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Notices of Indians who submitted to Massachusetts,
continued— The SQUAW-SAChem of Medford-Her history, family, &c.—Her sons, Sagamore John and Sagamore JAMES—Their intercourse with the English-Anecdotes of them --Complaints, services, death and character-CHICKAT ABOT, Sachem of NeponsetHis war with the Squaw-Sachem-Visits Boston several times Appears in court against Plastowe-Anecdotes of his Government-Indian policy of Massachusetts compared with that of Plymouth-Anecdotes of Chickatabot-His death.
Having heretofvre had occasion frequently to introduce the names of Indians who subjected themselves, more or less, to the Government of Massachusetts, we propose in this chapter to notice a few of the most prominent of that class, who have not yet been mentioned.*
Some years previous to the arrival of the English, the various Massachusetts tribes, properly so called, are believed to have been confederated, like the Pokanokets and others, under the government of one great Sachem, whose name was NANEPAS HEMET, or the New-Moon. His usual residence was in Medford, near Mystic Pond. He was killed in 1619,by what enemy is unknown. Two years afterwards, a
See a sketch of Cutchainequin, of Braintee, in Chapter XI, Vol. I.
Plymouth party visited this section; and they then discovered the remains of one of Nanepashemet's forts. It was built in a valley. There was a trench about it, breast-high, with a periphery of palisades reaching up more than thirty feet. It was accessible only in one direction, by a narrow bridge. The Sachem's grave had been made under the frame of a house within the enclosure, which was still standing; and another, upon a neighboring hill, marked the spot where he fell in battle. His dwelling-house had been built on a large scaffold, six feet high, also near the summit of a hill.* It is evident that Nanepashemet was a chjeftain of very considerable state and power. His successor, to
certain extent, was his widow, well known in history as the Squaw-Sachem, and otherwise called the Massachusetts Queen. It is probably from the latter circumstance, in part, that some modern historians have described her as inheriting the power of her husband; but this is believed to be incorrect. We find no evidence of it among the old writers; though it appears, on the other hand, that some of the other Massachusetts tribes were at war with her's, when the English first made her acquaint
It seems highly probable, that these were the enemy-rebels, we should perhaps say—whom Nanepashemet fell in attempting to subdue. His failure and death were sufficient, without the aid of that terrible pestilence which reduced the number of the Massachusetts warriors from three thousand to three hundred, to prevent any attempts on the part of his widow, for recovering or continuing his own ancient dominion.
Still, the Squaw-Sachem governed at least the remnants of one tribe. She also laid claim to territory in various places, and among the rest to what is now Concord, a grant of which place she joined with two or three other Indians in conveying to the original settlers, in 1635. Previous to this date, she
had taken a second husband, WAPPACOWET, the chief priest of her tribe, he being by custom entitled to the hand of his Sachem's widow. The land was paid for in wampum, hatchets, hoes, knives, cotton cloth, and chintz; beside which, Wappacowet, who figured only as an evidence in the case, received a gratuity of a suit of cotton cloth, a hat, a white linen band, shoes, stockings, and a great coat.*
Several years after the sale of Concord, the SquawSachem visited Boston, for the purpose of subjecting herself to the Massachusetts Government. That object she effected. Whether the priest was included in the submission, or what was the sequel of his history, or even her's, does, not appear.
The Squaw-Sachem, like her husband, the New Moon, has maintained her principal dignity in our early annals, as the parent of Wonohaquaham and Montowampate, better known as SAGAMORE JOHN and SaGAMORE James. The former lived, before the English came, at the old residence of his father, in Medford ; subsequently, at Winnesimet, anciently called Rumney Marsh, and situated partly in Chelsea, and partly in Saugus. James, who was Sachem of the Saugus Indians, and had jurisdiction of Lynn and Marblehead, resided on Sagamore hill, near the eastern end of Lynn beach.
John was one of the best, as well as earliest friends the settlers of Boston ever had among the natives ; and by their descendants his memory should be cherished for that, if for no other reason. On all occasions, he was courteous, kind and frank. Soon after their coming, he engaged with the governor to make
* Depositions on Concord Records. + There has been a controversy about the meaning of this title, and the difference between Sagamore, (or Sagamo) and Sachem. We agree with Mr. Lewis (from whose accurate history of Lynn we have borrowed above,) in considering them different pronunciations of the same word.
compensation for damages done by his subjects, and to fence in his territories, both which he did. During the same year, 1630, he seasonably gave warning to the Charlestown people, of a plot formed against them among some of the neighboring Indians,-an act on the mention of which an old writer pays him the deserved compliment of having always loved the English
His attachment was justified by the conduct of his new ally and friends, for though he often brought complaints before the Massachusetts authorities, it was as rarely without effect as it was without cause.
At one time, two of his wigwams were carelessly set on fire by some English fowlers, and destroyed. The chief offender was a servant of Sir Richard Saltonstall, and the Court ordered him to give satisfaction, which he did, being mulcted in seven yards of cloth, valued at fifty shillings sterling. The act of firing one of the buildings, was not very easily proved; but, say the Court, “lest he should think us not sedulous enough to find it out, and so should depart discontentedly from us, we gave both him and bis subject satisfaction for them both.”
So when he and his brother James, a few weeks afterwards, applied to the Governor for an order, to procure the return of twenty beaver-skins which had been obtained unfairly from them by an Englishman, " the governor entertained them kindly, and gave them his letter, &c.9* John must have been permitted to manage his relations with other sachems also, as he pleased; for when Chickatabot fought for Canonicus in 1632, as we shall soon see, he also joined him at the head of thirty men, and the fact is recorded not only without censure, but without comment.
James was a more troublesome personage, and was more than once in difficulty with both Indians and English. A party of that formidable eastern
New-England Chronology, 1631.
people, the Tarratines, attacked him in 1631, slew seven of his men, wounded both him and his brother John, and carried off his wife captive. Hubbard observes, that he had treacherously killed some of the Tarratines before this," and was therefore the less pitied of the English that were informed thereof:” but the latter nevertheless procured the redemption of his wife. The following extract from Mr. Winthrop's Journal, throws some light, both on the authority which he exercised upon his own subjects, and the liberties he took with the English. The Government, it must be observed, had made a prudent regulation, forbidding the sale of arms to the natives :
“ September 4th, 1632. “One Hopkins of Watertown was convict for selling a piece and pistol, with powder and shot, to James Sagamore, for which he had sentence to be whipped and branded in the cheek.”—It was discovered by an Indian, one of James's men, upon promise of concealing him, or otherwise he was sure to be killed. It was probably for some offence of this description that James was once forbidden to enter any English plantation under penalty of ten beaver-skins; a much better dispensation of justice, clearly, than to have sent an armed force, as the good people of Plymouth had been in the habit of doing on such occasions, to punish him in person.
The following is an item in the account of Treasurer Pyncheon, stated to the General Court for 1632, under the head of Payments out of the Common Treasury.
“Paid John Sagamore's brother, the 9th Oct. 1632, for killing a wolf, one coat at
£0. 12s. 0.”
This account of James indicates that he was much less known among the English than his brother; and