Letter from James Fitch to John Allyn

Worshipful Sir,

The enclosed containing an account of affairs respecting the surrenderers1 settled at Shetucket, I have desired it may be communicated to the Court.  The reasons are, because I perceive that some of the Court have been unsatisfied with my meddling in such affairs and if they can see their way otherwise to dispose of those occasions, I shall be glad, but if at present I must endure the trouble, if they have a hand to put it upon me it may be for the future they will be more sparing to speak harsh things.  However, I do apprehend it will be more safe for the Governor and yourself that whatever is done of this kind may be an act of the Court.  It’s good to prepare for the worst whatever the event may be at length. Concerning matters needful to be inquired after in the present juncture of affaires, I gave you a writing when the Governor and yourself were at my house concerning the frame of Uncas’ actings from the beginning of the wars to that time, and what hath since I shall summarily mention.  You are acquainted with Paapeeguenoo’s confession when he was in prison that his leading away surrenderers and servants was by Uncas’ order and the circumstances to evince the truth of it are:

1st        Paapeeguenoo was so long and so open in his preparations for that motion that it could not be hid from Uncas, but he knew of it and used no means to prevent it.  It may be Uncas will say that he was not at home at that time, but at Saybrook. But the answer full, that usually when the time is come to do mischief or act some strange thing, he at that time slippeth away to Saybrook.  Thus it hath been when any of the surrenderers were to run away, thus when our cattle have been killed, thus when this man was lately killed at Shetucket that hence both from our English and Indians there is an expectation of something horrible, so that this covert is worn so threadbare and thin that everyone amongst us do see through it.

2nd      With Paapeeguenoo went Anacobin, a Mohegan, a man of great account with Uncas, nearly related to him, but none can believe that he would go away from Uncas, unless it were to be agent for Uncas.

3rd       It’s not only Paapeguenoo’s confession, but commonly granted and owned by the Mohegans that this was with Uncas’ consent, only they were afraid so to speak that Uncas shall know of it. 

Concerning the surrenderers since that time:

1st        When last summer he had timely warning of Major Talcott ’s coming, by order of Court to his town,  to act concerning the surrenderers, but not one surrenderer then to be seen, unless it were a very aged man in token of derision.

2nd      Uncas at that time did again promise that the surrenderers should be settled the next September at Shetucket and after much means and long waiting many are detained by him.  If he denies it, he may be inquired of whether he hath not with him Keweebhunt, Koowalk, Maukechakeman, Kesequonunt, who are heads of families, and many more whose names in time may be known.  I shall send up Kockanampauit and two more of the surrenderers and you may by means of them know Uncas’ fallacy.  Only let their names be kept private; they are afraid to be seen before Uncas and that which you say to them for their encouragement to settle where they are will be an encouragement to the others.  And indeed Kockanampauit, a man well known to Major Talcott to be the guide of the army, he hath been principally instrumental to draw of those surrenderers from Uncas and to settle them at Shetucket but it’s manifest that Uncas’ favor is not towards him as formerly and it’s his brother was killed at Shetucket.

Concerning the death of that man:

1st        Uncas sends a message the night before to the Shetucket Indians to warn them, as he pretended, that Mohawks were in the woods, but none seen by the Indians who were scouting out everyway.

2nd      Many men, women and children were that day passing everyway and yet no harm, nor show of danger to any but only that which was done to this one man nigh the fort. 

3rd       Since the wars hath been ended, no such mischief, in other parts of the country, but all in a quiet posture, but we are alarmed with one strange accident after another, not so at Connecticut, not so at seaside, nor Pequot.  What is the reason of this?  Seeing it’s well known that his own men dare not act contrary to his pleasure and his enemies are more afraid to come near to him, then to all other Indians in these parts of the Country because of his strength.

Concerning Indian servants hidden and sheltered by Uncas, if inquiry be made, it may be Mr. Plumb of New London will speak to that case and Owaneco will not deny, but he received twenty shillings in moneys upon the account of delivering his servant to him, when he had hid  the servant several days.  Ensign Post, I suppose, is ready to make manifest Uncas’ fallacies in alluring away his servant and then hiding of her, etc.  His falseness of this kind is so notorious that if he be not restrained, it will not be possible for the English to keep any Indian servant, etc.  I shall add no more, but only that which is so commonly known not only to myself but any who have opportunity with him in the company of Indians with him so reproachfully to vilify our rulers, our laws and religion and is the great opponent of any means of souls’ good and concernment of his people, and abounding more and more in dancings and all manner of heathenish impieties since the wars and vilifying what hath been done by the English and attributing the victory to their Indian help, etc.  Sir, I am weary with writing and it may be you will be so with reading these wearisome matters.  I pray conceal my name, and if there be any argument from the frame of these particulars, let it be improved.  Only I know not when to have done, for even now Kockanampauit, whom I mentioned before, with some other surrenderers will come up to see with what countenance the Court will look upon them and to hear whether you will confirm them in their liberties in the place where they are and, in particular, whether you will express any sympathy for the loss of one of their principal men.  And they say they have not right done to them in restoring those surrenderers who were taken away by Lieutenant Hollinster, etc.   I wish them to speak when they have an opportunity.  You are better able to answer them in that matter than I can.  So with my earnest desires that God would be with you and direct and bless in all your concerns with my service to yourself and Mrs. Allyn, I know you will present these to the view of our honored Governor,  I remain yours humbly to serve,

James Fitch, Sr.

Norwich

May 5, 1678               

            Address:           These for the worshipful Captain John Allyn[17] at Hartford, in the jurisdiction of

                                    Hartford          

            Endorsement:   Mr. Fitch, 1678

            Cataloguing:    33a,33b,33c 39,40

 
  • 1. The term surrenderers refers to those Indians captured and surrendered after fighting against the Colonies in recently ended King Philip’s War.  It also referred to natives and their families that were perceived as a threat to colonists whether they actually were or not. Uncas sought to have the surrenderers live amongst him at Mohegan, whilst the General Assembly wanted them settled at Shetucket.