previous next


Sagamore John, whose Indian name was Wonohaquaham, lived in Medford, and probably occupied at times the house of his father. He was friendly to our ancestors; he gave them permission to settle, and afterwards apprised them of the premeditated assault of the unfriendly Indians. He died in Medford, Dec. 5, 1633. His last hours are thus described in “New England's first fruits:” --

Sagamore John, Prince of Massaquesers, was, from our very first landing, more courteous, ingenious, and, to the English, more loving than others of them. He desired to learn and speak our language, and loved to imitate us in our behavior and apparel, and began to hearken after our God and his ways, and would much commend Englishmen and their God, saying (much good men, much good God) and being convinced that our condition and ways were better far than theirs, did resolve and promise to leave the Indians, and come live with us; but yet, kept down by the fears and scoffs of the Indians, had not power to make good his purpose; yet went on, not without some trouble of mind and secret plucks of conscience, as the sequel declares; for, being struck with death, fearfully cried out of himself that he had not come to live with us, to have known our God better. “ But now,” said he, “ I must die, the God of the English is much angry with me, and will destroy me. Ah! I was afraid of the scoffs of the wicked Indians; yet my child shall live with the English, and learn to know their God, when I am dead. I will give him to Mr. Wilson: he is much good man, and much love me.” So sent for Mr. Wilson to come to him, and committed his only child to his care, and so died.

The Indians were powerful on this shore; and Gosnold, who was at Cape Cod in 1602, says “this coast is very full of people.” Capt. Smith, who was here in 1614, says it “was well inhabited with many people.” Sir Ferdinando Gorges adds, “At our first discovery of those coasts, we found it very populous, the inhabitants stout and warlike.” Speaking of the Mattachusetts, Capt. Smith observes, “For their trade and merchandise, to each of their principal families or habitations, they have divers towns and people belonging, and, by their relations and descriptions, more than twenty several habitations. It is the Paradise of all those parts; for here are many isles planted with corn, groves, mulberries, savage gardens, and good harbors. The seacoast, as you pass, shows you all along large cornfields.”

This picture of Indian prosperity was almost wholly effaced by the terrible plague of 1617 and 1618. Morton says of it, “They died on heaps as they lay in their houses; and the ”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Medford (Massachusetts, United States) (2)
New England (United States) (1)
Cape Cod (Massachusetts, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Wilson (2)
T. P. Smith (2)
Sagamore John (2)
Morton (1)
Bartholomew Gosnold (1)
Ferdinando Gorges (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December 5th, 1633 AD (1)
1618 AD (1)
1617 AD (1)
1614 AD (1)
1602 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: