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Chief women conspicuous in Philips war—MAGNUS—Her country and
relations---Her capture and death-AWASHONKS—Is greatly annoyed. in the events of 1671—Her men disarmed-Philip's endeavors to engage her against the English--Church prevents her — Is finally in the power of Philip-Reclaimed by Church-Some particulars of her family.
ALTHOUGH, before we had finished the life of Weetamoo, we deemed it proper to have deferred it to this chapter, but as we had been led rather imperceptibly into many particulars concerning her in that place,* we could not break off our narrative without a greater impropriety than an omnission here would have been, and shall therefore begin here with one of her cotemporaries, the bare facts in whose life are sufficient to maintain a high interest, we believe, in the mind of every reader.
Magnus was squaw-sachem of some part of the extensive country of the Narragansets, and was known by several names at different and the same times; as, Old Queen, Sunk Squawnt Quaiapen, and Matantuck. She married Mriksah, or Mexam, a son of Canonicus, and was sister to Ninigret. She had two sons, Scuttup and Quequaquenuct, otherwise Quequegunent, called by the English Gideon, and a daughter named Quinemiquet. These two died young. Gideon was alive as late as 1661; Scutt up, and a sister also, in 1664. She was, in 1675, one “ of the six present sachems of the whole Narraganset country.”
In the beginning of Philip's war, the English army, to cause the Narragansets to fight for them, whom they had always abused and treated with contempt, since before the cutting off of Miantunnomoh's head, marched into their country, but could not meet with a single sachem of the nation. They fell in with a few of their people, who could not well secrete them. selves, and who concluded a long treaty of mere verbosity, the import of which they could know but little, and doubtless cared less ; for when the army left their country, they joined again in the war. The English caused four men to subscribe to their articles in the name, or in behalf of Quaiapen and the other chiefs, and took four others as hostages for their due fulfilment of those articles. Their names were Wobequob, Weowchim, Pewkes, and Wenew, who are said to have been “near kinsmen and choice friends” to the sachems.
We hear no more of her until the next year, when herself and a large company of her men were discovered by Major Talcot, on the 2 July, in Narraganset. The English scouts discovered them from a bill, having pitched their tents in a valley in the vicinity of a swamp, as was usually their custom. About 300 of the English, mounted upon fleet horses, divided into two squadrons, and fell upon them before they were aware of their approach, and made a great slaughter. The Mohegans and Pequots came upon them in the centre, while the horsemen beset them on each side, and thus prevented many from escaping into the swamp When all were killed and taken within the encampment, Capt. Newbury, who commanded the horsemen, dismounted, and with his men rushed into the swamp, where, without resistance, they killed a hundred,
* Book üii. chap. 1.
+ Trumbull, i. 347. from Hubbard, I suppose, i. 51. Female chiefs were called saunks by the Indians, which signified wife of the sachem; but writers, being ignorant of that fact, thought it a proper name of a particular person, and hence the appellations of Snuke, Sunke, Snake, &c. applied to Magnus.
and made many prisoners. In all, they killed and took 171* in this swamp fight, or rather massacre. Not an Englishman was hurt in the affair, and but one Mohegan killed, and one wounded, which we can hardly suppose was done by Magnus's people, as they made no resistance, but rather by themselves, in their fury mistaking one another. Ninety of the captives were put to death! among whom was Magnus. The swamp where this affair took place is near the present town of Warwick, in Rhode Island.
We now approach affairs of great interest in our biographical history of the Indians.
Awushonks, squaw-sachem of Sogkonate, was the wife of an Indian caller! Tolony, but of him we learn very little. From her important standing among the Indians, few deserve a more particular attention ; 'and we shall, therefore, go as minutely into her history as our documents will enable us.
The first notice we have of Awashonks is in 1671, when she entered into articles of agreement with the court of Plimouth as follows :—“ In admitting that the court are in some measure satisfied with your voluntary coming in now at last, and submission of herself unto us; yet this we expect that she give some meet satisfaction for the charge and trouble she has put us upon by her too long standing out against the many tenders of peace we have made to her and her people. And that we yet see an intention to endeavor the reducement of such as have been the incendiaries of the trouble and disturbance of her people and ours. And as many of her people as shall give themselves and arms unto us, at the time appointed, shall receive no damage or hurt from us, which time appointed is ten days from the date hereof. Thus we may the better keep off such from her lands as may hereafter bring upon her and us the like trouble, and to regulate such as will not be governed by her, she having submitted her lands to the authority of the government. And that, if the lands and estates of such as we are necessitated to take arms against, will not defray the charge of the expedition, that she shall bear some due proportion of the charge. In witness whereof, and in testimony of the sachem, her agreement hereunto, she hath subscribed her hand in presence of Samuel Barker and John Almey.
Mark X of the squaw-sachem AWASUNCKS ;
the mark X of TOTATOMET, and SOMAGAONET.” Witnessed at the same time by “TATTACOMMETT,
TAMOUEESAM, alias JEFFERY.” Plimouth, 24 July, 1671.
The last-named witness appeared again, in the same capacity, 4 Sept. fol. lowing, when “ between 40 and 50 Indians, living near or in the town of Dartmouth, made a like submission." Ashawanomuth, Noman, Marhorkum, James and John, were other witnesses.
Awashonks was at Plimouth when the former articles were executed, from which it appears there was considerable alarm in Plimouth colony. There were about this time many other submissions of the Indians in different places. This step was taken to draw them from Philip, or at least to give a check to their joining with him, as he was now on the point
* Trumbull. 200, says Cobbel's manuscript; 240, Hubbard.
+ Hubbard, Ind. Wars, i. 97, 98. I. Mather's Brief Hist. 39. Trumbull's Hist. Connecticut, i. 347.
$ The point of land below Pocasset, and now chiefly included in the town of Comp ton, Rhode Island, and commonly calied Seconet.
of attacking the English settlements, under a pretence of injury done him in his planting lands.
Not only the chiefs of tribes or clans subscribed articles, but all their men, that could be prevailed with, did the same." The August following, 42 of Awashonks's men signed a paper, approving what she had done, and binding themselves in like manner. Out of 42, we can give names of three only-Totatomet, Tunuokum and Sausaman.
It appears from the following letter from Awashonks to Gov. Prince, that those who submitted themselves, delivered up their arms to the English:
“ August 11, 1671, Honored sir, I have received a very great favor from your honor, in yours of the 7th instant, and as you are pleased to signify, that if I continue faithful to the agreement made with yourselves at Plimouth, I may expect all just favors from your honor. I am fully resolved, while I live, with all fidelity to stand to my engagement, and in a peaceable subinission to your commands, according to the best of my poor ability. It is true, and I am very sensible thereof, that there are some Indians who do seek an advantage against me, for my submitting to his majesty's authority in your jurisdiction, but being conscious to myself of my integrity and real intentions of peace, I doubt not but you will afford me all due encouragement and protection. I had resolved to send in all my guns, being six in number, according to the intimation of my letter ; but two of them were so large, the messengers were not able to carry them. I since proffered to leave them with Mr. Barker, but he not having any order to receive them, told me he conceived I might do well to send them to Mr. Almy, who is a person concerned in the jurisdiction, which I resolved to do; but since then an Indian, known by the name of Broadfaced-will, stole one of them out of the wigwam in the night, and is run away with it to Mount Hope'; the other I think to send to Mr. Almy. A list of those that are obedient to me, and, I hope, and am persuaded, faithful to you, is here enclosed. Honored sir, I shall not trouble you further, but desiring your peace and prosperity, in which I look at my own to be included, I remain, your unfeigned servant,
X AWASUNCKS." This letter was very probably written by Mr. Barker, named in it.
October 20, 1671, Gov. Prince wrote to Awashonks, that he had receive ed the list of names of her men and husband, that freely submitted theinselves to his majesty's authority; and assured her that the English would befriend her on all just occasions; but intimates her disappointment and his own, that she had succeeded no better in procuring the submission of her subjects. “Though,” he continued, " I fault not you, with any failing to endeavor, only to notice your good persuasions of them outwent their deserts, for aught yet appeareth. I could have wished they bad been wiser for themselves, especially your two sons, that may probably succeed you in your government, and your brother also, who is so nearly tied unto you by nature. Do they think themselves so great as to disregard and affront his majesty's interest and authority here; and the amity of the English ? Certainly, if they do, I think they did much disservice, and wish they would yet show themselves wiser, before it be too late." He closed by recommending her to send some of hers to the next court, to desire their arms, that her people might have the use of them in the approaching season. Desires her to let him hear from her and her husband.
On the 20 June, 1672, the following writing appears on record : “Wheras Awashunckes, squa-sachem, stand indebted vnto Mr. John Almey the sume of £25 to be paid in porke att three pence a pound, or peage att 16 peney, and 20 pole of stone wall att £4, which stone wall, or £4, is to be vuderstood to be prte of the fiue and twenty pound,” therefore Awashonks, having failed to pay agreeably to her promise, agrees to set off land on the north side of the Ivdian field,” next Punkateesett, on the east line till it meets with “a great runing brooke,” thence northerly to a fresh meadow, thence bounded to the river by a salt cove :--this “is mortgayed vnto the court of Plymouth" for the payment of said debt, which debt is to be paid 10 of February, 1672, 0. S.
“ The mark X of AWASHUNKES." To illustrate the connections and genealogy of the family of Awashonks, we give froin the Records of Plimouth the following exceedingly valuable facts.
July 14, 1673. “ Whereas Mamaneway (a son of Awashonks] hath by full and clear testimony proved to this court, in behalf of himself and brethren, the sons of Toloney, and a kinsman of theirs called Anumpash, [commonly written Numposh,] son to Pokattawags, that they are the chiet' proprietors and sachems of Saconett, or places commonly so called; and yet it being also probable that Tatuckamna* Awashunckes and those of that kindred who are of the same stock, the more remote may have some right to lands there, as they are relations to the above said Mamaneway, &c. and have been long inhabitants of that place. This court adviseth that convenient proportions of land be settled on the above said Tatacamini Awashanks, &c. at Saconett aforesaid ; concerning, which, the above said Mamaneway and his brethren and kinsman who have proved their right to those lands do not or cannot agree, this court do appoint that some meet persons, by order of this court, shall repair to the place, and make settlement of the said lands by certain and known boundaries to intent that peace may be continued among the said Indians, and they may all be accommodated for their subsisting and payment of their debts in an orderly way.”
The same year, we hear again of Tokamona, or, as he is then called, Totomonna, who, with his brother Squamatt, having endeavored to hinder the English from possessing some lands in Dartmouth, was, from some consideration, not named, induced to relinquish his right to them. And the next year, 1674, Mamanawachy, or, as his name was before written, Mamaneway, surrendered his right also. The rights of these Indians, it is said, had been sold by others.
We hear uo more of Awashonks until about the commencement of Philip's war. The year before this war, Mr. Benjamin Church, afterwards the famous and well-known Col. Church, settled upon the peninsula of Sogkonate, in the midst of Awashonks's people. This peninsula is on the north-east side of Narraganset Bay, against the south-east end of the island of Rhode Island. Here he lived in the greatest friendship with these Indians, until the spring of the year 1675, when suddenly a war was talked of, and messengers were sent by Philip to Awashonks, to engage her in it. She so far listened to their persuasions, as to call her principal people together, and make a great dance; and because she respected Mr. Church, she sent privately for him also. Church took with him a man that well understood Indian, and went directly to the place appointed. Here “they found hundreds of Indians gathered together from all parts of her dominions. Awashonks herself, in a foaming sweat, was leading the dance ;" but when it was announced that Mr. Church was come, she stopped short, and sat down; ordered her chiefs into her presence, and then invited Mr. Church. All being seated, she informed him that Metacomet, that is, Philip, had sent six of his men to urge her to join with him
* Or Tokamona, killed by the Narragansets, not long after, probably in 1674.
in prosecuting a war against the English. She said these messengers informed her that the Umpames,* that is, Plimouth men, were gathering a great army to invade his country, and wished to know of him if this were truly the case. He told her that it was entirely without foundation, for he had but just come from Plimouth, and no preparations of any kind were making, nor did he believe any thoughts of war were entertained by any of the head men there. “ He asked her whether she thought he would have brought up his goods to settle in that place,” if he in the least apprehended a war; at which she seemed somewhat convinced. Awashonks then ordered the six Pokanokets into their presence. These made an imposing appearance, having their faces painted, and their hair so cut as to represent a cock's comb; it being all shaved from each side of the head, left only a tuft upon the crown, which extended from the forehead to the occiput. They had powder-horns and shot-bags at their backs, which denoted warlike messengers of their nation. She now informed them of what Capt. Church had said. Upon which they discovered dissatisfaction, and a warm talk followed, but Awashonks soon put an end to it; after which she told Mr. Church that Philip had told his messengers to tell her, that, unless she joined with him, he would send over some of his warriors, privately, to kill the cattle and burn the houses of the English, which they would think to be done by her men, and consequently would fall upon heret
Mr. Church asked the Mount Hopes what they were going to do with the bullets in their possession, to which they scoffingly answered,“ to shoot pigeons with.” Church then told Awashonks that, if Philip were resolved on war, “her best way would be to knock those six Mount Hopes on the head, and shelter herself under the protection of the English.” When they understood this, they were very silent, and it is to be lamented that so worth
as Church should be the first to recommend murder, and a lasting remembrance is due to the wisdom of Auashonks, that his unadvised counsel was not put in execution.
These six Pokanokets came over to Sogkonate with two of Awashonks's men, who seemed very favorably inclined to the measures of Philip. They expressed themselves with great indignation, at the rash advice of Church. Another of her men, called Little-eyes, one of her council, was 80 enraged, that he would then have taken Church's life, if he had not been prevented. His design was to get Mr. Church aside from the rest, under a pretence of private talk, and to have assassinated him when he was off his guard. But some of his friends, seeing through the artifice, prevented it.
The advice of Church was adopted, or that part which directed that Awashonks should immediately put herself under the protection of the English, and she desired him to go immediately and make the arrange'nent, to which he agreed. After kindly thanking him for his information and advice, she sent two of her men with bim to his house, to guard him. These urged him to secure bis goods, lest, in bis absence, the enemy should come and destroy them; but he would not, because such a step might be thought a kind of preparation for hostilities; but told them, that in case hostilities were begun, they might convey his effects to a place of safety. He then proceeded to Plimouth, where be arrived 7 June, 1675.
In his way to Plimouth, he met, at Pocasset, the husband of Weetanoo. He was just returned from the neighborhood of Mount Hope, and confirmed all that had been said about Philip's intentions to begin a war. But before Mr. Church could return again to Awashonks, the war commenced,
* Umpame and Apaum were names of Plimouth.
+ This may strengthen the belief that Philip put in practice a similar expedient to gain the Mohawks to bis cause, as we have seen in his life.