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

Remove 3: Menimesit

Menimesit was an island place, a key fishing area on the Ware River where Nipmuc leaders gathered their people at the beginning of the war, providing a sanctuary for councils and then from colonial troops. This was the first major "Indian town" to which Rowlandson was brought by her captors; she expressed amazement at the large number of people gathered there. 

Menimesit hosted three towns along the river, surrounded by wetlands. Here, Mary Rowlandson was gifted to Weetamoo, who had traveled here under duress after the Great Swamp massacre, her own homeland taken captive by colonial troops. 

James Printer also had been taken to Menimesit, along with his family, when Nipmuc warriors took the "praying Indians" from Hassanamesit under their protection. He, too, was described as a captive by missionary Daniel Gookin, but later, described as a revolter for his presence among the Native alliance. 

James Printer's Note, posted at Medfield 

Soon after Mary Rowlandson arrived at Menimesit, a Nipmuc raiding party executed a raid on the English settlement of Medfield, Massachusetts, which was in the Nipmuc homeland. Following the raid, they returned to Menimesit, evading English troops. James is credited with posting the following note, after warriors burned the bridge they crossed on leaving Medfield. Noah Newman reported on the raid and recorded the message from James, which can be found embedded within a letter from Noah Newman. 

James Printer served as a scribe for Nipmuc leaders, helping to negotiate Mary Rowlandson's redemption. But he also used his writing skills in war, either composing this note for the Nipmuc leaders or expressing his own assessment of the war to his former neighbors from Boston, Cambridge, and Medfield. The note was both a critique and a warning, posted on a bridge that now was burned.

Here is a transcription of the note from Noah Newman's letter: 

"The enemy as Mr Wilson told me he thought was something suprizd, wth their great Guns & such a Number of men wch they percieved was amongst them & therefore gave their watchwords to draw off, their passage away was over Brigstreet bridge wch they fyred, & for awhile encamped on the other side, & from thence past away a writing was found at ye foot of the Bridge wth this impost & Quakere Language Thou Englishman hath provoked us to anger & wrath & we care not though we have war wth thee this 21 years for there are many of us 300 of wch hath fought wth thee at this time, we have nothing but our lives to loose but thou hast many faire houses cattell & much Good things.

The bridge has since been rebuilt and renamed as "Death Bridge." This website gives a history of the bridge's repairs and some background information on the naming.

Click here to view these locations in the map of Mary Rowlandson's removes or in the interactive story map.

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