John L. O'Brien, Register 
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Title - Native American Deeds
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Introduction Narrative
  INDIAN RAIDS in New England and Essex County & Colonial Militia in Indian Wars
Focus Points 5

Three Indian Landscapes
Historical Evidence in Native American Deeds Collection
Indian vs. English Views Regarding Rights to the Land
Settlement Patterns in Essex County - Three periods of Development
Indian Raids in New England & Essex County & Colonial Militia in Indian Wars

Who attacked who? Myths and the Colonial Militia in the Indian Wars)

There is substantial confusion about hostilities between Native Americans and English settlers, not just in Essex County, where in fact the settlers were attacked, but on a larger regional (New England/ New York) scale. This is due to the fact that, as listed above, there was ongoing warfare throughout the Seventeenth Century. Native Americans attacked other Native Americans. English settlers attacked Native Americans and vice versa. French and Indian allies attacked English settlers. English and Indian allies attacked the French. English used the Indians and drove the Dutch out of New Amsterdam, New Jersey and Delaware.

Before 1620, there was intertribal warfare (Penobscot-Tarrantine War) in Maine that was bolstered by reinforcements from the Massachusetts Federation (Pawtucket Tribe only) in support of the Penobscots.  This led later to retaliatory raids by the Tarrrantines
(related to Eastern Abenaki Mic- Mac and Maliseet Tribes of northeastern Maine) on the Pawtucket and Agawam (Ipswich) Tribes.  Sagamore John, a Pawtucket Sachem from Lynn, later Mystic (Medford) was called to engage in the Narragansett Wampanoag War, then later against the Pequots. By mid 1660’s, there were incursions from the Mohawks and Iroquois against the Pawtucket/Pennacooks.

It is interesting to know how Native and Non-Native residents of Essex County found themselves in a fight for their lives far beyond the bounds of the county during this period. Distance seemed to be no impediment to whatever the target of opportunity was at the time. Native Americans were swift and had great endurance allowing them to travel by land and water 100 miles in two days. King Philips War started in Wampanoag Country moved west to the Connecticut River Valley in 1675. The following year the War raged in Narragansett County, Plymouth County, Central Mass and the Merrimack Valley. Even after King Philip was killed in Aug.1676 sporadic raids occurred by renegade Indians, many who tried to blend in with neutral tribes.

Starting late in the 17th century, six separate French-Indian Wars began with raids in mid-coast and southern Maine, Great Bay New Hampshire and along the Lower Merrimack River. The French provided guns and rum to the Eastern Indians to raid English settlements. The English were more cautious and would not do the same.

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Indian Wars and Raids in 17th CenturyNew England

Click here for Flash Maps of Indian Wars

1614-1615 Pawtucket - Penobscot-Tarrantine War - Nanepashemet, Great Sachem of Massachusetts Federation and Pawtucket Sachem, sends war parties to help Penobscots defeat Tarrantines. Beshaba, Penobscot Sachem killed.

1619 Tarrantines send 300 warriors to find and kill Nanepashemet at his Mystic Fort. His family sent off to safe haven, but his death ends the Massachusetts Federation.

1632 Narragansett "Wampanoag War  Canonicus, Narragansett Tribe Chief calls on Sagamore John, Nanepashemet's oldest son) and Sagamore Chickataubet  (Dorchester)
 for an allied force against Wampanoags.  Mass. Bay Colony intervenes before reinforcements arrived, they get redirected toward the Pequots who were too formidable, and so they returned home.  

1632 Black Will (Poquin) Sachem of Nahant hanged at Richmond’s Isle, Maine for murder he did not commit, just because he was Native American.

1633 Tarrantines return to Essex County at Agawam (Ipswich) and attack camp of Masconomet who was entertaining his cousins Sagamore John(Chelsea & Mystick) and Sagamore James (Saugus & Lynn), both who died of smallpox later in December that year. Sagamore James wife, Wetamoo, daughter of Passaconaway, Great Sachem of the Pennacooks (southern New Hampshire) was taken captive and later returned for ransom.

1637 Pequot War (Mystic, Conn. )  Mass. Bay Colony led by Col . John Endicott, (Salem Village) with assistance from Uncas, Sachem of Mohegan Tribe (Conn.) and native American scouts, including  Massachusetts Sagamore Chickataubet, defeat the Peqouts at  the Mystic (Conn.) Massacre. Narragansetts were invited to the alliance but Roger Williams discouraged their participation. This engagement was partly attributed to the death of two officers on Block Island (R.I.) but more importantly to gain a foothold in the Conn. River Valley before the Dutch, whose fur trade was substantially greater in that region.

1669 Mohawk - Pennacook War  Wamesit  Indians went against the Mohawks and were badly defeated.

1675 King Philip's War   This was the last great revolt of the Coastal Indians (Wampanoag allied with Narragansetts (R.I) and Nipmucks (Central Mass.) totally frustrated with their condition and loss of tribal lands by invasion of English Settlers.  Essex County towns of Andover and Haverhill and the Salem Fishing fleet were attacked in this war, along with many other towns of Mass. Bay Colony and Rhode Island Colony. Many of Essex County town militiamen were impressed into service as “Indian fighters” in frontier towns such as Sudbury, Lancaster, Deerfield, Hadley and the Narragansett Swamp. “Praying Indians” or

“Christian Indian” was pressed into service as scouts for Mass. Bay Colony, including James Quannapowit, grandson of Nanepashemet was a signer of the Lynn Deeds. Ironically, his benefactor of Naumkeag Tribal lands was in fact Sagamore George No Nose, who out of sheer frustration joined King Philip. He was the only known Native American from Essex County to fight against the Colonists in this war.  After the War, he got tricked into a treaty situation at Dover , N.H and was captured and sold into slavery at Barbados. Rev. John Eliot interceded for the old Naumkeag Sagamore (George No Nose) and he returned to live out his life with his sister (James Quannapowit's mother) at Natick Praying Town.  The Essex County Regiment, from Beverly called the Flower of Essex,  lost a company of 71 men at Deerfield (Muddy Brook a.k.a Bloody Brook under the command of Capt. Thomas Lathrop.

1689-1697 King William's War (First French Indian War)  Several raids were made  on Essex County towns during this period by non-local Native Americans ( some fugitives from King Philip's campaign, but primarily Maine tribes allied with the French).  This conflict ended with the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697, but sporadic raids continued for a year thereafter.  Many of Essex County town militiamen were impressed into service as "Indian fighters" in Maine, which was then a Mass. Bay Colony jurisdiction. Essex County towns of Andover , Haverhill, Amesbury, Newbury and Rowley (now Georgetown) were attacked in this war.

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The Calm Before the Storm

Prior to King Philip’s War, from the Pequot War, 1637 to 1675, almost 40 years, their was significant peaceful coexistence between Native Americans and English settlers along the coast of Mass. Bay Colony. By 1640,the “Great Winthrop Immigration” generated  20,000  English settlers in Mass. Bay Colony. Due to the decline of Native Americans, falling to disease, population superiority came quickly for the English. In addition, Wampanoag Sachem, Massasoit and Pennacook Sachem , Passaconaway committed themselves to peaceful relations with their new neighbors for the survival of their people. Mass.Bay Colony’s history was significantly impacted by this decision by the two most powerful Native Americans during colonization period.

In the interim, the settlers became nervous and restless with every rumor of a plan to revolt against the Colony. By, 1642 an order was given to disarm Passaconaway, who heard of the order and eluded the militia. However , his son Wannelancit and family were taken hostage for leverage in negotiations. Passaconaway would not negotiate until his son and family were returned.  There was a period of mutual support in Essex County between the two cultures. Passaconaway agreed through his agents to sell off tribal land where his people were falling to endemic diseases in 1615-1617, 1633, 1642, and 1659. In the end he had to petition sufficient land for his people to survive in their own lifestyle, in effect buying back their ancient right  to their land.

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