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A Half Century of Conflict - Volume I by Parkman

The Pequawkets thought themselves safe


In

the next summer, and again a year later, other meetings were held at Casco Bay with the chiefs of the various Abenaki tribes, in which, after prodigious circumlocution, the Boston treaty was ratified, and the war ended.[272] This time the Massachusetts Assembly, taught wisdom by experience, furnished a guarantee of peace by providing for government trading-houses in the Indian country, where goods were supplied, through responsible hands, at honest prices.

The Norridgewocks, with whom the quarrel began, were completely broken. Some of the survivors joined their kindred in Canada, and others were merged in the Abenaki bands of the Penobscot, Saco, or Androscoggin. Peace reigned at last along the borders of New England; but it had cost her dear. In the year after the death of Rale, there was an incident of the conflict too noted in its day, and too strongly rooted in popular tradition, to be passed unnoticed.

Out of the heart of the White Mountains springs the river Saco, fed by the bright cascades that leap from the crags of Mount Webster, brawling among rocks and bowlders down the great defile of the Crawford Notch, winding through the forests and intervales of Conway, then circling northward by the village of Fryeburg in devious wanderings by meadows, woods, and mountains, and at last turning eastward and southward to join the sea.

On the banks of this erratic stream lived

an Abenaki tribe called the Sokokis. When the first white man visited the country, these Indians lived at the Falls, a few miles from the mouth of the river. They retired before the English settlers, and either joined their kindred in Maine, or migrated to St. Francis and other Abenaki settlements in Canada; but a Sokoki band called Pigwackets, or Pequawkets, still kept its place far in the interior, on the upper waters of the Saco, near Pine Hill, in the present town of Fryeburg. Except a small band of their near kindred on Lake Ossipee, they were the only human tenants of a wilderness many thousand square miles in extent. In their wild and remote abode they were difficult of access, and the forest and the river were well stocked with moose, deer, bear, beaver, otter, lynx, fisher, mink, and marten. In this, their happy hunting-ground, the Pequawkets thought themselves safe; and they would have been so for some time longer if they had not taken up the quarrel of the Norridgewocks and made bloody raids against the English border, under their war-chief, Paugus.

Not far from where their wigwams stood clustered in a bend of the Saco was the small lake now called Lovewell's Pond, named for John Lovewell of Dunstable, a Massachusetts town on the New Hampshire line. Lovewell's father, a person of consideration in the village, where he owned a "garrison house," had served in Philip's War, and taken part in the famous Narragansett Swamp Fight. The younger Lovewell, now about thirty-three years of age, lived with his wife, Hannah, and two or three children on a farm of two hundred acres. The inventory of his effects, made after his death, includes five or six cattle, one mare, two steel traps with chains, a gun, two or three books, a feather-bed, and "under-bed," or mattress, along with sundry tools, pots, barrels, chests, tubs, and the like,--the equipment, in short, of a decent frontier yeoman of the time.[273] But being, like the tough veteran, his father, of a bold and adventurous disposition, he seems to have been less given to farming than to hunting and bush-fighting.


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