SOLDIERS

IN

KING PHILIP'S WAR

Chapter 27, Part II 

This order of the Council was carried out by a strong guard of troopers and infantry. The whole number of the Wamesits, in their village, was one hundred and forty-five, of whom only thirty-three were able-bodied men. The original order was for all to be brought down; but after the village had been broken up and all had been started on the way, it occurred to the Council that there were no sufficient accommodations for so large a body of people, especially Indians, and they prudently ordered all, save the able-bodied, back to their village. 

The thirty-three men were brought down to Charlestown, and lodged in the town-house, under guard, for a few days, and then all except a few, against whom some suspicions existed, were returned to their homes. The Punkapogs were brought as far as Dorchester, but after an interview with their ruler, William Ahaton, the Council sent all the tribe, save a few "suspects," home. About the first of October a great clamor was raised against the Naticks, accusing them of burning an old empty building in Dedham. It was a false device of their enemies to ruin them; but in spite of all the better influence of the magistrates and ministers, the design practically succeeded. 

The popular fury so raged that the authorities and the friends of these Indians believed that it would be best to get them down to Deer Island. This was accomplished, and although Capt. Prentice, their good friend, conducted them down, and did all he could to protect them, their neighbors, the English, as soon as they had left their homes, immediately fell upon their villages and robbed them of everything which they had left behind; and they had been obliged to leave their homes at an hour's notice. Their guns, hunting-gear, ammunition, stores, etc., all which was their own private property, were plundered by their English neighbors and never returned to them. Rev. Mr. Eliot, Major Gookin and others of their friends, met them at the "Falls of the Charles River" and they were taken down to Deer Island in boats, with such of their poor belongings as they were able to bring along. 

Some two hundred in all were landed upon the bleak island, with scant clothing and food, and no shelter save such as they might construct. They suffered incredibly in many ways, being obliged to subsist largely upon clams, and such fish as might be taken from the shore.

In November, the Hassanamesit Praying Village was attacked by the hostile Indians, and about fifty men and one hundred and fifty women and children captured. They had been disarmed by the English, and so abused and threatened by their English neighbors that many went willingly, as they were persuaded that the English were mostly hostile to them, and meant to destroy them. James Speen and Job Kattenanit escaped and brought the news to the English. Their ruler "Capt. Tom," alias "Wuttasacomponom," had been a tried and trusted friend of the English, but had been so insulted and threatened by some of them that he yielded to the enemy, and many others followed with him. The pastor of their church, Joseph Tuckapawillin, and his aged father Naoas, went unwillingly and sorrowfully.

By this stroke the cause of christianizing the Indians met with a very severe check, there being three villages, viz., Hassanamesit, Magunkog and Chobonokonomum, broken up. Properly armed and garrisoned with a few English, along with the Indians, these villages would have been a strong defence in the war. It was upon this disaster that Capts. Henchman and Syll came to Hassanamesit, and the record of their expedition shows that all the success they had was achieved by the five Natick scouts, of whom three were Thomas and James Quanapohit and Eleazar Pegin, who were highly commended for their services, their courage and fidelity, by their officers. But the hate and prejudice was so bitter among the soldiers, that Capt. Syll was forced to send three of the Indians back home. For lack of these, Lieut. Philip Curtis lost his life uselessly, his company being left without any scouts. James and Thomas Quanapohit remained in Capt. Syll's company.

When Job Kattenanit escaped from Hassanamesit he left his three children with the hostile Indians, and was granted a pass to go into the woods to try to recover them; but meeting with some of Capt. Henchman's soldiers, he was seized and stripped of most of his clothing and his arms, and then by the Captain, to still the rage of the soldiers and populace, he was sent down to Boston, and there thrown into prison, no note being taken of his pass from Major Gookin. He suffered here from the foulness of the prison and the crowded situation, and the insults and persecutions to which they were subjected.

In the meantime the Wamesits were meeting with another disaster, in the burning of a barn of hay, by some hostile Indian or Englishman, for the purpose of casting reproach upon them. Lieut. Thomas Henchman, and Lieut. James Richardson, whose barn was burnt, were friends of these Indians and in charge of them, and believed them innocent; but some of the English at Chelmsford secretly organized a party who went to the wigwams and shot down five women, seriously wounding them and killing a boy outright. The assault was unqualified, brutal murder. The lad was a son of a Sagamore, and grandson of a worthy old Sachem, Tahatawarre. The mother, who was among the dangerously wounded, was the daughter of that staunch friend of the English, "Sagamore John." 

This horrible outrage greatly exercised the Council; and the murderers, two fellows named Largin and Robins, who were shown to be the ones who had fired their guns, loaded with shot, into the crowd, were arrested. But notwithstanding the efforts of the magistrates and ministers, with all the best men of the colony, no jury could be found to convict them; and after an extended imprisonment they were set free. By this act the rest of the Indians were so disheartened and frightened that they all forsook their villages and went away towards Pennacook to join Wannalancet. 

Sam Numphow and John Lyne, their rulers, sent back a written answer, by the messengers of the Council (sent to induce them to return, and promising protection), that they had confidence in the Council's good will, but feared the people, and so were going away "to the French." This last was the sharpest point of reproach, as it compared the success of the Catholics with the notable failure of the Protestants to convert the Indians. But being in straitened circumstances, and earnestly reassured by the Council, they were induced to return after a few weeks; and Lieut. Thomas Henchman was placed in charge as their guardian, and Major Willard, Mr. Eliot and Major Gookin went up and visited them. 

Symon Betokom, one of their teachers, told Mr. Eliot that while in the woods they held their worship three Sabbaths, in their rude way. He said, "The first Sabbath I read and taught the people from Psalm 35; the second, from Psalm 46; and the third, from Psalm 118;" a pathetic picture, showing somewhat the opportunity which the prejudice and greed of the Puritan masses lost to the cause of Protestant Christianity. Sometime after the Naticks were taken to Deer Island, the Punkapogs were also brought down, making the number there, all told, five hundred. Although the magistrates, and their faithful friends Eliot and Gookin, did all in their power to help them, these poor souls suffered terribly from cold and hunger during the winter.

After the great fight at Narraganset, it was greatly desired to learn the position and movements of the Indians to the westward, towards the Connecticut River. Major Gookin was requested to enlist two of the Indians at Deer Island to go as spies amongst the enemies. He selected Job Kattenanit and James Quanapohit. These two were sent away into the woods and got among the Indians at Brookfield about January 3d, and by a plausible story of escape from Deer Island and of their sufferings there and their wish to release their friends from that place, were received, and remained for a month amongst the enemies, and the story of their sojourn contains nearly all that is known of the events during that important time, when the Narragansets were coming northward and all the tribes were gathering for the struggle of the coming Spring. 

Upon January 24th James returned, fearing mischief from Philip, who had sent for Mautamp to bring James up to him. James escaped with the assistance of Job, who wished to remain until able to bring off his children. James came into the house of Isaac Williams, at the Falls of the Charles River, and came with him, the next day, to Major Gookin, and to the Council, to whom he made report of his sojourn, and the position and numbers, disposition and purpose of the Indians, allied with Philip. His report was communicated to Connecticut Colony and is preserved in their archives. 

James told of the plan of the Indians to assault the frontier towns, beginning with Lancaster, in about three weeks' time. Job Kattenanit escaped and came in on February 9th, confirming James's account and reporting the war-party already marching upon Lancaster. Acting upon his report, messengers were despatched to Marlborough, Concord and Lancaster, and Capt. Wadsworth with forty men marched from Marlborough, in time to find the bridge burned, as James had said the Indians planned, but escaping the ambush laid by the regular road, the English were guided around by another bridge and were able to beat the enemy off from the garrison-house owned by Mr. Cyprian Stevens, and thus to secure the town from entire destruction. If the warning of James had been heeded, the destruction of the Rowlandson garrison-house, and the death and captivity of its occupants, might easily have been averted.

 But for all the hardships and fidelity of these two, the vulgar prejudice was so great that the Governor and Council were again forced to yield, and these faithful men returning from their service were sent down again to Deer Island, to share the privations of their brethren. And not only against these, but against their friends, Eliot, Gookin and Danforth, the blind fury raged, and the lives of these true men were attempted in a cowardly manner on several occasions. In February, the Wamesits, fearing the hostile Indians on the one hand, and their English neighbors on the other, petitioned to be removed to some safer place within the Colony.

 The Court promised, but neglected to take care of them, and the great body of them fled to pennacook, to Wannalancet, being forced to leave behind for the time some half a dozen of their aged and blind, whom they considered safe, being helpless and harmless. After they were gone, these poor creatures were found and brutally murdered (being burned to death, as appeared, within their wigwam) by two brutes of the English, against whom nothing direct could be proved, but who were quite well known by the public, as they rather enjoyed such notoriety than feared it among their fellows.

In this retreat of the Wamesits, Sam Numphow, their ruler, and Mystic George, died from exposure and famine. Upon the partial destruction of Medfield, February 21st, as James and Job had foretold in their account of the enemies' programme, the popular shame and spleen raged not against the stupidity and inefficiency of the two companies of soldiers mostly asleep in the houses of the town, without outposts or scouts, but against the inoffensive Indians at Deer Island; and a plot was laid by a large number of the most violent and dissolute of the lower classes gathered in and about Boston. The plot was to go over to Deer Island from "Pulling Point" in large boats, and fall upon the defenceless Indians with indiscriminate slaughter. The horrible plot was discovered, and a few of the ringleaders summoned before the Court, which frustrated the cowardly design.

The Nashobah Christian Indians were at Concord in charge of Mr. John Hoare, and were quiet, peaceful and industrious. The popular discontent could not bide their peace, and the more hostile took advantage of the presence of Capt. Mosely, and enlisted his interference with them. He, with his rough soldiers, came into the church on the Sabbath, and after the services, spoke to the congregation in his haughty and insolent way, declaring his intention to break up the Indian village and carry all the "heathen" down to Boston. He carried out his threat the next day without any authority, and against the remonstrance of that honorable Christian gentleman, Mr John Hoare, who held commission from the Court for their care. He broke into their great house, which belonged to Mr. Hoare, plundered the poor helpless creatures of all they had, insulted and abused Mr. Hoare, and sent the Indians, to the number of fifty-eight, of whom twelve only were able-bodied men, down to Boston under a guard of some twenty of his rough and brutal soldiers; and sent down an insolent letter to the Council in account of his action. 

This high-handed breach of authority on the part of a mere captain stirred the indignation of the whole Court, but though they denounced his act in the assembly freely, so great was his popularity among the lower classes that it was not deemed expedient to reprimand him, or interfere with his command. The Indians were sent down to their countrymen at the Island, robbed and abused; and the captain went on his way unrebuked.

But the Corporation in London came to the aid of the friends of the Christian Indians, and their support greatly encouraged the better sentiment of the colony; for they not only sent supplies and money for the Indians, but letters came inquiring into the treatment of the Christian Indians. When the popular cry was raised that the Indians at Deer Island should be transported out of the country or destroyed, the General Court presented a bold front, and by public proclamation declared these Christian Indians to be the allies and friends of the English by the olden treaty of 1643, made with their fathers, and never to this day broken by them or their children. This firmness did much to enlighten and allay popular prejudice.

When Major Savage took command of the army to march to the West in March, 1675-6, he made one condition, that he should have a number of the Indians at Deer Island for guides. In pursuance of this arrangement, Major Gookin procured for him James Quanapohit, Job Kattenanit, James Speen, Andrew Pitimee, and William Ahaton. All these were men of tried courage and fidelity, and were greatly elated that they would now have a chance under Major Savage to prove their truth and worth. 

But when the troops were at Marlborough, Job was permitted to go forward towards Hassanamesit to meet his children in the place appointed by them, when he escaped; and it was hoped that those of his tribe who had come lately from the enemy could give later information; but when Capt. Mosely knew of this he made a great tumult, and so stirred up the violent spirits among the soldiers that a revolt was threatened, and it became necessary to send away after Job to bring him back, and Capts. Wadsworth and Syll rode after him with all speed with James Quanapohit as guide; but Job returned to the forces without meeting his friends, though they had been at the place appointed. 

These poor wanderers were taken, coming to the English camps, by some of Capt. Benj. Gibs's men shortly afterwards, and brought into camp with great ado as being a grand prize, but Major Savage found them to be Job's friends and received them civilly and sent them back to Marlborough, where they had to stop a night, and there they were beset by a mob of frantic English women, and so threatened and abused that four of them escaped in the night.

It will be remembered that many soldiers, and especially those of Capt. Mosely's "volunteer" company, were of the most reckless and disreputable class in the colony, and many of them used the occasion of public service as a cloak for any sort of crime. They robbed the defenceless Indians, and to hide their crime raised a storm of fear against them by their falsehoods. At the same time they stirred up all the worst passions of the people, and through these sought to intimidate the Indians to escape, or provoke them to some act of resistance which would prevent their demanding back their stolen property. 

On this occasion at Marlborough, the soldiers had stripped the poor creatures of everything, and had even robbed the faithful Indian minister of the pewter communion cup given him by Mr. Eliot. The four who had made their escape were Joseph Tuckapawillin's wife, who left an infant behind, in her panic; their son, a lad of twelve years, following with his mother; also another woman, a widow, who had cared for Job's children in their captivity, and her daughter. All these fugitives were brought in by Tom Dublet a week later, when he went into the woods to negotiate with the enemy for the return of prisoners. 

The lad died in the woods from hunger and exposure. These were sent down to Deer Island, where their companions had already been sent. Capt. Nicholas Paige entertained these poor Indians at his house in Boston, as they passed through the town on their way to the Island. He was a firm friend to the Christian Indians and a very independent man. Job afterwards married the woman who had so faithfully cared for his children in their captivity.

The six Indians who went as guides to the army acted their part with courage and fidelity, and were commended by Major Savage; while Mr. Nowell, the chaplain of the army in this expedition, wrote of them:

I look at it as a great rebuke of God that we should miss our enemy as we did when we were at Menumesse. If we had harkened to those six Indians whom we took from Deer Island, we might have prevented that error. They have behaved themselves like sober honest men since they abode with us, which hath made me look after them more carefully.

The whole testimony of the better-minded tends to show that the chief cause of the great disappointment and disaster of this expedition was the fanatical prejudice and violent insubordination of Mosely and his adherents; and there is little doubt that if a company of the Indians at Deer Island had been raised (as Capt. Henchman, who was in charge of them, had often proposed, as he had found them ready and willing to serve), the campaign would have been far different in its event.

The six Indians were so insulted and abused by their enemies in the army, who taunted them with having been the cause of the defeat, etc., that they returned to the Island utterly discouraged; so that when a messenger was needed to go out to the enemy to treat for the return of Mrs. Rowlandson, not one could be found for a long time, until finally Tom Dublet, mentioned above, consented, and upon April 3d, 1676, went into the woods and returned on the 12th, bringing a letter of agreement from the enemy.

We have read, in chapter XX. above, that the "Council decided to raise and equip a company from these Christian Indians, placing them in command, of Capt. Hunting, to the number of forty."

But when this number of able-bodied men were drawn forth from the Christian Indians, there were left upon Long Island, whither they were now removed, some four hundred old men, women and children. After great suffering, and many efforts of their friends, these poor souls were brought up to Cambridge by the authority of the Court, and through the influence of the "Right Honorable Corporation" in London, which furnished the means through Major Gookin. Mr. Thomas Oliver, a good friend of these Indians, offered a commodious place upon his farm, not far from the Charles River, where they might find convenience of fishing, fuel and planting; and near by there was his large garrison-house to which they might easily retreat in any time of danger. 

The Punkapog Indians upon their removal from the Islands were settled at "Brush Hill" in Milton, under the care of Quarter-master Thomas Swift. The Indians at Mr. Oliver's remained through the Summer, but broke up into smaller companies after harvest for greater convenience, settling at Nonantum, Punkapog, Cowate (the fall of Charles River), Natick, Medfield, Concord, and Namkeake (near Chelmsford).

According to the official report of Major Daniel Gookin, presented to the Council, November 10, 1676, the Punkapog Indians, "residing about Milton, Dorchester and Brantree," were mostly employed among the English to cut cord-wood, etc. Their number was one hundred and seventy-five -- thirty-five men and one hundred and forty women and children.

The Naticks were divided into four companies. The first lived at Medfield, with James Rumneymarsh and his kindred, and numbered twenty-five, including five men. The second company were near Natick garrison-house, under the inspection of Andrew Dewin and his sons, who desired to live near them; their number was about fifty -- ten men and forty others. The third company, with Waban, lived near the falls of the Charles River, near the house of Joseph Miller and not far from the home of Capt. Prentice, -- their number about sixty, of whom twelve were men. The fourth company dwelt at Nonantum Hill, near Lieut. Trowbridge and John Coones. A portion of this company were living at Muddy River, near John White's; and separate families near the houses of Mr. Thomas Oliver, Mr. Sparhawk, and Daniel Champney, and were employed by these gentlemen to cut wood and build stone walls, while the women were taught and then employed as spinners. This fourth company numbered about fifteen men and sixty women and children, in all seventy-five.

The Naticks, numbering thus some two hundred and ten, included the most of those who had not been scattered, by flight, to the hostile Indians, by being sold into service to individual families of the English, or by death, -- who had formerly belonged in the villages of Hassanamesit, Magunkog, Marlborough, and Wamesit. At the time the report was made, nearly all the able-bodied men of the Naticks were with Capt. Hunting at the Eastward.

The Nashobah or Concord Indians lived at Concord, and were under the direction of the military officers and Selectmen of the town; their number about fifty. The Pennacooks, and those who adhered to Wannalancet, lived at Dunstable, under the direction of Mr. Jonathan Tyng, and in his absence the care devolved upon Robert Parris. The number of these last was about sixty. A small company dwelt at Ipswich, under the town authorities, -- their number was about twenty-five. Besides these there were separate families, living with the English, as servants. Mention is made of the families of a Mr. Gates of Watertown, Justinian Holden, Corporal Humand (Hammond?), and Wilson at Shawshin; and these numbered about forty souls.

Major Gookin estimated the whole number of Christian Indians at this time to be five hundred and ninety-seven, of whom one hundred and seventeen were men.

Subsequently the scattered and ever dwindling companies were gathered at Natick, where an Indian church had been established, and an Indian town was regularly incorporated. The town was first laid out in 1651, and was governed by Indian officers under a committee chosen by the General Court. The descendants of Waban, the principal ruler at Natick at the first establishment, continued to be the chief officers of the town for two generations. The town remained nominally an Indian town until 1762, when it passed into the government of the English. The last of the Natick Indians died before the close of 1826.

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