Nedson, Dorus and Dixon Families
Nineteenth-Century Native Indian Community
At the Massachusetts and Connecticut Border
©1997, Thomas L. Doughton
The Nedson, Dorus and Dixon families have been a clustering of related Native American households along the Massachusetts and Connecticut borders from the eighteenth century to the present. They are an example of the persistence and survival of Nipmuc people in ancestral homeland areas. They are one of the family or clan groups across which portions of the Nipmuc Tribe's history can be illuminated.
Several hundred contemporary Nipmucs, primarily in Massachusetts and Connecticut, are connected to these families.
Nedson Connections to Known Historical Native Americans
Members of these extended family clusters are descendants of established historical Nipmucs. The Nedsons alive in Massachusetts towns during the first half of the nineteenth century are children of John Nedson and Mary Pegan, all born in the 1770s and 1780s. Mary Pegan is related to known historical Nipmucs living in the eighteenth century at a tribal reservation at Dudley [later Webster] Massachusetts. John Nedson is connected to documented Paucatuck or Eastern Pequots from the Stonington, Connecticut region.
The children of John and Mary Pegan Nedson included: Polly Nedson Dorus [1774-1872], Asenath Nedson Buckingham, Edward Nedson and James Nedson. James Nedson, for example, married Eunice Sampson whose family owned a portion of the Nipmuc reservation at Woodstock, Connecticut, land which was deeded to individual Nipmuc families in the 1780s; through this connection, the Nedsons became associated and intermingled with other Nipmuc families in the Woodstock area.
Continuity into the Contemporary Period
Of Nipmuc and Pequot heritage, Nedsons in the nineteenth century frequently married into other extended Nipmuc families.
The children of Polly Nedson and Joseph Dorus included Solomon or Ebson Dorus, Dianthe Dorus and Charles Dorus. Esbon Dorus married Angenette White, from the reservation at Webster, becoming parents of eight children; of the children of Esbon and Angenette Dorus, son Henry married Emma Shelley, a daughter of Lydia Sprague Henries from the Webster reservation and daughter Amanda Dorus married Edwin Vickers. Additionally, Christina, Matilda and Betsey Dorus, daughters of Esbon and Angenette Dorus, married men from other New England Indian tribal communities.
Dianthe Dorus, a sister of Esbon, married cousin James Nedson while another brother, Charles Dorus, married Woodstock Nipmuc Mary Ann Dixon. Charles and Mary Ann Dorus were parents of eleven children including Polly Dorus who married Charles K. Vickers, Mary Dorus who married Samuel Vickers Jr., and Alice Susan Dorus, first married to Oscar Bates, after his death marrying another Samuel Vickers. Additionally, grandchildren of Charles and Mary Dorus marrying other Nipmucs included: Jane Hewitt White, Orianna Hewitt Vickers, Juliette Hewitt Vickers, Charlotte Hewitt White, Ethel Dorus Shepard, Mabel Dorus Shepard, and Charles H.E. Vickers.
James Nedson, son of John and Mary Pegan Nedson married Eunice Sampson. Their son James Nedson married cousin Dianthe Dorus. Another son Ephraim Nedson married Woodstock Nipmuc Susan Dixon [sister of Mary Ann Dixon, wife of cousin Charles Dorus] and, among their six daughters, Eunice Nedson married Nipmuc Erastus White.
Asenath Nedson, daughter of John and Mary Pegan Nedson married Joshua Buckingham. Their children included Sally Buckingham who married Samuel White at Sturbridge. In a second marriage after the death of Sally Buckingham, Samuel White married another Nipmuc, Mary Etta Humphrey, [granddaughter of Esther Pegan Humphrey] while one of Samuel's sons, Erastus White married Eunice Nedson. Additionally, among the grandchildren of Samuel and Sally White, the following married other Nipmucs: Ephraim Nedson White, Charles Shepard, Harriet Shepard, Ella Shepard, George Shepard, Mary Etta White, and Franklin White.
Because of their marriages to other Nipmucs, the Nedson family is connected to many other family groups in Nipmuc country.
For example, a granddaughter of Esbon and Angenette Dorus, Angenette Arkless is the grandmother of Edwin Morse, Ronald Henries Sr., and others; they are great-great-great-grandchildren of Polly Nedson Dorus. Likewise, in the Sturbridge area numerous Nipmucs connected to the White family are also either great-great-great-grandchildren of Polly Dorus's sister Asenath Nedson Buckingham or her brother James Nedson; members of the White family cluster includes individuals like Ken White and Donald Hinckley.
Additionally, in the Woodstock area numerous individuals connected to portions of the Dorus, Vickers, Hewitt and Bates families are related to Nedson ancestors. Carl O. Bates [aka Chief Sun Cloud] and Clarence Smith [aka Red Bird] are great-grandsons of Polly Nedson Dorus. All the grandchildren of Carl Bates, for example, are among scores of the great-great-great grandchildren of Polly Nedson Dorus.
Connections to the Nedsons spread out in other directions among contemporary Nipmuc families. Further, because of numerous marriages between cousins in this family, particularly in the period from 1860 to 1900, many individuals in Nipmuc country are two or three times descended from the children of John and Mary Pegan Nedson.
Nedsons: The Pequot Connections
Although the Nedson family, in the nineteenth century, is especially associated with the Nipmuc reservation lands at Woodstock and Nipmuc community in the Sturbridge, Southbridge, Woodstock and Union areas, and although they frequently married Nipmucs, the Nedsons are also of Pequot heritage.
Samuel Hartwick, the Southbridge, Massachusetts town clerk, for example, provided an overview of the Nedson family when he wrote in 1859 to John Milton Earle:
--42 years ago I became acquainted with a family of pure blood Indians by the name of Nedson. They told me some years ago that they belonged to the Pequot tribe. They then lived on the southern border of this town in the State of Connecticut upon some 40 acres of wild and rough land...Most of the family who were living have their home in this town for the last 30 years or more. Old Nedson must have died some 35 years ago. His wife contracted a second marriage, with one Dixon, with whom she had several children. Dixon was of mixed blood. Of the Nedsons, there are two living in this town, Ephraim and Mary. Of the Dixons, there are two grandchildren under 12 years old, who are cared for by Mary Nedson. She is 35, unmarried. Ephraim Nedson is about 45 years old, has a family, is industrious, and probably from some idiosyncrasy is and has always been temperate. He has some good property and is in every respect a good citizen. None of the connections, to my knowledge, have ever been paupers.
In a second letter, written in the same year, Hartwell qualified information he sent to John Earle. "The occupation of Ephraim Nedson is that of a wall layer and stone blaster. He can command $2.00 a day. Other blood of the Dixons is not well known. I think they are mixed, with white, Indian and Negro. The Nedson family are highly respected by all who know them."
A different image of the Nedsons - as lazy, intemperate and dissolute Indians, is offered by Woodstock histories.
In the 1830s Amos Paine "was the especial friend and patron of Woodstock's few remaining Indians," Natives knowing that "food and shelter could always be found at his ample farmhouse." At this time the Nedsons "still occupied their reservation near Hatchet Pond, swingling flax, chopping wood, weaving baskets and chairbootoms when, not too full of liquor. It was perhaps one of the progenitors of this family who shouldered a barrell-full of cider and trudged home with it. A pail-full at the gulp was nothing for them."
Invoking conventional stereotypes of drunken, debased Indians, historian Ellen Larned writes, "one by one they succumbed to drink or disaster. Jim Nedson was killed by a falling tree; his aged mother Meribah was thrown in the fire by a drunken savage. John, the last survivor, ended his days at the town poorhouse, and the land they had so long occupied was sold by the town authorities."
"Nedson," apparently sufficiently well known at Woodstock not to require a first name, "is remembered as a man of great strength. Many stories have been told of him," according to another Woodstock historian. A "favorite stunt of his," it's claimed, was to "pick up a barrel of cider and drink out of the bung hole, and there may be seen to this day beside the old orchard wall a large stone which he tipped up there" to balance barrels from which he drank.
A regional history informs that "Soon after the close of the Revolutionary War, Woodstock set aside 100 acres at Hatchet Pond in the northwestern part of the land as an Indian reservation and, there, in several small houses, gathered and scattered Indians of the town; and here the last of Woodstock's full-blooded Indians lived and died."
According to this writing by a long time Woodstock resident, the Hatchet Pond area "was always an attractive place for the Indian. A very large rock on the south shore is still known as the 'Indian rock,' the fields where they raised their corn are now covered with a forest growth, their little grave yard is now almost covered with weeds and brush. Its few rough stones mark the resting place of the last of our Indians. A few cellar holes here and there are all that remain of their habitations with the exception of a few old crab tress now almost leafless and lifeless..."
"The Indian Doctor Hazard, who lived by the Stone Bridge," Jacob Glasco, and the Dixon family are mentioned as nineteenth-century town residents by another Woodstock history, but, taken together, these two texts suggest a "disappearance" of the aboriginal people of the Woodstock area. In this, they are consistent with numerous other town histories from the region suggesting or stating that Indian people from the area had "vanished."
In 1850, however, Native people at Woodstock included: Charles Dorus, a shoemaker, with wife Mary Ann Dixon and children Franklin and Polly Dorus; his brother Esbon Dorus, a shoemaker, with wife Angenette White Dorus, their children Hezekiah, Henry and Betsey, along with Esbon's mother Polly Dorus, his mother-in-law Betsey White, and a nephew James Nedson; and, relatives of the Nedson and Dorus families, Hosea Dixon, a basketmaker, with wife Hopey and their four children.
Other Woodstock Natives in 1850 included Sarah Crowd, serving in a white household; and the families of brothers George and David Dailey, both laborers, while other Indians were living at neighboring Thompson.
Thompson Native residents at this time, included: Mary Vickers and family of seven persons; Erastus Vickers and family of six persons; Hannah Pegan and young son Edgar; Welcome Dailey and family of six persons; William Anthony and family of eight persons; Stephen Lewis and family of four persons; and Silas Lewis with his family of eight persons.
Further, a 17-year old Native John Dailey was living in a white household at Ashford, and Massachusetts-born Aaron Humphrey with wife and daughter were at Eastford.
In his 1852 history of Connecticut Indians describing their "almost entire disappearance," De Forest states "we may drop a tear over the grave of a race that perished," at the time represented by "a few barbarous tribes of a race which seems to be steadily fading from existence" as part of a "steady and apparently irremediable decline." He continues in extraordinary cadences, claiming:
Had they remained unmolested, and unvisited by Europeans [New England Natives] till the present day, they would now have been as rude, as poor, as warlike, as disdainful of labor, as fond of torturing their enemies, and in ever way, as uncivilized...The country would still have been covered with forests; fish, in multitudes, would still have filled the rivers; shell fish would still have been scattered, in exhaustless profusion, along the shores. Tracks of wild beasts would be found, where now extends the solid pavement, trodden by thousands of human feet; the savage bear would be seen coming out of his hollow tree, where now crowds of intelligent youth are emerging from the seats of learning; the screams of the wild cat, or the panther, would be heard where now resounds the busy hum of machinery, or the sweet melody of sacred music; and the land which is now a garden of Eden, would then be a desolate wilderness...had the latter never been deprived of a foot of land otherwise than by fair and liberal purchase, and had not a single act of violence ever been committed upon them, they would have still consumed away with nearly the same rapidity, and would ultimately have perished. Their own barbarism has destroyed them; they are in a great measure guilty of their own destruction; yet is this guiltiness also their deep and pitiable misfortune.
Across this typical "historical" text are some of the recurring themes central to the discourse of the already "vanished" New England Natives: they were cruel, warlike, indolent savages who would have wiped out one another, and, destroyed themselves, their inevitable disappearance allowing for the transformation of a desolate wilderness to a garden of Eden. Many nineteenth-century regional histories offer comparable depiction of Natives.
When De Forest was writing some of the very people he has "disappeared" were to be "seen," alive, at Woodstock, known to be Indian by their neighbors, described in town histories as the Indians they were.
Together, these Native people were a clustered community bound to one another through kinship; they constituted a concentration of Native families in the area of Wabaquasset, an important seventeenth-century Nipmuc Indian homeland area. Despite texts cited and other writing imagining them "noble sons of the forest" who had "disappeared," they remained within Wabaquasset homelands in the antebellum period.
Where numerous nineteenth-century source materials offer a whimsical and fantastic summary of Native American family history, the Nedsons' explanation of themselves as connected to the Pequot community of southeastern Connecticut is verifiable. For example, in the 1750s and 1760s, at Stonington, Connecticut, "an Indian school was also established. Edward Nedson, an Indian, began to teach it in his own house February 22, 1758, a room being fitted up for the purpose. This Indian continued faithful in this service until his death, September 1, 1769. He is said to have been honest, prudent and useful. His widow would not permit the school to be kept in her house thereafter, and in 1772 the commissioners voted to build a schoolhouse; but the school had seen its prosperous days."
Additionally, Barbara Brown and Rose provide summaries of some fourteen records of Nedsons, identified as members of the Pequot Tribe, in and around Stonington, Connecticut., including Revolutionary War veteran and pensioner James Nedson, husband of Tyra Apes, father of eleven children, whose estate was probated at Stonington in 1826.
All of these and other Nedsons might be connected to a 65-year old male named Neezohkunnump, a resident at Mashantucket or Groton, Connecticut in 1762. A roster of the "remnant of the Pequot Tribe" of that year found, in addition to Neezohkunnump, 140 persons in fifteen families living in the northeastern section of Groton, most still living in wigwams.
Whether the connection to Neezeohkunnump can be maintained with further research, the Nedsons are documented members of the eighteenth-century Pequot community. Both a James and a John Ned served with Connecticut volunteers during the Seven Years War; they were among numerous Natives, some from Massachusetts, part of Connecticut units between 1755 and 1757.
For example, during the first year of military engagement in 1755 the following fifty-four Native people were among soldiers in Connecticut units:
Sampson Alcom; Thomas Alcom; George Ashbow; Joshua Aucom; Solomon Chebuck; George Chebucks; Henary Chip; Peter Coeghegan; Peter Coighets; Mordica Cuff; Richard Dorus; Ezen Ephraims; Cummus Indian; John Indian; John Indian; John Indian; Maugunet Indian; Pyras Indian; Wonks Indian; Daniel Jomps; John Mejon; Samuel Mossure; John Nanapum; Pharoh Necko; Joshua Nonsuch; Charles Pawheag; Jacob Pompey; Japhet Pompey; James Possetouce; Peter Sanchuse; Solomon Scipio;Thomas Scipio; Henary Shuntup; Daniel Sireas; Richard Skate; John Skecuck; William Sobuck; Jacob Sunkaway; Isaac Tawdecommewas; Abraham Tecomwas; Joseph Tobey; John Tom; William Tom; Lemuel Toney; Reuben Toney; John Toroomp; Richard Torrowa; David Touse; Hatchet Touse; Samuel Uncos; Benjamin Waggs; James Woves; and, Suckegan
Individuals listed do not represent any complete roster of Connecticut Natives for 1755; names here are a sample, demonstrating an extent of Indian participation in Connecticut's regular military units. Some other men in this sample, however, came from Pequot and Mohegan homelands where Ned, Need or Nedsons also lived.
Norwich Native soldiers for 1756 included Henry Shantup, Samson Shawcut, Abraham and Isaac Tecomwass, Joseph Teecuips, Benjamin and Samuel and Pompey Uncas, and John Wamponey. From New London some 1756 Indian soldiers were Richard Dorus, Thomas and Jonathan Occam, Richard Pockhage and Lemuel Toney while other Natives were with companies raised in Stratford, Hartford, Lebanon, Cornwall, Guilford and other southern Connecticut towns.
In 1757 Natives from this region continued their participation in military campaigns. James Ned or "Nead" was an enlistee in Captain Benjamin Gallup's company composed of men from the Groton area; other Natives serving with Ned in this unit included William Apes, Daniel Charles, Daniel Cozumps, William Jaquish, Jabez Jethro, James Hagar, James Possetouse, Jack Punise, John Quiomps, Thomas and Peter Quocheets, Charles Scubod, Joshua Tobey and George, John and Lemuel Toney. At the same time John Ned or "Need" was serving in a company of men from the Suffield region along with other Natives including Wonks Nobikin and Jonathan Pascho. What apparent is these and other rosters is Nedson involvement in a world of eighteenth-century Native social communication.
There was participation of Native Massachusetts men along with Connecticut Natives. For example, Jonathan Pegan and Hezekiah Waban who served in 1756 in a company commanded by Lieutenant. Colonel John Payson of Hartford, Samuel Pogenet who enlisted with a Cornwall unit, and Simon Chalcom in a Lebanon company, were all connected to Nipmuc families at Woodstock and Natick.
An involvement of members of the Nipmuc Pegan family and Pequots can be verified as early as 1732 when Captain. Thomas Pegan from Natick was sent to the Connecticut, to the "Mohegans," to "introduce among them family worship and the observation of the Lord's Day" in preparation for a missionary visit by Natick's minister, Reverend Oliver Peabody. Other individuals serving in these Connecticut units with connections to Native families in Massachusetts included Joseph Sina. while Natives from traditional Nipmuc homelands in the Woodstock area also served in Connecticut units like members of the Shontap, Squuntop or Sheentop family.
The involvement of Nipmucs with Pequots or Mohegans are among activities of eighteenth-century Natives suggesting connections across different southern New England homelands and across Euroamerican conceptions of "tribes" or "nations."
For example, Jonathan Pegan was the father of Mary Pegan who married a Nedson brother, named John; a daughter of that union, Polly Nedson married Joseph Dorus; and, their children and grandchildren, scattered through townships of southern Worcester County and northern Connecticut, became part of Nipmuc communities.
Additionally, other Pequot families like the Quons or Quans will also locate to Nipmuc homelands. John Quan and his family, later in the century, moved to an area near Alum Pond in Sturbridge, where they lived in a "shanty" and "wandered for months at a time." Quan's widow, also known to Brimfield residents as Sarah or Polly Green "often said she was a doctor and carried herbs in her basket."
However, across the Nedson family can also be confirmed a long participation of regional Native people in colonial wars. John Wompee and Simon Chochoi, both from Norwich listed as "Indian," John Chops from Stratford, William Skesuck and Thomas Paucheage from Stonington, all veterans of French & Indian war campaigns will later serve in Connecticut Revolutionary units; additionally in numerous instances, children and grandchildren of Native soldiers of previous conflicts participated in the War of Independence.
Revolutionary soldiers from Nipmuc homelands areas in Connecticut included: Joshua Ephraim and Eleazer Pegan from Union; Josiah Pegan from Woodstock; John Wompee from Pomfret; William Placey, Jabez Pottage, Jonathan Leathercoat, Joseph Robbins and Joseph Meason from Windham.
Robin Nedson and Edward Nedson, from Stonington, were also volunteers. Some other soldiers from Pequot and Mohegan communities included: Peter Apes, Benjamin George, Ephraim Harry, Cudjoe Helms, Cato Jessup, Thomas Lambert, Thomas Paucheage, Samuel Peters, Jacob Robin, Jacob Sawas, and William Skesuck.
The assertion of the Southbridge, Massachusetts Town Clerk in 1859 that the Nedsons were of a Pequot heritage is supported by documentation, the claims of contemporary members of this family to be of both Pequot and Nipmuc heritage is sustained.
Nedson Intermarriages and Residence in Nipmuc Homelands
Joe Dorus and his wife Polly Pegan Nedson, according to a Euroamerican informant writing in 1897, "spent most their time tramping" around the Brimfield, Sturbridge, Monson area, in the 1820s and 1830s, "turning up every few weeks begging for food and the privilege of sleeping in barns." During colder weather, with their children Sol [later known as Esbon], Joe, Charles and Diantha, they would sleep on floors of kitchens in white households near fireplaces, while in the summer they would "camp out in the woods near some ponds for weeks at a time."
Often "old blankets and quilts," were kept for them, since they never bought any clothes and "wore cast-off garments of the white people." To support themselves, they "fished, snared partridges and rabbits…and raided the farmers' cornfields and potato patches." They also made "a few baskets which they traded mostly for rum."
Occasionally Josh[ua] Buckingham, a Sturbridge Native and husband of Polly Dorus's sister, Asenath Nedson, "travelled with them," and they would "sit under a tree and send one of the boys to the house for food." Esbon, one of the boys, "once came in and asked for bread and cheese and pickles," and "after eating they all lay down and slept for several hours."
Polly Dorus had "occasional fits," thought "caused by too much rum," while Joe Dorus was "witty and sarcastic, and very fond of cider." Calling himself a "doctor," he carried "a bundle of dirty packages, which he called his medecines in an old leather bag."
Just as Natives in the Framingham area, according to historian Josiah Temple, felt entitled to take trees for basket work, the Dorus family "never hesitated to cut a tree for basket stuff when they saw one they wanted, no matter whose land it was on."
The Family of James Nedson and Eunice Sampson
It was reported in 1928 that at the Hatchet Pond site was an "Indian Reservation of the Wabbaquassets," where some "forty bodies are there buried, the result of a massacre." At one time "a severe cyclone visited the place, which so demolished the dwellings that those remaining were sent to the environs of North Woodstock, hence the introduction of the Dixon family into this vicinity," while one of the Woodstock historians claimed that "the 'September gale' tore off some of the roofs of their houses but they continued to live there until about 1850 " and "the few that were remaining there "moved to the vicinity of North Woodstock. "The fields where they raised their corn are now covered with a forest growth," he continued, "their little grave yard" was "almost covered with weeds and brush," its "few rough stones" marking the "resting place of the last of our Indians."
Woodstock's real estate records confirm comparable occupation of Nedson family of a portion of the Hatchet Pond reservation site. In 1787, approximately fifty acres were deeded to David Sampson, a subsequent 1849 divison of the parcel by a dirt road assigned some thirty acres to Eunice Sampson Nedson, the daughter of David Sampson, and the remaining twenty acres to Esbon Dorus. However, in 1856, both Eunice Nedson and Esbon Dorus sold their holdings.
Regarding the Dixons, in 1860, an apparently widowed Hopey Dixon was at Woodstock in a household including sons Henry Dixon, a 21-year old laborer, and Hosea Dixon, a 17-year old laborer while her daughter Lovan Dixon, aged 29, was a domestic living with a white family.
In 1870, an "Indian," Lovan Dixon was listed in the federal census, again, at Woodstock, as a domestic living with a white family while her brother Hosea Dixon, also an "Indian," was recorded with his family: Matilda [Nichols, daughter of Nipmuc Lydia Sprague Henries], daughter Lydia Dixon, sons Rufus and Ernest Dixon, and wife's sisters Ida Shelley and Sarah Henries.
A story in 1928 about the funeral of Miss Lovan Dixon at the North Woodstock Congregational Church, defined her as a "Wabbaquasset Indian, who has many friends in Woodstock, and Putnam…and in Sturbridge," her most recent home, where she had lived with a great-niece Mrs. Charles Shepard. Explaining that she was named Elizabeth by her family, the story claimed that "a lady in Southbridge by the name of Lovan Tiffany, wished her to have her name, and also gave a gift to go with the name."
She was "a descendant of the Indians," according to the story, " who had spent much of life working as a servant of Euroamerican families, including Lovan Tiffany. The feature added that "it may be worthy to note here that fourteen of her relatives are buried in the North Woodstock cemetery without notes to denote their resting place."
Polly Pegan Nedson and Joseph Dorus
Charles Dorus, Mary Ann Dixon and Family
Born at Woodstock in 1832, dying at Sturbridge in 1888, Mary Ann Dixon married Charles Dorus, a son of Polly Pegan Nedson and Joseph Dorus. They were the parents of at least eleven, several of them marrying Indian cousins.
The first child of Charles and Mary Ann Dorus, a son Franklin would have been born in 1846 when she was fourteen. A daughter Polly was born at Woodstock in 1847. In 1851, Mary Ann Dixon and Charles Dorus were parents of a daughter, Rhoda, born in Woodstock. A son Leander was born in 1852, twins Mary and Martha born in 1857 and a daughter Orianna Dorus in 1858.
Mary Ann and husband Charles Dorus, a day laborer, were recorded at Woodstock in the 1860 federal census, their household including eleven year old daughter Polly, eight year old son Leander, three year old twins Martha and Mary Ann, fourteen year old son Franklin and daughter Orianna.
A daughter Ida S. Dorus followed in 1861. Their son Ephraim Dorus was born in 1863. In 1864, they were parents to Libby Dorus born in February while during the summer months a three year old daughter [Ida?] Sarah died at Woodstock of dysentery. Another daughter, Mary Ann Dorus, was born to them in 1866. Their son Franklin Dorus died in 1867 of bone disease, while in 1868 their daughter Alice Susan Dorus was born.
In 1870, all listed as "Indian" in the federal census, Mary Ann Dixon and Charles Dorus, a farm laborer, are recorded with children twelve year old Orianna, six year old Ephraim, three year old Alice Susan and one year old Hannah Dorus. In same year, Mary Dorus, aged fourteen, was a live-in domestic at white household at Pomfret, her twenty-two year old cousin Mary Nedson serving in a white household at Thompson and their thirty-four year old aunt Lovan Dixon, a live-in domestic with a white family, also at Woodstock. By this time, however, several of the Dorus had established households of their own.
In 1868 their oldest surviving child, Polly Dorus married Hampton, Connecticut Native Charles Vickers, born in 1838, son of Annie Malbone and Samuel Vickers. Charles and Polly Vickers were parents to Polly, the first grandchild of Mary and Charles Dorus, born at Woodstock in 1869.
The Vickers couple first settled at Woodstock before moving permanently to Sturbridge. At Sturbridge, they had several children including: Laura L. Vickers in 1870; Charles Henry Vickers, "mixed," in 1872; Leander Earl Vickers, "colored" in 1875; and, William Andrew Vickers, in 1877. Polly Dorus Vickers died in 1899, her husband Charles Vickers living until 1902. Laura L. Vickers remained in Sturbridge where in 1889, recorded as a nineteen-year old "Indian," she married Hingham born "mulatto" Walter T. Tuttle, while her brother Charles Henry Elmer Vickers married cousins Orianna and Juliette Hewitt.
Mary Ann Dorus, another daughter of Charles and Mary Ann Dorus, in 1868 married Samuel Vickers Jr., a brother of Charles K. Vickers. Mary Ann and Charles Vickers settled at Woodstock where their children were born. They were parents of Wesley E. Vickers, born in 1873 at Woodstock; an unnamed male born in 1877; and Anna M. Vickers, born in 1882. Anna Vickers, an "Indian" only lived two months dying of a lung aneurysm in February 1882. Her mother Mary Dorus Vickers, also an "Indian" in the town records, died at Woodstock of pneumonia three weeks later.
Ephraim Dorus, an "Indian" born in 1863 to Charles and Mary Ann Dorus married Julia L. Crawford, a Euroamerican, and before 1885 they were parents of several children. Ephraim Dorus's son Kenneth Dorus moved to Astoria, Oregon while two of his daughters married and settled at Sturbridge. Ethel Lucy Dorus [born Woodstock, 1889] married Sturbridge-born Nipmuc Charles H. Shepard at Woodstock; her sister Mabel Dorus [born Woodstock 1887] married George R. Shepard, her husband's brother. Where the Dorus sisters were grandchildren of Polly Nedson Dorus the Shepard brothers were grandchildren of Asenath Nedson Buckingham. Ethel Dorus Shepard lived until 1948 and was the mother of Kenneth Shepard [born 1914] and Harold Shepard [born 1927] while her sister Mabel Dorus Shepard was the mother of Blanche Shepard [born 1906] and Helen Shepard [born 1927], all great-great-grandchildren of both Polly Dorus and Asenath Buckingham.
Another daughter of Mary Ann and Charles Dorus, Ida S. Dorus, married Joseph Bates, brother of Oscar D. Bates [See below, the husband of Alice Susan Dorus]. The Bates brothers were from Eastford and sons of William Bates, born at Ashford and Maria Malbone.
Another daughter of Charles and Mary Ann Dorus, Martha Dorus, born at Woodstock in 1857, married Charles Hewett at Sturbridge in 1877. They were the parents of eight children including seven daughters, many marrying at Sturbridge. Jane L. Hewitt, a great-granddaughter of Polly Dorus, who married Nipmuc Franklin E. White, a great-grandson of Asenath Buckingham. Orianna Hewett [1881-1914], a great-granddaughter of Polly Dorus, married Nipmuc Charles E. H. Vickers, a cousin, a great-grandson of Polly Dorus with whom she produced two sons. And, Juliette Hewett [1882-1929] in 1919 married Charles E. H. Vickers, her sister's widower, with whom she also had children. Additionally, their brother Charles N. Hewett [1889-1977], an "Indian" was married at Sturbridge in 1913 establishing a family, like those of his sisters, still in the greater Sturbridge area.
The youngest child of Charles and Mary Ann Dorus, Alice Susan Dorus in 1888 married Oscar D. Bates, born 1850 at Ashford. Their children included: Carl O. Bates, born 1888 at Putnam, both parents described at "Red Indian;" Clara Bates, born 1893 at Woodstock; Charles Joseph Bates, born at Westville, Mass. in 1896, dying at Woodstock in 1899; Harry Esbon Bates, "red," born at Woodstock in 1898; Leland E. Bates, born at Wodstock in 1899; Edith Bates, born at Woodstock in 1890, Jessie Ida Bates, born 1893, and Evelia Bates, born 1900. In a second marriage she married Henry Samuel Vickers and was mother of Pauline Vickers. Alice Susan Vickers died at Hampton, Connecticut in 1940.
Of the Bates family, William Bates, born circa 1812, died at Putnam in 1893, a widower, cause of death listed as frozen foot and fistula. A son, George Bates, born at Eastford, circa 1853, married Mrs. Nellie Gould at Putnam in 1888; she had been born circa 1860, Nellie A. Gaitor, at Woodstock and was the widow of Charles F. or Frank Gould. Her father was George W. Gaitor who had been born in Maryland in 1813, at the time of his death at Putnam a peddler while it appears that the Gould family came to Putnam from the St. Albans, Vermont area. Of the children of Charles F. and Nellie Gould, a son Arthur F. Gould, born at born in 1886, [died Putnam 1953] married at Putnam, Mabel Ida Bates.
William C. Bates, born 1861 in Eastford, married Mary O. Malbone; their son George Bates was born at Putnam in 1881, a daughter Beatrice in 1881
Esbon Dorus, Angenette White and Family
Solomon or Esbon Dorus, a son of Joseph Dorus and Polly Pegan Nedson married Angenette White from the Nipmuc Reservation at Webster. In 1850, Esbon and Angenette Dorus were living at Woodstock, Connecticut; the household including both Polly Dorus, the mother of Esbon; Betsey White, Angenette's mother and five year old James Nedson.
By 1870, Angenette was married to "Indian doctor" Samuel Hazard at Woodstock and in her second marriage was mother of John A. and Joseph L. Hazard. Writing in this century, a Woodstock historian claimed "many now living remember the Indian Doctor Hazard, who lived by the Stone Bridge." Her husband was a son of Samuel and Hannah Hazard.
Like other Natives of the region, the Hazards were connected to Indian families in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Rufus Hazard, a brother of Samuel, married Alithea Johns [born ca 1817] at Oxford, Mass. She was a daughter of Polly Johns whose mother was connected to eighteenth-century Hassanamisco families and had married Nipmuc Isaac Johns. The grandmother of Mrs. Alithea Hazard was Elizabeth Abraham Sampson. Rufus Hazard, wife Alithea and son William Wallace Hazard are listed in Earle's Report.
A sister of Rufus and Samuel Hazard, Diana was married to Sylvester Thomas from Hebron, Connecticut and they moved to Oxford for work in the mills. After his death, she married Sylvester Smith and by 1850 had seven children carrying the Smith surname. In a third marriage she wed Christopher Vickers who died in a Civil War prison camp. As died Vickers she died at Oxford in 1877. Diana Smith and her children are listed in Earle's Report.
A second Hazard sister married at Mendon, Mass. where she died as Eliza Lashure prior to John Milton Earle's compilation for his report. A third Hazard sister, Hannah Phillips [born circa 1823] was living at 1860 at Uxbridge with husband Olney Phillips and step daughter Pauline Tyler.
Becoming part of another Nipmuc family with social and kinship networks as extensive as those of her own family, Angenette Hazard remained at Woodstock where she died of cancer in 1897, town records labeling her "red' Indian. Her sons by Samuel Hazard predeceased her.
Angenette Hazard was participant in the Dudley court cases. Although records would fail to inform whether her separation from Esbon Dorus in the 1860s was amicable or otherwise, Angenette Hazard remained enmeshed in Nipmuc community at Woodstock, where she lived for thirty years among children, grandchildren and other Nipmuc kinspeople. For example, her children Henry Dorus and Betsey Arkless Jackson Noyes, at various times, lived at Woodstock. Of the next generation, Myra Dorus, Henry's daughter by Emma Shelley [daughter of sister-in-law Lydia Sprague Henries], lived in the Woodstock and Putnam area where she married Hiram J. Raymond. Also, granddaughter Angenette Arkless [daughter of Betsey Dorus] was resident at Woodstock where a daughter Luella Goins was born and she subsequently married Winfred Henries [son of her sister-in-law Lydia Sprague Henries.]
Additionally, the Jackson family from which three husbands of her daughters came was living in Woodstock in 1860 and 1870.
Of her former husband's family, —the Dixons and Doruses, she probably knew 22-year old Mary Nedson, a domestic in a white household at Thompson in 1870.
Not only would her own family, the Whites, have lived in proximity to the Spragues on reservation lands at Webster, but her sister Sally Maria White married Israel Sprague and was the mother Mary Ella and Angelia Maria Sprague. Dying of consumption in 1863, Sally Sprague was followed to the grave, in 1864, by Israel Sprague, leaving behind two children including five-year old Angela Sprague. Israel Sprague was brother of Lydia Sprague Nichols Shelley Henries and it is unlikely Angenette Hazard was unaware of members of the family Lydia Sprague, her sister-in-law, moving into the Woodstock area.
Continue on to Nedson Genealogy Report
This information is made available from the Nipmucnet, webpages of the Quinsigamond Band of Nipmucs, an association of Nipmucs and friends in Worcester. For more information about this or other Nipmuc family history, please contact Nipmucnet
[Note: Bill Gates wouldn't allow me to add the numerous footnotes to this report, and I'm not smart enough to outsmart him. Sorry, Sue]