Squib, Betsy, 1788 - 1853

Born circa. 1788  Betsy Squib was a longtime member of the Mashantucket community and frequent signatory on tribal petitions.  Betsy Squib appears consistently in the records of the state appointed overseer of the Mashantucket or Western Pequot Tribe as receiving goods and services from 1820 until 1853.  
 
Her eldest children, Hannah and William Aaron, were born in 1814 and 1816, respectively.  While a marriage record is non-extant, their last name suggest that Aaron might have been the surname of their father[1].  
 
The earliest reference to Betsy Squib in the overseer records is on December 27, 1819 when the overseer settles an account with Gurdon Bill in her favor.  Other contemporaneous accounts  are associated with medical care she received from Dr. Daniel King.  From March of 1820 to January of 1822, Dr. King attending to and provided medicine for Betsy Squib on a number of occasions.  Whether this medical treatment was related to the birth of two more children, Anna Wait, born ca. 1820 and John Waite, born ca. 1822 is unknown.   It’s likely that Caesar Wait was the father of these two children, despite that fact that Betsy and Caesar weren’t officially married until July 4, 1824. 
 
Caesar and Betsy maintained a household on the reservation.  In December of 1824, the overseer to the tribe saw to the repair of her home, as well as, to that of Moses Sunsamon’s.   It’s quite likely that it was in this house that Betsy cared for fellow Pequot, Ann Wampey, for a ten week period in late winter to early spring in 1825.  Unfortunately, all was not well in the Squib/Wait household with marital discord coming to a head in March of 1825.  Betsy filed a complaint with the New London Court Court against her husband, Caesar.  In the complaint, she stated that he was an  “evil minded, disorderly and wicked person” and that she feared for her life.  Caesar was arrested and required to post bond in assurance of good behavior.  The case was called and discharged in June of that year.  
 
1825 was the same year that Betsy Squib was a signatory on a tribal petition.  She, along with 18 others, petitioned the New London County Court for the discharge of overseer Elisha Crary and for the appointment of Erastus Williams in his stead.  
 
While the state of her marriage to Caesar after the abusive incident remains unclear, by 1829 Squib had had two more children, John Toby ( b. ca. 1828) and Henry Toby (b. ca. 1829).  It seems that fellow Pequot Frederick Toby may have been the father of these two boys, but whatever relationship he and Betsy Squib Wait may have had, it was not formalized with a marriage. 
 
On February 7, 1831 Betsy Squib, along with eight other men and women from the community, put her name to another petition to the New London County Court praying to retain Overseer Erastus Williams whom the tribe considered well suited to the job.    
 
Records indicate that on April 28, 1833 Betsy Wait married Reuben Aaron[2].  It is possible that the couple cohabitated for a several years prior to marriage[3].   George Ayer, overseer to the tribe, was the Justice of the Peace that presided over the union.  It is unclear how long this marriage lasted or whether the new couple and Betsy’s six children lived on the reservation or not.
 
By December of 1833, Betsy Squib was enumerated in an informal census of tribal members living on or nearby the reservation.  Erastus Williams, having just concluded his tenure as overseer, described Betsy, in a letter to William Williams,  as a 45 year old Pequot woman living in a the household with her children Hannah Aaron ( age 18), William Aaron (age 15), Anna Wait ( age 12), James Wait (age 10), John Toby (age 5), and Henry Toby, (age 4).   Presumably Betsy’s new husband, Reuben Aaron, lived with the family, although there is no mention of him.  
 
Several years later, beginning in April of 1837 Betsy Squib suffered an unspecified illness and found herself under the care of Dr. Thomas W. Gay.  She may have been living or working in the neighboring Town of North Stonington at the time because in early February 1838, the overseer, Elisha Crary, paid Charles Bennet for moving Betsy and her son, William, home to the reservation.  The illness persisted until the end of the year as evidenced by continued visits and medicine by the doctor. 
 
Dr. Gay’s attendance left her well enough to put her mark to a  January 1839 memorial, along those of ten others from the Tribe.  The community was petitioning to reappoint Erastus Williams, this time to replace Elisha Crary as overseer.  During this time Betsy Squib continued to appear in the overseer’s accounts, receiving food, supplies, services, and other necessaries.   
 
In the summer of 1847 a tragic incident on the Mashantucket reservation made headlines in the local papers.  During a small gathering at Betsy Squib’s house on the reservation on the evening of August 1,1847 a fight broke out resulting in the fatal beating of Eastern Pequot Edward Nedson at the hands of George Jackson 
 
In June of 1848 and again in February of 1851 Betsy Squib exercised her tribal prerogative in petitioning for the removal and replacement of overseer William Morgan.  These would serve as her last acts of political engagement as she passed away on the reservation in March of 1853.  The overseer saw to it that her coffin and burial were paid for out of the tribal coffers.  She was approximately 65 years old.
 
CHS, William Samuel Johnson Papers, III, 100: December 13, 1833 Letter from Erastus Williams to William T. WilliamsCHS, Ms 27960 Geer & Morgan Families Papers, 1717-1850, Folder 19;  CSL, NLCC:PbyS, Indians, Mashantucket Pequot; Connecticut, Town Marriage Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection)  Ancestry.com; CSL, RG3, NLCC, June 1825, Box 6, Folder 27;  1830 Federal Census, Stonington, CT, Ancestry.comConnecticut, Town Marriage Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection), Ancestry.com; Bill Library; Historical Room; 929.2; Wm Williams diary; Pp. 15, transcription MPMRC; The Evening Post ( New York, New York) September 29, 1847, page 2; Hartford Courant ( Hartford, CT) August 14, 1847, page 2; CSL, RG3, NLCSC:PbyS, October 1847, State v. Jackson, Box 64, Folder 3
 

[1] Silas Aaron, alias Silas Kindness, had some direct connections with the Mashantucket community at that time.  In April of 1816 Silas Aaron attacked and viciously beat Theodosia Deshon.  According to William Hempsted, who cared for her after the assault, Theodosia was “blind & broused & all most helpless”.  Aaron was found guilty and fined.  Whether he was sentenced to time in prison is unclear, but the incident itself may have served to hasten the end of any relationship Betsy Squib might have had with Silas Aaron.  Betsy does marry a man by the name of Reuben Aaron close to three decades later, but it is unclear what if any relation there might have been.
[2] The relation to previously mentioned Silas Aaron, if any, is undetermined.
[3] A Betsy Aaron is enumerated in the 1830 Federal Census as head of a household of three in Stonington, Connecticut.  If this is Betsy Squib, it raises the question as to why her five minor children weren’t included as being part of the household.
 
 
Alias(es)
Betsy Aaron
Betsy Wait
Born: 
c. 1788
Died: 
March 853