Uncas

Uncas became the founder of the Mohegan branch of the Pequot in 1635 when he parted ways from his father-in-law, Sassacus.Uncas was renowned as a warrior, allying his forces with the English colonists in the Pequot War (1637) and defeating the rival Narragansett in 1643. Relations with the colonists were strained in 1661 when Uncas fought against Massasoit and the Wampanoag, who were also English allies.The name of Uncas was used as a fictionalized character in James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans (1826).


See Indian Wars Time Table.


Uncas Celebrates 100 Years of Family-Owned Business Success

Pictured in photo: President and CEO John Corsini and his son Christopher, who is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, gather in the Providence, Rhode Island, world headquarters of Uncas Manufacturing which celebrates 100 years in business in June. The company marked its 100-year milestone with a new website and logo that reflects the spirit of its namesake Uncas, a legendary American Indian from James Fenimore Cooper's famous novel The Last of the Mohicans. (Photo: Business Wire)

Pictured in photo: President and CEO John Corsini and his son Christopher, who is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, gather in the Providence, Rhode Island, world headquarters of Uncas Manufacturing which celebrates 100 years in business in June. The company marked its 100-year milestone with a new website and logo that reflects the spirit of its namesake Uncas, a legendary American Indian from James Fenimore Cooper's famous novel The Last of the Mohicans. (Photo: Business Wire)

PROVIDENCE, R.I.--( BUSINESS WIRE )--John Corsini, President and CEO of Uncas Manufacturing, announced today that June 2011 marks the company’s 100 years in business. Uncas also unveiled its new website at www.uncas.com and logo. The site showcases the jewelry and accessory company’s rich history, commitment to service and quality, management team, and product lines.

The new logo combines the strength of the world-renowned Uncas name with the natural beauty, delicacy and intricate detail of the feather. The image reflects the spirit of its namesake Uncas, a legendary American Indian from James Fenimore Cooper's famous novel The Last of the Mohicans.

“Looking back over the last twenty years, it's personally gratifying to see our global expansion and to reach our 100-year milestone in business. With the rising costs of doing business and increased competition from overseas, we have seen many of our competitors go out of business,” stated Corsini.

To stay competitive, Uncas leveraged the latest technology innovations for inventory and operations, and successfully recognized trends for fashions and styles. With several thousand products in a multitude of mediums and price-points, its fast-growing licensed jewelry and accessories line includes prestigious licensees such as Disney, Coca-Cola, Universal Studios and Red Hat Society. In fact, the company has increases its business by 35% since the acquisition of Vargas Manufacturing in 1998.

“We believe flexibility is the key we know the importance of strategically navigating shifting merchandising channels and sales agreements,” added Corsini.

Uncas was founded by Vincent Sorrentino, an Italian immigrant, and then was passed along to his son Stanley. When John Corsini acquired the company and was named president in 1991, he began creating a second family business to lead Uncas with his own son and daughters.

Uncas today is a global manufacturer and distributor of jewelry and accessories, often sold as private-label brands. Its customers range from leading retail stores to major discounters to amusement parks and entertainment industry icons to shopping distribution networks and other fashion consumers throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, the company has offices in Florida and California as well as a New York City showroom and two China locations in Hong Kong and Shenzhen.


UNCAS-ON-THAMES HOSPITAL CLOSING, A VICTIM OF MEDICINE'S CHANGING FACE

Walking about the grounds of Uncas-on-Thames is more like paying a visit to a prep- school campus than to a moribund hospital. Lining an uphill drive dwarfed by maple trees stand stolid Yankee stone and brick buildings, which during the hospital's 1950s heydey sheltered 370 consumptive patients a day.

Today a small parking area atop the hill has no tollgate and there are few cars to take parking fees from anyway. Inside the wooden doors to the main entrance of the old hospital presides a dulled marker hinting at Uncas' earlier glory and its present plight:

"State Tuberculosis Commission, 1940," says the marker.

Prodded by quick-acting and curative antibiotics, Uncas-on- Thames long ago ceased devoting its energies to TB. Over the decades it repeatedly tried transforming itself into a chronic-care hospital for other diseases, most notably, cancer.

But the need for long hospitalizations has gone the way of TB. After years of declining admissions, the hospital took in two patients for all of October. In November, the last patient was discharged, and no new patient has been admitted since.

Though an outpatient radiation center continues operations, the hospital is essentially closed.

Marketplace changes and changes in Medicare allowing payments for home hospice care have conspired to make the hospital "become a dinosaur in a lot of ways," says the hospital's director, Marta Smith.

Uncas harks back to a time when state government was more involved in running general and specialty hospitals. Because health insurance was unheard of and people paid their medical bills out of pocket, the long-term care TB necessitated could send a patient to that other welfare institution, the poorhouse.

In recent years Uncas' operating expenses were offset by collections from patients and their insurers. Still, it was never self-supporting. Infusions of state aid have declined in recent years from a high of $9 million to $2 million this year.

The apparent end of the line for Uncas has provoked a bitter reaction from workers, who say they feel betrayed and argue the hospital had a continuing role to play in the community.

LaRue Punsalan was one of 20 nurses laid off with two months' salary days after the last patient left a month ago. Punsalen says the style of caring at Uncas was different from impersonal hospitals and nursing homes.

"No one died alone," Punsalan said. "We had the staff and we took the time."

Formal action by the state Commission on Hospitals and Health Care is still needed to close Uncas- on-Thames. But state Sen.-elect Edith Prague, D-Columbia, has little hope the 20 nurses recently laid off will ever come back.

"It's a done deal," Prague says.

The former Norwich Sanitarium was built 81 years ago on a 125-acre farm uphill from the Thames River. Its mission was to isolate and nudge to recovery those suffering from TB, a highly contagious and often fatal disease that for two generations defied easy treatment. In 1913, its first year, the sanitarium admitted 154 patients, who were treated at taxpayer expense of $2.05 a day.

Uncas-on-Thames got its current name in 1924, a nod to the Mohegan sachem Uncas who is a part of southeastern Connecticut history. The name was the offering of a Waterbury boy participating in a statewide school contest.

When new antibiotics in the 1950s were found effective against TB, the hospital tried to adopt a new reason for being.

For a time, it succeeded. In the days before hospices had taken hold, Uncas turned to caring for cancer patients. Until the 1960s cancer care invariably meant palliative care for those suffering from inoperable and incurable cancers.

The advent of radiation therapy broadened that mission. The sole radiation center in eastern Connecticut, Uncas provided long-term care for those too sick to return home after their periodic treatments.

But in the 1970's cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy became outpatient procedures, throwing Uncas more resolutely back into its role as a labor-intensive hospice.

In the mid-1980s, as the hospital wrestled with a dipping patient census, the state first floated plans to close the hospital. Local opposition stayed its hand.

Still, attempts to find a niche for Uncas by selectively upgrading its services have come to nought.

Open wards were converted into small rooms overseen by nursing stations. More substantial renovations, however, to build a pulmonary unit capable of tending to intubated patients needing help with breathing were abruptly stopped three years ago.

A part of one floor, its walls demolished and prepped for the addition of ducts, air pipes and drywall, sits unfinished. An antiquated laboratory furnished with Marie Curie- era oak and soapstone lab benches is mothballed.

The hospital never chose critical care wards or so-called crash carts bearing electronics and drugs needed to revive a patient in cardiac arrest.

In 1984 control of the hospital was transferred from the state health department to the University of Connecticut Health Center, which runs Dempsey Hospital in Farmington, in the hope it would usher in modern cost-effective hospital practices.

Briefly, in the late 1980s, Uncas tried to shift to the care of AIDS patients, but found that they too, could be effectively treated without long hospitalizations. Very sick patients require hospitalization at a fully equipped acute-care hospital, which Uncas is not.

In 1992 the governor's office tried to persuade Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London to take over the flagging operations. But the effort failed because of strong opposition from state workers and their unions, who balked at the loss of benefits and representation privatization would bring.

The next year Weicker's lieutenants announced their intention to close Uncas, beginning with the gradual cessation of state subsidies to Uncas' operations.

That pledge took on its full weight on Nov. 11, the day UConn trustees voted to close the in-patient part of the hospital. That announcement came two days after another unpopular move, an announcement of a round of layoffs at UConn Health Center.

Hospital closures are a rare event. Mergers have been the life preserver for such private hospitals as Park City in Bridgeport and Mount Sinai in Hartford, both of which were rescued by neighboring medical centers. (Mount Sinai's troubles, however, weren't so much the result of an overall decline in patients, as the result of a drop in fully insured patients.)

There has been a turnaround in the thinking of policymakers, Smith says. State government ought not to be involved in running health care institutions, and certainly not pumping taxpayer money into inefficient operations.

"The rest of the world has already moved to a payor system," Smith said. Why not Uncas?

Earlier this month, Smith was the focus of protests from laid-off employees and unions representing state employees, who dispute that Uncas is dying of natural causes. They accuse Smith of speeding the process along by turning away patients, a charge Smith denies.

"Marta Smith pulled the plug on the hospital," says Steve Perruccio, president of the Connecticut Employees Union Independent, which represents state employees. A year ago, Perruccio says, the union proposed to Smith ways to increase the number of patients "while downsizing the work force without anyone being burned." It was ignored, he says.

Smith says that if patients are not coming, it is not because of her. From January 1993 to the same month a year later, the average daily patient census dropped from 21 to 11.

And Smith says that this year she expanded from 20 to 30 the number of doctors Uncas relies on for patient referrals. Those doctors are deciding to send patients elsewhere, she says, often forced by insurers' insistence on sending patients not in need of acute care home to recuperate, or in some cases, to die.

Smith says she is "extremely sensitive" to the emotions that greeted the impending closing.

"It is only human nature that people are angry and hurt at losing what they loved for so long," she says.

She cited a colleague's likening the staff's experience to that of crasftsmen accustomed "to making the most perfect buggy whip there ever was. There is no need for buggy whips anymore, and it's a personal affront."

Punsalan, the former Uncas nurse, disagrees.

"We knew it was going to close. But it shouldn't close," she said. "There is a need for a place like this."


Uncas - History

Uncas, Miantonomo, and Historical Memory

The name of Uncas in the Narragansett language holds the meanings of “circler” and “fox”, and certainly a more appropriate name could not have been given to the crafty and cunning Mohegan Sachem.

Within the histories written in the centuries following his extraordinary life, the person behind the posturing of haughty warrior, self-promoter, manipulator of English concerns, and protector of his people has remained as elusive as ever.

As with other Native American Sachems of Southern New England who came of age and responsibility during the early Colonial period, Uncas would witness the lives of his people become changed forever with the influx of Europeans and all that came with them. Practical goods seem to have held the most interest for these Native Americans. The New England Algonkians quickly adapted kettles, pots and pans to their everyday existence, as well as exchanging their skins and fur pelts for English style clothing.

Historian Michael Leroy Oberg writes that

“the technology and trade goods that the Europeans carried with them suggested to Indians that the newcomers were a powerful people, perhaps even otherworldly or magical.” The increase in trade also increased the distribution of wampum as an important commodity, and sudden competition among neighboring tribes.

“Strange it was, ”William Bradford of Plymouth would note “to see the great alteration it made in a few years among the Indians themselves…it makes the Indians of these parts rich and powerful and also proud thereby…”

Uncas’ Father, the Sachem Owaneco, worked early with European traders to ensure a share of the growing trade for the Mohegan. A Dutch map from 1614 shows the tribes engaged with trade along the Thames River, including the “Mahican”. “Maximanes”, “Morhegans”, “Pequats”, and “Wamanoos”. Within a decade of this map being produced, the fur trade in the region was exporting and estimated 10,000 beaver skins each year.

With the advent of this economy and the resultant pressure upon tribes, relations became strained among the tribes of Southern New England. The Pequots and the Narragansett had it seemed, an inherited animosity toward each other. A tentative peace with the Wampanoag was also broken by Massasoit-Oussamequin’s alliance with the English settlement in Plymouth. This was the world into which Uncas grew as a young man.

Coming of age in the village of Monotesuck, near the banks of the Thames, he became conversant in the languages of the English and Dutch. Uncas was to claim lineage from the Pequot, Mohegan, and Narragansett Tribes. Although these claims have been challenged, such allegiances were long a part of his family history. Owaneco arranged a marriage for his son with the daughter of the Pequot sachem Tatobem, in order to secure an alliance between the tribes. The daughter named Momoho, was first promised to an older brother, but when he died before the marriage could take place, she was promised to Uncas.

When his Father died shortly after this marriage, Uncas inherited the role of Sachem but had to submit Mohegan authority to Tatobem, an episode that like Massasoit-Oussamequin with the Narragansett was held in bitter distaste by these younger Sachems.

In the summer of 1633, a Dutch trader named Jacob Van Curler set up a trading post on the Connecticut River on land purchased from Tatobem. This had previously been a place where “all tribes might trade freely without any fear or danger”, yet the Dutchman set up two cannon and fortified his post which he named “Fort Good Hope”. This act stirred anger among some of those whom had traded and skirmishes broke out between these Indians and the Pequot at the fort. In retaliation, the Dutch killed Tatobem and 33 of his followers. Upon the Sachem’s death, his son Sassacus became his successor.

While his Father-in-law had been Sachem, Uncas had not challenged Peqout authority, but after his death, he “ removed to the interior and placed himself at the head of the Mohegan clans who occupied lands east of the Connecticut river, and west of the great Pequot River now known as the Thames. While Sassacus traded with the Dutch, Uncas developed alliances with the English.”[1]

Uncas believed he held legitimate claim to the title of Sachem of the Pequot nation. To this end, he challenged Sassacus’ authority time and again. Historian William L. Stone would write that “Uncas raised the standard of revolt but his power and influence, not being great at first, his rebellion was crushed, and he was ignominiously expelled his country by the haughty victor.” The defeated Uncas fled to Narragansett country in exile with his followers. Roger Williams wrote to John Winthrop “This man is but a little Sachim, and hath not abou 40 or 50 Mohiganeucks…”.

Oberg writes that “The life of an exile among the Narragansetts suited Uncas poorly. He always returned to his homelands and ritually humiliated himself before Sassacus.”[2] The Mohegan were further weakened by the ravages of small pox in 1633/34 which killed many of Uncas’s followers, who were by this time, banished to the small village and fort his Father had established at Shantok.

The historian suggests that the Sachems tolerance of Uncas subordination may have been because he lacked the support among the Pequots to punish him severely, but there may have been other motives as well. The Narragansett Sachem Miantonomo, told Williams that “Okace and his men had a hand in the death of all the English and fought against the Rivers mouth (at Qunnihticut) , and that when the Narragansett had allied with the Dutch against the Pequots, the Mohegans had “joined against us.”

Miantonomo claimed that Uncas had sheltered Pequot women and children while their men fought Captain Endicott’s English raiders, and confided that in one incident, the Mohegan Sachem had brought gifts to Canonicus and himself, “yet at the same time killed 2 of his women treacherously.”[3]

These early incidents, as recorded by Williams seem to be at the root of the Narragansett Sachem’s distrust and genuine dislike of the Mohegan that would culminate in their confrontation on the Great Plains.

Uncas’s relationship with the English was complex and based upon the political realities as the Mohegan saw them. Oberg explains that “With the Pequots under attack by the Narragansett and the Dutch, and ensnared in an increasingly tangled web of controversy with the English, Uncas saw alliance with the newcomers as a means to increase both his own power and that of the Mohegans.”[4]

Statue of John Mason from Connecticut History website

The English Captain John Mason, a veteran of British war with the Netherlands, and a man as haughty and larger than life as Uncas, arrived in 1635 to build a settlement at what is now Dorchester. Mason had landed in New England five years before. In that time he had gained some military stature, having captured a pirate off the Massachusetts coast in 1632, and helping to redesign fortifications at Boston harbor.

The Mohegan sachem soon “fell into an intimate acquaintance” with the Englishman that was to last for thirty five years. Uncas also met John Brewster, son of the Plymouth founder, who had long meandered upriver to trade with the Indians and seek out prospects for the Colony. In June of 1636, Brewster sent a Native American interpreter to Shantok to interview Uncas concerning “the proceedings of the Pequots, as also there present abode”.

Brewster’s courier returned with startling news. Uncas had informed him that Sassacus and a confederation of other Sachems were actively plotting against the English.

A plan to destroy Plymouth’s trading ship had only been foiled when the ship had fled the advancing canoes “under sayle with a fayre wind”. The Sachem had also told the courier that Sassacus with his brother and others, had been responsible for the death of the Englishman Stone, two years before, and that since then, the Pequots had heard rumors that the English would “shortly come against them”, and predicted that “out of desperate madnesse”, the Pequots would “shortly…sett both upon Indians, and English, jointly.”[5]

The news that Uncas sent to Brewster had the desired effect. Brewster believed the Mohegan to be “faithful to the English” and quickly passed the dire warning along to John Winthrop Jr. who had settled Saybrook. While the message generated talk up and down the river, it was not until the news reached Boston, that a definitive response was formed, and a summons was immediately dispatched to Sassacus. When the Pequot delegation arrived, they found themselves confronted by Winthrop, and the issue of justice for the murder of Stone, was raised again. Winslow told them that

“if they shall not give…satisfaction…or shall be found guilty of any of the sayd murders, and will not deliver the actours in them”, the Bay Colony had no choice but to determine itself “free from any league or peace with them, and shall revenge the blood of our countrimen as occasion shall serve”.

In the months that followed, Uncas took every opportunity to urge war upon the Pequot nation. As Native American tribes grew disenchanted with the European idea of settlement, so these tensions erupted in sporadic episodes of violence. The murders of John Stone, and the John Oldham, Brewster’s brother in law, were examples of these.

While the Pequot had been widely implicated in Stone’s death two years earlier, they were not the perpetrators of this crime. According to John Winthrop’s account,

“all the sachems of the Narragansett, except Canonicus and Miantunnomoh, were the contrivers of Mr. Oldham’s death”

This act was apparently committed to avenge Oldham’s trading with the Pequot. The Narragansett took responsibility for the crime, with Miantonomo reportedly ordering the execution of Anduah, the Block Island sachem for his role in planning the murder.

Oberg writes that by the time of that summer of 1636, tensions were such that

“Oldham’s death showed how quickly disputes between Indians could involve Englishmen, and his death complicated an already tense situation along the southern New England frontier.”[6]

Despite Miantonomo’s measure of justice, and a substantial amount of wampum sent to Governor John Winthrop, in August, the Massachusetts Bay Authority sent a force of one hundred soldiers under Captain John Endicott to “put to death the men of Block Island”. The Native American woman and children were to be spared harm, but collected and ferried from their homes.

When the Massachusetts force landed on the Island, they found the inhabitants had fled and satisfied themselves with burning the wigwams, killing the few dogs left wandering the encampment, and ruining the storage of corn the Islanders had prepared for winter. The militia next moved on to Saybrook where they were confronted by Lyon Gardner, the commander of the settlement’s fort, who made it clear that Endicott’s men were not welcome to come and stir up trouble then “take wing and flee away.”

Early map from Connecticut History website

Undaunted, the men sailed East along the coast and soon found themselves taunted by the Pequots from shore. Negotiations were brief and to Endicott, unsatisfactory. On these breaking down, the English “gave fire to as many “ as they could, but the Pequots escaped, and they once again destroyed the wigwams and storages of corn.

As Commander Gardner had intoned, the surrounding settlements were not please with the actions of the Bay Colony. Neither Saybrook, or Connecticut, or Plymouth authorities wished to become embroiled in a war with Native American nations. Indeed, the Pequots took advantage of Endicott’s invasion too attempt to enlist the Narragansett, but Miantonomo’s message to John Winthrop, delivered in Boston that his people “had always loved the English and desired firm peace”, was a clear rebuke to the tribe’s old adversary. The caution the colonies showed soon proved to be warranted, as the Pequots retaliated with a siege of Saybrook that was to last into the new year.

Throughout this long “siege” and the subsequent attack on Wethersfield, Uncas urged the Colonial authorities to act against the Pequot nation. During the long winter, the Connecticut authorities had wavered, much to the Sachem’s displeasure. He had effectively isolated the Pequot nation from other Native American nations in the region. Even Miantonomo had presented a plan of attack on the Pequots to pass along to the Bay authorities, and a Massachusetts sachem named Cutshamakin had sailed along the coast with Endicott, and taken a Pequot scalp in the fight at the harbor. The Mohegan sachem vented his frustration on the minister Thomas Hooker who wrote with trepidation to John Winthrop that

“How the Pequoyts have made an inrode by a suddayne surprisall upon some of our bretheren at Watertowne, slaying weomen and children who were sent out carelessly without watch and guard, this bearer will tell you: Though we feel nether the tyme nor our strength fitt for such service, yet the Indians here our friends were so importunate with us to make warr presently that unless we had attempted some thing we had delivered our persons unto contrmpt of base feare and cowardice, and caused them to turne enemyes against us: Agaynst our mynds, being constrained by necessity, we have sent out a company, taking some Indian guides with us…”[7]

But after the attack on Wethersfield, Uncas was not the only one urging war. Another letter to Winthrop from John Higginson of Salem implored the Governor to put all other matters aside:

“In all these respects and many more I desire it may be considered whither the serious and speedie prosecution of this warre be not the greatest business New England hath.”

“Let not Boston Roxburie etc. thinke warre is far enough from them, for this seems to be an universal deluge creeping and encroaching on all the English in the land: The Multitudes of our enemies daily encrease, by the falling of Mohigoners, Nepmets, (who live not many miles from the bay) Niantucuts at Narrohiganset and their malice is not to be questioned, their cruelty divers of ours have felt.”

Higginson reminded the Masachusetts Governor that

“…the eyes of all the Indians in the countrey are upon the English, to see what they will doe…”[8]

“Uncas pulled the English into his battle with Sassacus. He demanded that they act against his enemy. or face the consequence: a larger and more dangerous Indian opponent that did not fear the Puritans”.[9]

When the English did act, it was Captain Mason, the Mohegan sachem’s friend who devised the plan they would undertake. Advised by Uncas and Underhill, who contributed nineteen men to the force of ninety that Mason had mustered, the militia sailed from Saybrook with seventy Mohegans on May 19 th, past the entrance of the Thames River to Narragansett Bay, where they set anchor. Bad weather prevented their landing at Miantonomo’s village for several days, and when they did meet with the sachem, he was noncommittal about joining an assault, warning that the Pequot had “very great Captains and Men skilful in War”, but permitted the Englishman to lead his force through Narragansett Country toward the Pequot encampment.

On May 24 th however, a number of Narragansett men came to Mason and joined his force. The warriors professed to the English Captain “how galliantly they would demean themselves, and how many men they would kill,”

Once they were at the Pawcatuck River, some Narragansett refused to cross into Pequot territory. Those who stayed, continued the march through the “extreme heat” with little provisions to aussage their exhaustion. Uncas and Endicott parleyed with Mason and determined to attack a closer Pequot settlement near Mystic where there were far more women and children than the warriors at Weinshauks.

Uncas had told Mason that he could not trust the Narragansett warriors to stand and fight, telling the Captain “they will all leave you…but as for myself,…I will never leave you”. The Mohegan led the militia through the darkness to the sleeping encampment. Mason handed out yellow headbands to the Mohegan warriors so the English could identify them in battle. He had none for the remaining Narragansett who fell to the rear as the English surrounded the palisade fort.

Early print of the battle at Mistik

In the ensuing assault, Mason and Underhill set fire to the wigwams, fearing that Pequot reinforcements would arrive before they finished the battle. In the process they slaughtered many of the women and children who became entrapped in the flaming fortress. The Narragansett called out to Underhill as the attack continued, crying that it was too much, that too many were being killed. Those who escaped the fire were

“slaine with the sword, some hewed to peeces, others rune throw with their rapiers, so as they were quickly dispatche, and very few escaped. While Mason and the Mohegans rejoiced at their swift victory, the Narragansett returned to Miantonomo, some of them wounded by the English who mistook them for Pequots in the melee, and told the sachem of the brutality of the English way of war.

Native warfare had long held a tradition of limited engagement for a specific purpose – to avenge a death or wrong committed by one tribe against another. The avenging action was swift and inflicted minor casualties. Women and children were spared from the conflict, villages left unrazed. For these reasons, Underhill and others thought that

“Indian warfare hardly deserved the name of fighting”.

Uncas had led the English to the scene of battle, and now he led them through the wilderness back to the safety of their boats, his warriors skirmishing with bands of re-grouped Pequots who shadowed them to the harbor. Once the wounded were placed on boats, the Mohegan led Mason another twenty miles through the Niantic country to Saybrook.

After the massacre at Mistick, the Pequots became, in Roger Williams words, “a prey to all Indians.” The Montauks from Long Island agreed to aid Lyon Gardner in gathering any fugitives in exchange for trade in Saybrook, and Sequassen, a sachem from the Connecticut River valley sent his warriors almost daily to Hartford and Windsor to “bring in [Pequot] heads to the English.”

Nearly a month after the assault, the Massachusetts Bay Authorities sent another force to Saybrook, where it met with Uncas and a sizeable body of Mohegans. They chased the remaining bands of Pequots westward, killing those who fell behind, or who were found digging for clams in hunger along the shore. The eighty or so remaining warriors made a stand in a swamp outside of Quinninpiac. A first attack by the English was beaten back.

Commander Israel Stoughton ordered the swamp to be surrounded, and sent in a Native American messenger with an offer to spare those Pequots that surrendered. As night fell, women and children emerged from the thickets, leaving their men to fight one last battle.

Through the night, gunfire was exchanged. At dawn, a handful of Pequot warriors attempted to escape and were beaten back, then the English marched headlong into the swamp firing their muskets “loaded with Ten or Twelve Pistol bullets at a time, within a few yards of them” The resultant slaughter left the dead warriors “in heaps“ among the victorious English and Mohegan allies.

The effective annihilation of the Pequot nation propelled Uncas to a prestige among both English and Native American leaders that he may have desired, but whose extent he could never have anticipated. In the aftermath of the war, the Connecticut authorities sent a small force to align with Uncas “to maynteine our right that God by Conquest hath given to us”[10] . The Massachusetts Bay Colony took the view that the settlers at Saybrook had “rushed them selves into a warr with the heathen”, and would have lost everything

“had not we [the Massachusetts Authority] reskued them at so many hundred charges” .

The Colonies and Native Americans were also divided on what to do with the remaining Pequots who had been captured, the women and children who had been gathered or surrendered at Quinnipiac.

The Narragansett had expressed to John Winthrop through Roger Williams that the Governor should look “toward mercy and to give them their lives”, that they “be used kindly, have houses and goods and fields given them.” Uncas told Richard Davenport that he wished “to make women of all the Pecotts, except the sachems and captains and murtherers”[11] He pledged to kill anyone found who had fought the English or his own people. Many of these remaining Pequots were adopted into newly formed Mohegan

communities. As Oberg writes:

“Uncas created a powerful chiefdom that included the surviving Pequots and their former tributaries, Indian villagers in southern and eastern Connecticut, in the Connecticut River Valley, and on Long Island.”

In the year that followed the war, the Mohegan sachem would cement his claims to tributaries and lands by marrying a widow of the sachem Tatobem, and at least six other prominent women among the people now subject to his authority. In a show of his new power, Uncas even offered the Pequot women who were captives of John Winthrop Sr. protection if they would escape the Bay Colony and come to Shantock.

Winthrop would eventually exert his authority upon the Mohegan, and Uncas would learn to compromise with English authority, but he maintained Mohegan interests throughout, and displayed a cunningness whose reputation would only add to the myth of the man, in the later remembrances, and biographies of his life.

One of the most prominent stories that has survived into present time concerns the battle at the Great Plains between Uncas and Miantonomo that resulted in the latter’s capture and death. As might be expected, Mohegan lore, and Narragansett oral history differ in the events leading up to the battle and after. The English versions of events differ also, and in curious and unusual ways. These provide us an opportunity to examine the life of an historical story, and how it is perceived in memory by succeeding generations of both historians, and the public.

Events leading up to this confrontation are indisputable. Though the Mohegan and Narragansett had signed a treaty at the behest of Massachusetts Authorities to keep peaceful relations, disagreements concerning prisoners and land use rights continued to simmer. It may be remembered that the Narragansett had plead for those innocent captives of the Pequot nation to be treated fairly. The fate of those who did not assimilate into Mohegan or other tribes was decidedly unfair. William L. Stone noted that of those who surrendered at the swamp near Quinnipiac, “the female prisoners and children were divided among the soldiers, and numbers of them were sent to the West Indies and sold as slaves.[12]

Tensions between the English and Narragansett over the treatment of the surviving Pequots, exacerbated other disputes as well. The Narragansett felt that they were denied use of land promised to them by Colonial authorities after the war, and in addition, were forced to pay tribute for the Pequots they had taken as slaves into the tribe. Until the Mohegans attack on Sequassen’s village, Roger Williams had tempered the Sachems impatience, with missives to Winthrop and assurances that the English would seriously weigh their concerns.

John Winthrop’s account of the confrontation on the Great Plains comes from his

Journal, in which he wrote on August 6, 1643:

“We received news of a great defeat given the Narragansetts by Onkas…”

Winthrop recounts the attack by Uncas upon Sequasson that “slew divers of his men,and burnt his wigwams” that provoked the Narragansett, and how in answer,

“Miantunnomoh, being his kinsman, took offence against Onkus, and went with near 1000 men and set upon Onkas before he could provide for defence…But it pleased God to give Onkus the victory, after he had killed about 30 Narragansett and wounded many more, and among these two of Canonicus’ sons and a brother of Miantunnomoh”

Winthrop also mentions in the Journal that Miantonomo fled, wearing a coat of mail, and that

“he was easily overtaken, which two of his captains perceiving, they laid hold on him and carried him to Uncas, hoping thereby to procure their own pardon.” These two Narragansett who had betrayed their Sachem were immediately slain by Uncas, and Miantonomo was taken prisoner. Winthrop then recounts the imprisonment of the Narragansett sachem,

“they kept him under guard, but used him very courteously” and a troublesome letter from Samuel Gorton, demanding the release of his friend and threatening English intervention, the response by Uncas to take the matter to Hartford, and then Boston where the Commissioners of the United Colonies found themselves in a quagmire:

“that it would not be safe to set him at liberty, neither had we sufficient ground for us to put him to death. In this difficulty we called in five of the most judicious elders (it being the time of the general assembly of elders,) and proposing the case to them, they all agreed that he ought to be put to death” (Winthrop’s Journal Vol. II p134-136)

Another early mention of the conflict by William Bradford, demonstrates the extent to which the loyalty and words of Uncas were regarded by the English after the Peqout uprising:

“The Narragansetts, after the subduing of the Pequots, thought to have ruled over all the Indians about them. But the English, especially those of Connecticut, holding correspondency and friendship with Uncas…were engaged to support him in his just liberties and were contented that such of the surviving Pequots as had submitted to him should remain with him and quietly under his protection. This did much increase his power and augment his greatness, which the Narragansetts could not endure to see.”[13]

Bradford repeats some of the falsities that Uncas was spreading between the Bay Colony and Connecticut at the time, mainly that Miantonomo was behind a plot to assassinate the Mohegan, through various means: poisoning, or “to knock him on the head in his house or secretly shoot him…”

Uncas had complained to Connecticut Authorities that his entourage of canoes had come under arrow fire more than once in his travels. He had taken an arrow in the arm at Shantok, in an attempted assassination and the Pequot suspected had fled to the Narragansett and received protection.

The Plymouth Governor wrote in his secondhand account that

“none of these taking effect, he [Miantonomo] made open war upon him [Uncas] (though it was against the covenants both between the English and them, as also between themselves and a plain breech of the same>. He came suddenly upon him with 900 or 1000 men, never denouncing any war before. The other’s power at the present was not above half so many, but it pleased God to give Uncas the victory and he slew many of his men and wounded many more, but the chief of all was, he took Miantonomo prisoner.”[14]

William Bradford’s account was written, like many memoirs of those days, years after the described events took place. Still, this is one of the earliest written accounts of this event which would grow in historical memory . Bradford’s telling is also tempered by his careful noting of the proceedings of perceived justice that followed the sachem’s capture:

“The Commissioners weighed the cause and passages as they were clearly represented and sufficiently evidenced betwixt Uncas and Miantonomo, and the things being duly considered, the Commissioners apparently saw that Uncas could not be safe while Miantonomo lived…Wheras they thought he [Uncas] might justly put such a false and bloodthirsty enemy to death but in his own jurisdiction, not in the English plantations.”

Indeed, in his summation, Bradford seems unaware of the marriages made by Uncas that contributed greatly to his esteem through land holdings in the eyes (especially), of the Connecticut authorities. He is also unaware of the prodigious correspondence of Roger Williams during this period, promoting the peaceful intentions of his friend, the Narragansett sachem, and of his reluctance to draw the English into what Miantonomo saw as an “Indian affaire”.

“…if I mistake not I observe in Miantunnomu some sparkes of true Friendshipp. could it be deeply imprinted into him that the English never intended to despoile him of the Countrey I probably conjecture his friendship would appeare in attending of us with 500 men (in case) nagainst any forreigne Enemie.”[15]

Williams also told the Bay Colony Governor that ”concerning Miantunnumu I have not heard as yet of ant unfaithfulness toward us…”

Despite Uncas’ rise in power, the Narragansett exhibited assured self-confidence in the greatness of the Narragansett nation compared to Uncas’ Mohegan confederacy. Miantonomo told Williams that Uncas and his followers were

“but … a twig….while we are as a great tree.”

If Williams’ letters made any impact on John Winthrop, he did not share this with Bradford, indeed, he had written to the Plymouth leader that

“we conceive that you looke at the pequents, and all other Indeans as a commonnenimie…”

Bradford also makes no mention of the provocative attacks by Uncas and the English on encampments along the Pawcatuck River in the summer of 1639 that were filled with Pequot refugees who had long been tributaries of the Niantic sachem, Ninigret. This attack, stirred the embers of the long simmering hatred for the Mohegan once again, and enflamed the Niantic and Narragansett, along with other tribes who were becoming wary of Uncas’ influence on the English.

Roger Williams wrote to Winthrop during these unsettling times:

“ I have dealt with Caunounicus and Miantunnomu to desert the Nayantaquits in this business. They answer they would if they had shed the bloud of the English, but as they are bretheren so they never hurt the English…Instead they say that the English partialitie to all the Pequots at Monhiggan is so great and the Consequences so grevious upon the abuse of the English love, that all their arguments returne back (which they use to the Nayantaquit Sachems) as arrows from a stone wall…”[16]

In these early accounts and letters, only John Winthrop Sr., seems,with these epistles from Williams, to have acknowledged the haughtiness of Uncas in a continued pattern of harassing and provoking the Narragansett which ultimately led to the conflict.

The first “full” account of the battle on Great Plains would come in the pages of the Rev. Benjamin Trumbull’s History of Connecticut (1797). Rev. Trumbull penned many sermons and lectures, and by 1767, he had also completed a manuscript entitled A Compendium of the Indian Wars in New England, more particularly, the Colony of Connecticut have been Concerned and Active in.”

While this work remains in his papers, it was never published, and his efforts went into the larger work, which was enhanced by correspondence with many of the State’s local historians. In his account, Benjamin Trumbull uses all sources known to him and weaves them into the fabric of his narrative creating an interesting tableau of the accumulated historical record to date.

topographical map of Norwich and the “Sachem’s Plain”

Trumbull repeats Bradford’s assertion that Miantonomo marched upon Uncas without provocation, or informing the English. The Mohegan spies sent word back to Uncas at Shantok, that Narragansetts had entered Mohegan territory, and he set out to meet the Narragansett sachem.

This account presents for the first time, mention of a strategy of Uncas’ making: to offer a friendly parley with Miantonomo, and challenge him to fight man to man, and settle their long dispute. While most historians have framed the outrage of the Narragansett sachem to the power that the English enabled the Mohegan to gather, Uncas knew more than anyone that Miantonomo valued the pride of his people more than his own. He would not leave warriors to stand and deprive them of the pride they garnered from battle with such an enemy.

That certainty gave Uncas the element of surprise, for his ruse worked, and the Narragansett sachem came to meet him, and as expected, refused the Mohegan’s offer:

“…upon which Uncas falling instantly to the ground his men discharged a shower of arrows upon the Narragansetts, and without a moment’s interval, rushed upon them in the most furious manner, with a hideous yell, put them to flight.”

The Mohegan warriors chased the Narragansett “like a doe by the huntsman”, and

“-among others Miantonom was exceedingly pressed. Some of the most forward of Uncas’ bravest men, who were most light of foot, coming up with him, twitched him back, impeding his flight, and passed him, that Uncas might take him Uncas was a stout man, and rushing forward, like a lion greedy of his prey, seized him by his shoulder.”

In this account, the battle on the Great Plains was hardly a battle, but an embarrassing rout of the Narragansett. In the matter of Miantonomo’s death, Trumball details the captured sachem being taken to Shantok, and then to Hartford to await the word of the Commission of the United Colonies, where

“The whole affair of Uncas and Miantonimoh was laid before the Commissioners, and the facts already related, were, in their opinion, fully proved…” Those facts, of course were Uncas’ long standing allegations that could hardly be proven, given the Mohegan’s many adversaries. The Commission declared that the Mohegan sachem “could not be safe, while Miantonomoh lived, …his life would be continually in danger”, and that Uncas “might justly put such a false and blood-thirsty enemy to death.”

Uncas received his prisoner, and “marched with him to the spot where he had been taken. At the instant they arrived on the ground, one of Uncas’ men, who marched behind Miantonomoh, split his head with a hatchet, killing him with a single stroke”.

The murder of Miantonomo. From Cassell’s History of the United States.

The Reverend concludes this episode with a grisly and spectacular scene certain to send a chill into the reader:

“Uncas cut out a large piece of his shoulder which he devoured in savage triumph! He said “it was the sweetest meat he ever ate it made his heart strong!”[17]

This description of the battle is reprinted nearly verbatim by Henry Trumball in his ambitious History of the Discovery of America… (1814), as well as in a later edition of 1832, and then again in the 1846 edition of Trumbull’s History of the Indian Wars. But the publisher adds a curious addition to the tale, that as the Narragansett fled,

“many of them to escape…plunged into a river from rocks of near sixty feet in height”.

Henry Trumball was a Providence printer and publisher. Like many ambitious publishers, he borrowed heavily from others books and accounts to publish his own works, even if some accounts were embellished for dramatic effect, or as some suspect, created by the publisher himself. A modern assessment of Trumbull tells us that

“Trumbull’s many works touched every part of the scale from wartime adventure to shipwrecks and castaway cannibalism, never content with the everyday”[18]

Aside from his popular Indian Wars, Trumball penned and published The Life of Israel Potter, and Robert the Hermit among other titles, and gained a reputation as a “talented and thorough going rogue”.

In this instance, it is likely that Trumball had simply added another bit of local lore, which, as we shall see, continues to survive in present day historical memory.

This story of the battle at Great Plains was then rewritten, in a more delicate tone by Miss Frances M. Caulkins in her History of Norwich, and she references the source of the tale, for the first time, as being from a letter written by the Rev. Richard Hyde of Norwich to the Rev. Trumbull in October of 1769.

The Reverend Hyde was well known for his discourse among the Mohegans, and it is clear that he was by then, one hundred and twenty six years after the event, passing along what had become a legend in the tribe’s oral history.[19] Similar accounts of battles related through oral history were recorded by Frank Speck at the turn of the twentieth century, and by William Simmons among the Narragansett late in that century.

Hyde was sixty two when he wrote the Mohegan account to Trumbull, and he gave no indication of when he had heard the tale, only that it was “communicated to me from some of the ancient Fathers of this town, who were Contemporaries of Uncas…”

The letter itself was printed in Daniel Coit Gilman’s A Historical Discourse (1859) along with a letter from Miss Caulkin, concerning the long dispute over the location of “Sachem Plains” and Miantonomo’s burial there.

The story comes to its most detailed and elaborate telling in the pages of John S. De Forest’s History of the Indians of Connecticut (1851) . The account in these pages provides greater detail to the aftermath of Miantonono’s capture, including the giving of wampum to Uncas, which the Narragansett had long claimed was ransom for their sachem’s life.

“It would appear…that a truce was opened between the tribes, which continued as long as the fate of Miantonomo remained in suspense. The Narragansetts sent their sachem several packages of wampum during his captivity, which he gave away, some to Uncas, some to Uncas’ wife, and some to his principal councilors. He made these presents…partly by way of thanks for his courteous treatment, and partly to persuade Uncas to put him into the hands of the English and refer his fate to their decision.”[20]

The historian further asserts that when Miantonomo was brought to Hartford, he “begged earnestly that he might be kept there in the custody of the English magistrates. He doubtless expected that the English would preserve his life…”

More recently, the historians Neal Salisbury and Michael Leroy Oberg have speculated that the Narragansett sachem attempted to broker a deal with the Mohegan. Miantonomo told Uncas of the recent Musee mischief against the Dutch, and hinted that it was but a part of a larger uprising. Uncas and the Mohegans could join the insurgency, and to cement the alliance,

“Miantonomo would marry one of Uncas’ daughters…Meanwhile, Miantonomo’s younger brother, Pessicus, would marry the daughter of the powerful Pakonoket sachem Massasoit. If consummated, the alliance would have brought together Indians from the Hudson River eastward to the Massachusetts Bay in a powerful union against the English and the Dutch.”

A first hand account written by John Haynes to John Winthrop however, places the issue of ransom, and the courage of the Narragansett sachem in a different light:

“That the express, that Onkas should take wampham of the Narragansetts for Myantonimo’s ransom (which I have understood also from Mr. Eaton,) I cannot but concur with you, if it really appears so, equity and justice call for no less but this I must needs say, that this very thing was cast abroad by some Indians of the Narragansett party…both myself and Captain Mason strictly examined Onkus concerning the matter, acquainting him with what we had heard. He utterly denied, that he had taken any wampham or any other thing upon any such terms. He confessed, indeed, he had wampham and other things given him and his brother freely and he as freely promised to bring him to the English…and this I also know…that the same day that Myantonimo was delivered into our hands and imprisoned…Onkas desired him to speak before us all and this Myantonimo did utter and confess that the Mohegan sachems had dealt nobly with him in sparing his life, when they took him, and performing their promise in bringing him to the English, (a thing the like he never heard of, that so great a sachem should be so dealt with) although he himself pressed it upon them, again and again, (as they all could witness) to slay him…”[21]

Clearly Miantonomo had expected to die within the tenants of “Indian Justice”, as he and Uncas understood those inherent laws. There is no mention of him begging for his life, only a grudging answer that the Mohegans had treated him well during this humiliation.

William Cullen Bryant would write that being taken prisoner

“no doubt overwhelmed him, for he begged his enemies repeatedly to take his life, taunting them, perhaps, after the Indian fashion, with his own deeds of prowess in the past…”[22]

It is also improbable, given this testimony from Hartford and the apparent demeanor of Miantonomo at these proceedings that any such union was discussed, or that either Sachem, given their history, would have been open to such a proposal. Indeed, the sources used that mention a speculative “deal” discussed, clearly express what the English feared might happen, should Miantonomo be allowed to live.

Uncas apparently had no regrets of taking “gifts” from the Narragansett during their sachem’s imprisonment, as in his mind, he had not expressed any promises in return. He likely expected the Hartford authorities to wash their hands of the matter. In fact, he had made an agreement with authorities in 1638 to seek “advice from the English” should he capture the sachemand place him on trial for “sundry treacherous attempts on his life.”

Surely compliance with that treaty made it easier for the Massachusetts Authorities to place Miantonomo back in Mohegan hands.

Salisbury indicates in the final pages of his work, that the English, more than Uncas, had reason to see that the :”great sachem” was executed, and thus made sure that

“…several Englishmen would accompany the party to see that the execution was actually carried out. No Indian, not even Uncas, could be trusted alone with the remarkable leader who was urging Indians tp bury their present differences in order to recover the autonomy, unity, and abundance of the pre-European past.”

Miantonomo’s grave, Norwich, Conn. Photo by author.

John Winthrop was to write after the death of Miantonomo that Uncas had “slew an enemy, but not the enmity against him”

Indeed, as Oberg observes in his biography,

“Uncas’ close alliance with Connecticut and the Commissioners of the United Colonies allowed him to survive the Narragansett raids of 1644 and 1645” when the tribe’s effort to exact revenge was at its most fervent.

The enmity, over this affair, would also flow from the pens of later historians of the Colonial period.

Daniel Gookin, the missionary who had written admiring words about the Narragansett, claimed that Uncas was “ a wicked, willful man, a drunkard and otherwise very vitious.”

De Forest, who had provided the most extent account of the battle and its aftermath, echoed the missionary’s missive, and more:

“His nature was selfish, jealous, and tyrannical his ambition was grasping, and unrelieved by a single trait of magnanimity.”

But the Mohegan sachem also had his defenders. The lore of Uncas as “the great Indian benefactor” became strongest in the 19 th century, beginning with the dedication of the Uncas Memorial, and with less fanfare, a modest monument to Miantonomo, that was placed upon the remains of a once great heap of stones.

In the address given at the Memorial’s dedication, William L. Stone praised Uncas as

“brave and fearless, the white man’s friend.” Indeed, the Sachem had sold the land on

which Norwich was raised in 1659 and two hundred some odd years later, the town’s pre-eminent historian, acknowledged that despite his faults, Uncas was to be admired for his “persevering activity in securing the independence of his tribe.”

This tale from history, of the mythical struggle between Uncas and Miantonomo faded in historical texts as the narrative expanded and later events acquired more prominence in the evolving American story.

James Truslow Adams in his three volume History of New England (1927), makes scarce mention of the battle, except that it was sanctioned by Massachusetts Authorities, and that “Miantonomo was taken prisoner through treachery”. [23]

Adams infers that the animosity of the Puritan judges in determining the sachem’s fate, may have been driven more by Miantonomo’s friendships with Samuel Gorton and Roger Williams, than his rivalry with Uncas, though these ”most judicious elders” had found the Narragansett to be “of a turbulent and proud spirit”.

The historian also decries the English failure to enact real justice according to their own written treaties.

“There had been no pretence of trial, and neither the accused nor any witnesses had been summoned. Nor did the English execute the sentence which duty was entrusted to Uncas”, and leaves no doubt as to the outcome of the assassination.

“Aside from the injustice of the course pursued, it is difficult to think of one more certain to turn the “proud and turbulent” spirits of the slain man’s thousand followers permanently against the English settlers.”[24]

In the years after Miantonomo’s death, these feelings simmered and occasionally flared with the stirrings of one dispute or another. On the verge of Metacom’s War, with the English desperate to dissuade Narragansett involvement, the issue of punishment of Uncas, now an elderly man, for his role in the death of Miantonomo, was still being raised as a pretence to any negotiation with the English.

During this conflict, which the Narragansett had been dragged into by the English declaration of war upon them, the death of their great sachem reverberated once more, with the capture and death of Nannuntennew, the son of Miantonomo, more commonly called Canonchet, in April of 1676. A contemporary account, included by Samuel Drake in his Old Indian Chronicles (1867) tells us that the younger Sachem’s “Carriage was strangely proud and lofty after he was taken.” The English brought their prisoner to New London where he was interrogated as to

“…why he did foment that War, which would certainly be the Destruction of him and all the Heathen Indians in the Country &c.? He would make no other Reply…but this- That he was born a Prince, and if Princes came to speak with him he would answer, but none present being such, he thought himself obliged in Honor to hold his Tongue, and not hold Discourse with such persons, below his Birth and Quality.”[25]

Like his Father, Canonchet desired that he be put to death rather than confined, and in a further recall of his Father’s demise, requested that the act “might be done by young Unkus, (Oneco) that aided us acknowledging him his fellow Prince…”

Canonchet promised the English captains that he had 2,000 men who would avenge his death. They placed the Narragansett under heavy guard and marched him to Stonington where most of the English soldiers, as well as the Mohegans, the Pequots, and the Niantics who had led Denison’s force out of New London, expressed growing their growing unease with holding such a valued prisoner for any length of time. There were fears also, that the English authorities, perhaps not wishing to commit the same desecration of justice again, might release Canonchet, and thus his vengeance upon the neighboring tribes friendly to the English.

Before any trial could be conducted, the sachem was murdered by his Native American enemies, no doubt releasing some drawn out vengeance upon the Narragansett desecrating his body, and bringing the head triumphantly to Hartford.

Uncas would, in the end, outlive all his enemies. Thus by longevity alone, and his familiarity with the English Colonial governments, would a kind of mythical status already be given the sachem. His name would be immortalized by the popular author James Fenimore Cooper in The Last of the Mohicans, though the “noble savage” the novelist portrayed had little of the characteristics his name sake thrived in holding.

In the recent historical texts, one writer has acknowledged, “Uncas is viewed widely as a self –serving collaborator,” citing Francis Jennings and John Sainsbury among others who have continued the thread of enmity toward Uncas in their own narratives. In his essay Uncas and Political Contact, Eric S. Johnson makes the point that

“To the Mohegans, Uncas is a hero. Their view is best understood in the light of Native political organization. Uncas, like all sachems, was a servant of his people. He cooperated with the English for the most part on his own terms, in the interests of the Mohegan community, and with its consent and support. With Uncas’ guidance, the Mohegan went from a small, subordinate community to a dominant regional power within a span of twenty years.”[26]

Unsurprisingly, Oberg in his biography takes a similarly pragmatic view of the Native American leader:

“Uncas constructed the Mohegans out of the wreckage spawned by epidemic disease and warfare against the Pequots, He assembled a powerful Native American chiefdom that remained a significant power in southern New England for much of the seventeenth century. He lived a long life as Mohegan Sachem, dying a peaceful death without converting to Christianity and abandoning his people’s customary beliefs. “ Though he shared the landscape of New England with powerful figures such as the Winthrops, and Bradford, among others, “He played as large a role in the history of this part of Anglo-America, a region shaped by its English settlers and Indian natives, as any other individual.”[27]

That the Mohegan community remains, and is thriving today due to lucrative casino profits and land holdings, may largely be responsible for keeping the story of Uncas alive in written and oral history.

But let us return to this mythical battle, and its present place in historical memory.

The site of Miantonomo’s grave on a small, rocky hillside is a desolate place, even today, surrounded by aging ranch houses. and a block away from a busy route. The remains of sachem plain are a bare field stretching out from the hillside to housing on one side and a stretch of brambles before the Yantic River.

The Yantic is a fast moving tributary, known for its rapids and quick water passages. In local lore, as first reported by Henry Trumball, it was across this river that the Narragansetts tried to escape the battle. Therein however, lies the uncertainty of the tale and the location of the Great Plains.

Local myth has placed the site of “Indian Leap” and those “rocks near sixty feat in height” as that of Yantic Falls, some two miles upriver from the hillside bearing Miantonomo’s grave, historically, the place where he was captured, and then returned to be put to death.

“Indian Leap” at Yantic Falls. Photo by CLK Hatcher

With modern websites the story is repeated of the great battle and the sachem’s capture. On the town of Bolton Historical Society webpage, we find the following account of the scene on the Great Plains:

“It required a large open field east of what is now Norwich, where Uncas would let the great Narragansett sachem proudly array his overwhelming army of warriors. As it happens, it was also a place where the Mohegan bow and arrow would be effective on a very large scale. Miantinomo typically attacked with upward of 700 warriors. While Uncas sometimes maintained as many as 500 warriors, they were primarily defensive and spread thinly through Moheganeak. Uncas usually led between 100 and 200 elite warriors into battle. The Mohegan warriors were the best and brightest warriors from all the other nations because Uncas welcomed all nations, offered the greatest freedom, and upheld the Native American traditions and virtues.

The Mohegans were greatly outnumbered by the Narragansett but Uncas had a plan. Uncas would ask Miantonomo to fight him single handed in mortal combat in the open field. He told his warriors that when Miantonomo refused to fight him, Uncas would drop to the ground and that would be the signal for the Mohegan warriors to fire all their arrows at the Narragansett warriors.When Uncas fell to the ground as though he were dead, the Narragansett were startled and confused. Volleys of arrows struck the Narragansett but carefully missed the area where Uncas and Miantinomo were. The plan worked and most of the Narragansett warriors were finished off within a minute.

Then the Mohegans attacked in hand-to-hand combat. Miantonomo ran for his life but was run down by the Mohegan warrior Tantaquidgeon and brought back to Uncas. Then the mighty Mohegan sachem Uncas, with a great number of his bravest warriors and wisest and most trusted advisors (sagamores), brought Miantonomo through Bolton to the colonial commissioners in the Hartford colony.”[28]

Sign at “Indian Leap” retelling local lore. Photo by CLK Hatcher

Another website from an area historian, brings the lore of “Indian Leap” into the twenty first century:

“Rather than surrender, Miantonomo leapt across the gorge and managed to land on the other side, injuring his leg in the process. Others of his tribe attempted to leap the chasm but were unsuccessful and plunged to their death onto the rocks in the abyss below while others simply surrendered and became prisoners of the Mohegans.

When the pursuing Uncas arrived at the top of the gorge and saw his enemy hobbling away on the other side, he took a running start, flew over the rapids, and landed safely on the other side. It was an astounding leap that gave the area above the falls its future name and allowed Uncas to catch up to the injured Miantonomo who was then easily overcome and taken as prisoner.”[29]

Thus we see how local lore, over time and with propogation, becomes historical memory.

Joseph Campbell once famously said that “myth is a public dream”. and this has been borne out by the evolution of the story of the battle on the Great Plains. We will never know the actual acts and course of events that occurred on that day. We know only the outcome, and the effect it was to have on the later history.

Critics may argue that with the onset of modern websites and social media, it becomes easier to perpetuate public myths, but the truth is that local lore is woven into the fabric of American communities, and remains a strong thread among those libraries, societies, and individual citizens keeping historical interest alive whether in print, online, or in public commemorations. Local legend and lore contribute to the dialogue, and the ongoing debate over historical events. It is, as it has always been, how we define ourselves, as a community, a state, and a country.

Perhaps as historians, the best we may do is to include the lore in our narratives so as to explain how events may become embellished to embolden the acts of a person, or a people, especially those within the community itself.

[1] History of Norwich, Connecticut: From its possesion by the Indians to the year 1866, by Frances Manwaring Caulkins


Background

The U.S. Constitution did not mention slavery or the slave trade directly, but only through oblique references. One of those provisions was Article I, Section 9, which states that:

This provision was born from the sectional struggle in the Constitutional Convention between the northern and southern delegates over three separate issues that had no logical connection. South Carolina delegate Gen. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney insisted that his state and Georgia could not "do without slaves," and John Rutledge of South Carolina threatened that the three states of the lower South would secede unless permitted to continue this traffic. The Southern states also insisted that export taxes be outlawed and that a navigation act restricting shipping to American-flag vessels could only be enacted by a two-thirds majority of Congress. The delegates reached a compromise that forbade Federal interference with the slave trade for 20 years, forbade Federal taxes on exports, but allowed a navigation act to be passed by a simple majority like any other law. [See Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, vol. 1, Prehistory to 1789, p. 400 (New York: The New American Library, Inc., 1972)].

In 1807, Congress outlawed the African slave trade effective on January 1, 1808 (2 Stat. 426), and in 1820 declared it to be piracy punishable by death (3 Stat. 600-601). Remaining unimpaired, however, were the rights to buy and sell slaves, and to transport them from one slave state to another.

Cotton production grew in economic importance after the invention of the cotton gin in 1793. The South nearly doubled its annual production from 1820 to 1830, doubled it again by 1840, and tripled it again by 1860. By the outbreak of the Civil War, over half the value of American goods shipped abroad was in cotton. A broad belt of Southern land, ranging in width from about 500 miles in the Carolinas and Georgia to 600 or 700 miles in the Mississippi Valley, was devoted primarily to cotton culture. The lower South's wealth came chiefly from cotton produced by slaves, although smaller numbers of slaves were also used profitably in the Carolina-Georgia rice fields along the coast, and in the production of Lousiana sugarcane. [See John D. Hicks, The Federal Union: A History of the United States to 1865, p. 493 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1937)].

As cotton growing expanded from Alabama to Texas, the lower South's need for slaves increased also. At the same time, the planters of the upper South had an oversupply of slave labor. Tobacco-raisers in such states as Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky were suffering from the continued exhaustion of the soil and decline of their export trade. As a consequence, surplus slaves were transported from the one region to the other by slave traders. In 1836, the peak year of this traffic, over 120,000 slaves from Virginia alone were sold in the lower South. In the 1840s and 1850s, the domestic slave trade slowed somewhat due to a revival of agriculture in the upper South that was partly due to the discovery of better methods of curing tobacco and the introduction of new and superior varieties. [See John D. Hicks, The Federal Union: A History of the United States to 1865, p. 497 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1937)].


Uncas’s Grave

Not really. Uncas wasn’t the “Last of the Mohegans” nor was the character in “The Last of the Mohicans” based on much of Uncas’s real life. Which makes him all the more interesting as his “real” life history is a mix of fact and fiction. Then, on top of that, James Fenimore Cooper wrote the famous book and used “Uncas” as the name of the main “Good” Native American character and things got all screwed up. THEN, Hollywood got into the act and filmed 12 movies based on the book and now who knows what the real Uncas did and didn’t do?

Facts: Uncas was a read dude born around 1588. He was sachem (leader) of the Mohegan Tribe in the early to mid-17th century. Involved in wars with Narragansett Indians in 1640s supported by English colonists until 1661 dispute with Massasoit forced by English to surrender prisoners and stolen goods required to leave sons as hostages in return for cooperation in King Philip’s War 1675. There is now an “Uncas”-everything in Connecticut, including Uncasville which is now home to the Mohegan Sun Casino.

Fictions: Everything in Cooper’s books, except the friendship with the English. Everything else you think you know.

Uncas was basically a sachem back in the day who was smart, shrewd and had a talent for war – especially when outnumbered. He allied with the Pequots when he needed to, went to war when he didn’t. He did the same with the English and the Wampanoags from further north in Connecticut.

He joined the English in a raid on the Pequots which started the Pequot War. The Narragansetts joined them, but later felt they’d attack Uncas and his boys on Mohegan turf. That didn’t turn out so well for the Rhode Islanders, as you can read about here, at my visit to Indian Leap.

Pequots attacked him, Narrangansetts tried again – both to no avail. After using up their usefulness, Uncas ceased allying with the English and somehow kept southern Connecticut safe from King Phillip’s War as well.

Because of his legendary status in life and in death, he’s become Connecticut’s most famous dead Native American. In fact, the foundation stone supporting the obelisk monument at his gravesite was laid by none other than President Andrew Jackson. Which is kind of weird considering his record with Native peoples.


Native History: Uncas Signs Treaty That Hands Connecticut to Settlers

This Date in Native History: A treaty signed on September 1, 1640 changed everything for tribes that had always controlled the area called Connecticut or in Algonquin, The River With Tides.

Maybe some white settlers landed on Plymouth Rock looking for religious freedom, but those who located in Connecticut had other ideas. When those wealthy, well-educated, ambitious men came seeking land and power in Massachusetts, they saw the coastline already taken, and they tried to trick neighboring whites out of land, just as they did the local tribes. So they moved down the coast to Connecticut.

In the early 1600s, Connecticut was still a pristine land with a coastline populated only by local tribes who moved from place to place as the times required. The Pequots and Mohegans were related tribes from New York and came to the shores of Connecticut about 100 years before the first landing of white Europeans.

In very early 1637, things had not yet soured among whites and tribes. Sovereignty was respected, and land was purchased with items such as kettles and guns, wampum, or woven goods like blankets and stockings. Trade between the Dutch, British and tribes benefitted all involved. However, the bountiful relationships seemed to inspire greed on all sides. As the Pequots became the most aggressive traders in the area, a young Mohegan named Uncas began to vie for power through land.

John Mason, a Massachusetts Bay colonist who later became deputy governor, befriended Uncas, chief of the Mohegans, who had left the band of Mohegans with 70 others. Indians and white traders alike were becoming threatened by the powerful Pequots, who were pushing other tribes out and raising the values of their trades.

Mason requested Uncas’ help in ridding the area of the Pequots, and Uncas agreed to lead Mason and his men the back way around the Pequot’s massive fort. The Narragansett’s leader and sachem Miantonomo opened their land for the surprise attack. Before dawn, Mason’s troop of 90 settlers and Uncas and his Mohegan warriors launched their attack upon the sleeping Pequots, and caught the fort by surprise.

The History of the Indians in Connecticut by John William De Forest states that on May 1, 1637, Uncas, Mason, and former Pequots declared “that there shall be an offensive war agt the Pequoitt.” De Forest recounts the first massacre of Native peoples:

“We must burn them,” he (Mason) shouted.

“The fire kindled in an instant the northeast wind swept out from cabin to cabin the whole fort was rapidly involved in a furious conflagration. The shrieks of women and children, the yells and howlings of men, rose fromthe conflagration. despair seized on the wretched inhabitants. the greater part perished amid the flames of their blazed dwellings. and so quickly did the fire do its work, that in little more than an hour this fright-ful death-agony of a community was over.

“Great and doleful was the bloody sight. to see so many souls gasping on the ground, so thick in some places you could hardly pass along.

“It was asked: ‘Should not Christians have more mercy and compassion?’ And it was answered: ‘Thus did the Lord judge among the heathens.’ ‘It was the Lord’s doings,’ it was said, 𠆊nd it was marvelous to our eyes.’

Later, the author of the 1851 book dedicates almost two full pages to the inhumanity of the atrocity. In the end, as many as 700 men, women, and children were burned in the fire, while about 300 escaped about 70 miles southwest to Fairfield, where interpreter Thomas Stanton negotiated their surrender. Those who came out of the swamp were given to the Mohegans, Narragansetts, and a smaller tribe, the Niantics.

In another book, The Pequot War by Alfred Cave, the survivors in Fairfield were said to be mostly women and children, while the warriors chose to fight it out from the swamp. They were all killed.

Uncas, perhaps in awe of the horrific actions of the settlers, promised to always defend the whites, even at the expense of other Indians. His support of the actions against the Pequots put him in good favor with the colonists, who began to grant him rights and privileges not afforded to the Narragansetts and other local tribes. Uncas’s marriage to the daughter of a Hammonasett chief solidified his position of power and expanded his territory considerably, which increased the already growing rivalry between tribes for power.


Uncas : first of the Mohegans

Introduction : Uncas in myth and memory -- World in balance -- The Mohegans' new world -- The rise of the Mohegans -- Killing Miantonomi -- To have revenge on Uncas -- Amongst the English -- Uncas, the Mohegans, and King Philip's War -- Conclusion : Uncas's legacy

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Uncas - History

(ScStr.: t. 192 1. 118'6" b. 23'4" dph. 7'6" s. 11.6 k. a. 1 20-par. P.r., 2 32-pars.)

Uncas-a screw steamer built at New York City in 1843—was purchased by the Navy there on 20 September 1861 from Dudley Buck for use with the Coast Survey. She was refitted at the New York Navy Yard from September 1861 to February 1862 and placed in service early in March, Acting Master Lemuel G. Crane commanding.

However, before Uncas could begin her duties for the Coast Survey, the Confederate ironclad ram Virginia attacked the Union warships blockading Hampton Roads, sinking frigates Cumberland and Congress and endangering their consorts. As a result of the havoc created by the resurrected Merrimack, Uncas was sent to Hampton Roads to strengthen the Union naval forces still afloat there. She had arrived in that strategic roadstead by 14 March and, three days later, was officially transferred to the Navy and assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Unfortunately by that time, Uncas' brief service had revealed serious deficiencies in the ship, and she was ordered to Baltimore for repairs. While she was being readied for action, the Navy again changed its plans for the vessel and sent her to the western part of the Gulf of Mexico where Flag Officer Farragut was preparing

for his daring attack on New Orleans. On 10 April, the steamer entered the Mississippi where she was needed to help locate positions for Commander David D. Porter's mortar boats during his impending bombardment of Forts St. Philip and Jackson. Farragut planned to use her as a gunboat in the Mississippi Sound. However, her machinery broke down again almost immediately, and the ship returned north for further repairs before beginning either task.

The deficiencies were quickly corrected and, on the 26th, the ship was steaming to Port Royal, S.C., to join Flag Officer Samuel F. Du Pont's South Atlantic Blockading Squadron-when she captured the schooner Belle 30 miles northwest of Charleston, S.C. The Belle was operating out of Nassau, New Providence, and purportedly bound for Philadelphia with a cargo of salt, pepper, and soap. Uncas remained only briefly at Port Royal, being assigned on 29 April 1862 to the blockade of St. Simon's Sound, Gal, and all inland waters extending from St. Catherine's to St. Andrew'. Sounds.

Uncas next received orders to Florida, arriving in the St. John's River on 11 June 1862. Uncas first saw action on 1 September 1862 when she and Patroon engaged a company of Confederates at St. John's and Yellow Bluffs. Scattered incidents following this initial clash led to a major encounter with Southern batteries at St. John's Bluff on 11 September 1862. The engagement lasted four hours and 20 minutes. During the action, Uncas fired 143 shells and 13 solid shot while Patroon expended 60 shells. Uncas suffered consider" able damage to her upperworks but weathered the fire and forced the defending Confederates to abandon, temporarily, the fort. The ship and officers drew praise from Flag Officer Du Pont for their conduct. Uncas and Patroon fought a second, minor battle at the bluffs on 2 October 1862. Uncas continued patrol and reconnaissance work on the river through the winter and into the spring of 1863. On 10 March 1863, in company with Norwich, Uncas escorted Army transports up the St. John's River with troops who landed and occupied Jacksonville, Fla.

On 10 June 1863, Flag Officer Du Pont ordered Uncas to Port Royal for repairs. The vessel's deteriorated condition upon arrival prompted further orders on 4 July 1863 directing Uncas to proceed to the New York Navy Yard. Uncas was stricken and sold at public auction at the New York Navy Yard on 21 August 1863. She was redocumented as Claymont on 20 November 1863 and remained in merchant service until abandoned in 1886.


The Distracted Wanderer

Long before English settlers purchased the 9-mile square of land upon which the City of Norwich, Connecticut sits, the land was owned and occupied by the Mohegan Tribe of Indians. They made their homes near the Great Falls of the City of Kings and were led by the great sachem, Uncas.

One of the more popular and famous stories of Chief Uncas involves The Battle of the Great Plain that took place on September 17th, 1643 between the Mohegan Tribe and the Narragansett Tribe from neighboring Rhode Island, some of which took place near what is now known as "Indian Leap".

As the story goes, Miantonomo, Sachem of the Narragansetts, led 900 of his warriors in what was to be a surprise attack on the Mohegans at Shetucket, the Mohegan capital near the City of Kings. The night before the battle, Mohegan scouts in the area observed the advancing enemy and carried the intelligence back to Uncas who formed a plan.

Uncas knew he didn't have enough warriors to battle Miantonomo but he was a brave chief and would die for his people if need be if one man could save many then he was willing to make that sacrifice. He told his braves that he would ask Miantonomo to fight one-on-one and if Miantonomo refused, he would drop to the ground as a signal for them to fire arrows into the enemy and then charge them hoping that the surprise would give them the advantage against the higher numbers.

Chief Uncas met the Narragansett chief between the lines of battle in the area that is now known as East Great Plain and appealed to him to prevent blood loss between both tribes by a single combat between the two leaders instead. When Miantonomo contemptuously rejected Uncas' proposal, the Mohegan chief immediately dropped to the ground and the Narragansetts were met with a hail of arrows before Chief Uncas jumped to his feet and led his brave warriors in a charge.

Caught totally off-guard, the Narragansetts ran from the charging Mohegans with some fleeing along their familiar route while others, unfamiliar with the territory, unknowingly reached the high treacherous cliffs of Yantic Falls. Rather than surrender to the Mohegans, Miantonomo leapt across the gorge and managed to land on the other side, injuring his leg in the process. Others of his tribe attempted to leap the chasm but were unsuccessful and plunged to their death onto the rocks in the abyss below while others simply surrendered and became prisoners of the Mohegans.

When the pursuing Uncas arrived at the top of the gorge and saw his enemy hobbling away on the other side, he took a running start, flew over the rapids, and landed safely on the other side. It was an astounding leap that gave the area above the falls its future name and allowed Uncas to catch up to the injured Miantonomo who was then easily overcome and taken as prisoner.

Chief Uncas brought Miantonomo to the Colonial Commissioners in Hartford where he willingly gave the prisoner over to the English government and agreed to abide by their decision on how to handle him. It was agreed by the ecclesiastical counselors that it would be best for the public if Miantonomo were executed and the Narragansett chief was returned to Uncas with orders to execute him in Mohegan country.

After Miantonomo was executed, Uncas thought it would be appropriate to bury him near the place where he was originally captured and that a small pile of rocks be placed as a marker on the gravesite. To that effect, the Mohegans buried their fallen foe near the western bank of the Shetucket River, north of the present village of Greenville , and marked the spot with a pile of stones. Over the years the pile of stones grew as it was visited by warriors from many tribes as they passed by on the heavily traveled route. Sometime in the 18th century, though, a farmer who had bought the land found a mound of rocks on his property and, not knowing what it was for, used the stones to build a foundation for his house and barn.

On July 4th, 1841 a few citizens of Norwich erected a granite monument where the mound of stones once stood and dedicated it to Miantonomo in a solemn ceremony to honor the former warrior and chief.

Due to the fact that there weren't a lot of records kept about these sorts of things back then, a lot of this story has been pieced together through research from various legends and tales passed down throughout the years. I hope that I have told the story with as much accuracy as possible and that it gives you a bit of a glimpse into the history of the town in which I live and the area that I call home. Should you ever be visiting Norwich and wish to visit Miantonomo's Marker, it is located on the eastern side of Norwich off of Boswell Avenue on Elijah Street, a small dead-end. There's a marker on Boswell Avenue indicating where the monument is located.

Meanwhile back at Indian Leap, which is also known as Yantic Falls, visitors can find it located on Yantic Street near the center of town. The area is beautiful to visit regardless of the time of year.

A walkway has been built over the site which was dammed for use as power as early as the 1600s when John Elderkin developed a grist mill in the area. Over time, the Yantic River became the genesis for industrial development in Norwich as it continued to grow until the early 1900s with later industries including paper making, cotton and nails. Textile mills utilized the power of the Yantic River at both the Lower Falls and the Upper Falls which are within site of Indian Leap on the other side of the train trestle that now crosses over the Yantic River.

In addition to viewing the falls from a distance at Indian Leap, the Upper Falls can be visited by accessing Upper Heritage Falls Park off of Sherman Street where parking is available and it's an easy stroll to view the dam and the former powerhouse that unfortunately seems to be more a canvas for graffiti artists than anything else these days. I believe that at one time there was talk of turning the building into a museum but that has yet to come to fruition.

Downriver at the Lower Falls, there is a footbridge for visitors to use when viewing the falls and the gorge at Indian Leap. If you continue along the footbridge, you'll find a path that leads to another footbridge over the New England Central Railroad tracks which connects Yantic Street to Asylum Street via Monroe Street. People crossing that bridge may very well be taking the very same route that brought Miantonomo's warriors to their death when attempting to leap the gorge over the Yantic River as it leads to the west side of town.

It should be noted that when visiting either the Upper or Lower Falls of the Yantic River that caution should be used as both sets of falls can be quite dangerous. Sadly, people have died at both sites over the years and anyone going over the Lower Falls is sure to meet their death on the rocks below while many have been sucked under by the currents at the Upper Falls and drowned. The falls are best viewed from a distance as the areas around them can become slippery from mist that forms when the falls are running fast and no one should even think about swimming in the Yantic nearby either of these locations regardless of how fast or slow the river may be running. Sadly though there always seems to be some foolhardy souls that think the warnings don't apply to them and put both themselves and rescuers in danger.

As Indian Leap and the Yantic Falls are an easy walk from where I live, I find myself returning there fairly regularly to take photos as the area is beautiful regardless of the season.

That said, I'd like to think that some of my best photos are shot during the winter, though, when ice formations make the Lower Falls even prettier and the area exudes even more solitude than at other times.

Even though the battle between the Mohegans and the Narragansetts took place in this area way back in 1643 and the souls of those who leapt or fell to their death are sure to have departed long ago, sometimes if you close your eyes and just listen, over the roar of the falls you might hear the war cries as the braves approached the precipice and, determined to keep on fighting, made their leaps of faith.

And who knows? Maybe one or two of those souls may actually still be in the area .


Uncas - History


Map artwork created by tahfox

After their split from the Pequots, Sachem Uncas
and his followers settled on land close to the areas
that they had used for fishing, hunting and clamming.
The Village was also close to the Uncas Leap Falls.

The Elders Village was used by Sachem Uncas
to protect the southern end of his main village.

Following their departure from the Pequot tribe
and before the Pequots were completely annihilated
by their neighbors, the Villages of Uncas were under
constant attack by his father-in-law, Sachem Sassacus.

After the Pequots were eventually destroyed, the Mohegans
were then attacked by the old enemies of Sassacus.
Uncas took some of his best warriors and trusted elders and
began using the area which is now the Mohegan Church,
as a mini Village over looking the river.

After each battle, Uncas always gave a
captured brave the option of being set free
or becoming a member of this mini Village.

During the time of Sachem Uncas, most Eastern Woodland
Indians built Round and Long houses at choice locations
on Mother Earth. These houses were permanent,
but the people moved according to the seasons.
One of these premium locations was the area
surrounding Cauchegan Rock.

The location where Sachem Uncas leaped to safety
while being chased by his enemies. Following this event,
these same warriors chose to leap to their deaths
rather than be captured by Uncas and his men.
An alter was later built at this site and it then
became a place of prayer for Native Americans.

Reflecting the great importance of Indian Leap Falls,
the Sachems choose an area nearby as a
place of burial for the Royal families.

This village was a regular stopping place between the
Pequot River and Cauchegan Rock after the Mohegans
had been out berry picking, fishing or swimming.

Uncas befriended a colonist and gave him some land
to set up a trading post because of the problems with
past enemies and the new problems with the colonists.
After this gift, he had more favorable contact with the
colonists and an even better warning system in place
for the protection of his villages.

The Pequot River was a vital part of the defensive
strategy for Sachem Uncas and his people.
It was the very life blood of the Tribe, being used for
food, transportation and the defense of their homes.

List of site sources >>>


Watch the video: Uncas u0026 Alice - The Night We Met. Last of the Mohicans (January 2022).