Published on June 14, 2014 by Amy
Weetamoo (c. 1635–1676), also referred to as Weetamoe, Namumpum, and Tatapanunum, was a Pocasset Wampanoag Native American leader. She was born in the Mattapoiset village of the Pokanoket and died at Taunton River. Her father was Corbitant, sachem of the Pocasset tribe in present day North Tiverton, Rhode Island, c. 1618–1630. She had five husbands, the most famous of whom was Wamsutta, the eldest son of Massasoit, grand sachem of the Wampanoag and participant in the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims. Her name means “Sweet Heart”Weetamo in our language the Algonqian toungue means “Tell or speak to them.
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According to the Tiverton Four Corners website, “the squaw sachem, Weetamoo” governed the Pocasset tribe, which occupied today’s Tiverton, Rhode Island in 1620. Weetamoo joined “with King Philip in fighting the colonists” in 1680, in King Philip’s War, also known as “Metacomet’s Rebellion.”
Weetamoo was married five times.
Eventually, the English defeated the Wampanoag in August 1676. Weetamoo drowned in the Taunton River trying to escape. Her dead body was mutilated, and her head was displayed on a pole in Taunton, MA.
Weetamoo’s adolescent life was made into a children’s historical novel in The Royal Diaries series entitled Weetamoo, Heart of the Pocasetts: Rhode Island-Massachusetts, 1653.
Weetamoo also appears in print in Mary Rowlandson’s The Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. Rowlandson, who was captured 1676 and held by Weetamoo’s relative Quinnapin for three months, left a vivid description of Weetamoo’s appearance as well as personality:
“A severe and proud dame she was, bestowing every day in dressing herself neat as much time as any of the gentry of the land: powdering her hair, and painting her face, going with necklaces, with jewels in her ears, and bracelets upon her hands. When she had dressed herself, her work was to make girdles of wampum and beads.”
Weetamoo Woods Open Space in Tiverton, Rhode Island is named after Weetamoo. A 50-foot vessel, Weetamoo, built in 1902, “was named after the daughter of an Indian Chief in John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem Bride of Penacook.” The vessel served on Lake Sunapee for 25 years before being scuttled. Lowell YWCA Camp Weetamoo is located on Long-Sought-for Pond in Westford, MA.