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WISER NEWSLETTER

Volume 5 Issue 5                                                                May 2000


RESEARCH FINDINGS

From a book entitled, “Early Records of Lancaster, Massachusetts, 1643-1725, edited by Henry S. Nourse, A.M., 1884.

 

On page 91; “Both petition and deed are among the Shattuck Manuscripts in the possession of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  The grantor was James Wiser, alias Quanapaug, that brave Christian captain of the Nashaways, whose timely warning of the impending danger might have prevented the massacre of February, 1676, had the colonial authorities paid proper regard to it. 

 

On pages 99-102 “Of the aboriginal possessors of Nashaway none, unless Sholan, better deserves to be honored among us than that Indian scout, whose courage, skill and fidelity should have saved the town from the massacre of 1676.-James Quanapaug, alias James Wiser, alias Quenepenett, or Quannaphoit.  This Christian Indian was so well known for his bravery, capacity and friendship for the English, that Philip had marked him for martyrdom, and given orders accordingly to some of his lieutenants.  The governor of the Colony about the same date, commissioned him and a fellow Christian named Job Kattenanit, from Natick, for the dangerous venture of visiting the Indian camps to bring back information of the numbers and plans of Philip’s forces.  These two men, the historian William Hubbard tells us, “through the woods, in the depths of winter, when the ways were impassable for any other sort of people,: sought the Nipnet outposts, and “ordered their business so prudently as that they were admitted into those Indian habitations as friends and had free liberty of discourse with them”  They were closely watched, however, threatened, and but for a powerful friend would have been slain. 

 

In Quanapaug;s own words:-Next morning I went to One-eyed Joh’s wigwam.  He said he was glad to see me:-I had been his friend many years & had helped him kill Mohaugs:-and said nobody should meddle with me.  I told him what was said of me.  He said if any body hurt me they should die…I lay in the sagamores wigwam: and he charged his gun, and threatened any man that should offer me hurt..And this Indian told me they would fall upon Lancaster, Groton, Marlborough, Sudbury and Medfield, and that the first thing they would do should be to cut down Lancaster bridge so to hiner their flight and assistance coming to them, and they inteneded to fall upon them in about twenty days time form Wednesday next…[Jmes Quanapaug’s Information]  Quanapaug finding that he must soon meet Philip, and having effected the main purpose of his errand, evaded his suspicious foes by a cunning strategem, and on the 24th, 11th mo., 1675, brought to his employers, the Governor and Council, fullknowledge of the hostile forces and their full intent.  The emergency demanded speedy energy: it met inaction.  Rumors of coming woe meantime stirred the air in the Nashaway valley.  The chief military officer, the minister, and other leading citizens went to the Bay to awaken the Council from their lethargy and beg for help.  It was too late.  February 9th, 1675-6, about ten o’clock at night, Job Kattenanit, the second spy, completely exhausted, dragged himself to Major Gookin’s door in Cambridge.  He had deserted wife and children, and alone traveled upon snow shoes through the pathless wilderness from New Braintree, a terribly fatiguing march of eight miles, to save his English friends.  James Quanapaug ahd foretold that on the morrow the blow would be struck at Lancaster.  Let Daniel Gookin tell Job’s story, and the fulfillment of the prophecy.  He brought tidings that before he came from the enemy at menemesse, a party of the Indians, about four hundred, were marched forth to attack and burn Lancaster, and on the morrow, which was February 10th, they would attempt it.  This time exactly suited with James his information before hinted, which was not then credited as it should have been; and consequently no so good means used to prevent it or at least to have lain in ambushments for the enemy.  As soon as Major Gookin understood this tidings by Job, he rose out of his bed, and advising with Mr. Danforth one of the Council that lived near him, the dispatched away post in the night to Marlborough Concord and Lancaster, ordering forces to surround Lancaster with all speed.  The posts were at Marlborough by break fo day and Captain Wasdworht with about forty soldier marched away as speedily as he could possibly to Lancaster (which was ten miles distant).  But before he got there the enemy had set fire on the bridge: But Capt Wadworth got over and beat off the enemy, recovering a garrison house, that stood enar another bridge, belonging to Cyprian Stevens, and so through God’s favor prevented the enemy from cutting off the garrison, God strangely preserving that handful with Capt Wadsworth, for the enemy were numerous, about four hundred, and lay in ambushment for him on the common road, but his guides conducted him in a private way and so they got safe to Cyprian Stevens, his garrison as above mentioned.  But the enemy had taken and burnt another garrison house very near the other only a bridge and a little ground parting them.  This house burnt was the minister’s house.  Mr. Rolandson wherein were slain and taken captive aobut forty persons, the minister’s wife and children amongst them.  [Daniel Gookin’s History of the Praying Indians.]”

 

On pages 138-139; Know all men by these presents, that I, George Tahanto, Indian Sagamore, for and in consideration of what money, namely, twelve pounds, was formerly paid to Sholan, my uncle, sometime sagamore of Nashuah, for the purchase of said township,a nd also forty six shillings formerly paid by Insigne John Moore and John Houghton of said Nashuah to James Wiser, alias Quenepenett, now deceased, but especially for and in consideration of eighteen pounds paid part…for the performance of all the abovesaid, I, the said George Tahanto, have set my hand and seal, this twenty sixth day of June, in the 13th year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord, William the Third over England, &c., King, Anno Domini, 1701.

 

On pages 275-276; Know all men by these presents that I James Wiser of Washakim in the countie of midlesex, Indian, in New England, for good consideratione and mouinge thereunto, but especially for & in consideratione of fouer pounds teen shillings allredy red by me haue giuen granted bargined sold alinated and confirmed and do by these psents give grant bargine sell alinate and confirme unto John Prescott of Lancaster some nitie accers of unimproved land be it more or lesse lying upon a plain and twentie accers be it more or lesse beinge a corene field lyinge upon a hill weastward of this plaine bounded by a pond a tlittill remorte easterly from the plaine: Washakim fort being about fiefteene rods frome the nearest pt of this paline and the him whear on the Indian field is, weasterly of this plaine, only Adagunapeke and his Aunt and his sister reserve one accer a yere, the hill being called by the name of moantuhcake, this land yones to the farme that the Country gave John Prescott which also is bounded by ahill to the south runinge downed to his meadow …

 

Rumneymarsh, another name for Chelsea.

 

 

 

POSTSCRIPT

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Ron Wiser                                          6 Baton Rouge                         Roswell, NM  88201

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