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

Sampson and Joseph Petavit, Teachers and Scouts

Sampson and his elder brother Joseph were the sons of Robin Petavit, a ruler at Hassanamesit, and teachers, like James and Job Kattenanit. Sampson had first taught with Job at Okkanamesit, but by 1674, he served as the teacher at Webquasset while Joseph taught at Chabanakongkomun. When Gookin visited Chabanakongkomun on his tour, he described Joseph as “a sober, pious, and ingenious person,” who spoke “English well,” was “well read in the scriptures,” and encouraged his kin to transform Chabanakongkomun into “a new plantation” and praying town. But it was Sampson who garnered Gookin’s praise. A prodigal son, Sampson was formerly “a dissolute person,” Gookin observed, living “uncomfortably with his life,” for which, he admitted, he had been “severe in punishing him for his misdemeanors.” But “now,” Gookin relayed, Sampson was “thankful” for that “discipline formerly exercized towards him,” reforming his “flatigious life,” and advocating faithfully for the new religion, following the path of his “courageous” father, Robin. In the Council House at Webquasset, Gookin spoke with Sampson, describing him as an “active and ingenious person,” who “stood in the gap against the pride and insolency” of those “wicked…sagamores” who opposed the missions. Here, Gookin referred to leaders like Uncas, Quaiapin and others who challenged missionary rule and colonial jurisdiction. The missionaries tasked teachers and rulers like the Petavits and James Printer’s family with the surveillance and containment of their relations, which only increased in the face of war. Yet, individuals and families responded differently as the "yoke" of colonial containment tightened on the inhabitants of the "Praying Towns."

See Gookin's Historical Collections, esp. 49-50 and Gookin's Historical Account, 447.