Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Colonials, Indians, and the Great Swamp Fight of 1637



COLONIALS, INDIANS, AND THE GREAT SWAMP FIGHT OF 1637



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Monday, March 5, 2012

Uncas the Mohegan


Uncas and Miantnomoh

The latest signature of the sachem Uncas is found under date of June, 1683. A deed to Samuel Chester was signed June 13th, and a grant of several thousand acres in Colchester, or the south part of Hebron, to the Stebbins brothers, was acknowledged before Samuel Mason, about the same period. In June, 1684, Owaneco, in a deed to James Fitch, styles himself son of Uncas, deceased. This is the nearest approximation obtained to the death of Uncas. He is supposed to have been very aged, and there are traditions that during the latter years of his life, he was generally found sitting by the door of his wigwam asleep, and that it was not easy to rouse his mind to activity. The sachem was undoubtedly buried at Norwich, in a select position on the banks of the Yantic, which is supposed to have been the place of his father's sepulture, and which has ever since been exclusively devoted to the descendants of Uncas. In this cemetery an obelisk of granite was erected by female gifts in 1842, which has for its inscription a single name, Uncas.

His much honored Governor John Winthrop.

Providence, February 28, 1637-8

Sir, Some few days since I received letters from Mr. Hooker, who had safely received your packet with thanks. He intimated that according to Miantunnomue's information by myself, William Baker was hid at Mohegan, but they had made Uncas and Wequash to bring him in. Since which time (Sergeant Holmes bailing him) he is again escaped.

He also signified the desire of the Magistrates at Connecticut that there the meeting should be: as also that in the mean season they had charged the Mohegans not to molest any natives in their passage and travel, &c., requiring the same of the Narragansetts towards the Mohegans.

Accordingly I have been since at Narragansett and find Miantunnomu willing to go to Connecticut by the time limited, the end of the next month; only first he desired to know Mr. Governor's mind: secondly, in case his father-in-law Canonicus his brother, (whom I saw near death with above a thousand men mourning and praying about him) in case he recover, otherwise it is unlawful for them (as they conceive,) to go far from home till toward midsummer. Thirdly, he desires earnestly my company, as being not so confident of the English at Connecticut, who have been (I fear) to full of threatening: secondly, he cannot be confident of Thomas Stanton's faithfulness in point of interpretation. These things make me much desire (as I have written back) that you would both please by some deputed to make my poor house the centre where seems to be the fairest offer of convenience, and I hope no question of welcome.

Visiting Canonicus, lately recovered from the pit's brink this winter, he asked how Mr. Governor and the English did, requesting me to send him two words: "first, that he would be thankful to Mr. Governor for some sugar (for I had sent him mine own in the depth of the winter and his sickness.) Secondly, he called for his sword, which said he, Mr. Governor did send me by you and others of the English, saying Mr. Governor protested he would not put up his sword, nor would he have us put up ours, till the Pequots were subdued, and yet saith he, at Mohegan there are near three hundred, who have bound and robbed our men (even of the very covering of their secret parts) as they have past from Connecticut hither: after much more to this purpose, I told him that Mr. Governor had promised him to set all in order this spring.

Sir, I understand that Uncas the Mohegan hath Sassacous his sister to wife, and one of the wives of Sassacous his father Tattoapaine and that is one reason, beside his ambition and nearness, that he hath drawn all the scattered Pequots to himself and drawn much wealth from them: more I could trouble you with, &c.

Canonicus and Miantunnomu both desired that there might be a division made of these surviving Pequots (except the Sachems and murderers) and let their mare be at your own wisdom.

I may be humbly bold to present mine own thoughts concerning a division and disposal of them: since the Most High delights in mercy, and great revenge hath been already taken, what if (the murderers being executed) the rest be divided and dispersed, (according to their numbers may arise, and division be thought fit) to become subjects to yourselves in the Bay and at Connecticut, which they will more easily do in case they may be suffered to incorporate with the natives in either places: as also that as once Edgar the Peaceable did with the Welsh in North Wares, a tribute of wolves heads be imposed on them, &c., which (with submission) I conceive an incomparable way to save much cattle alive in the land.

Sir, I hope shortly to send you good news of great hopes the Lord hath sprung up in mine eye, of many a poor Indian soul enquiring after God. I have convinced hundreds at home and abroad that in point of religion they are all wandering, &c. I find what I could never hear before, that they have plenty of Gods or divine powers: the Sun, Moon, Fire, Water, Snow, Earth, the Deer, the Bear, &c., are divine powers. I brought home lately from the Narragansetts the names of thirty-eight of their Gods, all they could remember, and had I not with fear and caution withdrew, they would have fallen to worship, O God, (as they speak) one day in seven, but I hope the time is not long that some may truly bless the God of Heaven that ever they saw the face of English men. So waiting for your pleasure and advice to our neighbors concerning this intended meeting for the establishing of peace through all the bowels of the country, and beseeching the Most High to vouchsafe his peace and truth through all your quarters, with my due respects to Mrs. Winthrop, Mr. Deputy, Mr. Bellingham, &c., I rest

Your worship’s in all true respect and affection

Roger Williams.




Saturday, March 3, 2012

John Winthrop, History of New England,1637




 1637
February 22.] The lieutenant of Saybrook, at the mouth of Connecticut, going out with nine men, armed with swords and pieces, they startled three Indians, whom they pursued till they were brought into an ambush of fifty, who came upon them, and slew four of their men, and had they not drawn their swords and retired, they had been all slain. The Indians were so hardy, as they came close up to them, notwithstanding their pieces.
March 21.] Miantunnomoh sent twenty-six, with forty fathom of wampum and a Pequods hand. We gave four of the chief each a coat of fourteen shillings price, and deferred to return our present till after, according to their manner.
April 1.] Those of Connecticut returned answer to our public letters, wherein they showed themselves unsatisfied about our former expedition against the Pequods, and their expectations of a further prosecution of the war, to which they offer to send men, and signify their unpreparedness to declare themselves in the matter of government, in regard of their engagement to attend the answer of the gentlemen of Say brook about the same matter.
10.] Capt. Underhill was sent to Saybrook, with twenty men, to keep the fort, both in respect of the Indians, and especially of the Dutch, who, by their speeches and supplies out of Holland, gave cause of suspicion that they had some design upon it. The men were sent at the charge of the gentlemen of Saybrook, and lent by order of the council here, for fear any advantage should be taken by the adverse party, through the weakness of the place.


3. 2.] Mr. Haynes, one of our magistrates, removed with his family to Connecticut. 12.] We received a letter from him and others, being then at Saybrook, that the Pekods had been up the river at Weathersfield, and had killed six men, being at their work, and twenty cows and a mare, and had killed three women, and carried away two maids. Mr. Winslow was sent from the governour and council of Plimouth to treat with us about joining against the Pequods. He declared first their willingness to aid us ; but that they could not do any thing till their general court, which was not till the first Tuesday in the 4th month. Then he made some objections: as, 1. Our refusal to aid them against the French. 2. Our people's trading at Kenebeck. 3. The injury offered them at Connecticut by those of Windsor, in taking away their land there. 4. Their own poverty, and our ability, which needed not any help from them. To this answer was made by our governour and deputy: that, 1. We did not desire them to afford aid unto us, but to join against the common enemy, who, if he were not subdued, would prove as dangerous to them as to us, and, he prevailing, would cause all the Indians in the country to join to root out all the English. 2. For our refusal to aid them against the French, the case was not alike, for it was their private quarrel, and they were supposed to have commission from the king of
I by I
timid casuists as humbled themselves for their act in submitting to it. Dr. Bacon, in his delightful Historical Discourses, has, in some good degree, explained the matter. France, and we thought it no wisdom for us to engage ourselves in a war with the king of France; § yet we acknowledged some failing in it.§1 For our people's trading at Kenebeck, we answered, that we gave no allowance to it, nor had we heard of more than a boat or two that had been there. For the injury done them at Connecticut, we had dealt with them to give satisfaction, but it was not in our power to do them justice in it. || He || alleged also, that this war did not concern them, seeing the Pequods had not killed any of theirs. We answered, that Capt. Stone, etc., for whom this war was begun, were none of ours neither. ||2 He || alleged further, that, in our first undertaking, they were not acquainted with it till two or three days before our forces were to go forth. We answered, we ^jg intended at the first to send only to Block Island, and for that we thought it not needful to trouble them, and our sending them thence to the Pequods was with hope to draw them to parley, and so to some quiet end. We concluded to write further to them from our next court. And whereas they propounded to have us promise to aid them in all their occasions, etc., we answered, that, seeing, when we now treated with them about joining with us, they were at liberty and might withhold, except they saw reason to move them; so we desired to be left free, that we might judge of the reason of any such occasion as might fall out. According hereunto we writ to them the 20th of the 3d month, and gave them some considerations, why they should join with us: as, 1. because, if we should be overcome, it would cost them more to help us, and be less acceptable; 2. if we should prevail without them, it would occasion ill thoughts in our people towards theirs, etc. So we left it to them. 17.] Our court of elections was at Newtown. So soon as the court was set, being about one of the clock, a petition was preferred by those of Boston. The governour would have read it, but the deputy said it was out of order; it was a court ||8 for || elections, and those must first be despatched, and then their petitions should be heard. Divers others also opposed that course, as an ill precedent, etc.; and the petition, being about ITheyl J'Theyl ||8of||
1 This clause was brought from the margin. pretence of liberty, etc., (though intended chiefly for revoking the sentence given against Mr. Wheelwright,) would have spent all the day in debate, etc.; but yet the governour and those of that party would not proceed to election, except the petition was read. Much time was already spent about this debate, and the people crying out for election, it was moved by the deputy, that the people should divide themselves, and the greater number must carry it. And so it was done, and the greater number by || many || were for election. But the governour and that side kept their place still, and would not proceed. Whereupon the deputy told him, that, if he would not go to election, he and the rest of that side would proceed. Upon that, he came from his company, and they went to election j1 and Mr. Winthrop was chosen governour, Mr. Dudley deputy, and Mr. *220 -Endecott oftne standing council;2 and Mr. Israel Stoughton and Mr. Richard Saltonstall were called in to be assistants; and Mr. Vane, Mr. Coddington, and Mr. Dummer, (being all of ||2 that || faction,) were left quite out

At the court Mr. Wheelwright, according as he was enjoined, did appear; but, because a general day of humiliation was appointed, and it was agreed, that all the churches should choose certain men to meet and confer about the differences, the court gave him respite to the next session, (which was appointed the first Tuesday in August,) to bethink himself, that, retracting and reforming his error, etc., the court might show him favor, which otherwise he must not expect. His answer was, that if he had committed sedition, then he ought to be put to death; and if we did mean to proceed against him, he meant to appeal to the king's court; for he could retract nothing. The court told him, that they were clear in the justice of their proceeding, and should judge of his offence as they had done, if it were to do again; but if, upon the conference among the churches, the Lord should discover any further light to them than as yet they had seen, they should gladly embrace it. The intent of the court in deferring the sentence was, that, being thus provoked by their tumultuous course, and divers insolent speeches, which some of that party had uttered in the court, and having now power enough to have crushed them, their moderation and desire of reconciliation might appear to all. Having received intelligence from Miantunnomoh, that the Pequods had sent their women and children to an island for their safety, we presently sent away forty men by land to the Narigansetts, and there to take in Miantunnomoh, (and he offered to send sixteen men with || ours, ||) and so, in the night, to set upon them. We also provided to send one hundred and sixty1 more
I us ||
1 Of this number, the proportion to be raised by the several towns was as follows: Boston, 26; Salem, 18; Ipswich, 17; Sagus, 16; Watertown, 14; Dorchester, 13; Charlestown, 12; Roxbury, 10; Newtown, 9; Newbury, 8; Hingham, 6; Weymouth, 5; Medford, 3; Marblehead, 3. The note in Hutchinson, on I. 76, is wrong, by one figure, in the apportionment of Newtown, many of whose chief men had then lately removed to Connecticut. It will be seen, in a comparison of the several notes on this subject, that the relative population and wealth of our settlements frequently changed. At the general court, in August following, a rate of £400 was thus assessed: Boston, £59.4; Salem,
Vol. i. 23
*223 a^er them to prosecute the war; and Mr. Stoughton, one of the magistrates, was sent with them, and Mr. Wilson, the pastor of Boston. These two were chosen thus in the open court: Three magistrates were set apart, and one was designed by a lot; also the elders set apart two; and a lot was cast between them in a solemn public invocation of the name of God. *22.] Miantunnomoh sent us word, that Capt. Mason, with a company of the English upon the river, had surprised and slain eight Pequods, and taken seven squaws, and with some of them had redeemed the two English maids.* 24.] By letters from Mr. Williams we were certified, (which the next day was confirmed by some who came from Saybrook,) that Capt. Mason1 was come to Saybrook with eighty English and one hundred Indians; and that the Indians had gone out there, and met with seven Pequods; five they killed; one they took alive, whom the English put to torture; and set all their heads upon the fort. The reason was, because they had tortured such of our men as they took alive."


Friday, March 2, 2012

Providence, February 28, 1637-8

His much honored Governor John Winthrop.

Providence, February 28, 1637-8

Sir, Some few days since I received letters from Mr. Hooker, who had safely received your packet with thanks. He intimated that according to Miantunnomue's information by myself, William Baker was hid at Mohegan, but they had made Uncas and Wequash to bring him in. Since which time (Sergeant Holmes bailing him) he is again escaped.

He also signified the desire of the Magistrates at Connecticut that there the meeting should be: as also that in the mean season they had charged the Mohegans not to molest any natives in their passage and travel, &c., requiring the same of the Narragansetts towards the Mohegans.

Accordingly I have been since at Narragansett and find Miantunnomu willing to go to Connecticut by the time limited, the end of the next month; only first he desired to know Mr. Governor's mind: secondly, in case his father-in-law Canonicus his brother, (whom I saw near death with above a thousand men mourning and praying about him) in case he recover, otherwise it is unlawful for them (as they conceive,) to go far from home till toward midsummer. Thirdly, he desires earnestly my company, as being not so confident of the English at Connecticut, who have been (I fear) to full of threatening: secondly, he cannot be confident of Thomas Stanton's faithfulness in point of interpretation. These things make me much desire (as I have written back) that you would both please by some deputed to make my poor house the centre where seems to be the fairest offer of convenience, and I hope no question of welcome.

Visiting Canonicus, lately recovered from the pit's brink this winter, he asked how Mr. Governor and the English did, requesting me to send him two words: "first, that he would be thankful to Mr. Governor for some sugar (for I had sent him mine own in the depth of the winter and his sickness.) Secondly, he called for his sword, which said he, Mr. Governor did send me by you and others of the English, saying Mr. Governor protested he would not put up his sword, nor would he have us put up ours, till the Pequots were subdued, and yet saith he, at Mohegan there are near three hundred, who have bound and robbed our men (even of the very covering of their secret parts) as they have past from Connecticut hither: after much more to this purpose, I told him that Mr. Governor had promised him to set all in order this spring.

Sir, I understand that Uncas the Mohegan hath Sassacous his sister to wife, and one of the wives of Sassacous his father Tattoapaine and that is one reason, beside his ambition and nearness, that he hath drawn all the scattered Pequots to himself and drawn much wealth from them: more I could trouble you with, &c.

Canonicus and Miantunnomu both desired that there might be a division made of these surviving Pequots (except the Sachems and murderers) and let their mare be at your own wisdom.

I may be humbly bold to present mine own thoughts concerning a division and disposal of them: since the Most High delights in mercy, and great revenge hath been already taken, what if (the murderers being executed) the rest be divided and dispersed, (according to their numbers may arise, and division be thought fit) to become subjects to yourselves in the Bay and at Connecticut, which they will more easily do in case they may be suffered to incorporate with the natives in either places: as also that as once Edgar the Peaceable did with the Welsh in North Wares, a tribute of wolves heads be imposed on them, &c., which (with submission) I conceive an incomparable way to save much cattle alive in the land.

Sir, I hope shortly to send you good news of great hopes the Lord hath sprung up in mine eye, of many a poor Indian soul enquiring after God. I have convinced hundreds at home and abroad that in point of religion they are all wandering, &c. I find what I could never hear before, that they have plenty of Gods or divine powers: the Sun, Moon, Fire, Water, Snow, Earth, the Deer, the Bear, &c., are divine powers. I brought home lately from the Narragansetts the names of thirty-eight of their Gods, all they could remember, and had I not with fear and caution withdrew, they would have fallen to worship, O God, (as they speak) one day in seven, but I hope the time is not long that some may truly bless the God of Heaven that ever they saw the face of English men. So waiting for your pleasure and advice to our neighbors concerning this intended meeting for the establishing of peace through all the bowels of the country, and beseeching the Most High to vouchsafe his peace and truth through all your quarters, with my due respects to Mrs. Winthrop, Mr. Deputy, Mr. Bellingham, &c., I rest

Your worship’s in all true respect and affection

Roger Williams.