John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott.

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us a minute account of the interesting adventure.
They left the village, probably on Tuesday morning,
July 3d, bearing the following message to Massasoit,
with the present of a brilliant horseman's coat, of red
cotton, gaudily laced.

" Inasmuch as your subjects come often and with-


out fear, upon all occasions amongst us, so we are now
come unto you. In witness of the love and good will
the English bear you, our Governor has sent you a
coat, desiring that the peace and amity between us
may be continued ; not that we fear you, but because
we intend not to injure any one, desiring to live peace-
ably, as with all men, so especially with you our nearest

" But whereas your people come very often, and
very many together, unto us, bringing for the most
part their wives and children with them, they are wel-
come. Yet we being but strangers, as yet, at Patux-
et, T)r New Plymouth, and not knowing how our corn
may prosper, can no longer give them such entertain-
ment as we have done, and as we desire still to do.
Yet if you will be pleased to come yourself, or any
special friend of yours desires to see us, coming from
you, they shall be welcome.

"And to the end that we may know them from
others, our Governor has sent you a copper chain,
desiring that if any messenger should come from you
to us, we may know him by his bringing it with him,
and may give credit to his message accordingly."

They then added the following, which we record
with pleasure, as showing the conscientiousness of
these remarkable men :

"At our first arrival at Paomet, called by us Cape


Cod, we found there corn buried in the ground, and
finding no inhabitants, but some graves of the dead
newly buried, took the corn, resolving that if ever we
could hear of any that had right thereunto, to make
satisfaction to the full for it. Yet since we under-
stand the owners thereof had fled, for fear of us, our
desire is either to pay them with the like quantity of
corn, or with English meal, or any other commodities
we have, which they may desire. We request that
some of your men may signify so much unto them,
and we will content him for his pains.

" Last of all, our Governor requested one favor of
him, which was that he would exchange some of their
corn for seed, with us, that we might make trial which
was best agreed with the soil where we live."

It was a warm and sunny day when the two Pil-
grims, with their Indian guide, set out on their ad-
venturous journey through the forest. The Indians,
in their movements from place to place, however nu-
merous the party, always went, with moccasined feet, in
single file, one following after the other. The forests
were threaded with many of these narrow paths, or
trails, which had thus been trodden by them through
countless generations. These paths were as well
known by them, and almost as distinctly marked, as
the paved roads of the Old World which had resound-
ed with the tramp of the Roman legions. Indian in-


stinct had, ages ago, selected these routes, often
through glooms which no rays of the sun ever pene-
trated, and again through scenes of marvellous pic-
turesque beauty, beneath frowning mountains, along
the margin of crystal lakes, and upon the banks of
sparkling rivulets.

Much to the annoyance of the two Pilgrims ap-
pointed upon this mission a party of ten or twelve
lazy Indians, men, women and children, uninvited,
persistently tagged after them, often very vexatiously
intrusive, and ever clamorous to share their food.

The first day they travelled about fifteen miles, to
an Indian village called Namasket. It was situated
upon a branch of what is now called the Taunton
River, within the limits of the present town of Mid-

" Thither we came," writes Mr. Winslow, " about
three o'clock after noon ; the inhabitants entertaining
us with joy, in the best manner they could, giving us
a kind of bread called by them maizium, * and the
spawn of shads, which they then got in abundance,
insomuch that they gave us spoons to eat them. With
these they boiled musty acorns ; but of the shads we
ate heartily."

These Indians had probably all heard of the won-

* Made ot maize or Indian com.


derful power of the muskets of the white men, though,
perhaps, none of them had ever seen the effects ac-
complished by powder and ball. The crows troubled
their corn fields, and it was almost impossible for the
Indians to get near enough to these wary animals to
hit them with the arrow. They begged their guests
to show them the power of their guns by shooting
some of these crows. There was one upon a tree at
the distance of about two hundred and forty feet.
With intense interest the Indians watched as they
saw one of the Pilgrims take deliberate aim at the
bird, and when they heard the report, and saw the
bird fall dead, struck by an invisible shaft, their aston-
ishment passed all bounds. Several crows were thus
shot, exciting the admiration and awe of all the savage

As Squantum told the Pilgrims that it was more
than a day's journey from Namasket to Pokanoket, or
Mount Hope, where Massasoit resided, and that
there was a good place to pass the night about eight
miles further on their way, they decided to resume
their journey. About sunset they reached a small
group of Indians at a place now called Titicut, on
Taunton River, in the northwest part of Middle-
borough, adjoining Bridge water.

Here quite an attractive region presented itself to
their eyes. The land on both sides of the river had


long been cleared, being entirely free from trees or
stumps, and had evidently waved with cornfields.
There were many indications that the place had for-
merly been quite thickly inhabited. The plague, of
which we have spoken, it is said, had swept every in-
dividual into the grave. A few wandering outcast
Indians had come to this depopulated region to take
fish. By means of a wear in the river, which con-
sisted of a sort of net or fence, constructed of
branches of trees and twigs, they caught an abun-
dance of bass. They had not erected any shelter for
themselves, but were sleeping, like the cattle, in the
open air. These wretched savages had no food but
fish and roasted acorns. Very greedily they partook
of the stores which the Pilgrims brought with them.
Liberally they were fed, " we not doubting," writes
Mr. Winslow, " but that we should have enough wher-
e'er we came."

The Pilgrims lodged that night in the open fields.
The next morning, at an early hour, after such frugal
breakfast as the occasion could furnish, they set out
again upon their journey. Six savages followed them.
Having travelled about six miles, following down the
banks of the river, they came to a shoal place, where
the stream could be forded. This was undoubtedly
at a spot now called Squabetty, three and a half miles
from Taunton Green.


" Here," writes Mr. Winslow, " let me not forget
the valor and courage of some of the savages on the
opposite side of the river ; for there were remaining
alive only two men, both aged, especially the one be-
ing about threescore. These two, espying a com-
pany of men entering the river, ran very swiftly, and
low in the grass, to meet us at the bank, where, with
shrill voices and great courage, standing, they charged
upon us with their bows, demanding who we were,
supposing us to be enemies, and thinking to take ad-
vantage of us in the water. But seeing we were
friends, they welcomed us with such food as they had,
and we bestowed a small bracelet of beads upon them."

Here, after refreshing themselves, they continued
their journey down the western banks of the river.
It was a very sultry July day, but the country was
beautiful, and abundantly watered with innumerable
small streams, and cool, bubbling springs. The sav-
ages would never drink of the flowing brooks, but
only at the spring heads. Very pleasantly Mr. Wins-
low writes in reference to the amiability and obliging
disposition of these savages :

" When we came to any brook where no bridge
was, two of them desired to carry us through, of their
own accord. Also, fearing that we were or would be
weary, they offered to carry our pieces. If we would
lay off any of our clothes, we should have them car-


ried. And as the one of them had found more special
kindness from one of the messengers, and the other
savage from the other, so they showed their thankful-
ness accordingly, in affording us all help and further-
ance in the journey."

It was very manifest to the travellers, as we have
said, that they were passing through a country which
once had been crowded with a population which but
recently had been swept away. There were widely
extended fields, which had formerly been planted with
corn, where there was then to be seen but a rank
growth of weeds, higher than a man's head. The re-
gion was pleasantly diversified with hills and plains,
often presenting extended forests of the most valuable
timber. It was a very noticeable and beautiful feature
in these forests, that they were entirely free of under-
brush, presenting the aspect of the most carefully-
trimmed English park. Mr. Wood, who visited this
region in year 1633, writes :

" Whereas it is generally conceived that the woods
grow so thick that there is no more clear ground than
is hewed out by labor of men, it is nothing so ; in many
places divers acres being clear, so that one may ride
a hunting in most places of the land. There is no
underwood, saving in swamps and low grounds ; for,
it being the custom of the Indians to burn the woods
in November, when the grass is withered and leaves


dried, consumes all the underwood and rubbish, which
otherwise would overgrow the country, making it im-
passable, and spoil their much-affected hunting. So
that in these places there is scarce a bush or bramble
or any cumbersome underwood to be seen in the
more champaign ground."

Hour after hour they journeyed on through these
lonely fields, without meeting an individual. At
length one solitary Indian was espied in the distance.
The Indians, who accompanied the Pilgrims, seemed
much alarmed, from fear that he might be one of the
Narraganset tribe, with whom Massasoit was then at
war, and that there might be more of the Narragan-
sets near at hand. The Pilgrims, however, bade
them not to fear, assuring them that, with their guns,
they should not hesitate to meet twenty of the foe.
The savage was hailed. He proved to be a friend,
having two women with him. The two parties inter-
changed courtesies, ate and drank together, and sep-
arated, well pleased with each other.

Soon after this they met another Indian, also ac-
companied by two women. They had been at a ren-
dezvous, by a salt water creek, and had some baskets
full of roasted crabs and other small shell fish. They,
also, in oriental fashion, ate and drank together, in
token of friendship. The women were made very
happy by a present each of a string of beads, as bril-


liant in their eyes as the priceless jewels of the crown
to any European queen. " There is but one step
between the sublime and the ridiculous." The
step is equally short between the court-dress of
an European monarch and his jeweled queen, and
that of the feathered Indian warrior and his beaded

Continuing their journey, they soon reached one
of the small towns of Massasoit. This was probably
Mattapoiset, now known as Gardner's Neck, in Swan-
sey. They were hospitably received here, and fed
with oysters and other fish.

The latter part of the afternoon they reached Po-
kanoket, on the northern shore of Narraganset Bay.
The capital of the Indian monarch, which they had
thus entered, was about forty miles from Plymouth.
The spot where the little cluster of wigwams stood,
was probably Sowams, in the present town of Warren.
We cannot better describe the interview which took
place, than in the language of Mr. Winslow :

" Massasoit was not at home. There we stayed,
he being sent for. When news was brought of his
coming, our guide, Squantum, requested that, at our
meeting, we would discharge our pieces. But one of
us going about to discharge his piece, the women and
children, through fear to see him take up his piece,
ran away, and could not be pacified till he laid it down


again ; who afterwards were better informed by our

" Massasoit being come, we discharged our pieces
and saluted him ; who, after their manner, kindly
welcomed us, and took us into his house and set us
down by him ; where, having delivered our foresaid
message and presents, and having put the coat on his
back, and the chain about his neck, he was not a lit-
tle proud to behold himself, as were his men also, to
see their king so bravely attired.

" In answer to our message, he told us we were
welcome, and he would gladly continue that peace
and friendship which was between him and us. As
for his men, they should no longer pester us as they
had done. He would also send us corn for seed, ac-
cording to our request.

" This being done, his men gathered near to him,
to whom he turned himself and made a great speech ;
they sometimes interposing, and, as it were, confirm-
ing and applauding him in that he said."

In this harangue the king enumerated thirty
towns or villages over which his sovereignty was rec-
ognized ; and enjoined it upon his people ever to live
in peace with the white men, and to carry to them furs
for sale.

" This being ended he lighted tobacco for us, and
fell to discoursing of England and of the King's Maj-


esty, marvelling that he would live without a wife.*
Also he talked of the Frenchmen, bidding us not to
suffer them to come to Narraganset, for it was King
James's country, and he was King James's man.
Late it grew, but victuals he offered us none ; for, in-
deed, he had not any, he being so newly come home.
So we desired to go to rest. He laid us on the bed
with himself and his wife, they at the one end and
we at the other, it being only planks laid a foot from
the ground, and a thin mat upon them. Two more
of his chief men, for want of room, pressed by and
upon us, so that we were worse weary of our lodging
than of our journey.

"The- next day being Thursday, many of their
sachems, or petty governors, came to see us, and many
of their men also. There they went to their manner
of games for skins and knives. We challenged them
to shoot with us for skins, but they durst not ; only
they desired one of us to shoot at a mark, who, shoot-
ing with hail-shot, they wondered to see the" mark so
full of holes.

" About one o'clock Massasoit brought two fishes
that he had shot. They were like bream, but three
times as big, and better meat, f These, being boiled,

* James I., then King of England, had been a widower for about a

f This was probably the fish called tataug.


there were at least forty looked for share in them.
The most ate of them. This meal only we had in
two nights and a day. And had not one of us bought
a partridge we had taken our journey fasting.

" Very importunate he was to have us stay with
him longer. But we desired to keep the Sabbath at
home, and feared that we should either be light-
headed for want of sleep, for what with bad lodging,
the savage's barbarious singing, for they use to sing
themselves asleep, lice and fleas within doors, and
mosquitoes without, we could hardly sleep all of the
time of our being there ; we much fearing that if we
should stay any longer we should not be able to re-
cover home for want of strength. So that on Friday
morning, before sun-rising, we took our leave and de-
parted, Massasoit being both grieved and ashamed
that he could no better entertain us."

Their journey home was a weary one. They com-
menced it hungry, and without any supply of food for
the way. Squantum and five other Indians accom-
panied them, who were accustomed to the hardships
of the wilderness, and knew how to obtain food if there
were roots or berries, game or fish anywhere within
reach. When they arrived at Mattapoiset, the friendly
but half-starved Indians there refreshed them with a
small fish, a handful of parched corn, and a few clams.
The clams they gave to their six Indians, reserving


for themselves only the little fish and the handful of
meal, which by no means satiated their craving appe-
tites. The Indians led them five miles out of their
way, with the hope of obtaining food, but they found
the place abandoned and no food there.

Hungry and weary they toiled along, and that
night reached the wear at Titicut, on Taunton River.
Here again they found famine. But one of the hos-
pitable savages, who had speared a shad, and shot a
small squirrel, gave half to the nearly femished trav-
ellers. In this starving condition they sent one of
the Indians forward to Plymouth, imploring their
brethren immediately to send an Indian runner to
meet them at Namasket with food. Fortunately that
evening a large number of fishes were caught in the
wear, so that they feasted abundantly upon rx>asted
fish, and their fatigue enabled them to sleep soundly
in the open air. In the morning, after another ample
breakfast of roasted fish, which their good appetites
rendered palatable, they set out again upon their

About two o'clock in the morning it had com-
menced raining with great violence, accompanied with
thunder and lightning. The fire which the Pilgrims
had built to keep their feet warm was extinguished,
and, drenched with the rain and shivering with cold,
they must have suffered severely had not their great


fatigue rendered them almost insensible to tne ex-
posure. The storm of wind and rain raged unabated
through the day. But they toiled on, wet and weary,
until, a little after noon, they reached Namasket.
Here they found the provisions which their compan-
ions had sent them from Plymouth. Liberally they
rewarded all who had shown them any kindness by
the way. At night they reached home, wet, weary
and footsore. They had been absent five days, leav-
ing Plymouth Tuesday morning, and returning home
Saturday evening, having spent Thursday with the
renowned Indian monarch Massasoit.


Exploring Tours.

The Lost Boy. The Expedition to Nauset. Interesting Adventures.
The Mother of the Kidnapped Indians. Tyanough. Payment
for the Corn. Aspinet, the Chief. The Boy Recovered. Alarm-
ing Intelligence. Hostility of Corbitant. The Friendship of
Hobbomak. Heroic Achievement of Miles Standish. The Mid-
night Attack. Picturesque Spectacle. Results of the Adventure.
Visit to the Massachusetts. The Squaw Sachem. An Indian
Fort. Charming Country. Glowing Reports.

We have before spoken of the notorious John Bil-
lington and his ungovernable family. His boy John,
the same one who came so near causing the May-
flower to be blown up with gunpowder, got lost in the
woods. The search to find him was unavailing. At
last news came that he had, after wandering five days
in the woods, living upon berries, been picked up- by
the Nauset Indians, the same who had attacked the
Pilgrims at the First Encounter. Following an In-
dian trail he had reached a small Indian village, called
Manomet, in the present town of Sandwich, about
twenty miles south of Plymouth. The Indians treated
him kindly, and took him with them still further down
the Cape to Nauset, in the present town of Barn-



Massasoit sent word to Governor Carver where he
was, and an expedition of ten men was immediately
fitted out, in the shallop, to bring him back: It was
a beautiful day, the latter part of July, when the boat
sailed from Plymouth harbor on this short trip. They
had not, however,, been many hours at sea ere a tem-
pest arose with vivid lightning and heavy peals of
thunder. They ran, for shelter, into a place called
Cummaquit, which was doubtless Barnstable harbor.
Squantum and another Indian, by the name of Toka-
mahamon, accompanied them, as interpreters and

It was night before they reached the harbor and
cast anchor. The receding tide left them dry upon
the flats. In the morning they saw several savages,
on the shore, seeking for shell-fish. The two Indian
interpreters were sent to communicate with them:
They returned stating that the boy was well, but that
he was several miles further down the Cape, at Nau-
set. The Indians also invited the white men to come
on shore and eat with them. As soon as the return-
ing tide floated the boat they drew near to the shore,
and, cautiously taking four unarmed Indians on board
as hostages, six of the voyagers landed. Here they
had a very pleasant interview with the sachem, or
chief of the tribe, a young man, by the name of Tyan-
ough, but twenty-six years of age. He was very hos-


pitable, and seemed to have but little of the savage in
his nature. They describe him as " very personable,
gentle, courteous and fair conditioned."

They met here with an aged Indian woman whom
they judged to be not less than one hundred years
old. She had never before seen a white man. As
soon as she saw the English she burst into a convul-
sive fit of weeping. It appeared that she had three
sons who had been lured on board the ship of the in-
famous Captain Hunt and kidnapped. They were
carried off to Spain, and she had never heard any tid-
ings from them. The Pilgrims spoke all the words
of comfort to the poor bereaved mother which they
could, assuring her that Captain Hunt was a very
wicked man, whom God would punish ; that all the
English condemned him for his crime, and that they
would not be guilty of the like wickedness for all the
skins the country could afford. They made her some
presents which quite cheered her.

After dinner they re-embarked, on such friendly
terms with the natives that the chief and two of his
men went on board with them to accompany them on
the way. It was in the evening twilight when they
reached Nauset, and the tide was out. The savages
here seemed to be very numerous, and they crowded
the shore. It is supposed that the point which they
had reached here was in the present town of East-


ham. The shallop touched the flats at quite a dis-
tance from the land. Tyanough, the chief of the
Cummaquit Indians, and his two men, waded over
the wet and sandy flats to the beach. Squantum ac-
companied them, to inform Aspinet, the chief of the
Nauset Indians, of their object in coming. The sav-
ages manifested great eagerness of cordiality, flocked
out to the boat, and expressed more than willingness
to drag it over the flats to the shore. But the Pil-
grims would not allow this. They had not full con-
fidence in their sincerity. This was the same tribe
which had so fiercely assailed them in the First En-

They, therefore, warned the Indians off, and with
their weapons stood guard, allowing but two to enter
the boat. One of these was from Manamoick, now
Chatham, and was one of the owners of the corn which
the Pilgrims had taken. The Pilgrims received him
with great kindness, and assured him that if he would
come to Plymouth they would repay him abundantly,
either in corn or other articles ; or, if preferred, they
would send the payment to the Indians. He prom-
ised to come to Plymouth.

Just after sunset Aspinet appeared upon the shore,
leading the boy, and accompanied by a train of nearly
one hundred men. Fifty of these, unarmed, came
wading through the water to the side of the shallop,


bringing the boy with them. The other fifty remained
at a little distance, armed with bows and arrows,
ready to meet any hostile demonstration. In token
of peace, and of his desire to cherish friendly relations
with the English, Aspinet had decorated the boy with
Indian ornaments. The Pilgrims here received also
the rather alarming intelligence that Massasoit had
been defeated in a battle with the Narragansets.
Seven men only had been left for the protection of
the colony. It was feared that the hostile Narragan-
sets might make an attack upon them. It therefore
appears that as soon as the tide came in, that very
night, they spread their sails for home. They made
Aspinet the present of a knife, and also gave a knife
to the Indian who first found the boy and protected

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Online LibraryJohn S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) AbbottMiles Standish, the Puritan captain .. → online text (page 8 of 21)