Such was the daily life of Philip year after year, with but little change. Occasionally he met the palefaces in the woods or at his father’s village. Now and then he went to Plymouth and traded with them. Several of them he considered to be his strong personal friends.
We have already seen how greatly interested he was in his boyhood days at the coming of the white men and how friendly he felt toward them at that time. He, his father, and the other Wampanoags continued to remain on friendly terms with the English, although several other Indian tribes did not.

Between the years 1628AD and 1640AD many white people settled forty or fifty miles north of Plymouth, in what is now Boston and Salem, and other cities and towns near Massachusetts Bay.

Others settled inland on the Connecticut River, near the present boundary line between Massachusetts and Connecticut, about seventy-five miles west from Mount Hope, the home of Philip. Others settled at Providence, and still others on the island of Rhode Island, fifteen to twenty miles south of Mount Hope.

The settlers on the Connecticut had trouble with the Pequots, a tribe of Indians living to the west of the Wampanoags, and in the war that followed, all the Pequots were killed. The whites also had trouble with the Narragansetts, who lived near Providence, outbreaks occurring every year or two for several years.
During these years Philip and his father did nothing to injure the settlers in any way. They refused to aid the other Indians in their wars with the English, preferring to remain faithful to their early treaty with the whites; and the whites remained on the most friendly terms with them.

Philip knew nothing of the Christian religion. Several attempts were made by the whites to convert the Indians to Christianity. In 1646, John Eliot translated the Bible into the Indian language, taught the Indians the English habits of industry and agriculture, and established near Boston two towns composed entirely of converted Indians.

At the same time, Thomas Mayhew preached to the Wampanoags on Martha’s Vineyard, and there converted a great many. By the year 1675AD, four thousand Indians had been converted to Christianity.
But the missionaries were not successful with Philip and the Wampanoags at Mount Hope. They utterly refused to listen to the preachers. They preferred their former mode of life, and there were several good reasons for this preference, as they thought.

Philip noticed that many white men who called themselves Christians were in the habit of stealing from the red men, and cheating them whenever they could. He could not see that the Christian religion made them more happy, more honest, or better than he was.

Again, he noticed that, as soon as the Indians were converted, they left their former life and companions and joined themselves to the English. This tended to lessen the control of the chiefs over their tribes, and so reduced their power. Thus he saw that a great deal might be lost by changing his religion, or by urging his followers to change theirs.

Nevertheless, Massasoit and his sons remained strong friends to the Plymouth people until 1661, when Massasoit died, being about eighty years of age.
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From Stories and Legends from Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Block Island – COMING SOON – It’s in proofing right now!

Cover - Legends and Stories from Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and Block Island

Cover – Legends and Stories from Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Block Island

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