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Volume 10 Issue 10                                                                       October 2005



There are a number of interesting references to our ancestor, James Rumneymarsh Quanapohkit Wiser in the following book;

“A documentary history of Chelsea: including the Boston precincts of Winnisimmet, RumneyMarsh, and Pullen Point, 1624-1824”, collected and arranged, with notes by Mellen Chamberlain in two volumes; published by the Massachuesetts Historcial Society, 1908.


Text Box:

This is a picture of present day Rumney Marsh Reservation in Saugus and Revere, Massachusetts


 In Volume 1, page 1; “From 1739 to 1846, Chelsea included the present city of the same name, with the towns of Revere and Winthrop, all of which, from 1634 to January 10, 1738/9, were parts of Boston, and severally known as Winnisimmet, Rumney Marsh, and Pullen Point.”  On a map, Chelsea is just a little northeast of Boston.  From the Revere, MA website;  “Rumney Marsh was originally divided and allotted to twenty-one of Boston’s most prominent citizens.  By 1639, the original 21 allotments had been consolidated into seven great farms.”


Our James was named Rumneymarsh as this is where he was probably born or from.  The following is a summary of the history of his family:


Take from the same book mentioned above, Volume 1, Page 60; “In 1615 the Tarratines, a powerful tribe easterly of the Penobscot, made war with the Pawtuckets, whose lands extended from the Charles to the Piscataqua, including Winnisimmet, Rumney Marsh, and Pullen Point.  This was disastrous to the Pawtuckets, of whom were the Rumney Marsh Indians [footnote 1].  The other cause, the plague of 1616, more fatal than war and less discriminating, ravaged the New England coast.


The chief of the Pawtuckets was Nanepashemet of Lynn until the war with the Tarratines, when for safety he removed to the Mystic, near Medford, where he built a fortified house; but that did not protect him, for he was killed in 1619.  He left a widow, three sons, and a daughter.  Their English names were Sagamore John of Mystic, and sometime of Winnisimmet; Sagamore James of Lynn; and Sagamore George of Salem, who surviving his mother and brothers, became sachem of his tribe.  The daughter was Yawata.  After Nanepashemet’s death his widow gathered the remnant of the tribe to the Mystic, where she governed it, leaving local rule, however, to her sons.  Before 1635, she married Webcowet, medicine man of the tribe, who became sachem in her right.  She died [about 1650].   .Footnote 1-Until the year 1738 [1739], the limits of Boston extended to Saugus, including Chelsea, which was called Rumney Marsh. Part of this great marsh is now [1844] in Chelsea and part in Saugus.  The Indians living on the borders of this marsh, in Lynn and Saugus, were sometimes called the Rumney Marsh Indians.”


Also on pages 64 to 65; “On the death of John and James, the succession passed to their brother, Sagamore George, subject of the supreme authority of his mother, Squaw Sachem, widow of Nanepashemet.  His jurisdiction, at first over Lynn and Rumney Marsh, after his mother’s death, extended north and east of the Charles to the Piscataqua.  His immediate possessions were in Winnisimmet, Rumney Marsh, Saugus, and Lynn; and his immediate subjects, the Rumney Marsh Indians.  About 1676 his family removed to the vicinity of Lowell.  In the war with the Wampanoags, the same year, he joined King Philip, was taken prisoner, and carried as a slave to Barbadoes, whence he returned.  Born in 1616, married to a daughter of Poquanum, who lived in Nahant, he died in 1684, at the house of James Rumney Marsh, the son of his sister Yawata.  He left a son and three daughters, the latter of great personal attractions. Refer to footnote 21 on Yawata, Daughter of Nanepashemet.  She had a son, Muminquash, in 1636, called James Rumney Marsh [later James Wiser].  [Corey, Hist. Of Malden, p. 48, note 98, contradicts the statement of Lewis on this point.]  They removed to Natick.”


Sagamore George’s right to these lands is explained on page 66; “Quachamaquine saith: when George Indians brother was sick of the pox before his death he spake to him & Egawam with him & said when I die I give all my wompam & Coates & other things to my mother & all my ground to my owne brother meaning the Ground about power horne hill, unless his own sonne did live but if his sonne dyed then none to have the Ground but his brother George Indian, and Egawam saith the same; & they both say that seaven dayes after this John Sagamore George’s Brother dyed 21 3 mo 1651.”


As we know, James was a friend of the British during King Philip’s War.  In Volume 2, page 352; “In the expedition to Mt. Hope, June 24, 1675, Captain Prentice took with him as guides three Chelsea Indians, two of whom were James Quanapohit, and Thomas, alias Rumney Marsh, his brother.  The Naticks were divided into four companies.  The first lived at Medfield, with James Rumney Marsh and his kindred, and numbered twenty-five, including five men.  Among the dangerously wounded in this war was the daughter of that friend of the English, “Sagamore John,” who died at Winnisimmet.” 


But regardless of his friendship with the British, James and about 500 of his people were interred on Deer Island in the Boston Harbor during the war, and most of them died from disease and starvation.  From the above mentioned book on page 4: “The chiefe Ilands which keepe out the Winde and the Sea from disturbing the Harbours, are first Deare Iland, which lies within a flight-shot of Pullin-point.  This Iland is so called, because of the Deare which often swimme thither from the Maine, when they are chased by the Woolves:  Some have killed sixteene Deere in a day upon this Iland.”


Text Box:

Picture of Deer Island found in the book on Page 1



In the records, some confusion exists as to James’ parentage.  For instance from the following deed, it would imply that our James was the son of Joan, a close relative of George, but not Yawata. 


From the same book page 74; Indian Deed of the Newgate Estate; “To all to whome theis presents shall come Joane Widdow and relict of Sagamore George formerly Sachem of Rumlymarish Linn and thos parts adjacent in the Massachusetts Collony in New England.  Susanna and Sarah children & daughters of the said Sagamore Georg David the grandchild of the said Sagamore George James Rumlymarish alias Quanupskowet and Joan his Mother send greeting…Therfore so it is that wee the said Sqaw Sachem Joan Susanna and Sarah Widdow and daughters unto the said Sagamore George David grandchild unto the said Sagamore George and James and Joan afore mentioned nearest of kindered and relation to the said Sagamore”…dated 9 Apr 1685.


We never find the true answer to who James Rumneymarsh Quanapohkit Wiser parents really were, but we must conclude they were undoubtedly related to these Sagamores.







Please accept our condolences to those who recently lost family members.

Chicago IL Tribune, 28/29 Nov 2004; Catherine R. Moran, nee Matthews, age 79, suddenly, beloved wife of the late Richard F. Moran (his ancestry to Benjamin Wiser; his father, Peter Matthew Moran, Matilda Ann Gregory Moran, Matilda Ann Wiser Gregory, Samuel Wiser, Benjamin Wiser); devoted mother of Penny, Terence (Donna), Daniel (Donna), Michael (Michele) and the late Timothy Moran; proud grandmother of Jason, Joshua, Megan, Daniel, Jennifer, Dawn, Sean, Dylan and the late Timothy and Jacqueline; dearest sister of Mary (Wesley) Lloyd; loving sister-in-law of Edward Moran; fond aunt of many nieces and nephews. Visitation Monday 2 to 9 p.m. Funeral Tuesday, 10 a.m. from the Robert J. Sheehy & Sons Funeral Home, 4950 W. 79th St., Burbank to St. Bede The Venerable Church. Mass 10:30 a.m. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery 708-857-7878 773-582-4400.




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