King Philip’s War Begins

The great war of Seventeenth Century New England, King Philip’s War raged from 1675-1678 with the New England colonists, now numbering about 80,000, and their Mohican and Pequot allies confronting the  Wampanoag, Nipmuck, Podunk, Narragansett and Nashaway tribes.  The war was savage on both sides, with quarter rarely given.

The conflict began due to the suspicions of the New England colonists that Metacomet, named by them King Philip, Grand Sachem of the Wampanoag Confederacy, was attempting to rally the Indian tribes of New England into a great alliance for war against the whites.  John Sassamon, a Christian Indian, graduate of Harvard and an advisor to Metacomet, informed the Governor of Plymouth colony of this plan.  Metacomet was brought to trial in Plymouth.  Lacking evidence the court merely warned him that further rumors of plots by him could lead to severe consequences for the Wampanoag. 

Soon after Sassamon was murdered by some of King Philip’s warriors.  Three Wampanoag’s were arrested for the murder, tried by a jury which included six Indian elders, and executed on June 8, 1675.  The war began immediately thereafter and spread quickly until it engulfed all of New England.  The New England Confederation, consisting of Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, New Haven and Connecticut colonies formally declared war on September 9, 1675.  Initially the colony of Rhode Island and  Providence Plantations attempted to stay neutral, but they were drawn into the conflict eventually on the side of the New England Confederation, as the Indian tribes in New England would all eventually participate in the war.  The time of neutrality had passed.

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Published in: on March 30, 2012 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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2 Comments

  1. Don,

    My first ancestor in this country (on my mother’s side), was Benjamin Albee, who arrived in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1639. He became a resident of Medfield, Mass.

    Benjamin was killed when Medfield was burned during King Philip’s War.

    P.S. – A few posts back you posted on Old Hickory and the dedication of Mary Washington’s monument. Just wanted to tell you that apart from my adventures at Sagamore Hill I’ve written you about, for years in the 90’s I worked just up the street in Fredericksburg from the cemetery where Washington’s mother is buried. It always amused me that the inscription on it in big letters reads simply “Mary, Mother of Washington.”

    Masonic hubris once again! ;^)

  2. King Philip’s War had a huge impact on America Jon, and it is largely ignored. It has been the subject of some recent books, but much of that has been dreadful politicized drek instead of a careful, scholarly look at the facts of the conflict.

    George and his mother never got along very well. He was always a dutiful son, and never wrote a word against her, but by most accounts she was always a domineering and demanding mother and not very pleasant to be around according to most who knew her. I wonder what she would have thought of her tombstone? :)


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