By David Sillars and Ryan Brown; Photos by Sabrina Scolari
If you have ever visited the Guy/Brown home, you might have noticed two mailboxes. One belongs to the house in the front and the other is for the house connected to it in the back. In the front house live Bill and Deanna Guy who have been married for almost 60 years and have lived in Barrington for 17 years. Bill worked as an engineer and Deanna was employed as a medical insurance manager before retiring. They are the parents, grand-parents, and great-grandparents of the Brown family next door.
Tracey Brown has lived in Barrington for 25 years and has raised her five children here. She is the Director of the Apple Blossom Early Learning Center, a daily destination of many of her joyful walks from the house.
Of her five kids, Tracey’s eldest is her son Donald Jr. (DJ) who is a history teacher currently pursuing a Master’s in Education at Providence College. He is married to Rosa who is a graduate of Roger Williams University and is a teacher as well. DJ and Rosa are the happy parents of an 9-month old baby girl, Tracey, named after her grandmother. Little Tracey loves to smile, which makes everyone in the family smile too.
The second eldest child of the Brown’s is Matthew. He graduated from Harvard before moving to New York City where he works in finance. Then there is William (Drew), who graduated from Springfield College, and now lives and works in California as a software engineer.
Ryan, the youngest son, works at Rhode Island Public Broadcast Station (PBS). He is an aspiring filmmaker, writer and artist who graduated from Emerson College.
Last but certainly not least is the youngest and only daughter of the Brown siblings, Morgan. A recent graduate of Columbia University, she studied Evolutionary/Environmental Biology. Morgan’s curiosity and studies have led her around the globe to places as far as Africa and Jordan.
The Guy/Brown family are so grateful for the distinguished Barrington Public Schools system in which their children have grown up in. They have excelled not only academically but also in competitive sports all the way up to the varsity high school and collegiate levels. Whether it be through athletics, hobbies, or just by being a neighbor, they have formed many life-long friendships with Barrington’s supportive residents.
Together, the Guy/Brown family loves to cook, travel, and of course be competitive during board games around the kitchen table. Even with their busy and conflicting schedules, they still make it a point to enjoy each other’s company for family meals. But, when you ask the Guy/Brown family about where they are originally from – that is where this family gets really interesting!
The Guy/Brown family’s heritage goes back to the very land on which they live long before the inception of America. They are the direct descendants of the Massasoit Ousa Mequin, who had welcomed the Pilgrims from the Mayflower and signed the Peace Treaty with them that lasted for 54 years. The Massassoit was the leader of the headship Pokanoket Tribe which ruled over many other tribes within the Pokanoket Nation. The ancestral homeland of the Pokanoket Tribe was called Sowams. Its land consisted of what is now Eastbay Rhode Island and parts of Southeastern Massachusetts. This includes Barrington.
The Brown/Guy family are also direct descendants of Metacomet, the Massasoit Ousa Mequin’s son and successor, nicknamed by the English as King Philip. After the “King Philip’s War” it became illegal to identify as Pokanoket. All of its people and their allies were instead labeled as Wampanoag by the colonists. You will also find in their genealogy that they are direct descendants of Simeon Simon who was the bodyguard for General George Washington and fought in the Revolutionary War.
Today, the Pokanoket people continue to work towards the preservation of their land, history, and culture. One Guy/Brown family member has made his life’s mission about the progress of his people. Winds of Thunder (Bill Guy) is the Sagamore of the Council Seven Royal House/Pokanoket Tribe/Pokanoket Nation. He was hand-chosen by his elders to inherit what was the Massasoit’s role of leadership and which has been passed down through the line of heirs. The title Sagamore can be translated to “Chief of Chiefs”.
Winds of Thunder is also the Superior Chief of the Federation of Aboriginal Nations of the Americas, an allegiance of indigenous tribes and nations. Even decades after his retirement, Winds
of Thunder works relentlessly for his tribe and several other organizations. Just last year he was awarded an honorary degree from Roger Williams University for his contribution to society.
He isn’t the only family member who has contributed to the preservation of this important history. Dancing Star (Tracey Brown) is the Tribe’s Sachem. She gives counsel to the Sagamore and manages the smaller day-to-day tribal affairs. Strong Turtle (Donald Jr.) is the Tribal Historian, Winding River (Drew) assists with Tribe’s online media platforms, Winter Hawk (Ryan) has been archiving the history through documentary filmmaking and Rainbow Woman (Deanna) is the Tribal Administrator.
The Guy/Brown household is called home by a Sagamore, Sachem, Pineese Warriors, and descendants of great Massassoits. Yet their home is all around them. A home that is familiar although foreign too. They really are one of the first Barrington residents in the truest sense. They are connected to the land in a very unique way and want fellow residents to continue learning about the rich history of this town.
So the next time you drive past Sowams Elementary School, or drive down Wampanoag Trail, or walk the Ousa Mequin Preserve… hopefully you will remember that some of the most significant American history is in your own backyard! If you would like to know more about the Pokanoket Tribe please visit SowamsHeritageArea.org
This article was published in the April 2021 Barrington Sound