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Title: The Abenaki Indians

Author: Frederic Kidder

Release date: May 10, 2008 [eBook #25416]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Jeannie Howse, Chuck Greif, Anne Storer and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images
generously made available by the Canadian Institute for
Historical Microreproductions (


Transcriber’s Note:
Unusual and inconsistent spelling of names
have been left as in the original.


[Pg 1]













[Pg 3]


The present spirit of inquiry into the early history of New England is bringing forth additional facts and evolving new light, by which we are every day seeing more clearly the true motive and incentives for its colonization. But whenever the student turns to investigate the history of the aboriginal tribes, who once inhabited this part of the country, he is struck, not so much with the paucity of materials, as with the complication and difficulties which our earlier and later writers have thrown around the subject, as well as the very different light with which they have viewed it.

The first explorers of our coast, whose intercourse with the Indians was limited to trading for furs and skins, seem to have had a much better opinion of them than Mather, Hubbard, and some still later writers. It is not to be supposed that while a large part of the population were smarting from the distress of almost continued Indian wars, that even the most candid could coolly investigate and impartially record the history, character, and wants of such a people. But the time has arrived, when, divesting ourselves of all prejudice, we can examine carefully their true situation, and making allowance for their condition, write their history with fairness and candor.

The present sketch is confined to a brief notice of the tribes who inhabited the territory now constituting the [Pg 4] States of Maine and New Hampshire, all of which may be considered as embraced under the name of Abenakis, or more properly Wanbanakkie. It has often been supposed that this name was given them by the French, but it is undoubtedly their original appellation, being derived from Wanbanban, which may be defined the people of aurora borealis or northern light.

It is only now intended to sketch their earlier history, and to trace the various emigrations to the present residence of the Abenakis proper, in Canada; and viewing this tribe as the living representative of our extinct ones, to consider its interesting history, so clearly connected with New England frontier life, although most of that history is but a record of war and wretchedness.

The celebrated discoverer, Capt. John Smith, in his general history, furnishes the earliest and most reliable description of the Indians on the coast of Maine, as they were in 1614; other writers give accounts of tribes there, some of which it is difficult to distinguish or locate; but it may be best to consider all that were residing in the two States above-mentioned as embraced in about eight distinct tribes, namely: Penobscots or Tarrentines, Passamaquodies or Sybayks, Wawenocks, Norridgewoks or Canibas, Assagunticooks, Sokokis or Pequakets, Pennacooks, Malacites or St. Johns.

The Penobscots[1] were probably the most numerous and influential tribe. Their chief or bashaba was said to have been acknowledged as a superior as far as Massachusetts Bay. They occupied the country on both sides of the Penobscot Bay and River; their summer resort being near the sea, but during the winter and spring they inhabited lands [Pg 5] near the falls, where they still reside. It is somewhat strange to find a tribe numbering about five hundred still remaining in their ancient abode, and, though surrounded by whites, retaining their language, religion, and many of the habits and customs of centuries past, with a probability of perpetuating them for ages to come. Their name is from penobsq, rock, and utoret, a place, literally, rocky-place,—which no doubt refers to the rocky falls in the river near their residence. It is not supposed that many of this tribe emigrated to Canada, although they had constant intercourse with that country.

The Passamaquodies were found occupying the northeastern corner of Maine, if, as it is generally supposed, they are the descendants of those seen and described by De Monts, who spent the winter of 1604 near their present head-quarters. Their subsequent history for more than a century was but a blank, as in all that time they are not mentioned by any writer, or named in any of the treaties, till after the conquest of Canada. This omission is certainly strange, as in the ones of 1713 and 1717 now published in this volume, mere fragments of tribes are named and represented.

Still, if any reliance can be placed on their own traditions, they had resided for generations previous to the Revolution around the lower Schoodic Lake, where the recent discovery of stone hatchets and other implements of an ancient make would seem to verify their assertions. They also point out the place of a fight with the Mohawks, who two centuries ago carried terror into all the Indian villages from Carolina to the Bay of Fundy. It is probable that from their distant inland and secluded position, as well as their limited numbers, they were in no way connected with the various wars which the other tribes waged against the colonists, and so were unnoticed. As their residence on the lake was [Pg 6] nearer Machias than any other available point on the sea coast, it may be that to trade with this people the trading house was established there by the Plymouth Colony, in 1630, and they were often called the Machias Indians. Although their intercourse has long continued with Canada, up to this time they have sent no emigrants there. They number at present between four and five hundred souls, and still adhere to the religious forms taught them by the Jesuits. This tribe designate themselves by the name of Sybayk.[2]

The Wawenocks were located on the sea-coast, and inhabited the country from the Sheepscot to the St. George; they are quite fully described by Capt. John Smith, who had much intercourse with them. From their situation on the rivers and harbors, they were much sooner disturbed by the settlements than any other of the tribes in Maine. In 1747 there were but a few families remaining. At the treaty at Falmouth, in 1749, they were associated with the Assagunticooks, among whom they were then settled, and with whom they soon after removed to Canada. The Canibas or Norridgewoks occupied the valley of the Kennebec, from the tide water to its sources; their principal residence was at Norridgewock. Here the Jesuit missionaries, at an early period, taught them their religious faith, and by sharing with them their privations and hardships, obtained a controlling influence over them.

As they inhabited fertile intervale land, they gave more attention to agriculture than any of the neighboring tribes, and appear to have been originally more peaceably inclined towards the whites than some of their neighbors. Residing so far inland, they were but little acquainted with the [Pg 7] prowess of the whites, and sent out their war parties to commit murders and depredations on the unprotected settlers, without expecting a retribution on their own heads. After a long succession of murders and captures in the English settlements, by this tribe, instigated, as was believed, by their priest, Sebastian Rasle, an expedition was sent against them, consisting of about two hundred men, who killed about thirty Indians, including Rasle, and destroyed the place, without the loss of a man. This broke their power, but they continued to reside there for many years, and gradually retired to the St. Francis,—the last family migrating near the end of the last century.

The Assagunticooks were a numerous tribe who inhabited the country along the whole valley of the Androscoggin; and although their lands were not occupied by whites, they were frequently bitter enemies, and were the first to begin a war and the last to make peace. Their location gave them easy access to the settlements, from Casco to Piscataqua, which they improved to glut their thirst for blood and slaughter. About 1750 they moved to Canada and joined the St. Francis tribe. They could then muster about one hundred and fifty warriors, and being much the most numerous tribe that emigrated there, it is supposed they had the greatest influence, and that their dialect is more truly perpetuated than any other in that confederacy.

The Sokokis inhabited the country bordering on the Saco River, but were mostly limited to its head waters. Their villages were located on the alluvial lands in what is now Fryeburg, Me., and Conway, N. H. The Pegwakets and Ossipees were either identical with or branches of this tribe. In 1725 Capt. John Lovewell with about fifty soldiers, on a scouting adventure in the vicinity, fell in with a war party of the tribe, and a sanguinary battle ensued, disastrous to both parties. Their chief, Paugus, was slain; [Pg 8] and within a short period the remainder of the tribe, dispirited by their misfortunes, retired to Canada.

The Pennacooks were probably the only occupants of the waters of the Merrimac, and perhaps included nearly all the nations who resided in what is now the State of New Hampshire. Their principal residence was at Amoskeag Falls, the site of the present manufacturing city of Manchester. It is usual to name the Pennatuckets, Wambesitts, Souhegans, and some others as tribes, but there can be no doubt they all owned fealty to the head sagamore of the Pennacooks, and were only branches of that tribe, as were all the Indians on the Piscataqua and its waters. It is also probable the small band of Cowasacks, on the upper Connecticut, were of this tribe. The Pennacooks must have been at one time a numerous community, and were less warlike than any of the Abenaki race. It is likely they were more disposed to cultivate the soil, and their historian, Judge Potter, represents them as amiable and friendly to the whites. Notwithstanding, they were the earliest emigrants to Canada. They left their pleasant hunting grounds with regret, and often returned to cultivate their ancient fields; but few of them resided permanently there after about 1700.

It is proper to add to the names of the original Abenaki tribes, that of the Malacite or Amalecite, who have always resided on the St. John. It is not known that any part of this tribe emigrated to Canada with those of Maine, but in 1828 about thirty families emigrated there, and settled on a branch of the River Verte. But the largest part still reside in New Brunswick.

We come now to trace the emigration of the Abenakis to the banks of the St. Lawrence. As the Jesuits had been in constant communication with the tribes in Maine for more than half a century, the Indians had learned the way to Quebec, and it is probable that during Philip’s war some of [Pg 9] the tribes obtained arms and ammunition from that place. During this war the Pennacooks, under the influence of their chief, Wonnolancet, had remained neutral, and in July, 1676, at Chocheco, signed with some others a treaty of perpetual peace. Still, the feeling of the whites was so strong against all the race, that they placed little reliance on their former good conduct or present promises. A few months after this treaty, they induced a large number of Indians, from the various tribes, to come to the same place, and where all the militia of the provinces had assembled, and while professing to practice some sham evolutions, the Indians were suddenly surrounded and captured. Many of the prisoners so treacherously obtained were executed, and others sold into slavery for having been in arms against the whites.

Although Wonnolancet and his tribe were discharged, this breach of faith must have taught him that he could not rely on the white man’s promise, and that neither he nor his tribe was safe on the Merrimac. With this feeling he, with a part of them, left for Canada in the autumn of 1677. Although he subsequently returned to visit his former hunting and fishing grounds, his real home was, for the remainder of his life, near Quebec, and he with his band became the nucleus of the Indian settlement there; but it is not apparent that he was at any period the enemy of the English.

In the course of the war, nearly all the tribes in New England had been more or less involved in it. The colonists now looked upon them as a conquered race of heathen, and that their duty was to drive them out, and enjoy their lands in the manner of the Israelites of old. On the other hand, the Indians who had made terms of peace, having now for the first time realized that they had not the ability to cope with the English in war, and could not trust their friendship in peace, naturally looked to the French as the protectors of their villages and hunting grounds. Many of [Pg 10] them were willing to place themselves and their families under their care.

Therefore the Jesuits, who had for a long time been their spiritual, and often their temporal advisers, began to turn the steps of the broken and scattered remnants of the tribes who had suffered most in the war, to the feeble settlement of the Pennacooks, near Quebec, and as early as 1685, the Governor of that colony granted a tract of land at a place called Côte de Lauzon, opposite that city, for their use. Up to the commencement of the war, a considerable number of Indians had continued to reside on the Connecticut river, above Northampton; they had fought against the whites, and at the death of Philip, fled and took up their abode at Scauticook, above Albany, and were afterwards increased by additions from other tribes.

After a few years, the government of New York became desirous of being rid of such neighbors, whom they could not trust or control, and induced them to remove to Canada, where most of them were settled before the close of that century, with or near the Pennacooks.

Early in the eighteenth century, the numbers of refugee Indians attracted the attention of the Governor of Canada, and as the whole of the French population of that colony did not then number ten thousand souls, he saw they would materially add to the strength of his command, and could be used most effectually against the frontiers of New England. He therefore took measures to give them a home there. As the grant near Quebec was found not adapted to their needs and condition, probably from its close contiguity to that city, two convenient tracts of land were granted for their use; the first bears date Aug. 23, 1700, the second, May 10, 1701. These were on the St. Francis river, which has given a name to the tribe. In 1704 another settlement of refugees from New England received a grant of [Pg 11] land at a place called Beçancour, near Three Rivers, and during this year the Governor addressed a letter to the ministry in France, giving his reasons for inducing the Abenakis to settle in his colony, and from this period it was a constant policy to encourage their immigration there, for more than half a century.

Here was the place where parties were to be fitted out to carry war, destruction, and misery to the frontiers of New England.

In 1704 these Indians piloted a body of French to the vicinity of their former homes, on the Connecticut, and entirely destroyed Deerfield. The writer not long since conversed with an ancient member of this tribe, who claimed to be the great grandson of Esther Williams, daughter of Rev. John Williams, who was, with his family, captured at that time. In 1707 this tribe, piloted by the Pennacooks down the Merrimac, destroyed Haverhill, murdering and capturing most of its inhabitants. It would fill a volume to relate the bloody tragedies acted and instigated by this tribe; it seems almost incredible that any people could exist for a generation amidst such repeated incursions of a relentless enemy.

In November, 1724, Vaudreuil, Governor General of Canada, addressed an urgent letter to the Minister of War in France, giving an account of the attack on Norridgewock, and the death of Father Rasle, with a full account of the losses and sufferings of that tribe, and asking for a grant of ammunition, guns, and blankets to supply their losses, and enable them to make war on the English settlements. He also gives a particular account of the condition of the Abenakis, and says, “of all the Indians in New France, they are in a position to render the most service; this nation consists of five villages, which number, altogether, about five hundred warriors. Two of these villages are situated [Pg 12] on the St. Lawrence, near Three Rivers—one below that town called Beçancour, the other ten leagues above, called St. Francis, the three others are in the direction of Acadie, called Narantsouak, on the River Kanibekky, Panagamsdé, on the Pentagouet (Penobscot), and Medocteck, on the River St. John. These three villages have different routes, each by its own river, whereby they can reach Quebeck in a few days.”[3]

In April, 1725, a delegation of three gentlemen visited Montreal with a letter from the Governor of Massachusetts, in reply to one addressed to him some months previously by M. Vaudreuil, relative to the attack at Norridgewock, and the death of Father Rasle. They demanded that the prisoners held by the Abenakis should be given up, and a perpetual peace established.

The Indians, who were entirely under the influence of the French, were extremely haughty in their language and deportment; they demanded that the English should restore their lands, rebuild their church, which they had destroyed at Norridgewock, and when asked what land they referred to, said “that their land commenced at the River Gounitogon, otherwise called the long river,[4] which lies to the west beyond Boston, that this river was formerly the boundary which separated the lands of the Iroquois from those of the Abenakis, that according to this boundary, Boston and the greater part of the English settlements east of it are in Abenakis’ lands; that they would be justified in telling them to quit there, but that they had considered that their settlements were established and that they were still inclined to tolerate them; but they demanded as an express condition of peace that the English should abandon the [Pg 13] country from one league beyond Saco River to Port Royal, which was the line separating the lands of the Abenakis from those of the Micmaks.”[5]

The Abenakis denied that they had ever sold any land to the English, and when the latter claimed that much of it was theirs by a possession of more than eighty years, and that this possession gave them a title, the Indians replied, “We were in possession before you, for we have held it from time immemorial.” The English delegates conceded that they did not claim beyond the west bank of the Narantsouak (Kennebec), and that the fort at St. George was built not by them, but by the government of Port Royal.

The meeting seems to have been unsatisfactory to the delegation, and no treaty or arrangement was made. The French governor denied that they had furnished the Indians with arms, or instigated them to attack the English, although Vaudreuil’s letters to his government in France bear abundant evidence that this was his constant policy.

In the treaty with many of the tribes, held at Deerfield in 1735, the St. Francis Indians were represented, and agreed to the arrangement for perpetual peace; but a few years elapsed before they were again engaged in their bloody pastime. War was declared against France in 1744, and the Abenakis were soon hovering on the frontiers. In 1746, Keene and Concord, in New Hampshire, felt their power, and many captives were carried to Canada. In 1752 Capt. Phineas Stevens proceeded to Canada, as a delegate from the governor of Massachusetts, to confer with the Abenakis, and to redeem some prisoners they had in their possession. At a conference had with them in the presence of the governor of Canada, Atewaneto, the chief speaker, made an eloquent reply, in which he charged the English with trespassing on their lands: he said, “We acknowledge [Pg 14] no other land of yours than your settlements, wherever you have built, and we will not consent, under any pretext, that you pass beyond them. The lands we possess have been given us by the Great Master of Life, we acknowledge to hold only from him.”

In 1755 they were again in the field, and followed the French armies to the head of Lake George, and carried terror into the new townships on the Connecticut river. Some of their small parties at that late day penetrated within sixty miles of the capital of New England. But these long continued aggressions were soon to meet a fearful retribution. The capture of Quebec, which gave North America to England, had changed the relation of the Abenakis. Capt. Kennedy having been sent to their villages with a flag of truce, was, with his whole party, made prisoners. To chastise them for this outrage, as well as to retaliate for their continued cruelty and murders on the defenseless frontier settlements, Gen. Amherst dispatched the celebrated Major Rogers with a detachment of his rangers to the villages on the St. Francis. Just before daybreak, on the fifth of October, he surprised and killed at least two hundred Indians, and burnt all their wigwams, plunder, and effects. Rogers in his journal says: “To my own knowledge, in six years’ time, the St. Francis Indians had killed and carried into captivity on the frontiers of New England, four hundred persons; we found in the town, hanging on poles over the doors &c., about six hundred scalps, mostly English.”

The power of the tribe for evil was gone, and we hear no more of them till the Revolution, when their warriors followed Burgoyne to Saratoga, where they again used the tomahawk and scalping knife, but when his fortunes began to wane, they retired to the banks of the St. Lawrence. Again in the war of 1812, they joined the English, but their [Pg 15]numbers were few, and after a brief campaign, they, for the last time, retraced their steps to their own homes.

A few more remarks will close the history of this tribe, once the terror of New England.

The present condition of the Abenakis is given in a report made in 1858 to the Legislative Assembly of Canada. This states that the tribe on the St. Francis has diminished to three hundred and eighty-seven persons; they live mainly by agriculture, but everything is done in so rude a way, that they gather but scanty crops. Part of them, through the exertions of one of their own number, have been induced to discard their ancient faith, and are now professed Methodists. This change has involved the tribe in continual feuds and difficulties, which will prevent any improvement, and will probably lead to a permanent division and removal of one of the parties. They often undergo much privation for want of proper food and other necessaries of life. The portion of the tribe at Beçancour presents a still more degraded condition. There remain but thirty families, in all one hundred and seventy-two individuals. They still remain Roman Catholics, have no schools, and seem to have reached the extreme of misery and destitution, and so completely have this people intermixed, that their missionary writes, “he does not know of a single pure Abenaki among them.”

The vocabulary now published is copied from a small volume printed about thirty years ago, entitled “Wobanaki Kimzowi Awighigan,” i.e. Abenaki Spelling Book. It was procured by the writer with much difficulty, as it was the only copy that could be obtained among them. It is supposed by those qualified to judge, to be a fair specimen of the dialect formerly spoken on the Androscoggin and Kennebec, although there are in it many words originally borrowed from the French and English. From a memorandum [Pg 16] made when with them a few years since, the name of their tribe, as near as can be written and pronounced in English, is W’Banankee, accenting the last syllable.

The treaties, now for the first time printed, are copied from the original in the possession of the writer; they will be perused with pleasure by those interested in antiquarian researches. But at the present day it is difficult to realize the interest which these proceedings and documents excited; they were often considered almost a matter of life or death to the frontier settlers. It is apparent that every chief had then his peculiar totem, or symbol. At a later period this system was abandoned, and they used only a simple cross. Among the chiefs who signed, is to be found the totem of Bombazeen and some others, whose names are perpetuated in history for their bloody exploits. The autographs annexed show the names of men then prominent in both provinces, and some of them afterwards attained the highest positions in political life.

The vocabularies and treaties are now submitted for publication by request of the Maine Historical Society.

Boston, August, 1859.

[Pg 17]


published in boston in 1830, and called “kimzowi awighigan,” the last word being the term for book.

The sounds of the vowels are represented in English according to the following scheme.

Vowels. Sounded.
A a as a in father, psalm.
E e as e in met, or in accident.
I i as ee in seen, or i in machine.
O o as o in note.
U u as u in tube, cube; also used after g, as in language.
ŭ as ŭ in cup, sun.

O o

Ai ai as i in pine, nine.
Au au as ow or ou in how, thou.

Consonants. Names.
B b bi
D d di
G g gi
H h hi
J j ji
K k ki
L l li
M m mi
N n ni
P p pi
S s si
T t ti
W w wi
Z z zi
CH ch chi

[Pg 18]

mke zen—shoe
ne bi—water
cha kwa—this morning
chi ga—when
chbi wi—apart
chig naz—thorn plum
cho wi—must be, certain
pa skwa—noon
pla nikw—flying squirrel
pi han—rope
psig ia—half
nbis—little water
sips—a fowl
wins—black birch
a sokw—cloud
cha kwat—daylight
cha ga—now then
chi bai—ghost
chog lŭskw—black bird
chan naps—turnip
chbo sa—walks apart
pne kokw—sandy hill
po bakw—a bog
pe guis—a gnat
psi gaskw—board
psan ta—full
to son—a shed
ta lin—earthen basin
sko tam—trout
ski ia—raw
ska mon—corn
ska kwam—green stick
mski ko—grass
psa na wi—full of
ab on—cake
as ma—not yet
a ses—horse
akw bi—rum
a wip—pith
a la—or
ap les—apple
ak ikw—seal
[Pg 19] as ban—raccoon
al wa—almost
ki kon—field
ko wa—pine tree
ki zos—sun
kda hla—it sinks
ka ia—thick milk
kchim li—chimney
kchin bes—great lake
psan ba—full
psa nikw—black squirrel
sig wit—widower
ska hla—raw hide
te go—wave
ski bakw—green leaf
ska wakw—fresh meat
mska ta—lily root
msko da—prairie
kzab da—hot
ab on—bed
as kan—horn
al akws—star
al ikws—pismire
am kwon—spoon
ag askw—woodchuck
a zip—sheep
ak sen—ox
a kwan—bitter, acrid
kas ko—crane
pe laz—pigeon
kas ta—how many times
ka oz—cow
ka akw—gull
ko jo—vein
kchi tŭkw—great river
ki zokw—day
wo wan—an egg
wa bi—buttock
wi bit—tooth
wdel li—shoulder
wŭch ol—nose
wig bi—stringy bark
wle guan—wing
wa japkw—root
wcha too—sinewy
wskat gua—forehead
wli gen—good
wi noz—onion
wo bi—white
wa guan—heel
wŭt tep—head
wta wakw—ear
wsi sŭkw—eye
wdo lo—kidney
wig wom—house, camp
wa dap—root to sew with
Wdo wo—Autawa Indian
wŭt tŭn—mouth
wji ia—belonging to
wlo gas—leather string
wla nikw—fisher
wikw kwa—thigh
wa chil—oak nut
wha gakw—a scalp
wha ga—body
wpa nak—lights
wa laskw—husk
wol kaa—hollow place
[Pg 20] wzŭkw na—tail
wi zi—gall, bile
wo boz—elk
wokw ses—fox
wi os—flesh
ma wia—better
sog mo—chief
a wan—air
ki zi—already
msi wi—largely
wski a—new
sikw hla—hail
kwa nak—length
ta bat—enough
mat guas—rabbit
mkwi gen—red
tau bo gan—large trough
tlap so bi—trap chain
ska ho gan—a forked post
wlag zi—bowels
wa jo—mountain
wji gon—desolate camp
wdol ka—breast, stomach
wi ka—fat
wlo da—hot weather
wo lakw—hole
wja kwam—but end
wlom ka—fine grainy
wski gen—young vegetable
wzi dakw—handle
wne kikw—otter
wa gin—wagon
pil tal—lead
kchi ia—aged person
pa gon—nut
a chi—also
ngon ia—old
mo gis—monkey
wdŭp kwan—hair
wa ji—for, to
so ga—lobster
piz wat—good for nothing
klo gan—door
tip wa bel—pepper
ska wo gan—standing
skip wo gan—eating raw
chi to ba hi gan—a wedge
chi ba gi no guat—looks very bad
chi ba i skwet ta—ignis fatuus
chi git wa hi gan—razor
pi mi zig ni gan—withe
pok ja na hwi ka—stumpy
psakw dam ni mo zi—blackberry bush
tbo bak hi gan—pair of scales, steelyard
ska mon ta hi gan—corn meal
skas kwat si gan—green dye
a lo ka wo gan—a work, labor
al no ba wo gan—human nature, birth
sa no ba wo gan—manhood
a za wa skwi gen—square
a ba kwa wo gan—act of covering with a roof
a ses si ga mikw—stable
[Pg 21] am kwo ni no da—spoon basket
a ses wo bi al—harness
a za to i wi—backwards
kin ja mes wo gan—majesty
ka dos mo wo gan—act of drinking, a drink
kba hod wi ga mikw—jail
ki wi tam wo gan—hint
ki ta das wo gan—act of sharpening by grinding
ki no ho ma sin—preaching
kin ja mes sis kwa—queen
ka o zi ga mikw—barn
ka wzo wah di gan—sleigh
ka sij wa hi gan—dish towel
po da wa wo gan—act of blowing
po lo ba wo gan—pride
piz wa gi zo—he reads for nothing
pi da hla guo gan—scabbard
pkwes sa ga hi gan—key
po ba tam wo gan—religion
po ba tam win no—religious person
pa pa hwij wi ia—tin
pa pa hwij wi jo—tin basin
pa pi tom ko gan—a plaything
nkes kog wo gan—nightmare
ni mat gua hi gan—a fork
no da hla go kat—blacksmith
no ji mo ni kat—silversmith
no ji pak si kat—box maker
no da wig hi gat—notary, writer
no ji na mas kat—fisher
no da ma guo gan—spear
o lo wat si gan—blue dye
o do lib io gan—oar
po da woz win no—counsellor
po da waz wo gan—council
mos kwal dam wo gan—anger
mi ga ka wo gan—act of fighting
mka za wat si gan—copperas
si gua na hi gan—skim-milk
tmo kwa ta hi gan—sword
les sa ga hi gan—trunk
wi la wig win no—rich person

[Pg 22]


At Portsmouth, in her Majty’s Province of New Hampshire, in New England, the thirteenth day of July, in the twelfth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lady Anne, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the faith, &c. [1713]

the submission and agreement of the eastern indians.

Whereas for some years last past We have made a breach of our Fidelity and Loyalty to the Crowns of Great Britain, and have made open Rebellion against her Majty’s Subjects, the English inhabitants in the Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and other of her Majty’s Territories in New England, and being now sensible of the miseryes which We & our people are reduced thereunto thereby, We whose names are here subscribed, being Delegates of all the Indians belonging to Norrigawake, Narrakamegock, Amasacontoog, Pigwocket, Penecook, & to all other Indian Plantations situated on the Rivers of St. Johns, Penobscot, Kenybeck, Amascogon, Saco, & Merimack, & all other Indian Plantations lying between the sd Rivers of St. Johns and Merimack, Parts of her Majty’s Provinces of the Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, within her Majty’s Sovereignty, having made application to his Excellency, Joseph Dudley, Esqre, Captain General & Governr in Chief in and over the sd Provinces, That the Troubles which we have unhappily raised or occasioned against her Majty’s subjects, the English, & ourselves, may cease & have an end, & that we may enjoy her Majty’s Grace & Favor, and each of us Respectively, for ourselves & in the name & with the free consent of all the Indians belonging to the several [Pg 23]Rivers and places aforesaid, & all other Indians within the sd Provinces of the Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, hereby acknowledging ourselves the lawfull subjects of our Sovereign Lady, Queen Anne, and promising our hearty Subjection & Obediance unto the Crown of Great Britain, doe solemnly Covenant, promise, & agree to & with the sd Joseph Dudley, Esq., Governr, and all such as shall hereafter be in the place of Capt. General and Governr in Chief of the aforesaid Provinces or territories on her Majty’s behalf, in manner following. That is to say:

That at all times forever, from and after the date of these presents, we will cease and forbear all acts of hostility toward all the subjects of the crown of Great Britain, and not to offer the least hurt or violence to them or any of them in their persons or estates, but will honor, forward, hold, & maintain a firm & constant amity & friendship with all the English, and will not entertain any Treasonable Conspiracy with any other Nation to their Disturbance.

That her Majty’s Subjects, the English, shall & may peaceably & quietly enter upon, improve, & forever enjoy, all and singular their Rights of Land & former Settlements, Properties, & possesions, within the Eastern Parts of the sd Provinces of the Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, together with all the Islands, Islets, Shoars, Beaches, & Fisheries within the same, without any molestation or claims by us or any other Indians, And be in no wais molested, interrupted, or disturbed therein. Saving unto the sd Indians their own Grounds, & free liberty for Hunting, Fishing, Fowling, and all other their Lawful Liberties & Privileges, as on the Eleventh day of August, in the year of our Lord God One thousand six hundred & ninety-three.

That for mutual Safety & Benefit, all Trade & Comerce which hereafter may be allowed betwixt the English & Indians shall be in such places & under such management [Pg 24]& regulations as shall be stated by her Majty’s Governments of the sd Provinces respectively. And to prevent mischiefs & inconveniencies the Indians shall not be allowed, for the present, & until they have liberty from the respective Governments, to come near to any English Plantations or Settlements on this side of Saco River.

That if any Controversy or Difference at any time hereafter happen to arise betwixt any of the English or Indians, for any real or supposed wrong or injury done on the one side or the other, no Private Revenge shall be taken by the Indians for the same, but proper application shall be made to her Majty’s Government, upon the place, for remedy thereof, in our Course of Justice, We hereby submitting ourselves to be ruled & Governed by her Majty’s Laws, & desire to have the protection & benefit of the same.

We confess that we have, contrary to all faith and justice, broken our articles with Sr William Phipps, Governour, made in the year of our Lord God 1693, and with the Earl of Bellemont, Governr, made in the year of our Lord God 1699, And the assurance we gave to his Excellency, Joseph Dudley, Esqre, Governor, in the years of our Lord God 1702, in the month of August, and 1703, in the month of July, notwithstanding we have been well treated by the sd Governors; and we resolve for the future not to be drawn into any perfidious Treaty or Correspondence, to the hurt of any of the subjects of her Majty the Queen of Great Britain, and if we know of any such we will seasonably reveal it to the English.

Wherefore, we whose names are hereunto subscribed, Delegates for the several tribes of the Indians, belonging unto the River of Kenybeck, Amarascogen, St. Johns, Saco, & Merrimac, & parts adjacent, being sensible of our great offence & folly in not complying with the aforesd Submission & agreements, and also of the sufferings & mischiefs that[Pg 25] we have thereby exposed ourselves unto, do, in all humble & submisive manner, cast ourselves upon her Majty’s mercy for the pardon of all our past rebellions, hostilities, and Violations of our promises, praying to be received unto her Majty’s Grace & Protection. And for & on behalfe of ourselves, and of all other the Indians belonging to the several Rivers and places aforesd, within the Sovereignty of her Majty of Great Britain, do again acknowledge & profess our hearty and sinceer obedience unto the Crown of Great Britain, and do solemnly renew, ratify, and confirm all & every of the articles & agreements contained in the former and present submission.

This Treaty to be humbly laid before her Majty, for her ratification and farther orders. In Witness whereof, We, the Delegates aforesd, by name, Kireberuit, Iteansis, and Jackoit, for Penobscot, Joseph and Eneas, for St. Johns, Waracansit, Wedaranaquin, and Bomoseen, for Kennebeck, have hereunto set our hands & seals, the day and year first above written.

Signed, Sealed, & Delivered
in the presence of


[Pg 26]


[Pg 27]


[Pg 28]


[Pg 29]

At Portsmouth, in her Majtie’s Province of New Hampshire, in New England, the 28th Day of July, in the thirteenth year of our Sovereign Lady Anne, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith, &c. [1714]

The several Articles of the foregoing sheet, after a long Conference with the Delegates of the Eastern Indians, were read to them, & the sense & meaning thereof explained by two faithful, sworn Interpreters, and accordingly signed by every of the Sachems and Delegates that were not present & had not signed the last year.

In the Presence of his Excellency the Governour, and his Excellency General Nicholson, & the Gentlemen of Her Majtie’s Councills for the Provinces of the Massachusetts Bay & New Hampshire, & other Gentlemen.

Signed, Sealed, & Delivered
in presence of us,


[Pg 30]


[Pg 31]


[Pg 31]


Georgetown, on Arrowsick Island, in his Majesty’s Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, the 12th Day of August 1717, in the fourth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c.

We, the Subscribers, being Sachems and Chief men of the several Tribes of Indians belonging to Kennebeck, Penobscut, Pegwackit, Saco, and other, the Eastern Parts of his Majesty’s Province aforesd, having had the several Articles of the foregoing Treaty distinctly read and Interpreted to us by a Sworn Interpreter at this time, do Approve of, Recognize, Ratify, and Confirm all and every the said Articles, (excepting only the fourth and fifth articles, which relate to the restraint and limitation of Trade and Commerce, which is now otherwise managed.)

And whereas, some rash and inconsiderate Persons amongst us, have molested some of our good fellow Subjects, the English, in the Possession of their Lands, and otherwise illtreated them;—We do disapprove & condemn the same,—and freely consent that our English friends shall possess, enjoy & improve all the Lands which they have formerly possessed, and all which they have obtained a right & title unto, Hoping it will prove of mutual and reciprocal benefit and advantage to them & us, that they Cohabit with us.

In testimony and perpetual memory whereof, We have hereunto set our hands & seals, in behalf of ourselves and of the several Tribes of Indians that have delegated us to appear for, & represent them the day and year aforementioned.

Nudggumboit X Sign. }
Abissanehraw X Sign. } Kennebeck.
Umguinnawas X Sign. }

[Pg 31]

Awohaway X Sign. }
Paquaharet X Sign. } Kennebeck.
Cæsar X Sign. }

Lerebenuit X Sign. }
Ohanumbames X Sign. } Penobscut.
Segunki X Sign. }

Adeawando X Sign. } Pegwackit.
Scaweso X Sign. }

Moxus X Sign. }
Bommazeen X Sign. }
Capt. Sam X Sign. }
Nagucawen X Sign. } Kennebeck.
Summehawis X Sign. }
Wegwarumenet X Sign. }
Terramuggus. X Sign. }

Sabadis X Sign. } Ammarascoggin.
Sam Humphries X Sign. }

Signed, Sealed, & Delivered, in presence of


[Pg 31]


[Pg 31]


The figures or emblems connected with the signatures of the Indians are called, in the language of the Algonquins, Totems; and are the distinguishing marks or signs of the clans or tribes into which the various nations are divided. They are not the personal emblems of the chiefs, although in signing treaties they employ them as their sign manual. Each tribe or clan had its emblem, consisting of the figure of some bird, beast, or reptile, and is distinguished by the name of the animal which it has assumed as a device, as Wolf, Hawk, Tortoise. To different totems, says Parkman in his “Conspiracy of Pontiac,” attach different degrees of rank and dignity; and those of the Bear, the Tortoise, and the Wolf are among the first in honor. Each man is proud of his badge, jealously asserting its claim to respect. The use of the totem prevailed among the southern, as well as the northern tribes; Mr. Parkman says that Mr. Gallatin informed him, that he was told by the chief of a Choctaw deputation at Washington, that in their tribe were eight totemic clans, divided into two classes of four each.

Mr. Parkman says again, in the work above cited, page 9, “But the main stay of the Iroquois polity was the system of totemship. It was this which gave the structure its elastic strength; and but for this, a mere confederacy of jealous and warlike tribes must soon have been rent asunder by shocks from without, or discord from within. At some early period the Iroquois must have formed an individual nation; for the whole people, irrespective of their separation into tribes, consisted of eight totemic clans; and the members of each clan, to what nation soever they belonged, were mutually bound to one another by those close ties of fraternity which mark this singular institution. Thus the five nations of the confederacy were bound together by an eight-fold band; and to this hour their slender remnants cling to one another with invincible tenacity.”


[1] For a pleasant and very well-written account of this tribe, by Hon. Lorenzo Sabine, see the Christian Examiner for 1857.

[2] Mr. Sabine has given their history in a truthful and friendly communication to the Christian Examiner for 1852.

[3] See N. Y. Colonial Documents, edited by E. B. O’Calligan, LL. D.

[4] Undoubtedly the Connecticut.

[5] N. Y. Colonial Documents, vol. ix.