Below is a list of the readings used with this unit. You may go directly to a document or gorup of documents by clicking on its name, or you may scroll down through the whole collection.
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An Introduction for the Student: This explains what is in the unit, and what the student is to attempt to do with it. There is also some historical background on the settlement of New England, and a map showing where various settlements and tribes were located.
I. Differing Views of the Outcome: Four different perspectives on the Pequot War, ranging from seeing Captain John Mason as a hero to seeing the Pequots as tragic victims of exploitation and greed.II. The Native AmericansRoger Williams Describes the Narragansetts An Indian Remembers A Seneca Chief Speaks of Land and Religion Tecumseh and the Native View of Property
III. John Mason's Narrative: Mason commanded the Connecticut forces that fought the Pequots near Mystic in 1637. This is his account of the causes of the war (copied from the original published version), and of the battle itself.IV. Other Eyewitness AccountsCaptain John Underhill (commander of the Massachusetts Bay forces). P. Vincent (a contemporary narrator) Lion Gardener (supervisor of Saybrook Fort at the mouth of the Connecticut River)V. The Indian AlliesChart: Uncas's Family Ties (Uncas was allied with the English in the War) The Treaty of Hartord (after the War) A Commissioners' Report (on Uncas's claim to lands in Connecticut) Letter from the Plymouth Trading House Roger Williams Soothes the Narragansetts Governor Winthrop's Journal
This site was created by Mark Williams, a history teacher at The Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, Connecticut, under a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council. Some of the materials published here were originally created by Mark Williams as Connecticut Case Studies, under a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council, and printed by the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. John F. Sutherland of Manchester Community College, Ronald P. Dufour of Rhode Island College, Thomas P. Weinland of the University of Connecticut, Tracey Wilson of Conard High School, Robert K. Andrian of The Loomis Chaffee School, and State Historian Christopher Collier served as consultants. The Connecticut Humanities Council is the State Committee of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The viewpoints or recommendations expressed in the materials on this site of are not necessarily those of the Council or the Endowment. Teachers are encouraged to print and make copies of these materials for their students.
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The Pequot War
An Introduction for the Student
The materials in this package include a wide range of primary sources on the Pequot War of 1637. They have been organized, to some extent, so that you can develop some initial theories, or hypotheses, and then test out those hypotheses with additional evidence from other sources. However, a degree of disorganization has been maintained, for history involves piecing together random and unorganized items in search of a story and a meaning. You, the student, are to take on the role of the historian, doing battle with ancient spelling habits and disorganized assortments of documents, in order to discover the past.
The main questions historians generally ask, when analyzing source material, are "What happened?", "Why did it happen?", and "What is the significance, or meaning, of this series of events?" As you work with the sources in this package, see if you can piece together a clear picture of the events in Connecticut in 1636 and 1637. Once you have done this, can you explain why the Pequot War occurred? Finally, what does this episode from our past tell us about ourselves, our country's roots, and even human nature in general?
Historical Background: The Settlement of New England
The first permanent settlement in New England was at Plymouth. A group of Puritan "separatists," calling themselves "Pilgrims," settled there in 1620 under the leadership of their governor William Bradford. They were called "separatists" because, in their effort to create a "pure" church, they felt it necessary to separate from the official Church of England. A decade later, another colony began to the north of Plymouth. The people of this, the Massachusetts Bay Colony, were also Puritans, but not separatists (that is, they hoped to purify the Church of England itself - in their case, by the example they would set in the new world). In 1631, both of these groups of Puritan colonists received an invitation from the Podunks, a tribe of Connecticut "River Indians," to send settlers to Connecticut. These Indians were a reasonably peaceful group, but they were regularly forced to pay tribute to their very powerful and warlike neighbors, the Mohawks to the west, and the Pequots to the east.
The Plymouth Colony was the first to respond by sending Edward Winslow to explore in 1632 and William Holmes to set up a trading house at the confluence of the Farmington and Connecticut rivers in 1633 (called "Plymouth House," now Windsor - see map on following page). In that same year a group of Dutch traders had also set up a trading house, the "House of Good Hope," on the future site of Hartford. The Dutch tried to dislodge the English, claiming first arrival, but withdrew when they discovered the English might shoot back. Thus, the English established themselves in the Connecticut Valley as trading partners with the natives.
Trade between Europeans and native Americans had actually been going on for some time. The Connecticut natives were a very important link with inland tribes who were skilled trappers. These inland tribes placed a high premium on "wampum", which was white and purple shell beads often woven into belts and used as emblems of status. The beads were produced only by coastal peoples in New England and were formerly used in their trade with inland tribes. When Dutch and English traders arrived in the region they began to trade blankets, cloth, and metal goods with the coastal tribes in exchange for wampum, which, in turn, they used to purchase furs from the inland groups. In the end, they made enormous profits when selling the furs in Europe.
Unfortunately, trade was not the only thing Dutch and English traders brought with them from Europe. Most significantly, they brought diseases to which the natives were not immune, and great numbers succumbed to epidemics such as small pox within a few years. Wrote Plymouth's Governor Bradford,a sorer disease cannot befall them; they fear it more than the plague; for usually they that have this disease have them in abundance and for want of bedding and linen, and other helps, they fall into a lamentable condition, as they lie on their hard mats, the pox breaking and matterating, and running one into another, their skin cleaving (by reason thereof) to the mats they lie on. When they turn themselves a whole side will flea off at once, as it were, and they will be all one gore of blood, and then being very sore, what with cold and other distempers, they die like rotten sheep.
The settlers of Plymouth House tried to give comfort to the ailing natives who lived in the vicinity of the meadow, but there was not much they could do.
In 1635 settlers from the Bay Colony, whose population was growing by leaps and bounds, began arriving in the area. Unlike the Plymouth people who came mainly to trade, these people were looking to set up new communities along the lines of Puritan ideals. The three towns they established, Dorchester, Newtown, and Watertown, later changed their names to Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield when they joined together in a "General Court." As more and more settlers arrived, the problem of authority became more obvious.
It was not clear who had claim to Connecticut. The Bay Colony, of course, considered the land part of its domain as described rather vaguely in their charter. In England the King had also made a grant to the Duke of Warwick in a patent, roughly describing the Connecticut coast. The Duke had, in turn, shared the grant with his friends, some well-to-do landlords, some of whom just so happened to be members of the Bay Company. To complicate matters further, the Plymouth people were already established on the River, and for that matter, the Dutch captain Adrian Block had explored the place as early as 1614. There was no great conflict as of yet, because, clearly, no one was in a position to make a defense, or even to claim a justificable need for massive amounts of land. The Dutch packed up and left, and the "Lords and Gentlemen" were content to set up an outpost at the mouth of the River (Saybrook). The only really bad feelings were in Windsor when the Plymouth people grew quite bitter in their relations with the new squatters who were digging in to their north along what is now Palisado Avenue. Of course, this is to say nothing of the apprehensions of the Pequots who found themselves wedged between their old enemies, the River Indians and the Narragansetts, who now had English allies (Roger Williams, banished from the Bay Colony in 1636, had established Providence Plantation and made friends with Miantonomo and Canonicus, Chiefs of the Narragansetts). This was the setting in 1636.
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Below are four different statements made by people reflecting on the Pequot War from obviously differing perspectives. These statements should give you an idea of the problems historians run into when they are trying to understand the past. People just don't see things the same way. Perhaps, on the basis of these alone, you can develop some theories of your own about the Pequot War, and then use the rest of the doucments to test those theories.
In 1811, Tecumseh, a Shawnee Chief was trying to unite tribes in the Ohio valley against American settlers. In one of his speeches, he said,Where today is the Pequot?...and many other once powerful tribes of our people? They have vanished before the avarice and the oppression of the White Man, as snow before the summer sun.
Based on this statement alone, what questions come to mind regarding the Pequot War? How does Tecumseh view the outcome and its causes? What do you suppose happened in 1637?
Now consider an inscription on a monument that used to be on a street corner in West Mystic, Connecticut, site of a Pequot Fort. The monument is a statue of John Mason of Windsor.Erected A.D. 1889 by the state of Connecticut to commemorate the heroic achievement of Major John Mason and his comrades who, near this spot in 1637 overthrew the Pequot Indians, and preserved the settlements from destruction.
The monument is now in Windsor with a different inscription. How did Connecticut Citizens of the late 19th Century view the events in 1637? What new questions come to mind now?
Shortly after the Pequot War, Miantonomo, a Narraganset Chief, met with some other Indians in his vicinity and complained,...you know our fathers had plenty of deer and skins, our plains were full of deer, as also our woods, and of turkies, and our coves full of fish and fowl. But these English having gotten our land, they with scythes cut down the grass, and with axes fell the trees; their cows and horses eat the grass, and their hogs spoil our clam banks, and we shall all be starved;
Whose view of the war does Miantonomo support? Whose side do you suppose he was on? Does his statement give us any further hints about the causes of the war?
Historians pay close attention to people like Miantonomo, who were living at the time of the events under study. Without this sort of primary support, history would be purely guesswork. One man who lived at that time, William Bradford, the first Governor of Plymouth Colony, wrote an extensive account of events of his own day. His book Of Plimouth Plantation, is often consulted by historians researching early New England, trying to find out "what really happened." Here are some excerpts from his history, narrating the Pequot War. After you finish reading this account, think about the clues he provides that may help answer some of the questions you have so far. What new questions come to mind?In the year 1634, the Pequents (a stoute and warlike people), who had made warrs with sundry of their neighbours, and puft up with many victories, grue now at varience with the Narigansets, a great people bordering upon them. The Narigansets held correspondance and termes of friendship with the English of the Massachusetts. Now the Pequents, being conscious of the guilte of Captain-Stones death, whom they know to be an-English man, as also those that were with him, and being fallen out with the Dutch, least they should have over many enemies at once, sought to make freindship with the English of the Massachusetts; and for that end sent both messengers and gifts.
Anno Dom: 1637
In the foreparte of this year, the Pequents fell openly upon the English at Conightecute, in the lower parts of the river, and slew sundry of them, (as they were at work in the fields,) both men and women, to the great terrour of the rest; and wente away in great pride and triumph, with many high threats. They allso assalted a fort at the rivers mouth, though strong and well defended; and though they did not their prevails, yet it struk them with much fear and astonishmente to see their bould attempts in the face of danger; which made them in all places to stand upon their gard, and to prepare for resistance, and ernestly to solissite their friends and confederats in the Bay of Massachusets to send them speedy aide, for they looked for more forcible assaults.
In the mean time, the Pequents, espetially in the winter before, sought to make peace with the Narigansets, and used very pernicious arguments to move them therunto: as that the English were stranegers and begane to overspred their contrie, and would deprive them therof in time, if they were suffered to grow and increase; and if the Narigansets did assist the English to subdue them, they did but make way for their owne overthrow for if they were rooted out, the English would soone take occasion to subjugate them; and if they would harken to them, they should not neede to fear the strength of the English; for they would not come to open battle with them, but fire their houses, kill their katle, and lye in ambush for them as they went abroad upon their occasions; and all this they might easily doe without any or litle danger to themselves. The which course being held, they well saw the English could not long subsiste, but they would either be starbed with hunger, or be forced to foresake the countrie; with many the like things; insomuch that the Narigansets were once wavering, and were halfe minded to have made peace with them, and joyned against the English. But againe when they considered, how much wrong they had received from the Pequents, and what an oppertunitie they now had by the help of the English to right them selves, revenge was so sweete unto them, as it prevailed about all the rest; so as they resolved to joyne with the English againsts them, and did. The Court here agreed forwith to send 50 men at their own charg; and with as much speed as posiblie they could, gott them armed, and had made them ready under sufficiente leaders, and provided a barke to carrie them provisions and tend upon them for all occasions.
So they sent on, and so ordered their march, as the Indeans brought them to a forte of the enimies (in which most of their cheefe men were) before day. They approached the same with great silence, and surrounded it both with English and Indeans, that they might not breake out; and so assualted them with great courage, shooting amongst them, and entered the forte with all speed; and those that first entered found sharp resistance from the enimie, who both shott at and grapled with them; others rane into their howses, and brought out fire, and sett them on fire, which soone tooke in their matts, and, standing close togeather, with the wind, all was quickly on a flame, and therby more were burnte to death than was otherwise slain; it burnte their bowstrings, and made them unservisable. Those that scaped the fire were slaine with the sword; some hewed to peeces, others rune throw with their rapiers, so as they were quickly dispatchte, and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearfull sight to see them thus frying in the fyer, and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stinck and sente ther of; but the victory had wrought so wonderfuly for them, thus to inclose their enimise in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enimie. The Narigansett Indeans, all this while, stood round aboute, but aloofe from all danger, and left the whole execution to the English, except it were the stoping of any that broke away, insulting over their enimies in this their ruine and miserie, when they saw them dancing in the flames, calling them by a word in their owne language, signifing. O brave Pequents!
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The Native Americans
Before looking closely at the events of the 1630's, it is necessary to have some understanding of native American lifeways and attitudes. Conflicts always have something to do with the inability of each side to understand the other side, and so we should make some effort to appreciate how the differing views of the world and different ways of living - native American and English - made mutual understanding difficult.
It is difficult to get a true "native American view," because the Indians of New England did not have a written language. However, we do have relations of some things that they were supposed to have said, and these can come pretty close to giving us an account from their own mouths. Also, some of the settlers, prejudiced as they were by their own backgrounds, were particularly perceptive in describing the natives.
Roger Williams Describes the Narragansetts
Roger Williams was a dissenting Puritan minister who was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636 because, among other things, he claimed that the King of England had no right to grant charters to lands already inhabited by the Indians. He settled in what is now Rhode Island, and developed close relations with the Narragansett Indians, a large group that inhabited that area. His book A Key into the Languages of America, published in 1643, is a detailed study of native American life. The following are excerpts from that book. His discussion of the communal attitudes and the roles of men and women should suggest grounds for some of the lack of understanding that emerged after the settlers arrived. Also included are some excerpts from his chapter on their monetary system (wampum), which illustrate not only the trading patterns that developed in New England, but also the change in the value of wampum as the English became more powerful after the Pequot War.
When a field is to be broken up, they have a very loving sociable speedy way to dispatch it: All the neighbours men and Women forty, fifty, a hundred &c, joyne, and come in to help freely.
With friendly joyning they breake up their fields, build their Forts, hunt the Woods, stop and kill fish in the Rivers, it being true with them as in all the World in the Affaires of Earth or Heaven
Their number is not stinted, yet the chief Nation in the Country, the Narrigansets (generally) have but one Wife.
Two causes they generally alledge for their many Wives.
First desire of Riches, because the Women bring in all the increase of the Field, &c. the Husband onely fisheth, hunteth,&c.
Secondly, their long sequestring themselves from their wives after conception, untill the child be weaned....
Obs. It hath pleased God in wonderfull manner to moderate that curse of the sorrowes of Child-bearing to these poore Indian Women: So that ordinarily they have a wonderfull more speedy and easie Travell, and delivery than the Women of Europe: not that I thinke God is more gracious to them above other Women, but that it followes, First from the hardnesse of their constitution, in which respect they beare their sorrowes the easier.
Secondly from their extraordinary great labour (even above the labour of men) as in the Field, they sustaine the labour of it, in carrying of mighty Burthens, in digging clammes and getting other Shelfish from the Sea, in beating all their corne in Morters: &c.
Concerning their Coyne
The Indians are ignorant of Europes Coyne; yet they have given a name to ours, and call it Moneash from the English Money.
Their owne is of two sorts; one white, which they make of the stem or stocke of the Periwincle, which they call Meteauhock, when all the shell is broken off: and of this sort six of their small Beads (which they make with holes to string the bracelets) are currant with the English for a peny.
The second is black, incling to blew, which is made of the shell of a fish, which some English call Hens, Poquauhock, and of this sort three make an English peny.
They that live upon the Sea side, generally make of it, and as many make as will.
The Indians bring downe all their sorts of Furs, which they take in the Countrey, both to the Indians and to the English for this Indian Money: this Money the English, French, and Dutch, trade to the Indians, six hundred miles in severall parts (North and South from New-England) for their Furres, and whatsoever they stand in need of them: as Corne, Venison,&c.
This one fathom of this their stringed money, now worth of the English but five shillings (sometimes more) some few yeeres since was worth nine, and sometimes ten shillings per Fathome: the fall is occasioned by the fall of Beaver in England: the Natives are very impatient, when for English commodities they pay so much more of their money, and not understanding the cause of it; and many say the English cheat and deceive them, though I have laboured to make them understand the reason of it.
Obs. Before ever they had Awle blades from Europe they made shift to bore this their shell money with stone and so fell their trees with stone set in a wooden staff, and used woden howes: which some old & poore women (fearfull to leave the old tradition) use to this day.
They all generally prize a Mantle of English or Dutch Cloth before their owne wearing of Skins and Furres, because they are warme enough and Lighter...
It may be wondred what they do with Glasses, having no beautie but a swarfish colour, and no dressing but nakedness; but pride appeares in any colour, and the meanest dress: and besides generally the women paint their faces with all sorts of colours.
An Indian Remembers
In 1804 a man named "A.Holmes" submitted a whole batch of material on the Indians of New England to the Massachusetts Historical Society, which printed it in a volume of their "Collections." Below is an excerpt from an account entitled "Extract from an Indian History," and is supposedly told to Holmes by an Indian. Like Roger Williams, this narrator tells of a distinct division of labor between men and women. Other European commentators scorned the Indian men for allowing their wives to do all the field work, while they simply hunted and fished; however, the natives clearly saw the work of each sex as being important.
As our ancestors had no art of manufacturing any sort of metal, they had no implements of husbandry; therefore were not able to cultivate their lands but little, that of planting skommon or Indian corn, beans, and little squashes, which was chiefly left under the management of women and old men, who were incapable of hunting, and little boys. They made use of bone, either moose, bears, or deer's shoulder-place, instead of hoe, to hoe their corn with, tie it fast to one end of a stick or helve made for that purpose. This their way of clearing lands was not so difficult as we should imagine, and that without using an axe. When they find that their fields will fail, they are to prepare another piece of land; in the first place they do, they make a fire round the foot of every tree, as many trees as standing on the ground they intended to clear, until the bark of the tree is burnt through, for trees are killed very easy in this manner. They planted while trees are standing after they are killed; and as soon as trees are fell, they burnt it of such length that they might roll the logs together, and burnt them up to ashes, thus they do till they get it quite clear. An industrious woman, when great many dry logs are fallen, could burn off as many logs in one day as a smart man can chop in two or three days time with an axe....But the employment of men consisted in hunting and fishing. They used bow and arrow to kill game, with which they were expert. They used to catch deer by insnaring them with strings. By hunting they supplied themselves with cloathing and diet; they seldom felt much want, and they were very well contented with their condition; having food and raiment was their only aim. They were not to kill more than necessary, for there was none to barter with them that would have tempted them to waste their animals, as they did after the Chuckopek or white people came on this island, consequently game was never diminished.
A Seneca Chief Speaks of Land and Religion
While Red Jacket, a Seneca Chief, lived in New York State in the late 1700's, his speech to a missionary about his religion and his feelings about his land, illustrates a common set of attitudes among North American Indians. By the time Red Jacket spoke, Indians had become acutely aware of what they were losing. They could see that the white settlers believed in ownership of something the natives thought could not be owned by any person: land. What they had worshipped and considered themselves a part of, was now almost completely taken from them.
Brother listen to what we say. There was a time when our forefathers owned this great island. Their seat extended from the rising to the setting sun. The Great Spirit had made it for the use of the Indians. He had created the buffalo, the deer and other animals for food. He had made the bear and beaver. Their skins served us for clothing. He had scattered them over the country and taught us how to take them. He had caused the earth to produce corn for bread. All this he had done for his red children because he loved them. If we had some disputes about our hunting ground they were generally settled without the shedding of much blood. But an evil day came upon us. Your forefathers crossed the great water and landed upon this land. Their numbers were small. They found us friends and not enemies. They told us they had fled from their own country on account of wicked men and had come here to enjoy their religion. They asked for a small seat. We took pity on them and granted their request and they sat down amongst us. We gave them corn and meat; they gave us poison in return.
Brothers, our seats were once large, and yours were small. You have become a great people, and we have scarcely a place left to spread our blanket. You have got our country, but are not satisfied; you want to force religion upon us.
Brother, we...are told that your religion was given to your forefoathers, and has been handed down from father to son. We also, have a religion which was given to our forefathers, and has been handed down to us, their children. We worship in that way. It teaches us to be thankful for all favors we receive, to love each other, and be united. We never quarrel about religion, because it is a matter which conerns each man and the Great Spirit.
Tecumseh and the Native View of Property
Again, the author of the following speech did not live in New England. However, hes views, so well expressed, are representative of a universal native American understanding of the relationship of people to land. Tecumseh was the leader of an uprising against the United States in 1811 and an ally of the British in the War of 1812. Here he is speaking to William Henry Harrison about the Treaty of Fort Wayne, in which some Indians had granted the Americians a large parcel of land in the Indiana Territory, of which Harrison was Governor. Tecumseh was not aware of the treaty when it was made, and came to Harrison in 1810 to protest that it was not valid.
I am a Shawnee. My Forefathers were warriors. Their son is a warrior. From them I take only my existence, from my tribe I take nothing. I am the maker of my own fortune, and Oh! that I could make that of my Red people, and of my country, as great as the conceptions of my mind, when I think of the Spirit that rules the universe. I would not then come to Governor Harrison to ask him to tear up the treaty, and to obliterate the landmark, but I would say to him: "Sir, you have liberty to return to your own country."
The Being within, communing with past ages, tells me that once, not until lately, there was no Whiteman on this continent, that it then all belonged to the Great Spirit that made them to keep it, to traverse it, to enjoy its productions, and to fill it with the same race, once a happy race; since made miserable by the White people, who are never contented but always encroaching.
The way, and the only way, to check and to stop this evil, is for all the Redmen to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land, as it was at first and should be yet; for it was never divided, but belongs to all for the use of each. That no part has a right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers - those who want all and will not do with less. The White people have no right to take the land from the Indians, because they had it first, it is theirs....There cannot be two occupations in the same place. The first excludes all others. It is not so in hunting or travelling, for there the same ground will serve many...but the camp is stationary....It belongs to the first who sits down on his blanket or skins, which he has thrown upon the ground, and till he leaves it, no other has a right.
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John Mason's Narrative
Captain John Mason of Windsor was assigned command of the expedition to fight the Pequots by the Connecticut General Court of 1637. What follows are some reprints, and then some transcribed excerpts from his account of the "war" printed several years later.
Epitome or brief Hitory of the Pequot War
In the Beginning of May 1637 there were ent out by CONNECTICUT COLONY Ninety Men under the Command of Capt. John Maon againt the Pequots, with Onokos an Indian Sachem living at Mohegan, and who was newly revolted from the Pequots; being Shipped in one Pink, one Pinnace, and one Shallop; who ailing down the River of Connecticut fell everal times a ground, the Water being very low: The Indians not being wonted to uch Delays, deired they might be et on Shoar, promiing that they would meet us at Saybrook; which we granted: They hatening to their Quarters, fell upon Thirty or forty of the Enemy near Saybrook Fort, and killed even of them outright; having only one of their's wonded, who was ent back to Connecticut in a Skiff: Capt. John Underhill alo coming with him, who informed us that was performed by Onkos and his Men; which we looked at as a pecial Providence; for before we were ome what doubtful of his Fidelity: Capt. Underhill then offered his Service with ninteen Men to go with us, if Lieutenant Gardner would allow of it, who was Chief Commander at Saybrook Fort; which was readily approved of by Lieutenant Gardner and accepted by us.
On Friday Morning, we et Sail for NARAGANSETT-BAY, and on Saturday towards Evening we arrived at our deired Port, there we kept the Sabbath.
In the Morning, there came to us everal of MYANTOMO his Men, who told us, they were come to ait us in our Expedition, which encouraged divers Indians of the Place to Engage alo; who uddenly gathering into a Ring, one by one, making olemn Protetations how galliantly they would demean themselves, and how many Men they would Kill.
I then enquired of ONKOS, what he thought the Indians would do? Who aid, the NARRAGANSETTS would all leave us, but as for Himself He would never leave us: and o it proved: for which Expreions and ome other Speeches of his, I hall never forget him. Indeed he was a great Friend, and did great Service.
In the Morning, we awaking and eeing it very light, uppoing it had been day, and o we might have lot our Opportunity, having purpoed to make our Aault before Day; rowed the Men with all expedition, and briefly commended ourselves and Deign to God, thinking immediately to go directly to the Fort. We held on our March about two Miles, wondering that we came not to the Fort, and fearing we might be decluded: But eeing Corn netly planted at the Foot of a great Hill, uposing the Fort was not far off, a Champion Country being round about us; then making a tand, gave the Word for ome of the Indians to come up: At length ONKOS and one WEQUOSH appeared: we demanded of them, Where was the Fort? They anwered, On the Top of the Hill: Then we demanded Where were the Ret of the Indians? They anwered, Behind, exceedingly affraid: We wihed them to tell the ret of their Fellows, That they hould by no means Fly, but tand at what detance they pleaed, and ee whether ENGLISH MEN would now Fight or not. Then Captain Underhill came up, who Marched in the Rear; and commending ourelves to God divided our Men. There being two Entrances into the Fort, intending to enter both at once: Captain Maon leading up to that on the North Eat Side; who approaching within one Rod, heard a Dog bark and an Indian crying Owanux! Owanux! which is Englihmen! Englihmen! We called up our Forces with all expedition gave Fire upon them through the Pallizado; and Indians being in a dead indeed their lat Sleep; Then we sheeling off fell upon the main Entrance, which was blocked up with Buhes about Breast high over which the Captain paed, intending to make good the Entrance, encouraging the reft to follow. Lieutenant Seeley endeavoured to enter; but being omewhat cumbred, lipped back and pulled out the Buhes and o entered, and with him about fifteen Men: We had formerly concluded to detroy them by the Swoard and ave the Plunder.
Whereupon Captain Maon eeing no Indians, entred a Wigwam, where he was beet with many Indians, waiting all opportunities to lay Hands on him, but could not prevail. At length William Heydon pying the Breach in the Wigwam, uppoing ome Englih might be there, entered but in his Entrance fell over a dead Indian; but peedily recovering himel, the Indians, ome fled, others crept under their Beds: The Captain going out of the Wigwam aw many Indians in the Lane or Street; he making toward them, they fled, were pursued to the End of the Lane, where they were met by Edward Pattion, Thomas Barber, with ome others; where even of them were Slain, as they aid. The Captain facing about, Marched a low Pace up the Lane he came down, perceiving himelf very much out of Breath; and coming to the other End near the Place where he firt entred, aw two Soldiers tanding cloe to the Pallizado with their Swords pointed to the Ground: The Captain told them that We should never kill them after that manner: The Captain also said, We must burn them; and immediately stepping into the Wigwam where he had been before, brought out a Fire Brand, and putting it into the Matts with which they were covered, et the Wigwams on Fire. Lieutenant Thomas Bull and Nicholas Omted beholding, came up; and when it was thoroughly kindled, the Indians ran as Men mot dreadfully Amazed.
And indeed uch a dreadful Terror did the Almighty let fal upon their Spirits, that they would fly from us and run into the very Flames, where many of them perihed. And when the Fort was thoroughly Fired, Command was given, that al should fall off and urround the Fort; which was readily attended by all; only one Arthur Smith being o wounded that he could not move out of the Place, who was happily epied by Lieutenant Bull, and by him recued.
But God was above them, who laughed at his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven: Thus were the Stout Hearted spoiled, having lept their lat Sleep, and none of their Men could find their Hands: Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies!
And thus in little more than one Hour's pace was their impregnable Fort with themslves utterly Destroyed, to the Number of ix or even Hundred, as ome of themselves confeed. There were only even taken Captive and about even ecaped.
Of the English, there were two Slain outright, and about twenty Wounded:
And thereupon grew many Difficulties: Our Proviion and Munition near pent; we in the Enemies Country, who did far exceed us in Number, being much inraged; all our Indians, except ONKOS, deerting us; our Pinanaces at a great ditance from us, and when they would come we were uncertain.
We had no ooner dicovered our veels, but immediately came up the Enemy from the other fort; Three Hundred or more as we conceived.
And after a littel pace, came mounting down the Hill upon us, in a full career, as if they would over run us: But when they came within Shor, the Rear faced about, giving Fire upon them: Some of them being Shot, made the ret more wary: Yet they held on running to and fro, and hooting their Arrows at Random. There was at the Foot of the Hill a mall Brook, where we reted and refrehed ourelves, having by that time taught them a little more Manners than to diturb us.
It was the Lord's Doings, and it is marvellous in our Eyes! It is He that hath made his Work wonderful, and therefore ought to be remembred.
Immediately the whole Body of Pequits repaired to that Fort where Sassacous the Chief Sachem did reide; charging him that he was the only Caue of all the Troubles that had befallen them, and therefore they would Destroy both him and him: But by the Intreaty of their Counellers they pared his Life; and conulting what Course to take, concluded there was no abiding any longer in their Country, and o reolved to fly into everal Parts.
About a Fortnight after our Return home, which was about one Month after the Fight at Mistick, there Arrived in Pequot River everal Veels from the Massachusetts, Captain Ireal Stoughton being Commander in Chief; and with him about One hundred and twenty Men; being ent by that Colony to purue the War againt the Pequots.
Connecticut Colony being informed hereof, ent forth-with forty Men, Captain Maon being Chief Commander; with ome other Gentlemen, to meet thoe of the Maachuetts, to confer what was neceary to be attended repecting the future: Who meeting with them of the Maachuetts in Pequot Harbour; after ome time of conultation, concluded to purue thoe Pequots that were fled towards Manbasance, and o forthwith Marched after them.
The Captives we took were about One Hundred and Eighty; whom we divided, intending to keep them as Servants, but they could not endure that Yoke; few of them continuing any coniderable time with their Masters.
Thus did the Lord catter his Enemies with his trong Arm! The Pequots now became a Prey to all Indians, Happy were they that could bring in their Heads to the Englih: Of which there came almot daily to Winor, or Hartford.
Whereupon Onkos and Myatonimo were ent for; who with the Pequots met at Hartford. The Pequots being demanded, How many of them then living? Anwered, about One Hundred and Eighty, or Two Hundred. There were then given to Onkos, Sachem of Monheag, Eighty; to Myantonimo, Sachem of Narragansett, Eighty; and to Nynigrett, Twenty when he hold atisfy for a Mare of Edward Pomroye's killed by his Men. The Pequots were then bound by Covenant, That none hould inhabit their native Country, nor should any of them be called Pequots any more, but Moheags and Narragansetts for ever.
Thus we may fee, How the Face of God is fet againft them that do Evel, to cut off the Remembrance of them from the Earth. Our Tongue shall talk of thy Righteoufness all the Day long; for they are confounded, they are bro't to Shame that fought our Hurt! Blessed be the LORD GOD of Ifrael, who only doth wondrous Things; and bleffed be his holy Name for ever: Let the whole Earth be filled with his Glory! Thus the LORD was pleafed to fmite our Enemies in the binder Parts, and to give us their Land for an inheritance: Who remembred us in our low Eftate, and redeemed us out of our Enemies Hands: Let us therefore praife the LORD for his Goodneff and his wonderful Works to the Children of Men!
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Other Eyewitness Accounts
Captain John Underhill:
In 1637, Captain John Underhill was given command of the Massachusetts Bay forces by the Massachusetts General Court. Here are some excerpts from his description of the war. He begins by detailing some of the circumstances that brought about the war. The first expedition he describes occurred in 1635.
I shall, according to my promise, begin with a true relation of the New England wars against the Block Islanders, and that insolent and barbarous nation called the Pequeats, whom by the sword of the Lord, and a few feeble instruments, soldiers not accustomed to war, were drove out of their country, and slain by the sword, to the number of fifteen hundred souls, in the space of two months and less; so as their country is fully subdued and fallen into the hands of the English. And to the end that God's name might have the glory, and his people see his power, and magnify his honor for his great goodness, I have endeavored, according to my weak ability, to set forth the full relation of the war from the first rise to the end of the victory.
The cause of our war against the Block Islanders, was for taking away the life of one Master John Oldham, who made it his common course to trade amongst the Indians.
The blood of the innocent called for vengeance. God stirred up the heart of the honored Governor, Master Henry Vane, and the rest of the worthy Magistrates, to send forth a hundred well appointed soldiers, under the conduct of Captain John Hendicot, and in company with him that had command, Captain John Underhill, Captain Nathan Turner, Captain William Jenningson, besides other inferior officers.
The Pequeats having slain one Captain, and Captain Stone, with seven more of their company, order was given us to visit them, sailing along the Nahanticot shore with five vessels. The Indians spying of us came running in multitudes along the water side, crying, What cheer, Englishmen, what do you come for?
Will you cram us? That is, are you angry, will you kill us, and do you come to fight?
They being a witty and ingenious nation, their ambassador labored to excuse the matter [of the killing of Stone], and answered, We know not that any of ours have slain any English. True it is, saith he, we have slain such a number of men; but consider the ground of it. Not long before the coming of these English into the river, there was a certain vessel that came to us in the way of trade. We used them well, and traded with them, and took them to be such as would not wrong us in the least matter. But our sachem or prince coming aboard, they laid a plot how they might destroy him; which plot discovereth itself by the vent, as followeth. They keeping their boat abroad, and not desirous of our company, gave us leave to stand hallooing ashore, that they might work their mischievous plot. But as we stood they called to us, and demanded of us a bushel of wampam-peke, which is their money. This they demanded for his ransom. This peal did ring terribly in our ears, to demand so much for the life of our prince, whom we thought was in the hands of honest men, and we had never wronged them. But we saw there was no remedy; their expectation must be granted, or else they would not send him shore, which they promised they would do, if we would answer their desires. We sent them so much aboard, according to demand, and they according to their promise sent him ashore, but first slew him. This much exasperated our spirits, and made us vow a revenge. Suddenly after came these captains with a vessel into the river, and pretended to trade with us, as the former did. We did not discountenance them for the present, but took our opportunity and came aboard. The sachem's son succeeding his father, was the man that came into the cabin of Captain Stone, and Captain Stone having drunk more than did him good, fell backwards on the bed asleep. The sagamore took his opportunity, and having a little hatchet under his garmet, therewith knocked him in the head. Some being upon the deck and others under, suspected some such thing; for the rest of the Indians that were aboard, had order to proceed against the rest at one time; but the English sprying treachery, ran immediately into the cook-room, and, with a fire-brand, had thought to have blown up the Indians by setting fire to the powder. These devil's instruments spying this plot of the English, leaped overboard as the powder was a firing, and saved themselves; but all the English were blown up. This was the manner of their bloddy action. Saith the ambassador to us, Could ye blame us for revenging so cruel a murder? for we distinguish not between the Dutch and English, but took them to be one nation, and therefore we do not conceive that we wronged you, for they slew our king; and thinking these captains to be of the same nation and people as those that slew him, made us set upon this course of revenge.
[Underhill now describes the scene in 1637 at the Pequot Fort.]
Many were burnt in the fort, both men, women, children. Others forced out, and came in troops to the Indians, twenty and thirty at a time, which our soldiers received and entertained with the point of the sword. Down fell men, women, children; those that scaped us, fell into the hands of the Indians that were in the rear of us. It is reported by themselves, that there were about four hundred souls in this fort, and not about five of them escaped out of our hands. Great and doleful was the bloody sight to the view of young soldiers that never had been in war, to see so many souls lie gasping on the ground, so thick, in some places, that you could hardly pass along. It may be demanded, Why should you be so furious?(as some have said). Should not Christians have more mercy and compassion? But I would refer you to David's war. When a people is grown to such a height of blood, and sin against God and man, and all confederates in the action, there he hath no respect to persons, but harrows them, and saws them, and puts them to the sword, and the most terriblest death that may be. Sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents. Sometimes the case alters; but we will not dispute it now. We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings.
Our Indians came to us, and much rejoiced at our victories, and greatly admired the manner of Englishmen's fight, but cried Mach it, mach it; that is, It is naught, it is naught, because it is too furious, and slays too many men.
This is an excerpt from a 17th Century relation of the Pequot War by P. Vincent, about whom little is known. We are not even sure he was an eyewitness. He is relating what happened after the burning of the fort. Note the role played by Uncas's men.
The Mohigens which sided with the English in this action, behaved themselves stoutly; which the other Pequets understanding, cut off all the Mohigens that remain with them (lest they should turn to the English) except seven; who flying to our countrymen, related this news, and that about one hundred Pequets were slain, or hurt in the fight with the English, at their return from the fort; moreover, that they had resolved to have sent an hundred choice men out of their fort, as a party against the English, the very day after they were beaten out by them; but being now vanquished, Sasacus, the Pequetan captain, with the remainder of this massacre, was fled the country.
It is not good to give breath to a beaten enemy, lest he return armed, if not with greater puissance, yet with greater despite and revenge. Too much security, or neglect in this kind, hath of times ruined the conquerers. The two hundred English, therefore, resolved on before, were now sent forth to chase the barbarians, and utterly root them out. Whereupon, Captain Underhill with his twenty men returned, and gave this account of those exploits of the New Englanders, which here we have communicated to the old English world. This last party invaded the Pequetan country, killed twenty-three, saved the lives of two sagamores for their use hereafter, as occasion shall serve, who have promised to do great matters for the advancing of the English affairs. They pursued the remnant threescore miles beyond the country, till within six and thirty miles of the Dutch plantations on Hudson' river, where they fought with them, killed forty or fifty, besides those that they cut off in their retreat, and took prisoners one hundred and eighty, that came out of a swamp, and yielded themselves upon promise of good quarter. Some other small parties of them were since destroyed; and Captain Patrick, with sixteen or eighteen, brought eighty captives to the Bay of Boston. The news of the flight of Sassacus, their sagamore, is also confirmed. He went with forty men to the Mohocks, which are cruel, bloody cannibals, and the most terribel to their neighbors of all these nations; but will scarce dare ever to carry arms against the English, of whom they are sore afraid, not daring to encounter white men with their hot-mouthed weapons, which spit nothing else but bullets and fire.
The terror of victory changeth even the affection of the allies of the vanquished, and the securing of our own estates makes us neglect, yea forsake or turn against our confederates, and side with their enemies and ours, when we despair of better remedy. These cruel, but wily Mohocks, in contemplation of the English, and to procure their friendship, entertain the fugitive Pequets and their captain by cutting off all their heads and hands, which they sent to the English, as a testimony of their love and service.
Lion Gardener was the supervisor of the Saybrook Fort. His own introduction offers good background on him.
In the year 1635, I, Lion Gardener, Engineer and Master of Works of Fortification in the legers of the Prince of Orange, in the Low Countries, through the persuasion of some well-affected Englishmen made an agreement for four years, to serve the company of patentees, in the drawing, ordering and making of a city, towns or forts of defence. And so I came from Holland to London, and from thence to New-England.
We expecting, according to promise, that there would have come from England to us 300 able men, whereof 200 should attend fortification, 50 to till the ground, and 50 to build houses. But our great expectation at the River's mouth, came only to two men, viz. Mr. Fenwick, and his man, who came with Mr. Hugh Peters, and Mr. Oldham and Thomas Stanton, bringing with them some Otter-skin coats, and Beaver, and skeins of wampum, which the Pequits had sent for a present, because the English had required those Pequits that had killed a Virginean, one Capt. Stone, with his Bark's crew, in Conectecott River, for they said they would have their lives and not their presents; then I answered, Seeing you will take Mr. Winthrop [John Winthrop, jr. the newly appointed governor for the Saybrook settlement] to the Bay to see his wife, newly brought to bed of her first child, and though you say he shall return,. yet I know if you make war with these Pequits, he will not come hither again, for I know you will keep yourselves safe, as you think, in the Bay, but myself, with these few, you will leave at the stake to be roasted, or for hunger to be starved, for Indian corn is now 12s. per bushel, and we have but three acres planted, and if they will now make war for a Virginian and expose us to the Indians, whose mercies are cruelties, they, I say, they love the Virginians better than us: for, have they stayed these four or five years, and will they begin now, we being so few in the River, and have scarce holes to put our heads in?
And suddenly after came Capt. Endecott, Capt. Turner, and Capt. Undrill, with a company of Soldiers, well fitted, to Seabrook, and made that place their rendezvous or seat of war, and that to my great grief, for, said I, you come hither to raise these wasps about my ears, and then you will take wing and flee away;
Then they displayed their colours, and beat their drums, burnt some wigwams and some heaps of corn, and my men carried as much aboard as they could, but the army went aboard, leaving my men ashore, which ought to have marched aboard first. But they all set sail, and my men were pursued by the Indians, and they hurt some of the Indians, and two of them came home wounded. The Bay-men killed not a man, save that one Kichomiquim, an Indian Sachem of the Bay, killed a Pequit; and thus began the war between the Indians and us in these parts.
Old Mr. Michell was very urgent with me to lend him the boat to fetch hay home from the Six-mile Island, but I told him they were too few men, for his four men could but carry the hay aboard, and one must stand in the boat to defend them, and they must have two more at the foot of the Rock, with their guns, to keep the Indians from running down upon them. And in the first place, before they carry any of the cocks of hay, to scour the meadow with their three dogs, - to march all abreast from the lower end up to the Rock, and if they found the meadow clear, then to load their hay; but this was also neglected, for they all went ashore and fell to carrying off their hay, and the Indians presently rose out of the long grass, and killed three, and took the brother of Mr. Michell, who is the minister of Cambridge, and roasted him alive; and so they served a shallop of his, coming down the river in the Spring, having two men, one whereof they killed at Six-mile Island, the other came down drowned to us ashore at our doors, with an arrow shot into his eye through his head.
I say came to me Capt. Undrell, with twenty lusty men, well armed, to stay with me two months, or 'till something should be done about the Pequits. He came at the charge of my masters. Soon after came down from Harford Maj. Mason, Liet. Seely, accompanied with Mr. Stone and eighty Englishmen, and eighty Indians, with a commission from Mr. Ludlow and Mr. Steel, and some others; these came to go fight with the Pequits. But when Capt. Undrill and I had seen their commission, we both said they were not fitted for such a design and we said to Maj. Mason we wondered he would venture himself, being no better fitted, and he said the Magistrates could not or would not send better; then we said that none of our men should go with them, neither should they go unless we, that were bred soldiers from our mouth, could see some likelihood to do better than the Bay-men with their strong commission last year. Then I asked them how they durst trust the Mohegin Indians, who had but that year come from the Pequits. They said they would trust them, for they could not well go without them for want to guides. Yea, said I, but I will try them before a man of ours shall go with you or them, and I called for Uncas and said unto him, You say you will help Maj. Mason, but I will first see it therefore, send you now twenty men to the Bass river, for there went yesternight six Indians in a canoe thither; fetch them now dead or alive, and then you shall go with Maj. Mason, else not. So he sent his men who killed four, brought one a traitor to us alive, whose name was Kiswas, and one ran away. And I gave him fifteen yards of trading cloth on my own charge, to give unto his men according to their desert. And having staid there five or six days before we could agree, at last we old soldiers agreed about the way and act, and took twenty insufficient men from the eighty that came from Harford and sent them up again in a shallop, and Capt. Undrill with twenty of the lustiest of our men went in their room, and I furnished them with such things as they wanted, and sent Mr. Powell, the surgeon, with them; and the Lord God blessed their design and way, so that they returned with victory to the glory of God, and honour of our nation, having slain three hundred, burnt their fort, and taken many prisoners.
Then three days after the fight came Waiandance, next brother to the old Sachem of Long Island, and having been recommeded to me by Maj. Gibbons, he came to know if we were angry with all Indians. I answerd No, but only with such as had killed Englishmen. He asked me whether they that lived upon Long-Island might come to trade with us. I said No, nor we with they, for if I should send my boat to trade for corn, and you have Pequits with you, and if my boat should come into some creek by reason of bad weather, they might kill my men, and I shall think that you of Long Island have done it, and so we may kill all you for the Pequits; but if you will kill all the Pequits that come to you, and send me their heads, then I will give to you as to Weakwash, and you shall have trade with us.
Then came Capt. Stoten with an army of 300 men, from the Bay, to kill the Pequits; but they were fled beyond New Haven to a swamp. I sent Wequash after them, who went by night to spy them out,.and the army followed him, and found them at the great swamp, who killed some and took others, and the rest fled to the Mohawkues, with their Sachem. Then the Mohawks cut off his head and sent it to Hartford, for they all feared us, but now it is otherwise, for they say to our faces that our Commissioners meeting once a year, and speak a great deal, or write a lettre, and there's all, for they dare not fight. But before they went to the Great Swamp they sent Thomas Stanton over to Long Island and Shelter Island to find Pequits there, but there was none, for the Sachem Waiandance, that was at Plimoth when the Commissoners were there, and set there last, I say, he had killed so many of the Pequits, and sent their heads to me, that they durst not come there; and he and his men went with the English to the Swamp, and thus the Pequits were quelled at that time. But there was like to be a great broil between Miantenomie and Unchus who should have the rest of the Pequits, but we mediated between them and pacified them; also Unchus challenged the Narraganset Sachem out to a single combat, but he would not fight without all his men; but they were pacified, though the old grudge remained still, as it doth appear.
But I wonder, and so doth many more with me, that the Bay both doth no better revenge the murdering of Mr. Oldham, an honest man of their own, seeing they were at such cost for a Virginian. The Narragansets that were at Block-Island killed him, and had £50 of gold of his, for I saw it when he had five pieces of me, and put it up into a cloth and tied it up all together, when he went away from me to Block Island; but the Narragansets had it and punched holes into it, and put it about their necks for jewels; and afterwards I saw the Dutch have some of it, which they had of the Narragansets at a small rate.
And now I am old, I would fain die a natural death, or like a soldier in the field, with honor, and not have a sharp stake set in the ground, and thrust into my fundament, and to have my skin flayed off by piece-meal, and cut in pieces and bits, and my flesh roasted and thrust down my throat, as these people have done, and I know will be done to the chiefest in this country by hundreds, if God should deliver us into their hands, as justly he may for our sins.
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The Indian Allies
Since many of the accounts ascribe a signficant role in the fighting to Indians who were actually helping the English, it would be good to look more closely at these so-called "friends" of the English. Uncas, in particular, according to the various accounts, seems to have been an indispensable ally. The following items taken from various records suggest that it is difficult to generalize about native loyalties.
An important thing to remember is that the Eastern tribes were generally matrilineal in their social and political organization. That is, the mother was head of the family, and all the children and the husband were members of her family. When a man was married, he joined his mother-in-law's family. Among the Iroquois of upper New York State, in fact, the women "elders" of a tribe chose which men would be the chiefs (Men were the hunting and warrior chiefs because the forest was the "domain of men" - the clearing or village was the "domain of women" - they were in charge there). Other tribes, such as those in New England, were not so democratic. The sachems and grand sachems (chiefs of bands and tribes or confederations of bands) collecting tribute from and having power of life and death over their subjects. In the Pequot tribe, as can be seen on the following page, it had become customary for a son to succeed his father as grand sachem, meaning the power changed families each generation. Uncas could have considered himself "of royal blood" since he was son of Woipequand's daughter ( and of his grandson as well!) and married to Wopigwooit's daughter. However, it was Sassacus who became grand sachem in 1634 when his father was killed unwisely by Dutch traders seeking revenge for the death of a few of their countrymen.
The chart is taken from "Uncas's Pedigree" as he dictated it to the Connecticut General Court in March, 1679 (see New England Historical and Genealogical Register, X (July, 1856), pp. 227-8).
The Treaty of Hartford:
Following the Pequot War this treaty, excerpted below, was entered into the Records of the Connecticut General Court.
Articles between ye English in Connecticut and the Indian Sachems. A covenant and Agreement made between the English Inhabiting the Jurisdiction of the River of Connecticut of the one part, and Miantinomy the chief Sachem of the Narragansetts in the behalf of himself and the other Sachems there; and Poquim or Uncas the chief Sachim of the Indians called the Mohegans in the behalf of himself and the Sachims under him, as Followeth, at Hartford the 21th of September, 1638.
Imp'r. There is a peace and a Familiarity made between the sd Miantinome and Narraganset Indians, and the sd Poquim and Mohegan Indians, and all former Injuryes and wrongs offered each to other Remitted and Burryed and never to be renued any more from henceforth.
And whereas there be or is reported for to be by ye sd Narragansetts and Mohegans 200 Peaquots living that are men besides squawes and paposes. The English do give unto Miantinome and the Narragansetts to make up the number of Eighty with the Eleven they have already, and to Poquime his number, and that after they the Peaquots shall be divided as abovesd, shall no more be called Peaquots but Narragansetts and Mohegans and as their men and either of them are to pay for every Sanop one fathom of wampome peage and for every youth half so much - and for every Sanop papoose one hand to be paid at Killing time of Corn at Connecticut yearly and shall not suffer them for to live in the country that was formerly theirs but is now the Englishes by conquest neither shall the Narragansets nor Mohegans possess any part of ye Peaquot country without leave from the English.The Marke of ) MAINTINOMMY
The Marke of + POQUIAM alis UNKASJOHN HAINES
A Commissioners' Report:
This is found in the Records of the United Colonies of New England, which was a defense confederation consisting of Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth.
Boston, September 19th, 1663
We, being desired by the Commissioners of the United Colonies to enquire of the Indians present concerning the interest of the Pequots, or respecting lands which Uncas layeth claim unto, we accordingly have endeavored the same, according to our best skill and understanding; and there being present, Cassisinnamon, Kitchamoquion and Tomasquash Ecoadno (alias,) the old honest man, Pequots; also, Womesh, Mumuho, Kaiton, Narragansett Councillors, with many others Indians; which do all jointly affirm, that long before the Pequots were conqered by the English, Uncas, being akin unto the Pequots, did live upon and Enjoy that land above a place called Montononesuck, upon which Mr. Winthrop's saw mill standeth; also, that it was his father's before him, and left unto him by his father; which he pssessed some time. But he growing proud and treacherous to the Pequot Sachem, the Pequot sachem was very angry, and sent up some soldiers, and drave Uncas out of his country; who fled unto Narragansett, for a while. At last he humbled himself to the Pequot Sachem, and desired that he might have liberty to live in his own country again; which the Pequot Sachem granted, provided he would be subject unto him, and carry it well. But soon after, he grew proud again, and was again driven out of his country, but his men subjected unto the Pequot Sachem; and yet again, upon his humbling, was restored, and grew proud again, and was conquered; and so five times; and upon his humbling himself was restored, and again conquered; until when the English went to war against the Pequots; and then Uncas went along with the English; and so, since, the English have made him high.
They further say, they know not the English fashions, but according to their manners and customs, Uncas had no lands at all, being so conquered. This they say, Uncas cannot deny, but if he should deny it, the thing is known to all the Indians round about.
Also the Narragansetts say that there is yet two of his men yet alive that fled with him into the Narragansett country, and have there abode ever since, who knew these things to be true. And further, they jointly affirm that Uncas had at first but little land and very few men, insomuch he could not make a hunt, but always hunted by order from other Sachems, and in their companie; which Sachems, being five brothers, lived at a place called by the Indians, Soudahque, at or near the place where Major Mason now liveth; who were the sons of the great Pequot Sachem's sister, and so became very great Sachems, and had their bounds very large, extending their bounds by Connecticut path almost to Connecticut, and eastward meeting with the bounds of Paswuattuck (who lived at Showtackett, being a Pequot Sachem whose bounds extended eastward and took in Pachogg;) the which five Sachems, being brothers grew so great and so proud that upon hunting they quarrelled with the Pequots; at which the great Pequot (Sachem) being angry with them, made war upon them and conquered them and their country, and they all fled into Narragansett country, (leaving their country and men unto the Pequot Sachem,) from whence they never returned, but there died. So that Indians affirm all their lands and Woncas's too, according to their customs and manners, were Pequot lands, being by them conquered, and now are the true right of the English, they having conquered the Pequots.
A Letter from Plymouth Trading House
What follows is a letter from one of the traders at the Plymouth Trading House at the confluence of the Farmington and Connecticut Rivers (now Windsor, Ct.) to John Winthrop, jr., who had been appointed Governor of the Saybrook settlement.
To the worll John Winthrop Govr at the mouth of the river Coniticutt
[Uncas], sent me word that upon the 23rd of May last, Sasocuse, held consultation one day, and most of one Night, about cutting off our Plymouth Barke; but it pleased the over Ruleing Poser of god to hinder them for as soone as these bloody executioners arose out of Ambush with their canoes, the[y] descerned her under sayle with fayre winde returning Home: which Act of theirs (circumstances considered) is not tolerable for us to putt up.
I understand likewise by the same messenger that the Pequents have some mistrust that the English will shortly come against them, and therefore out of desperate madnesse doe threaten shortly to sett both upon Indians, and English joyntly, Further by the same Sachem, (whom I have found faithfull to the English) I am enformed that Sasocuse with his Brother, upon consultation with their own men, was an actor in the death of Stone, and thes men being 5 of the principall actors alive, 3 living at Pequent, and 2 at Ma hem le cake: his Brother Sacowawen with another of his men cheife actors in the Death of the 2 last upon the Island....Yours in all love, and service
Plimouth House in Cunitecutt:
this 18th of June 1636
Roger Williams Soothes the Narragansetts
This is a letter from Roger Williams to John Winthrop, sr., governor of Massachusetts Bay, written sometime between August, 1636, and May 1637. Williams is discussing his efforts to keep the Narragansetts from forming an alliance with the Pequots.
New Providence, this 2d day of the week
The latter end of the last week, I gave notice to our neighbor princes of your intentions and preparations against the common enemy, the Pequods. At my first coming to them, Canonicus (morosus awque ae barbarus senex) was very sour, and accused the English and myself for sending the plague amongst them, and threatening to kill him especially.
Such tidings (it seems) were lately brought to his ears by some of his flatterers and our ill-willers. I discerned cause of bestirring myself, and staid the longer, and at last (through the mercy of the Most High) I not only sweetened his spirit, but possessed him, that the plague and other sicknesses were alone in the hand of the one God, who made him and us who being displeased with the English for lying, stealing, idleness and uncleanness, (the native epidemical sins,) smote many thousands of us ourselves with several and late mortalities.
Miantinomo kept his barbarous court lately at my house and with him I have far better dealing. He takes some pleasure to visit me, and sent me word of his coming over again some eight days hence.
Governor Winthrop's Journal
Finally, this account is entered into the Journal of John Winthrop, governor of Massachusetts Bay, in 1643, six years after the Pequot War.
We received news of a great defeat given the Narragansets by Onkus. [In August] Onkus, being provoked by Sequasson, a sachem of Connecticut, who would not be persuaded by the magistrates there to a reconciliation, made war upon him, and slew divers of his men and burnt his wigwams; whereupon Miantunnomoh, being his kinsman, took offence against Onkus, and went with near 1,000 men and set upon Onkus before he could be provided for defence, for he had not then with him about 3 or 400 men. But it pleased God to give Onkus the victory, after they had killed about 30 of the Narragansetts, and wounded many more.
Upon this Onkus carried Miantunnomoh to Hartford to take advice of the magistrates there, and at Miantunnomoh;'s earnest entreaty he left him with them, yet as a prisoner. They kept him under guard, but used him very courteaously, and so he continued till the commissioners of the United Colonies met at Boston, who taking into serious consideration what was safest and best to be done, were all of opinion that it would not be safe to set him at liberty, neither had we sufficient ground for us to put him to death. In this difficulty we called in five of the most judicious elders, (it being in the time of the general assembly of the elders,) and propounding the case to them, they all agreed that he ought to be put to death.
The reasons of this proceeding with him were these. 1)It was now clearly discovered to us, that there was a general conspiracy among the Indians to cut off all the English, and that Miantunnomoh was the head and contriver of it. 2)He was of a turbulent and proud spirit, and would never be at rest. 3)Although he had promised us in the open court to send the Pequod to Onkus, who had shot him in the arm with intent to have killed him (which was by the procurement of Miantunnomoh as it did probably appear,) yet in his way homeward he killed him. 4)He beat one of Punhams's men and took away his wampom, and then bid him go and complain to the Massachusetts.
According to this agreement the commissioners, at their return to Connecticut, sent for Onkus, and acquainted him therewith, who readily undertook execution, and taking Miantunnomoh along with him, in the way between Hartford and Windsor, (where Onkus hath some men dwell,) Onkus's brother, following after Miantunnomoh, clave his head with an hatchet, some English being present. And that the Indians might know that the English did approve of it, they sent 12 or 14 musketeers home with Onkus to abide a time with him for his defence, if need should be.
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