Chapter 20: Indian History.
In describing the original settlement of Cambridge by the English, the author of ‘Wonder-working Providence’ calls attention to their preservation when ‘they were in such great straites for foode’; and what ‘was more remarkable, when they had scarce houses to shelter themselves, and no doores to hinder the Indians accesse to all they had in them, yet did the Lord so awe their hearts, that although they frequented the Englishmens places of aboade, where their whole substance, weake wives, and little ones, lay open to their plunder during their absence, being whole dayes at Sabbath-assemblies, yet had they none of their food or stuffe diminished, neither children nor wives hurt in the least measure, although the Indians came commonly to them at those times, much hungry belly (as they use to say) and were then in number and strength beyond the English by far.’1 There may have been some Indians in the easterly part of the town, as in old records that section is sometimes styled ‘Wigwam Neck’; but the far greater number probably dwelt near Menotomy River and Mystic Pond. They were subject to the ‘Squaw-sachem,’ formerly wife of Nanepashemet, who is mentioned in ‘Mourt's Relation.’ A party from Plymouth visited the Indians at ‘the bottom of the Massachusetts Bay,’ whose sachem, Obbatinewat, a subject of Massasoit, ‘used us very kindly; he told us he durst not then remain in any settled place, for fear of the Tarentines. Also the squaw-sachim, or Massachusetts queen was an enemy to him.’2 On promise of  protection, however, he ‘went along with us, to bring us to the squaw-sachim.’ Crossing the bay to its northerly side, ‘we went ashore, all but two men, and marched in arms up in the country. Having gone three miles, we came to a place where corn had been newly gathered, a house pulled down, and the people gone. A mile from hence, Nanepashemet their king in his life-time had lived. His house was not like others, but a scaffold was largely built, with poles and planks some six foot from ground, and the house upon that, being situated on the top of a hill. Not far from hence in a bottom, we came to a fort built by their deceased king, the manner thus: there were poles some thirty or forty foot long, stuck in the ground as thick as they could be set one by another, and with these they enclosed a ring some forty or fifty foot over. A trench breast high was digged on each side; one way there was to go into it with a bridge; in the midst of this palisado stood the frame of a house, wherein being dead he lay buried. About a mile from hence, we came to such another, but seated on the top of an hill; here Nanepashemet was killed, none dwelling in it since the time of his death.’3After his decease, his widow administered the government of the tribe as squaw-sachem, and married Webcowits, her principal powwow, conjurer, or medicine man. By this marriage, however, he did not become a sachem, or king, but merely a prince-consort. In the ‘First General Letter of the Governor and Deputy of the New England Company for a Plantation in Massachusetts Bay, to the Governor and Council for London's Plantation in the Massachusetts Bay in New England,’ dated ‘In Gravesend the 17th of April, 1629,’ is this important direction,—--‘If any of the salvages pretend right of inheritance to all or any part of the lands granted in our pattent, wee pray you endeavour to purchase their tytle, that wee may avoyde the least scruple of intrusion.’4 Accordingly, at the session of the General Court, March 13, 1638-9, ‘Mr. Gibons was desired to agree with the Indians for the land within the bounds of Watertowne, Cambridge, and Boston.’5 The deed of conveyance, or release of title, I have not been able to find; yet there is sufficient evidence that the purchase was made of the squaw-sachem, and that the price was duly paid. The General Court ordered, May 20, 1640, ‘that the 13l. 8s. 6d. layd out by Capt. Gibons shall bee paid him, vid.:  13l. 8s. 6d. by Watertowne and 10l. by Cambridge; and also Cambridge is to give Squa-Sachem a coate every winter while shee liveth.’6 This sale or conveyance to Cambridge is recognized in a deed executed Jan. 13, 1639, by the ‘Squa-Sachem of Misticke’ and her husband Webcowits, whereby they conveyed to Jotham Gibbons ‘the reversion of all that parcel of land which lies against the ponds at Mistick aforesaid, together with the said ponds, all which we reserved from Charlestown and Cambridge, late called Newtowne, and all hereditaments and appurtenances thereunto belonging, after the death of me the said Squa-Sachem.’7 The inhabitants of Cambridge lived on friendly terms with the Indians; at least, no evidence appears to the contrary. They paid their allotted dues to the Squa-Sachem, and made full compensation for all losses which she sustained through their default. The Town Records show that, on the 10th of April, 1643, ‘agreed with the Indians, by the present townsmen, to pay to Squa-Sachem 8 bushels of Indian corn, after next harvest. It is agreed likewise, that George Cooke being at the charge to make a fence of two sufficient rails in the town line, about half a mile in length, the fence to begin at the outside of George Cooke's land, running out northward to meet Captain Gibbines his fence, to secure the Indian's corn, it is agreed that the town will pay for the making the fence.’ Again, Nov. 11, 1643, ‘Agreed, that the cow-keepers shall pay six bushels of corn to Squa-Sachem, for the damage done to her corn, upon the Sabbath day, through the neglect of the keepers, in the year 1642.’ On the 8th of March, 1643-4, the ‘Squa-Sachim’ with four other Indian rulers, voluntarily put herself ‘under the government and jurisdiction of the Massachusetts, to be governed and protected by them,’ and promised ‘to be true and faithful to the said government.’8 She is supposed to have died not long before 1662, when a claim was made for land in which she had reserved a life estate.9 One of the Indian Chiefs, who united with the Squaw-sachem in this act of submission to ‘the government and jurisdiction of the Massachusetts,’ was Cutshamache, Cutshamakin, or Kuchamakin, who resided ‘at a place called Neponsitt, within the  bounds of Dorchester.’10 His authority extended over those who dwelt at Nonantum, which was then included in Cambridge. With these Indian neighbors the English maintained peace. In one respect their relations were peculiarly interesting. When Rev. John Eliot commenced the public labors of his mission, ‘the first place he began to preach at was Nonantum, near Watertown Mill, upon the south side of Charles River, about four or five miles from his own house, where lived at that time Waban, one of their principal men, and some Indians with him.’11 Eliot had previously devoted much time to the task of acquiring a competent knowledge of the Indian language, and had imparted religious instruction to individuals, as he had opportunity. At length he commenced his public ministry to the heathen, as thus related by himself: ‘Upon October 28, 1646, four of us (having sought God) went unto the Indians inhabiting within our bounds, with a desire to make known the things of their peace to them. A little before we came to their Wigwams, five or six of the chief of them met us with English salutations, bidding us much welcome; who leading us into the principal wigwam of Waaubon, we found many more Indians, men, women, children, gathered together from all quarters round about, according to appointment, to meet with us, and learn of us. Waaubon, the chief minister of justice among them, exhorting and inviting them before thereunto, being one who gives more grounded hopes of serious respect to the things of God than any that as yet I have known of that forlorn generation,’ etc.12 My prescribed limits will not admit a particular account of this primitive Christian mission to the Indians. Briefly, they were visited in a similar manner, November 11 and 26, and December 9, in the same year. At these several meetings, by prayers, and sermons, and familiar questions and answers, an earnest effort was made to impart to them a knowledge of the Gospel. A particular description of the means used, and of the encouraging results, is given by Eliot in a tract entitled, ‘The Day-breaking if not the Sun-rising of the Gospel with the Indians in New England.’ printed at London, 1647, and reprinted in the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, XXIV. 1-23. In this missionary work, Mr. Eliot was assisted by Rev. Thomas Shepard of Cambridge  and others. In a tract entitled ‘The Clear Sunshine of the Gospel breaking forth upon the Indians in New England,’ printed at London, 1648, Mr. Shepard says, ‘As soone as ever the fiercenesse of the winter was past, March 3, 1647, I went out to Noonanetum to the Indian Lecture, where Mr. Wilson, Mr. Allen of Dedham, Mr. Dunster, beside many other Christians were present.’13 At a later day, Mr. Eliot was assisted by his son John (H. C. 1656), by Daniel Gookin, son of General Gookin (H. C. 1669), and by others. For several years, the mission was successful beyond all reasonable expectation. The Indians at Nonantum soon became so far civilized as well as Christianized, that they desired to live in a more orderly way. Accordingly a tract of land, called by the natives Natick, or a Place of Hills, was assigned by the General Court, for their exclusive use. ‘In the year 1651, the town of Natick was settled. It consisted of three long streets, two on the north and one on the south side of the river, with a bridge eighty feet long, and eight feet high, and stone foundations, the whole being built by the Indians themselves. To each house situated on these streets was attached a piece of land. The houses were in the Indian style. One house, larger and more commodious than the rest, was built in the English style. One apartment of it was used as a school-room on week-days, and as a place of worship on the Sabbath. The upper room was a kind of wardrobe, where the Indians hung up their skins and other valuables. In the corner of this room was partitioned off an apartment for Mr. Eliot. This building was the first meeting house in Natick.’14 In this town was the first church of Indians embodied, in the year of our Lord, 1660.15 The Christian mission was not confined to the dwellers at Nonantum. Mr. Eliot, and others whom God raised up, both English and Indians, preached the word with success to other tribes. In addition to his other labors, Mr. Eliot translated the whole Bible into the English tongue, which was printed at Cambridge, the New Testament in 1661, and the Old Testament in 1663. He also prepared an Indian Grammar, and translated into the Indian tongue several tracts written by himself and others,16 all which were also printed in Cambridge. It was very properly said by the Rev. Mr. McKenzie, ‘Let it be remembered to the honor of our fathers, that the first  Protestant mission to the heathen in modern times began in Cambridge; the first Protestant sermon in a heathen tongue was preached here; the first translation of the Bible by an Englishman into a heathen tongue was printed here; the first Protestant tract in a heathen language was written and printed here.’17 The result of all these labors up to the year 1674 was described by Gookin, in his ‘Historical Collections of the Indians in New England,’ printed in the first volume of Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Besides Natick, the most important of all, there were six communities in Massachusetts, exclusive of Plymouth, which had long been denominated ‘praying towns;’ namely, Pakemitt, or Punkapaog (now Stoughton); Hassanamesitt, or Hassanamisco (Grafton); Okommakamesit (Marlborough); Wamesit, or Pawtuckett (Tewksbury); Nashobah (Littleton); Magunkaquog (Hopkinton). There were also seven ‘new praying towns,’ where the Gospel had been favorably received about three years: Manchage (Oxford); Chabanakongkomun (Dudley); Maanexit (north part of Woodstock, at that time included in Massachusetts); Quantisset (southeast part of Woodstock); Wabquissit (southwest part of Woodstock); Packachoog (south part of Worcester); Waeuntug (Uxbridge). ‘There are two other Indian towns; viz., Weshakin18 and Quabaug,19 which are coming on to receive the gospel; and reckoning these, there are nine in the Nipmuck country.’20 In these fourteen established towns, there were two organized churches, and, as Gookin estimated, about eleven hundred ‘souls yielding obedience to the gospel.’ Meantime an earnest effort was made to impart scientific as well as religious knowledge to the Indians, in which commendable work Mr. Eliot was a prominent actor. His labors and their result are described by Gookin in his ‘Historical Collections.’ Besides preaching and inducing others to preach the Gospel, and translating the Bible and other books into the Indian language, —‘he took great care that schools should be planted among the praying Indians; and he taught some himself to read, that they might be capable to teach others; and by his procurement some of the choice Indian youths were put to school with English schoolmasters, to learn both English, Latin, and Greek tongues. There was much cost out of the Corporation stock expended in this work, for fitting and preparing the Indian youth to be learned  and able preachers unto their countrymen. Their diet, apparel, books and schooling, was chargeable. In truth the design was prudent, noble, and good; but it proved ineffectual to the ends proposed; for several of the said youth died, after they had been sundry years at learning, and made good proficiency therein. Others were disheartened, and left learning after they were almost ready for the college. And some returned to live among their countrymen, where some of them are improved for schoolmasters and teachers, unto which they are advantaged by their education. Some others of them have entered upon other callings; as one is a mariner; another, a carpenter; another went for England with a gentleman that lived sometimes at Cambridge in New England, named Mr. Drake, which Indian, as I heard, died there not many months after his arrival. I remember but only two of them all that lived in the college at Cambridge; the one named Joel, the other Caleb, both natives of Martha's Vineyard. These two were hopeful young men, especially Joel, being so ripe in learning, that he should, within a few months, have taken his first degree of bachelor of art in the college. He took a voyage to Martha's Vineyard, to visit his father and kindred, a little before the commencement, but upon his return back in a vessel, with other passengers and mariners, suffered shipwreck upon the island of Nantucket..... The other, called Caleb, not long after he took his degree of bachelor of art21 at Cambridge in New England, died of a consumption at Charlestown, where he was placed by Mr. Thomas Danforth, who had inspection over him, under the care of a physician in order to his health, where he wanted not for the best means the country could afford, both of food and physick; but God denied the blessing, and put a period to his days.’22 The records of the Commissioners of the United Colonies of New England contain accounts of sundry payments for the maintenance and instruction of Indian scholars, some of them very young, from 1656 to 1672. An earlier account is preserved in tile ‘Massachusetts Archives,’ XXX. 9, which may serve as a sample:— An account of expenses layd out for ye country from August 1645 untill this 8th of October 1646. 
|First, for ye printing of five hundred declarations.||4. 00. 00|
|Item, for ye diet & washing of ye two Indians since ye 3d of ye 8th mon. hitherto, considering ye attendance of yeyonger beeing a very childe wt yo think meet,||16. 00. 00|
|Item, for physick for James during his sicknes for 5 or 6 weeks,||∧. 19. 06|
|Item, for physick for Jonathan in ye time of his sicknes,||00.04. 06|
|Item, for making ym 12 bands & 8 shirts & often mending their apparel,||00. 03. 08|
|Item, for buttons thread & other materials bought of Mr.|
|Russel for ym,||00. 02. 06|
|Item, for half a years schooling for James,||00. 06. 00|
This account was referred to a committee, who reported,—
In this praiseworthy effort to enlighten, and civilize, and Christianize the Indians, Cambridge shares the glory with Roxbury. Not only was the gospel first preached to them here, and many of their youth here educated, but some of the most conspicuous and energetic laborers in this field of duty resided here. Omitting for the present all mention of others, if the labors of John Eliot of Roxbury entitled him to be regarded as an ‘Apostle,’ or as standing in the place of Aaron as a high-priest to them in spiritual things, with equal propriety may Daniel Gookin of Cambridge be regarded as their Moses,—their civil instructor, ruler, judge, and historian. The ‘praying Indians’ are said to have been early persuaded by Mr. Eliot, Aug. 6, 1651, to adopt the Mosaic form of government, by electing rulers of  hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.23 ‘Moreover the General Court appointed and empowered one of the English magistrates, to join with the chief of their rulers,24 and keep a higher court among them; extending the power of this court to the latitude of a county court among the English; from the jurisdiction whereof nothing for good order and government, civil or criminal, is expected [excepted?] but appeals, life, limb, banishment, and cases of divorce. The first English magistrate, chosen to be ruler over the praying Indians in the colony of Massachusetts, was first Mr. D. G.25 the auther of these Collections; and this was in A. D. 1656. But not long after his occasions called him for England for two or three years, one Major Humphrey Atherton was appointed to conduct this affair, which he did about three years. But then the Lord taking him to himself by death, and the author being returned back, in the year 1660, a year or more before Major Atherton's death, was again called and reinstated in that employ, A. D. 1661, and hath continued in that work hitherto.’26 In this position Gookin continued until the Charter government was abrogated in 1686: and most faithfully did he perform his duty. He tells us that besides causing the orders of the General Court to be observed, sundry other things were to be ‘done by him in order to their good; as the making of orders, and giving instructions and directions, backed with penalties, for promoting and practising morality, civility, industry, and diligence in their particular callings:’ he was also ‘to make and execute good orders for keeping holy the sabbath day; and that the people do attend the public worship of God; and that schools for the education of youth be settled and continued among them.’27 His own record of a court held at Wabquissit, in 1674, illustrates the manner of proceeding: After Mr. Eliot had preached, ‘then I began a court among the Indians. And first I approved their teacher Sampson, and their Constable Black James; giving  each of them a charge to be diligent and faithful in their places. Also I exhorted the people to yeild obedience to the gospel of Christ, and to those set in order there. Then published a warran t or order that I had prepared, empowering the constable to suppress drunkenness, sabbath-breaking, especially powowing and idolatry; and, after warning given, to apprehend all delinquents, and bring them before authority, to answer for their misdoings; the smaller faults to bring before Wattasacompanum, ruler of the Nipmuck country; for idolatry and powowing, to bring them before me.’28 A life-like picture of one of these courts is exhibited in Gookin's certified copy of its session- At a Court held at Naticke among the Indians, Sept. 14, 1681. The testimonies of several aged and principal Indians hereafter named, taken in Court, as followeth: Present, Daniel Gookin senr. Esq., Assistant.
|Waban,||Mr. John Eliot, senr.,|
|Tom Tray,||Peter Ephraim,|