By David Weeden
The town of Mashpee has a rich history dating back to 1870 when the town was first incorporated. There are many family names that have died off while many remain, all of which are extremely important to the story of Mashpee’s past. One of the names less familiar would be the Attaquin family; often associated with the community garden area, where the Hotel Attaquin once stood or when referring to Mashpee Pond’s popular Attaquin Park. This and other families were very prominent in the community and were critical to the success of the Town.
There’s an effort to restore one of the few remaining historic structures dating back to the 18oo’s, the Mashpee Parsonage was built in 1849 and belonged to Ebenezer Attaquin the uncle of Solomon Attaquin the proprietor of the famous hotel. Ebenezer was very influential and served in various capacities of the Indian District which preceded the Town’s incorporation. Ebenezer was instrumental in successfully petitioning the Massachusetts General Legislature on March 7th 1849, lobbying for the reaffirmation of the Tribal members use of the Old Indian Meeting House, he was the first signatory to the petition. Ebenezer also served as deacon for the newly established Mashpee Baptist church, which may be why he donated his homestead to the Mashpee Baptist Parish.
The structure first served as homestead, then parsonage to visiting ministers, struggling families also rented the building, later becoming the first Tribal Headquarters for the newly established Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Inc.; where Departments delivered program services to Tribal members until the early 1990’s. Amelia Bingham sought Massachusetts Historical Commission’s help to protect the property in 1973. In 2007 the town’s Historical Commission provided a local designation as a “Historic Property” and contributing factor to the larger “Historic District”, therefore affording certain preservation considerations and protections.
The “Parsonage” is an important structure and once restored it will complement Mashpee’s Historic District and provide an additional point of interest as a tourist attraction and focal point the structure will help convey and inform visitors of the unique history only to be found in Mashpee.