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Maker(s):Stoddard, John
Culture:American (1681-1748)
Date Made:1743
Materials:paper, ink
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Northampton
Accession Number:  HD 2009.33
Credit Line:Museum purchase
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Col. John Stoddard was probably the most powerful man in Hampshire County at the time of his death in 1748. John Stoddard was the son of the Rev. Solomon Stoddard and Esther Warham of Northampton, Massachusetts, and uncle of the Rev. Jonathan Edwards. The Rev. John Williams of Deerfield was a brother-in-law. After his graduation from Harvard College in 1701, Stoddard commanded Deerfield's garrison during Queen Anne's War and was one of the survivors of the French and Native attack there in 1704. He and Williams became the Province's negotiators for the captives in Canada for at least a decade after the raid. He became a lawyer, a member of the governor's council, a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, chief justice of the Hampshire court of common pleas, and colonel in the colonial militia. Stoddard became a leading figure in indigenous affairs and a promoter of missions. Governor William Dummer appointed him to supervise the construction of a line of forts above Northfield, Massachusetts. In 1723, 1724, and 1746 authorities commissioned him to treat with the Native groups at several conferences renewing the Covenant Chain. By then he had also become an influential land speculator. In 1722, Stoddard was on a committee to lay out the settlements along the Housatonic River. Two years later, Umpachenee, Konkapot, and several other River Natives sold him and his business associates land along the Housatonic River that would become the Stockbridge mission community. During King George's War, Stoddard commanded a company of rangers on the Massachusetts frontier and relayed intelligence on Native movements. Letter from Col. John Stoddard (1681-1748), requesting black ribbon, textiles (cyprus), and gloves for mourning after the death of his daughter Hannah Stoddard (1742-1743). Letter reads: "N. Hampton Aug 2d-1743/ We lost our Youngest Child yester-morning & purpose to Inter it/ about four of the clock in the afternoon./ Please to send two yds of Cyprus for a Hood for my Wife, a Hatband/ for my Self, of suitable length. My wife is desirous of Hoods for/ the two Eldest Girls, and proposes that you would send your/ narrow Cyprus & if she think it suitable, she will use what is need-/ ful, please likewise to send two pair of mens Gloves, White if/ you have them. A yrd & ½ of black Ribband of about ½ [width?] / I am yours,/ John Stoddard X/ If it suits Mr. Williams your/ Schoolmaster? To be here, I propose/ that he be one of the Bearers./ John Stoddard/ Aug. 2nd 1743"

mourning; deaths; children

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