Lou Sorrentino

 

Uncas' true grave found?

Concerning this new premise for the exact location of Uncas' grave, the Mohegan Tribe's Archivist said: "Dear Lou Sorrentino, I think you are a good research person...the questions those passages pose is interesting and could be a project for testing the premise in the future..." Faith Damon Davison, 10/5/2007, fdavison@moheganmail.com

There is a monument in Norwich, CT which most people assume was erected over the actual grave of Uncas; Sachem of the Mohegans. While some have long known this is not the exact gravesite, new archival research has produced a compelling circumstantial case for the exact location.

The 1852 book Songs of the Fireside by C. W. Everest contains his poetic account of "A Summer's Day Ramble." It makes clear that the Uncas monument's "cornerstone" was in place years before the actual monument was later erected. More telling is the fact that a plain slate headstone marked with the name ‘Uncas’ was visible "by" the separate "cornerstone" in the intervening years on a mound of "heaving turf." This description is backed up by a period newspaper, as cited in the document titled; Royal Burial Ground: 1842 December 31, (Norwich Courier) “In the Royal Burying Ground of the Mohegans as it existed more than two hundred years ago was a small flat stone set up by early settlers as a memorial to the great Sachem with a simple inscription in rude letters ‘Uncas'. On page 27 of the Ramble the author describes a grave mound of "heaving turf" which was clearly marked as "Uncas's grave, and by it stood The shameful mockery of a cornerstone." He further explains this cryptic reference in his Notes on page 35, where he describes his thoughts upon viewing the new Uncas monument's completion after laid by President Andrew Jackson some nine years earlier. The Ramble ends with an engraved print of the grave on page 34 which seems congruent with a proposed location modern-day gravemound-type site at 24 Sachem Street in size, proximity, and surroundings.

During his Summer's Day Ramble the author passed the river Thames, then describes "resting by the torrent's brink, That gushed, in living freshness from the rock." This description fits well with what is now known as Yantic Falls at Indian Leap, since that is the only waterfall "torrent" gushing from "the rock" situated anywhere nearby. After some time, at "the forest's verge", he "spied a place of graves" where "Mohegan warriors slept in death" marked by "heaving turf"and notes "small slabs of slate stone" were "at the heads of several." It says that the end of day, he was headed back home, but turned back to view the grave one last time. Since the author was headed back home toward the Thames and the "torrent's brink" (Yantic Falls/Indian Leap), then turned and saw the grave site of Uncas, the relative position of the author would situate the newly postulated grave mound in the correct direction of his line of sight looking back. Since he looked behind him to see the actual grave, it seems reasonable to assume the grave he saw must have been slightly further back from the cornerstone, respective to Indian Leap, a prominent Mohegan site where the known major path traversed. This means the Uncas grave mound must be in a directional line which takes these facts into account. The proposed Uncas' grave site is adjacent to the right wall of the building at 24 Sachem Street in Norwich, CT. The mound is about 30 feet to the rear and left of the Uncas monument, about 6'long X 4' wide X 2.5' high and completely covered by a large bush. No marked gravestone is visible, but when the surface leaves are removed, many small slabs of slate stone are visible, a typical gravemound feature. The site is 15' outside to the left rear of the current graveyard boundaries, but the original boundaries are much larger, according to the signage there.

One reference to a excavation of a grave which was previously theorized to have been of Uncas (Royal Burial Ground: 1832 – May 1 below) is not likely his because no "Treasure" was found in it: "as had been their custom" (Royal Burial Ground 1832 , as noted also below) While this new Uncas' grave site proposal is not conclusive, it certainly is the best hypothesis to date.

Re: "Songs of the Fireside, Rev. C. W. Everest, Hartford, Brocket & Hutchinson", "entered according to act of Congress 1852", pg. 27, 33, 34, 35., written around 1845. (per Dedicatory sonnet page 3) & "A Summer's Day Ramble" Re: Royal Burial Ground: 1842 December 31, (Norwich Courier) 1822- The path through one of these ravines emerges from the shades of the dark forest trees opposite a cluster of elms and sassafras's, which mark the burying place of the Mohegan Sachems. There are still remaining many head and foot-stones, some of them bearing English inscriptions in good preservation ; but the greater part are shapeless pieces of granite sunk in the soil and covered with moss, and doubtless mark the graves of Sachems who ruled the country in ages long anterior to the earliest histories and traditions. ......a short walk, where the extensive landscape and the placid water are entirely excluded by the broken banks of the Yantic, whose stream, pouring over a ledge of rocks...... 1734 burying their Treasure with their dead, (as has been their custom) and were advised to save what they had now carefully deposited in the Coffin, and accordingly they complied, and took out Wampum, Gold and Plate, &c. of considerable value, and then proceeded to finish the funeral 1832 – May 1 “While making excavations on the sites for new mills, on the banks of the Shetucket an Indian grave was opened, containing besides a few bones, a pot, spoons and a small box, all of copper, glass bottles and some other articles. It was near this spot that the famous battle was fought between Uncas, Sachem of the Mohegans and Miantonimi, chief of the Narragansetts, in which the latter was slain. – Judging from the thigh bones, which are nearly entire, the person interred must have possessed a gigantic stature and powerful frame. Possibly this grave was the burial place of that renowned warrior. Norwich Courier.” (LS-- Note: no gold or Treasure objects, per 1734 description of "their custom")