The Town & the City: Lowell Before The Civil War

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PAWTUCKET AND WAMESIT HISTORIC MARKERS, PLAQUES, AND STATUES

PAWTUCKET AND WAMESIT HISTORIC MARKERS, PLAQUES, AND STATUES

Bibliography

Artifacts found in Lowell in the collection of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology 

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Passaconaway

There are two monuments to Passaconaway in Lowell.

The Passaconaway Statue in Edson Cemetery.

Address:
The City of Lowell Cemetery Department
1375 Gorham St.
Lowell, MA 01852
GPS         N 42 37.141            W 71 18.280

                                                         

The plaque on the statue reads:

CHIEF 
OF THE
PENACOOKS

GREAT WARRIOR AND FRIEND OF THE WHITE MAN

EMBRACED CHRISTIANITY

DIED AT THE AGE OF 122

KNOWN AS
ASPINQUID - THE INDIANS SAINT

PROPERTY OF
IMPROVED ORDER OF RED MEN
OF MASSACHUSETTS

                                    
                                      

 

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Memorial to Passaconnaway, an inscribed stone on the Merrimack River by the Pawtucket Falls.

Address:
Corner of Mammouth Road and Varnum Avenue in Lowell.
GPS          N 42 38.999           W 71 19.870

The plaque on the stone reads: 

MEMORIAL TO PASSACONNAWAY

CHIEF OF THE PAWTUCKET INDIANS

NEAR THIS SPOT IN 1648 HE ACCEPTED CHRISTIANITY
UNDER THE PREACHING OF JOHN ELLIOT

PRESENTED BY THE MOLLY VARNUM CHAPTER D. A. R.

GIVEN TO THE CITY OF LOWELL

JUNE 11, 1935

 
   

 

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Wannalancet

Wannalancet is memorialized in two places.

Wannalancet Marker on Tyng’s Island (entrance to the Vesper-Country Club)

Address:
85 Pawtucket Blvd, Tyngsboro, MA 01879
GPS         N 42 39.313   W 71 23.685

The marker reads:

 
   

1630     1930

WANNALANCET

ON WICKASEE ISLAND (NOW
TYNGS ISLAND) IN THE MERRIMAC
DWELT WANNALANCET LAST SACHEM
OF THE PENNACOOK CONFEDERACY.

AND LIKE HIS FATHER PASSACONWAY
A FAITHFUL FRIEND TO THE ENGLISH.

MASSACHUSETTS BAY COLONY
TERCENTENARY COMMISSION

 
                                     

  

        

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wannalancet Rock in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts.

Address:
Tyng Road (NOT Old Tyng Road) off Middlesex Road (Route 3A)
GPS         N 42 39.665            W 71 24.415

The bronze plaque on the rock reads:

In this place lived during his last years,
and died in 1696

WANNALANCET

Last Sachem of the Merrimac River Indians,

Son of Passaconaway, like his father a
faithful friend of the early
New England Colonists.

Placed by the Massachusetts Society
of Colonial Dames

 

In a kiosk at the site is the following text -

Wannalancet Rock Dedication

October, 21, 1901

On this day a bronze tablet from the Murdock Parlor Grate Company of Boston. Designed by John Fitz was dedicated in honor of Wannalancet, last grand chief of the Merrimack River Indians. This land presented to the town of Tyngsboro by the heirs of the late Jacob Drake.

The dedication was conceived by Charles Cowley of Lowell. The tablet was dedicated by the Massachusetts Society of colonial Dames. Wannalancet was converted to the Christian faith on Sunday, May 5, 1674 through the efforts of John Elliot, apostle to the Indians.

Present at the ceremony were chief Joseph Laurent of the St. Francis tribe of Abenaki Indians, members of the Tyngsborough V. I. A., J. H. Guillet of the Franco-American Historical Society, Judge S. P. Hadley, Hon. Solon W Stevens, Reverend E. V. Bigelow, Colonial Dames Miss Rose Lamb and Miss Adeline Bigelow.

Honorary guests included the Misses Melinda and Charlotte Mitchell of the Lakeville, Massachusetts, great-great granddaughters of Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoags, and their great grandmother being "the Lily of the Cherokees" sister of King Phillip.

Wannalancet Rock

Here on this spot lived Wannalancet, last grand chief of the Merrimack River Indians, son of Passaconaway, during the final years of his life.

Returning to his tribal grounds in his declining years, Wannalancet lived under the care of Colonel Jonathan Tyng in the mansion that stood behind this spot. The aged chief spent many hours at this rock with full view of the Merrimack and his beloved island, Wicasauk.

Upon his death, Wannalancet was buried in the Tyng family burial ground. He remained a true friend of the colonists throughout his life, heeding the advice of the great Passaconaway to remain at peace with the English.

During King Philip's war he and his people moved to St. Francis in Canada to avoid hostilities. The general court convinced Wannalancet to return to ensure peace in the area. Here his final years were spent, and upon this rock the great sachem contemplated his life and times upon the Merrimack.

While on his Evangelical tours, Reverend Whitfield stood upon this rock to preach to the congregation of early settlers.

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Near the Wannalancet Rock is the Mansion House Marker on Middlesex Road (Route 3A)

The marker reads: 

 
   

1630     1930

THIS MANSION WAS BUILT IN 1676
BY COLONEL JONATHAN TYNG FOR
WHOM THIS TOWN WAS NAMED. IT WAS
THE NORTHERLY OUTPOST TO THE
GARRISON HOUSE WHICH STOOD A
QUARTER-MILE DOWN STREAM
OPPOSITE WICASSEE FALLS AND
ISLAND WHERE THE PAWTUCKET
INDIANS WERE SETTLED.

MASSACHUSETTS BAY COLONY
TERCENTENARY COMMISSION

                                       

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The Wamesit Indian

Statue of the Wamesit in Tewksbury

Address:
A park between Main Street (Route 38) and Old Main Street In Tewksbury, Massachusetts
GPS         N 42 37.329            W 71 15.794

A plaque in the park reads:

 
   

THE WAMESIT INDIAN PARK

DEDICATED IN MEMORY OF A PROUD, PEACE LOVING
PEOPLE, WHO INHABITED THESE LANDS   UNDER THE
RULE OF PASSACONAWAY, THE GREAT SACHEM AND
BASHABA, AS RECORDED BY THE REVEREND JOHN
ELIOT IN THE YEAR OF 1648

DONATED THROUGH
THE COMMITTEE OF INTERESTED CITIZENS, INC.
TEWKSBURY, MASSACHUSETTS
JUNE 17, 1989

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John Eliot

Meetinghouse Hill Marker at the Eliot Church in Lowell.

Address:
273 Summer Street, Lowell, MA
GPS         N 42 38.328            W 71 18.796

The marker reads:

 
   

1630     1930

MEETINGHOUSE HILL

SITE OF CHAPEL ERECTED IN
1653 FOR JOHN ELIOT, THE APOSTLE
TO THE INDIANS. HERE HE PREACHED
TO THE WAMESIT AND PENNACOOK
INDIANS. CONVERTING MANY AND
ESTABLISING A VILLAGE OF CHRIS-
TIAN INDIANS CALLED WAMESIT.

MASSACHUSETTS BAY COLONY
TERCENTENARY COMMISSION

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DEEDS

The agreement signed by Nahnaacomoc and Passaconaway on June 12, 1644, can be viewed on microfilm at the Massachusetts Archives along with other deeds and records from this period. They are in the Massachusetts Archives Collection, Volume 30. The image below was photographed from the microfilm an changed the white on blue of the film to black on white. Notice the “marks” of Nahnaacomoc and Passaconaway at the bottom,. Passaconaway's mark is enlarged beneath the deed.
 

He buys the Indian's moccasins and baskets, then buys his hunting-grounds, and at length forgets where he is buried and ploughs up his bones. And here town records, old, tattered, timeworn, weather-stained chronicles, contain the Indian sachem's mark perchance, an arrow or a beaver, and the few fatal words by which he deeded his hunting-grounds away.
- Henry David Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

Biblography

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Books about the early history of the Greater Lowell area including the Pawtucket, Pennacook, and Wamesit  Indians

Allen, W. (1820). The history of Chelmsford: From its Origin in 1653, to the year 1820--together with an historical sketch of the church, and biographical notices of the four first pastors. To which is added a memoir of the Pawtuckett tribe of Indians. With a large appendix. Haverhill, MA: P. M. Green. Available at Google Books and archive.org at. https://archive.org/details/historychelmsfo00allegoog

Burtt, J. F. (1976). Passaconway’s Kingdom. In A. L. Eno, Jr. (ed.) Cotton Was King: A History of Lowell, Massachusetts (pp. 3 - 9). Lowell:  Lowell Historical Society.

Coburn, F. W. (1920). History of Lowell and its People Vol. 1. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co.

Cowley, C. (1868). Illustrated History of Lowell. Lowell, MA: Stone & Huse.

Cowley, C. (1904).  “The Last of the Sachems,” in Contributions of the Old Residents’ Historical Association, Volume VI. Lowell: The Courier Citizen Company. Available at Google Books.

Cowley, C. (1904).  “John Eliot’s Work at Wamesit,” in Contributions of the Old Residents' Historical Association, Volume VI. Lowell: The Courier
​Citizen Company. Available at Google Books.

Floyd, B. (1836). 1836 Supplement to the Lowell directory containing names of the females employed, and places of employment, in the various manufacturing establishments, &c. in this city, with streets and corporations, city officers, public officers, banks, incorporated companies, societies, and other information. Lowell, MA: Leonard Huntress, Printer. Available at https://archive.org/details/lowellmassachuse1836floy.

Forrant, R., & Strobel, C. (2011). Ethnicity in Lowell. Boston: National Park Service. Available at http://library.uml.edu/clh//OH/ETHNO/Ethnicity%20in%20Lowell.pdf

Griffin, S. S. (1913). Quaint bits of Lowell history: A few interesting stories of earlier days. Lowell, Massachusetts: Butterfield Printing Company. Available on archive.org at https://archive.org/details/cu31924028838831.

Kenngott, G. F. (1912). The record of a city: A social survey of Lowell Massachusetts. New York: The Macmillan Company. Available on archive.org at https://archive.org/details/recordofcitysoci00kenn.

Leavenworth, P. S. (1999)  “’The best title that Indians can claime’: Native agency and consent in the transferal of Penacook-Pawtucket land in the seventeenth century”. New England Quarterly: A Historical Review of New England Life and Letters (72), 275–300.

Miles, H. A. (1846). Lowell, as it was, and as it is, (Lowell: Massachusetts, Powers & Bagley). Available at https://archive.org/details/lowellasitwasasi00mile and at Google Books.

Pendergast, J. (1991). The bend in the river. Tyngsborough, MA: Merrimac River Press.

Perham, H. S. (1904). “The Wamesit Purchase” in Contributions of the Old Residents' Historical Association, Volume VI, No. 2. Lowell, Massachusetts: The Courier Citizen Company. Available at Google Books.

Stewart-Smith, D. (1998). The Pennacook Indians and the Northern New England Frontier, circa 1604-1733. Doctoral dissertation, Union Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Waters, W. W., & Perham, H. S. (1917). History of Chelmsford Massachusetts. Lowell, Massachusetts: Courier Citizen. Available at Google Books and on archive.org at https://archive.org/details/historyofchelmsf00wate.

Books and articles about Indians in New England

Burrage, H. S. (1887). Rosier's relation of Waymouth’s voyage to the coast of Maine, 1605 with an introduction and notes. Portland, ME: Stephen Berry.

Cronon, W. (1983). Changes in the land: Indians, colonists, and the ecology of New England. New York: Hill and Wang.

Daly, J. (1997). No Middle Ground: Pennacook-New England Relations in the Seventeenth Century. Master’s thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Available for pdf download at http://research.library.mun.ca/1032/.

Dolin, E. J. (2010) Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America . New York: W. W. Norton & Company

Drake, S. G. (1837). Biography and history of the Indians of North America, from its first discovery to the present time. Boston: Antiquarian Society. Available on archive.org at https://archive.org/details/cihm_39796.

Drake, S. G. (1876). The Old Indian Chronicle. Boston:  Antiquarian Society.  Available on archive.org at https://archive.org/details/oldindianchroni00lithgoog and at Google Books.

Karr R. (1999). Indian New England 1524–1674: a compendium of eyewitness accounts of Native American life. Pepperell, Massachusetts: Branch Line Press.

Kruer, M. (2003). “A Country Wonderfully Prepared for their Entertainment”: The aftermath of the New England Indian epidemic of 1616. Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 4(1).

Kupperman, K. O. (2000). Indians and English: Facing Off in Early America (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Richter, D. K. (2003). Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press.

Russell H. (1980). Indian New England Before the Mayflower. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England.

Salisbury, N. (1996). The Indians' Old World: Native Americans and the Coming of Europeans. The William and Mary Quarterly, 53(3), pp. 435-458.

Salisbury, N. (1984). Manitou and Providence: Indians, Europeans, and the making of New England, 1500-1643. New York: Oxford University Press.

 

Artifacts at Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

The following artifacts, which were found in Lowell, are in the collection of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University. They are in storage and not on display. 

Peabody Number 78-24-10/14328

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

Grooved hammerstone

Dimensions: Overall: 9 × 8.1 × 5 cm (3 9/16 × 3 3/16 × 1 15/16 in.)

Pawtucket

Peabody Number 8-24-10/14325

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

Grooved Axe

Dimensions: Overall: 14.2 × 8.3 × 5.2 cm (5 9/16 × 3 1/4 × 2 1/16 in.)

Pawtucket

Peabody Number 78-24-10/14326

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

Stone celt

Adze

Dimensions: Overall: 20.9 × 6 × 2.4 cm (8 1/4 × 2 3/8 × 15/16 in.)

Pawtucket

Peabody Number 78-24-10/14327

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

Stone celt

Adze

Dimensions: Overall: 10.1 × 4 × 3 cm (4 × 1 9/16 × 1 3/16 in.)

Pawtucket

Peabody Number 

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

Ground stone perforator *

Dimensions: Overall: 3.3 x 5.3 x 1.6 cm (1 5/16 x 2 1/16 x 5/8 in.)

Pawtucket

* (Note from Brad MacGowan: Although I am far from expert in this field, I believe that this might be a plummet or sinker for fishing rather than a perforator. I am interested to here what other people think about this.)

Peabody Number 67-12-10/543

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

Fragment of an earthen pot; Ceramic, earthenware, rim sherd with incised and punctate decorations

Dimensions: Overall: 2.3 × 2 × 0.3 cm (7/8 × 13/16 × 1/8 in.)Bottom of Form

Pawtucket

 

 

NO IMAGE

63-9-10/N8754.0

Peabody Number: 63-9-10/N8754.0

Display Title: Homo sapiens sapiens

Object Description: Nearly complete cranial human remains of an adult male.

Classification: 
Archaeological

Department: 
Osteological

Geography/Provenience: 
North America/United States/Massachusetts/Middlesex County/Lowell

Geo-Locale: Merrimack River bank

Materials: Bone

Provenance:
Donor: 
Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology (2/12/1963 - 2/12/1963)
Collector: Walter W. Taylor (01/01/1890 - 01/01/1890)
Intermediary: Dr. Douglas S. Byers (2/12/1963)

 

There are 8 other database records in the Peabody Museum online collection that refer to human remains found in the Lowell area.
The Peabody numbers for these are:
63-9-10/N8754.0
51-43-10/N8506.0
51-43-10/N8506a
51-43-10/N8506b
 51-43-10/N8506c
51-43-10/N8506d
51-43-10/N8506e
​51-43-10/N8506f