[Frontispiece: Chief Joseph. Courtesy of The American Bureau of Ethnology.]
BOYS' BOOK OF
HEROIC INDIAN WOMEN
EDWIN L. SABIN
GEORGE W. JACOBS & COMPANY
Copyright, 1918, by
George W. Jacobs & Company
All rights reserved
Printed in U. S. A.
Alas! for them, their day is o'er, Their fires are out on hill and shore; No more for them the wild deer bounds, The plough is on their hunting grounds; The pale man's axe rings through their woods, The pale man's sail skims o'er their floods, Their pleasant springs are dry; * * * * * *
When the white race came into the country of the red race, the red race long had had their own ways of living and their own code of right and wrong. They were red, but they were thinking men and women, not mere animals.
The white people brought their ways, which were different from the Indians' ways. So the two races could not live together.
To the white people, many methods of the Indians were wrong; to the Indians, many of the white people's methods were wrong. The white people won the rulership, because they had upon their side a civilization stronger than the loose civilization of the red people, and were able to carry out their plans.
The white Americans formed one nation, with one language; the red Americans formed many nations, with many languages.
The Indian fought as he had always fought, and ninety-nine times out of one hundred he firmly believed that he was enforcing the right. The white man fought after his own custom and sometimes after the Indian's custom also; and not infrequently he knew that he was enforcing a wrong.
Had the Indians been enabled to act all together, they would have held their land, just as the Americans of today would hold their land against the invader.
Of course, the Indian was not wholly right, and the white man was not wholly wrong. There is much to be said, by either, and there were brave chiefs and warriors on both sides.
This book is written according to the Indian's view of matters, so that we may be better acquainted with his thoughts. The Indians now living do not apologize for what their fathers and grandfathers did. A man who defends what he believes are his rights is a patriot, whether they really are his rights, or not.
I PISKARET THE ADIRONDACK CHAMPION (1644) How He Scouted Against the Iroquois
II PISKARET THE ADIRONDACK CHAMPION (1645-1647) How He Brought Peace to the Forests
III OPECHANCANOUGH, SACHEM OF THE PAMUNKEYS (1607-1644) Who Fought at the Age of One Hundred
IV KING PHILIP THE WAMPANOAG (1662-1676) The Terror of New England
V THE SQUAW SACHEM OF POCASSET (1675-1676) And Canonchet of the Big Heart
VI THE BLOODY BELT OF PONTIAC (1760-1763) When It Passed Among the Red Nations
VII THE BLOODY BELT OF PONTIAC (1763-1769) How an Indian Girl Saved Fort Detroit
VIII LOGAN THE GREAT MINGO (1725-1774) And the Evil Days that Came Upon Him
IX CORNSTALK LEADS THE WARRIORS (1774-1777) How He and Logan Strove and Died
X LITTLE TURTLE OF THE MIAMIS (1790-1791) He Wins Great Victories
XI LITTLE TURTLE FEARS THE BIG WIND (1792-1812) And It Blows Him into Peace
XII THE VOICE FROM THE OPEN DOOR (1805-1811) How It Traveled Through the Land
XIII BRIGADIER GENERAL TECUMSEH (1812-1813) The Rise and Fall of a Star
XIV THE RED STICKS AT HORSESHOE BEND (1813-1814) And the Wonderful Escape of Chief Menewa
XV BLACK-HAWK THE SAC PATRIOT (1831-1838) The Indian Who Did Not Understand
XVI THE BIRD-WOMAN GUIDE (1805-1806) Sacagawea Helps the White Men
XVII THE LANCE OF MAHTOTOHPA (1822-1837) Hero Tales by Four Bears the Mandan
XVIII A SEARCH FOR THE BOOK OF HEAVEN (1832) The Long Trail of the Pierced Noses
XIX A TRAVELER TO WASHINGTON (1831-1835) Wijunjon, the "Big Liar" of the Assiniboins
XX THE BLACKFEET DEFY THE CROWS (1834) "Come and Take Us!"
XXI THE STRONG MEDICINE OF KONATE (1839) The Story of the Kiowa Magic Staff
XXII RED CLOUD STANDS IN THE WAY (1865-1909) The Sioux Who Closed the Road of the Whites
XXIII STANDING BEAR SEEKS A HOME (1877-1880) The Indian Who Won the White Man's Verdict
XXIV SITTING BULL THE WAR MAKER (1876-1881) An Unconquered Leader
XXV CHIEF JOSEPH GOES TO WAR (1877) And Out-Generals the United States Army
XXVI THE GHOST DANCERS AND THE RED SOLDIERS (1889-1890) And Sitting Bull's Last Medicine
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Chief Joseph . . . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece
King Philip (missing from book)
Pontiac, The Red Napoleon
An Indian Brave
Young Kiowa Girl (missing from book)
BOYS' BOOK OF INDIAN WARRIORS
PISKARET THE ADIRONDACK CHAMPION (1644)
HOW HE SCOUTED AGAINST THE IROQUOIS
It was in early spring, about the year 1644, that the warrior Piskaret of the Adirondack tribe of the Algonkins set forth alone from the island Allumette in the Ottawa River, Canada, to seek his enemies the Iroquois.
For there long had been bitter, bitter war between the vengeful Algonkins and the cruel Hurons on the one side, and the proud, even crueler Five Nations of the Iroquois on the other side. At first the Adirondacks had driven the Mohawks out of lower Canada and into northern New York; but of late all the Algonkins, all the Hurons, and the French garrisons their allies, had been unable to stem the tide of the fierce Iroquois, rolling back into Canada again.
"Iri-a-khoiw" was the Algonkin name for them, meaning "adder." The French termed them "Mingos," from another Algonkin word meaning "stealthy." The English and Dutch colonists in America knew them as the Five Nations. Their own title was "People of the Long House," as if the five nations were one family housed all together under one roof.
The Mohawks, the Senecas, the Onondagas, the Oneidas and the Cayugas—these composed the Iroquois league of the Five Nations against the world of enemies. The league rapidly spread in power, until the dreaded Iroquois were styled the Romans of the West.
But nearly three hundred years ago they were only beginning to rise. Their home was in central New York, from the Mohawk country at the Hudson River west to the Seneca country almost to Lake Erie. In this wide tract were their five principal towns, fortified by ditches and log palisades. From here they carried war south clear to the Cherokees of Tennessee, west clear into the land of the Illinois, and north to the Algonkins at Quebec of the lower St. Lawrence River.
Twelve or fifteen thousand people they numbered. Mohawks, Senecas, Onondagas, Oneidas and Cayugas still survive, as many as ever and ranking high among the civilized Indians of North America.
The Hurons lived to the northwest, in a smaller country along the shores of Georgian Bay of southeastern Lake Huron, in Canada.
"Hurons" they were called by the French, meaning "bristly" or "savage haired," for they wore their coarse black hair in many fantastic cuts, but the favorite fashion was that of a stiff roach or mane extending from the forehead to the nape of the neck, like the bristles of a wild boar's back or the comb of a rooster. By the Algonkins they were called "serpents," also. Their own name for themselves was "Wendat," or "People of the Peninsula"—a word which the English wrote as "Wyandot."
They were of the Iroquois family, but for seventy-five years and more they had been at war with their cousins of the south. They, too, had their principal fortified towns, and their league, of four independent nations and four protected nations, numbering twenty thousand. Like those of the Iroquois, some of their bark houses were five hundred feet long, for twenty families. Yet of this powerful people there remain today only about four hundred Hurons, near Quebec, and as many Wyandots in Canada and the former Indian Territory of Oklahoma.
The Algonkins lived farther north, along the Ottawa River, and the St. Lawrence to the east. "Place of spearing eel and fish from a canoe," is the best that we may get from the word "Algonkin." The "Raised Hair" people did the French first term them, because they wore their hair pompadoured. But Adirondack was a Mohawk word, "Hatirontaks," "Eaters of Trees," accusing the Adirondacks of being so hungry in winter that they ate bark.
In summer the men went naked; in winter they donned a fur cape. They were noted warriors, hunters and fishers, and skillful in making shell ornaments. As the "Nation of the Island" also were they known to the French explorers, because their headquarters were upon that large island of Allumette in the Ottawa River above present Ottawa of Canada.
The several tribes of Algonkins found by the French in Canada were only a small portion of those American Indians speaking in the Algonquian tongue. The immense Algonquian family covered North America from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, and reached even to the Rocky Mountains. The Indians met by the Pilgrim Fathers were Algonquians; King Philip was an Algonquian; the Shawnees of Tecumseh were Algonquians; the Sacs and Foxes of Chief Black-hawk were Algonquians; the Chippewas of Canada and the Winnebagos from Wisconsin are Algonquians; so are the Arapahos and Cheyennes of the plains and the Blackfeet of Montana.
The bark lodges of the Algonkins were round and peaked like a cone, instead of being long and ridged like those of the Iroquois and Hurons. Of the Algonkins of Canada there are sixteen hundred, today; there are no Adirondacks, under that name.
Now in 1644 the proud Iroquois hated the Algonkins, hated the Hurons, and had hated the French for thirty-five years, since the brave gentleman adventurer, Samuel de Champlain, having founded Quebec in 1608, had marched against them with his armor, his powder and ball, and the triumphantly whooping enemy.
The Iroquois never forgave the French for this. And indeed a truly savage warfare it had become, here in this northern country on either side of the border between New York and Canada: where the winters were long and piercingly cold, where hunger frequently stalked, where travel was by canoe on the noble St. Lawrence, the swift Ottawa, the Richelieu, the lesser streams and lakes, and by snowshoe or moccasin through the heavy forests; where the Indians rarely failed to torture their captives in manner too horrid to relate; and where the only white people were 300 French soldiers, fur-traders, laborers, priests and nuns, mainly at Quebec, and new Montreal, on the St. Lawrence, and the little trading-post of Three Rivers, half way between the two.
Algonkins and Hurons were accepting the French as allies. They listened, sometimes in earnest, sometimes in cunning, to the teachings of those "Black Robes," the few fearless priests who sought them out. The priests, bravest of the brave, journeyed unarmed and far, even among the scornful Iroquois, enduring torture by fire and knife, the torment of mosquitoes, cold and famine, and draughty, crowded bark houses smotheringly thick with damp wood smoke.
In spite of cross and sword, (trying to tame them,) the Iroquois were waxing ever bolder. They were well supplied with match-lock guns obtained by the Mohawks from the Dutch of the Hudson River. From their five towns ruled by a grand council of fifty chiefs they constantly sent out their raiding parties into the north. These, darting half-crouched in single file through the dark timber, creeping silently in their canoes by road of the dark rivers, suddenly fell like starved wolves upon whomsoever they sighted, be that near Quebec itself; killed them, or captured them, to hustle them away, break their bones, burn their bodies, eat of them; and returned for more.
Algonkins and Hurons were cruel, too, and crafty; but they were being beaten by greater craft and better arms.
So now we come again to Piskaret, of the Adirondacks, whose home was upon that large island of Allumette, governed by the haughty Algonkin chief Le Borgne, or The One-Eye.
Simon Piskaret was his full name as recorded in the mission books, for he and others of Allumette Island had been baptised by the priests. But with them this was much a method of getting protection, food and powder from these French; and an old writer of 1647 says that Piskaret was a Christian only by "appearance and policy."
However, the case of the Algonkins and the Hurons was growing very desperate. They risked their lives every time they ventured into the forests, and Piskaret was ashamed of being cooped in. Once the Adirondacks had been mighty. Hot desire to strike another blow flamed high in his heart. Therefore in this early spring of 1644, ere yet the snows were fairly melted, he strode away, alone, with snowshoes, bent upon doing some great deed.
His course was southeast, from the river Ottawa to cross the frozen St. Lawrence, and speed onward 100 miles for the Lake Champlain country of the New York-Canada border line, where he certainly would find the Iroquois.
By day and night he traveled, clad in his moccasins and fur mantle. Then when he reached the range of the Iroquois he reversed his snowshoes, so that they pointed backward. The Iroquois who might see his trail would know that these were the prints of Algonkin snowshoes, but they would think that here had been only an Algonkin hastening home. If they followed, they would be going in one direction and he in another!
His progress was slower, now, for it is hard to make time in snowshoes pointing backward; and presently he took pains to pick a way by keeping to the ridges and the south slopes from which the snow had melted. His eyes and ears needs must be alert; no sharper woodsmen ever lived, than the keen wolfish Iroquois.
At last, in the forest, he came upon Iroquois sign; next, peering and listening and sniffing, he smelled wood smoke; and stealing on, from tree to tree, he discovered the site of an Iroquois winter village, set in a clearing amidst the timber.
For the rest of that day he hid out; that night, after all had quieted, with war-club and knife ready he slipped like a shadow in among the very lodges. Not even a dog sensed him as he stood questing about for another hiding place.
Aha, he had it! Both the Hurons and the Iroquois laid in large stocks of fire wood, by forming piles of logs slanted together on end; and in one pile, here, was an opening through which he might squeeze into the center space, there to squat as under a tent. The ground in the village had been scraped bare of snow; he would leave no tracks.
Having thus experimented and arranged, Piskaret drew a long breath, grasped his war-club, and stealthily pushing aside the loose birch-bark door-flap of the nearest lodge, peeped inside. By the ember light he saw that every Iroquois, man and woman, was fast asleep, under furs, on spruce boughs around the fire.
Now Piskaret swiftly entered, without a sound killed them all, scalped them, and fled to his wood-pile.
Early in the grayness of morning he heard a great cry, swelling louder and louder until the forest echoed. It was a cry of grief and of rage. The strangely silent lodge had been investigated and his bloody work was known. Feet thudded past his wood-pile, hasty figures brushed against it, as the best warriors of the village bolted for the timber, to circle until they found the tracks of their enemy. But if they found any snowshoe tracks made by a stranger, these led out, not in.
So that day the Iroquois pursued furiously and vainly, while Piskaret crouched snug in his wood-pile, listened to the clamor, and laughed to himself.
At evening the weary Iroquois returned, foiled and puzzled. Their nimblest trailers had not even sighted the bold raider. This night Piskaret again waited until all was quiet; again he ventured forth, slipped inside a lodge, killed and scalped, and retreated to his wood-pile.
And again, with the morning arose that shrill uproar of grief and vengeance and the warriors scurried into the forest.
By evening the Iroquois were not only mystified but much alarmed. Who was this thing that struck in the night and left no trail? An evil spirit had come among them—roosted perhaps in the trees!
If a squaw had removed a log or two from the pile Piskaret would have been torn to pieces, but fortune still stayed with him and he was not molested save by cold and hunger.
Tonight, however, the Iroquois chattered affrightedly until late; and when, after the noises had died away, Piskaret, cramped and chilled but eager, for a third time stole through the darkness to a lodge, he knew that his game was up. In this lodge two watchers had been posted—one at either end; and they were awake.
The same in the next lodge, and the next. Wherever he applied his eye to a crack in the bark walls, he saw two sentries, armed and alert—until finally he arrived at a lodge wherein one of the sentries, the one near the door, was squatted drowsy and half asleep.
So Piskaret softly placed his bundle of scalps where he might find it instantly, on a sudden threw aside the birch-bark door-flap, struck terribly with his club, yelled his war-cry that all might hear, grabbed his bundle of scalps and ran hard for the forest. From every lodge the Iroquois poured in pursuit.
All the rest of this night he ran, making northward, with the Iroquois pelting and whooping after; but the records say that he was the swiftest runner in the North—therefore he had little fear of being overtaken.
All the next day he ran, only now and then pausing, to show himself, and yell, and tempt the Iroquois onward; for he had another plan. At night-fall there were but six Iroquois left on his trail, and these were about worn out.
Now in the gathering darkness, noting his enemies falter, Piskaret sprang aside to a hollow tree and hid himself again. The tired Iroquois straggled near, and when they lost the trail they willingly quit, in order to roll in their bear-skins and sleep until the light of morning.
Whereupon, after granting them a little time, Piskaret crept out, killed every one of them, added their six scalps to his package, and having rested until day, sped north, with his dreadful trophies, to report at the island of Allumette.
That this is a true story of the famous Adirondack warrior Piskaret may be proved by the old French chronicles of those very times.
 The noun Algonkin, meaning an Indian, is also spelled Algonquin. But the adjective from this noun is spelled Algonquian when applied to Indians, and Algonkian when applied to a time or period in geology.
PISKARET THE ADIRONDACK CHAMPION (1645-1647)
HOW HE BROUGHT PEACE TO THE FORESTS
Piskaret was a hero. From lip to lip the story of his lone trail was repeated through the bark lodges of the Algonkins, and the long houses of the fierce Hurons, and even among the gentle nuns and gaunt priests of the brave mission settlements upon the lower St. Lawrence River.
But the nuns and priests did not favor such bloody deeds, which led only to more. Their teachings were all of peace rather than war between men. Yet each and every one of them was as bold as Piskaret, and to bring about peace would gladly go as far as he, and farther.
Now he did not lack followers. In the early spring of 1645, scarce a twelve-month after his famous lone scout, he took with him six other "Christian" Algonkin warriors, again to hunt the Iroquois.
Upon the large island in the St. Lawrence River, just below the mouth of the Algonkin's River Ottawa, the fort and mission of Montreal had been built, much to the rage of the roving Iroquois. It was the farthest up-river of the French settlements, and in the midst of the Iroquois favorite scouting grounds.
So bitter were the Iroquois, that all the fall and all the winter Montreal had been in a state of siege.
Tired of such one-sided warfare, Piskaret resolved to strike another blow. The broad St. Lawrence was fast locked by the winter's ice. His small party dragged their three canoes over the level snowy surface, and on eastward across a tongue of timbered land, to the River Richelieu. This connects Lake Champlain of New York and the St. Lawrence in Canada.
The Richelieu, flowing black and deep, had opened. It was the water-trail of the Iroquois, and especially of the Mohawks. By it they made their forays north to the St. Lawrence and the camps of their enemies.
Every thicket along its banks and every curve in its course was likely to be an ambush; but the fearless Piskaret party ascended clear to Lake Champlain itself. Here they landed upon an island, concealed themselves and their canoes in the wintry forest, and waited.
One day they heard a gun-shot. Some Iroquois were about, upon the lake or upon the mainland.
"Come," spoke Piskaret, to his party. "Let us eat. It may be the last time, for we will have to die instead of run."
After they had eaten, they saw two canoes making straight for the island. Each canoe held seven Iroquois. That counted up fourteen, or two to one.
However, the Piskaret party had the advantage of position. They hid in the bushes at the place for which the canoes were heading.
"Let us each choose a man in the first canoe," directed Piskaret, "and take sure aim, and fire together."
The volley by the Algonkins was so deadly that every one of the six balls killed an Iroquois. The seventh warrior dived overboard, and escaped by swimming to the other canoe. That had been swift work.
But the Iroquois were brave. Of the Mohawk tribe, these. Instead of turning about, to get help, the eight warriors, whooping in rage, paddled furiously along the shore, to land at another spot and give battle.
Piskaret's Algonkins ran hard to head them off, and met the canoe again. At the shore one of the Iroquois sighted them, and stood up to fire. They shot him, so that he tumbled overboard and capsized the canoe.
The seven Mohawks were now in the water; but the water was shallow, and splashing through, they bored right in, like bulldogs.
The Piskaret Algonkins had need to shoot fast and true. The Mohawks feared nothing, and despised Algonkins. Besides, they now knew that Piskaret was before them, and his scalp they considered a great prize.
The Mohawks lost this battle. Before they could gain shelter, of their seven four had been killed, two had been captured, and there was only one who escaped.
No time was to be lost. The sounds of the battle probably had been heard.
"We have done well," said Piskaret. "Now we may run."
So they launched their canoes, and with two prisoners and eleven scalps they plied their paddles at best speed for the Richelieu.
Down the Richelieu, and down the St. Lawrence, nothing disagreeable happened, save that, when one of the Mohawks (a large, out-spoken warrior) defied the Algonkins to do their worst upon him, and called them weaklings, he was struck across the mouth, to silence him.
"Where are you taking us, then?"
"We are taking you to the French governor at Quebec. He is our father, and you belong to him, not to us."
That indeed was surprising news. Usually the Hurons and the Algonkins refused to deliver any of their prisoners to the missions or the forts, but carried them away to the torture.
The Richelieu empties into the St. Lawrence below Montreal. On down the St. Lawrence, thick with melting ice, hastened the canoes, until Quebec, the capital of the province, was within sight.
Four miles above Quebec there had been founded another mission for Christian Indians. It was named Sillery. Here a number of Algonkins had erected a village of log huts, on a flat beside the river, under the protection of a priests' house, church and hospital.
As they approached Sillery, the Piskaret party raised their eleven scalps on eleven long poles. While they drifted, they chanted a song of triumph, and beat time to it by striking their paddles, all together, upon the gunwales of their canoes.
The two captives, believing that the hour of torture was near, sang their own songs of defiance.
That was a strange sight, to be nearing Sillery. So the good father in charge of Sillery sent a runner to Quebec. He himself, with his assistants, joined the crowd of Algonkins gathered at the river shore.
The canoes came on. The scalps and the two prisoners were plain to be seen. Piskaret! It was the noted warrior Piskaret! Guns were being fired, whoops were being exchanged, and the mission father waited, hopeful and astonished.
Now the chief of the Sillery Algonkins, who had been baptised to the name of Jean Baptiste, made a speech of welcome, from the shore. Standing upright in his canoe, Piskaret the champion replied. And now a squad of French soldiers, hurrying in from Quebec, added to the excitement with a volley of salute.
Piskaret landed, proud not only that he had again whipped the Iroquois, but that he had acted like a Christian toward his captives. He had not burned them nor gnawed off their finger tips. And instead of giving them over for torture by other Algonkins, he had brought them clear down the river, to the governor.
The scalp trophies were planted, like flags, over the doorways of the Sillery lodges. The two captives were placed under guard until the governor should arrive from Quebec. The happy Father Jesuit bade everybody feast and make merry, to celebrate the double victory of Piskaret.
The governor of this New France hastened up from Quebec, hopeful that at last a way had been opened to peace with the dread Iroquois.
Clad in his brilliant uniform of scarlet and lace, he sat in council at the mission house, to receive Piskaret and the captives. With him sat the Father Jesuit, the head of the mission, and around them were grouped the Christian Algonkins.
The two Mohawks were brought in, and by a long speech Piskaret surrendered them to the governor. Governor Montmagny replied, praising him for his good heart and gallant deed—and of course rewarding him with presents, also.
The two Mohawks thought that their torture was only being postponed a little, until the French were on hand to take part in it. To their minds, the council was held for the purpose of deciding upon the form of torture. They had resolved to die bravely.
But to their great astonishment, the governor told them that their lives were spared and that they were to be well treated.
Rarely before, in all the years of war between the Iroquois and other nations, had such a thing occurred. To be sure, now and then a captive had been held alive, but only after he was so much battered that he was not worth finishing, or else had been well punished and was saved out, as a reward for his bravery.
So the big man, of the two captives, rose to make a speech in reply to the offer by the governor. He addressed him as "Onontio," or, in the Mohawk tongue, "Great Mountain," which was the translation of the name Montmagny.
"Onontio," he said, "I am saved from the fire; my body is delivered from death. Onontio, you have given me my life. I thank you for it. I will never forget it. All my country will be grateful to you. The earth will be bright; the river calm and smooth; there will be peace and friendship between us. The shadow is before my eyes no longer. The spirits of my ancestors slain by the Algonkins have disappeared. Onontio, you are good: we are bad. But our anger is gone; I have no heart except for peace and rejoicing."
He danced, holding up his hands to the ceiling of the council chamber, as if to the sky. He seized a hatchet, and flourished it—but he suddenly flung the hatchet into the wood fire.
"Thus I throw down my anger! Thus I cast away the weapons of blood! Farewell, war! Now I am your friend forever!"
Naturally, Piskaret might feel much satisfied with himself, that he had followed the teachings of the priests and had spared the enemies who had fallen into his hands.
The two captives were permitted to move about freely. After a while they were sent up-river to the trading-post and fort of Three Rivers, where there was another Iroquois. Having suffered cruel torture he had been purchased by the French commander of the post.
This Iroquois, after seeing and talking with the two, was given presents, and started home, to carry peace talk from Onontio to the Five Nations. The great Onontio stood ready to return the two other prisoners, also, unharmed, if the Iroquois would agree to peace.
In about six weeks the Iroquois peace messenger came into Three Rivers with two Mohawk chiefs to represent the Mohawk nation.
Now there was much ceremony, of speeches and feasts, not only by the French of the post, but also by the Algonkins and the Hurons. The governor came up. In a grand peace council Chief Kiosaton, the head ambassador, made a long address. After each promise of good-will he passed out a broad belt of wampum, until the line upon which the belts were hung was sagging with more than fifteen.
By these beaded belts the promises were sealed.
Piskaret was here. It was necessary for him to give a present that should "wipe out the memory of the Iroquois blood he had shed," and this he did.
With high-sounding words the Mohawks left by sailboat for the mouth of the Richelieu, to continue on south to their own country. Another council had been set, for the fall. Then the more distant tribes of the Algonkins and the Hurons should meet the Iroquois, here at Three Rivers, and seal a general peace.
At that greater council many belts of wampum were passed—to clear the sky of clouds, to smooth the rivers and lakes and trails, to break the hatchets and guns and shields, and the kettles in which prisoners were boiled; to wash faces clean of war-paint and to wipe out the memory of warriors slain.
There were dances and feasts; and in all good humor the throng broke up.
Peace seemed to have come to the forests. The Piskaret party might well consider that they had opened the way. The happy priests gave thanks to Heaven that their prayers had been answered, and that the hearts of the Iroquois, the Algonkins and the Hurons were soft to the teachings of Christianity.
Now, would the peace last?
Yes—for twelve months, with the Mohawks alone. After which, saying that the Black Robe priests had sent them a famine plague in a box, the Mohawks seized new and sharper hatchets, again sped upon the war-trail to the St. Lawrence; and smote so terribly that at last they killed, in the forest, even Piskaret himself, while singing a peace-song he started to greet them.
The Algonkin peoples and the Hurons were driven like straw in the wind. Many fled west and south, into the Great Lakes country, and beyond.
OPECHANCANOUGH, SACHEM OF THE PAMUNKEYS (1607-1644)
WHO FOUGHT AT THE AGE OF ONE HUNDRED
The first English-speaking settlement that held fast in the United States was Jamestown, inland a short distance from the Chesapeake Bay coast of Virginia, in the country of the Great King Powatan.
The Powatans, of at least thirty tribes, in this 1607 owned eight thousand square miles and mustered almost three thousand warriors. They lived in a land rich with good soil, game and fish; the men were well formed, the women were comely, the children many.
But before the new settlers met King Powatan—whose title was sachem (chief) and whose real name was Wa-hun-so-na-cook—they met his brother O-pe-chan-can-ough, sachem of the Pamunkey tribe of the Powatan league.
A large, masterful man was Opechancanough, sachem of the Pamunkeys. The Indians themselves said that he was not a Powatan, nor any relation of their king; but that he came from the princely line of a great Southern nation, distant many leagues. This may be the reason that, although he was allied to Chief Powatan, he never joined him in friendship to the whites, who, he claimed, if not checked would over-run the Indians' hunting-grounds.
The Indians of Virginia did not wish to have the white men among them. They were living well and comfortably, before the white men came; after the white men came, with terrible weapons and huge appetites which they expected the Indians to fill, and a habit of claiming all creation, clouds veiled the sky of the Powatans, their corn-fields and their streams were no longer their own.
Powatan, the head sachem, collected guns and hatchets and planned to stem the tide while it was small. But these English enticed his daughter Pocahontas aboard a vessel, and there held her for the good behavior of her father.
Pocahontas married John Rolfe, an English gentleman of the colony. Now for the first time Powatan was won, for he loved his daughter and the honest treatment of her at English hands pleased him.
Opechancanough but bided his time, until 1622. He was a thorough hater; his weapons were treachery as well as open war; he had resolved never to give up his country to the stranger.
Meanwhile, Pocahontas had died, in 1617, aged about twenty-two, just when leaving England for a visit home.
Full of years and honors (for he had been a shrewd, noble-minded king) the sachem Powatan himself died in 1618, aged over three score and ten. His elder brother O-pi-tchi-pan became head sachem of the Powatan league. He was not of high character like the great chief's. Now Opechancanough soon sprang to the front, as champion of the nation.
Pocahontas was no longer a hostage, the English settlements and plantations had increased, the English in England were in numbers of the stars, and the leaves, and the sands; and something must be done at once.
Seventy-eight years of age he was, when he struck his blow. With the fierce Chick-a-hom-i-nies backing him, he had enlisted tribe after tribe among the Powatans. Yet never a word of the plan reached the colonists.
For several years peace had reigned in fair Virginia. The Indians were looked upon as only "a naked, timid people, who durst not stand the presenting of a staff in the manner of a firelock, in the hands of a woman"! "Firelocks" and modern arms they did lack, themselves, but Opechancanough, the old hater, had laid his plans to cover that.
March 22, 1622, was the date for the attack, which should "utterly extinguish the English settlements forever." Yet "forever" could not have been the hope of Opechancanough. Here in Virginia the white man's settlements had spread through five hundred miles, and on the north the Pilgrim Fathers had started another batch in the country of the Pokanokets.
The plan of Opechancanough succeeded perfectly. Keeping the date secret, tribe after tribe sent their warriors, to arrive at the borders of the Virginia settlements in the night of March 21.
"Although some of the detachments had to march from great distances, and through a continued forest, guided only by the stars and moon, no single instance of disorder or mistake is known to have happened. One by one they followed each other in profound silence, treading as nearly as possible in each other's steps, and adjusting the long grass and branches which they displaced. They halted at short distances from the settlements, and waited in death-like stillness for the signal of attack."
A number of Indians with whom the settlers were well acquainted had been doing spy work. It was quite the custom for Indians to eat breakfast in settlers' homes, and to sleep before the settlers' fire-places. In this manner the habits of every family upon the scattered plantations were known. There were Indians in the fields and in the houses and yards, pretending to be friendly, but preparing to strike.
The moment agreed upon arrived. Instantly the peaceful scene changed. Acting all together, the Indians in the open seized hatchet, ax, club and gun, whatever would answer the purpose, and killed. Some of the settlers had been decoyed into the timber; many fell on their own thresholds; and the majority died by their own weapons.
The bands in ambush rushed to take a hand. In one hour three hundred and forty-seven white men, women and children had been massacred. It was a black, black deed, but so Opechancanough had planned. Treachery was his only strength.
This spring a guerilla warfare was waged by both sides. Blood-hounds were trained to trail the Indians. Mastiffs were trained to pull them down. But the colonists needed crops; without planted fields they would starve. The governor proposed a peace, that both parties might plant their corn. When the corn in the Indians' fields had ripened, and was being gathered, the settlers made their treacherous attack, in turn. They killed without mercy, destroyed the Indians' supplies, and believed that they had slain Opechancanough.
There was much rejoicing, but Opechancanough still lived, in good health. He had been too clever for the trap.
Rarely seen, himself, by the settlers, he continued to direct the movements of his warriors. He refused to enter the settlements. Never yet had he visited Jamestown. Governors came and went, but Opechancanough remained, unyielding.
He was eighty-seven when, in 1630, a truce was patched up, that both sides might rest a little. So far the Indians had had somewhat the best of the fighting; the colonists had not driven them to a safe distance.
The white men were growing stronger, the red men were improving not at all, and Opechancanough knew that the truce would surely be broken. He stayed aloof nine years, waiting, while the colonists grew careless. At last they quarreled among themselves.
This was his chance. From the Chickahominies and the Pamunkeys the word was spread to the other tribes. The second of his plans ripened. Opechancanough had so aged that he was unable to walk. He set the day of April 18, 1644, as the time for the general attack. He ordered his warriors to bear him upon the field in a litter, at the head of five united tribes.
Again the vengeful league of the Powatans burst upon the settlers in Virginia. From the mouth of the James River back inland over a space of six hundred square miles, war ravaged for two days; three hundred and more settlers were killed, two hundred were made captives, homes and supplies were burned to ashes.
It looked as though nothing would stand before Opechancanough—indeed, as though the end of Virginia had come. But in the midst of the pillage the work suddenly was stopped, the victorious Indians fled and could not be rallied. They were frightened, it is said, by a bad sign in the sky.
Governor Sir William Berkeley called out every twentieth man and boy of the home-guard militia, and by horse and foot and dog pursued.
Next we may see the sachem Opechancanough, in his one hundredth year, borne hither-thither in his bough litter, by his warriors, directing them how to retreat, where to fight, and when to retreat again. He suffered severely from hunger and storm and long marches, until the bones ridged his flabby skin, he had lost all power over his muscles, and his eyelids had to be lifted with the fingers before he could gaze beyond them.
Governor Berkeley and a squadron of horsemen finally ran him down and captured him. They took him, by aid of his litter-bearers, to Jamestown.
He was a curious sight, for Jamestown. By orders of the governor, he was well treated, on account of his great age, and his courageous spirit. The governor planned to remove him to England, as token of the healthfulness of the Virginia climate.
But all this made little difference to Opechancanough. He had warred, and had lost; now he expected to be tortured and executed. He was so old and worn, and so stern in his pride of chiefship, that he did not care. He had been a sachem before the English arrived, and he was a sachem still. Nobody heard from his set lips one word of complaint, or fear, or pleading. Instead, he spoke haughtily. He rarely would permit his lids to be lifted, that he might look about him.
His faithful Indian servants waited upon him. One day a soldier of the guard wickedly shot him through the back.
The wound was mortal, but the old chief gave not a twinge; his seamed face remained as stern and firm as if of stone. He had resolved that his enemies should see in him a man.
Only when, toward the end, he heard a murmur and scuff of feet around him, did he arouse. He asked his nurses to lift his eyelids for him. This was done. He coldly surveyed the people who had crowded into the room to watch him die.
He managed to raise himself a little.
"Send in to me the governor," he demanded angrily.
Governor Berkeley entered.
"It is time," rebuked old Opechancanough. "For had it been my fortune to have taken Sir William Berkeley prisoner, I should not have exposed him as a show to my people."
Then Opechancanough died, a chief and an enemy to the last.
KING PHILIP THE WAMPANOAG (1662-1676)
THE TERROR OF NEW ENGLAND
While in Virginia the white colonists were hard put to it by the Powatans, the good ship Mayflower had landed the Puritan Pilgrim Fathers on the Massachusetts Bay shore to the north, among the Pokanokets.
The Po-kan-o-kets formed another league, like the league of the Powatans. There were nine tribes, holding a section of southeastern Massachusetts and of water-broken eastern Rhode Island.
The renowned Massasoit of the Wam-pa-no-ag tribe was the grand sachem. In Rhode Island, on the east shore of upper Narragansett Bay was the royal seat of Montaup, or Mount Hope, at the village Pokanoket.
Great was the sachem Mas-sa-so-it, who ruled mildly but firmly, and was to his people a father as well as a chief.
Of his children, two sons were named Wamsutta and Metacomet. They were renamed, in English, Alexander and Philip, by the governor of this colony of Plymouth.
Alexander was the elder. He had married Wetamoo, who was the young squaw sachem of the neighboring village of Pocasset, to the east. Philip married her sister, Woo-to-ne-kau-ske.
When late in 1661 the sage Massasoit died, Alexander became grand sachem of the Pokanoket league.
Now the long reign of Massasoit had been broken. With him out of the way, certain hearts, jealous of the Wampanoags and their alliance with the English, began to stir up trouble for the new sachem. They reported him as planning a revolt against Plymouth Colony.
There may have been some truth in this. The Puritans were a stern, strict people, who kept what they had seized, and who constantly added more. To them the Indians were heathens and inferiors; not free allies, but subjects of the king of England.
Before the landing of the Pilgrims in the Indians' territory, sailing ships, touching at the New England shore, had borne Indians away into slavery. Since the landing of the Pilgrims, the Pequots had been crushed in battle, and Captain Miles Standish had applied knife and rope to other Indians.
So some doubts as to the wisdom of Massasoit's treaty with the English began to spread through the Pokanokets.
The Plymouth officers ordered Alexander to appear at court and answer the charges against him. When he delayed, Major Josiah Winslow was sent to get him. The major took ten armed men, and proceeded for Mount Hope. On the way he found Alexander and party in a hunting lodge, their guns leaning outside.
The major seized the guns. With pistol in hand he demanded that Alexander come with him, or die. Alexander claimed that he was a sachem and free ruler, not a dog. He "fell into a raging passion." He had a proper pride, and a fierce temper.
He agreed to go, as a sachem attended by his own followers. The charge against him never was pressed, because his rage and shame at the insult threw him into a fever, from which he soon died.
He had reigned only a few months. In this year 1662 Philip or Metacomet took his place as grand sachem of the Pokanokets. The death of his brother grieved him. Wetamoo, the young widow, said that Alexander had been poisoned by his captors, the English. The story counted, and the fate of Alexander was not a pleasant story, to the Pokanokets.
Philip saw trouble ahead. His neighbors the Narragansetts had long been at outs with the English. In his father's reign their old chief Mi-an-to-no-mah had been handed over by the Puritans of Connecticut to Chief Uncas of the Mohegans for execution in the Indian way. The Narragansetts were friendly with the Pokanokets; they rather looked upon Philip as their adopted leader.
His lands were rapidly going, the English were rapidly spreading, the Puritan laws and religion were being forced upon him. It was galling that he, a king by his own right, should be made a subject of another king whom he had never seen.
The New England colonists could not forget how the Virginia colonists had been surprised and killed by the Powatans. They watched King Philip closely. In 1671 he was said to be complaining that certain of them were trespassing on his hunting grounds. This led to the report that his people were holding councils, and were repairing their guns and sharpening their hatchets, as if for war.
So King Philip, like his brother King Alexander, was summoned to the Puritan court, to be examined. He had not forgotten the treatment of Alexander. He went, but he filled half the town meeting-house with his armed warriors.
There he denied that war was planned against the English. He was persuaded to sign a paper which admitted his guilt and bound him to deliver up all his guns.
He decided not to do this latter thing. To give up his guns would leave him bare to all enemies.
He was made to sign other papers, until little by little the Pokanokets seemed to have surrendered their rights, except their guns. The white people, and not Philip, ruled them.
Then, in the first half of 1675 the affair of John Sassamon occurred.
John Sassamon was an educated Indian who had returned to the Wampanoags, after preaching. He spoke English, and was used by King Philip at Mount Hope as secretary. He thought that he had found out war plans, and he carried the secrets to Plymouth.
The Indian law declared that he should die. In March his body was discovered under the ice of a pond of Plymouth Colony. His neck had been broken.
To the Pokanoket idea, this had been legal execution ordered by the sachem. The English called it a murder. They arrested three of King Philip's men. These were tried in court before a jury of twelve colonists and five Indians. They were found guilty. Two were hanged, the third was shot.
That was the end of peace. Miantonomah of the Narragansetts had been handed over by the colonists to the law of the Mohegans, but when the Pokanokets tried a similar law against a traitor, they had been punished. King Philip could no longer hold back his young men.
He had been working hard, in secret, to enlist all the New England tribes in a league greater than the league of Opechancanough, and by one stroke clean New England of the white colonists. The time set was the next year, 1676. The Narragansetts had promised then to have ready four thousand warriors.
But when the word from the English court was carried to Pokanoket, that the three prisoners were to be killed, and that Philip himself was likely to be tried, the warriors of the Wampanoags broke their promise to wait.
They danced defiantly. They openly sharpened their knives and hatchets upon the stone window-sills of settlers' houses, and made sport of the English.
A sudden cold fear spread through New England. A blood-red cloud seemed to be hovering over. Signs were seen in the sky—a great Indian bow, a great Indian scalp, racing horsemen; a battle was heard, with boom of cannon and rattle of muskets and whistling of bullets. The pious Puritans ordered a fast day, for public prayer, in the hope that God would stay the threatened scourge.
Upon that very day, June 24,1675, the war burst into flame. At the town of Swansea, Massachusetts, near the Rhode Island border, and the nearest settlement to Mount Hope, a Wampanoag was wounded by an angered colonist. The Indians were glad. They believed that the party whose blood was shed first would be victors. The colonists returning from town meeting were fired upon; that day seven were killed and several wounded. King Philip's young men had acted without orders.
When King Philip heard, he wept. He was not yet ready for the war, but now he had to fight. He had at hand sixty Wampanoag men of fighting age; all the Pokanoket league numbered six hundred warriors. Against these could be mustered thousands of the colonists, whose ninety towns extended through Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and into present Rhode Island. Therefore he must act swiftly, or his cause was lost. All depended upon his appeal to the inland tribes on the north.
The powerful Narragansetts, his neighbors on the west, were not prepared, and sent no warriors at once; but certain of the other tribes did respond with gun and hatchet and fire.
Before the colonists could rally under a skillful leader, the forces of King Philip were successful. He had plenty of guns and ammunition. Town after town in Plymouth Colony of southeastern Massachusetts was laid in ashes by fierce surprise attacks. The scene shifted to western Massachusetts. The Nipmucks of the Connecticut River, there, aided in the dreadful work.
Throughout the summer and fall of 1675 all settled Massachusetts rang with the war-whoops of the Pokanokets and their allies. King Philip proved himself a master in Indian warfare to strike, and run, and strike again. In this one brief space he earned his title, the Terror of New England, not only because of his first successes, but also because during the span of more than a year no Englishman recognized his voice in battle, and only once was his face seen by his enemies.
Long after the war his name was used for frightening children.
"King Philip is coming!" And the naughtiest child would quiet and seek his mother's skirt.
Although tortures and brutal killings were committed, King Philip himself opposed this. Many stories are told of his kindness to captives. He showed fully as much mercy as the colonists did.
Some tribes had failed to help. The Mohegans under Uncas enlisted with the English, which was expected. The "praying Indians," as the Christianized Pokanokets were known, also either stayed aloof, or else were used as scouts against their people. The New Hampshire Indians refused to take up the hatchet, and the Narragansetts still hung back.
King Philip's own home of Pokanoket or Mount Hope had of course early been seized by the English troops. They had planned to keep him from escaping to the mainland in the north. But he easily moved his men out, by way of the narrow neck that connected with the mainland.
Now he was a roamer, until in this winter of 1675 he decided to stay among the Narragansetts, in southern Rhode Island, and renew his league.
To compel the Narragansetts to deliver over the King Philip people, an army of fifteen hundred was raised by Massachusetts, Plymouth and Connecticut colonies.
South Rhode Island was then an Indian wilderness, heavily timbered and deep with swamps. Near present South Kingston, in the Narragansett country, upon a meadow upland amidst a dense swamp Philip had built a fort containing five hundred wigwams. He had built well.
The only entrance from the swamp was defended by a high log fence or series of palisades. In addition, around a space of five acres he had laid a thick hedge of felled trees. A single log bridged the water separating the fort from the drier land beyond. The wigwams were made bullet-proof by great stores of supplies piled against their walls, inside.
It was reported that he had three thousand persons in the fort—these being his Pokanokets, and many Narragansett men, women and children. The place was called Sunke-Squaw.
Treachery it was that broke the power of King Philip. An Indian named Peter sought the English and offered to show them how to get in. After a long march amidst bitter cold and driving snow, they arrived at one o'clock in the afternoon of December 19. They were short of provisions, and very weary. For a time matters went ill with them. Again and again their attacking parties were swept from the single log that Peter the traitor had showed to them. A number of officers and men had fallen, before, pressing hard, with night at hand, a party succeeded in entering the fort.
Here the hot fight passed from wigwam to wigwam. Some of the English were killed by balls from their own soldiers. Through all the swamp the battle raged.
"They run, they run!" sounded the loud cries, from the English within the fort. Their comrades on the outside hastened—scrambling, wading, straddling the log or knee-deep in the half frozen mire.
Indian women and children and warriors had taken refuge in the wigwams. Torches were applied, burning them or driving them out to be shot down. Officers tried to prevent the burning of the wigwams, in order to save the provisions, but the fire spread.
So by night the fort was in ruins. The Indians were killed, captured or fleeing. Seven hundred had been killed by bullet and sword, three hundred more perished by cold and hunger and wounds; how many old men, women and children had burned to death, no one knew. But a third of the Narragansett nation had been slain or taken captive, and of the Pokanokets only a remnant was left.
Eighty killed, was the report of the Connecticut troops alone. There were one hundred and fifty men grievously wounded. As the soldiers had destroyed the fort and its provisions, they had no shelter. Through a furious snowstorm they made a miserable night march of eighteen miles before even the wounded could be attended to.
King Philip was now a fugitive, but he was by no means done fighting. He removed to the interior of Massachusetts—it is said that he traveled clear to the Mohawks of New York, and asked their aid in this war against the English. He did not get it.
From January on into the summer of 1676 the war-whoop, the gun-shot and the torch again terrified the colonies. Aided by a few allies, King Philip was making his last great effort. He carried the war to within twenty miles of Boston. Of ninety towns in New England, thirteen had been burned; six hundred buildings had been leveled in smoke, and six hundred arms-bearing colonists killed.
"These were the most distressing days that New England ever beheld," reads a record. "All was fear and consternation. Few there were, who were not in mourning for some near kindred, and nothing but horror stared them in the face."
Presently Captain Benjamin Church, as noted in New England as Kit Carson is in the West, was upon the sachem's trail. He was a skilled Indian-fighter; he knew King Philip's haunts, and all the Indian ways.
There was no let-up by Captain Church. Some captives he turned into scouts, so that they helped him against their former chief; the more dangerous he shot or hanged. To the English notion, these hostile Indians were rebels against the government and deserved no mercy. Other captives, especially women and children, were sent to the West Indies as slaves.
Soon King Philip's allies began to desert him. They saw no hope of lasting victory; they accused King Philip of persuading them into a useless war, and either scattered or went over to the English.
Among the deserters was Queen Awashonks, squaw sachem of the Sogkonate tribe of the Pokanoket league. Her country lay in the southeast corner of Rhode Island. When Philip had heard that the Sog-ko-nates were helping Captain Church to trail him down, he is said to have smiled never again.
Chief Canonchet, great leader of the Narragansetts, was captured and executed. Thus another nail was driven into King Philip's fate.
Of Queen Wetamoo's three hundred warriors, twenty-six remained; they were betrayed by one of their own number, and captured, and Wetamoo was drowned in flight.
These deaths saddened Philip, but the many desertions blackened his horizon and he knew that he was doomed.
By midsummer he was fleeing from spot to spot, with Captain Church hard after. He had only a handful of Pokanokets and scarcely more Narragansetts with him. Although frequently attacking, he himself was never sighted. The English accused him of hiding in cowardly fashion, but he well knew that with his death or capture the war would be ended. Only the name King Philip supported it still.
Toward the close of July he had been forced south, to his own Wampanoag country of Mount Hope and Pocasset. In a sally north into southern Massachusetts he was surprised, on Sunday, July 30, and his uncle killed and his sister taken prisoner.
The next morning there came in haste from Plymouth the doughty Captain Church, aided by Queen Awashonks's men. Where a tree had been felled for a bridge of escape across the Taunton River thirty miles south of Boston, he espied, on the opposite bank, an Indian sitting alone upon a stump.
The captain aimed and would have fired, but his Indian companion said: "No. I think him one of our own men." The Indian upon the stump slowly turned his head; the captain saw that he was King Philip with his hair cut short.
At the fall of the gun hammer King Philip leaped from the stump, and plunging down a steep bank, was gone.
Captain Church crossed the river in pursuit, but did not catch him.
The next day he came upon the beaten sachem's forlorn camp. There he captured Philip's wife, Woo-to-ne-kau-ske, and their little boy of nine years.
The end of King Philip was very near. His relatives, even his sister-in-law, Wetamoo, had died; his friends had deserted him; his remaining family were in the hands of his enemies.
"You now have made Philip ready to die, for you have made him as poor and miserable as he used to make the English," Captain Church's Indian scouts praised. "You have now killed or taken all his relations. This bout has almost broken his heart, and you will soon have his head."
The head of King Philip was indeed the prize. His escape north was barred by a "great English army"; his flight southward into Rhode Island was limited by the sea. His "kenneling places" (as they were styled perhaps because of the dog's life that he was leading) were constantly betrayed, and his force of true-hearts was melting like the snows. But he received no offer of mercy. None was sent, and he asked for none.
He doubled and twisted in vain, and tried an ambush. Captain Church easily side-stepped this; and with only thirty English and twenty Indian scouts, in two days killed or captured one hundred and seventy-three more of the Philip people. Assuredly, King Philip was growing weak. He might have listened to terms, but in those stern days terms were not made with rebels, especially with troublesome Indians who were assumed to be children of Satan.
Captain Church, urged on by the Plymouth government, closed in farther. Now died two of King Philip's remaining captains. Sam Barrow, "as noted a rogue as any among the enemy," was captured, and sentenced at once to death, by Captain Church. He was an old man, but a hatchet was sunk into his head.
Chief Totoson, with his eight-year boy and old wife, escaped and reached Agawom, his former home. His little son fell sick; his own heart "became a stone within him, and he died." His old wife threw some brush and leaves over his body, and soon she, also, died. Thus was the Totoson family disposed of.
Only old Annawan, Philip's greatest captain, was left with him. They two, and their miserable band of men, women and children, sought last refuge at the abandoned Mount Hope. Here they were, back again, defeated, with nowhere else to turn.
On the morning of August 10 Captain Church was home, also, visiting his wife. He lived on the island of Rhode Island, in Narragansett Bay and separated by only a narrow strait from Mount Hope, on the north.
There he had word, in much haste, that one of King Philip's men was waiting, to guide him to a swamp where the sachem might be killed.
The name of the King Philip man was Alderman, in English. His brother had proposed to King Philip that they all surrender, and King Philip had struck him dead. So revenge burned in Alderman's heart, and he turned traitor. He was of the Queen Wetamoo people, but had deserted her, also.
Upon getting word of King Philip's whereabouts, so near at hand, Captain Church kissed his wife goodby, and gladly mounted his horse again—hoping, he said, "by tomorrow morning to have the rogue's head."
This night Alderman guided the captain's force truly. They had not far to go—only a dozen or so miles up the Mount Hope peninsula, to the narrow neck. The captain was well acquainted with the exact spot: a little isle of dry land in the midst of the swamp.
On the morning of August 12 he had his men arranged silently. Captain Golding was given the "honor of beating up Philip's headquarters." With a picked party, crawling on their bellies, he entered, to surprise the little isle, and drive out the game.
Throughout the swamp the other men were placed, two (a white man and an Indian) by two, behind trees, "that none might pass undiscovered." When the enemy should be started in flight, then all the attacking party were to make a great noise. Every figure moving without noise was to be fired upon by the ambuscade.
There were not quite enough men to complete the circle of the ambuscade. However, Captain Church took his aide, Major Sanford, by the hand, and said: "Sir, I have so placed the men that it is scarce possible Philip should escape them." There was no thought of sparing King Philip's life. He was an outlaw.
Just as the captain finished his hopeful speech, a gun-shot echoed through the misty gray. Captain Golding's men had come upon one Indian, and had fired, and then had poured a volley into the sleeping camp.
Again from the harried band rose the cry "Awannux! Awannux! (English! English!)" and into the swamp they plunged.
Caleb Cook and Alderman the guide had been stationed together behind a tree. At the first gun-shot, says the Captain Church story, King Philip "threw his petunk (shot pouch) and powder-horn over his head, catched up his gun, and ran as fast as he could scamper, without any more clothes than his small-breeches and stockings."
And here he came, directly for the tree. The two behind it let him come "fair within shot." Then Caleb took the first fire upon him. But the gun only flashed in the pan. He bade the Indian fire away, and Alderman did so true to purpose; sent one musket bullet through King Philip's heart, and another not above two inches from it. The gun had been loaded with two balls.
King Philip "fell upon his face in the mud and the water, with his gun under him." He was dead, at last, on the soil of his long-time home land from which he had sallied to do battle in vain.
"By this time," reads the Captain Church story, "the enemy perceived that they were waylaid on the east side of the swamp, and tacked short about. One of the enemy, who seemed to be a great, surly old fellow, hallooed with a loud voice, and often called out, 'I-oo-tash, I-oo-tash.' Captain Church called to his Indian, Peter, and asked him who that was that called so? He answered, that it was old Annawan, Philip's great captain, calling on his soldiers to stand to it and fight stoutly. Now the enemy finding that place of the swamp which was not ambushed, many of them made their escape in the English tracks."
When the pursuit had quit, Captain Church let his men know that King Philip had been killed, and they gave three cheers.
Then the captain ordered the body to be pulled out of the mud. So some of the Indians "took hold of him by his stockings, and some by his small breeches (being otherwise naked) and drew him through the mud to the upland; and a doleful, great, naked, dirty beast he looked like," according to their opinion.
"Forasmuch as you have caused many an Englishman's body to be unburied, and to rot above ground, not one of your bones shall be buried," pronounced Captain Church. And he ordered an old Indian, who acted as executioner, to behead and quarter King Philip.
But before he struck with the hatchet, the old Indian also made a little speech, to the body.
"You have been a very great man," he said, "and have made many a man afraid of you; but so big as you are, I will now chop you up."
And so he did.
King Philip was known not only by his face, but by a mangled hand in which a pistol had burst. His head and his crippled hand were awarded to Alderman, who had betrayed him; Alderman was told to exhibit them through New England, if he wished, as a traveling show. He gained many shillings in fees.
The four quarters of King Philip were hung to the branches of a tree. The head was stuck upon a gibbet at Plymouth for twenty years. The hand was kept at Boston. Caleb Cook traded with Alderman for King Philip's gun; and King Philip's wife and little boy were sold as slaves in the West Indies.
Now the Terror of New England had been subdued. He had been leading such a sorry life, of late, that no doubt he was glad to be done, and to have fallen in his stride and not in chains. His age is not stated.
Thus peace came to the colony of Plymouth in Massachusetts, and King Philip had few left to mourn for him, until, after a season, even some of the English writers, their spirit softened, began to grant that he might have been as much a patriot as a traitor.
In another century, the colonists themselves rebelled against a government which they did not like.
THE SQUAW SACHEM OF POCASSET (1675-1676)]
AND CANONCHET OF THE BIG HEART
When King Philip had planned his war, he well knew that he might depend upon Wetamoo, the squaw sachem of Pocasset.
After the death of the luckless Alexander, Wetamoo married a Pocasset Indian named Petananuit. He was called by the English "Peter Nunnuit." This Peter Nunnuit appears to have been a poor sort of a husband, for he early deserted to the enemy, leaving his wife to fight alone.
Wetamoo was not old. She was in the prime of life, and as an Indian was beautiful. Not counting her faithless husband, only one of her Pocassets had abandoned her. He was that same Alderman who betrayed and killed King Philip.
In the beginning Queen Wetamoo had mustered three hundred warriors. She stuck close to King Philip, and fought in his ranks. She probably was in the fatal Narragansett fort when it was stormed and taken, on December 19, 1675. The English much desired to seize her, for her lands of Pocasset "would more than pay all the charge" of the war. She was considered as being "next unto Philip in respect to the mischief that hath been done."
But she was not taken in the fort among the Narragansetts. She fled with King Philip her brother-in-law, and warred that winter and spring, as he did, against the settlements in Massachusetts.
Truly a warrior queen she was, and so she remained to the last, ever loyal to the losing cause of her grand sachem, and to the memory of Alexander.
With Philip she was driven southward, back toward her home of Pocasset, east of Mount Hope. By the first week in August of 1676, she had only twenty-six men left, out of her three hundred.
Then there came to the colonists at Taunton, which lay up the river Taunton from Pocasset, another deserter, with word that he could lead them to the little Wetamoo camp, not far southward.
Twenty armed English descended upon her, August 6, and easily overcame her camp. She alone escaped, in flight. She had no thought of surrendering herself into slavery.
In making her way to Pocasset, she "attempted," reads the tale, "to get over a river or arm of the sea near by, upon a raft, or some pieces of broken wood; but whether tired and spent with swimming, or starved with cold and hunger, she was found stark naked in Metapoiset [near present Swansea of southern Massachusetts, at the Rhode Island line], not far from the water side, which made some think she was first half drowned; and so ended her wretched life."
No respect was paid to her. Her head was cut off and hoisted upon a pole in the town of Taunton, as revenge for the similar beheading of some English bodies, earlier in the war. When, in Taunton, the Pocasset captives saw the head—"They made a most horrid and diabolical lamentation, crying out that it was their queen's head."
Here let us close the melancholy story of the warrior queen Wetamoo, who as the companion-in-arms of her sachem sought to avenge her husband's death, as well as to save her country from the foreigner. However, Wetamoo and Philip together dragged the once mighty Narragansetts down. This brings to the surface the tale of Canonchet, the big-hearted.
The Narragansetts were a large and warlike people, and hard fighters. Their country covered nearly all present Rhode Island; the city of Providence was founded in their midst, when the great preacher Roger Williams sought refuge among them. They conquered other tribes to the north and west. When King Philip rose in 1675 they numbered, of themselves, five thousand people, and could put into the field two thousand warriors.
In the beginning, under their noble sachem Can-on-i-cus, they were friendly to the English colonists. While Roger Williams lived among them they stayed friendly. They agreed to a peace with Sachem Massasoit's Pokanokets, who occupied the rest of Rhode Island, east across Narragansett Bay. They marched with the English and the Mohegans to wipe out the hostile Pequots.
Canonicus died, and Mi-an-to-no-mah, his nephew, who had helped him rule, became chief sachem. Miantonomah was famed in council and in war. The colonies suspected him, as they did Alexander, son of Massasoit. They favored the Mohegans of the crafty sachem Uncas. When Miantonomah had been taken prisoner by Uncas, at the battle of Sachem's Plain in Connecticut, 1643, the United Colonies of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Plymouth directed that the Mohegans put him to death, as a treaty breaker.
Accordingly Uncas ordered him killed by the hatchet, and ate a piece of his shoulder.
Possibly Miantonomah deserved to die, but the hearts of the Narragansetts grew very sore.
It is scarcely to be wondered at that they favored the Pokanokets rather than the English, when King Philip, who also had suffered, called upon them to aid in cleaning the land of the white enemy. "Brothers, we must be as one, as the English are, or we shall soon all be destroyed," had said Miantonomah, in a speech to a distant tribe; and that looked to be so.
Ca-non-chet, whose name in Indian was Qua-non-chet (pronounced the same), and Nan-un-te-noo, was son of the celebrated Miantonomah. He was now chief sachem of the Narragansetts, and the friend of King Philip.
He was a tall, strongly built man, and accused by the English of being haughty and insolent. Why not? He was of proud Narragansett blood, from the veins of a long line of great chiefs, and the English had given his father into the eager hands of the enemy.
Presently, he was asked to sign treaties that would make him false to the memory of Miantonomah and double-hearted toward the hopeful King Philip.
The papers engaged the Narragansetts not to harbor any of King Philip's people, nor to help them in any way against the English, nor to enter a war without the permission of the English. He was to deliver the Philip and Wetamoo people, when they came to him.
Canonchet was not that kind of a man. He had no idea of betraying people who may have fled to him for shelter from a common enemy. A few of his men feared. It was suggested to him that he yield to the colonies, lest the Narragansetts be swallowed up by the English. He replied like a chief, and the son of Miantonomah.
"Deliver the Indians of Philip? Never! Not a Wampanoag will I ever give up! No! Not the paring of a Wampanoag's nail!"
The venerable Roger Williams, his friend, the friend of his father and the friend of the long-dead Canonicus, had advised him to stay out of the war.
"Massachusetts," said Roger Williams, "can raise thousands of men at this moment; and if you kill them, the king of England will supply their place as fast as they fall."
"It is well," replied Canonchet. "Let them come. We are ready for them. But as for you, Brother Williams, you are a good man; you have been kind to us many years. We shall burn the English in their houses, but not a hair of your head shall be touched."
The colonies did not wait for Canonchet to surrender the King Philip people. The treaty had been signed on October 28, and on November 2 an army from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Plymouth was ordered out, to march against the Narragansetts, and seize King Philip and Queen Wetamoo, and punish Canonchet.
It was known that Queen Wetamoo was with Canonchet, but not certainly that King Philip had "kenneled" there. At any rate, down marched the English, their Mohegan and Pequot allies, all piloted by one Peter who might have been the husband of Wetamoo herself, but who probably was a Narragansett traitor.
Canonchet stood firm. To his notion, he was not obliged to surrender anybody, while the English held his brother and three other Narragansetts. Besides—"Deliver the Indians of Philip? No! Not the paring of a Wampanoag's nail!"
On the afternoon of December 19, this year 1675, the bold English and their allies struck the great fortified village at Sunke-Squaw. Out from the heat and smudge of the blazing wigwams fled Philip and Wetamoo and Canonchet, with their shrieking people, into the wintry swamp where the snowy branches of the cedars and hemlocks were their only refuge. Canonchet had lost a third of his nation; large numbers surrendered to the English; but, like his friend Philip, with his warriors who remained true he carried the war to the English themselves. And a terrible war it was.
In March Captain William Peirse was sent out with seventy stout men to march from Plymouth and head off the raging Narragansetts. Plymouth had heard that the haughty young sachem Canonchet was on his way to Plymouth, at the van of three hundred warriors.
Captain Peirse made his will and marched southward, to the Pawtucket River not far above Providence. Canonchet's spies had marked him, and Canonchet was ready.
On March 26, which was a Sunday, Captain Peirse saw upon the other side of the river a party of Indians limping as if worn out and trying to get away. Therefore he crossed, near the Pawtucket Falls, in glad pursuit—and "no sooner was he upon the western side, than the warriors of Nanuntenoo, like an avalanche from a mountain, rushed down upon him; nor striving for coverts from which to fight, more than their foes, fought them face to face with the most determined bravery!"
There were Narragansetts still upon the east side of the river, also, to cut off retreat. The captain, fighting desperately, with his men ranged in two ranks back to back, sent a runner to Providence, only six or eight miles, for assistance; but so quickly was the work done, by Canonchet, that of all the English force, only one Englishman escaped, and not above a dozen of the scouts.
"Captain Peirse was slain, and forty and nine English with him, and eight (or more) Indians who did assist the English."
Canonchet lost one hundred and forty, but it was a great victory, well planned and well executed. Captain Peirse had been a leader in the storming of the Narragansett fort at Sunke-Squaw, the last winter; that is one reason why the Canonchet warriors fought so ravenously, to take revenge.
On the day after the dreadful battle, from Connecticut, southwest, there marched a larger force of English and friendly Indians, to close the red trail of the Sachem Canonchet. He was feared as much as King Philip was feared.
Canonchet did not proceed against Plymouth. With thirty volunteers he had set out south for the Mount Hope region itself, in order to gather seed corn. The abandoned fields of the English along the Connecticut River waited. They ought to be planted to Indian corn.
On his way back to the Connecticut River with his seed corn, near the close of the first week in April he made camp almost upon the very battle ground above Providence, where yet the soil was stained by the blood of March 26.
He did not know that now the enemy were upon his trail indeed; but at the moment a company of fifty English under Captain George Denison of Southerton, Connecticut, and eighty Indians—the Mohegans led by Chief Oneka, son of Uncas, the Pequots by Cas-sa-sin-na-mon, the Niantics (formerly allies of the Narragansetts) by Cat-a-pa-zet—were drawing near.
Three other companies were in the neighborhood.
This day Canonchet was lying in his blanket, telling to a party of seven warriors the story of the battleground. The other warriors were scattered through the forest. Two sentries had been placed upon a hill.
Not far away the Captain Denison party already had killed one warrior, and had seized two old squaws. The squaws confessed that Nanuntenoo was yonder, the Indian scouts picked up the fresh trail, the Denison men hastened at best speed.
In the midst of his story, Canonchet saw his two sentinels dash headlong past the wigwam, "as if they wanted for time to tell what they had seen." At once he sent a third man, to report upon what was the matter. This third man likewise suddenly made off at full pace, without a word. Then two more he sent; of these, one, returning breathless, paused long enough to say that "all the English army was upon him!"
"Whereupon, having no time to consult, and but little time to attempt an escape, and no means to defend himself, he began to fly with all speed. Running with great swiftness around the hill, to get out of sight upon the opposite side, he was distinguished by his wary pursuers," and they were hot after him.
In fact, running hard around the hill, Canonchet wellnigh ran into the Niantics of Chief Catapazet, who were coming down right over the hill. He swerved, at the view-halloo, and lengthened his stride. Some of the English had joined the chase. Canonchet tore like a deer for the river.
They had not recognized him, for he was wearing his blanket. But so hotly they pressed him, that he needs must cast aside his blanket. This revealed to them his fine lace-embroidered coat, which had been given to him as a bribe, at Boston last October. Now they knew that he was a chief, and a personage, and they yelled louder, and ran faster.
Presently Canonchet stripped off his lacy coat, and dropped it. And soon loosening his belt of wampum, he dropped that also. By this chief's belt they knew that he was the great Canonchet, and faster still they ran.
However, he was out-footing all except one Indian. That Indian was a Pequot named Monopoide—the best runner of all, and better than Canonchet himself.
With only a single pursuer to be feared, Canonchet turned sharply and leaped into the river, to cross by a strange trail. As he splashed through, wading find plunging, seeing escape close before him if he could gain the opposite bank, he stumbled upon a stone. Falling forward he not only lost valuable time but soused his gun.
"At that accident," he afterward said, "my heart and bowels turned within me so that I became like a rotten stick, void of strength."
Before he might stand straight and fix his useless gun, with a whoop of triumph the lucky Pequot, Monopoide, was upon him; grabbed him by his shoulder within thirty rods of the shore.
The Pequot was not a large man, nor a strong warrior. Canonchet was both, and might yet have fought loose, to liberty. But he had made up his mind to quit. He offered no trouble; the guns of the pursuing party were covering him again, and he obeyed the orders.
He did not break his silence until young Robert Staunton, first of the English to reach him, asked him questions. This was contrary to Indian usage. Canonchet looked upon him disdainfully.
"You much child. No understand matters of war, Let your brother or chief come; him I will answer."
Robert's brother, John Staunton, was captain of one of the Connecticut companies that had been sent out to find the Narragansetts; but Canonchet was now turned over to Captain Denison.
He was offered his life if he would help the English. This brought from him a glare of rebuke.
He was offered his life if he would send orders to his people to make peace.
"Say no more about that," he replied. "I will not talk of peace. I do not care to talk at all. I was born a sachem. If sachems come to speak with me, I will answer; but none present being such, I am obliged, in honor to myself, to hold my tongue."
"If you do not accept the terms offered to you, you will be put to death."
"Killing me will not end the war. There are two thousand men who will revenge me."
"You richly deserve death. You can expect no mercy. You have said that you would burn the English in their houses. You have boasted that you would not deliver up a single Wampanoag, nor the paring of a Wampanoag's nail."
"I desire to hear no more about it," replied Canonchet. "Others were as eager in the war as myself, and many will be found of the same mind. Have not the English burned my people in their houses? Did you ever deliver up to the Narragansetts any of the Narragansetts' enemies? Why then should I deliver up to them the Wampanoags? I would rather die than remain prisoner. You have one of equal rank here with myself. He is Oneka, son of Uncas. His father killed my father. Let Oneka kill me. He is a sachem."
"You must die."
"I like it well. I shall die before my heart is soft, or I have said anything of which Canonchet shall be ashamed."
Even his enemies admired him. The English compared him to some old Roman.
He was not killed here. Forty-three of his people, men and women, had been taken by the troops and scouts; a number of these were given over to death by the scout Indians. But Canonchet was borne in triumph to Stonington, Connecticut.
In order to reward the friendly Indians, the Pequots were permitted to shoot him, the Mohegans to behead and to quarter him, the Niantics to burn him. As a return favor, the Indians presented the head of Canonchet, or Nanuntenoo, to the English council at Hartford, Connecticut.
In the above fashion perished, without a plea, "in the prime of his manhood," Canonchet of the Big Heart, last Grand Sachem of the Narragansetts. Presently only the name of his nation remained.
THE BLOODY BELT OF PONTIAC (1760-1763)
WHEN IT PASSED AMONG THE RED NATIONS
Soon after the Mohawks broke the peace with the French and Algonkins in Canada, and in 1647 killed Piskaret the champion, they and the others of the Five Nations drove the Hurons and Algonkins into flight.
The Hurons, styled in English Wyandots, fled clear into Michigan and spread down into northern Ohio.
Of the Algonkins there were three nations who clung together as the Council of the Three Fires. These were the Ottawas, the Ojibwas and the Potawatomis.
The Ottawas were known as the "Trade People" and the "Raised Hairs." They had claimed the River Ottawa, in which was the Allumette Island upon which Piskaret and the Adirondacks had lived.
The Ojibways were known as the "Puckered Moccasin People," from the words meaning "to roast till puckered up." Their tanned moccasins had a heavy puckered seam. The name Ojibwa, rapidly pronounced, became in English "Chippeway." As Chippeways and Chippewas have they remained.
The Potawatomis, whose name is spelled also Pottawattamis, were known as the "Nation of Fire." They had lived the farthest westward of all, until the Sioux met them and forced them back.
The Ottawas were recorded by the early French as rude and barbarous. The Chippewas, or Ojibwas, were recorded as skillful hunters and brave warriors. The Potawatomis were recorded as the most friendly and kind-hearted among the northern Indians.
Of these people many still exist, in Canada and the United States.
When England, aided by her American colonies, began to oppose France in the New World in 1755, the Three Fires helped the French. They were then holding part of present Wisconsin and all of Michigan.
Now in the fall of 1760 France had lost Canada. She was about to surrender to England all her forts and trading posts of the Upper Mississippi basin, from the Great Lakes to the Ohio River.
In November Major Robert Rogers, a noted American Ranger, of New Hampshire birth, with two hundred hardy American woodsmen in twelve whaleboats, and with a herd of fat cattle following the shores, was on his way from Montreal, by water, to carry the English tongue and the British flag to the French posts of the Great Lakes.
He had passed several posts, and was swinging around for Detroit, when a storm of sleet and rain kept him in camp amidst the thick timber where today stands the city of Cleveland, Ohio.
Here he was met by a party of Indians from the west, bearing a message.
"You must go no farther," they said, "Pontiac is coming. He is the king and lord of this country you are in. Wait till he can see you with his own eyes."
That same day in the afternoon Chief Pontiac himself appeared. Major Rogers saw a dark, medium tall but very powerful Indian, aged near fifty years, wearing not only richly embroidered clothes but also "an air of majesty and princely grandeur."
Pontiac spoke like a great chief and ruler.
"I have come to find out what you are doing in this place, and how you dare to pass through my country without my permission."
Major Rogers replied smoothly.
"I have no design against you or your people. I am here by orders from your new English fathers, to remove the French from your country, so that we may trade in peace together."
And he gave the chief a pledge of wampum. Pontiac returned another belt.
"I shall stand in the path you are walking, till morning," was all that he would say; and closed the matter for the night.
During the storm of the next few days he smoked the pipe of peace with the major, and promised safe passage for him, to Detroit.
Thus Major Rogers was the first of the English Americans to be face to face with one of the master minds of the Indian Americans.
This Pontiac was head chief not alone of the Ottawas, but of the Chippewas and Potawatomis. Rumor has declared that he was born a dark Catawba of that fierce fighting nation in South Carolina, who frequently journeyed north to fall upon the northern tribes. But his father probably was an Ottawa, his mother an Ojibwa.
By reason of his strong mind, and his generalship in peace and in war, he was accepted as a leader throughout all the Great Lakes country. The name and fame of Pontiac had extended far into the south and into the east. It is said that he commanded the whole Indian force at the bloody Braddock's Field south of Pittsburg, when on July 9, 1755, the British regulars of General Sir William Braddock, aided by the colonial militia of Major George Washington, were crushed and scattered by the French and Indians.
Before that he had saved the French garrison of Detroit from an attack by hostile Foxes.
Having talked with Major Rogers, Pontiac sent runners to notify the villages that the English had his permission to march through the country. He himself went on with the party. He astonished the major by his shrewd questions—as to how the English waged war, how their clothing was made, how they got iron from the ground, for their weapons.
He even stated that he was willing to form an alliance with the king of England and to call him uncle; but that he must be allowed to reign as he pleased in his own country, or "he would shut up the way and keep the English out."
Puzzled and stung by the news that their fathers, the French, had been beaten in war, a great number of Ottawas, Potawatomis, Chippewas, Sacs and Wyandots gathered at old Detroit, to witness the surrender. They could not understand why the French should march out and lay down their arms to such a small company of English. Evidently these English were gifted with powers that made their enemies weak.
For a brief space all went well, while the Indians of Pontiac's country watched, to see what kind of men these English should prove to be.
But the name of the English already was bad. These Northern tribes well knew what had occurred in Virginia and in New England. The Powatans, the Pokanokets, the Narragansetts and other peoples had been wiped out, their lands seized. The English were bent upon being masters, not allies.
There was found to be a great difference in the methods of the French, and these English.
The French treated chiefs as equals, and tribes as brothers and children; lived in their lodges, ate of their food, created good feeling by distributing presents, interfered little with ancient customs, traded fairly, and forebade whiskey.
The English despised the Indians, lived apart, demanded rather than asked, were stingy in trading, and cheated by means of liquor.
"When the Indians visited the forts, instead of being treated with attention and politeness, they were received gruffly, subjected to indignities, and not infrequently helped out of the fort with the butt of a sentry's musket or a vigorous kick from an officer."
Pontiac and his people soon saw this. The French-Canadian traders still at large took pains to whisper, in cunning fashion, that the great French king was old and had been asleep while the English were arming; but that now he had awakened, and his young men were coming to rescue his red children. A fleet of great canoes was on its way up the St. Lawrence River, to capture the Lakes, and the French and the Indians would again live together!
The Three Fires and their allies the Sacs and the Wyandots longed for the pleasant company of their French brothers. In his village on the Canada border just across the river from Detroit, Pontiac watched these "Red Coats" for two years and found, as he thought, nothing good in them or their cheating traders and he resolved to be rid of them all.
With the eye of a chief and a warrior he had noted, also, that they were a foolish people. As if despising the power of the Indian, they garrisoned their posts with only small forces, although many of these posts were lonely spots, far separated by leagues of water and forest from any outside aid. Messages from one to another could be easily stopped.
The French were being allowed to remain and to move about freely. The peace treaty between the French and the English had not yet been signed. No doubt the French would join the Indians in driving the invaders from this country so rich in corn and fish and game.
Out of his brooding and his hate, Pontiac formed his plan. It was a plan like the plan of Opechancanough and King Philip, but on a larger scale. He worked at it alone, until he was prepared to set it in motion.
Then, late in the year 1762, he sent to the eastward his runners bearing to the Senecas a red-stained tomahawk and a Bloody Belt.
They carried the message:
"The English mean to make slaves of us, by occupying so many posts in our country. Let us try now, to recover our liberty, rather than wait until they are stronger."
From the Senecas the Bloody Belt was passed to the Delawares of western New York and eastern Pennsylvania; from the Delawares to the Shawnees of western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio; from the Shawnees it was passed westward to the Miamis, and the Wyandots of Indiana.
Several thousands of miles had the Bloody Belt traveled, when in March, of 1763, it was caught and stopped by Ensign Holmes, the young commander at old Fort Miami near the present city of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
He sent it back to Detroit, far northward, with a note of warning for Major Gladwyn the commander. He believed that with the stoppage of the belt he had checked the plan. Major Gladwyn, in turn, reported to his superiors that this "was a trifling matter which would blow over."
The belt may have been stopped, but not the word of Pontiac. It traveled on, until from Lake Superior of the Canada border down to Kentucky all the tribes between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi River were only waiting for the Day.
Vague rumors brought in by traders and friendly scouts floated hither-thither—rumors of mysterious remarks, of secret councils, of a collecting of arms and powder, and a sharpening of knives and hatchets, even among tribes remote from the posts.
But the garrisons were not reinforced. The soldiers idled and joked, the Indians came and went as usual, gates were not closed except at night.
A Delaware prophet was reported to be preaching death to the Red Coats. Unrest seethed, and yet could not be traced to any source. On April 27, unknown to a single one of the English at the Great Lakes, a hundred strange chiefs gathered within a few miles of Detroit itself, to confer with Pontiac.
In the midst of the forest he addressed them. Here, seated in a large circle, were Ottawas, Ojibwas, Sacs, Potawatomis, Wyandots, Senecas, Miamis, Shawnees, Foxes, Delawares, Menominis—all intent for the words of Pontiac.