Saturday, February 22, 2014

1622 - The Indian Uprising

January, 1622 - Chief Narragansett Canonicus sends threats to Plymouth.

Finding nobody able to succeed him, his grandfather Tahtassuck was said to have caused a consanguine marriage between his son and his daughter, giving birth to four children. The eldest was called Quononicut (c. 1567-1647) better known as Canonicus. In 1617, the Narragansetts had not been as much affected by disease as their neighbors Wampanoags, what allowed them to keep their distance with the Plymouth settlers. Self assertive, Canonicus send them a messenger with a bundle of arrows in a leather wrap tied with a rattlesnake-skin which sounded like a war threat. William Bradford answered resolutely by making him send back the wrap filled with gunpowder and round shots. Impressed by the firmness of the answer, Canonicus preferred to seek a compromise.

William Bradford
February, 1622 - Governor William Bradford decides to make a fence around Plymouth in anticipation of a possible attack by the Narragansetts.

February, 1622 - The Sea Flower arrives in Jamestown with on board 120 passengers headed by Ralph Hamor, former member of the Council of Virginia, back in the colony after eight years in England.

These new settlers among whom most came from the Bristol area were to work in the new Plantation located in the Isle of Wight, a domain belonging previously to the Warrasquayocks. This one resulted from a patent granted on November 21, 1621 to Edward Bennett, a wealthy London merchant on the condition he sends two hundred migrants.
Descended from a family of Somerset, the Bennetts had been involved for several years in the colonization of Virginia. Eward Bennett known for his Puritan ideas as well as his brothers Robert and Richard were all three grantees of the patent allowing them to found a new plantation. Named Bennett Welcome, this one was supposed to receive primarily puritanical settlers.

Friday 22, March 1622 - the Indian Massacre.
Powhatan Indians lead a series of surprise attacks against 31 settlements and plantations in Virginia. In a few hours, they kill 347 settlers on 1240 inhabitants living in the colony and destroy the ironworks under construction in Henricus.

Governor Francis Wyatt had to face the deadliest Powhatans' attack since the British arrived in Jamestown. Among the casualties, were ten members of the council as well as John Rolfe, former husband of Pocahontas. Wyatt was to spend the rest of the year to organize the retaliation to contain the Indians' attacks.
The Indians still proved the day before very considerate of the settlers so as to put them in confidence. They had even come with gifts and foods. There was non indication that an attack of such a magnitude was actually planned. Within minutes, Powhatans grabbed all the tools, hammers or hatchets, that they had on hand to kill indifferently men, women and children.
Isolated Plantations had particularly to suffer. More than 70 settlers were slain in Martin's Hundred, 46 in Bennett Welcome, 27 at Berkeley's Captain Plantation (Falling Creek).
Martin's Hundred plantation was the most affected. Approximately 150 persons lived in this 21 500-acre domain in poor conditions. Mortality was already high due to a thankless environment. The Powhatans killed nearly half of the settlers and captured about twenty women who would never to be returned.
Jamestown was however fortunately saved thanks to a young Indian named Chanco who warned Richard Pace of an impending attack. This one ran to inform the council members who had chance to prepare the defence.
After the death of Chief Powhatan Wahunsonacock, the succession went to his half brother Opechancanough. He did not think that the Indians could continue to maintain peaceful relations with the English and had planned to destroy their settlements. In answer to the murder of his advisor Nemattanew by an Englishman, Opechancanough launched the series of surprise attacks
against the colony.
Nemattanew was not a stranger. The settlers had met him as early as 1611 during the first Anglo-Powhatan war. He even made the reputation of being insensitive to the English musket shots. He had served as intermediary during several negotiations and had been sent in 1619 to Jamestown by Opechancanough to find common ground with the colonists on the occasion of a raid that Powhatan planned against a Siouan tribe. It had not occurred but Nemattanew had kept his habits and traded with the settlers. He attended in particular a certain Morgan with whom he bartered but it happened that the latter disappeared and Nemattanew was suspected of being responsible for his murder. He was then summoned to be tried but opposed such a resistance as he was deadly wounded by an English shooting. Before dying, he asked to be buried inside the English lines so that Powhatan continues to believe in his invicibility. Some claim that he was meanwhile disgraced with Opechancanough what does not prevent his death to serve opportunely as pretext to the Indian uprising.
The Powhatans naively believed that the English would accept defeat and agree to pack up but these attacks brought about inverse effect. They wrecked the good image which the Indians had managed to acquire in England thanks to the efforts of Pocahontas. At Henricus, the most distant settlement from Jamestown, the school which had been opened to welcome both Indian and English children was definitively closed.
The settlers were not going to delay answering. For many of them, this attack justified their desire to fire Indians from their territory and to assert their right of conquest, a notion dear to the Spaniards but that the English had, so far, avoided putting forward.

Early April, 1622 - Myles Standish, Squanto and Hobamack leave Plymouth, with half dozen men, to meet neighboring sachem Aberdecest for the purpose of undertaking a fur trade but turn back for fear of hostilities. The information given to them by Squanto proves however wrong. It's already been a few months that the latter is engaged in rather shady concerns.

By ingraining doubts in the English minds, Squanto hoped to inspire mistrust towards Sachem Massasoit, in order to satisfy his own ambitions. He needed for it, to organize a merger with the Narragansetts, traditionally hostile to the Wampanoags.

Myles Standish (c. 1584 - October 3, 1656) - English professional soldier, he was employed by the Pilgrims as military leader of the Plymouth colony. He became even later a full member of the community. Upon his arrival in New England, he concentrated on the organization of the colony defence and relationship with the Indians. Described as a rough man, prompt to reply, he had little regard for diplomacy, preferring if necessary deadly language of weapons.

May, 1622 - captain Ralph Hamor goes to the Patawomecks together with Raleigh Croshaw with the aim of persuading them to form an alliance with the English.
The Patawomecks who lived mostly in present-day Stafford County had always shown friendly to the Virginia settlers and did not obeyed Powhatan's instructions when they were ordered to suspend any supplies. They had not either wished to join their forces to Opechancanough during the massacre of March 22 but, thanks to his victory, this one had not taken long to offer them a deal. It was subsequently necessary for the English to act as soon as possible in order to revive good relations with the tribe.
The Patawomecks were even less hostile to an alliance with the English as they expected from them a military support against their worst enemies, the Nacotchanks. Ralph Hamor agreed to lend them a support and accompanied them with his men in a deadly raid. Patawomecks and English destroyed Nacotchank villages, causing several casualties. They loaded their boats of any corn possible and returned home triumphant.

Raleigh Croshaw (Lancashire, 1584 - 1624) 
Member of the Virginia Company, he had arrived at Jamestown in September, 1608 aboard the Margaret and Mary. Being part of the John Smith's party left in January, 1609 to Powhatan negotiate corn supply, he had skillfully foiled the tricks and traps set by the Indians. He fast got noted for his knowledge of fight methods used by the Natives and explored the Potomac together with captain Henry Spelman and William Claiborne. He had the opportunity to become famous after the massacre of March, 1622 providing almost alone the defence of a trading post on the Potomac. This allowed him to defy Opechancanough and his warriors in a single combat with bare hands but such an audacious proposal naturally went unheeded. Croshaw received a land of 500 acre-land near Old Point Comfort, in respect of services rendered to the colony, where he settled down with his wife, come to join him in 1620. Despite his new planter's status and a seat in the House of Burgesses, he continued nevertheless to trade with the Indians. He disappeared mysteriously in November, 1624.

May 18, 1622 - Captain Willam Tucker is commissioned to command Fort Kecoughtan

Late May, 1622 - the Sparrow, an English fishing boat arrives at Plymouth with 7 passengers and mail but no supplies.

These colonists had recognized at first the coast of Maine before landing at Plymouth. They had been sent to recognize the area to base a new colony there. The sponsors of the operation were Thomas Weston and his brother-in-law Richard Greene (1600-1662).
[June, 1622]

Thomas Weston (Rugeley, Staffords. 1575-1647 ) 
Adventurer and merchant, he had several years traded with the Netherlands and it is through the wife of his agent Edward Pickering that he had befriended Separatists exiled in Leiden. It is the reason why he became involved in the Mayflower expedition, even appearing as a major investor. However, fault to get direct dividends, he dashed into rather murky commercial transactions. The sale of an English cannon to Turkish pirates was worth to him being pursued by King James' officers , forcing him to flee opportunely to America aboard the Charity. He settled first in Plymouth but chose the Wessagusetts site to establish his own colony there. Qualified unscrupulous character both "boorish and profane", he showed no respect for the Indians, plundering their harvests, preferring to kill them rather than to have to negotiate. Myles Standish was sent to try to reason with him but it was unsuccessfully.

Late June, 1622 - 60 passengers bound for the Wessagusett colony under the leadership of Thomas Weston and Richard Greene, arrive at Plymouth aboard the Charity and the Swan to get supplies. Just landed, Weston decides however to set sail to Virginia leaving the responsibility of the group to his brother-in-law Richard Greene.
[August, 1622]

June, 1622 - The people of Plymouth build a fort on a hill nearby the village to answer the various threats from the Indians.

Summer, 1622 - Eager to avenge the massacre of March 22, the Jamestown settlers launch several attacks against neighboring tribes. They conduct raids against Appamattucks and Weyanocks.

The Nansemonds fled into the woods with their last harvest, abandoning their villages. The Chickahominies also abandon their houses and crops. All the Indian communities living on the banks of the James River were put through mill.

August, 1622 - The colonists led by Richard Greene land at Wessagussett (Weymouth) where they chose to settle down.
The Plymouth settlers took willingly part to the implementation of the new colony but disapproved its lack of rigor and organization. Supplies were scarce and Indians quickly came to complain about thefts of corn and various damages committed by the newcomers.

August, 1622 - captain Isaac Madison arrives in Patawomeck territory with mission to protect crops. He is accompanied with Raleigh Croshaw but the latter must leave hastily to rescue his wife detained by Opechancanough.

A Patawomeck village
Madison found himself alone to deal with Patwomecks and proved unfortunately his incompetence and his misunderstanding of the situation.
He  lost first any credit by initiating trade with Piscataways, traditional enemies of the Patawomecks but got more influenced by a defector Nacotchank claiming that Patawomecks plotted with Opechancanough against the English. Getting angry, Madison seized the weroance, his son and 4 of his men, also slaughtering around thirty people of the village, including women and children. Despite warnings, Madison brought his prisoners in Jamestown where he was immediately challenged by Henry Spelman, Raleigh Croshaw and Ralph Hamor, all three in good terms with Patawomecks. Governor Francis Wyatt hurried to release the prisoners and had them driven back to their territory but the chance of a lasting alliance was now compromised.

August 10, 1622 - the New England Council which succeeds the Plymouth Company grants the territory between the Kennebec and Merrimack Rivers to John Mason (1586-1635) former governor of Newfoundland, and his rich English partner Sir Ferdinando Gorges.

Members of the Council included Lodowick Stewart, Duke of Lennox (1574-1624), Georges Villiers, Marquess of Buckingham (1592-1628), Marquess James Hamilton (1589-1629), Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundell (1585-1646), Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick (1587-1658).

Sir Ferdinando Gorges (c.1566-1647) 
English colonizer and Lord Proprietor of the Province of Maine. He had been knighted for services rendered to Henri IV, king of France, during the French Religious wars. He held then for many years the position of military Governor of Plymouth. Gorges emerged as a major figure of the Plymouth Company and one of the two donors of the Popham colony which settled in Maine in 1607 at the mouth of Kennebec River. This attempt had failed after a year but Gorges had remained involved in fishing or trade expeditions along the coast of New England. It was he who, in 1614, had asked John Smith to lead a new settlement in Maine, an experience which had failed too. In 1620, Gorges got a review of the charter originally granted to the Plymouth Company but did not get the financial support required to revive his settlement project in New England. Two years later, he was however granted with John Mason the area between the Merrimack and Kennebec Rivers.

John Mason (1586-1635) was born in King's Lynn, Norfolk. Sailor, explorer, cartographer, he was appointed in 1615, 2nd governor of the Cuper Cove's colony in Newfoundland. He arrived the following year on the island and explored it, what allowed him to draw a map and publish a book describing his discoveries.
In 1620, the Privy Council of King James 1 provided him a boat to rid Newfoundland of piracy. He left his governorship in 1621 and was not replaced. On his return to England, he was planning a possible colonization of Nova Scotia when the New England Council granted him and Sir Ferdinando Gorges, a Charter for territories stretching from Merrimack to Kennebec Rivers.

It should be noted that none of the two would never set foot in New England.

Late September, 1622 - Once completed the fitting-out of the Wessagusset colony, the ship Charity leaves for England.

Eager to protect against the rigors of winter and a possible starvation, governor William Bradford organized a joint trade mission with the Wessagusset settlers in order to get supplies from the Indians. These proved quite cooperative.

October, 1622 - Richard Greene, governor of the Wessagussett colony, dies suddenly in Plymouth at the age 22. John Sanders is appointed to succeed him.

October, 1622 - the Paragon, a ship carrying 67 would-be settlers going to the Plymouth colony, is obliged to make half turn after two weeks at sea, due to the storm and a damage.
It will make a new attempt in February 1623, without success.

November, 1622 - Plymouth governor William Bradford sets sail aboard the Swan with a party of settlers to negotiate corn supply with the Indians of Monamoyick. Squanto who accompanies him, dies during the trip.

Summer harvests had been particularly poor and problems did not stop growing because of the settlers of Wessagusett. Tensions with the Indians became obvious.

November, 1622 - Thomas Weston lands at Plymouth.

December, 1622 - while he is heading for the Massachusetts Bay, governor William Bradford collects from the Indians new complaints against the Wessagusett colonists. He decides to make a stop at the Nausets where he is well received.
Nauset - this small Algonquian tribe living in Cape Cod belonged to the Wampanoag Federation. Although the Nausets have been long in contact with European sailors, they had not too much suffered from the 1617 epidemic. They were at the time about 500 and had suffered however more often for their hospitality to visitors than taken advantage of it. Some of them had been kidnapped and sold as slaves, their ancestors' graves had repeatedly been desecrated and they considered, subsequently, the Plymouth settlers with a degree of mistrust.

December 17, 1622 - The New England Council orders punishing "Captain Jones" after he tried to kidnap Nausets near Cape Cod. These had been able to escape but the case had caused a stir in London.

December 20, 1622 - the ship Abigail arrives at Jamestown. It brings armor and gunpowder but no foods. Although most passengers fell sick during the trip, they are all allowed to come ashore. Disease does not take long to spread among the settlers.

Harvest was very poor this year in Virginia and the few corn provided often by force by the Indians would not be enough to feed the colony during winter.

Disease, starvation and resentful Indians attacks were subsequently to sweep again through the Virginia colony which passed in a few months from 1400 to 500 inhabitants.

 December 30, 1622 - Robert Gorges, son of Sir Ferdinando Gorges is granted a 300 square-miles-land on the south side of Massachusetts Bay by the Council of Plymouth. 

The granted land corresponded to Wessagusett failed settlement founded a year earlier by Thomas Weston.
"The said Councill grant unto Robert Gorges, youngest son of Sir Fernand.  Gorges, Knight, and his heires, all that part of the Maine land in New England, commonly called and known by the name of the Massachusetts, scytuated  and lying upon the North East side of the Bay, called and known by the name of the Massachusetts, or by whatever name ornates whatsoever called,  English miles in a straight line with coastes and shoares along the Sea for Ten English miles in a staight line towards the North East, accounting  seventeen hundred and sixty yards to the mile; and 30 English miles after the same rate, into the Mayne Land, through all the breadth aforesaid togeather with all Islands so lyeing  within 3 miles of any part of the said land."

Landing at Jamestown

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