The Indians of the Nipmuck Country in Southern New England, 1630–1750

An Historical Geography


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About the Book

The North American Indian group known as the Nipmucks was situated in south-central New England and, during the early years of Puritan colonization, remained on the fringes of the expanding white settlements. It was not until their involvement in King Philip’s War (1675–1676) that the Nipmucks were forced to flee their homes, their lands to be redistributed among the settlers. This group, which actually includes four tribes or bands—the Nipmucks, Nashaways, Quabaugs, and Wabaquassets—has been enmeshed in myth and mystery for hundreds of years. This is the first comprehensive history of their way of life and its transformation with the advent of white settlement in New England. Spanning the years between the Nipmucks’ first encounters with whites until the final disposal of their lands, this history focuses on Indian-white relations, the position or status of the Nipmucks relative to the other major New England tribes, and their social and political alliances. Settlement patterns, population densities, tribal limits, and land transactions are also analyzed as part of the tribe’s historical geography. A bibliography allows for further research on this mysterious and often misunderstood people group.

About the Author(s)

Retired teacher and media specialist Dennis A. Connole spent 32 years in the Worcester school system. He is the author of three books and numerous scholarly articles and lives in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Bibliographic Details

Dennis A. Connole
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 316
Bibliographic Info: maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006 [2001]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2953-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5011-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

List of Illustrations      5

1 Introduction: The Indians and the Country      7

2 The Pequot War of 1637: Nipmuck Involvement      26

3 Early Contact with the English      43

4 The Weaker Tribes Seek Protection      58

5 Colonial Authorities Go to the Aid of the Nipmucks      70

6 Early Missionary Work      84

7 Missionary Work Revived: “the business about land”      102

8 Conflict in English and Indian Attitudes Regarding Land Ownership: The Story of John Wampas      122

9 Nipmuck Land Transfers and Settlement by the English Prior to 1675      138

10 The Nipmucks Go to War      159

11 The Spring Campaign of 1676      183

12 Peace Negotiations: Philip and the Nipmucks Part Company      198

13 Dispersal of the Nipmuck Tribes      214

14 Disposal of the Remaining Lands in the Nipmuck Country      232

15 Conclusions      254

Notes      269

Bibliography      291

Index      299

Book Reviews & Awards

“well-documented, thoroughly researched, and richly detailed”—Choice.