Page images
PDF
EPUB

small agency in the sacking of Providence, "* and Rehoboth also, without doubt. In the former about 30 housest were burned, and in the latter place“ near upon 40" houses and 30 barns.

Stone-wall-john was doubtless one who conversed with the Rev. Mr. Williams at the time Providence was burned. The substance of that conversation is related by our anonymous author, already cited, in these words:-“ But indeed the reason that the inhabitants of the towns of Seaconick and Providence generally escaped with their lives, is not to be at tributed to any compassion or good nature of the Indians, (whose very mercies are inhumane cruelties,) but, [the author soon contradicts himself, as will be seen,] next to God's providence, to their own prudence in avoiding their fury, when they found themselves too weak, and unable to resist it, by a timely flight into Rhode Island, which now became the common Zoar, or place of refuge for the distressed; yet some remained till their coming to destroy the said towns; as in particular Mr. Williams at Providence, who, knowing several of the chief Indians that came to fire that town, discoursed with them a considerable time, who pretended, their greatest quarrel was against Plimouth; and as for what they attempted aguinst the other colonies, they were constrained to it, by the spoil that was done them at Narraganset. They told him, that when Captain Pierce engaged them near Mr. Blackstone's, they were bound for Plimouth. They gloried much in their success, promising themselves the conguest of the whole country, and rooting out of all the English. Mr. Williams reproved their confidence, minded them of their cruelties, and told them, that the Bay, viz. Boston, could yet spare 10,000 men; and, if they should destroy all them, yet it was not to be doubted, but our king would send as many every year from Old England, rather than they should

share the country.Ş They answered proudly, that they should be ready for them, or to that effect, but told Mr. Williams that he was a good man, and had been kind to them formerly, and therefore they would not hurt him."

This agrees well with Mr. Hubbard's account of the carriage of John at the time he went to the English army to talk about peace, already mentioned. His words are, “yet could the messenger, (John, hardly forbear threatening, vaporing of their numbers and strength, adding, withal, that the English durst not fight them.”

We have now to close the career of this Indian captain, for which it requires but a word, as he was killed on the 2 July, 1676, at the same time the old squaw-sachem Quaiapen and most of her people were fallen upon by Major Talcot, as we have related in a former chapter.

Many Indians bore the name of John, but when they were any ways conspicuous, some distinguishing prefix or affix was generally added, as we have seen in several instances in the preceding chapters. We have already given the life of one Sagamore-john, but another of that name, still more conspicuous, (for his treachery to his own nation,) here presents himself. This Sagamore-john was a Nipmuk sachem, and a traitor to his country. On the 27th of July, 1676, doubtless from a conviction of the hopelessness of his cause, he came to Boston, and threw himself on the mercy of the English. They pardoned him, as he enticed along with

* Present State, &c. 12.

+ The building containing the records of R. I. was consumed at this time, and part of its contents. Some of them were saved by being thrown out of a window into some water. They bear to this time the marks of their immersion.—Oral information of N. R. Staples, Esq. of Providence. # And wko could ask for a better reason ?

This was rather gasconading for so reverend a man! Had he lived since the rève olutionary war, he would hardly bave meant so, whatever he might have said.

him about 180 others. And, that he might have a stronger claim on their clemency, he seized Matoonas, and his son, against whom he knew the English to be greatly enraged, and delivered them up at the same time. On death's being imrnediately assigned as the lot of Matoonas, Sagamorejohn requested that he might execute him with his own hands. To render still more horrid this story of blood, his request was granted ; and he took Matoonas into the common, bound him to a tree, and there “shot him to death.” To the above Dr. Mather adds,* “Thus did the Lord retaliate upon him the innocent blood which he had shed; as he had done, so God requited him.”

Although‘much had been alleged against John, before he came in, afterwards the most favorable construction was put upon his conduct. Mr. Hubbard says, he “affirmed that he had never intended any mischief to the English at Brookfield, the last year, (near which village it seems his place was,) but that Philip, coming over night amongst them, he was forced, for fear of his own life, to join with them against the English.”+

Matoonas was also a Nipmuk chief. A son of his was said to have murdered an Englishman in 1671, when “traveling along the road," which Mr. Hubbard says was out of mere malice and spite," because he was “vexed in his mind that the design against the English, intended to begin in that year, did not take place. This son of Matoonas was hanged, and afterwards beheaded, and his head set upon a pole, where it was to be seen about six years after. The name of the murdered Englishman was Zachary Smith, a young man, who, as he was passing through Dedham, in the month of April, put up at the house of Mr. Caleb Church. About half an hour after he was gone, the next morning, three Indians passed the same way; who, as they passed by Church's house, behaved in a very insolent manner. They had been employed as laborers in Dorchester, and said they belonged to Philip; they left their masters under a suspicious pretence. The body of the murdered man was soon after found near the saw-mill in Dedham, and these Indians were apprehended, and one put to death, as is stated above.I

Mr. Hubbard supposes that the 'father," an old malicious villain,” bore an old grudge against them," on the account of the execution of his son. And the first mischief that was done in Massachusetts colony was charged to him; which was the killing of four or five persons at Mendon, a town upon Pawtucket River; and, says I. Mather, “had we amended our ways as we should have done, this misery would have been prevented."S

When old Matoonas was brought before the council of Massachusetts, he “confessed that he had rightły deserved death, and could expect no other.” “ He had often seemed to favor the praying Indians, and the Christian religion, but, like Simon Magus, by his after practice, discovered quickly that he had no part nor portion in that matter.")

The following horrible circumstance, according to an anonymous author, took place at the execution of Matoonas :~"The executioners, (for there were many,) flung one end, (of a rope about his neck, by which they led him,] over a post, and so hoisted him up like a dog, three or four times, he being yet half alive and half dead; then came an Indian, a friend of his, and with his knife made a hole in his breast to his heart, and sucked out his heart-blood: being asked his reason therefor, his

6

+ Narrative, 101. 4to edition. Manuscript documents, in the office of the secretary of the state of Massachusetts. Brief Hist. 5.

* Brief History of the War, 43.

|| Hubbard, 101. * of the Letter to London, 27, who makes no mention of the name of the Indian exe. cuted; but his account evidently relates to Matoonas.

the case.

"*

answer, • Unk, amd nii, me stronger as I was before. Me be so strong as me and he too, ke be ver strong man fore he die.'

The author from whom we have made this extract is rather more of a savage than any one we have met with. Upon the above monstrous act he has this comment: “Thus with the dog-like death (good enough) of one poor heathen, was the people's rage laid, in some measure;" from which the reader will naturally infer that there was at this time a great thirst for blood amongst the English, which, it is too evident, was actually

Our readers must ere this have become acquainted with the state of feeling towards the Indians, and consequently towards all those who ventured to raise their voice in commutation of severity towards them. At the time the eleven Indians were tried for their lives, the particulars of which we shall soon have occasion to relate, Mr. Gookin and Mr. Eliot, by singular perseverance, succeeded in clearing the most of them. The rage of the people was no longer confined to the rabble, as will be seen by the following passage from our anonymous author :-“But for Captain Guggins, why such a wise council as they should be so overborne by him, cannot be judged otherwise than because of his daily troubling them with his impertinences, and multitudinous speeches; insomuch, that it was told him on the bench by a very worthy person, Captain Oliver, there present, that he ought rather to be confined arnong his Indians, than to sit on the bench. His taking the Indians' part so much hath made him a by-word both among men and boys."

While Matoonas belonged to the Christian Indians, his residence was at Pakachoog. Here he was made constable of the town. On joining in the war, he led parties which committed several depredations. He joined the main body of the Nipmuks in the winter of 1675, when James Quanapohit was among them as a spy, who saw him arrive there with a train of followers, and take the lead the war dances. Doubtless Quanapohits evidence drew forth the confessions which he made, and added to the severity exercised at his execution.

We have yet to notice a distinguished Nipmuk sachem, called

Monoco by his countrymen, but by the English, generally, One-eyedjohn ; as though deficient in the organs of vision, which probably was the case.

He was, says an early writer, "a notable fellow,” who, when Philip's war began, lived near Lancaster, and consequently was acquainted with every part of the town, which knowledge he improved to his advantage, on two occasions, in that war. On Sunday, 22 August, 1675, a man, his wife and two children were killed at that place. At this time the Hassanamesit praying Indians were placed at Marlborough by authority. No sooner was it known that a murder was committed at Lancaster, than not a few were wanting to charge it upon the Hassanamesits. Captain Mosely, who it seems was in the neighborhood, sent to their quarters, and found“ much suspicion against eleven of them, for singing and dancing, and having bullets and slugs, and much powder bid in their baskets." For this offence, these eleven were sent to Boston, on suspicion, and there tried. “But upon trial, the said prisoners were all of them acquitted from the fact, and were either released, or else were, with others of that fort, sent for better security, and for preventing future trouble in the like kind, to some of the islands below Boston, towards Nan

* Letter to London, 26.

+ Shattuck's Hist. Concord, 31. 11 Col. Mass. Hist. Soc. vi. 206.

The above is Mr. Hubbard's account, Mr. Willard, in his excellent history of Lancaster, gives us the names of six, and says eight were killed. But in his enumeration I count nine; and Gookin says seven.

tasket."* Fifteen was the number brought down to Boston, but eleven or twelve only were suspected of the alleged offence. The others, among whom were Abram Speen and John Choo, were taken along and imprisoned, for no other reason but their being accidentally, at that time, at Marlborough, or the crime of being Indians. It appears some time had elapsed after the murder was committed, before they were sent down for trial, or more probably they were suffered to return home before being sent to Deer Island. For Ephraim Turner and William Kent were not sent up to find out where “they all were," and what answers they could get from those they should meet, until the beginning of October; at which time these eleven Indians were scattered in various directions, about their daily callings. And all the information Turner and Kent handed into court was, that they were thus dispersed. Waban and Mr. John Watson, who had been appointed to reside among those Indians, were the only persons questioned. What steps the court took upon this information, we are not informed, but they were about this time sent to Deer Island

The names of these 12 Indians, concerning whom more particular inquiry may hereafter be made by the benevolent antiquary, it is thought should be given; especially as they may not elsewhere be preserved. They follow :

Old-jethro and two sons, (Peter probably being one,) a squaw, (name not mentioned,) James-the-printer, James Acompanet, Daniel Munups, John Cquasquaconet, John Asquenet, George Nonsequesewit

, Thomas Mamuronqua, and Joseph Watapacoson.

After a trial of great vexation to these innocent Indians, David, the main witness against them, acknowledged he had perfidiously accused them; and at the same time, a prisoner was brought in, who testified that he knew One-eyed-john had committed the murder at Lancaster, and a short time after another was taken, who confirmed his testimony.

These Indians brought all these troubles upon themselves by reason of their attachment to the English. It was in their service that they discovered and captured Andrew, a brother of David, who, on being

delivered to the soldiery, was shot by them with ferocious precipitancy. Therefore, when the Lancaster murder happened, Captain Mosely, having already sundry charges against David, held an inquisition upon him to make him confess relative to the Lancaster affair. The method taken to make him confess, (agreeably to the desire of his inquisitors,) was this: they bound him to a tree, and levelled guns at his breast. In this situation, to avert immediate death, as well as to be revenged for the death of his brother, he proceeded to accuse the eleven Indians before named. The result we have before stated. For thus falsely accusing his countrymen, and shooting at a boy who was looking after sheep at Marlborough, David was condemned to slavery, and accordingly sold. James Acompanet was conspicuous

at the trial, as one of the eleven, and "pleaded, in behalf of himself and the rest, that what David said against them, was to save his own life when bound to the tree," &c. Acompanct, says Mr. Gookin, “ was a very understanding fellow.”

Notwithstanding the two prisoners, taken at different times, as we have mentioned, avowed that Monoco led the party that did the mischief, yet one* of the eleven, whom Mr. Gookin calls Joseph Spoonant, was, by a new jury, found guilty, and sold into foreign slavery. His Indian name was Waitapacoson. Andrew's history is as follows: he had been gone for some time before war, on a hunting voyage towards the lakes, and on his return home

the

* Gookin's MS. Hist. Praying Indians.

ward, he fell in among Philip's men about Quabaog. This was about a month before the affair at Lancaster. The reason he staid among the hostile Indians is very obvious: he was afraid to venture into the vicinity of the whites, lest they should treat him as an enemy. But as his ill fortune fell out, he was found in the woods, by his countrymen of Marlborough, who conducted him to the English, by whom he was shot, as we have just related. The officer who presided over and directed this affair, would, no doubt, at any other time, have received a reward proportionate to the malignity of the offence. But in this horrid storm of war, many were suffered to transgress the laws with impunity.

We have yet to add a word concerning Monoco. When Quanapohit was out as a spy, Monoco kindly entertained him, on account of former acquaintance, not knowing his character. They had served together in their wars against the Mohawks. On 10 Feb. 1676, about 600 Indians fell upon Lancaster, and, after burning the town, carried the inhabitants into captivity. Among them was the family of Rev. Mr. Rowlandson. Mrs. Rowlandson, after her redemption, published an amusing account of the affair. Monoco, or One-eyed-john, it is said, was among the actors of this tragedy. On 13 March following, Groton was surprised. In this affair, too, John Monoco was principal;

and on his own word we set him down as the destroyer of Medfield, After he had burned Groton, except one garrison house, he called to the captain in it, and

told him he would burn in succession Chelmsford, Concord, Watertown, Cambridge, Charlestown, Roxbury and Boston. He boasted much of the men at his command; said he had 480 warriors; and added—“What me will me do." The report of this very much enraged the English, and occasioned his being entitled a “bragadocio” by the historian. At the close of Philip's war, with others, he gave himself up to Major Waldron at Cochecho; or, having come in there, at the request of Peter-jethro, to make peace, was

eized and sent to Boston, where, in the language of Mr. Hubbard, he, “ with a few more bragadocios like himself, Sagamore-sam, Old-jcthro, and the sachem of Quabaog, (Mautamp*], were taken by the English and was seen, (not long before the writing of this,) marching towards the gallows, (through Boston streets, which he threatened to burn at his pleasure,) with a halter about his neck, with which he was hanged at the town's end, Sept. 26, in this present year, 1676."

It was reported, (no doubt by the Indians, to vex their enemies,) that Mrs. Rowlandson had married Monoco. “But," the author of the PRESENT STATE, &c. says, “it was soon contradicted," and, “ that she appeared and behaved herself amongst them with so much courage and majestic gravity, that none durst offer any violence to her, but, on the contrary, (in their rude manner,) seemed to show her great respect.”.

In the above quotation from Mr. Hubbard, we have shown at what time several of the Nipmuk chiefs were put to death beside Monoco. Old-jethro was little less noted, though of quite a different character. His Indian name was Tantamous. He was present at the sale of Concord (Mass.) to the English, about which time he lived at Natick. In 1674, he was appointed a missionary to the Nipmuks living at Weshakim, since Sterling, but his stay there was short.t" He and his family, (of about 12 persons,) were among those ordered to Deer Island, on the breaking out of the war the next year.

Their residence then was at Nobscut Hill, near Sudbury. His spirit could not brook the indignity offered by those

* The same, probably, called Mattawamppe, who, in 1665, witnessed the sale of Brookfield, Mass., deeded at that time by a chief named Shattoockquis. Mautamp claimed an interest in said lands, and received part of the pay._Rev. Mr. Foot's Hist. Brookfield

Mr. Shattuck's Hist. Concord, 30.

« PreviousContinue »