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The historical record is full of evidence showing Native American people were engaging with the British settlers of Aquidneck Island on numerous levels. The documents here display a number of different interactions between individuals of the two groups in the political, interpersonal and commercial realms.

Map of New England and North America (c.1676) 

Map originally drawn by John Speed, printed in England. This map depicts New England and New York and is illustrated with depictions of North American animals. It also includes the names of various Native American Nations (some of which may be fanciful inventions), interspersed with the English names for geographical locations. Drawn by an arm-chair traveler for the enjoyment of like-minded others, it is a visual example of the lens through which 17th century British citizens thought of the new world: teeming with new and different animals and people.

Newport Historical Society Collection (2009.6)

Portage Bill for Ship Cleopatra (1768)

A portage bill shows the wages paid to each member of a ship’s crew upon completion of the voyage. This bill also notes the time when each member joined and left the voyage and their position on the ship. Of the fifteen crew members, seven are identified as sailors. Of these seven, two are identified as Native American: Sampson Lechiel and Amos Cotton.


Newport Historical Society Collection (Box 122, Folder 12)

Joseph Clarke named guardian of Charles Ninnegret

(January 22, 1753)

This document shows an agreement naming Joseph Clarke of Richmond the guardian in socage of “Charles Ninnegret an infant son of Charles Ninnegret the late sachem of the Narragansett Indian deceased” with the consent and choice of Kate, his mother. Clarke is tasked with managing the lands and other real estate of Ninnegret, prosecuting suits or defending in court against all actions and cases concerning the infant and his estate. 


Newport Historical Society Collection (Box 74, Folder 6)

James Dean to Philip Schuyler (September 2, 1780)

Request to Philip Schulyer from James Dean, agent for Indian Affairs, to pay Christopher Ellery 800 continental dollars to defray the cost of the expenses of a “party of Indians on their way from this place [Newport] to his Excellency Gen. Washington’s Quarters.” Schulyer was serving with the Continental Congress and Ellery was part of the Rhode Island General Assembly.


Newport Historical Society Collection (Box 1, Folder 3)

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