Weetamoo ~ Pocasset

Published on June 14, 2014 by Amy

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Weetamoo
Weetamoo

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’s husbands

Weetamoo was married five times.

  • Winnepurket, sachem of Saugus, Massachusetts, was the first. He died shortly after their marriage. (However, according to one legend, Weetamoo died before him, having been lost in her canoe on the icy Merrimac River when returning to Winnepurket from the home of her father, who is given as Passaconaway rather than Metacomet.)
  • Chief Wamsutta was second. After his death, his brother Metacom (Philip) became Chief of the Wampanoag. The tribe allied with the English against the Narragansett, but the English broke this treaty. Wamsutta became sick and died during talks with the English. Believing that the English were somehow responsible for his death, Weetamoo and her brother-in-law, Metacomet— Wamsutta’s younger brother and husband of Weetamoo’s younger sister Wootonekanuske — attacked the English in June 1675. This began the conflict now known as King Philip’s War. Weetamoo is speculated to have had one child with Wamsutta, although the date of birth and name are unknown.
  • Quequequanachet was third. Little is known of him.
  • Petonowit was fourth. At the beginning of King Philip’s War he sided with the English, prompting Weetamoo to leave their marriage.
  • Quinnapin was last, grandson of powerful Narragansett sachem Canonicus. He was described as “a handsome warrior”. This seemed to be a strong marriage. The pair had at least one child together, who died in 1676.
  • 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 legacy

    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.

    Source: wikipedia

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