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“ [76] living, that were able to shift for themselves, would run away and let them die, and let their carcasses lie above the ground without burial. And the bones and skulls upon the several places of their habitations made such a spectacle, that it seemed to me a new-found Golgotha.”

Dermer, who was at Cape Cod in 1619, says: “I passed along the coast, where I found some eminent plantations, not long since populous, now utterly void. In another place a remnant remains, but not free from sickness; their disease the plague.”

Rev. Francis Higginson, in 1629, speaking of the Sagamores, says: “Their subjects, above twelve years since, were swept away by a great and grievous plague, that was amongst them, so that there are very few left to inhabit the country.” Gookin says: “I have discoursed with some old Indians, that were then youths (in the time of the plague), who say that the bodies all over were exceedingly yellow; describing it by a yellow garment they showed me, both before they died and afterwards.”

It is estimated that, on the arrival of the English, there were about twenty thousand Indians within fifty miles of Plymouth. Their government was rather patriarchal than monarchical. Several hundreds, united under one head, made a family; and their head was called Sagamore. When several families were united under one head, that head was called Sachem. The territory for many miles round Mystic River was owned and occupied by small tribes or detachments, each having its own head. The land on which we live belonged to Sagamore John. He had a brother James, who was Sagamore at Saugus. Their father bequeathed his sovereignty in equal proportions to his two sons, as was the common rule. The Sagamores were subordinates to the higher chief. The Naumkeags owned the territory from North River, in Salem, to Charles River; and their numbers were computed at six thousand.

Hubbard says: “Near the mouth of Charles River, there used to be the general rendezvous of all the Indians, both on the north and south side of the country. It was the seat of the great Sachem, who was much venerated by all the plantations of Indians. At Mistick was the seat of a Sagamore, near adjoining which is a great creek that meets with the mouth of Charles River, and so makes the haven of Boston.”

The records of Charlestown say: “About the months of ”

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