Samuel Gardner Drake.

The aboriginal races of North America; comprising biographical sketches of eminent individuals, and an historical account of the different tribes, from the first discovery of the continent to the present period ... and a copious analytical index online

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Online LibrarySamuel Gardner DrakeThe aboriginal races of North America; comprising biographical sketches of eminent individuals, and an historical account of the different tribes, from the first discovery of the continent to the present period ... and a copious analytical index → online text (page 19 of 131)
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of their persons and lands into their hands, the English on their part agreed
to extend the same protection to them and their people as to their English

What had become of Webcowit at this time does not appear ; perhaps he
ivas off powwowing, or at home, doing the ordinary labor of the household.
We hear of him, however, four years after, (1647,) "taking an active part"
in the endeavors made by the English to Christianize his countrymen. " He
asked the English why some of them had been 27 years in the land, and
never taught them to know God till then. Had you done it sooner, (said
he,) we might have known much of God by this time, arid much sin might
have been prevented, but now some of us are grown [too] old in sin."

* Might not, then, the western mounds have bei n formed by Indians ?

f Hist. Lynn, 16.

\ Shattuck, ib. who fixes her residence at Concord j she, doubtless, had several places of

$ His name is spelt Wehcowits to MS. deed in my possession, and in Mr. Shattuck's MSS
Wibhacowitts , as appears from his History.

|| In the Histonj of the Narraganset Country, these names are written Wassamegun,
Aashawanon, Cutshamacke, Massanomell, and Squa- Sachem. See 3 Col. Mass. Hist. Soc
i. 212.

If See Gookin's MS. Hist. Praying Indie ns.


The English said they repented of their neglect; but recollecting themselves
Answered, "You were not willing to heare till now," and that God had not
turned their hearts till thru.

Of the sachems who made the covenant above named, the first we supposr.
to have beeii Massasoit, on the part of the Wampanoage, who at this time
was, perhaps, among the Nipmuks; Nashoonon, a Nipmuk chief, with whom
Massasoit now resided. His residence was near what was since Magus Hill,
in Worcester county. He was probably at Plimouth, 13 Sept., 1621, where
he signed a treaty with eight others, as we have set down in the life of Caun-
bitant His name is there spelt Nattawahunt. In Winthrop's Journal,
it is Nashacoivarn, and we suppose he was father of Nassowanno, mentioned
by Wliitney.\ KutcJiamaquin was sachem of Dorchester and vicinity, and
Massaconomet was Mascononomo.


Some account of the Massachusetts Geography of their country CHIKATAUBUT
TOWAMPATE Small -pox distresses the Indians WONOHAQUAHAM WINNEPUR-

NOT long before the settlement of Plimouth, the Massachusetts had been
a numerous people, but were greatly reduced at this time ; partly from the
great plague, of which we have already spoken, and subsequently from their
wars with the Tarratines. Of this war none but the scanty records of the
first settlers are to be had, and in them few particulars are preserved ; J
therefore it will not be expected that ever a complete account of the territo-
ries and power of the Massachusetts can be given ; broken down as they
were at the time they became known to the Europeans ; for we have seen that
their sachems, when first visited by the Plimouth people, were shifting for
their lives not daring to lodge a second night in the same place, from their
fear of the Tarratines. Hence, if these Indians had existed as an independ-
ent tribe, their history was long since swept away " in gloomy tempests,"
and obscured in " a night of clouds," and nothing but a meagre tradition re-
mained. For some time after the country was settled, they would fly for
protection from the Tariatines to the houses of the English.

It is said, by Mr. Gookin, that " their chief sachem held dominion over
many other petty governors ; as those of Weechagaskas, Neponsitt, Punka-
paog, Nonantum, Nashaway, some of the Nipmuck people, as far as Pokom-
takuke, as the old men of Massachusetts affirmed. This people could, in
former times, arm for war about 3000 men, as the old Indians declare.
They were in hostility very often with the Narragansitts ; but held amity,
for the most part, with the Pawkunnawkutts." Near the mouth of Charles
River " used to be the general rendezvous of all the Indians, both on the
south and north side of the country ."|| HutckinsonM says, "That circle
which now makes the harbors of Boston and Charlestown, round by Mai-
den, Chelsea, Nantasket, Hingham, Weymouth, Braintree, and Dorchester,
was the capital of a great sachem,** much revered by all the plantations
round about. The tradition is, that this sachem had his principal seat upon
a small hill, or rising upland, in the midst of a body of salt marsh in the
township of Dorchester, near to a place called Squantum."ff Hence it will

* Hist. Concord, 25. t Hist. Worcester Co. 174.

J This war was caused, says Mr. Huhhard, " upon the account of some treachery " on
the part of the western tribes, i. e. t

1 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc. i. 148.

IT From Neal's Hist. N. Etifc., probably, which see.

** It will be a good while before the present possessors of the country can boast of such a

ft Hist. Mass. i. 460. And here it was, I suppose, that the Plimouth people landed in iheii

the tribes west of the 3Ierrimac-k. Hist. New Eng. 30.

Hist. N. Eng. 32


be observed, that among the accounts of the earliest writers, the dominions
of the different sachems were considered as comprehended within very
different limits ; a kind of general idea, therefore, can only be had of the
extent of their possessions. It is evident that the Massachusetts were either
subject to the Narragan setts, or in alliance with them; for when the latter
were at war with the Pequots, Chikataubut and Sagamore John both wenl
with many men to aid Canonicus, who had sent for them. This war began
in 1632, and ended hi 1635, to the advantage of the Pequots.

We shall now proceed to speak of the chiefs agreeably to our plan.

Chikataubut, or Chikkatabak, in English, a house-a-Jire, was a sachem of
considerable note, and generally supposed to have had dominion over the
Massachusetts Indians. Thomas Morton mentions him in his NEW CANAAN,
as sachem of Passonagesit, (about Weymouth,) and says his mother was
buried there. I need make no comments upon the authority, or warn the
reader concerning the stories of Morton, as this is done in almost every
book, early and late, about New England ; but shall relate the following
from him.

In the first settling of Plimouth, some of the company, in wandering about
upon discovery, came upon an Indian grave, which was that of the mother
of Chikataubut. Over the body a stake was set in the ground, and
tw r o bear-skins, sewed together, spread over it ; these the English took
away. When this came to the knowledge of Chikataubut, he complained to
his people, and demanded immediate vengeance. When they were as-
sembled, he thus harangued them : " When last the glorious light of all the
sky was underneath this globe, and birds grew silent, I began to settle, as
my custom is, to take repose. Before mine eyes were fast closed, me tho't
I saw a vision, at which my spirit was much troubled, and trembling at that
doleful sight, a spirit cried aloud, ' Behold ! my son, whom I have cherished ;
see the paps that gave thee suck, the hands that clasped thee warm, and fed
thee oft ; canst thou forget to take revenge of those wild people, that hath
my monument defaced in a despiteful manner ; disdaining our ancient anti-
quities, and honorable customs. See now the sachem's grave lies like unto
the common people, of ignoble race defaced. Thy mother doth complain,
implores thy aid against this thievish people new come hither; if this be
suffered, I shall not rest in quiet within my everlasting habitation.' "*

Battle was the unanimous resolve, and the English were watched, and
followed from place to place, until at length, as some were going ashore in
a boat, they fell upon them, but gained no advantage. After maintaining
the fight for some time, and being driven from tree to tree, the chief captain
was wounded in the arm, and the whole took to flight. This action caused
the natives about Plimouth to look upon the English as invincible, and this
was the reason why peace was so long maintained between them. Of the
time and circumstances of this battle or fight we have detailed at length in
a previous chapter.

Mourfs Relation goes far to establish the main facts in the above account.
It says, " We brought sundry of the prettiest things away with us, and cov-
ered the corpse up again," and, "there was variety of opinions amongst us
about the embalmed person," but no mention of the bear-skins.

From a comparison of the different accounts, there is but little doubt, that
the English were attacked at Namskekit, in consequence of their depreda-
tions upon the graves, corn, &c. of the Indians.

In 16*21, Chikataubut, with eight other sachems, acknowledged, by a writ-
ten instrument, which we have already given, themselves the subjects of
King James. Ten years after this, 23 March, 1631, he visited Governor
Winihrop at Boston, and presented him with a hogshead of corn. Many of
"his sannops and squaws" came with him, but were most of them sent
away, "after they had all dined," although it thundered and rained, and the
governor urged their stay ; Chikataubut probably feared they would be

voyage to Massachusetts before spoken of, and from Squanto who was with them it probably
received its name.

* If this be fiction, a modern compiler has deceived some of his readers. The article in
the Analectic Magazine may have been his source of information, but the original may be
Seen '".' 1 T "~'r"n' 7Vi/i Clrimwn. lOfi qprl 107


burdensome. At this time he wore English clothes, and sat at the govern-
or's table, " where he behaved himself as soberly, &c. as an Englishman. 91

Not long after, lie called on (Jovrrnor Winthrop,Bnd desired to buy clothes
for himself ; the governor informed him that "English sagamores did not
use to truck ;* but he called his tailor, and gave him order to make him a
suit of clothes ; whereupon he gave the governor two large skins ol' coat
beaver." In a few days his clothes were ready, and the governor "put him
into a very good new suit from head to foot, and after, he set meat before
them ; but he would not eat till the governor had given thanks, and after meat
he desired him to do the like, and so departed."

June 14, 1631, at a court, Chikataubut was ordered to pay a small skin of
beaver, to satisfy for one of his men's having killed a pig, which he com-
plied with. A man by the name of Plastoive, and some others, having stolen
corn Irom him, the same year, the court, Sept. 27, ordered that Plastowe .should
restore "two-fold," and lose his title of gentleman, and pay 5. This I sup-
pose they deemed equivalent to four-fold. His accomplices were whipped,
to the same amount The next year we find him engaged with other sachems
in an expedition against the Pequots. The same year two of his men were
convicted of assaulting some persons of Dorchester in their houses. " They
were put in the bilboes," and himself required to beat them, which he did.f

The small-pox was very prevalent among the Indians in 1633, in which
3"ear, some time in November, Chikataubut died.

The residence of the family of Chikataubut was at Tehticut., now included
in Middleborough. He was in obedience to Massasoit, and, like other chiefs,
had various places of resort, to suit the different seasons of the year;
sometimes at Wessaguscusset, sometimes at Neponset, and especially upon
that part of NamasketJ called Tehticut. This was truly a river of saga-
mores. Its abundant stores of fish, in the spring, drew them from all parts
of the realm of the chief sachem.

In deeds, given by the Indians, the place of their residence is generally
mentioned, and from what we shall recite in the progress of this article, it
will be seen that the same chief has different residences assigned to him.

August 5, 1665, Quincy, then Braintree, was deeded by a son of Chikatau-
but, in these terms :

"To all Indian people to whom these presents shall come; Wampatuck,
alias Josiah Sagamore, of Massathusetts, in Newengland, the son of Chikatau-
but deceased, sendeth greeting. Know yoo that the said Wampatuck, being
of full age and power, according to the order and custom of the natives.
hath, with the consent of his wise men, viz. Squamog, his brother Daniel,
m\d Old Hahatun, and William Mananiomott, Job Nassott, Manuntago William
JVakanton\\ * "For divers goods and valuable reasons therunto ; and in
special for "21 10s. in hand. It was subscribed and witnessed thus:

JOSIAH, alias WAMPATUCK, his fQ inarke.
DANIEL SQUAMOG, and a mark.
OLD NAHATU:V, and a mark.

ROBERT, alias MAMUNTAGO, and a mark.
In presence of

JOSEPH MANUMON, his g mark,

* However true this might have been of the governor, at least, we think, he should
have used the plural

t " The most usual custom amongst them in exercising 1 punishments, is, for the sachem
either to heat, or whip, or put to death with his own hand, to which the common sort most
quietly submit." Williams.

\ Namauasuck signified in their lansruageyzs/ies, and some early wrote Namascheuck.

History of Quincy, by Rev. Mr. Whitney, taken from the original in the possession of the
Hon. J. Q. Adams.

J| Nahaton, or Ahaton, and the same sometimes written Ne/imden. See \Vortliingtoii
tns'. 1^-edliA'im, 21 tie suid ianui> ipou (Aar:e> Rjver in 1680 ih.


There is a quit-claim deed from " Charles Josias, alias Josias Wampatuck,
grandson of Chikataubut, dated 19 Mar. 1695, of Boston and the adjacent
country, and the islands in the harbor, to the " proprietated inhabitants of the
town of Boston," to be seen among the Suffolk records.* Wampatuck says.
or some one/or him, "Forasmuch as I am informed, and well assured frcflii
several ancient Indians, as well those of my council as others, that, upon
the first coming of the English to sit down and settle in those parts of New
England, my above-named grandfather, Chikataubut, by and with the advice
of his council, for encouragement thereof moving, did give, grant, sell, alien-
ate, and confirm unto the English planters," the lands above named.

Besides Josias, there signed this deed with him, Jfliawton, sen., William Ha-
haton, and Robert Momentauge.

Josias, or Josiah Wampatuck, \vas sachem of Mattakeesett,f and, from
the deeds which he gave, must have been the owner of much of the lands
southward of Boston. In 1653, he sold to Timothy Hatherly, James Cudworth,
Joseph Tilden, Humphrey Turner, William Hatch, John Hoare, and James Tor-
rey, a large tract of land in the vicinity of Accord Pond and North Rjver.

In 1662, he sold Pachage Neck, [now called Ptchade,] "lying between
Namassakett riuer and a brook falling into Teticutt riuer, viz. the most
westerly of the three small brookes that do fall into the said riuer;" like-
wise all the meadow upon said three brooks, for 21. Also, another tract
bounded by Plimouth and Duxbury on one side, and Bridgewater on the
other, extending to the great pond Mattakeeset ; provided it included not the
1000 acres given to his son and George Wampey, about those ponds. This
deed was witnessed by George Wampey and John Wampowes.

After the death of his father, Josias was often called Josias Chikataubut.
In the PLIMOUTH RECORDS we find this notice, but without date : "Memoran-
dum, that Josias Chickabutt and his wife doe ow r ne the whole necke of Pun-
kateesett to beloing vnto Plymouth men," &c.

In 1668, " Josias Chickatabutt, sachem of Namassakeesett," sold to Robert
Studson of Scituate, a tract of land called Nanumackeuitt, for a " valuable
consideration," as the deed expresses it. This tract was bounded on the
east by Scituate.

Josias had a son Jeremy ; and " Charles Josiah, son of Jeremy, was the last of
the race."J Of Josiah, Mr. Gookin gives us important information.

War between the Massachusett Indians and Mohawks. In the year 1669, " the
war having now continued between the Maquas and our Indians, about six
years, divers Indians, our neighbors, united their forces together, and made
an army of about 6 or 700 men, and marched into the Maquas' country, to
take revenge of them. This enterprise was contrived and undertaken
without the privity, and contrary to the advice of their English friends. Mr.
Eliot and myself, in particular, dissuaded them, and gave them several
reasons against it, but they would not hear us." Five of the Christian
Indians went out with them, and but one only returned alive. " The chief-
est general in this expedition was the principal sachem of Massachusetts,
named Josiah, alias Chekatabutt, a wise and stout man, of middle age, but a
very vicious person. He had considerable knowledge in the Christian
religion ; and sometime, when he was younger, seemed to profess it for a
time; for he was bred up by his uncle, Kuchamakin, who was the first
sachem and his people to whom Mr. Eliot preached."

Of those who went out with Wampatuk from other tribes we have no rec-
ord ; but there were many, probably, as usual upon such expeditions.

This army arrived at the Mohawk fort after a journey of about 200 miles ;
when, upon besieging it some time, and having some of their men killed in
sallies, and sundry others sick, they gave up the siege and retreated. Mean-
while the Mohawks pursued them, got in their front, and, from an ambush,

* Printed at length in Snow's Hist. Boston, 389, et cet.
i Deajte's Hist. Scituate, 144.

$ Ibid. Sqnamaug was a brother of Josiah, and ruled " as sachem during the minority "
of Jeremy. Dr. Harris, Hist. Dorchester, 16, 17.
1 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc. i. 166.



attacked them in a defile, and a great fight ensued. Finally the Mohawk?
were put to flight by the extraordinary bravery and prowess of Chikataubut
and his captains. But what was most calamitous in this disastrous expedi-
tion, was, the loss of the great chief Chikataubut, who, after performing prodi-
gies of valor, was lulled in repelling the Mohawks in their last attack, with
almost all his captains, in number about 50, as was supposed.* This was a
severe stroke to these Indians, and they suffered much from chagrin on
their return home. The Mohawks considered themselves their masters,
tind although a peace was brought about between them, by the mediation of
the English and Dutch on each side, yet the Massachusetts and others often
tsiiff.-m! from their incursions.

A chief of much the same importance as Chikataubut and his sons, was
Mascononomo, or Masconomo, sachem of Agawam, since called Ipswich.
When the fleet which brought over the colony that settled Boston, in 1G30,
anchored near Cape Ann, he welcomed them to his shores, and spent some
time on board one of the ships.f

On the 28th June, 1638, Mascononomet J executed a deed of "all his lands
in Ipswich," to John Winthrop,JT^ for the sum of 20.

At a court in July, 1631, it was ordered, that "the sagamore of Agawam is
banished from coming into any Englishman's house for a year, under penalty
often beaver-skins." || This w r as probably done in retaliation lor his having
committed acts of violence on the Tarratines, who soon after came out
with great force against Mascononomo ; he having, "as was usually said,
treacherously killed some of those Tarratine families."1I It would seem
that he expected an attack, and had therefore called to his aid some of the
sachems near Boston ; for it so happened that Montowampate and Wonoha-
quaham were at Agawam when the Tarratiues made an attack, but whether
bv concert or accident is not clear.


To the number of 100 men, in three canoes, the Tarratines came out on
this enterprise, on the 8 August following. They attacked Mascononomo and
his guests in his wigwam in the night, killed seven men, wounded Mascono-
nomo himself, and Montowampate, and Wonohaquaham, and several others who
afterwards died. They took the wife of Montowampate captive, but it so hap-
pened that Abraham Shurd of Pemmaquid ransomed her, and sent her home,
where she arrived on the 17 September the same autumn.** From Mr. Cob-
befs account, it appears that they came against the English, who, but for an
Indian, named Robin, would have been cut off, as the able men at this time,
belonging to Ipswich, did not exceed 30; and most of these were from home
on the day the attack was to have been made. Robin, having by some means
found out their intentions, went to John Perkins,^ and told him that on such
a day four Tarratines would come and invite the English to trade, " and draw
them down the hill to the water side," when 40 canoes full of armed Indians
would be ready, under " the brow of the hill," to fall upon them. It tunic d
out as Robin had reported ; but the Indians were frightened off by a false
show of numbers, an old drum, and a few guns, without effecting their

We hear no more of him until 1644, March 8, when, at a court held in
Boston, " Cutshamekin and Squaw-Sachem, Masconomo, Nashacowam and Was-
samasrin, two sachems near the great hill to the west, called Wachusett, came
into the court, and, according to their former tender to the governor, desired
to be received under our protection and government, upon the same terms

* 1 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc. i. 167.

t Hist. N. England.

t This is doubtless the most correct spelling of his name. It is scarce spelt twice alike ir
the MS. records.

Records of Gen. Court, v. 381. || Prince, 357.

IT Hubbard's N. E. 145.

** Wintlirop's Jour. Lewis's Hist. Lynn, 39, 40. Felt's Hist. Ipswich, 3.

tt Quarter-master, " living then in a little hut upon his father's island on this side of Jeof
rv's Neck." MS. Narratire.
" tt Cobbet's MS. Narrative.

They desired this from their great fear of the Mohawks, it is said.


that Pumham and Sacononoco were. So we causing them to understand the
articles, and all the ten commandments of God, and they freely assenting to
all,* they were solemnly received, and then presented the court with twenty-
six fathom of wampum, and the court gave each of them a coat of two yards
of cloth, and their dinner; and to them and their men, eveiy one of them, a
cup of sac at their departure ; so they took leave, and went away very joyful." f

In the Town Records of Ipswich, under date 18 June 1658, a grant is made to
the widow of Mascononoino, of "that parcel of land which her husband had
f.-nced in," so long as she should remain a widow. Her husband was the last
of the sachems of Agawam, and with him, says Mr. Felt, descended "his feble
and broken scepter to the grave." He died on the 6 March, 1658, and was
buried on Sagamore Hill, now within the bounds of Hamilton. His gun and
other valuable implements were interred with him. "Idle curiosity, wanton,
sacrilegious sport, prompted an individual to dig up the remains of this chief j
and to carry his scull on a pole through Ipswich streets. Such an act of bar-
barity was severely frowned upon, and speedily visited with retributive civil

MONTOWAMPATE, sagamore of Lynn and Marblehead, was known more
generally among the whites as Sagamore James. He was son of Nanepashemei,
and brother of Wonohaqvaham and Winnepurkitt.^ He died in 1633, of the
small-pox, "with most of his people. It is said that these two promised, if
ever they recovered, to live with the English, and serve their God."||
Montowampate, having been defrauded of 20 beaver-skins, by a man named
Waits, who had since gone to England, he went to Gov. Winthrop on the 20
March, 1631, to know how he should obtain recompense. The governor gave
him a letter to Emanuel Downing, Esq. of London, from which circumstance
it would seem that the chief determined to go there ; and it is said that he
actually visited England and received his due.^f The histories of those times
give a melancholy picture of the distresses caused by the small-pox among the
" wretched natives." " There are," says Mather, " some old planters surviving
to this day, who helped to bury the dead Indians ; even whole families of
them all dead at once. In one of the wigwams they found a poor infant suck-
ing at the breast of the dead mother."** The same author observes that, before
the disease began, the Indians had begun to quarrel with the English about
the bounds of their lands, " but God ended the controversy by sending the

Online LibrarySamuel Gardner DrakeThe aboriginal races of North America; comprising biographical sketches of eminent individuals, and an historical account of the different tribes, from the first discovery of the continent to the present period ... and a copious analytical index → online text (page 19 of 131)