Native American

Dividing Line Between "Indians and the white people", Official Act 1787, Signed and Sealed

Dividing Line Between “Indians and the white people”, Official Act 1787, Signed and Sealed


[NATIVE AMERICANS.] Acts and Resolutions passed by the General Assembly of Rhode Island, March 1787. Printed Document Signed by Henry Ward, Secretary. 22 pp., 7.625" x 12.125". With partially missing embossed paper over wax seal on first page; first page separated; residue from binding on first page; good.




“It is Voted and Resolved, by Consent of Parties, That John Jenckes, of Providence, Esq.; Joseph Hazard, of South-Kingstown, Esq; and Joseph Stanton, jun. of Charlestown, Esq; be, and they are hereby appointed a Committee to run the Indian Line, so called, in Charlestown, to erect and fix certain permanent Bounds and Monuments, to ascertain the dividing Line between the said Indians and the white people; and that the same shall be final.”


“And whereas there is an Action now pending before the Superior Court of Judicature, &c. in and for the County of Washington, wherein the Indian Council have demanded, against Joseph Clarke, of said Charlestown, the Possession of a certain Tract of Land, which they claim as their Right of Inheritance: It is therefore further Voted and Resolved, by and with the Consent of the Parties, That the said Committee shall hear and determine the said Action, and make Report of the same to the said Superior Court, at their Term to be holden on the First Monday of October next, which shall be final: And that if the said Indians have any of the Lands of the said Joseph Clarke in Possession, the said Committee shall determine the same, and fix the Lines and Boundaries accordingly.”


“Whereas Joseph Cuzzens and James Wampy, Two of the Indian Council of the Narragansett Tribe of Indians, have represented unto this Assembly, that John Skesuck and Daniel Skesuck, Two of the said Tribe, heretofore petitioned this Assembly for Liberty of selling about Forty Acres of Land lying in Charlestown, bounded Easterly on Benjamin Hoxsie’s Land, Southerly, partly on Thomas Wilbour’s Land, and partly on Daniel Stanton’s Land, Westerly and Northerly, on Isaac Saunder’s Land, and also represented, that the said Land did belong to them, and that they were about removing into the Western Territory: That thereupon the Assembly supposing the Facts to be true, did pass an Act, and empowered them to dispose of the same under the Direction of Joseph Hoxsie, Esq; That the same is now notified for Sale, when in Fact the said John Skesuck and Daniel Skesuck, had no other Right to the said Land than the rest of the said Tribe: And that if the said Land be sold and the said John Skesuck and Daniel Skesuck remove off, they will leave behind them a Number of their Sifters who are poor, and the said Tribe will be unable to maintain them: And thereupon they prayed this Assembly (as the Indian Council were not notified of the said Petition) that the Sale of the said Land may be prohibited until a full and fair Enquiry can be made, whether it will be reasonable and adviseable to suffer the said Land to be sold under the Circumstances attending the same:


“Which being duly considered, It is Voted and Resolved, That the Sale of the said Land be prohibited: That the said John Skesuck and Daniel Skesuck, and all others concerned, appear at this Assembly at the next Session, to be heard upon the Premises; and that in the mean Time all further Proceedings be stayed.”


Historical Background:


In 1675, a Puritan expedition forced most of the indigenous Narragansetts in Rhode Island into the southern swamps of the area. During the 1780s, American frontier settlers brought wild hogs into the area, which ruined the clam beds on which the Narragansetts depended for food. Forced to trade with the Americans for food, the Narragansetts fell heavily into debt, which they tried to pay by selling grants of lands to the American settlers.


Through this resolution, the Rhode Island legislature appointed a committee of three Americans to establish a dividing line between American settlers and native Narragansetts in southwestern Rhode Island around Charlestown. The town is now the headquarters for the Narragansett Indian Tribe, which today has approximately 2,600 members.


This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.



Item: 67886

Price: $1,200.00
 Native American Native American Native American Native American
Native American
Click above for larger image.