for Peeps of all Persuasions

Real Estate, Boatbuilding, Business, and Politics ....
Interspersed with Truth, Justice, and Insight into the Meaning of Life .....
for Nanepashemet Peeps of all Persuasions.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Brutal Blog Background

For some psychological or perhaps metaphysical reason, I remain fascinated by the history of this Blog's namesake... the Great Sachem Nanepashemet of the Naumkeag band and ruling over the Massachusetts and Pawtucket native people of New England.
It is a little known fact that throughout the 1600's, Massachsetts was the scene of war and pestilence, the likes of which this nation has never experienced again.... not in the Civil War, WWI or WWII.
The Tarratine war, which occurred between 1607 and 1630 and the concurrent plague and smallpox epidemics took a thriving Native American population of thirty thousand Massachusetts coastal inhabitants and reduced it by 90%.... or three thousand survivors.  This paved the way for the English settlers to move into the highly cultivated agricultural lands of the Massachusetts tribes with minimal cost and resistance.
The Tarratines of Nova Scotia and Northern Maine established contact with the French and became emissaries of a emerging industry of providing North American furs to a European fashion market.  Disagreements in trade negotiations between tribes caused violence and indignities which were escalated into invasion and war raids by the Tarratines into Massachusetts tribal lands.  They were aided by a technological advantage.... gunpowder and firearms supplied by their French benefactors.
The invaders indisciminiately killed women, children, and even infants.  Prisoners were rarely taken and if they were, they were tortured and usually burned at the stake.  Most raids were conducted at night. It was a terrifying and horrific period.  There frequently were not enough tribespeople left alive to bury the dead.
Nanepashemet had sent a war party to aid the Penobscots of Maine and they had success in their skirmishes with the Tarratines in mid-Coast Maine.  But the vengeful Tarratines sent wave after wave of raiders against Nanepashemet in Salem, Marblehead, and Ipswich and he moved to a fortified position in a stockade fort located in a hill in Medford, MA north of the Mystic River.
There the Tarratines laid siege to him and he was killed in battle in 1619.  Hostilities lessened after that but still continued as two of Nanepashemet's sons were wounded in a raid on the Agawam village in present day Ipswich a few years later.   His daughter-in-law was captured and brought back to Maine, but she was returned by an English settler on the Pemaquid peninsula who paid a ransom and brought her back to the Naumkeags.
Before the century ended, King Phillips War again decimated the New England Indians as well as the Puritan settlers in a war that had the highest percentage of casualties that this nation has ever experienced.  I would tell you more, but I'm kind of running out of gas on this post.   Plus you are probably so bored that you are contemplating opening your veins and bleeding to death.
Sorry.....I told you at the beginning that my fascination with this was a bit over the top.  But I bet you never realized that our quaint little New England region was the site of such anquish and carnage within the armreach of our modern historical record.

To find out more, see Remembering the Tarratines and Nanepashemet  by John V.Goff

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