D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd.

History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) online

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Indian records kept by the secretary of Plymouth
Colony. That ancient and time-worn manuscript, in
the handwriting of Secretaries Nathaniel Morton and
Samuel Sprague, contains the following as " The last
Will and Testament of Pamantaqu;ish, alius the Pond
Sachem" :

" Witneskth these p'sents, Pamanta(|uash, the
pond Sachem, being weak in body, but of perfect
disposeing memory, declared it to be his last will and
Testament, concerning all his lands at Assawauisett,
or elsewhere, that he is now possessed of, that he

would after his desease leave them unto his ,

Tuspaquin, alius the black Sachem, for his life, and
after the sd Tuspaquin his decease unto Soquonta-
mouk, alius William, his sone, and to his heires for-
ever, and desired severall of his men that wore then
about him to take notice of it and be witnesses of it
if he should not live himself to doe the writing under
his owne hande."

The Indians who were present, and witnessed the
above, subscribed to the official document, and their
names were given as follows: Paeiupohut, alius Jo-
seph, Sam Harry, alias Matwatacka, Wosako, alias
Harry, Felex, alias Nanauatanate.

The ancient record is considerably defaced and
worn, so that some words are nearly ubliterated and
others are evidently entirely lost.

The following is copied from that record, leaving
blank those places where the words have falleu a prey
to the insidious tooth of resistless time :



"The land that the said Pamantaquash challenges, the names
of the plates . . . said witnesses have made description . . .
fullowcth Pachuuiaquast, W'ekam, . . . Nekatataeouck, Set-
nessnett, Anec . . . path that goes from Cushenctt to . . .
goes through it:

" Waeag.isaness : Wacoui . . . Quamakeckett, Tokopissett;
Maspeon . . . Waiupaketatekaui : Caskakachcsquash Wach-
pusk, ester side of y c pond: p . . . Pachest; soe o r Naisassa-
kett riuer Pasamasatuatc.

" Harry and his sone Sam, Harry, dcsiers that neither Tus-
paquin nor his sono be prest to sell the said lands ... by any
English or others whatsouer.

"The lands Mentioned which Tuspaquin pose»seth, Ha . . .
Wosako, w cU is long as he lives.

"2'J October, 1008.
'• Witnes,

"WAi'troM, bis mark.

" Wis.NUKESKTT, his murk."

Few, if any, of these localities can now be identi-
fied by these disused, obsolete, and forgotten names,
but that Cushenett meant what became the township
of Dartmouth is quite certain, and the Namassakett
River was undoubtedly the stream flowing from the
Assawamsett Pood through Middleboro' and Rayn-
ham, thus forming Taunton Great River, so called, the
waters of which are emptied into Mount Hope Bay.

It will be observed that by the omission of a single
word in the ancient record the evidence of the family
relationship existing between Pamantaquash, the Pond
Sachem, and Tuspaquin is hidden, but the accom-
panying circumstances and facts strongly, and almost
irresistibly, lead to the conclusion that the former was
the ancestor of the latter.

Tuspaquin, to whom this bequest of lands was
made by Pamantaquash, suoceeded the latter as sa-
chem, and thus became a sub-chief under King Philip.

Tuspaquin was not only one of King Philip's
principal warriors and chief captains, but, taking to
wife, as Tuspaquin did, a daughter of Massasoit, he
thus became a son-in-law to the former ruling mon-
arch, and brother-in-law to the then king, Pometa-
com, alias Philip.

Tuspaquin located upon the lands giveu to him in
the will already described, and in speaking of him
Mr. Drake, in his excellent work concerning the
Indians, says, " From the survey of the deeds which
he executed of various large tracts of land, it is
evident that his sachemdom was very extensive."
Among these sales of lauds made to the white people
by the sub-chief Tuspaquin, usually called the Black
Sachem, it may in this connection be proper to notice
the following :

Aug. 9, 16(37, in consideration of the sum of four
pounds, Tuspaquin sold to Henry Wood, of Plym-
outh, a tract of land lying upon the east side of the
Nemaskct River, and bouuded on one end by a sheet

of water known in the Indian tongue as Waupacut,
but by the English called the Black Sachem's J'oitd,
aud upon the other end by a pond then known as

The chief reserved to himself the right to continue
to take cedar-bark from a swamp included in the tract

July 17, 1669, Tuspaquin, together with his sun,
who is therein called William Tuspaquiu, in consider-
ation of the sum of ten pounds, couveyed by deed
to Experience Mitchell, Henry Sampson, Thomas
Little, aud Thomas Paine a tract near Assawamsett,
extending from Assawamsett Pond to Dartmouth
path, and being half a mile in width.

June 10, 1670, Tuspaquin and his son, William,
for the sum of six pounds, sold to Edward Gray
a meadow near Middleboro', lying between Assa-
wamsett Pond and Taunton path. They at the same
time conveyed another lot of land upon the other
side of the Taunton path.

June 30, 1672, Tuspaquin, who in the record is
described as sachem of " Namasskett," together with
his son, William, who is also called Mantowapuct,
sold to Edward Grey and Josiah Winslow a tract of
land lying upon the easterly side of Assawamsett, to
begin where the Namaskett River falleth out uf the
pond, and from thence bounded by said pond aud on
a line marked by bounds to Tuspaquin's Pond, aud
thence by land that had formerly been sold to Henry

Some time in 1673 the sub-chief, who had then
come to be called Old Watuspaquin, together with
his son, William Tuspaquin, conveyed by deed of
gift to John Sassamon, alias Wassasowan, twenty-seveu
acres of laud lying and being at Assawamsett Neck.

March 11, 1673, the same parties couveyed by deed
to au Indian named Felix, who was a son-in-law to
John Sassamon, fifty-eight and one-half acres of land.

July 3, 1673, Tuspaquin and his son, William, for
fifteen pounds conveyed by deed to Benjamin Church,
a house-carpenter of Duxbury, and John Tomson,
of Barnstable, a tract of land lying in Middleboro'
bounded westerly by Mowhiggen River, that is de-
scribed as running into Quisquasett Pond, and thence
bouuded by a cedar swamp to Tuspaquin's Poud,
and thence by Henry Wood's land to a place called
Pochaboquett, the northerly boundary being Nohudst

Nov. 1, 1673, William Watuspaquin, together with
the Indians Assaweta, Tobias, and Bewat, for sixteen
pounds, sold a tract of land bounded northerly by
Quetaquash River, easterly by Suepetuit Pond, and in
part bounded by Quetaquash Pond.



Dec. 3, 1673, the chieftain, Tuspaquio, who in
therein called Old Tuspaquiu, made a deed of gift to
an Iudian woman named Assawetough of a neck of
land at Assawainsett, which neck is therein called

May 14, 1675, the chieftain, Tuspaquin, with his
son, for thirty-three pounds sterling, sold lauds aud
meadows at and about certain ponds called Ninipoket
aud Quiticus.

We are uow brought to the time when was com-
menced that great conflict between the red aud white
men, now commonly called King Philip's war ; one of
the grievances complained of as the cause of that
great shedding of blood having occurred within the
territorial limits of what is now the towuship of Lake-
ville, and to the better understanding of which we
will now and here in detail mention some of the most
essential of those particulars. The chieftain, Tuspa-
quin, as already mentioned, was probably a sou of his
predecessor, Pamautaquash the so-called Pond Sachem.
Tuspaquin, by his wife, Amie, a daughter of Massa-
soit, aud sister of Wamsutta, alias Alexander, aud
Metacom or Pometacum, alias King Philip, had a son
named Benjamin, who took to wife au Indian woman
named Weecum.

This Iudian, Benjamin, aud wife, Weecum, had a
son named Benjamin, who married au Indian woman
named Mercy Felix, aud this Benjamin last named
let it be observed was a grandson of the sub-chief,
Tuspaquin, alias the " Black Sachem," aud a great-
grandsou of Massasoit, and consequently grand-nephew
of or to Wamsutta, alias Alexander, and Metacom,
alias King Philip.

The Indian woman, Mercy Felix, was a daughter of
an Iudian named Felix, who married an Iudian
woman named Assawetough.

Assawetough was a daughter of John Sassamon,
alias Wasassaniond, and wife, a daughter of a chief of
the Pequot Indians, oucc familiarly known as " Sassa-
cus the Terrible."

John Sassamon was a native of what became the
town of Dorchester, near Boston, and for a time he
was a student at Harvard College.

He accompanied the Massachusetts forces to Con-
necticut in 1637, there assisting them in waging a
war of extinction against the Pequot Indians, the
warriors of which tribe were nearly all slain, and the
women and children subjected to bondage.

Capt. Israel Stoughton, in addressing the Governor
of Massachusetts by letter from the seat of war at
that time, wrote, " By this pinuace you shall receive
48 or 50 womeu and children, unless there stay auy
here to be helpfull, couceruiug which there is one I

formerly mentioned that is fairest and largest that I
saw amongst them, to whom I have given a coat to
cloathe her. It is my desire to have her for a servaut
if it may stand with your good liking, else not.

" There is a little squaw that Steward Culacut de-
sireth, to whom I have given a coat. Lieut. Daven-
port also desireth one, to wit, a small one, &ic.

" Sosomou, the Indian, desireth a young little squaw,
which I know not."

But because Capt. Israel Stoughtou did not know
which little squaw the Indian Sosomou desired, be-
cause it was of too little consequence to him to learn, it
is no proof that Sosomon did not kuow or that he had
any hesitancy in making his choice or trouble in de-
ciding upon his selection ; for while the white people
were only getting servants, this red man was seeking
to procure a wife. That he succeeded in doing by ob-
taining that nameless little young squaw, which was
uoue other than a king's child, being a daughter of
" Sassacus the Terrible," chief sachem of the ouce
powerful and greatly dreaded but theu made power-
less Pequots.

At the risk of wearying the patience of our readers
have we thus gone iuto details, given the niiuute
particulars conceruing this John Sassamon, who was
not ouly one of the earliest of the aborigines of this
country educated in the white mau's college, but he
doubtless was the first or earliest Iudian missionary
that the world ever saw, an assistant of the apostle
Elliot in that arduous labor of translating the Scrip-
tures into the Indian tongue, the Englishman's ally
in the first war with the Indians in 1637, au aman-
ueusis to King Philip, sou-iu-law to Sassacus, aud
finally put to death by his own countrymeu in com-
pliance with orders from King Philip, because he had
divulged to the English the secret of King Philip's
intention of making war upon them.

A few years before King Philip's war John Sassa-
mon was located at what is still known as Betty's
Neck, then in Middleboro', uow in Lakeville, where
he was employed in preaching the gospel to the In-
dians ; and probably to encourage him in that under-
taking the sub-chief, Tuspaquiu, aud William, his son,
conferred upon Sassamon a grant of laud, the written
record of which is in the words following :

" Know all men by these p'sents that I, Old Watuspiuiuin,
doe grauat vnto John Sassamon ; allium Wussiuoumn tweuty-
seavon acreet* of land for a home In 1 1 , att Asiowawactt Neuke;
this is in y gift given to him, the said John Sasaaiuou, Hv nice
llio said Watuspaquin in Ann" 1673.
" Witnes my hand.

"Old Watlsi-aiiuin [0] his Marke.
"William Tisi-Ayc in [DV] his Marke.
"Witnes alsoe, Nanehevut [ X ] his Marke."



The aucient record from which the foregoing con-
cerning the gift of land to John Sassamon is copied
also contains the following :

" This abovesaid laud John Sassainon above Named
gave vnto his son-in-law ffelix, in Marriage with his
daughter Bettey, as appeers by a line or two rudely
written by the said John Sassanion's owne hand, but
onely witnessed by the said Old Watuspaquin," as
followeth :

"Saith Old Watuspaquin; it was his Will to his daughter, to
have that land which was John Wasasoinan's ; by Old Watus-
paquin ; witnessed,

"Old Watusi-aviuin, his [o] marke."

Felix, the son-in-law of John Sassamon, thus came
to possess the twenty-seven acres, the same being con-
ferred upou him when he took to wife Assawetough,
the daughter of John Sassamon, and born of his wife,
who was a daughter of " Sassacus the Terrible," and
ideutical with " the young little squaw" referred to in
Capt. Israel Stoughton's letter from Connecticut to
the Governor of Massachusetts iu 1637.

Assawetough, the daughter of John Sassamon,
accepted from the Euglish the Christian name of
Betty, and from the sub-chief, Tuspaijuin, she re-
ceived the gift of a tract of land upon what is now
familiarly known as " Betty's Neck." This is a true
copy of the record of that gift of land from Tuspa-
quin to Assawetough, alius Betty :

" Know all men by these presents that I y c said old Wattus-
paquin and William Wattuspaquin, both of us have give a free
grant or gift unto a woman called Assowetough, A tract of
land called Naliteawanet. The bounds of that Neck is a littlo
swamp place called Moshquomoh, from tbo west side of that
little swamp, to run a straight liue to a pond called Sasonkus-
wet, ranging over that point to an old fence, and so going along
with that flence till we come to a great pond called Chupipog-
gut. This we have given unto Assowetough, with the consent
of all the chief Men ol Assowainset, that she might enjoy it
peaceably without any molcstatiou, Neither by us, nor by ours,
or under us. Iiut she shall have it for ever, especially her
eldest daughter, that they shall not be troubled upon no ac-
count, neither by mortgage, or gift, or sale, or upon no account,
therefore we set our bauds.

" The mark of Wattuspwuin.

"The mark WW Williau Wattuspaquin.

" December 23, 1073.
" Witness —

" The mark C of Tobias, allut Poggapanossoo.
" The u C mark of old Thomas.
" The & mark of Pohonohoo.
"The mark J of Kankunuki.
"I, the above-named Assowetough, alius Bettey, do freely
will, give, and bequeath the above aaid tract of land unto My
Daughter Mercy, to her heirs forever. Witness My hand this
14"" day of May, 1696."

"TheX mark of
" Bettv, uliui AsSOW ETOUOU.
" Witness, Sam 1 Sprague.
" Chnrles
" I .ick Wonno."

Allusion has already herein been made to the fact
that for a time immediately preceding King Philip'3
war the educated Indian, John Sassamon, sometimes
called Wassassamon, was engaged in the work of
preaching the gospel to the Indians, his home being
at what is now known as Betty's Neck, iu Lakeville.
The Indian hearers of John Sassamon probably em-
braced both those then known as the Assawomsets
and Nemastkets, although these at a later date were
made to constitute two or three different churches or
worshiping assemblies.

While thus engaged in preaching to the Indians
John Sassamon preteuded to have learned that King
Philip was preparing to make war upon the English,
and repairing to Plymouth he communicated this
startliug and very disquieting intelligence to the
chief magistrate of Plymouth Colony, at the same time
enjoining upou the latter the strictest secrecy in the
matter of who had revealed it, as Sassamon said
should it come to the knowledge of King Philip that he
had thus exposed it, Philip would cause his immediate
execution. Sassamon was by his countrymen strongly
suspected, despite all the efforts of the English to con-
ceal from whence their knowledge came, or by whom
the story had been communicated. It is, therefore,
highly probable that King Philip ordered that John
Sassamon should be slain, and, as a result, early in
the year 1675 the latter was found to be missing.

A search for Sassamon was made, resulting in the
finding of his dead body under the ice of Assawamset
Pond. His hat and gun being found upon the ice
and identified aided in his discovery. The bruises
upon the dead body of John Sassamon, together
with the discovery that the neck was broken, afforded
very convincing proof that his death had not resulted
from drowning, but that he had been slain before
being put into the water. Circumstances led to the
opinion that it was on the 29th of January, 1G75,
that John Sassamon was slain.

Three Indians, viz., Tobias, Wampapaum, and Mat-
tushamama, were apprehended, charged with this
murder, in words following, that they, " Att a place
called Assowamsett Pond, wilfully and of sett pur-
pose and of mallice fore thought, and by force and
aimes, did murder John Sassamon, an other Indian,
by laying violent hands on him, and striking him, or
twisting his necke vntill hee was dead; and to hide
and conceale this, theire said murder, att the time
and place aforesaid, did cast his dead body through a
hole in the iyce into said pond." The jury before
whom the accused were brought for trial returned
a verdict that " the Indians, whoe are the prisoners,
are guilty of the blood of John Sassamon, aud were



the murderers of him, according to the bill of indict-
ment." The names of those jurors were as follows:
William Sabine, William Crocker, Edward Sturgis,
William Brookes, Nathaniel Winslow, John Wads-
worth, Andrew Riuge, Robert Vixon, John Done,
Jonathan Banges, Jonathan Shaw, and Benjamin

The colonial record informs that " it was Judged
very expedient by the court that, together with this
English Jury above named, some of the most iudif-
ferentest, gravest, and sage Iudians should be ad-
mitted to be with the said Jury to healp to consult
and adwice with, of, and concerning the premises."

" The names are as followeth, viz. : one called by the
English name Hope, and Maskippague, VVauno,
Gorge, Wampye, and Acanootus. These fully con-
curred with the above-written Jury in theire verdict." '
It has come to be quite generally stated that this jury
was composed of Englishmen and Iudians iu equal
numbers ; but the foregoing, copied from the official
record, shows that to have been untrue, as the six
Indians were, in fact, not a part of that jury at all,
but were only admitted to be present with and to ad-
vise the jury. That jury, according to English law,
was full without the six Indians, who at most could
only advise ; and had they advised just opposite to
what they did, it would in law have amounted to no-
thing. One of the prisoners pleaded guilty, but the
other two denied any participation in or personal
knowledge of the act. All were sentenced to be
hanged " by the head untill theire bodies are dead."
Tobias and Mattushamama were, in accordance with
the sentence, executed on the 8th day of June, 1G75.
Wampapaum, who was probably the one that con-
fessed, was relieved for a few days, and spared from
execution upon a gallows, but shot within a mouth.

These events hastened on that greatest, most bloody,
and disastrous conflict ever enacted upon New Eng-
land soil since the country had a written or printed

Tuspaquin, the sub-chief, who, under his brother-
in-law, King Philip, ruled the Assawamset and Ne-
masket Iudians, was, from the beginning of that war
until his death, one of Philip's most reliable support-
ers and ever-faithful friends, and was promptly and
without any delay upon the warpath, leading about
three hundred warriors, and is thought to have headed
the attack made on Scituate, April 20, lG7t», burning
the houses of Joseph Sylvester, William Blackmore,
Nicholas Swede, William Parker, Robert Stetson, Jr.,
John Buck, Mr. Sutcliff, Mr. Sundlake, and Mr.

i See " Plymouth Colony Records," vol. v. pp. 167 and 16S.

Holmes, and a saw-mill owned by Robert Stutson, Sr.
Nineteen houses were then burned by the Iudiaus,
who also attacked two garrisoned houses, on one of
which they continued the assault until eight of the
clock in the evening, when, English reinforcements
arriving, the Indians were repulsed. William Black-
more was killed and John James mortally wounded.

Tuspaquiu probably led in the attack made upon
Bridgewater, Sunday, April 0, 1076, when Robert
Latham's house and barn were burned, some out-
houses rifled, one horse or more killed, and three or
four horses carried away.

About two hundred Indians were thought to have
made the attack upon Scituate, and a much smaller
force thut upon Bridgewater.

May 8, 1676, the Indians made a second attack
upon Bridgewater, being about three hundred in num-
ber, led by Tuspaquin in person. One authority
(Rev. Increase Mather) said that the Indians de-
stroyed about seventeen houses and barns, and an-
other authority that they burned thirteen houses and
four barns.

Quite a body of Tuspaquin's men were captured by
Capt. Benjamin Church, July 25, 167G, and soon
after the same officer captured at Nemasket sixteen
more of Tuspaquin's people, from whom it was learned
that the sub-chief, with a numerous company, was
at Assawamset, then in Middleboro', now in Lake-

Capt. Benjamin Church, a few days after, marching
with his soldiers toward Dartmouth, was met just in
the dusk of the evening by Tuspaquin and a body of
his warriors at the brook which runs from the Long
Pond into the Assawamsett. A few shots were ex-
changed, when the Iudians fell back. A bridge now
spans the stream where that skirmish occurred.

Sept. 5, 1676, Capt. Benjamin Church at Sippican
made prisoners of several more of Tuspaquin's people,
from whom he learned that tho chief had gone to
Agawam, in what afterward became Wareham.

Capt. Church carried away these prisoners save
two aged Indian women, whom he left to infoviu
Tuspaquin, when the latter should return to Sippican,
that " Church had been there, and taken his wife and
children and company, and carried them down to
Plymouth, and would spare all their lives, and his,
too, if he would come down to them and bring the
other two that were with him."

Trusting in that promise, Tuspaquin went to Plym-
outh, and surrendered himself to the Euglish au-
thorities, by whom he was soon after put to death,
and thus perished Tuspaquiu, sachem or chief of the
Assawamset and Nemasket Indians.



As polygamy was practiced by the Indians, it is
therefore =ouiewhat uncertain whether the wife of Tus-
paquin captured by Capt. Benjamin Church at Sip-
pican was identical with that wife who was a daughter
of Massasoit, and sister to Wamsutta, alias Alexan-
der, and Pometacom, alias King Philip. Whether
the promise so shamefully broken with Tuspaquin
was to auy degree faithfully kept with his wife and
children, both tradition and written or printed history
seem to have remained silent.

William Tuspaquin, or Watuspaquin, a son of the
sub-chief, Tuspaquin, was also known by the name of
Mautowapuct. This William was doubtless the oldest
son of the sachem, Tuspaquin, and he would, under
ordinal}' circumstances, have become the successor of
his father as sub-chief or sachem of the Assawamaett
and Nemaskett Indians. What became of this In-
dian, William, is not now certainly known. His ex-
istence cau be traced up to the 1 4th day of May,
1675, and as no record appears concerning him after
that date, it is quite reasonable to presume that he
died soon after, and perhaps he was among those In-
dians slain in King Philip's war, that commenced in
June, 1675.

Benjamin Tuspaquin, a son of the sub-chief Tus-
paquin, and born of his wife, Amie, a daughter of
Massasoit, survived that terrible conflict between
races known as King Philip's war. Tradition in-
forms us that Benjamin Tuspaquin was somewhat
distinguished as a warrior, and in one of the battles
in which he engaged lost a part of his jaw-bone, that
was probably shot off with a bullet. Tradition further
informs us that he died suddenly when sitting in his
wigwam, having just before complaiued of feeling faint.

Benjamin Tuspaquin had children as follows:
Esther, who married au Indian named Tobias Samp-
son. He was what was termed a " praying Indian,"
and resided in what was then South Freetown, but
now East Fall River. He used to preach at his
home, from which circumstance his house came to be
called the " Iudiau College."

Hannah, another daughter of Benjamin Tuspaquin
and wife, Weecum, married an Indian named Quam.
They probably lived in South Freetown, now East

Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) → online text (page 67 of 118)