This was a talk given my Mary Augghammer in our Native American Genealogy SIG.
"None of the Indian tribes which formerly inhabited the territory of New England -- the Naragansetts, the Mohicans, the Pecots -- have any existence but in the recollection of man. The Lenapes, who received William Penn, a hundred and fifty years ago, upon the banks of the Delaware, have disappeared; and I myself met with the last of the Iroquois, who were begging alms." (Ref. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1831Vol.1, p.342 - p.343)
"Narragansett, Native American tribe of the Algonquian language family and of the Eastern Woodlands culture area. The tribe originally occupied most of the territory along the western shore of Narragansett Bay, in Rhode Island, and claimed dominion over several smaller tribes of the interior and the neighboring islands, including Long Island, New York. They were one of the largest and strongest of the New England tribes. Their economy was based on corn as a staple food, fishing, and hunting. They were expert in canoeing and swimming. Tobacco was grown for smoking and for medicinal use. They lived by the sea in summer and inland in winter, building wigwams of skins, mats, or bark, supported on poles.
In the latter part of the 17th century, the Narragansett took part in King Philip's War against the English colonists. They suffered extremely heavy losses in the fighting and never regained their former strength. (June 24, 1675 to August 28, 1676) A number of the Narragansett people merged with other tribes; the rest intermarried with European settlers. In 1990, 2456 people claimed to be descended from the tribe." (Ref. "Narragansett," Microsoft (R) Encarta. Copyright (c) 1994 Microsoft Corporation. Copyright (c) 1994 Funk & Wagnall's Corporation.)
"The presence of Europeans in the Eastern Woodlands dates from at least AD 1000, when colonists from Iceland tried to settle Newfoundland. Throughout the 1500s, European fishers and whalers used the coast of Canada. European settlement of the region began in the 1600s. It was not strongly resisted, partly because terrible epidemics had spread among the Native Americans of this region through contact with European fishers and with Spanish explorers in the Southeast. By this time the Mississippian cities had also disappeared, probably as a consequence of the epidemics.
The Native American peoples of the Eastern Woodlands included the Iroquois and a number of Algonquian-speaking peoples, including the Lenape, also known as the Delaware; the Micmac; the Narragansett; the Shawnee; the Potawatomi; the Menominee;and the Illinois. Some Eastern Woodlands peoples moved west in the 19th century; others remain throughout the region, usually in their own small communities." (Ref. "Native Americans," Microsoft (R) Encarta. Copyright (c) 1994 Microsoft Corporation. Copyright (c) 1994 Funk & Wagnall's Corporation.)
"American Peoples: Some of the blood group traits of Native Americans are different, however. Most tribes have high frequencies of blood group O, although the Blackfoot and surrounding groups have an unusually high incidence of blood group A1. Except for the Inuit, blood group B in native Americans is thought to be the result of mixture with other peoples. A blood group called Diego occurs only among certain East Asian groups and among indigenous Americans." (Ref. "Races, Classification of," Microsoft (R) Encarta. Copyright (c) 1994 Microsoft Corporation. Copyright (c) 1994 Funk & Wagnall's Corporation.)
"Canonicus, the sachem of the Narragansetts, whose territory had escaped the ravages of the pestilence, at first desired to treat of peace; in 1622, a bundle of arrows, wrapped in the skin of a rattlesnake, was his message of hostility. But, when Bradford sent back the skin stuffed with powder and shot, his courage quailed, and he sued for amity." (Ref. George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.211)
"Canonicus, now chief of the Narragansetts, had given his allegiance to the king and was at peace with the colonists. The Rhode Island colony had received its charter from the king, and were taking no part in the war. In spite of all this, the united Colonies formed an army to attack a peaceful tribe of Indians located outside their jurisdiction. This army formed in Boston, marched through Providence and Warwick on their way to the Great Swamp.
Not until their territory was actually invaded did the Narragansetts offer resistance. The attack was made Sunday night, December 19, in a blinding snowstorm. It was the dead of winter and bitterly cold. After a short skirmish the whites gained entrance through the rude stockade inside of which there were over five hundred wigwams, and the real fighting began. Someone set fire to the wigwams which burned like tinder; soon the whole village was ablaze, throwing a red glare over all. Squaws with babes in their arms and leading children by the hand endeavored to escape to the woods, but were ruthlessly shot or knocked in the head, many were burned to death, more were killed by gun and sword.
By morning the tribe of Narragansetts was exterminated, save for a few who had escaped. A thousand Indians had been killed, about one third having been burned to death. The whites lost from two to four hundred. This was like a signal to all the tribes, and a pitiless war was now started, a war that the Indians felt was for their very existence. All the settlements suffered, even Providence, the home of Roger Williams, the best friend the Indians ever had. Roger Williams and his family were unharmed, although they refused to flee to safety.. For a while the Indians were seemingly successful, but as soon as the colonists became organized, and their families were in safe places, the Indians began to lose, and finally the noble heated Cononchet, chief sachem of what was left of the Narragansetts, was captured and killed. Four months afterward, King Philip was slain, and with these two powerful chiefs gone, the Indians became demoralized, and the colonists gained the upper hand. (1676) Those captured were slain or sold into slavery. Never were a people more thoroughly extirpated than were the Narragansetts." (The encyclopedia ENCARTA '95 has found over 2400 descendants) (Ref. from The House of Carr--A Historical Sketch of the Carr Family from 1450 to 1926 by W.L. Watson. pp. 18, 19)
Chief Canonicus was my 13th g-grandfather. It is through his g-granddaughter, Mary Hyanno, that I descend. In the book "Bearse-Bears-Barss Family, Genealogy of Augustine Bearse and Princess Mary Hyanno" by Franklin Bearse, it tells of the Vikings coming to the Wampanoag area about 1001-1016. "They were fierce, red haired, pale faced men who came, to what is now Massachusetts, mixed their blood with the Wampanoag Indians and went back to the endless waters and were never seen no more.
"Wampanoag" means "White Indian." Mary Hyanno (born 1625) was of light complexion and had flaming red hair. These stories were written for record from the legends passed on from one generation to another in the Wampanoag tribes."
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