The least suspicion of intrigue could not long escape the notice of those Indian converts who kept the authorities well informed of all that went on. There had been living among the Wampanoags at Nemasket,1 the daughter of whose chief he had married, an Indian convert of Eliot's, named Sassamon, a Natick, "a cunning and plausible man" Hubbard calls him. This man had accompanied Philip to Boston as interpreter2 after the death of Alexander and served him for some time there, but having, it is said, been found guilty of some offense, had returned to Natick and again professed Christianity. Associated with Philip on familiar terms, he claimed to have received the sachem's confidences and betrayed them to the settlers under pledge of secrecy; his life would be in danger, he declared, if his connection with the matter were made known. His information (because it had an Indian origin "and one can hardly believe them when they speak truth") was not at first much regarded, but Philip, learning in advance of a summons, of the charges, made haste to Plymouth to free himself from suspicion, and, having given renewed assurances of his friendly intentions, was allowed to return.3
p48 In the spring of the following yearº the dead body of Sassamon was discovered in Assowomset Pond.4 An Indian named David having discovered some bruises on the body, suspicions were aroused and an investigation led to the belief that Sassamon had been killed while fishing during the winter and his body thrown under the ice. Three Indians, Tobias, Mattaschunanamoo and Wampapaquin, Tobias' son, were arrested on the evidence of an Indian who claimed to have been an eyewitness of the affair.5 The Indians claimed that Sassamon had been drowned while fishing and that the marks on his body6 were caused by contact with the ice. They declared that the informer who claimed to have been an eyewitness, "had gambled away his coat and, on its being returned and payment demanded, he had, in order to escape the debt, accused them of the murder knowing it would please the English and cause them to think him the better Christian."7
Mather, ever on the watch for the marvelous, declared that the body bled afresh when Tobias approached, a sign then and to a much later day credited as a proof of guilt. The three Wampanoags were convicted by a white jury to which had been added several friendly Indians, and executed,8 "and though they were all successfully p49turned off the ladder at the gallows utterly denying the fact, yet the last of them, hoping to break or slip the rope, did before his going off the ladder again confess that the other Indians really did murder John Sassamon, and that he himself, though no actor in it, was yet a looker-on."9 No direct proof was produced at the trial to connect Philip with Sassamon's death, but it was widely believed that it had been decreed, according to Indian law, by Philip and his council, as a punishment for his treachery.
The trial and execution of the three Indians aroused the Wampanoag warriors to madness. From all sides came reports to the authorities of excesses on the part of the Wampanoags. Cattle were shot, corn stolen, houses robbed; in some places outbuildings were fired. The attitude of the warriors had become defiant, while spies reported that strange Indians were swarming into Philip's villages and the women and children were being sent to the Narragansetts. Alarm and terror spread among the outlying settlements. Men saw portents that foreboded evil days. Comets in the form of blazing arrows shot athwart the skies, and the northern lights took on strange and awful shapes. Many heard the thunder of hoofs of invisible horsemen, and bullets fired from no earthly weapons whistled through the air.10
The authorities held back from all aggressive action, in the belief that such a course would allow the excitement p50among the warriors time to abate,11 but as Philip made no attempt to clear himself, James Brown of Swansea, who had been on friendly terms with him, solicited and obtained permission to inform Philip that the Plymouth authorities disclaimed all injurious intentions and urged him to discontinue hostile preparations.12
Rhode Island, alarmed at the state of affairs, made ineffectual attempts to compromise the matter and bring Philip to an engagement. Deputy Governor Easton13 of that colony, and five others, including Samuel Gorton, met Philip and his chiefs at Bristol Neck Point on the 17th of June, and proposed that the quarrel and all matters in contention should be arbitrated. It might be well, was the reply, but that all the English agreed against them. Many square miles of land were taken from them by English arbitrators. They then went on to recite their grievances. If they surrendered their arms jealousy might be removed, but the Englishmen would not deliver them again as promised until they had paid a fine. They said they had been the first to do good, the English the first to do wrong. When the English first came the king's father was as a great man and the English as a little child. He constrained other Indians from raiding the English, gave them seed, showed them how to plant and was free to do them good, and let them have one hundred times more land then than now the king had for his own people, p51but the king's brother, when he was king, came miserably to die, being forced to court, and, as they judged, poisoned. Another grievance: that if twenty of them testify that the English had done them wrong, it was nothing, but if ever one of their worst Indians testified against any Indian or the king, when it pleased the English it was sufficient. Englishmen made Indians drunk and cheated them in bargains. English cattle and horses increased. The Indians could not keep their corn from being spoiled, they never being used to fences. The English were so eager to sell Indians liquor that most of the Indians spent much in drunkenness and then raided upon the sober Indians, and they did believe often hurt the English cattle and their king was obliged to sell more land to pay the fines.
The white delegates endeavored to persuade them to lay down their arms and not to make war, for the English were too strong for them. They said the English should do to them as they did when they were strong to the English.14
The conference broke up without any agreement having been reached. Easton states as his belief that the Indians would have accepted the Governor of New York and an Indian king as arbitrators and that peace might still have been preserved. It is more than doubtful. That the Wampanoags had broken loose from all restraint seems certain. Philip would at any rate have been glad to gain time in order to have procured arms and ammunition p52to involve more definitely the other tribes, but in the state of mind of his followers no such course was possible; the pent-up passions of many years, fanned into flame, were past suppression.
Captain Benjamin Church15 of Little Compton, in the territory of the Saconet Indians, attending by invitation of the squaw sachem, Awashonks,16 a ceremonious dance, June 15th, found on his arrival that it had been given in honor of six ambassadors from Philip, her overlord, to make sure of her co-operation. On her explanation of Philip's overtures he boldly advised her in their presence to knock them on the head and seek refuge with the English. Two days later, near Pocasset, he met Peter Nunnuit,17 who had married Alexander's widow, Weetamoo. Peter said he had just come from Mount Hope where Philip had been holding a dance in which Indians from all the Wampanoag tribes had participated; that war was certain,18 and that Philip had been forced to promise the young men "that on the next Lord's day p53when the English were gone to meeting, they should level their house and from that time forward kill their cattle." He also told them that Samuel Gorton and James Brown of Swansea were at that time at Mount Hope,19 and that one of the young warriors wanted to kill Brown, but that Philip prevented it saying that his father had charged him to show kindness to Mr. Brown. Church, at the request of Peter, had an interview with Weetamoo, who was near by, and advised her to go over to Rhode Island for security and to send a messenger to the governor immediately. He then hastened with the information he had acquired to Plymouth.
On the afternoon of June 21st, Governor Leverett of Massachusetts received a letter from Governor Winslow informing him of the situation. It was determined in view of the attitude of the Wampanoags, to immediately send a commission consisting of Captain Edward Hutchinson,20 Seth Perry, and William Powers, to the Narragansetts to find out their intentions and to put them on their good behavior.21 Acting upon their instructions they stopped at Providence and induced Roger Williams to accompany them to the chief village of the Narragansetts.
At this conference Pessacus,22 Canonchet and Ninigret seem to have assented to the desires of the Massachusetts authorities and promised to be neutral. The commissioners p54departed apparently satisfied with the success of their mission, but Williams, who knew the Indian character well, seems to have been suspicious and, on June 27th, wrote to Winthrop that he believed their friendly answers were empty "words of falsehood and treachery." Pessacus, one of the sachems of the Narragansetts, is said to have confessed to several of the men of Newport, that while his heart sorrowed he could not rule the youth or common people or persuade the chiefs. Even before the Massachusetts commission had started on its journey two houses had been burned by the Wampanoags at Mattapoiset, June 19th.
Philip, driven to bay and forced into conflict by the passions he now found himself unable to control, could hardly have plunged into the conflict confident of success. He knew the bitter resentment and the desire of his own warriors for war. The independent tribes of the Nipmucks were ripe for revolt. Initial successes on his part were all that were needed to bring them to his aid, but he knew equally well that sympathy, the sense of common wrongs, and a tentative understanding, were but feeble reeds on which to lean if disaster threatened.23
Events had rushed forward faster than his plans or preparations. No general conspiracy had been organized, no concerted action arranged for, and as the old Wampanoag confederacy had fallen into ruins under the pressure of the whites, he could depend with certainty only on his personal following. The Indians, however, did not lack advantages and if once the pent-up fury of the p55different tribes should be loosed upon the long frontier the contest was certain to be long continued. They had become expert in the use of firearms. They knew the fording places of the rivers and every trail, and were acquainted with the daily habits of the settlers. They were adepts in a method of warfare admirably suited to the character of the country. To turn every cover and position to advantage, to strike quickly, to lie patiently in ambuscades, and to draw off rapidly on the failure of an attack with a fleetness in which the heavily armed settler, unaccustomed to forest warfare, could not compete, were formidable tactics in a broken and wooded country of long distances sparsely settled and traversed only by rough trails.
The martial spirit which had distinguished the early generation of colonists had ceased to inspire the new generation.24 The very spreading out of the settlements offered a wide-flung and weakly settled frontier to the swift moving warriors, while the contempt which had grown up among the settlers in respect to the Indian, both from the result of the Pequot war and the long subservience of the race in later dealings, made it certain that for a time at least, over-confidence and lack of military training would lead to catastrophies.
There were among the settlers, however, many traders were acquainted with Indian ways, and if the great mass of the settlers were untrained to warfare, yet there were those among them who had served as under-officers and captains under Cromwell, in the most perfect army the century had seen. Material for good soldiers was in p56abundance, arms and equipment plentiful, their stockaded towns offered a protection and a base of supplies which the Indian villages could not possibly afford. Many individual Indians were certain to join them and the whole of the Mohegans would be their effective allies, while the numbers, resources and character of the population once brought into the field and trained, made the result of a prolonged campaign certain.
Tradition hadº attributed to the Indians engaged in the war, between seven and eight thousand fighting men. The swift movements of the war parties, some of whom were able to cover forty miles a day, made their forces appear far greater than was actually the case, and neither the fears of the settlers nor the reports of friendly Indians desirous of enhancing the value of their services were likely to underestimate the number. Their actual number probably did not at most exceed thirty-five hundred. Of these the Wampanoags and their kindred mustered about five hundred; the Nipmucks and the Connecticut River tribes not over eleven hundred; the Abenakis and Tarratines about six hundred; the Narragansetts about one thousand. In addition there were probably some three hundred scattered warriors, roving Indians, small parties from northern tribes and Christian Indians, throwing in their lot with their kindred either from choice, or, as occurred in more than one instance, driven into revolt by the harsh treatment of the suspicious settlers.
The Wampanoags, in the belief it is said, that the first party to shed blood would be vanquished, had been provoking the settlers by daily outrages to commence hostilities, and on the 18th of June one of a number of Indians was shot and wounded by an irate settler at Swansea.25 p57According to John Easton some Indians at Swansea were seen by an old man and a lad, pilfering from houses whose owners were at church, whereupon the old man bade the young one shoot, and one of the Indians fell but got away. Later in the day some of the neighboring Indians came to one of the garrison houses, either Miles's or Bourne's, and asked why they had shot the Indian. In reply to the English question whether he was dead, the Indian said, "yea," on which one of the English remarked that "it was no matter." The other endeavored to convince the Indians that it was but a young man's idle words, but the Indians, returning no answer, went hastily away.26
Plymouth colony had already taken precautions in view of the existing conditions. Captain Benjamin Church, at the request of Winslow, had some time before induced the Governor of Rhode Island to provide boats for the patrol of the northern shore in case of an outbreak, and the towns had been warned to be on their guard and prepared to send their contingents into the field at a moment's notice.
Now, on the 20th of June, a messenger brought news to Plymouth that the house of Job Winslow27 at Swansea had been plundered by Indians on the 18th, and that on p58the 19th several houses, among them that of Hugh Cole, had been burned while the people were attending worship.28 Captain Church was immediately ordered to collect a force of twenty horsemen at Bridgewater and to proceed to Swansea by way of Taunton, which was appointed as the rendezvous of the Plymouth forces.
The troops were already assembling under Majors James Cudworth29 and William Bradford30 and Captains Gorham and Fuller, when Church marched into the place on the 21st, and the next day the whole force proceeded toward Swansea, Church leading the van with his horsemen and a number of friendly Indians,31 "and to keep so far before as not to be in sight of the army, and so they p59did for by the way they killed a deer, flayed, roasted, and eat the most of him before the army came up with them."
Panic already reigned among the scattered farmhouses that stretched along the eastern shore, and Major Bradford, with the company from Bridgewater, leaving Swansea on the 23d, marched down to Jared Bourne's32 stone house at Mattapoiset where nearly seventy people had collected. Everywhere along the march were to be met people flying from their homes, wringing their hands and bewailing their losses. A part of the relieving force was dispatched the next day to escort Mr. John Brown, who had acted as guide, to his home at Wanamoiset, with orders to act strictly on the defensive. Meeting, on their return, a party from the garrison going out with carts to bring in corn from the deserted and outlying houses, they warned them that the Indians were out in force and urged them not to proceed. Confiding in their numbers, however, the foragers continued on their way only to fall into an ambuscade, where, attacked and routed, they were driven back to the garrison with a loss of six killed.33 The settlement was abandoned the following week, the inhabitants seeking refuge on the island of Rhode Island.
June 24th was the day appointed by the authorities for humiliation and prayer, and as the settlers of Swansea p60were returning from service they were fired upon.34 One was killed and several wounded. Two of the settlers were dispatched for assistance, to Plymouth. They were never to reach it, for the commissioners, Major Savage35 and Captain Thomas Brattle,36 who had been sent by Governor Leverett and the council to treat with Philip, on approaching Swansea in the evening, came upon their bodies weltering in blood upon the highway, and turned back to Boston.37
Philip, realizing, it is said, that the first blow, if the Wampanoags took matters into their own hands, would be struck at Swansea and the neighboring towns, ordered no harm should be done to James Brown,38 Captain Thomas Willet39 p61and James Leonard.40 He also sent word to Hugh Cole,41 who had befriended him, to remove lest it should be out of his power to prevent harm befalling him, and extended protection to two small children because "their father sometime showed me kindness."
The news of the attack reached Plymouth before night and messengers were immediately dispatched to Boston for assistance. Both governments took prompt measures. At Boston the drums were beat to assemble the companies and in the late afternoon of the 26th, Captain Daniel Henchman42 with a company of foot, and Captain p62Thomas Prentice43 with a troop of horse, set forth.44 The infantry were armed with muskets and long knives fitted with handles to fix in the muzzles, and carried a knapsack, six feet of fuse, a pound of powder, a bandoleer passing under the left arm and containing a dozen or more cylinders holding a measured charge of powder, a bag containing another three pounds of bullets and a horn of priming powder. The troopers were equipped with a sword and either two pistols or a carbine. All carried in addition a few articles of wearing apparel, a day's provisions and a pound of tobacco.
Prolonging their march well into the evening they were nearing the town of Dedham on the Neponset River, •twenty miles from Boston, when the moon was darkened by an eclipse (in Capricorn)a "which caused them to halt for a little repose until the moon recovered her light." Some among them imagined they discerned in the moon a black spot resembling the scalp of an Indian, others made out the form of an Indian bow, ominous signs, "but both," writes the chronicler, "might rather have thought of what Marcus Crassus, the Roman general going forth with an army against the Parthians, once wisely replied to a private soldier that would have dissuaded him from marching because of an eclipse of the moon in Capricorn, 'that he was more afraid of Saggitariusº (the archer) than of Capricornus,' meaning the arrows of the Parthians."b
p63 "When the moon had again borrowed her light," and the road once more became distinct, they resumed the march, reaching Attleboro,45 thirty miles from Boston, early in the morning. Here they rested until the afternoon when Captain Samuel Moseley,46 with a rough company of volunteers composed of sailors, privateersmen, and several paroled pirates accompanied by a number of hunting dogs, joined them.
The combined force of two hundred and fifty fighting men, besides the teamsters, pushing rapidly on, reached Swansea47 early in the evening of the 28th and pitched their camp alongside of Major Cudworth, and the Plymouth men near the fortified house of the Rev. Mr. Miles, p64a Baptist clergyman,48 which stood a short distance from the bridge leading toward Mount Hope.
Miles Garrison House, Swansea, Massachusetts
Immediately on the arrival, a dozen of Prentice's troopers, impatient of delay, under the command of Quartermaster Joseph Belcher and Corporal John Gill,49 with Captain Church as a volunteer, sallied over the bridge to explore the country beyond. Hardly had they cleared the bridge when a party of Indians in ambush poured in a volley upon them, including William Hammond,50 a guide, wounding Gill and Belcher, and driving the rest back in confusion51 to the barricade which had been erected around the house of the Rev. Mr. Miles.
Made confident by this success, a number of Indians the next morning showed themselves at the end of the bridge, shouting derisively, while some, more bold than p65the rest, even ventured upon the bridge itself. The whole force was immediately drawn up and while the infantry advanced toward the bank of the stream, a troop of horse and a party of volunteers under Moseley rushed furiously down the road upon them and drove them off with loss,52 losing, however, one of their own number, Ensign Savage,53 wounded, it is said, by the fire from the infantry on the bank.
On the evening of the 29th which was spent skirmishing with the Indians, came Major Thomas Savage, accompanied by Captain Page and sixty horse and as many foot, to take over the command of the Massachusetts forces.54 The force assembled at Swansea now numbered over five hundred men, and, at noon on the following day, leaving a small guard in the garrison, the little army, with Major Cudworth in command, crossed over the bridge, and, throwing out horsemen on the flanks to prevent an ambuscade, pushed on toward Mount Hope.55
Here and there, within the boundaries of the Indian country, they saw groups of empty wigwams and fields of corn, the smoking ruins of what had once been the homes of the settlers, and "Bibles torn in pieces in defiance p66of our holy religion," while ghastly heads56 and hands stuck upon stakes bore witness to the fate of the occupants. But, while Philip's wigwam57 was discovered and the trail of his warriors followed to the shore, not an Indian was to be seen.
Site of Philip's Village, near Mount Hope, Rhode Island
Throughout the day the rain had fallen steadily, soaking the troops to the skin, and as evening drew on the Plymouth men, passing over the strait, found shelter on the island of Rhode Island, but Major Savage, with the Massachusetts division, bivouacedº in the open fields amid the storm.58
With the dawn came rumors that the Indians were in force near Swansea, and Savage, after laying waste the fields of growing corn, hastened back over the route of the day before, but though the force met many Indian dogs deserted by their masters, and saw at times burning dwellings, they came upon no Indians, and the infantry, tired p67and discouraged, made halt at Swansea.59 The cavalry, however, under Prentice, proceeded to scour the country towards Seekonk and Rehoboth,60 but discovering no trace of the enemy finally encamped for the night.
The next morning Prentice, having placed a portion of his command under Lieutenant Oakes61 with orders to march parallel with the main force along another road in order to cover a wider extent of territory, set out on his return to Swansea. They had advanced only a short distance when they came in sight of a party of Indians burning a house. Prentice was unable to reach them on account of several intervening fences, but Oakes, continuing along the road, charged upon and put them to flight, killing several, among them Phoebe,62 one of their leaders, and losing one of his own men, John Druce.
Information in the meantime had reached Swansea p68that Philip had been discovered at Pocasset,63 but Savage, instead of marching directly toward this point with his whole force, divided his command, sending Henchman and Prentice to scour the woods and swamps along the mainland, while he himself with the commands of Captains Paige64 and Moseley, marched down to Mount Hope. No signs of Indians were discovered at Mount Hope, and leaving a party to build a fort,65 despite the earnest entreaty of Church that the whole force should go over to Pocasset and drive Philip from cover, Savage again returned to Swansea.
1 The Indian village of Nemasket was located about a mile and a half southeasterly from the center of the present village of Middleborough, on the river of that name.
2 Hubbard, vol. I, page 60.
3 Mather's Brief History, page 218.
4 Assowomset Pond is located about four miles south of the present village of Middleborough in Plymouth County in the town of Lakeville. Its neighborhood was a favorite resort of the natives. A few survivors of the Nemasket tribe reside upon the shores of the pond to‑day.
5 Plymouth Records, Vol. V, page 159.
6 The wounds were enumerated in the Record as bruises, twisted neck, etc. No gunshot or arrow or knife wounds are mentioned.
8 Plymouth Records, Vol. V, pages 167, 168. Hubbard declares that Wampapaquin confessed that Sassamon had been murdered by his father, and implicated Philip, but there is no other contemporary evidence.
9 Mather's Magnalia, Book VII, page 560.
10 Mather, Brief History, page 52.
11 Hubbard, Vol. I, page 65.
12 Hazzard State Papers, Vol. II, page 333.
13 Governor John Easton lived in Newport. He was born in England in 1621 and came with his father in the Mary and John in 1634. He became Deputy Governor of Rhode Island in 1666 and was Governor of the colony for five years, 1690‑94. He died December 1, 1705.
14 Easton's Relation, Hough Edition, page 7. Palfrey questions whether Governor Easton wrote this narrative ascribed to him on account of its illiteracy. There seems no doubt of it, however. Illiterate spelling and construction were common. It was not published until many years after the war. Mather knew of its existence and of some of its allegations and rushed his own history into print.
15 Captain Benjamin Church was born at Plymouth in 1639 and was a carpenter by trade. He probably lived in Duxbury after his marriage in that town, but later removed to Little Compton, R. I., and afterwards lived for a time in Bristol in the same colony. He subsequently returned to Little Compton and died there January 17, 1717/18. His services during the war are recorded in his "Entertaining History," written by his son from dictation by himself in his last years.
16 Awashonks, squaw sachem of Sagkonate, was the wife of an Indian called Tolony, of whom but little is known. — Book of the Indians, Vol. III, page 65.
17 Peter Nunnuit, the husband of Weetamoo, did not concern himself against the English, but, abandoning his wife, joined the enemy against her. After the war he was given command over the prisoners who were permitted to reside in the country between Sepecan and Dartmouth. — Drake's Book of the Indians.
18 Church's Entertaining History, page 3.
19 Probably arranging for the conference with the Rhode Island Committee.
20 Seth Perry was of Boston, a tailor, and was made freeman in 1666. — Savage.
21 Massachusetts Archives, Vol. 67, page 201.
22 Pessacus was born about 1623 and was about twenty years of age when his brother, Miantonomah, was killed. He was killed by the Mohawks beyond the Piscataqua River in 1677‑78.
23 If they (the Pequots) doubt the victory "they would be in hazard of joining with the stronger." — Letter of Rev. James Fitch of Norwich to the Council of Connecticut. Conn. Records, Vol. II, page 337.
24 Conn. Records, Vol. II, page 217. Report on Condition in 1673. The same was true of Massachusetts.
25 Hubbard (Hubbard says the Indian was only wounded, not killed), Vol. I, page 64.
27 Job Winslow was the son of Kenelm Winslow. At the outbreak of the war he was living at Swansea and his house was "broken up and rifled" by the Indians. After the close of the war he erected a dwelling-house near the "wading place" at Kickemuit on what is now the farm of Mr. Edward Ennis. It is probable that the house destroyed occupied this same site. — Savage. "Massasoit's Town; Sowams in Pokanoket," by Miss Virginia Baker, page 19.
28 Records of the Commissioners of New England. Plymouth Colony Record, Vol. X; Vol.II, pages 362‑634. (Letters of Josiah Winslow and Thomas Hinckley.)
29 Major James Cudworth came probably from London to Boston in 1632. In 1652 he was captain of the militia at Scituate. In 1649 he was made deputy to the colony court at Plymouth; assistant from 1656 to 1658 and again from 1674 to 1680. In 1675 he was chosen "General and Commander-in‑chief of all forces that are or may be sent forth against the enemy," which commission he declined. He was chosen Deputy Governor in 1681 and appointed agent for the colony to England. He died in London of smallpox in 1682. See Deane's History of Scituate, page 245.
30 Major William Bradford, son of Governor William of Plymouth, was born in Plymouth, June 17, 1624. In 1656‑57 he was deputy from Plymouth to the General Court and 1658 became an assistant, in which office he served for twenty-four successive years, and for the remaining ten years of the colony's existence filled the new office of Deputy Governor, save for the years of Andros' reign. For twelve years he was colonial commissioner. He died March 1, 1704. "Governor William Bradford and his son Major William Bradford," by James Shepard, page 78.
31 Church, page 5.
32 Gerard (Jared) Bourne was of Boston in 1634; made freeman May 6, 1635. He resided at Muddy River (Brookline) and was there a constable. Savage says he removed to Rhode Island in 1665. He was in 1675 the owner of the stone garrison house in Swansea on Mattapoiset (now Gardner's) Neck. This was located one-half mile north of the railway station at South Swansea, on the farm now owned (1904) by Mr. William H. Green, and a few rods in the rear of Mr. Green's dwelling. The old garrison spring may still be found in the meadow.
33 Old Indian Chronicle, page 109.
34 Mather's Magnalia, Vol. VII, page 561.
35 Major Thomas Savage was born in Taunton, Somerset County, England, and came in the Planter to Boston, April, 1635. He was an original member of the Artillery Company and chosen its captain in 1651. He served as representative to the General Court from Boston, Hingham and Andover; he was speaker for a number of terms and assistant from 1680 until his death, which occurred February 14, 1682. — Bodge.
36 Captain Thomas Brattle was born about 1624. He was a merchant in Boston in 1656, and was of the Artillery Company in 1675. He owned valuable iron works at Concord and was deputy from that town from 1678 to 1681, as he had been from Lancaster in 1671 and 1672. In 1671 he was one of the commissioners sent to treat with Philip at Taunton. He was appointed cornet in the Suffolk troop in 1670, lieutenant in 1675 and captain May 5, 1676. He died April 5, 1683, and left, it is said, the largest estate in New England at that time. Bodge, page 261. — Savage.
37 Connecticut Records (War Council). Letter of Massachusetts Council to Governor Winthrop, Vol. II, page 336.
38 James Brown, son of John, was made freeman at Plymouth in 1636. He was of Rehoboth, 1658. He was for a number of years deputy from Swansea. He twice went to Philip in 1675 "to persuade him to be quiet," but both times found his men in arms and "Philip very high and not persuadable to peace." — History of Barrington, page 580.
39 Captain Thomas Willet came to Plymouth from Leyden in the spring of 1630. He was intrusted with the command of the Plymouth trading-house at Kennebec in 1639, from which office he was forcibly ejected by D'Aubrey, the French Lieutenant Governor of Acadia. He was a magistrate in Plymouth from 1651 to 1664, when he accompanied Colonel Nicholson in the reduction of New York, of which city he was the first English mayor. In 1673, the Dutch having again come into possession, Mr. Willet retired to Wannamoisett. He died the next year. His wife was the sister of James Brown. — New England Register, Vol. II, page 376.
40 James Leonard, of Providence, 1645, and Taunton, 1652, came from Pontypool in Wales. The first iron works in the colonies were established in Taunton by his brother Henry, Ralph Russell and himself. Philip was on very friendly terms with the Leonards, visiting them and being received with great consideration. He depended upon Leonard for the repair of his guns and tools. Leonard died before 1691. — Baylie's History of Plymouth.
41 Hugh Cole, born about 1627, was of Plymouth in 1653. In 1669 Philip sold to him and others •five hundred acres of land on the west side of Cole's River in Swansea. During the war his house was destroyed and he removed to Rhode Island. He returned in 1677 and located on the west side of Touiset Neck on the Kickemuit River in Warren. The farm he owned and the well he dug are still in the possession of his lineal descendants. History of Barrington, page 574.
42 Captain Daniel Henchman was of Boston. He was appointed captain of the 5th Boston Company Colonial Militia, May 12, 1675. He died in Worcester, October 15, 1675. — Bodge, page 45.
43 Captain Thomas Prentice was commander of the Middlesex troop of horse. He was born in England about 1620, and settled in Cambridge, N. E. He was appointed captain of the special troop in June, 1675. He died July 7, 1709. — Bodge, page 89.
44 Hubbard, Vol. I, page 67.
45 The march ended at Woodcock's garrison, located nearly a mile north of the center of the present village of North Attleboro, opposite a small burying ground. John Woodcock was the pioneer of Attleboro, and his house was built for defense against the Indians and was also a house of entertainment. It was the only dwelling at the time of its erection between Dedham and Rehoboth (Seekonk). The old house remained until 1806 when it gave way to a large tavern built by Colonel Hatch upon the same site. The cellar hole of the Woodcock garrison may still be seen, as the Hatch tavern has been removed. — Daggett's History of Attleboro.
46 Captain Moseley was of Boston and by trade a cooper. "This Captain Moseley hath been an old privateer at Jamaica." — Bodge, page 59.
47 This was at what is now the village of Barneyville, about •three miles northerly from the village of Warren, R. I., and Miles' bridge crossed the Warren River at that place. The garrison house, or rather what is so considered by some, is still standing, though other antiquarians think this is of a later date than that occupied by the Rev. Mr. Miles in 1675. The population of Swansea was scattered over a wide area of farming territory. There were distinct hamlets and many isolated houses, the whole extending over an irregular trail some ten miles from one extreme to the other.
48 Rev. John Miles (Myles), a Baptist clergyman, was born in Wales and settled in Swansea in the year 1662. The church in Swansea, Mass., is supposed to have been organized in Swansea, South Wales, Mr. Miles simply removing the church organization from that country. Mr. Miles settled in Rehoboth, now Swansea, in that part known as Barneyville and his meeting house is said to have been near the One Hundred Acre Cove on the Barrington River. This was included in the destruction of Swansea and after the war Mr. Miles returned to his old field and a church was erected for him at Tyler's Point, New Meadow Neck, opposite Warren, R. I., and in the cemetery at that place Mr. Miles was probably buried.
49 John Gill was of Dorchester, 1640, and lived in that part of the town which became Milton. He removed to Boston and died in 1678. Quartermaster Joseph Belcher, who was also of Milton, was his son-in‑law, having married Gill's daughter Rebecca. — Savage. Dorchester Church Records.
50 William Hammond went to Swansea with Captain Thomas Prentice's troop, and having been a resident of that town was competent to act as "pilot," or guide, to the troops. His body was taken to Watertown for burial. See The Hammond Genealogies, Vol. I, page 477.
51 Church, page 5.
52 Hubbard, Vol. I, page 69.
53 Ensign Perez Savage, son of Major Thomas, was born February 17, 1652. He was ensign of Captain Moseley's company, "a noble, heroic, youth," as Church calls him. In addition to the wound received at Swansea he was again baldly wounded at the Narragansett Swamp fight, at which time he was a lieutenant. He never married, but removed to London, from which he carried on trade with Spain. His death occurred at Mequinez in Barbary,º where he was held in captivity by the Turks. — Savage.
54 Massachusetts Archives, Vol. 67, page 209.
55 Hubbard, Vol. I, page 71.
56 Church, in his narrative, says, in connection with the march under Cudworth to Mount Hope, "They marched until they came to the narrow of the neck at a place called Keekamuit where they took down the heads of eight Englishmen that were killed at the head of Mattapoiset Neck, and set upon poles after the barbarous manner of these Savages." This spot is on the west bank of the Kickemuit River, just above the ancient "wading place," and directly east of Belchers Cove which sets in from the Warren River behind the village of Warren, thus narrowing the Mount Hope Neck to the width of half a mile. The spot is exactly a mile east of Warren.
57 The term "Mount Hope" was applied to the peninsula between the Warren and Kickemuit Rivers and not to the mountain alone. Philip's Village was not located, as many writers have erroneously stated, upon the mount itself, but about a mile and a half north of it near the "Narrows" of the Kickemuit River where evidences of Indian occupation are still plentiful. — See Massasoit's Town, page 24.
58 Hubbard, Vol. I, page 72.
59 Hubbard, Vol. I, page 72.
60 The Rehoboth of King Philip's time was situated about six miles west of the present village, and very nearly identical with the present village of East Providence Center. Its western boundary was the Seekonk River, and Seekonk Cove pushed its way inland to a point near the settlement. On the bank of this cove at one time lived Roger Williams. The site of an early garrison house is still identified, which was one of the two houses remaining after the destruction of the town by the Indians.
61 Lieutenant Edward Oakes was made freeman in Cambridge, May 18, 1642. He was a native of England. He was selectman of Cambridge for twenty-six years and deputy to the General Court from Cambridge and Concord for eighteen years. He became lieutenant of Captain Prentice's troop in June, 1675. He died at Concord October 13, 1689. — Bodge, page 84.
62 Phoebe, Pebee or Thebe, was a petty Wampanoag sachem, one of Philip's councilors. He lived at Popanomscut in the southerly section of Barrington, R. I. This was called Phoebe's Neck by the English and was located directly opposite the village of Warren and separated from it by the river.
63 Pocasset was the territory now occupied by the town of Tiverton in Rhode Island, and the city of Fall River in Massachusetts. Its western border rests upon the Taunton River and the arm of Narragansett Bay, known as the Sakonet River.
64 Captain Nicholas Paige came from Plymouth, England, and was in Boston as early as 1665. June 27, 1675, he was appointed captain of a troop to accompany Major Thomas Savage. He was active in business and in civil affairs; was of the Artillery Company in 1693; later its commander, and a colonel. He died in 1717. — Bodge.
65 This fort was erected very near Philip's Indian Village and in full sight of it, at the Narrows of the Kickemuit. It was built upon the brow of a bluff facing the water, and a comparatively few years ago its remains were visible, but the action of the waves upon the bluff has washed away the site.
a July 6, 1675 (N.S.) = June 26 O.S., the eclipse being greatest, according to the Table of Lunar Eclipses at NASA, at 0336 U.T. on the 27th, and thus at Dedham (71°10 W) local time roughly 10:50 P.M. on the 26th.
b The source of the story is Hubbard; it was apparently then repeated by Cotton Mather — or at least so writes James Wallis, in his Notes to Canto Third of his own poem Yamoyden, a Tale of the Wars of King Philip (1820), p304:
A central eclipse of the moon in Capricorn, according to Hubbard, happened on the 26th of June, when some troops from Boston were on their march to Mount Hope. "Some melancholy fancies would not be persuaded but that the eclipse, falling out at that instant of time, was ominous, conceiving also that in the centre of the moon they discerned an unusual black spot, not a little resembling the scalp of an Indian: As others, not long before, imagined they saw the form of an Indian bow, accounting that likewise ominous, (although the mischiefs following were done by guns, and not by bows.) Both the one and the other might rather have thought of what Marcus Crassus, the Roman General, going forth with an army against the Parthians, once wisely replied to a private soldier, that would have dissuaded him from marching that time, because of an eclipse of the moon in Capricorn, that he was more afraid of Sagittarius than of Capricorn, meaning the arrows of the Parthians," &c. — Hubbard, p74.
Cotton Mather, recording this circumstance, has the same remark with respect to Sagittarius and Capricornus.
Crassus' campaign against Parthia, however, started with his posting to the Roman province of Syria in 55 B.C. and ended with his death in the disastrous defeat at Carrhae in 53: during this entire period there was no eclipse of the moon in Capricorn; see the Table of Lunar Eclipses at NASA, noting that the date of such an eclipse would have to have been between June 21 and July 20.
The source of the bon mot is Plutarch, Life of Crassus, 29.4: "Crassus, indeed, went back again to Carrhae, and when his guides, who were Arabs, urged him to wait there until the moon had passed the Scorpion, he said that he feared the Archer even more than the Scorpion, and rode off into Syria with five hundred horsemen."
So: No eclipse, just the Moon going her rounds thru the heavens, and not Capricorn but Scorpio, which makes better sense, because from Scorpio she would progress to Sagittarius. In Hubbard's eagerness to get the classical allusion in, he let his memory play an accommodative little trick on him.
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King Philip's War
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