The Patuxet were a Native American band of the Wampanoag tribal confederation. They lived primarily in and around modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Patuxet have been extinct since 1622.

Patuxet Village
Historic area of the Patuxet tribe
Historic area of the Patuxet tribe
Coordinates: 41°57′30″N 70°40′04″W / 41.95833°N 70.66778°WCoordinates: 41°57′30″N 70°40′04″W / 41.95833°N 70.66778°W
CountryUnited States
Elevation187 ft (57 m)
Tribal Territories Southern New England
Historical Native American Tribal Territories of Southern New England


The Patuxet were wiped out by a series of plagues that decimated the indigenous peoples of southeastern New England in the second decade of the 17th century. The epidemics which swept across New England and the Canadian Maritimes between 1614 and 1620 were especially devastating to the Wampanoag and neighboring Massachuset, with mortality reaching 100% in many mainland villages. When the Pilgrims landed in 1620, all the Patuxet except Squanto had died.[2] The plagues have been attributed variously to smallpox,[3] leptospirosis,[4] and other diseases.[5][6][7][8]

The last Patuxet

Some European expedition captains were known to increase profits by capturing natives to sell as slaves. Such was the case when Thomas Hunt kidnapped several Wampanoag in 1614 in order to sell them later in Spain. One of Hunt's captives was a Patuxet named Tisquantum. Tisquantum eventually came to be known as Squanto (a nickname given to him by his friend William Bradford). After Squanto regained his freedom, he was able to work his way to England where he lived for several years, working with a shipbuilder.

He signed on as an interpreter for a British expedition to Newfoundland. From there Squanto went back to his home, only to discover that, in his absence, epidemics had killed everyone in his village.[2]

Squanto succumbed to "Indian fever" in November 1622.[9] With his death, the Patuxet people passed into history.

The Pilgrims

The first settlers of Plymouth Colony (modern Plymouth, Massachusetts), sited their colony at the location of a former Patuxet village, named "Port St. Louis" (Samuel de Champlain, 1605) or "Accomack" (John Smith, 1614). By 1616, the site had been renamed New Plimoth in Smith's A Description of New England after a suggestion by Prince Charles of England. When the Pilgrim Settlers decided to make their settlement, the land that had been cleared and cultivated by the prior inhabitants (since dead through disease) was a primary reason for the location.

Squanto was instrumental in the survival of the colony of English settlers at Plymouth. Samoset, a Pemaquid (Abenaki) sachem from Maine, introduced himself to the Pilgrims upon their arrival in 1620. Shortly thereafter, he introduced Squanto (presumably because Squanto spoke better English) to the Pilgrims, who had settled at the site of Squanto's former village.[2] From that point onward, Squanto devoted himself to helping the Pilgrims. Whatever his motivations, with great kindness and patience, he taught the English the skills they needed to survive, including how best to cultivate varieties of the Three Sisters: beans, maize and squash.

Although Samoset appears to have been important in establishing initial relations with the Pilgrims, Squanto was undoubtedly the main factor in the Pilgrims' survival. In addition, he also served as an intermediary between the Pilgrims and Massasoit, the Grand Sachem of the Wampanoag (original name Ousamequin [10] or "Yellow Feather"[11]). As such, he was instrumental in the friendship treaty that the two signed, allowing the settlers to occupy the area around the former Patuxet village.[2] Massasoit honored this treaty until his death in 1661.[12]


In the fall of 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag shared an autumn harvest feast. This three-day celebration involving the entire village and about 90 Wampanoag has been celebrated as a symbol of cooperation and interaction between English colonists and Native Americans.[13] The event later inspired 19th century Americans to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday in the United States. The harvest celebration took place at the historic site of the Patuxet villages. Squanto's involvement as an intermediary in negotiating the friendship treaty with Massasoit led to the joint feast between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag. This feast was a celebration of the first successful harvest season of the colonists.[2]

See also


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Town of Plymouth. Geographic Names Information System. Retrieved on 2007-07-31.
  2. ^ a b c d e Sultzman, Lee. "Wampanoag History". First Nations Histories. Retrieved 30 November 2008. External link in |work= (help)
  3. ^
  4. ^ Marr JS, Cathey JT (February 2010). "New hypothesis for cause of an epidemic among Native Americans, New England, 1616–1619". Emerg Infect Dis. 16 (2): 281–6. doi:10.3201/eid1602.090276. PMC 2957993. PMID 20113559.
  5. ^ Webster N (1799). A brief history of epidemic and pestilential diseases. Hartford CT: Hudson and Goodwin.
  6. ^ Williams H (1909). "The epidemic of the Indians of New England, 1616–1620, with remarks on Native American infections". Johns Hopkins Hospital Bulletin. 20: 340–9.
  7. ^ Bratton TL (1988). "The identity of the New England Indian epidemic of 1616–19". Bull Hist Med. 62 (3): 351–83. PMID 3067787.
  8. ^ Speiss A, Speiss BD (1987). "New England pandemic of 1616–1622. cause and archeological implication". Man in the Northeast. 34: 71–83.
  9. ^ "A history of the Wampanoag". Cape Cod Online. 16 February 2007. Archived from the original on 29 December 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2008. External link in |work= (help)
  10. ^ "Native People of Massachusetts". Retrieved 30 November 2008.
  11. ^ Cline, Duane A. (2001). "The Massasoit Ousa Mequin". The Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony: 1620. Retrieved 30 November 2008. External link in |work= (help)
  12. ^ "History & Culture". Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. 23 June 2008. Archived from the original on 19 November 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2008. External link in |work= (help)
  13. ^ "The First Thanksgiving". The History Channel. Archived from the original on 25 February 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2008.

Further reading

  • Bicknell, Thomas Williams (1908). Sowams, with Ancient Records of Sowams and Parts Adjacent. New Haven: Associated Publishers of American Records.
  • Mann, Charles C. (2005). 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. New York: Knopf.
  • Moondancer and Strong Woman. A Cultural History of the Native Peoples of Southern New England: Voices from Past and Present. (Boulder, CO: Bauu Press), 2007.
  • Rowlandson, Mary. The Sovereignty and Goodness of God. (Boston, MA: Bedford Books), 1997.
  • Salisbury, Neal. Manitou and Providence. (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 1982.
  • Salisbury, Neal and Colin G. Calloway, eds. Reinterpreting New England Indians and the Colonial Experience. Vol. 71 of Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. (Boston, MA: University of Virginia Press), 1993.
  • Salisbury, Neal. Introduction to The Sovereignty and Goodness of God by Mary Rowlandson. (Boston, MA: Bedford Books), 1997.

External links


1622 (MDCXXII)

was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar, the 1622nd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 622nd year of the 2nd millennium, the 22nd year of the 17th century, and the 3rd year of the 1620s decade. As of the start of 1622, the Gregorian calendar was

10 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

Adam Beach

Adam Beach (born November 11, 1972) is an Ojibwe actor. He is best known for his roles as Victor in Smoke Signals, Frank Fencepost in Dance Me Outside, Tommy in Walker, Texas Ranger, Kickin' Wing in Joe Dirt, U.S. Marine Corporal, Ira Hayes in Flags of Our Fathers, Private Ben Yahzee in Windtalkers, Dr. Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, NYPD Detective Chester Lake in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Officer Jim Chee in the film adaptations of Skinwalkers, Coyote Waits, and A Thief of Time. He starred in the Canadian 2012-2014 series Arctic Air, and played Slipknot in the 2016 film Suicide Squad. He also played Squanto in Disney's Squanto: A Warrior's Tale. Most recently he has starred in Hostiles (2018) as Black Hawk, and the Netflix original film, Juanita (2019) as Jess Gardiner.


Chickatawbut (died in 1633) (also known as Cicatabut and possibly Oktabiest before 1622) was the sachem, or leader, of a large group of indigenous people of what is now eastern Massachusetts, United States known as the Massachusett tribe, during the initial period of English settlement in the region in the early seventeenth century. In 1630 Chickatawbut deeded the land that is now Boston to the Puritans.Chickatawbut's home base was Conihasset, near modern Scituate. The sachem's name had many variant spellings in early Massachusetts records. Some argue that he had an alternate name, Oktabiest His brother was Wassapinewat. Chickatawbut maintained a base at a small hill on Quincy Bay in Boston Harbor known as Moswetuset Hummock. He was met there by Plymouth Colony commander Myles Standish and Tisquantum, a Patuxet guide, in 1621. According to Thomas Morton, "Chickatawbut’s mother was buried at Passonagessit, and that the Plymouth people, on one of their visits, incurred his enmity by despoiling her grave of its bear skins," but despite this, Chickatawbut did not get caught alongside his warrior, Pecksuot, in the hostilities at the Wessagusset Colony in 1623/24. Chickatawbut's died of smallpox in 1633 and was succeeded as sachem by his brother, Cutshamekin, who was in turn succeeded around 1655 by Chickatawbut's son, Wompatuck, who became a leader of the Mattakeesett tribe and a friend of the English settlers.

Chickatawbut Road, one of the Blue Hills Reservation Parkways, and Chickatawbut Hill, at 517 feet (158 m) the highest point in Quincy, Massachusetts, are named for him.


Corbitant was a Wampanoag Indian sachem or sagamore under Massasoit. Corbitant was sachem of the Pocasset tribe in present-day North Tiverton, Rhode Island, c. 1618–1630. He lived in Mattapuyst or Mattapoiset, located in the southern part of today's Swansea, MA.In the summer of 1621, he was involved in a minor altercation with the Plymouth colony involving the Patuxet refugee Tisquantum ("Squanto") at present-day Middleborough, Massachusetts. Corbitant had menaced both Tisquantum and his companion Hobomok for their close ties with the white strangers. Fearing for their lives, Hobomok was able to get away and escaped back to Plymouth, where he rallied the pilgrims under Miles Standish. Standish led ten men of Plymouth in arms to rescue Tisquantum from Corbitant. They attacked the Wampanoag village at Nemasket, but by that time Corbitant had released Squanto and withdrawn from the area. Corbitant was nominally obedient to the Great Sachem Massasoit of the Pokanoket. Although described as a "determined foe of the English," nonetheless, "with other hostile chiefs he signed a treaty of peace with the English in 1621."Tribes of the Wampanoag federation possessed hunting grounds at Cape Cod, Plymouth, Taunton, Attleboro, Middleboro, Hanson, Duxbury, Freetown, Somerset, Swansea, Mattapoisett, Wareham, and Fall River, in Massachusetts, as well as Tiverton, Aquidneck Island (Newport), Canonicut Island (Jamestown), Little Compton, Bristol, Warren and the lands west to the Providence River. About the year 1622 the Narragansett Federation under Canonicut seized the island of present-day Jamestown from Massasoit.

Indigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands

Indigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands include Native American tribes and First Nation bands residing in or originating from a cultural area encompassing the northeastern and Midwest United States and southeastern Canada. It is part of a broader grouping known as the Eastern Woodlands. The Northeastern Woodlands is divided into three major areas: the Coastal, Saint Lawrence Lowlands, and Great Lakes-Riverine zones.The Coastal area includes the Atlantic Provinces in Canada, the Atlantic seaboard of the United States, south until North Carolina. The Saint Lawrence Lowlands area includes parts of Southern Ontario, upstate New York, much of the Saint Lawrence River area, and Susquehanna Valley. The Great Lakes-Riverine area includes the remaining inland areas of the northeast, home to Central Algonquian and Siouan speakers.The Great Lakes region are sometimes considered a distinct cultural region, due to the large concentration of tribes in the area. The Northeastern Woodlands region is bound by the Subarctic to the north, the Great Plains to the west, and the Southeastern Woodlands to the south.

John Slany

John Slany (died 1632), merchant, ship builder, born in Shropshire, England, was secretary of the Newfoundland Company and a member of the Merchant Taylor's Company. He had also invested in the East India Company.

In 1610 both Slany and John Guy submitted a petition to the Privy Council of London on behalf of the London and Bristol Company for a grant of incorporation of the Newfoundland Company. Its main goal was to establish a settlement in Newfoundland at Cuper's Cove and colonize it. Slany's interest in Newfoundland was heightened by favorable reports from John Guy and William Colston of the vast riches to be had in Newfoundland. He had also convinced Percival Willoughby to invest and establish ownership of a tract of land near the colony. Slany had predicted the failure of the colony because of disagreement with John Guy when he accused him of deceiving the Newfoundland Company over the Island’s mineral resources in 1616.

Slany taught English to the Patuxet Native American tribesman, Tisquantum (better known as Squanto) and brought him to Cuper's Cove as an interpreter and expert on North American natural resources.

Mayflower Council

The Mayflower Council of the Boy Scouts of America serves the MetroWest and southeastern regions of Massachusetts.

Moswetuset Hummock

Moswetuset Hummock is a wooded historic place in Quincy, Massachusetts. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.The site is located at the northern end of Wollaston Beach along Quincy Bay on East Squantum Street near the junction with Quincy Shore Drive. It was the seat of the ruling Massachusett chief Chickatawbut, who was visited in 1621 by Plymouth Colony commander Myles Standish and Tisquantum (Squanto), a Patuxet guide. Moswetuset means "shaped like an arrowhead".

In his 1747 volume A History of New-England historian Daniel Neal described Moswetuset Hummock as the origin of the name of the indigenous Massachusett tribe, and thus the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:

The Sachem or Sagamore who governed the Indians in this part of the country when the English came hither, had his seat on a small hill, or hummock, containing perhaps an acre and a half, about two leagues to the southward of Boston, which hill or hummock lies in the shape of an Indian's arrowhead, which arrow-heads are called in their language MOS, or MONS, with O nasal, and hill in their language is WETUSET hence, this great sachem's seat was called Moswetuset, which signifies a hill in the shape of an arrow's head, and his subjects, the Moswetuset Indians, from whence with a small variation of the word, the Province received the name MASSACHUSETTS.Hummock is a geological term for a small knoll or mound.

New England Colonies

The New England Colonies of British America included Connecticut Colony, the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the Province of New Hampshire, as well as a few smaller short-lived colonies. The New England colonies were part of the Thirteen Colonies and eventually became five of the six states in New England. Captain John Smith's 1616 work A Description of New England first applied the term "New England" to the coastal lands from Long Island Sound to Newfoundland.

Pawtuxet River

The Pawtuxet River is a river in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. It flows 12.3 miles (19.8 km) and drains a watershed of 231.6 square miles (600 km2). There are four dams along the river's length.

Pilgrims (Plymouth Colony)

The Pilgrims or Pilgrim Fathers were the first English settlers of the Plymouth Colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Their leadership came from the religious congregations of Brownist Puritans who had fled the volatile political environment in England for the relative calm and tolerance of 17th-century Holland in the Netherlands. They held Puritan Calvinist religious beliefs but, unlike other Puritans, they maintained that their congregations needed to be separated from the English state church. They were also concerned that they might lose their cultural identity if they remained in the Netherlands, so they arranged with investors to establish a new colony in America. The colony was established in 1620 and became the second successful English settlement in America, following the founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. The Pilgrims' story became a central theme in the history and culture of the United States.

Plymouth Colony

Plymouth Colony (sometimes New Plymouth) was an English colonial venture in North America from 1620 to 1691 at a location that had previously been surveyed and named by Captain John Smith. The settlement served as the capital of the colony and developed as the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts. At its height, Plymouth Colony occupied most of the southeastern portion of Massachusetts.

Plymouth Colony was founded by a group of Puritan Separatists initially known as the Brownist Emigration, who came to be known as the Pilgrims. It was one of the earliest successful colonies to be founded by the English in America, along with Jamestown and other settlements in Virginia, and was the first permanent English settlement in the New England region. The colony was able to establish a treaty with Wampanoag Chief Massasoit which helped to ensure its success; in this, they were aided by Squanto, a member of the Patuxet tribe. Plymouth played a central role in King Philip's War (1675–78), one of several Indian Wars, but the colony was ultimately merged with the Massachusetts Bay Colony and other territories in 1691 to form the Province of Massachusetts Bay.

Despite the colony's relatively short existence, Plymouth holds a special role in American history. A significant proportion of the citizens of Plymouth were fleeing religious persecution and searching for a place to worship as they saw fit, rather than being entrepreneurs like many of the settlers of Jamestown in Virginia. The social and legal systems of the colony became closely tied to their religious beliefs, as well as to English custom. Many of the people and events surrounding Plymouth Colony have become part of American folklore, including the American tradition of Thanksgiving and the monument of Plymouth Rock.


Samoset (also Somerset, c. 1590–1653) was an Abenaki sagamore and the first American Indian to make contact with the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony. He startled the colonists on March 16, 1621 by walking into Plymouth Colony and greeting them in English, which he had begun to learn from fishermen frequenting the waters of Maine.


Tisquantum (; c. 1585 (±10 years?) – late November 1622 O.S.), more commonly known by the diminutive variant Squanto (), was a member of the Patuxet tribe best known for being an early liaison between the native populations in Southern New England and the Mayflower Pilgrims who made their settlement at the site of Squanto's former summer village.

The Patuxet tribe lived on the western coast of Cape Cod Bay, where in 1614 Squanto was kidnapped by English explorer Thomas Hunt. Hunt brought Squanto to Spain, where he sold him in the city of Málaga. He was among a number of captives bought by local monks who focused on their education and evangelization. Squanto eventually travelled to England and from there returned to North America in 1619. He returned to his native village only to find that his tribe had been wiped out by an epidemic infection; Squanto was the last of the Patuxet.

When the Mayflower landed in 1620, Squanto worked to broker peaceable relations between the Pilgrims and the local Pokanokets. He played a key role in the early meetings in March 1621, partly because he spoke English. He then lived with the Pilgrims for 20 months, acting as a translator, guide, and advisor. He introduced the settlers to the fur trade, and taught them how to sow and fertilize native crops, which proved vital since the seeds which the Pilgrims had brought from England largely failed. As food shortages increased, Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford relied on Squanto to pilot a ship of settlers on a trading expedition around Cape Cod and through dangerous shoals. During that voyage, Squanto contracted what Bradford called an "Indian fever". Bradford stayed with him for several days until he died, which Bradford described as a "great loss".

Considerable mythology and legend has grown up around Squanto over time, largely because of early praise by Bradford and owing to the central role that the Thanksgiving festival of 1621 plays in American folk history. Squanto was less the "noble savage" that later myth portrayed him and more a practical advisor and diplomat.

Thanksgiving (United States)

Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. It originated as a harvest festival. Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, with a proclamation by George Washington after a request by Congress. Thomas Jefferson chose not to observe the holiday, and its celebration was intermittent until the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, when Thanksgiving became a federal holiday in 1863, during the American Civil War. Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens," to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the date was changed to the fourth Thursday in November, an innovation that endures to this day. Together with Christmas and the New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader fall–winter holiday season in the U.S.

The event that Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621. This feast lasted three days, and—as accounted by attendee Edward Winslow—it was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims. The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating "thanksgivings"—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought.

Thomas Dermer

Thomas Dermer (c. 1590 in Plymouth, England – died in the summer of 1620, in Virginia) was a 17th-century navigator and explorer. Thomas Dermer explored the eastern coastline of America from 1614 to 1620. He was associated with Captain John Smith, The Newfoundland Company, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Jamestown, The Plymouth Company, and The Merchant Adventurers. Dermer, working side by side with Squanto, is credited with starting to normalize the relations between the Native Americans and Europeans. He was known to the Pilgrims from copies of his letters, that they had obtained. The Pilgrim colony directly benefited from the diplomatic ground work of Dermer and Squanto.


The Wampanoag , also rendered Wôpanâak, are an American Indian people in North America. They were a loose confederacy made up of several tribes in the 17th century, but today many Wampanoag people are enrolled in two federally recognized tribes: the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head in Massachusetts.

The Wampanoag lived in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island in the beginning of the 17th century, at the time of first contact with the English colonists, a territory that included Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket islands. Their population numbered in the thousands due to the richness of the environment and their cultivation of corn, beans, and squash (3,000 Wampanoag lived on Martha's Vineyard alone).

From 1615 to 1619, the Wampanoag suffered an epidemic, long suspected to be smallpox. Modern research, however, has suggested that it may have been leptospirosis, a bacterial infection which can develop into Weil's syndrome. It caused a high fatality rate and decimated the Wampanoag population. Researchers suggest that the losses from the epidemic were so large that English colonists were able to establish their settlements in the Massachusetts Bay Colony more easily. More than 50 years later, King Philip's War (1675–1676) of Indian allies against the English colonists resulted in the death of 40 percent of the surviving tribe. Many male Wampanoag were sold into slavery in Bermuda or the West Indies, and some women and children were enslaved by colonists in New England.

The tribe largely disappeared from historical records after the late 18th century, although its people and descendants persisted. Survivors continued to live in their traditional areas and maintained many aspects of their culture, while absorbing other peoples by marriage and adapting to changing economic and cultural needs in the larger society. The last speakers of the Massachusett language Wôpanâak died more than 100 years ago, although some Wampanoag people have been working on a language revival project since 1993. The project is also working on curriculum and teacher development.

William Bradford (governor)

William Bradford (c. 19 March 1590 – May 9, 1657) was an English Puritan separatist originally from the West Riding of Yorkshire in Northern England. He moved to Leiden in Holland in order to escape persecution from King James I of England, and then emigrated to the Plymouth Colony on the Mayflower in 1620. He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact and went on to serve as Governor of the Plymouth Colony intermittently for about 30 years between 1621 and 1657. His journal Of Plymouth Plantation covered the years from 1620 to 1657 in Plymouth.

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