall
    Museum, Plymouth)
  • 1807/08 petition of Herring Pond Indians (Massachusetts Acts, Mass.
    State Archives)
  • 1817 petition of Herring Pond Indians (Mass. Archives, not sure of
  • 1830 petition of Herring Pond Indians (Senate Unpassed Legislation,
    Mass. State Archives)
  • 1838 petition of Herring Pond Indians (Massachusetts Resolves, Mass.
    State Archives)
  • MORE...
1716 - 1717

Josiah Cotton ~ Schoolmaster, Indian missionary, and public servant, was born January 8, 1679/80, a son of the Reverend John Cotton (A.B.
1657), and a nephew of Cotton Mather. He preached to Herring Pond Indians and others. His works included a Vocabulary of the
Massachusetts (or Natick) Indian Language. Cambridge, 1829. pp. 112, (1). Also printed in 3 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc. II, 147-257 (1830).


Dr. Daniel Williams Died January 26. 1716 bequeathing a sum of
$13,000 to the so-called Williams Fund to help convert the “poor Indians” to Christianity. The Williams Fund was paid through Harvard
University to the Herring Pond Indians at Pondville into the mid to late
20th Century. A fund designated for and only paid to Indian churches in the Commonwealth


In the late 18th century, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
appoints Guardians to the Indians ~ and develops a guardianship
system ostensibly to prevent the abuse of Native Americans during
land negotiations, but in reality, only furthering the fraud, abuse, and
corruption. Guardians were paid by the tribes, but often the tribes
became indebted to the service of these Guardians and forced to sell
large tracts of land to settle these incurred debt by sales of land or

March 4, 1789

The United States of America became operational Under its new
constitution, Massachusetts, along with the 12 other original states, ceded exclusive authority to the central government to deal with the Indians, thereby ending Massachusetts control over the Herring Pond Reservation


1772 letter from a missionary at Sandwich (presumably one of the
Tuppers), accounting for recent
blankets and charity distributed; part of the Gideon Hawley papers at
Massachusetts Historical Society.


Herring Pond Indian Samuel Valentine served in Col. Ebenezer Sprout's
regiment, Continental Army, 16 February 1777 until his death on 1 April 1778 ("Massachusetts
Soldiers and Sailors in The War of the Revolution").


On 19 January 1785, the Massachusetts treasurer was ordered to pay
Herring Pond Indian Dorcas Volentine of Sandwich, what was due to her late husband Samuel Volentine for his service in Colonel Ebenezer Sprout's Regiment in 1777 and 1778.


Congress passed the first national Indian Trade and Intercourse Act,
thereby affirming both the constitutional principle and a continuing sovereign policy restricting Indian Land transactions established by the English Crown during the colonial period and continued by the 13 original States during their sovereignties from 1780 until early 1789


Dr Jedidiah Morse, at the direction of President Monroe and Secretary
of War Calhoun, visited, investigated all the Indian Tribes of the United States. Dr. Morse included the Herring Pond Tribe as residing on their reservation at Herring Pond, in his Report to the President, the Secretary of War and the Congress


Col. Thos. L. McKenney of the Indian Department, at the direction of Secretary of War Calhoun, prepared a report listing the Herring Pond Tribe as one of the “remaining” Indian Tribes in the United States “residing on their perspective reservations”


In a Petition of John Conet and Other Herring Pond Indians to the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, the Herring Pond Indians request of a sundry for aid to build a schoolhouse for the Tribe. This petition led to the birth of what is known to the us today as the Pondville Meetinghouse the 3rd
Meetinghouse built for the Tribe. Still in our care and custody today.


Massachusetts issued eleven reports or other documents affirming the continued existence of the Herring Pond Indians and their reservation as one of the “distinct bands” communities or tribes having reservations. SEE ABOVE Petitions


80 years after Massachusetts’ sovereignty over the Indians and Indian lands within the Commonwealth had ended, the Massachusetts legislature, without federal authority, passed Chapter 463, Acts 1869, purportedly stripped all Indians in Massachusetts including the Herring Ponders of their Indian Status and federal protection, and purportedly lifted the federal alienation restriction on Indian land, including the Herring Ponders


Of the above reports - The Earle Report. Through a legislative Act of 1859, John Milton Earle, Worcester politician and newspaper publisher, was appointed to investigate the social condition of Massachusetts Indians and advance recommendations whether they should be placed on the same legal footing as other residents of the Commonwealth. Specifically, Earle was named Commissioner "to examine into the condition of all Indians and the descendants of Indians domiciled in this Commonwealth, and make report to the governor, for the information of the general court, “dealing with four issues:

[a] "The number of all such persons, their place of abode, their distribution"

[b] "The social and political condition of all such persons"

[c] "The economic state of all such persons;" and

[d] "All such facts in the personal or social condition of the Indians of the Commonwealth, as may enable the general court to judge whether they can, compatibly with their own good and that of the other inhabitants of the State, be placed immediately and completely, or only gradually and partially, on the same legal footing as the other inhabitants of the Commonwealth." The Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe and its community data was included in this report in detail. 


As the church continued Charter LOGS were kept identifying members and the amount paid to Pondville


A revival swept the land and after over 100 years in existence the Pondville Indian Meetinghouse only used by the Tribe for funeral services opened its doors once again. The Pondville Meetinghouse continued to be the center of existence for the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe and is still today.


Gladys Tantaquidgeon, Mohegan Tribal Medicine Woman (1899–2005) visited east coast Tribal nations doing ethnobotanical research. The Herring Pond Wampanoag were among the Tribes she researched. Mohegan library shared records of this visit from a folder” Herring Pond Pondville “housed at the Mohegan Archives. 


Herring Pond Wampanoag (Annual Pondville Indian Church Report for the year 1959) expand their space at the old Pondville Indian Church/Meetinghouse by obtaining one of the abandoned Barracks buildings from Otis Air Force Base / Camp Edwards by the contract given to Mr. Briggs of Wareham to deliver it to across the Cape Cod Canal to Plymouth.


Williams Fund - Charles Harding (Chief) sent several letters regarding the distribution of these funds only given to Indian churches (see above) letters sent to and from KC Coombs and the Ethnohistory Society and others regarding this matter. 


Pondville History from Pondville collection of records HERE / Church became predominantly white


Land Claim - Lawsuits


Executive Order 126 – Affirms the existence of Tribes in the Commonwealth. Although not specifically mentioned the details of this are unknown as there is a slim file with two pieces of paper housed at the state house and the Governors Papers. Herring Pond Wampanoag has clear evidence that at this time were a sovereign Tribal Nation and should be afforded all rights thereof. 


In a letter written by legal counsel and sent to the President of the United States at that time Ronald Regan pleads for relief for the Herring Pond Wampanaog and others to protect their rights and secure their lands. This correspondence was signed by Frank James and John Jim Peters Sr


Aboriginal Rights Proclamation – Aboriginal Rights Proclamation enacted into legislature recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples to hunt, fish, trap and gather in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


Maxim - Greene VS Commonwealth of Massachusetts - Both of Herring Pond and Mashpee Wampanaog descent

Thru – Present

The Herring Pond Tribe is currently a state status Tribe and is continuing the work of their ancestors. Building capacity and resources to gain economic and legal power to put get an “Official” Federal Acknowledged petition together. Historical records indicate that from 1689 to the present day, the Herring Pond Tribe and their reservation have been federally recognized and under exclusive control of the United States and that trust agreement has been broken.