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

The Treaties at Pemaquid and Cascoak

Treaty at Pemaquid: Joshua Scottow’s Relation

One of the most important accounts documenting the Treaty at Pemaquid in August 1677 is Joshua Scottow's relation, preserved in the Maine Historical Society's collections. Scottow was “the principle landed proprietor” and garrison commander at Black Point, in the Wabanaki homeland of Owascoag, just south of Caskoak. A fairly recent arrival, he had been a merchant and selectman in Boston. His only son, Thomas, graduated from Harvard the same year. In August, Scottow arrived at Pemaquid by ship, with a cargo hold of Wabanaki captives, to be returned to their relations. He was a likely candidate for serving the Massachusetts colonial government, who needed a trusted local leader to transport the captives. The fuller context of this treaty is explored in the book Our Beloved Kin, but an image of the original document and a full transcription appears here, courtesy of the Maine Historical Society.[1]  
Scottow’s report to the Massachusetts Council shows the Kennebec leader Madoasquarbet and the protector Symon seeking to reclaim their relations from the ship’s hold, as well as the final return of the captives at the end of the treaty negotiations. The document also shows the large number of Wabanaki diplomats who attended the treaty, arriving in thirteen large canoes. The treaty was negotiated through the diplomacy of Wabanaki leaders from the Kennebec River, and the intervention of colonial leaders from New York colony, who were empowered by the British crown, in part, to protect their own claims against the French to the land at Pemaquid. That summer, the Kennebec leaders had gathered upriver with their families, and many other leaders at Taconnic, to council among Wabanaki people. Captive reports from Taconnic showed both the potential force of Wabanaki alliance and the possibility of peace. [2]
Nearby, the Baron Saint-Castin, who had married into a Wabanaki leadership family, operated a trading post near the grounds of the recently destroyed French fort Pentagouet, or Pantekok in the Penobscot language, at the mouth of the Penobscot River. Castine married Mathilde, a daughter of Madockawando, an influential Penobscot leader, who also participated in the Treaty at Pemaquid. Castine’s family ties and reciprocal relations gave him a stronger footing among Wabanaki people than the English settlers and traders encroaching up the coast. Moreover, the war had displaced some Wabanaki families, who traveled upriver to other inland communities and to mission villages on Ktsitekw, the St. Lawrence River, strengthening ties to French colonists in Quebec. Kinship and trade networks connected Wabanaki people and their relations across this vast expanse for decades to come.[3]   

A Return to Caskoak, the Place of Peace

The Pemaquid treaty, which effectively ended the war, is little known. Highlighting Scottow’s account is one important step in the recovery of this vital history of diplomacy. It was followed by the Treaty of Casco Bay, in the spring of 1678, which further solidified the agreement, and created terms for the return of English settlers to the Wabanaki coast. These terms required acknowledgement of Wabanaki leaders, including a pledge of an annual contribution of corn. Cascoak continued to be a crossroads of both diplomacy and war for decades to come. During a subsequent renewal of this agreement, the Casco Bay Treaty of 1701, two rock cairns were raised at this place, representing two brothers-the Wabanaki hosts and the English newcomers-a ceremonial binding and a “record” of the relationship between them. It is important to recognize that this was not a new agreement, but a renewal of the original Casco Bay Treaty of 1678. This council site became known as “two brothers point,” the place and place name themselves becoming mnemonic markers of the agreement. In future councils and negotiations, English governors continued to participate in Wabanaki protocols, adding stones to the cairns in acknowledgment of Wabanaki leaders and the relationships embedded in this place. At the same time, and in the same place(s), English governors urged Wabanaki leaders to participate in English protocols, insisting on the ceremonial inscription of written “treaties” with “marks” from Wabanaki leaders. Like the early deeds, these treaty marks symbolized Wabanaki consent (in the context of coercion) to terms composed by English magistrates and scribes.
In 1727, the Penobscot speaker Loron, addressing the 1725 Treaty of Casco Bay, contested the authority of the printed words of the treaty, as opposed to the oral exchange and protocols enacted in the place of Caskoak. Loron specifically objected to the assertion of English sovereignty over Wabanaki people and lands. He recalled the Massachusett Governor’s participation in those Wabanaki protocols, and in particular their oral exchange. Loron reported the Governor’s expressed desire to renew the agreements begun with the Treaty of Casco in 1678:

Thereupon, he said to me—Let us observe the treaties concluded by our Fathers, and renew the ancient friendship which existed between us. I made him no answer thereunto. Much less, I repeat, did I, become his subject, or give him my land or acknowledge his King as my King. This I never did, and he never proposes it to me.
He again said to me – But do you recognize the King of England as King of all his states?  To which I answered – Yes, I recognize him King of all his lands; but I rejoined, do not hence infer that I acknowledge thy King as my King, and King of my lands.  Here lies my distinction – my Indian distinction.  God hath willed that I have no King, and that I be master of my lands in common.

He insisted on the validity of his own words, and the potential for the “writing” circulated by colonial governors in New England to represent a false record, contested by Indigenous memory:

What I tell you now is the truth.  If, then, anyone should produce any writing that makes me speak otherwise, pay no attention to it, for I know not what I am made to say in another language, but I know well what I say in my own. 

As historian Christine Delucia and anthropologist Ashley Elizabeth Smith work shows, these different systems of recording memory and relationships parallel the diverse, and sometimes contested, streams of memory which arise from the context of Wabanaki-English diplomacy and war.[5] [photo of casco by from Waites Landing, two brothers islands]

[1]Joshua Scottow, “Narrative of a Voyage to Pemaquid,” coll. 420, vol. 8, f.57, Collections of Maine Historical Society. Henry Herbert Edes and Paul Royster, “Sketch of Joshua Scottow, with his Petition to the General Court of Massachusetts (1906),” Publications of the Colonial Society of Masachusetts 10 (1906), pp. 369–379.
[2] Scottow, “Narrative of a Voyage to Pemaquid.” James Phinney Baxter, ed., Documentary History of the State of Maine (Baxter Manuscripts) (Portland: Maine Historical Society, 1900), 6:116-131, 138, 150-1, 171-6, 179-80, 185-6, 189-193.
[3] Scottow, “Narrative of a Voyage to Pemaquid.” Alaric Faulkner and Stephen J. Hornsby, “Fish and Furs,” Historical Atlas of Maine, ed. Stephen J. Hornsbuy and Richard W. Judd (Orono: University of Maine Press, 2015), Part 1, Plate 9. This is How We Name Our Lands (Indian Island: Penobscot Nation Cultural and Historic Preservation Department, 2015). Kenneth Morrison, The Embattled Northeast (Berkeley: UC Press, 1984), 120-1.
[4] Colin Calloway, Dawnland Encounters: Indians and Europeans in Northern New England (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1991), 117-8.
[5] Emerson Baker and John Reid, “Amerindian Power in the Early Modern Northeast: A Reappraisal,” William and Mary Quarterly 61, no. 1 (2004): 77-106.

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