Indigenous People and the New England Town Meeting: Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 1730-1775

Special Report: Participating in the United States: Town Meetings
By Daniel R. Mandell

In the 1730s, Mohicans  along the Housatonic River settled in the mission town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. They participated in town meetings and elected “traditional” leaders to typical New England offices. Even after a growing population of English settlers began dominating town offices, the Indians remained a strong presence in meetings, which was conducted in the Mohican as well as the English language, with all voting done viva voce. In 1763, there was major conflict when an English faction tried to take control by introducing secret balloting; the Indians complained and mostly won their case. Stockbridge thus provides a case study comparing Indian and colonial New England decision-making, and highlighting the evolution of the town meeting during the eighteenth century.


  • American Revolution
  • Ballot
  • Board of Selectmen
  • Cheeksonkun, Jacob
  • Clerk
  • Constable
  • Fence Viewer
  • French and Indian War
  • Massachusetts General Court
  • Hog Reeve
  • Housatonic River
  • Kaukauenaunat, Benjamin
  • Kaunameek
  • Konkopot
  • Mahican
  • Mohawk
  • Mtockson, Johannis
  • Selectman
  • Stockbridge
  • Surveyor
  • Tithingman
  • Umpachene
  • Viva Voce
  • Williams, Elijah
  • Woodbridge, Joseph
  • Woodbridge, Timothy
Go to the article on