NOVEMBER 25, 1855

NARRAGANSETT RELIGIOUS LEADER/WRITER THOMAS COMMUCK DIED

Born January 4, 1804, Thomas grew up in Charlestown, Rhode Island. Around 1824, after attending a missionary school, he moved to Brothertown, New York. Marrying in 1831, the couple moved to the new Brothertown community at Green Bay, Wisconsin where they started a family. Commuck served as the community’s first postmaster, justice of the peace, and historian. In 1844, the Milwaukee Courier reported that the Wisconsin Whig Party had nominated Commuck as a candidate for House of Representatives. A singer himself, in 1838 he began a collection of music, “airs which have been long in use among the Brothertown Indians.” In 1845, Commuck published Indian Melodies, a collection of 120 hymns–possibly the earliest musical publication by a Native American composer. He published Sketch of Calumet County for the Wisconsin Historical Society (1854) and Sketch of the Brothertown Indians (1859). Commuck drowned after falling through the ice near his residence at Calumet, Wisconsin.

Source:  “Commuck, Thomas, 1804 – 1855,” Native Northeast Portal.  Retrieved 6/8/2022, Commuck, Thomas, 1804 - 1855 | Native Northeast Portal
Page:  Thomas Commuck, Thomas Hastings, 1845. Indian Melodies by Thomas Commuck, a Narragansett Indian. Harmonized by Thomas Hastings, Esq. New York 1845. Public Domain.

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