In the meantime the Connecticut people were bestirring themselves, and had quietly enlisted some eighty of the friendly Indians of the Mohegans and Pequods, and a band of the Niantics, whose Sachem, Ninigret, although a Narraganset, had remained neutral, in appearance, at least. Forty-seven English soldiers were joined with these, under command of Capt. George Denison of Stonington, and Capt. James Avery of New London, Connecticut. The Niantics were led by the chief Catapazat; the Pequods by Casassinamon; the Mohegans by Oneco, son of Uncas.
This force, apparently unknown to the scouts of Canonchet, approached Pawtucket, and captured one of his guards in the vicinity, with two women, one of whom confessed that Canonchet was near at hand with but a small guard. With this news, confirmed by their scouts soon afterwards, the force pushed on and soon came in sight of the wigwam of the Sachem whom they sought. When the quick ear of the chief caught the sound of an approaching body of men, he sent two of his attendants to the top of a hill near by to ascertain the cause, and these not returning, but fleeing for their lives, two more were sent, one of whom returned with the word that the enemy was close upon him. He seized his gun and sought to escape, but in his flight he came near a party of the scouts, who gave chase so closely that he was unable to elude them, and finally was forced to cross a small stream, where, entering hastily, his foot slipped on a small stone and he fell, wetting his gun, which was thus rendered useless, and he was left defenceless; and at the mishap, he confessed afterwards, "his heart turned within him, and he became as a rotten stick, void of strength."
Monopoide, a Pequod Indian, was nearest him, and overtook him within thirty rods of the river, and captured him without any attempt at resistance. The pursuit was thus strenuous, because the chief had been obliged in his flight to cast off his blanket, and then his lace-coat, which he had of late received from the English, and then his belt of wampum, and was thus recognized.
But though helpless and captive, he was still the proud and unconquered chief; and when young Robert Stanton, an interpreter, and among the first of the English to come up, began to question him, he turned away haughtily, saying, "You much child, no understand matters of war; let your brother or your chief come, him I will answer." Even Mr. Hubbard was struck by his noble bearing and heroism, and in his "Postscript," written after the first part of his history was printed, compares him to one of the old Romans, Attilius Regulus, since he would not accept of his own life upon compliance with the English.
The condition seems to have been that he would send one of his Counsellors commanding his people to yield to the English, and thus save his life. His resolution was not to be shaken by any threats or bribes; and when he was told of his sentence of death, he replied that he "liked it well, that he should die before his heart was soft, or he had spoken anything unworthy of himself." He was taken to Stonington and there shot by Oneco, son of Uncas, his life-long enemy, and two Sachems of the Pequods, of equal rank.There is no nobler figure in all the annals of the American Indians, than Canonchet, son of Miantonimoh, Sachem of the Narragansets. As he had become the real head and life of the Indians at war, so his capture was the death-blow to their hopes.
Had Canonchet lived to carry out the plans already entered upon, it is probable that the result of the campaign of the spring and summer, would have been far different. As it was, the great body of Indians still for some time held together, congregated upon the Connecticut about and above the "Falls," where Capt. Turner and his company found them and attacked them, on May 18th and 19th, 1676, as has already been related.
Of all the hostile tribes in this war, historians have assumed that Philip was the leader; and there is little doubt that he was the manager as well as the instigator of the war. But there were many powerful chiefs now engaged, and they were coming to realize that the destruction and plundering of a few villages of the settlers, here and there, resulted in provoking their vengeance, and in forcing the Indians themselves to withdraw from their old homes, into swamps and mountains and remote places.
There was disaffection among the chiefs, as they found the situation of their tribes growing more and more precarious, and felt the same pressure, which had already driven the Wampanoags, Narragansets and many of the Nipmucks, from their homes, back upon the territory of the Northern tribes, where they were now apparently preparing to settle for the present, and were already utilizing the fishing-places, hunting-grounds and cornfields. The war party, however, was greatly in the majority, being composed of those who were actuated by desire for revenge, having lost all; those young and impetuous, who believed that it was possible to destroy the English, utterly, in the way of gaining glory in war, according to their ambition; and those who saw no other way left than to fight the war through for their lives.
Philip was enabled to maintain some show of control over these chiefs, as it was he who had negotiated with each tribe, and managed in securing for them supplies of ammunition and arms; while he was also the authority to whom the French were promising supplies and men, for the reduction of the plantations in the coming summer. No one of those now left, dared to lead a revolt against Philip, and his personal adherents were in every camp and close to every chief, so that plots against him were sure to bring immediate vengeance upon the plotters.
The Narragansets, after the death of Canonchet, were drawn more under the authority of Philip, as several of the most notable warriors among the Narraganset chiefs, had been his adherents from the start.
Pomham, or Pumham, whose territory lay next to Philip's domains, was a Narraganset chief of that part of Narraganset, called Shawomet, embracing what is now Warwick. He was considered by the English the ablest soldier of the Narragansets, in his day. Although an old man, he was active in all the operations of Philip's war. His sons, also, were brave leaders. He was killed, desperately fighting for his life, in Dedham woods, July 25, 1676, by a party of English and friendly Indians, under Capt. Samuel Hunting. At the same time his son was captured, whom Mr. Hubbard describes as "a very likely Youth, and one whose Countenance would have bespoke Favour for him, had he not belonged to so bloody and barbarous an Indian as his Father was." The party of Indians consisted of some thirty-five, all of whom are said to have been "his relations and subjects."
Quinnapin, a near relative of Canonicus, early espoused the cause of Philip; he married Weetamoo, as explained above; was said to have been Canonchet's Lieutenant in the "Fort Fight," and a leader in the attack upon Lancaster in February, 1675-6. He purchased Mrs. Rowlandson from the Indians who captured her, and from her account we learn something of his character, habits and family. He had two wives beside Weetamoo. When the league of the tribes in the West was broken up, Quinnapin remained with Philip, and returned with him to the southern parts. In August, 1676, he was captured, and upon the 24th of that month was tried at Newport, R.I., by a Court-Martial, held by the Governor and Assistants, and, with other captives, was condemned to death; on the 25th he was shot.
Pessacus or Mossup, a Narraganset, a nephew of Canonicus, and a very influential counsellor of Canonchet, remained with a part of the tribe in the northern parts, and was finally killed, beyond the Pascataqua river in 1677, by the Mohawks, it is said. There were other notable chiefs of the Narragansets who took part in the war, Potok, Quaqualh, "Stone-Wall-John," and others, but the first three were the principal.
Of the Wampanoags, Philip's chief men were, Tuspaquin, Sachem of Assowomset, who married Amie, as she was called by the English, sister of Philip and daughter of Massasoit. Tuspaquin was called also "The Black Sachem," and he was at the head of the large party of Indians who, in the Spring of 1676, hung about the towns of Plymouth Colony and made successful raids against Scituate, Bridgewater and Plymouth. He was one of the last to hold out after Philip's death; and when the wandering bands were reduced to a few handfuls here and there, he was induced to come in and surrender by the promise of Mr. Church, and by the capture of his family, who were well treated and taken to Plymouth. Mr. Church promised him that his life and the lives of his family should be spared; but when he came in and surrendered, Mr. Church was not at Plymouth, and Tuspaquin was immediately tried and executed.
Annawon. This old chief appears to have been the most intimate and trusted counsellor of Philip. He was close to his chief at the time of his death, and led the band safely out of the swamp. He was captured soon after, with the remnants of the Wampanoags, at a place within the present limits of Rehoboth, and surrendered under promise of "good quarter." He gave up the treasure, and "royalties" of Philip, which he had in charge, to Mr. Church. He was executed at Plymouth, at the same time with Tuspaquin.
Totoson, son of the celebrated chief "Sam Barrow," was another of the "great captains" of Philip who survived him awhile, only to be destroyed by Mr. Church, and his mixed company of English and Indians.
Of other chiefs, who were important actors in the war, were the various sachems of the local tribes, some of whom have received mention in the course of this history. In the time of Philip's war, the interior tribes of Massachusetts were known under the general term of Nipmucks, or Nipnets, while it is probable that the Indians themselves understood that name to include the tribe which lived in the territory included in Worcester county, south of Worcester city, and probably beyond the State line, and upon the ponds, in the present towns of "Dudley, Webster, Douglas, Sutton, Oxford, Auburn, &c."
The name Nipnet, means "fresh water," and is supposed to have distinguished these tribes from the "Coast Indians." The tribes, living along the Connecticut and its branches, were called "River Indians," and included the Agawams, Waranokes, Nonotucks, Pacomptucks and Squakheags. The Quabaug Indians lived in the territory about the old town of Brookfield. The Nashaways had their chief village at Lancaster, and included the large villages at "Washakum Ponds," and about "Mount Wachusett."
Of these tribes the most prominent leaders in the war were, Mattoonus, a Nipnet; Monoco and "Sagamore-Sam," of the Nashaways; Mawtamp of Quabaug, and Pakashokag, called "John of Pakachoog."
Upon Philip's realizing the growing disaffection of the River Indians, and becoming aware also of their negotiations with the English, to betray him, he left the Connecticut, with his own tribe, and such of the Narragansets as still followed with him, and came to the parts about Wachusett, where his force was increased by many of the Quabaugs and Nashaways, under Sagamore Sam and Mawtamp. But this force was by no means manageable, for any length of time, and only when being organized for active service. Dissensions and jealousies began to arise, while the English were preparing for vigorous measures of pursuit; and about the first of June, 1676, Philip, with his Wampanoags and Narragansets, went away towards their old home. Philip and his tribe went to Pokanoket, or Mount Hope; while the Narragansets passed into their own country.
The English became aware of his presence in his old place, early in July, and thereafter he was constantly pursued by parties sent out from Boston and Plymouth, but he could not be found. The Narragansets, in the meantime, were being pursued and captured and destroyed by the Connecticut forces, with their Mohegan and Pequod allies. The principal exploit of these forces was the massacre of the people of the "Old Queen," Magnus (known also as the "Sunk Squaw," and also as "Quiapen" ), on July 2d.
Within a few days more than two hundred of the enemy came in and surrendered to the Plymouth authorities; and between that and the close of July, there was a constant series of captures and surrenders of the Indians, so that Philip was left almost alone; even his wife and young son having been captured by the English, mostly the mixed company under Mr. Church. About the 7th of August, a small company went out from Taunton, and captured a party of the Indians of Weetamo, who, herself, trying to escape across the river upon a small raft, was drowned; and her body being found a few days after, her head was severed, and being placed upon a pole, was paraded in the street at Taunton.
Philip, at last, being hunted down by the English and Indians on every side, retired, with a few of his staunchest friends, to his old retreat in a swamp at Mount Hope. Mr. Church was then in command of a scouting company of English and Indians from Plymouth, and having passed over from Pocasset, where he left most of his company, to Rhode Island, to Major Sanford's, he there heard from the Major and Capt. Golding, of Philip's condition, as reported by a deserter, whose brother Philip had killed, for advising surrender. This Indian offered to pilot the English to Philip's hiding-place. Major Sanford and Capt. Golding both offered to go with his company to assist in Philip's capture.
They were soon back at "Trip's Ferry," with the rest of his company under Capt. John Williams of Scituate. Having arrived at the swamp, piloted by the deserter, Mr. Church requested Capt. Golding to lead the skirmishing party, led by the pilot, into the swamp, to "beat up the quarters" of Philip. This the Captain accepted, and drew out his allotted men. Church instructed him to creep forward as silently as possible, in order to encompass and surprise the Indians, but when discovered to shout and make all possible noise, as the orders to the various ambuscades were to fire upon all, who came towards them silently.
Mr. Church then placed the rest of the men, with most of the Indians under Capt. Williams, so as to encompass all ways of escape from the swamp, placing an Englishman and an Indian together. Hardly had these arrangements been completed when a musket-shot, followed by a whole volley, rang through the swamp, and then the general onset began. The Indians were taken completely by surprise, and Philip, springing hastily from his sleep, under the rude open wigwam, seized his powder-horn and gun, and started from the hillside, where he had made his camp, for the deeper security of the swamp. But in his flight, he came face to face with two of Mr. Church's men, and, the Englishman's musket missing fire, the Indian immediately shot the great chieftain through the breast, so that he fell forward upon his face, with his gun beneath him, in the water of the swamp. The Indian who killed Philip was named Alderman, and is said to have been the same who betrayed his hiding-place.
When this Indian ran to Mr. Church with the news of his achievement, he was told to keep it secret until after the rest of the enemy had been beaten out of the swamp, or captured or killed. Their retreat and escape from the English was ably conducted by old Annawon, Philip's chief Sachem. When all the company had gathered about the place, where Philip's party had bivouacked, Mr. Church told them the great news of Philip's death, and presently ordered some of the Indians to drag him out of the swamp, to the solid land. There he was chopped in quarters and beheaded, and left unburied; his head and one hand were given to Alderman as a reward, and in Mr. Church's account it is said that he got "many a penny" by showing the hand.
Such was the end of Philip of Mount Hope, one of the most remarkable characters in all American history, whose biography has never yet been adequately written, and who, although by no means a hero, or a character to be admired, was, without doubt, a wise and skilful leader, and more dreaded by the colonists than any other man, before or after him. His death was heard of with universal rejoicing, in the colonies, and was considered as the practical close of the war.
[King Philip's War Index Index][NY][VT]
[King Philip's War Index Index][NY][VT]