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late Mary Angeline Thomas Butler, mem-
bers of the Wampanoag tribe of Indians, for
the rest of her natural life, beginning with
the first day of December in the year nine-
teen hundred and sixteen, and payable in
equal quarterly instalments.

Chapter one hundred and seventeen of
the resolves of the year nineteen hundred
and fourteen is hereby repealed. (Approved
February 17, 1917.)"

This was an increase in an annuity first granted
in 1914, at which time the press spoke of the an-
nuitant as a descendant of Massasoit, and the last
of the Wampanoags. That she is a descendant of
Massasoit is contrary to the conclusion of Peirce,
and evidently was not satisfactorily established be-
fore the Committee of the Legislature which con-
sidered the matter, otherwise they would have been
likely to set out that fact, as they did in the case
of the Mitchell family. Miss Mitchell, in her letter
to me, says that Fannie S. Butler is not of the
family. That she is not, as was stated in the news-
papers of that day, the last of the Wampanoags, is
conclusively shown.

My correspondent may, however, have followed
the same family traditions that guided Peirce in his
writings, which fail to take account of the possibility
of other branches of the Benjamin Tuspaquin

massasoit's family 141

family. This writer took great pains to trace the
descent of this particular branch, but appears to
have been content to establish their lineage and
rest there. He names the four children of Benja-
min, as Esther, Hannah, Mary and Benjamin

Esther married Tobias Sampson, a ''praying In-
dian" who lived on the reservation set off by re-
solve of the General Court of Massachusetts in
1701, and is said to have died without issue. There
was an Esther Sampson living on the reservation in
1764, but whether the same or another of the same
name is not clear, although there is some reason for
believing that it was not Benjamin's daughter.

Hannah married and had two children, neither of
whom married.

Mary married Isaac Sissel and had three chil-
dren, Mary, Mercy and Arabella. The family tra-
dition says that two of them died in infancy; but
in 1764, Mary and Mercy were on the reservation.
This leaves only Arabella unaccounted for; and it
is so easy to drop a link in the attempts to pass
such matters down from generation to generation
that it may well be that there were two children of
Isaac and Mary Sissel who died in infancy, besides
these three; and that Arabella, like Mary and
Mercy, may have lived to womanhood, but unUke
them, she may have married and left progeny who,
through the long lapse of time and by reason of the
remoteness of the relationship, may have been lost
sight of by those who attempt to hand down tradi-
tions without complete records.


Benjamin second, as I have at least suggested if
not plainly stated, married Assawetough, a daugh-
ter of John Sassamon, the Indian alleged to have
been murdered for disclosing to the whites King
PhiUp's plan for a general uprising among the In-
dians; and who, according to tradition, was the
same man who had given to him for his services in
the Pequot war, and as his share of the spoils of
that Vv^ar, a '^ young little squaw," whom he after-
wards married and who is said to be a daughter of
Sassacus. If the family tradition which connects
John Sassamon with the Massachusetts Indian of a
somewhat similar name who served with the Eng-
lish in the war against Sassacus is reliable, it will be
seen that this ''young little squaw" became the
mother of Assawetough or Mercy Felix, as she
appears in history and tradition; and that their
great grandchildren, the Mitchell family of Lake-
ville, are descended in the direct hne, not only from
Massasoit, but also from Sassacus, the Pequot
Chief; for Benjamin and Mercy had one daughter,
named Lydia, who married an Indian named
Walmsley and had five children.

Four of these do not appear in the pages of any
known history, biography or genealogy; nor do any
public records, so far as known, indicate what be-
came of them. Whether they married and have
descendants living is not definitely known, not-
withstanding the "family tradition."

The fifth, Paul, had seven children, four of whom
are not mentioned beyond their names; two of
whom are mentioned by Peirce as having married,


and are left there; and the other, Phebe, was the
mother of the annuitants named in the first of the
resolves quoted above. The records of those early
days were not as complete as those of today; and
it may well be that some of these whom I have men-
tioned have handed down the blood of the Great
Sachem, the "friend of white men," to succeeding

In 1701, the General Court of Massachusetts set
aside a tract of land in what was then Freetown
but is now a part of Fall River, as a reservation for
the friendly Indians, and of the twenty-five lots
into which this reservation was divided, four, num-
bered 19, 20, 21, and 22, were assigned to the lineal
descendants of Benjamin Tuspaquin. At the first
survey of these lots in 1707, Isaac Sissel received as
his share lot No. 20. In 1764, on the second sur-
vey, this lot was in possession of his daughters,
Mercy and Mary. At this second survey, lot No.
19 was found to be in possession of "Sarah Squin
and Esther Sampson," said to be grandchildren of
Benjamin Squamnaway.

The ease with which Tuspaquin could be con-
tracted to Squin, together with the fact that these
two women were occupying a lot assigned to the
descendants of Tuspaquin, leads to the conclusion
that Benjamin Squamnaway was Benjamin Tuspa-
quin. The only Esther Sampson mentioned in
history in connection with the descendants of Mas-
sasoit, outside of this reference, was the daughter of
Benjamin Tuspaquin, and she died childless. It is
possible, of course, that the Esther Sampson who


was on that lot in 1674 was Benjamin Tuspaquin's
daughter and not his granddaughter; but this is
extremely doubtful, for in that case she would be
the sister of Benjamin Tuspaquin second who mar-
ried the daughter of John Sassamon and the young
little squaw whom he had given to him at the con-
clusion of the Pequot war, one hundred and twenty-
seven years before, and Sassamon had been dead
ninety years at the time of this second survey of the

However it may be, there is a numerous family in
Fall River and vicinity who, through an old family
tradition, claim descent from the Esther Sampson
who resided on the reservation in 1764. If this
tradition is well founded, and if ''Sarah Squin and
Esther Sampson" were granddaughters of Benjamin
Tuspaquin, it will be readily seen that this family of
which I write are lineal descendants of Massasoit.
To all appearances they are pure whites, although
there is another strain of Indian blood running
through the family besides the one I have men-

I speak of this matter, not for the purpose of
establishing the claim of any particular persons to
the honor of the royal blood of the house of Massa-
soit, as it will be noticed that I have carefully re-
frained from any mention of names; but to call
attention to the ease with which a people may be
lost in so far as its original identity is concerned, and
yet may live on and on through the intermingling of
its blood with that of other races, with the result
that after a few generations all direct trace of it is


lost by reason of the incompleteness of the early-
records. So it may well be that the blood of Mas-
sasoit and other noted warriors and chiefs of the
early days flows in the veins of men who are them-
selves ignorant of the fact.


IT is doubtful if more welcome words of greeting
ever fell on mortal ears than those that broke
the startled air of Leyden Street in Plymouth on the
sixteenth day of March, 1621, when the little group
of weary Pilgrims gathered there heard from the
lips of Samoset those words which have gone ringing
down the ages as the greeting of the new world to
the voyagers from the old. They had crossed a
storm-swept sea, had been attacked by the natives
at Nauset, and finally had effected a landing at Ply-
mouth, the ''Plimoth on Captain John Smith's
map." Here they had endured the hardships of a
severe New England winter, and had suffered from
the ravages of disease which had greatly reduced
their numbers. They had not been molested by
the Indians, although in the early spring they had
seen some of them prowling about the settlement,
and on one occasion, some tools had been stolen
while the workmen were at dinner. An air of un-
certainty pervaded the place, and the appearance of
the natives must have recalled with some misgiving
the reception accorded them at Nauset. They had
no reason to expect any different greeting here, and
the ''Welcome, Englishmen" from the lips of Samo-



set must have sounded like the ''benediction that
follows after the prayer."

Samoset told them he was not of these parts, but
from Moratiggon, ''eastward a day's sail with a
great wind, and five days by land." He also told
them that the name of the place where they had
landed was Patuxet, and that the people who had
occupied it had been swept away by a pestilence
four years before. He told them about Squanto, a
native of the place, who had been carried away
across the water and could speak English, and about
a Great Sachem "Massasoyte," or "the Massa-
soits," as one writer puts it, who lived to the west,
and had sixty warriors under him. After partaking
of their hospitality for the night, he went away
saying he would bring Massasoit. That he did not
go to Sowams, forty miles distant, is certain, for he
appeared again the same day, and Massasoit did not
come to Pljanouth until the twenty-second. It is
probable that the Indians who had been seen about
the place were Nemaskets, a tribe occupying the
territory around what is now Middleboro, and
subject to Massasoit, or possibly Massachusetts
Indians; and that some of these, at Samoset's
suggestion, conveyed the intelligence to Sowams,
Massasoit's village, that the English had encamped
upon the hunting grounds of his extinct tribe.
When Samoset returned on the seventeenth, he
brought five others with him, and they returned
all the tools that had been stolen.

Samoset plays but little part in the history of the
colony from that time, but his name is a household


word in New England to this day, and his message
to the worn and weary Pilgrims is one of the great
outstanding incidents in the early settlement which
will be taught to our children as long as American
history cherishes the tradition of the men who laid
its foundations.

He was a sagamore of ''Moratiggon" (Monhe-
gan, off the coast of Maine), closely associated with
the Pemaquids, if not of them; and he told the Ply-
mouth settlers of the fishing there and conducted
their fishing boats to the grounds. He had picked
up a little English from the crews of ships that had
been there to fish. What errand or mission brought
him to the territory of the Wampanoags in that
early spring of 1621 will never be definitely known;
but his casual presence at that time renders his
name coeval with our history, and gives him a last-
ing place in the annals of New England. Of his
subsequent life little is known except that historians
have connected him prominently with the territory
around Pemaquid, Maine, and identify him with
Captain John Somerset, who signed a deed of land
in that vicinity on July 15, 1625.

Squanto, whom Samoset mentioned as one who
had been to England, and could speak English better
than he could, was a Patuxet. His name is given as
Tisquantum by many early writers, and that is prob-
ably his true name, it being shortened by the Eng-
lish to that by which he is known. As we have
already seen, he was one of the twenty-seven natives
whom Captain Thomas Hunt had carried away and
sold into slavery in 1614. After his release he had


been taken to England where he had lived for some
time with a man named Slaine, and had apparently
been kindly treated, probably with a view to utiliz-
ing his knowledge of the New World in future trad-
ing expeditions. He had learned some English, and
came back to this country with Captain Thomas
Dermer either in 1619 or on an earlier voyage.
Some writers say that upon his return he became a
great chief, but, if this is true, it must have been
prior to 1617, as his tribe was destroyed by the
plague in that year. He was interpreter for Cap-
tain Dermer when the latter met two ''Kings
of Pokanoket" at ''Nummastaquit" (Nemasket).
Mourt, in his Relations, speaks of him as ''the only
native of Patuxet where we now inhabit," but Brad-
ford says, " He was a native of this place and scarce
any left alive besides him selfe." The latter state-
ment is undoubtedly the correct one, as the same
writer, in speaking of an episode that occurred the
following year, mentions members of his family.
There is no doubt that he acted as interpreter
between Governor Carver and Massasoit at the
memorable first interview of the Great Sachem with
the Governor, and, from that time until his death,
he was of invaluable service to the English.

Perhaps the best estimate of the value of his
services may be made by a consideration of what
Bradford says about the matter: "He directed them
how to set their corne, wher to take fish, and to pro-
cure other commodities, was also a pilot t to bring
them to unknown places for their profitt, and never
left them till he dyed." On another occasion he


wrote: "He showed them both the maner how to
set it (corn) and after how to dress and tend it.
Also he tould them except they gott fish and set
with it (in these old grounds) it would come to noth-
ing, and he showed them that in the middle of April
they should have store enough come up the brooke,
by which they begane to build, and taught them
how to take it." Winslow, too, adds a word along
the same line. He says: "We set some twentie
acres of corn and sowed some six acres of barley and
pease, and according to the manner of the Indians,
we manured our ground with Herings or rather
Shadds, which we have in great abundance and take
with great ease at our doores." Captain John
Smith had previously alluded to the Indian method
of fertilizing their corn, saying, "they stick at every
plant of corne, a herring or two; which cometh in
that season in such abundance, they may take more
than they know what to doe with." Squanto con-
tinued with the English from the time of his first
introduction to them by Samoset, adopted their
religion, and died of a sudden sickness accompanied
with bleeding at the nose, a common malady among
the natives, while on a trading expedition to Cape
Cod with Governor Bradford in September, 1622.

The value of his services is almost beyond esti-
mate, and they appear to have been appreciated at
their full worth by the early settlers. Like the rest
of his race, he seems to have been ambitious and
jealous, his jealousy manifesting itself principally
towards Hobamock; and his ambitious designs were
beheved by the authorities to embrace the estab-


lishment of a powerful federation of Indians with
himself at its head. Some further reference will be
made to these traits of his character in connection
with his relations with Hobamock, another early
friend and constant assistant to the English in their
hunting, fishing and trading expeditions.

Hobamock has, by his own statement, given us a
very definite idea of his position in his tribe. In
his defence of Massasoit in 1622, he said he was a
''paniese," that is one of Massasoit's ''chief est cham-
pions or men of valor." He was not only a Wam-
panoag, but a Pokanoket, a member of the ruling
tribe in the federation, and of the Great Sachem's
council. He was among those who gathered at his
bedside when he was thought to be dying in March,
1623, and the one whom Massasoit, in the presence
of all his counsellors, charged to tell Winslow about
the plot against the whites. He came to Plymouth
shortly after the episode of the lost John Billington,
as already related, and may have been the messenger
sent by Massasoit to tell the settlers where Billing-
ton was. He had not been long with them when
he showed his fidelity to his Great Chief and to the
men whom he had befriended. In August, 1621,
scarcely a month after he came to the Enghsh, Cor-
bitant of Pocasset, who appears to have been a
mischief maker, waylaid him and Squanto in a
house at Nemasket, and threatened them, as Brad-
ford says, ''for no other cause than that they were
friendly to the English and serviceable to them.''
Hobamock succeeded in making his escape and
hastened to Plymouth, a distance of fifteen or six-


teen miles. Here he told the governor of Squanto's
plight and a force of fourteen men was sent to rescue
Squanto if he was alive, or to punish Corbitant, if
he had been killed. On arriving at the house where
they had been captured, the whites surrounded it,
but soon learned that Squanto was alive, having
been threatened only, and that Corbitant had gone
away in the night, probably through fear of the con-
sequences that were likely to follow his attempt to
remove or, at least, to frighten the men who were
of so much service to the English, once the knowl-
edge of his scheme became known to the latter, as
he well knew it would be from the moment that
Hobamock broke away from him.

Thus we see that Hobamock's first notable serv-
ice to the settlers was in saving to them ''their
tongue," as Corbitant called Squanto, and in doing
this he also saved the life of the man who soon
after began his plottings, not only against the one
who had saved him, but also apparently against the
Great Sachem of both of them. Hobamock was
probably as much concerned in doing what he be-
lieved would be the will of his chief in this matter,
as in saving Squanto or aiding the English, for
knowing of Massasoit's friendship for them, he un-
doubtedly felt that he would not countenance this
outrage against their friend and helper. Besides,
there is good reason for believing that Corbitant
was an ambitious chief and if a favorable opportu-
nity arose for displacing Massasoit as the head of
the federation without danger of a miscarriage of
his schemes, he would not put it aside. In any


attempt of this sort, he would have to reckon with
the EngHsh, and so they must first be rendered
powerless. Whatever may have been Hobamock's
motives, his act resulted in much good to the col-

Hobamock remained with them through the win-
ter and in the spring when they were fitting out their
shallop to go to Massachusetts Bay to trade with
the Indians there, in accordance with an assurance
they had previously given them to do so, ''Hoba-
mock told them of rumors he had that they (the
Massachusetts) were joined with the Narragansetts
and might betray them if they were not careful."
He also gave them a hint of some jealousy manifested
by Squanto towards him, which he had gathered
from whisperings between the former and other
Indians. That his suspicions of Squanto in this
direction were well founded was soon demonstrated,
for, notwithstanding the misgivings aroused by these
rumors, they sent the shallop away with both
Squanto and Hobamock on board, deeming it best
to send them both along on account of this jealousy.
They had hardly got under way when an Indian of
Squanto's family, as Bradford says, came running in,
''in seeming great fear," and told them that the
Narragansetts and, he thought, Massasoit were com-
ing against them, and he got away to tell them, not
without danger. He said there was a gathering at
Nemasket and that he had received a blow for speak-
ing for the English, and his face was wounded. He
told them the Indians were determined to take
advantage of Captain Standish's absence on the


trading expedition to assault the town. The gov-
ernor called the men to arms and fired a gun to re-
call the shallop. They had not got beyond reach
of the signal and returned, but no Indians appeared.
It was on this occasion that liobamock protested
his confidence in Massasoit, saying "flatly that it
was false" and that he ''presumed he would never
have undertaken any such act without his privity,
it being the m.anner amongst them not to undertake
such enterprises without the advice and furtherance
of men of his rank. The governor replied that he
should be sorry that any cause of war should arise
with any of the savages, but especially Massaso-
wat, not that he feared him more than the rest, but
that his love more exceeded toward him than any."
Hobamock replied, ''there was no cause for distrust
and therefore he should do well to continue his
affections." I have quoted freely from Winslow's
account of this episode because it illustrates Squan-
to's plotting and Hobamock's confidence in his chief
in the manner of one who saw the entire proceeding.
That Hobamock's faith was justified soon appeared.
The governor caused him to send his wife to So-
wams privately to see what she could learn of the
situation, "pretending other occasion, but nothing
was found and all was quiet," as Bradford relates.
This woman finding no indication of anything
unusual among the Pokanokets told Massasoit of
Squanto's accusations. Naturally, "Massasoit took
offence and came to Plymouth to clear himself and
showed his anger towards Tisquantum." After his
return to his own village he sent a messenger to


Governor Bradford, "entreating him to give way
to the death of Tisquantum who had so much abused
him." Bradford was reluctant to lose the services
of so valuable a man, and urged his usefulness as
an interpreter, but Massasoit remained obdurate,
and demanded Squanto as a "subject whom the
governor could not retain without violating the
treaty." He also offered many beaver skins for
Bradford's consent, the messengers saying, "their
Sachem had sent his own knife and them therewith
to cut off his head and hands and bring them to

The governor sent for Squanto, who, on being
confronted with the accusation against him, charged
Hobamock with being the cause of his overthrow;
but said he would abide by the governor's decision
although he knew what his fate would be if re-
turned to Massasoit. Winslow says the governor
was about to give him up when a boat appeared at
sea, and being fearful of the French, he told the
Indians, "he would first Imow what boat that was
ere he would deliver him into their custody (not
knowing whether there was a combination of
French and Indians). Mad with rage and im-
patient at delay the messengers departed in great
heat." This is Winslow's account, and to us, look-
ing at it after the lapse of three hundred years, the
"great heat" causes no surprise. The Indians were
not so silly as not to see through the subterfuge,
and to read Bradford's determination to use every
excuse and employ every pretended reason that
presented itself for not complying with the terms


of the treaty, when it was to his disadvantage to
Uve up to its obhgations.

The demand was not renewed, and Squanto was
saved, but a marked coolness on the part of Massa-
soit soon manifested itself and caused the settlers
some uneasiness. As I have already suggested, the
offence of Squanto, although committed in the ter-
ritory over which the colonists had jurisdiction, was
against his own Great Sachem. He was a subject
of Massasoit. The only jurisdiction the English
had over him was to punish acts against themselves.
By Carver's pact he should have been delivered to
his own people to be dealt with by them according
to their own customs in such cases. Bradford recog-
nizes this fact, and makes no attempt to justify his
refusal; and Winslow tells us the governor was
about to give him up when a boat appeared in the
harbor, and Bradford seized upon that as an ex-
cuse for further delaying Massasoit's messengers.
Squanto also knew that he ought to be turned over
to his own people and stoically consented to that
course, if the governor should so decide. To Mas-
sasoit and his messengers Bradford only argued his
usefulness, which was unquestionably great, and the
governor's evasiveness nearly cost the colony the

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