Posted on 08/17/2013

Photo taken on March 27, 2013


Ashford Connecticut
Major James Fitch

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The Pine or Meeting House Hill

The Pine or Meeting House Hill
Ashford Common, Meeting-house Hill also known as the Pine Hill. Ashford Connecticut.

From Ellen Larned:

"January 1, 1718 voted, 'That the meeting-house be set upon the Pine Hill and that the town will go about building it forthwith.' This site was in the northern part of New Scituate, near the center of town, and is still occupied by the Congregational church of Ashford." (Larned, 187)

Larned, Ellen D. History of Windham County 1600 – 1760, Chapter 32, Swordsmith edition, Putnam, 2000

The Reverend James Fitch, Captain (Major) James Fitch and Major John Mason.

Captain James Fitch (noted above) was the eldest son of the Reverend James Fitch. The Reverend James Fitch probably began his theological study in Chelmsford England under Thomas Hooker. He came to Hartford ca. 1638 and finished his study with Thomas Hooker, in Hartford. The Reverend Fitch, along with “The Major” or Major John Mason were among the founders of Norwich Connecticut. The Reverend James Fitch married Pricilla Mason, after his wife Abigail died in 1659. The Reverend’s eldest son, of Abigail, Major James Fitch married Elizabeth Mason, youngest daughter of Major John Mason. Major James Fitch was one of the founders of a church college that became Yale College.

Following the death of Major Mason, the Connecticut Court or General Assembly found itself defending the appropriation of Mohegan Reserve lands after the Mohegan and some descendants of Major John Mason attempted to have jurisdiction of the Mohegan reserve lands returned to the Mohegan people. Major John Mason was entrusted to be the “Protector and Guardian” of the reserve land but turned the land over to Connecticut, eliminating any farming and hunting rights the Mohegan previously had. The case, known as the "Mason Land Court Case" which started with the 1704 Dudley Commission eventually went to the Crown's Privy Council who decided it in favor of the Connecticut Colony in 1772. According to Mohegan history, some tribal members eventually left Connecticut in an exodus of Mohegan, Pequot, Narragansett, Nehantic, Montaukett and Tunxis under the leadership of Samson Occom to live among the Oneida. Although many joined Occom, local communities in southern New England continued living in and near English towns as they continue to do so today.

According to Ellen Larned, as late as 1724, Wabaquassett and Shetucket continued living in Woodstock, adjacent to but separate of the English, still exercising their farming and hunting rights in the territory. In that year following a general alarm about “Mohawks” being seen, the General Court decreed that all Sachems should call in anyone out hunting. According to Larned, when the town of Woodstock raised an alarm about an attack in Oxford Massachusetts (just north of Webster MA), Major Fitch rode from Norwich with a force of troopers and contingent of Mohegan. The Wabaquassett offered to join with the troop and search the countryside.

At one time, most of eastern Connecticut was either owned by or entrusted to Major James Fitch and Major John Mason.

One side of the family traces back to both Fitch and Mason. The other side, to the Whites of Plimouth.

© 2013 mapgraphs, all rights reserved

For examples of early meeting houses:

Society of Friends Meetinghouse, Schoosett Street (Routes 139 & 53), North Pembroke, Plymouth County, MA


Society of Friends Meetinghouse, West Road & Maple Street, Adams, Berkshire County, MA:


From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA