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The Town & the City: Lowell before and after The Civil War

Originally created to be a digital archive for Lowell documents from 1826 to 1861, this website has grown to cover many periods and events in Lowell's history.

Bbliographic essay

almost totally destroyed by the great sickness”- Bibliographic essay including books, websites, museums, and historic sites



The chapter title and quote at the beginning of the chapter and all other quotes attributed to Daniel Gookin are from Historical Collections of the Indians in New England (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society), which is available as an ebook from Google books. It was written in 1674, but not published until 1792. For context, the 1674 date is used for the Gookin quotes in the chapter. For a paper version, I recommend the 1970 publication of Historical Collections of the Indians in New England: with notes by J. H. Fiske (No place of publication listed: Towtaid).

For information about the Bering Land Bridge (Beringia) see Postglacial Flooding of the Bering Land Bridge: A Geospatial Animation: INSTAAR, University of Colorado, v1 available at and watch the .mov animation. There is also an informative exhibit of the Bering Land Bridge at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center.

The quotes from William Wood are from Wood's New England's Prospect (Boston: The Prince Society), published in 1865 and available as an ebook on Google Books and at Wood wrote the original document in 1634 and that is the date I use in the chapter.

John Smith’s quotes come from Arber, E., & Bradley, A. G. (eds.) (1910). Travels and Works of John Smith. 2 vols. (Edinburgh: J. Grant). The works by John Smith that were quoted are from A Description of New England; or, Observations and Discoveries in North America, 1616, and Advertisements for the Inexperienced Planters of New England, or Anywhere or The Pathway To Experience to Erect a Plantation, 1631. The Travels and Works of John Smith is available at


The Baird quotes are from Reuben Gold Thwaites (ed.), (1896 - 1901) The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, 1610 - 1791 (73 Volumes) (Cleveland: Burrows Bros. Co.). Baird’s 1616 quotes are in Volumes I, II, and III. This is available at

The quote from Ferdinando Gorges is from the 1890 publication Sir Ferdinando Gorges and his Province of Maine, Vol. I (Boston: The Prince Societ. Gorges’s book was published in 1658 and that is the date I use in the chapter. Gorges never set foot in the New World, so was not a first-hand witness of the effects of the epidemics.

Thomas Dermer’s 1620 quotes are from Samuel Purchas’s Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas his Pilgrimes: Contayning a history of the world in sea voyages and lande travells by Englishmen and others, Volume XIX (Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons). Hakluytus Posthumus was originally published in 1625. The online version is available at The site lists 1905 as the publication date for this edition, but the book itself has MCMVI (1906) as the date.

The Thomas Morton (1575-1646) quote is from Morton, T. (1883). The new English Canaan of Thomas Morton with introductory matter and notes by Charles Francis Adams, Jr. (Boston: The Prince Society). Morton’s New English Canaan was first published in 1637. The Adams version is available at

Of Plymouth Plantation was written by William Bradford between the years 1630 and 1651. I use the 1651 date for context when referring to any quotes from the book. Many versions are available including one published in 1856 edited and with notes by Charles Deane on at

In 1662, Phinehas Pratt (circa 1593 - 1680) wrote “A declaration of the affairs of the English people that first inhabited New England,” which is also known as The Narrative of Phineas Pratt and Phinehas Pratt’s Narrative (1858) (Boston: T. R. Marvin & Son) R. Frothingham, Jr. (ed.), which is available through Google Books. I modernized the text for presentation in the chapter. In 1662, Pratt presented to the General Court of Massachusetts a narrative that requested aid, which was being awarded to “First Comers” (i.e., Mayflower Pilgrims), even though he arrived in 1622 aboard the Sparrow to join the ill-fated Wessagussett settlement, and joined the Plymouth settlement in 1623. He  is buried in Phipps Street Burying Ground in Charlestown.

The Narrative [addressed to Secretary Coke ?] concerning the settlement of New England - 1630 was printed in Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume 5, 1862, which is available as an ebook at Google Books.

Increase Mather’s 1677 “Phinehas Pratt's Relation” appears in Phinehas Pratt’s Narrative (1858) (Boston: T. R. Marvin & Son) R. Frothingham, Jr. (ed.), which is mentioned above.

The Cotton Mather quote is from his 1702 Magnalia Christi Americana: Or the Ecclesiastical History of New England from 1620 - 1698, which is available at Google Books.

The quotes from Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. are from Holmes, O. W. (1892). Medical Essays: 1842 - 1882 (Cambridge, MA: The Riverside Press). It is available on at

Noah Webster’s (1799) A brief history of epidemic and pestilential diseases; with the principal phenomena of the physical world, which precede and accompany them, and observations deduced from the facts stated. In two volumes (Hartford: Hudson & Godwin) is available at Google Books.

The Epidemic  of  the  Indians  of  New  England,  1616-1620, with  Remarks  on Native American Infections by Herbert U. Williams, M. D. was published in The Johns Hopkins Hospital Bulletin, (20) pp. 340 - 349, in 1909. It is available at the Hathitrust website at


The 1987 article by Arthur Spiess and Bruce Spiess, New England pandemic of 1616 - 1622: Cause and archaeological implication was published in Man in the Northeast, (34), pp. 71 - 83. The journal Man in the Northeast is available at many college libraries.

John S. Marr and John T. Cathay’s (2010) article New Hypothesis for Cause of Epidemic among Native Americans, New England, 1616–1619 was published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, 16(2), pp. 281 - 286. The article is available online on the CDC site at

The Thaddeus Piotrowski quote is from the chapter Introduction: The Northeast in the book The Indian Heritage of New Hampshire and Northern New England T. Piotrowski (ed.) (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.). This book also has a chapter about the epidemics by Billee Hoornbeek titled An investigation into the cause or causes of the epidemic which decimated the Indian population of New England 1616-1619.

The quote from David S. Jones is from his book Rationalizing Epidemics; Meanings and Uses of American Indian Mortality since 1600 (2004), (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press). He also addressed this topic in the article Virgin Soils Revisited, which was published in The William and Mary Quarterly, 60(4) pp. 703-742 in 2003.

Alfred Crosby introduced the concept of virgin soil epidemics in a 1976 article Virgin soil epidemics as a factor in the aboriginal depopulation in America published in the William and Mary Quarterly. 23(2) pp. 289-299.

The J. N. Hays (2010) quote is from The Burdens of Disease: Epidemics and Human Response in Western History, Revised Edition (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press).

John Josselyn’s 1638 quote is from his book An account of two voyages to New England, made during the years 1638, 1663 (Boston: William Veazie) published in 1865. It is available at

The 1642 quote from John Winthrop is from Winthrop's Journal "History Of New England" 1630—1649, published by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York in 1908. It is available on at

Charles Cowley’s quotes are from his Memories of the Indians and Pioneers of the region of Lowell (Lowell: Stone & Huse) published in 1862. This 24-page book is available at and at Google Books. Cowley’s writings are fascinating for the information conveyed, the writing style, and his passion for Lowell’s history. An interesting selection from one of the reviews of the book, printed on the last page, states that

[w]e have here, compressed in a few pages, a complete history, as far as known, of a people extending through more than a century. While it is pleasant to gather up the memorials of these pioneer settlers in our land, it is sad to think how suddenly these "red men" have nearly all disappeared from the earth, and that, too, occasioned in part by the wrongs inflicted upon them by the "white man." — Boston Congregationalist.

Alfred Gilman’s quote is from Rev. John Eliot (Apostle to the Indians), Passaconaway, Wannalancet and Captain Samuel Mosely, which appeared in Contributions of the Old Residents' Historical Association, Volume III, No.1 (1884) (Lowell, Mass: Morning Mail). It is available at

The 1842 quote from Henry David Thoreau is from Paul Maher (ed.), Extracts Relating to the Indians - Notebook 1 (San Bernadino, CA: 2007. The 1873 quote is from A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (Boston: James R. Osgood and Company) 1873. It is available at

The concept of the “Columbian Exchange” was introduced by Alfred W. Crosby in The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press) 1972. A summary of the concept and a list of “exchanged” plants and animals can be found at

Miantonomo (circa. 1600 - 1643) was a chief of the Narragansetts. The 1642 quote is from an exhibit at Fruitlands Museum’s Native American Gallery in Harvard, Massachusetts.

The Coburn (1920) quote is from History of Lowell and its People Vol. 1 (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co).


Books about this period of history in the Greater Lowell area including the Pawtucket and Pennacook 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 at

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

Forrant, R., & Strobel, C. (2011). Ethnicity in Lowell. Boston: National Park Service. Available at

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

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

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 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 at

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

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 at

Drake, S. G. (1876). The Old Indian Chronicle. Boston: Antiquarian Society. Available  on at 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.

Sidis, W. J. (circa. 1935). The Tribes and the States. Available at


Other articles about the epidemics

Bratton, Y.L. (1988). The identity of the New England Indian epidemic of 1616-19.

Bulletin of the history of medicine. 62 (3), pp. 351 - 383.

Cook, S.F. (1973). The significance of disease in the extinction of the New England Indians. Human Biology, 45. pp. 485 - 508.

Snow, D. R. and Lanphear, K. M. (1988). European contact and Indian depopulation in the northeast: The timing of the first epidemics. Ethnohistory, 35(1), pp. 15 - 33.


There are great places to visit to try to get an understanding of this period in history in this part of the world. The ones that I visited are discussed briefly here.

Plimoth Plantation’s 17th Century English Village is a re-creation of the village of Plimouth in 1627, seven years after the arrival of the first Pilgrims and before the start of the Great Migration. The feel of the place is extremely realistic. There is nothing spiffed-up, sugar- coated, or Disneyfied about it. There are no modern guides or interpreters, and there are no signs or little plaques explaining things. Well-studied costumed actors portray actual residents of 1627 Plimouth, and they never come out of character. Having a long conversation with William Bradford was something I do not do every day.

Plimoth Plantation’s Wampanoag Homesite has the same realistic feel as the village, but  the “residents” are descendants of Indians and speak from a modern perspective. The wetus and the lifeways being demonstrated would have been very similar for the Pawtuckets. One difference would be the Wampanoags proximity to the ocean, while the Pawtuckets relied on the river.


The Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth is a gallery-style museum with original artifacts  such as William Bradford’s Bible, and a lot of interpretation and explanation. There was a living history event the day I was there. It was “Establishment Day” marking the anniversary of the establishment of the original militia on February 17, 1621. There was a demonstration of shooting matchlock muskets, which was even more work than firing a flintlock, and a demonstration of using pikes in battle.

The Rebecca Nurse Homestead in Danvers, Massachusetts is a great place to see what a New England homestead looked like in 1692. It is also a must for learning about the Salem Witch Trials. The Archeology Exhibit at the homestead includes Indian artifacts that were found on the property.

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University contains a variety of artifacts from all over the world. There is a good representation of the history and culture of the New England Indians. When I visited there was an exhibit of the “Archaeology & History of the Indian College & Student Life at Colonial Harvard,” which is also viewable online. By making a special appointment I was able to see artifacts found in the Lowell area, such as celts, plummets, net weights and projectile points. As mentioned in the chapter, the museum has fragmentary skeletal remains of Indians that were uncovered in the area.

The Millyard Museum in Manchester, New Hampshire is a trip through time beginning with the Paleo-Indians who lived near Amoskeag Falls, to the Pennacooks, and through and beyond the Industrial Revolution. The permanent exhibit is titled “Woven In Time: 11,000 Years at Amoskeag Falls.”

I will not try to describe the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center in Mashantucket, CT. I will just say that if you have not seen it, plan a trip there soon.

The Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner, New Hampshire has information and artifacts from Indians across North America. There is a lot from Indians in the New England area. Be sure to take a self-guided tour of the “Medicine Woods.” It is in a beautiful and rural part of New Hampshire---bring food and beverages.

The Fruitlands Museum’s Native American Gallery has a whole room focused on Indians from this area. The artifacts and the diorama are excellent. There is also a wetu replica and a Three Sisters (corn, beans, squash) garden. On the hiking trails, there is a section where there are efforts to recreate some of the aspects of an Indian village. There is also an example of the controlled burning or swidden practiced by some Indians, which resulted in forests with trees but no dense underbrush. This practice allowed food-producing plants such as berries and groundnuts to grow and be harvested, and made hunting game easier without creating wide-open fields that the animals instinctively avoid.

The Robbins Museum of Archaeology in Middleborough, Massachusetts is “Dedicated to the Native Cultures of New England.” It is run by the Massachusetts Archaeological Society and is a great place to learn about the people and see thousands of artifacts.

The Aptucxet Trading Post Museum, 24 Aptucxet Road, off Shore Road, in Bourne, Massachusetts, is a replica of a trading post on the original site by the used by Plymouth Colony in 1627 for trade with the Indians and the Dutch.