King Phillip's War part 2

Blue Gray Line

Brief History of King Philip's War by George M. Bodge (George Madison) 1841 to 1914
Printed Privately at Boston, 1891

Part 2
p.3 to p. 4

The best method therefore of arranging the men in companies was found to be that of following the names of the officers as they occur in the credits.  The names were thus gathered from the Journal and placed in companies with their officers.  Then the fortunes of each company were followed as carefully as possible throughout the several campaigns of the war.  But it was found that a great amount of unpublished material is still preserved in our State Archives - County and Town Records, and
elsewhere; and this, in the light of the great number of names identified in these credits as soldiers, becomes
available and interesting as history.  Additional material has been gathered and incorporated here from all sources,
whenever it would add to the sum of knowledge concerning the war.

The Officers and soldiers, many of the, served in several some in all the different campaigns; and thus in following their fortunes, it was necessary to go over the same events many times, so as to marshal the various companies in order in the military operations.

It will be seen that by this method of arrangement, a
great amount of important material has been massed to-
gether conveniently for the study of history, while the
story of the war has not been followed by consecutive
events, but acording to the experience of individual
officers and companies.  It is proposed in this intro-
ductory chapter to give a brief account of the war,
following events in order as nearly as possible. It will
not be necessary to discuss the causes leading up to the
war.  It is enough to say here, that the English had
assumed the government of the country, and followed
their course of settlement with small regard to the
rights of the natives.  In some of the plantations, the
settlers purchased their lands of the Indians, as a
matter of precaution; partly that they might have that
show of title in case any other claim should be set up
in opposition to theirs, and partly to conciliate the
savages, whose hostility they feared, and whose friend-
ship was profitable in the way of trade, in furs and
other products of the hunt.  The Indians were always
at disadvantage with the English, in all the arts of
civilized life.  The English paid no heed to Indian laws
customs and religious ideas, with no apparent thought
of their intolerance and injustice.  They made treaties
with the savages in the same terms which they would have
used had they been dealing with a civilized nation. They
made out deeds, in language which only the learned
framers themselves could understand.  In brief, the
Pilgrims and Puritans mostly looked upon the Indians as
heathen, whose "inheritance" God meant to give to his
people, as of old he had dealt with Israel and their
heathen.  There were some, however, who, with Rev. John
Eliot, believed that the Indians had immortal souls, and
that they were given to God's people to educate and save.

But there was nothing which the rulers of the Indians
resented more persistently, nor complained of more
frequently, than the attempts of the Christians to con-
vert their people.

Indirectly one of these converted Indians was the
immediate cause of the opening of hostilities. There
were many grievances of which the Indians complained;
but they had not the foresight to see the inevitable re-
sult of the constantly increasing power of the English,
in their acquisition of land, and multiplying of settle-
ments.  It was only when they felt the pressure of
actual privation or persecution that they began to think
of opposition or revenge.  Their chiefs had been summon-
ed frequently before the English courts to answer for
some breach of law by their subjects; several times
the English had demanded that whole tribes should give
up their arms because of the fault of one or a few.
The Indians lived mostly by hunting and fishing, and at
the time of the war used fire-arms almost wholly. They
had learned their use and bought the arms of the English
nearly always at exhorbitant prices.  They were expert
in the use of their guns, and held them as the most
precious of their possessions.  The order to give these
over to the English, with their stock of ammunitiion, was
regarded by them as robbery, as indeed in most cases it
was, as they seldom regained their arms when once given
up.  We can now see that from their standpoint there
were grievances enough to drive them to rebellion. But
our forefathers seem to have been unable to see any but
their own side.  But now to the story.

John Sassamon (Mr. Hubbard says Sausaman) was the son of
a Wampanoag Indian who with his wife and family lived in
Dorchester.  They had been taught by Mr. Eliot and pro-
fessed the Christian faith.  The son John was the pupil
of Mr. Eliot from his early youth and was made a teacher
among the Christian Indians at Natick.  Mr. Hubbard
says that "upon some misdemeanor" there, he went to the
Wampanoags where he became the secretary and interpreter
of the chief, to whom he was a most valuable assistant
and trusted adviser.  He was soon prevailed upon by Mr.
Eliot to return to Natick, where he became a preacher,
while still preserving friendly relations with Philip
and his tribe.  In 1672/3 he was at Namasket as preacher
among the Indians, whose chief was Tuspaquin, whose
daughter Sassamon had married.  While here he discovered
that a plot was in process, extending among many tribes
to exterminate or drive away the English settlers from
the country.  This plot Sassamon disclosed to the
authorities at Plymouth and afterwards the story was told
to the Massachusetts authorities; and Philip was summon-
ed to answer to the charge.

At the examination, where nothing positive could be
proved against Philip, he found by the evidence that
Sassamon had betrayed him, and he immediately condemned
him to death in his council.  The sentence was carried
out January 29, 1674/5 while Sassamon was fishing
through the ice upon Assawomeet Pond.  His executioners
were brought to punishment and it was discovered that
the deed was done by Philip's order.
To be continued  Part 3  p. 5 to p. 6

Transcribed by Janice Farnsworth Blue Gray Line

Rod Bigelow

8 Prospect Circle
Massena, N.Y. 13662 Rod Bigelow at SLIC 

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