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Philip did his best to keep at peace with the English. For a while he succeeded. But his young warriors began to steal hogs and cattle belonging to the settlers, and on one pleasant Sunday in June, 1675AD, when the people were at church, eight young Indians burned a few houses in the village of Swansea, the nearest town to the Wampanoag headquarters at Mount Hope. The whites immediately raised a few troops, marched after the Indians, and had a little skirmish with them.

 

Philip was not with his warriors at the time. The attack on the whites had been made against his express orders. When he heard that the Indians and settlers had really had a battle, he wept from sorrow, something which an Indian rarely does.

 

Everything seemed to go wrong. He tried to make peace with the whites, but they would not listen to him. The young warriors no longer paid any attention to what he said. They went on destroying property and killing cattle.

After leaving Swansea, they went to Taunton and Middleboro, where they burned several houses and killed a few persons. But troops soon arrived from Boston and Plymouth, and in a few days the Indians were driven back to their homes at Mount Hope.

 

The English hurried on after them, and the war that followed is known in history as King Philip’s War.

 

Philip and the Indians swam across Narragansett Bay and went to some of their friends in the Connecticut Valley. There they obtained the help of the Nipmucks, who had never been very friendly towards the English.

 

We do not know where Philip was during the war. He knew that he would be held responsible for it, although he had done everything in his power to prevent it. For a year the war was carried on, one hundred miles away from his home, and never once was he known to have been connected with any fighting, nor was he even seen by the English during that time. Some of them thought that he was directing the war, but really it was carried on by other tribes of Indians that had not been very friendly towards the whites. The Wampanoags seem to have had very little connection with the war.

 

The Indians attacked the English towns in the Connecticut Valley, and the more exposed places on the frontier of the colony where the people were few and scattered.

 

No battle was fought in the open field. The Indians did not fight in that way. They secretly surrounded a town, rushed in from all sides, killed as many people as possible, took what property they could carry away, and burned all that remained.

 

They knew all the paths in the forests, swamps, and thickets. They were fast runners, and went rapidly from town to town.

 

Their favorite method of fighting was in an ambuscade. That was something peculiar to the Indians. The English had never heard of that way of fighting before they came to America. The Indians would lie down flat on the ground or stand behind trees or in a bush or thicket. When the enemy came along with no suspicion that any one was near, the Indians suddenly gave a yell and fired their arrows or guns at them. This would startle them and generally cause them to run away.

 

The war was one of the most dreadful in the history of our country. A farmer left his home in the morning not knowing whether he would ever see his wife and children again. His gun was always in his hand. Laborers were cut off in the field. Reapers, millers, women at home, and people on their way to and from church were killed.

 

Nearly every town in the Connecticut Valley was destroyed by the Indians, and the people suffered terribly. The Indians were very successful during the first year of the war. They lost but few warriors and did an immense amount of injury to the whites. This caused the young warriors to believe that Philip and the old warriors were wrong, and that it was really possible for them to drive the English from the country.

 

From: Legends and Stories from Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Block Island

ISBN: 9781909302907

URL: http://abelapublishing.com/legends-and-stories-from-marthas-vineyard-nantucket-and-block-island_p31019862.htm

Pallisaded House

Legends and Stories from Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Block Island – A Palisaded House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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According to the custom of the Indians, Wamsutta, the eldest son of Massasoit, succeeded his father as grand sachem of the Wampanoags.

 

King Philip as Grand Sachem

King Philip as Grand Sachem

 

Almost his first act was to go to Plymouth, where he made some requests of the settlers. These were granted. Then he  asked for an English name, and was given the name of Alexander.

 

He was so much pleased with this name that he asked for an English name for his younger brother, Metacomet. The English gave him the name of Philip, by which name we have been calling him in our account of his life.

 

A few days later, ten armed men suddenly appeared at the place where Wamsutta and several of his followers were holding a feast, and arrested them all. Wamsutta was taken to Plymouth immediately, and charged with plotting with the Narragansetts against the English.

 

Being seized by force on their own grounds, and compelled to go to Plymouth to answer charges based on rumor, was a new, experience for the Wampanoags. It was very different from the friendly manner in which they had been treated formerly.

 

The English treated Wamsutta very well at Plymouth. They could prove nothing against him, and hence they soon let him go. On his way home he died.

 

As Wamsutta left no children, he was succeeded by his brother Philip. There was no ceremony of crowning, no procession, no speeches. In fact, there was no crown at all; nor was there any ceremony of any kind. The other Indians merely obeyed Philip just as they had formerly obeyed his father and his brother.

 

Philip and all the members of the Wampanoag tribe believed that Wamsutta’s death was due to poison which had been given him by the whites when he was at Plymouth. According to the belief and custom of the Indians, it was Philip’s duty to take vengeance on those who had caused his brother’s death.

 

Still, Philip made no attempt to injure the whites in any way. But the whites became suspicious, probably because they felt that they had done wrong; and very soon they summoned Philip to Plymouth to answer a charge of plotting against them.

 

Philip acted very honorably in the matter. Instead of hiding in the forest, as he might easily have done, he went to Plymouth. There he had a long talk with the whites. He denied that he had plotted against them. He showed them that it was against his own interests to have any trouble with them, and as proof of his good intentions toward them, he offered to leave his next younger brother with them as a hostage.

 

He agreed to continue the treaty that his father had made forty years before. He went further, and acknowledged himself to be a faithful subject of the King of England, and promised not to make war on any Indian tribe unless the English first gave their consent.

 

For several years Philip was grand sachem of the Wampanoags and kept this treaty with great faithfulness. During this time his duties were similar to those which his father had had, and his life was uneventful. He was consulted by the other sachems of the tribe, and his advice was generally followed by them.

Like his father, the good Massasoit, he was inclined to be conservative; that is, he did not like to change the established order of things. He was very much liked by the Indians, who felt that he tried to treat them all honestly and fairly.

 

He went to Plymouth very frequently, to visit the whites and to trade with them. And, likewise, the whites frequently came to Mount Hope to see him.

 

The relations between the whites and the Indians were such that it was perfectly safe for a white man to go anywhere among the Wampanoags unarmed. This is something that cannot be said of any other Indian tribe in the colonial days. The Indians, acting under orders from King Philip, treated the whites honestly and fairly. In fact, there was a feeling of great friendship between the whites and the Indians.

 

———————-

From: LEGENDS AND STORIES OF MARTHA’S VINEYARD, NANTUCKET AND BLOCK ISLAND – A New Release – PREORDER NOW!

http://abelapublishing.com/legends-and-stories-from-marthas-vineyard-nantucket-and-block-island_p31019862.htm

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

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

King Philip

King Philip

The next day Massasoit and sixty of his warriors visited the English. They did not go into the English village, but stopped on the top of the hill nearby.

Philip was not with them, for at this time he was too young to go so far away from home. We can imagine his feelings, however, when he saw his father and the warriors start out on their journey.

 

They were dressed in costumes that would look very strange if seen on our streets to-day. Their clothing was made of the raw skin of wild animals. Their feet were protected by moccasins made of thin deerskin. Each one was tall, erect, and active, with long, coarse, black hair falling down his back.

 

None of them had any physical deformities, for it was the custom of the tribe to kill any child that was born deaf, dumb, blind, or lame.

 

Each one was decked with his personal ornaments. These did not consist of gold, silver, diamonds, or any other precious stones so familiar to us. The Indians knew nothing about these. Their ornaments consisted of ear-rings, nose-rings, bracelets, and necklaces made out of shells or fish-bones or shining stones, which were very common in that neighborhood.

 

Their faces were smeared with heavy daubs of paint. Each one had a cloak thrown over his shoulders, and he also wore a head-dress made of feathers or quills. To Philip it seemed as if he had never seen anything so imposing.

 

We can imagine how eagerly Philip listened to the story that his father told when he came back home: how the settlers came out to meet him on the hill, and made him a present of three knives, a copper chain, and an ear-ring, besides several good things to eat, very different from anything he had ever tasted before.

 

Then Massasoit described the treaty that he had made with the palefaces in which the settlers and the Wampanoags had agreed to remain friends and to help each other in every way they could. To make the treaty as strong as possible, the palefaces had written it down on paper and had signed their names to it. The Indians did not know how to read or write. That was something that they had never heard of before. But they drew rude pictures at the end of the writing and called these pictures their names.

 

Philip never tired listening to the stories about the palefaces. He was still too young to be taken to their settlement, but he longed for a chance to see them.

 

Suddenly, one day in the middle of the summer of 1621AD, about four months after the Indians had made their treaty with the whites, six warriors came into the little Indian village at Mount Hope with two men, who Philip saw were palefaces. They were not so tall as the Indians. They were thicker set, and their faces were covered with beards.

 

Massasoit recognized them immediately, for they were some of the party that he had met at Plymouth. They had come on a friendly visit to him, and had brought him a red cotton coat and a copper chain. Philip was greatly pleased to see the palefaces, of whom he had heard so much. He listened to their stories, answered their inquiries in regard to Indian life, and learned what he could about their homes and customs.

 

After this, the settlers called on the Indians many times, and Philip soon became very well acquainted with them.

 

During the next few months several white men came from England and settled at Weymouth, a few miles north of Plymouth. These new settlers were not so honest as those that had settled at Plymouth. They stole from the Indians and otherwise injured them, and caused them to plot against all the whites in the country. But before their plans were carried out Massasoit was taken sick. The medicine man was called in.

 

The medicine man was the physician. He had learned the medicinal virtues of a few simple herbs. He knew how to bind up wounds in bark with certain preparations of leaves, and he could also cure a few fevers. He went through many magical ceremonies with howls, roars, and antics of various kinds. If the sick man became well, the medicine man took all the credit; if the patient died, then the medicine man said that the bad spirit had too strong a hold on him.

 

But the medicine man did not help Massasoit. Philip watched by his father’s side and saw him grow worse day by day. He remembered how, only a few years before, the smallpox had carried away large numbers of the Indians, and now he began to think that the days of his father, too, were numbered.

 

But one day a paleface, one of the leaders of the colony at Plymouth, came into the Indian village. He sent the medicine man away and tenderly nursed Massasoit himself. He gave him medicine, nourished him with several little delicacies, and brought him slowly back to health.

Massasoit was so grateful for the kindness shown him that he told the palefaces of the Indian plot against them.

The whites at Weymouth were driven away and the palefaces at Plymouth continued to live on most excellent terms of friendship with the Wampanoags.

 

In the years that followed, Philip became better acquainted with the whites, and while he never loved them, he had great respect for their wisdom.

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From a soon to be published book titled “Stories and Legends from Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Rhode Island”

During the following summer young Philip heard many an interesting story about the English. Squanto himself came to see Massasoit several times, and from him Philip heard the story of his adventures across the sea.

 

Late in the fall, long before Philip had lost his interest in the stories of Squanto, another English vessel arrived on the coast of the Indian country.

 

On the eleventh day of November, 1620AD, the vessel anchored near Cape Cod. Sixteen palefaces came ashore. They did not act like the others who had preceded them. They made no effort to become acquainted with the Indians, but spent their time in looking around and in examining the country.

 

They found four or five bushels of corn, which had been stored for the winter by an Indian, and carried it away to their vessel.

 

This angered the Indians, and we can well imagine the thoughts that passed through the mind of the boy Philip when he heard that the English had stolen the corn that belonged to a poor Indian, one of his father’s friends.

The Indians talked the matter over by their camp fire, and little Philip listened to the story as eagerly as he had listened to the story of Squanto six months before.

 

A week or so later, more news came to Mount Hope. The palefaces had visited the shore a second time, and on this occasion had stolen a bag of beans and some more corn. How Philip’s anger increased as he heard his father talk the matter over with the other Indians!

 

A few days afterwards Philip heard still other news of the English. They had come ashore a third time. The Indians had watched them from a distance. Finally, when a good opportunity offered itself, thirty or forty Indians quietly surrounded the palefaces, and at a given signal every one of them yelled at the top of his voice and began to shoot arrows at the hated visitors.

 

For a time it looked as if the palefaces would be driven into the water. But soon they fired their guns, and the Indians ran away frightened at the noise.

Philip was greatly interested in the description that was given of a gun. He had never so much as heard of one before, and he thought it very strange that any one should be afraid of little pieces of lead. He could not see why it was not as easy to dodge bullets as it was to dodge arrows.

 

A week or two later still further news was brought to Massasoit’s village. The palefaces had left Cape Cod and had sailed across the bay to Patuxet (to which the English gave the name of Plymouth). There they had gone ashore and had built some log cabins, evidently with the intention of staying for some time.

 

This was something that the Indians could not understand. Every day some of them went to the top of the hill which overlooked the little settlement to see what the English were doing. Then they returned to Mount Hope with something new to tell about the palefaces, and Philip eagerly listened to every story that was related.

 

Several meetings of the Indians were held during the winter, at which Philip was always present, and finally one of their number, whose name was Samoset, was sent to Plymouth to ask the English why they had settled in this land which belonged, of right, to the red men.

 

Samoset returned a few days later. He told his story to the Indians around the camp fire, little Philip, as usual, paying great attention to what was said.

 

Samoset said that the palefaces had been very kind to him, and had told him that they had come to this country to settle, that they wanted to live on the most friendly terms with the red men, and that they desired to pay not only for the corn and beans which they had taken, but also for the land on which they had built their village.

 

At the close of his story the Indians expressed themselves as satisfied with the palefaces, and Philip felt that perhaps the English were not so bad as he had thought them to be.

Samoset was then sent to the settlers to tell them that Massasoit and some of his friends would like to meet them for a friendly talk about many things that might otherwise become a cause of disagreement between them. He brought back word that the English eagerly welcomed the opportunity to meet the Indians, and had offered to see them on the following day.

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From a soon to be published book entitled “Stories from Marthas Vineyard (Nantucket and Rhode Island)”

Massaouit and his two SonsIn the early evening, during his boyhood days, Philip delighted to sit near the camp fire where the members of his tribe were wont to gather. There he eagerly listened to the stories of adventure told by his elders, and wished that he was old enough to enter into the sports that they so interestingly described.

Although children were not expected to talk in the presence of their elders, Philip frequently showed his interest in their stories by asking many questions in regard to the places visited by the older Indians.

 

In those days news traveled slowly from one little village to another, for there were neither telegraphs nor telephones; no, not even railroads. In fact, there were no roads, and even the paths through the woods were so little used that it was difficult to find one’s way from one place to another. The Indians kept no animals of any kind, and always traveled from place to place on foot.

 

One pleasant evening in June, in the year 1620, little Philip noticed that there was less general story-telling than usual, and that the Indians seemed greatly interested in a long story which one of their number was telling. He could not understand the story, but he frequently caught the words, “Squanto” and “English.” These were new words to him.

 

The next evening, as Philip and his brother were sitting by the fire, they asked their father what had caused the Indians to be so serious in their talk, and what the long story was about.

“Squanto has come home,” his father replied.

 

“And who is Squanto?” asked Philip.

 

Then his father told him a story, which was too long to be repeated here. But in brief it was as follows:

Several years before—long, in fact, before Philip was born—a ship had come from across the sea. It was larger than any other vessel the Indians had ever seen.

 

The only boats that Philip knew anything about were quite small, and were called canoes. They were made either of birch bark fastened over a light wooden frame, or of logs that had been hollowed by burning and charring.

 

But the boat from across the sea was many times larger than any of theirs—so Massasoit explained to the boys—and had accommodations for a great many men. Instead of being pushed along by paddles, it was driven by the wind by means of large pieces of cloth stretched across long, strong sticks of wood.

 

The Indians did not go down to the shore, but watched this boat from the highlands some distance inland. Finally the vessel stopped and some of the men came ashore. The Indians looked at the strangers in astonishment. Their skin was of a pale, whitish color, very different from that of the Indians, which was of a copper or reddish clay color.

 

King Philip Paddling his canoeThe white men, or the pale-faced men, as Massasoit called them, made signs of friendship to the Indians, and after a few minutes persuaded them to go down to the shore. There the two peoples traded with each other. The Indians gave furs and skins, and received in return beads and trinkets of various kinds.

 

When the vessel sailed away it carried off five Indians who had been lured on board and had not been allowed to return to shore. These Indians had not been heard from since, and that was fifteen years before.

 

Little Philip’s eyes increased in size, and instinctively he clenched his fists at the thought of the wrong that had been done his people by the palefaces.

 

His father went on with the story, and told him how the Indians then vowed vengeance on the white man; for it was a custom of the Indians to punish any person who committed a wrong act towards one of their number.

 

From time to time, other vessels visited their shores, but no Indian could ever be induced to go on board any of them.

 

Nine years later, another outrage was committed. The palefaces while trading with the Indians suddenly seized upon twenty-seven of the latter, took them to their vessel, and sailed away with them before they could be rescued. Is it any wonder that Philip felt that the whites were his natural enemies?

 

After that time, Massasoit said, the Indians had refused to have any dealings with the whites. Whenever a white man’s vessel came in sight, the Indians prepared to shoot anyone that came ashore. And now another white man’s vessel had arrived on the coast, and several of its crew had landed in spite of all that could be done to prevent them.

 

To the great surprise of Massasoit’s men, there was an Indian with these palefaces. And that Indian proved to be Squanto, one of the five who had been taken away fifteen years before.

 

This is but a bare outline of what Massasoit told his sons. It seemed to the lads like a fairy tale, and for days they talked of nothing but this strange story.

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From a soon to be published volume – “Legends and Stories from Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Rhode Island”.

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