William Apess and Adoption

Autobiography of Apess



Pequot (Native American) Methodist missionary and author

Apess's parents were itinerant basket-makers and he lived as a young child mostly with his grandparents, who were very cruel to him. When his grandmother broke his arm he was rescued by an uncle and a neighbor and then fostered by whites until he was 15.

He became a Methodist minister among the Mashpee people and also became one of their major secular leaders, encouraging greater self-reliance and the assertion of their tribal rights over land and natural resources. His activities landed him in jail once but popular outcry resulted in his early release. He also wrote four books.


Dictionary of American Biography Hirschfelder, Arlene, and Molin, Paulette. Encyclopedia of Native American Religions: An Introduction. (New York: Facts on File, 1992) "North American Native Authors Catalog: William Apess (Pequot)." Available at: Internet Public Library. "Native American Authors Project: William Apess, 1798-, Pequot." Available at: