Sowas, Samuel, 1665 - 1752
Samuel Sowas married Oskoosooduck (alias Mary Momoho, Mary Ninigret or Mary Sowas) daughter of late Eastern Pequot sachem Momoho sometime after 1717 when she returned to the Eastern Pequot community following a failed marriage to Narragansett Sachem Ninigret II.
Sam Sowas was active in tribal affairs as early as May 1723 when his name appeared on a petition with others of the tribe requesting that they be granted access to all the land set aside for them in 1683. In January 1732 he was involved in an altercation with a fellow Eastern Pequot, Samuel Shelly, stabbing him with a knife in a drunken argument about a borrowed ax.
Stonington resident Jonathan Wheeler mentioned Samuel Sowas in his account book in 1745. A quarter of a century after his first documented foray into tribal politics, Sam Sowas and others of the tribe petitioned the colony in May of 1749, asking that lands deeded in trust for use of the tribe not be encroached upon by neighboring non-natives.
Sadly, his earlier conflict with Samuel Shelly wasn’t his last act of violence. In mid-July 1752 a jury of inquest was called to examine the aged bodies of Mary Sowas and her husband Samuel Sowas, both thought to have been in their nineties. It was determined that in a rage Sam had murdered his wife and then committed suicide by hanging himself on a nearby tree. Sam and Mary Sowas' son (possibly Jacob) recounted the events of that fateful morning to the Reverend Joseph Fish providing chilling details. Their bodies were buried the next day and the funeral well attended. Among the attendees was Ben Uncas, sachem of the Mohegans, and Tom Ninigret, young sachem of the Narragansetts and grandson to the deceased Oskoosooduck.
1723.05.09.00 IP 2.2.22; Brown and Rose, Black Roots, 391; 1749.05.23.00 IP 1.2.40; Summons to Examine the Bodies of Samuel and Mary Sowas; Inquest over the Bodies of Samuel and Mary Sowas; New-York Gazette, New York, NY, August 24, 1752, p.2.