The Sachems of Winchester

By Ellen Knight

Following is a reprint of a four-part series of historical articles, from the Daily Times Chronicle Winchester Edition, about the 17th-century sachems of Winchester. Prompted by the current controversy over the sachems logo, it seeks to correct some of the historical misinformation that has been generated through that controversy, e.g.,

  • the sachems were chiefs and kings, not savages, rabbis, or the name of a tribe
  • the tribe belonged to the Massachusett nation--not Pawtuckett
  • the land now Winchester was neither stolen nor taken by force and no lives were lost over it
  • at least two generations of sachems lived in peace and friendship with the English
  • Squaw Sachem was a rare (but not unique) Indian title.
  • and more

For the original text with photographic illustrations, see Daily Times Chronicle of Dec. 20–24. Copies may be seen at the Winchester Public Library.


Once upon a time in the history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, there was an idea, held by some natives and by some colonists, that the native and European cultures could live together, side by side, and amicably share the American land.

For a short time, it actually worked out that way, though ultimately it failed. But it was in this belief that many sachems, including the Squaw Sachem of Winchester, deeded land to the Europeans.

It is to the sachems of the Massachusetts Bay that Winchester owes its beginning as a colonized community and subsequent town. As suggested in School Committee meetings, a study of the sachems and their people is an educational opportunity.

Sachem or sagamore

The sachems were the leaders, the chiefs, the kings and queens. According to Captain John Smith, who explored New England in 1614, the Massachusett tribes called their kings "sachems" while the Penobscots (of Maine) used the term "sagamos." Conversely, Deputy Governor Thomas Dudley of Roxbury wrote in 1631 that the kings in the bay area were called sagamores but were called sachems southward (in Plymouth).

"Sachem" and "sachimo" or "sagamo" (anglicized as "sagamore") apparently came from the same root. Although "sagamore" has sometimes been defined by colonists and historians as a subordinate lord, modern opinion is that "sachem" and "sagamore" are dialectical variations of the same word.

Both terms are found in early Winchester history. Squaw Sachem was the title of the queen who lived west of the Mystic Lakes (among other places), while her three sons, each of whom had his own territory, were called sagamores by the English.

Whatever called, tribal leadership was usually hereditary. Within a nation or federation of tribes, there could be a chief or principal sachem (or high king).

Most of the sachems whose names are known are those whom the colonists knew personally. A few others were known only by reputation, including the first sachem of Winchester territory to be identified by name, Nanepashemet.

Sachem Nanepashemet

The Puritan colonists never knew Nanepashemet because he died in 1619, well before John Winthrop's party arrived in Charlestown in 1630. His name, however, survives. It is usually translated as "New Moon" (and memorialized as a crescent moon on the Winchester Country Club's seal).

According to the traditional story, Nanepashemet was the chief sachem of the Massachusett federation of tribes, and his domain extended roughly from Weymouth to Portsmouth, N.H., and as far west as Northfield.

Verifying the extent of his sovereignty may now be impossible. The northern boundary seems too high, if Smith was right when he wrote that the Massachusett tribes were located below Cape Ann and that the tribes of Cape Ann and Ipswich held the Penobscot leaders in Maine to be "the chiefe and greatest amongst them." He did add, though, that the Massachusetts hunted as far north as Maine.

What is clear is that, at the end of Nanepashemet's life, his family's territory stretched from the Charles River up to Salem, Lynn, and Marblehead and extended westerly out to Concord.

Before the colonists arrived, traders and explorers visited New England and had contact with the natives. Smith described "the country of the Massachusits" as "the Paradice of all those parts, for here are many Iles planted with Corne, Groves, Mulberies, salvage Gardens, and good Harbours." He did not learn as much as he would have liked, he wrote, because of the presence of the French.

Both Smith and Samuel de Champlain, who explored New England in 1605 and 1606, reported that the natives were quite populous. But that situation changed during the last years of Nanepashemet, the only ones of which we have any knowledge.

Those years were a time of devastation for the natives of Massachusetts and other parts of New England. Within a few years of Smith's report of seeing "great troupes" of people and a number of villages along the coast, war with the Tarratines of Maine and a great pestilence (still unidentified) wiped out masses of the natives in Massachusetts.

On a later visit (1619-20) Smith wrote "where I had seene one hundred or two hundred Salvages, there is scarce ten to be found." Dudley wrote (in 1631) that Nanepashemet's two eldest sons could not command above 30 or 40 men apiece. According to Daniel Gookin, writing in 1674 (by which time other epidemics had struck), the Massachusett tribes, which could formerly number 3,000 men plus women and children, then only numbered about 300 men, plus women and children.

Death of a king

According to the traditional story, Nanepashemet was living around Lynn before the Tarratines invaded. Under pressure from his enemies, he retreated to Medford, where he built a stockade on Rock Hill, where he fell to his enemies in 1619.

The end of this story and the name of Nanepashemet have been preserved in an account attributed to the Pilgrim Edward Winslow, who along with Myles Standish and eight others, explored the Massachusetts Bay in September 1621, guided by Squanto and two other friendly Indians.

At the end of the month, they went ashore and met a chief named Obbatinewat who told them of Nanepashemet's widow, the Squaw Sachem. Going in search of her (ultimately futile), Winslow recorded:

"We went ashore, all but two men, and marched in arms up in the country. Having gone three miles, we came to a place where corn had been newly gathered, a house pulled down, and the people gone.

"A mile from hence, Nanepashemet their king, in his lifetime, had lived. His house was not like others; but a scaffold was largely built, with poles and planks, some six foot from the ground, and the house upon that, being situated on the top of a hill.

"Not far from hence, in a bottom, we came to a fort built by their deceased king, the manner thus: There were poles some thirty or forty feet long stuck in the ground as thick as they could be set, one by another; and with them they enclosed a ring some forty or fifty feet over; a trench, breast-high, was digged on each side; one way there was to go into it with a bridge.

"In the midst of this palisado stood the frame of a house, wherein, being dead, he lay buried. About a mile from hence we came to such another, but seated on the top of a hill. Here Nanepashemet was killed, none dwelling in it since the time of his death."

During the nineteenth century, at least three Indian burial places were discovered in Medford, two on Brooks family land and one on College Hill. One of these was subsequently dedicated to the memory of Nanepashemet's son, Sagamore John (who was actually buried in Charlestown or Chelsea), and to the memory of the Indians who lie buried there, but whether anyone actually found the last resting place of Nanepashemet is unknown. (A suggestion in the History of Winchester that Nanepashemet's skeleton is at the Peabody Museum in Cambridge is wrong, according to the museum.)

Pawtuckett or Massachusett?

Nanepashemet has been identified in different histories as a Massachusett and a Pawtuckett, as well as a Naumkeag. Some colonial sources (like Winslow, quoted above) clearly identify his wife and sons as Massachusetts, and modern thought is that he was himself a Massachusett.

However, he is frequently called a Pawtuckett. So says the History of Winchester, although the second edition corrects that (in a note) to Massachusett.

Since the 17th century, the tribes of New England have been variously named and their territories identified. Smith named quite a few, including the Naumkeag around Cape Ann and the Massachusetts to their south, but no Pawtuckett.

William Wood, writing in 1634, identified a tribe called Aberginians, and Capt. Edward Johnson wrote in 1651 that the "Abarginny-men" consisted "of Mattachusets, Wippanaps and Tarratines." The town records of Charlestown, written by John Greene in 1664, also use the term "Aberginians," specifically in relation to Nanepashemet's family.

The most frequently cited authority on tribal nations is Daniel Gookin's Historical Collections of the Indians in New England (1674). That work identifies the major eastern nations in Massachusetts from north to south as the Pawtuckett (also in New Hampshire), Massachusett, Pawkunnawkutts (later called Wampanoag) around Plymouth, and the Nausett of Cape Cod. He also identified smaller tribes, but no Aberginians.

Gookin wrote that the Massachusett tribes inhabited "principally about that place in Massachusetts bay, where the body of the English now dwell" and that the Pawtuckett were north and northeast of them. Since the Massachusetts Bay Colony lay between Plymouth and Cape Ann, several historians have placed the dividing line between the two nations around Cape Ann.

Others, however, have put the division at the Charles River. After Nanepashemet's death, that river was, indeed, a tribal boundary. The southern tribes acknowledged Chickataubut as sachem. Across the river, Nanepashemet's heirs were sachems. North of them, Passaconaway, living in the Merrimack River valley, was the principal sachem of the Pawtucketts.

Historians disagree

Was the river a dividing line between two Massachusett kingdoms or between the Massachusett and Pawtuckett nations?

Alonzo Lewis, in his History of Lynn (1829) wrote that the tribes north of the Charles and their sachem Nanepashemet were Pawtuckett. That was then repeated in Richard Frothingham's History of Charlestown (1845), Mrs. E. Vale Smith's History of Newburyport (1854), Charles Brooks' History of Medford (1855), and Henry Chapman's History of Winchester (1936).

But it was not repeated in Lemuel Shattuck's A History of the Town of Concord (1835) (who saw the Charles as a division between the Wampanoags and the Massachusetts) nor John Fogelberg's more recent history of Burlington (1976) or some other histories. Less sure, Samuel Sewall's History of Woburn (1868) says the tribes north of the Charles were "perhaps Pawtucket Indians" or more probably Aberginians.

Lewis and his followers may have been influenced by the later 17th-century practice of calling Indians after the praying villages in which Christian converts were located. One village inhabited by the Massachusetts was at Natick, but another, used by both Pawtucketts and Massachusetts, was at Lowell. Though named Wamesit, it was sometimes referred to as Pawtuckett. Thus, a Massachusett could also be called a Pawtuckett.

A few other writers have identified Nanepashemet as a Naumkeag, a name identified with Salem and Marblehead, which were within his territory. According to Dudley, the Naumkeag were tributary to Chickataubut before 1630 and then to Nanepashemet's sons. Gookin, writing later, saw them mingled with the Pawtuckett at Wamesit and considered them allied with tribes to the north.

Of course, alliances and territories changed over time. After the devastations of the early 1600s, many Massachusetts reportedly fled the area and allied themselves with other tribes. They intermarried.

Neither the Pawtuckett or Massachusett tribes have survived to offer their traditions. Our information comes from European writers, who based their information on a variety of first- and second-hand experiences, much of which they could have misunderstood.

However identified, Nanepashemet was a sachem of a lost time, when his people were numerous and thriving. He was sachem of a now vanished tribe that might have been a real threat to the European colonization of Massachusetts. After him, his widow, the Squaw Sachem, and their eldest son befriended the Massachusetts Bay colonists. Those friendships opened the way for the settling of what became the town of Winchester.


A familiar story in the history of Winchester, depicted in the mural overlooking the lobby of the public library, is that of the acquisition of the land upon which the town was built by the English colonists from the Squaw Sachem, the widow of the sachem Nanepashemet.

Less well known is the story of their son Wonohaquaham and the role he played by first welcoming the English settlers to Charlestown.

When Nanepashemet was killed by the Tarratine in 1619, he was survived by his wife, three sons, and a daughter. The children were then still quite young. However, by the time the Puritans arrived, at least the eldest son had assumed a position of leadership.

His name was Wonohaquaham, though the English called him Sagamore John. (A sagamore was either the same as or subordinate to a sachem--see part 1.) His seat was in the Charlestown/Chelsea area, whereas his brothers, Montowampate and Wenepoykin, when they attained their majorities, had principal habitations in Saugus and Salem.

Wonohaquaham, colonial records state, "always loved the English" and freely gave them permission to settle.

The earliest recorded meeting between Wonohaquaham and the English was in 1628 when three Sprague brothers set out from Naumkeag (Salem) to explore the land to the west. According to the town records of Charlestown written in 1664, they came to a neck of land "lying on the north side of the Charles River full of Indians, called Aberginians. Theire old Sachem being dead, his eldest sonne, by the English called John Sagamore, was theire chief; and a man naturally of a gentle and good disposition; by whose free consent, they settled about the hill of the same place, by the said natives called Mishawum."

Governor John Winthrop and a party of Puritans arrived to settle Charlestown in 1630. Edward Johnson, who was among them, wrote that "Among others one of the chiefe Saggamores of the Mattachusets, whom the English named Saggamore John, gave some good hopes, being always very courteous to them."

Writing in 1631, Thomas Dudley recorded, "Upon the river of Mistick is seated sagamore John and upon the river of Saugus sagamore James his brother, both so named by the English. The elder brother, John, is a handsome young man ... conversant with us, affecting English apparel and houses, and speaking well of our God."

Similarly, according to the Puritan treatise New England's First Fruits (1643), "Sagamore John, prince of Massaquesers, was from our very first landing more corteous, ingenious, and to the English more loving than others of them; he desired to learne and speake our language, and loved to imitate us in our behaviour and apparrell, and began to hearken after our God, and his wayes, and would much commend English men, and their God, saying much good men, much good God, and being convinced that our condition and wayes were better farre then theirs, did resolve and promise to leave the Indians, and come live with us; but yet kept down by feare of the scoffes of the Indians, had not power to make good his purpose."


In the beginning, the English were not so numerous as to be viewed as an invading threat. Wherever they went, moreover, they offered protection from enemy tribes.

The Massachusetts had not lost their terror of the Tarratines, who killed Wonohaquaham's father and many of his kinsmen when he was a child and who continued to come down from Maine and attack other tribes.

In August of 1631, the Tarratines attacked the Indians at Ipswich while Wonohaquaham and Montowampate were on a visit there. Both brothers were wounded, and Montowampate's wife, Wenuchus, was carried away. After nearly two months, through the intercession of an English trader, she was restored to her people.

(The wedding of Montowampate and Wenuchus, incidentally, is the subject of a poem by Whittier, who got the names of both bride and groom wrong). Considering that neither Wonohaquaham nor Montowampate could command more than 30 or 40 men, according to Dudley, and that skirmishes continued between various tribes, the protection of the English was a valuable promise. That Wonohaquaham valued their friendship is evident from a 1630 report that he warned the English against a Narragansett plot.

Quarrels resolved

Generally, Wonohaquaham lived amicably with the English. There are indications of friction but also of recourse for justice through the colonial court. In 1631 Wonohaquaham complained that two of his wigwams had been burned. He received compensation.

According to Winthrop's journal, in March 1631 Wonohaquaham and Montowampate went to the governor asking assistance in recovering the value of 20 beaver skins taken by an Englishman. "The governour entertained them kindly" and gave them a letter of introduction to a lawyer in London. Alonzo Lewis, in his History of Charlestown, wrote, "Tradition says, that Montowampate went to England, where he was treated with much respect as an Indian king, but, disliking the English delicacies, he hastened back to Saugus."

Another complaint, in 1632, that Wonohaquaham's corn had been destroyed by an Englishman's cattle, was not satisfactorily answered. He was told that he himself was responsible for not having fenced in his fields. But he also got a hogshead of corn.

The story of Wonohaquaham ended only a few years after the arrival of the English. On Dec. 5, 1633, Gov. Winthrop's journal records, "John Sagamore died of the small pox, and almost all his people; (above 30 buried by Mr. Maverick of Winesemett in one day). The towns in the bay took away many of the children; but most of them died soon after.

"James Sagamore of Saugus died also and most of his folks. John Sagamore deired to be brought among the English (so was) and promised (if he recovered) to live with the English and serve their God. He left one son, which he disposed to Mr. Wilson, the pastor of Boston, to be brought up by him."


In 1882, according to Charles Brooks' History of Medford, an Indian burial site was found on Brooks land. "Under the direction of Mr. Francis Brooks, these relics of the Mystic Indians were carefully collected and re-buried; and in 1884, with characteristic reverence for the old traditions, he placed a monument of the spot, bearing the date-marks, 1630-1884, and with an inscription dedicating it to Sagamore John and to the memory of the Indians who lie buried there."

Well intentioned, the monument was not well inscribed, since the Mr.Maverick who buried Wonohaquaham lived in Chelsea.

Wonohaquaham's son presumably died. His brother, Montowampate, was survived by his wife. Daughter of the Pawtuckett sachem Passaconaway, Wenuchus reportedly returned to her father's tribe.

Wonohaquaham's heirs were his mother and his brother Wenepoykin. The history of the colonial settlement of Winchester continues with the former, the widow of Nanepashemet, whose own name is unknown, though her deeds stand at the head of Winchester's history.


Squaw Sachem sells her land in Winchester (mural)
The Squaw Sachem Sells Her Land to John Winthrop

The community that developed into Winchester was founded in peace between two cultures.

The Squaw Sachem, whose land this was, saw enough troubles in her lifetime before the English came.

She lived through fierce, repeated, and deadly attacks upon her people by their mortal enemies, the Tarratines (Abnakis) of Maine, which, according to the traditional story, drove her and her four surviving children inland and killed her husband.

She survived a devastating plague that killed a horrifying number of her tribespeople.

She led her people while other tribal enmities and skirmishes continued.

Then the English came. Her eldest son and other sachems accepted the offers of friendship and the protection that alliances brought with them.

But again misfortune struck when her two eldest sons and more of her people were struck down by smallpox.

By the time the Squaw Sachem of the Massachusetts sold and gave her land to the English, the way had been prepared for the colonists. The more zealous Puritans called it Providence. Others would call it calamity. Either way, her people had been reduced to a fraction of their former size, were much weakened, and continued to be threatened by war and pestilence.

It is not surprising that the Squaw Sachem kept open the friendly door which her son Wonohaquaham had opened to the English and opted to share her land in peace with them.


In Winchester, Squaw Sachem has been called "Queen of Mysticke" ever since Luther R. Symmes delivered a paper in 1884 to the Winchester Historical and Genealogical Society using that name, taken from one of her deeds.

But she was queen of much more--of Salem, Concord, and other communities from Charlestown to Marblehead. Locally, she is most associated with Myopia Hill, because, while deeding other land now in Winchester to the English, she reserved the land west of the Mystic Lakes for herself and probably died there.

The term 'queen' was not an honorific. Sachems were royalty. This queen's own name (unlike her husband's and children's) has not come down to us, just her Indian title, Squaw Sachem.

According to William Wood (1634), "if there be no sachem the queen rules." Reportedly, there were other squaw sachems known to the colonists: three in Connecticut, two in Rhode Island, one other in Massachusetts.

Up to 1619 Nanepashemet had been sachem (see part 1). At his death, his sons were too young to rule in his stead. His widow, therefore, became leader.

After about a decade, however, the two eldest sons were old enough that the English recognized them as chiefs in Charlestown and Saugus (see part 2). But they both died in 1633, leaving their lands to their younger brother, still a minor.

Again there was no sachem. The settlers' deeds were executed with the Squaw Sachem. In some of those documents, her name is joined with that of her second husband, Webcowit. According to the colonial writer, Thomas Lechford, "commonly when (the king) dies the Powahe (powwow) marries the Squa Sachem, that is, the queene." Widowed in 1619, the Squaw Sachem married Webcowit sometime before 1635.

Sale of land

The land now Winchester (and surrounding communities) was never stolen or fought over. The colonists had established laws for proper, legal relations with the Indians, including land acquisition, and acted within those laws.

The Squaw Sachem began selling her lands to the colonists after her two eldest sons and a number of other Massachusett Indians succumbed to the smallpox.

Concord was sold in 1637, according to depositions taken in 1684, for "wampumpeage," hatchets, hoes, knives, cotton cloth, and shirts, plus a new cotton suit, hat, linen band, shoes, stocking, and great coat for Webcowit.

In 1637 Squaw Sachem and Webcowit signed a deed, to be effective after her death, giving the land west of the Mystic Ponds "as a small gift" to Jotham Gibbons, son of Edward Gibbons, "to acknowledge their many kindnesses." That year, they received from Edward Gibbons "36 shillings for land between the Charlestowne and Wenotomies River."

In 1638 Charlestown granted its citizens permission to settle land to the north (including Winchester). In April 1639 Squaw Sachem and Webcowit sold them the land (except the Myopia Hill parcel). After her death, the deed said, more land "to neere Salem" was to go to men of Charlestown. For this they received 21 coats, 19 fathoms of wampom, and three bushels of corn.

Although colonial documents record that the Indians "acknowledged themselves to bee satisfied" with their compensation, the selling prices today may seem cheap,. But the Indians also benefited from the alliance with a people who could and did assist the natives and who had established their military strength, particularly during the Pequot War of 1637.

Additionally, the Indians received help and goods from the settlers. In May 1640, Cambridge was ordered to give the Squaw Sachem a coate every winter for life. In 1641, Cambridge was enjoined to give her 35 bushels of corn and four coates (for two years). In 1643, the court granted her gunpowder and shot and ordered "her piece to be mended."

There were advantages to being friends with the English. There were also disadvantages, for, in exchange for the privileges they offered, the English were gradually taking over the government, not only of their own people but of the natives as well. In 1644 the Squaw Sachem and four other sachems signed a treaty of submission, agreeing to abide by the government and jurisdiction of the English colony and promising willingness to be instructed in their religion.

In addition, as the number of the English colonists continued to grow, so did their desire for land. Where there appeared to be unlimited land, collectively the English began to push the natives aside. One deed even specified "all Indians to depart" following the death of the Squaw Sachem.

Death of a Queen

For perhaps 10 years, the Winchester area was shared by a few settlers and Squaw Sachem, Webcowit, and perhaps a few others.

The queen died in 1650. Although stories have been written that, in the end, she was deaf and blind and died by drowning, there is documentary evidence. Only her death date is known since, in that year, lawsuits over the land began.

From then on, Winchester was English land. Indians passed through and camped temporarily, but they were not integrated into the growing community of settlers. After 1650 the surviving Massachusetts relocated to other homes.


Fog shrouds a flooded meadow
Fog shrouds a flooded meadow above the lane leading from Arlington Street to "Fairmount Spring" and "Bartlett Piggeries" in this 1901 photograph. This area was the resort of Squaw Sachem and other Indians. The brook is located on Myopia Hill, now on Winchester Country Club land.

The history of the sachems of Winchester actually ends in 1650 with the death of the Squaw Sachem. By terms of a deed she signed, all Indians were to depart after that. There is, however, some further known history of the family of Nanepashemet and Squaw Sachem and of Indian presence in Winchester.

After the deaths of Nanepashemet (1619), his sons Wonohaquaham and Montowampate (1633), and the Squaw Sachem (1650), two more children of Nanepashemet and his wife survived, Wenepoykin and Yawate.

Born about 1616, Wenepoykin, called Sagamore George by the English, was heir to his brothers' lands from Charlestown up to Salem, where he had his principal residence. He was born about 1616.

Reverend John Higginson wrote that "to the best of my remembrance, when I came over with my father to this place, being then about 13 years old, there was a widow woman called Squaw Sachem who had three sons. Sagamore John kept at Mystic, Sagamore James at Saugus, and Sagamore George here at Naumkeke. Whether he was actual sachem here I cannot say, for he was about my age, and I think there was an older man, that was at least his guardian. But the Indian town of Wigwams was on the north side of the North River, not farre from Simondes, and the north and south side of that river was together called 'Naumkeke.'"

Wenepoykin married Ahawayet, daughter of Poquanum of Nahant. Their family included a son Manatahqua and three daughters, reputedly very beautiful and known as "the feathers." There were at least three grandchildren: Nonupanohow, Wutanoh, and Tontoquon.

Wenepoykin had reason to dislike the English. His brothers had died from smallpox, which he may have associated with the coming of the English. His father-in-law was lynched by the English for a crime he did not commit.

The English were taking all the tribal lands. His mother's lands were all English by 1650, and he himself had land disputes with the English.

Numerous quarrels arose between the English and the natives. Some of these were fairly settled in the Indians' favor by the courts. Others, including appeals by Wenepoykin for compensation and justice, were not.

More Indians were becoming disillusioned about the English and the hope that the English and Indians could share the land in peace and friendship. Wenepoykin was one of those.

Conversely, Wenepoykin's sister, married to Oonsamong and the mother of at least one son, had accepted Christianity and moved to the praying village at Natick. After King Philip's War broke out (1675), her family was loyal to the English. Her son, known as James Rumney Marsh or James Quonopohit, even helped the English as a spy.

Their loyalty, however, did not prevent an order, brought on by war hysteria, that they and other Indians from the praying villages be interred on Deer Island for the duration of the war. Intended as protection, it was a misery from which more Indians died.

During the war, Wenepoykin joined the Wampanoag sachem Metacom, called King Philip, in his war against the English.* He was captured, sold into slavery, and rescued after eight years in Barbadoes through the efforts of John Eliot.

According to a document in the Essex Registry of Deeds, "Sagamore George, when he come from Barbadoes, lived some time, and died at the house of James Rumneymarsh." Reportedly, he lived with his sister and nephew, who survived Deer Island, in Natick, until he died in 1684. Afterwards, his widow and heirs deeded their territory in Marblehead, Lynn, and Salem to the settlers.

From then on, the family history of Nanepashemet becomes lost. It is known that Nanepashemet and his wife had grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but what became of them after the end of the 17th century is not known.

Indians in Winchester

According to George Cooke (1885), "Traditions represent that the Indians continued to visit this region even after they were driven to distant parts. ... Stephen Swan (deceased in 1871, aged 86) frequently said to his children that his father (John Swan, born 1734) spoke of the yearly visits of the Indians to Squa Sachem's brook, where they would remain a few days. They had planted certain roots and herbs upon the banks of this stream, evidently for medicinal purposes. They often came to his house in a friendly manner.

"Also he relates that the Indians had the custom of passing up from the tide-water through the Mystic Ponds on to Horn Pond, where they encamped and remained during some part of the warm season.

"This custom was in fact continued to a comparatively recent date, even after the completion of the Middlesex Canal.

"Mrs. Cyrus Butters remembers, and many others may also remember, the Indians coming up through the Middlesex Canal, remaining at the 'Lock House' over night, moving their canoes, tents, and other baggage around the locks upon their backs."

A solitary woman, Hannah Shiner, lived alone "in a hut by a spring upon the eastern margin of Turkey Swamp, where she made baskets and 'Indian trinkets' for sale, when not employed among the families in mending chair-bottoms, or other services."

She was also remembered to have lived in an old house at the corner of Church and Bacon streets and to have been accompanied in her travels by a little dog. "She, too, had the habit of visiting the Squaw Sachem Brook."

According to Charles Brooks, she was "kind-hearted, a faithful friends, a sharp enemy, a judge of herbs, a weaver of baskets, and a lover of rum." In 1820 she fell from the bridge that crossed the Aberjona in the village center and drowned.

Since then, there have been reports of indian artifacts being found in the area, but otherwise the record of Indian history in Winchester ends--not with the optimism with which the story began, but with this last sad incident

* (Stories of Winchester-area men involved in Indian wars and of one incident connected with King Philip's war are told in the History of Winchester.)