Opinion

Column: Chief Masconomet finally rests in peace in homelands






A mural in Ipswich, Massachusetts, features a depiction of Masconomet Quinakonant, a chief of the Agawam Tribe. Photo from Gordon Harris

Gordon Harris, the chairman of the Ipswich Historical Commission, shares the story of Chief Masconomet Quinakonant, a leader of the Agawam Tribe:
Masconomet Quinakonant was the sagamore (chief) of the Agawam tribe of the Algonquian Native Americans when the first Puritan colonists arrived in Ipswich in 1633 and he had survived the pandemic caused by European contact, which killed 90 percent of the local native population in the early 1600s.

Masconomet ruled all the land from Cape Ann to the Merrimack River, and their population had once numbered in the tens of thousands. He sold all the tribe’s land to John Winthrop Jr. and the settlers of Ipswich for the sum of £20 and a promise of protection from enemy tribes, retaining a few acres for himself.

The sagamore died on March 6, 1658 and was buried along with his gun, tomahawk and other items on Sagamore Hill, formerly in the hamlet section of Ipswich and now within the town of Hamilton — not to be confused with "Sagamore Hill" on Argilla Road. His widow was buried alongside him.

Get the Story:
Gordon Harris: Masconomet finally rests in peace (The Ipswich Chronicle 7/6)