Our Beloved Kin: Remapping A New History of King Philip's War

James Quananopohit’s Testimony for Captain Tom Wuttasacomponom

James Quananopohit provided crucial testimony in defense of the Hassanamesit Nipmuc leader Captain Tom Wuttasacomponom, when Tom was tried as a "prisoner of war" in Boston in June 1676. With James Printer, Tom had spent the winter at Menimesit, but when spring came, they traveled with their families back to the mission communities close to Cambridge, in the hopes of renewing relations with their former friends. When scouts found Tom, he was with his family at Natick, in plain sight, awaiting an opportunity for diplomatic exchange. His grandchildren and daughter-in-law were taken along with him. Others, including his son Nehemiah and James Printer, were nearby, fishing and gathering food. Tom went with the scouts willingly, and was able to share his story with James Quananopohit at Marlboro, en route to Boston. James then testified in his defense at Boston, insisting that Tom had not participated in the war. The document, transcribed below, also indicates that Job Kattenanit could testify to the same.

James Quannapohit, who was sent by the Council in January, as a spy to Wennimisset, says, "he saw Capt. Tom alias Wattasacomponum there, and his youngest son was there sick who afterwards died, and Capt. Tom himself was lame ;  I heard him say that he was carried away from Hassanamesit by the enemies, though he was also afraid to go to Deer Island ; and I heard some of the enemy mock Tom and some others of the Indians carried captive that they cried when they were carried away, more like squaws than men. Capt. Tom also told me that he was weary of living among those wicked Indians, and greatly desired to be among the praying Indians and English again ; if he could find any opportunity to escape, and be accepted with the English. Moreover I saw Nehemiah his eldest son, among those Indians; who told me that he never had or would fight against the English ; and he said in my hearing to some of the Indians that he came not among them to fight against the English. I further say and affirm, that some of the Indian prisoners that we took at Washakum pond the seventh of this instant [June], told me that Capt. Tom and his son Nehemiah and his wife and children, had left them early in spring, and they thought they were escaped to the English. And this I further testify, that after Capt. Tom was
taken, I spoke with him at Marlborough, and he told me that he and his son had withdrawn from the Indian enemy ever since that time or about that time that Maj. Savage and the army marched up to Wennimisset, which was about the first of March [for this witness was one of the pilots] ; and that ever since that time he and his son waited for a fit opportunity to get to the English with safety of our lives ; and to that end had been about Natick, Magunkook etc. several weeks, hoping to meet with some English or Indians that they knew ; and once he or his son was at Capt. Prentice's farm-house to have spoken with him, but found no person there."

[1] Massachusetts State Archives 30:172. Transcribed in J.H. Temple, History of Framingham, Massachusetts, early known as Danforth's Farms, 1640-1880; (Framingham: 1887)

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