Some Essex County Indians

Andrew, known also by the name of Pooky John, lived in the vicinity of Amesbury upon the Merrimac in 1677. He belonged to a small party of about twenty, who made daily inroads upon the inhabitants of that quarter.1

Black-William, called also Manatahqua, was sachem of Saugus, now Lynn, and vicinity about 1630. His family lived in Swampscott, and was also a sagamore, but probably was dead before the English came.2 William Wood, the traveler, in 1633, in his New England Prospect, thus notices William as possessing Nahant: "One Black-William an Indian Duke out of his generosity gave this place in general to the plantation of Saugus, so that no other can appropriate it to himself." He was a great friend to the whites, but his friendship was repaid, as was that of many others of that and even later times. There was a man by the name of Walter Bagnall, "a wicked fellow," who had much wronged the Indians,3 and was killed near the mouth of the Saco river, probably by some of those whom he had defrauded. This was in October, 1631. As some vessels were upon the eastern coast in search of pirates, in January, 1633, they put in at Richman's island, where they fell in with Black-William. This was the place where Bagnall had been killed about two years before, but whether he had anything to do with it does not appear, and even his murderers did not pretend that he was in anyway implicated, but out of revenge for Bagnall's death, they hanged Black-William.4 On the contrary it was particularly mentioned5 that Bagnall was killed by Squidrayset and his men, some Indians belonging to that part of the country. It is believed that this chief married a daughter of Passaconaway.6

James, sagamore of Saugus, now Lynn, whose native name was Montowampate,6 was brother of John, sagamore of Winisimet. He died in 1633, of the smallpox, "with most of his people. It is said that these two promised if ever they recovered to live with the English, and serve their God."7 The histories of those times give a melancholy picture of the distresses caused by the smallpox among the "wretched natives." "There are," says Mather, "some old planters surviving to this day, who helped to bury the dead Indians; even whole families of them were all dead at once. In one of the wigwams they found a poor infant sucking at the breast of the dead mother."8 The same author observes that before the disease began, the Indians had begun to quarrel with the English about the bounds of their lands, but God ended the controversy by sending the smallpox among the Indians at Saugus, who were before that time exceedingly numerous."9

Masconomo, sachem of Agawam, since called Cape Ann. When the fleet which brought over the colony that settled Boston, in 1630, anchored near there he welcomed them to his shores, and spent some time on board one of the ships.10 We hear no more of him until 1643, when, at the court held in Boston, "Cutshamekin and Squaw-sachem, Masconomo, Nashacowam and Wassamagin, two sachems near the great hill to the west called Wachusett, came into the court, and according to their former tender to the governor desired to be received under our protection11 and government upon the same terms that Pumham and Sacanonoco were. So we caused them to understand the articles, and all the ten commandments of God, and they freely assenting to all, they were solemnly received, and then presented the court with twenty-six fathom of wampum, and the court gave each of them a coat of two yards of cloth, and their dinner and to them and their men every one of them a cup of sac at their departure, so they took leave and went away very joyful."12 Agawam, Ipswich, was his place of residence, and his remains were interred on Sagamore hill in what is now the town of Hamilton. His squaw survived him for some time, having a piece of land that she could not dispose of, or that none were allowed to purchase.13

1. Hubbard's History of New England, page 32.
2. Drake's' Indian Biography, page 20.
3. Winthrop's Journal, i: 62, 63.
4. History of Lynn.
5. Hubbard's History of New England, page 195.
6. Drake's Indian Biography, page 57.
7. History of Lynn, page 48.
8. Relation, etc., page 23.
9. Drake's Indian Biography, page 136.
10. History of New England.
11. They desired this because of their great fear of the Mohawks, who were always a terror to them.

AHGP Massachusetts

Source: The Essex Antiquarian, Volume V, No. 3, March 1901

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