Historic Pelham

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Evidence Suggesting the Pelham Legend of Wampage Murdering Anne Hutchinson Then Changing His Name Is Untrue


One of the local Natives who signed the Pell Deed on June 27, 1654 (Julian Calendar) was a Native referenced in the document as "Anhõõke."  Many legends have arisen regarding Anhõõke.  

Anhõõke has been described as a famed Siwanoy warrior who murdered Anne Hutchinson in 1643.  At the time he supposedly was known as "Wampage" and allegedly took the name "Anhõõke" to pay homage to his notorious deed of murdering Anne Hutchinson by adopting a version of her name.  Today's Historic Pelham Blog article presents evidence to dispel this legend in an attempt to reveal it for what it is:  an apocryphal piece of fiction with no basis in fact.  Indeed, it appears that Wampage was an Algonquian Patriot and that Anhõõke was an entirely different Native. 

This fanciful story can be traced back to Robert Bolton, Jr.  In his history of Westchester County first published in 1848 and reissued in a second edition (1881) and a third edition (1905), Robert Bolton, Jr. seems to be the first author to claim in print that Anhõõke and Wampage were one and the same.  Bolton wrote: 

"The residence of Anne Hutchinson appears to have been situated on Pelham neck [sic; it was near today's Co-op City Complex], formerly called Ann's hoeck, literally, Ann's point or neck, hoeck being a Dutch name for a neck or point, for, up to a very late period, her farm was distinguished as the Manor of Anne hooks neck. A small stream that separates this town from Eastchester on the west still retains her surname Hutchinson's river. One of the principal Indian proprietors of this territory also assumed her christian surname, as we find it recorded in the early deeds, Ann-hoock alias Wampage. This individual may have taken an active part in the destruction of Mrs. Hutchinson, for nothing was more common among the Indians than for a warrior to assume the name of his victim." 

Source:  Bolton, Jr., Robert, A History of the County of Westchester From its First Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. 1, p. 515 (NY, NY: Alexander S. Gould 1848). 

Other historians have questioned portions of this fanciful legend.  See, e.g., Ultan, Lloyd, The Bronx in the Frontier Era, p. 196 (Bronx, NY: Bronx Historical Society 1994) ("Wampage was also known as Ann-Hooke. Several authors assume that he was the man who killed Anne Hutchinson and took her name. Without documentary evidence, this must remain speculation.").  What follows is evidence that the Pelham legend of Wampage changing his name to Anhõõke after murdering Anne Hutchinson is untrue.

In mid-September, 1656 (about September 17, 1656, Julian Calendar), the Commissioners for the United Colonies of New England met in "New Plymouth."  The Commission was a confederation among the colonies of Connecticut, New Haven, Massachusetts, and Plymouth established to enhance protections against attacks by Natives in the region.  There were two Commissioners from each of the colonies with at least six votes required to approve any decision by the Commission.  

The Commission met periodically to address and, when possible, resolve disputes over trade, boundaries, and religion.  Its decisions were merely advisory with the political authorities of each of the colonies retaining sovereignty and authority to make final decisions.  Consequently, the Commission had little weight or influence and was dissolved in 1684.  

During the Commission's meeting in mid-September, 1656, the Commissioners had to deal with, among other things, a dispute arising among Natives over who was responsible -- and, thus, likely to be held accountable -- for the recent murder of several English settlers. Oddly, the issue arose after a separate complaint by Natives was referred to the Commission claiming that a Montauk Sachem had hired "a witch" to murder famed Mohegan Sachem Uncas.   

The Montauk Sachem appeared before the Commissioners and denied any such plot to hire anyone to kill Uncas.  During the meeting, however, another local Native described as "a cuning and bould Narragansett Indian" asserted to the Commissioners that he had evidence that the Montauk Sachem was responsible for the recent murders of the English settlers.  The Narragansett claimed that he and others had heard a Native who "lived under" the Montauk Sachem confess that he was hired to commit the murders in exchange for a payment of one hundred fathoms of wampum paid through an English settler named Eaton.  The Narragansett provided the name of the hired assassin.  It was "Wampeage" (also referenced in the record as "Wampeag").

Wampage was not present to address the accusation.  As the Commissioners looked into the matter, the "bold and cunning" Narragansett's story fell apart.  The final straw was when the Commissioners had Eaton testify and he denied ever seeing Wampage or ever even possessing one hundred fathom of Wampum.  The pertinent excerpt of the record states:

"Notice whereof being giuen to the said Montackett Sachem and hee Required to attend the Comissioners att this meeting att Plymouth  The said Sachem with fiue of his men came over from longe Iland towards the latter end of Augut in Captaine Younges Barque whoe was to cary the Newhauen Comissioners to Plymouth but the Wind being contrary they first putt in att Milford  The Sachem then desiring to Improve the season sent to speak with Ausuntawey or any of the westeren Indians to see whoe or what could bee charged vpon him but none came but such as professed they had nothing against him:  The Comissioners being mett att Plymouth; The said Sachem presented himselfe to answare but neither Ninegrett nor Vncas nor the Milford Sachem appeared, onely Newcom a cuning and bould Narragansett Indian sent by Ninnegrett as his Messenger or deputy charged the long Iland Sachem first with the murther of Mr. Drake and other Englishmen affeirming that one Wampeag had before seuerall Indians confessed that hee liueing vnder the Montackett Sachem did it being thervnto hiered by the said Sachem which the said Sachem absolutly deneyinge and capt:  Young professing that both English and Indians in those partes thought him Innocent; Necom was asked why himselfe from Ninnegrett haueing layed such charges vpon the long Iland Sachem before the Massachusetts court hee had not brought his proffe; hee answared that wampeage was absent but some other Indians were present whoe could speake to the case; whervpon an Indian afeirmed that he had heard the said wampeage confesse that being hiered as above hee had murthered the said English men; though after the said murther with himselfe that now spake the Muntackett Sachem and some other Indians being att Newhauen hee deneyed itt to Mr. Goodyer and one hundred fathome of Wampam being tendered and deliuered to Mr. Eaton the matter ended; Mr. Eaton professed as in the presence of God hee Remembered not that hee had seen Wampeage nor that hee had Received soe much as one fathom of wampam  Nor did hee believe that any at all was tendered him; whervpon the Comissioners caled to the Indian for proffe Mr. Eaton being present and deneying it the Indian answared there were two other Indians present that could speake to it; they were were called forth but both of them professed that though themselues and som other Indians were then att Newhauen yett the former afeirmin Indian was not there and that there was noe wampam att all either Receiued or tendered; so that the long Iland Sachem for what yett appeerec stood free from this foule Charge".

Care is warranted in considering this 17th century record in the context it is here presented.  In the 17th century, there was a group of Natives known as Wampanoags that consisted of a loose confederacy of several tribes.  A number of 17th century records refer to the Wampanoags as "Wampeages."  Indeed, in his Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico:  N-Z published in 1912, Frederick Webb Hodge wrote that "Wampeage = Wampanoag."  See  "SYNONYMY" in Hodge, Frederick Webb, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, Part 2, pp. 1021, 1169 (Washington, DC: Gov't Printing Office, 1912) (stating "Wampeage = Wampanoag").  Thus, such references must be considered regarding whether they reference a people known as Wampeage or an individual whose name was Wampage (or Wampeage or Wampeag or another phonetically-similar variant).

Admittedly, several of the references in the quote set forth above seem, at best, ambiguous and might be read as referencing a member of the Wampeage people, one of the references does not seem ambiguous at all and seems to make clear that it is the name of the individual.  It is the reference that reads "Mr. Eaton professed as in the presence of God hee Remembered not that hee had seen Wampeage nor that hee had Received soe much as one fathom of wampam."  

Such a reference to "Wampeage" in this 17th century record is significant in the context of Pelham lore.  It arguably shows that two years after Thomas Pell bought lands from local Natives including "Anhõõke" and thirteen years after local Natives murdered Anne Hutchinson and most of her family, Wampage was still being referenced by his name and not by the name "Anhõõke."  This record repeatedly refers to Wampeage and Wampeag without including "alias Anhõõke" (or "Anhõõke alias Wampage") as so often appears in references to Wampage published by local Pelham historians.  Indeed, this 1656 record seems to support the view that Wampage and Anhõõke were entirely different people and that the Native known as Wampage did not change his name due to some now-unknown reputed Native "custom" to change a name to adopt the name of a notable murder victim -- a "custom" for which there also is no known evidence in the region.

In short, the Wiechquaeskeck Saggamore and counselor Anhõõke was neither a "Siwanoy" nor did he change his name from "Wampage" after murdering Anne Hutchinson.  This 17th century record supports the argument that Wampage was an entirely different person.



"Massacre of Anne Hutchinson"
NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.


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"A Note of the persons in the Indian worke and theire Sallaries per Annum;

Imprimis Mr. John Elliot.................................50    00    00
Mr. Francis Elliot his Brother.........................30    00    00
Sofaman        }
Momquason   } three Indian Interpreters }....30    00   00
Job                 } Imployed by Mr. Eliott
To Mr. Thomas Mayhew...............................50    00    00
To Peter Forlger Imployed by Mr. Mayhew..30    00    00
Hiacombs     }
                     }  Imployed by Mr. Mayhew.....20    00    00
Panuppaqua }  as Interpreters
Mr. Elliot and Mr. Mayhew to distribute
     to sick Indians.........................................20    00    00
To Mr. Weld for diett and for teaching eight
    Indian boyes and one gerle    }................85    00    00
For clothing the said boys and gerle about.50     00    00
For diett clothing and teaching of John
     the Son of Tho: Stanton whoe spake
     the Indian language well to further
     him for the worke about.........................20    00    00
To Mr. Abraham Person..............................15    00    00
To Mr. Rawson our Agent for his 
     salary and wharfhousrome....................30    00    00

Besides what is usefully expended in gifts and gratuities to well deserving Indians

To Indian plantations in theire beginning in stocke of Cattle and tooles &c Charges about buildings meeting houses and boates and other accidentall Charges and and expences

The yearly vallue is uncertaine and may bee abated or encreased as there shalbee occation

The Sallaries generally end in September the fixt the time of the Comissioners meeting

In answare to a motion made by Mr. Chaunceye Presdedent of the Colledge in a letter dated the 28th august (56) to make use of the Indian Buildings;

The Commissioners are willing that the presedent with the advise of the Commissioners of the Massachusetts and Mr. Elliott may for one year next ensuing Improve the said building to accomodate some English Students provided the said building bee by the Corporation cecured from any dammage that may befall the same through the use thereof

In Answare to a motion made by mr. Elliott in his letter of August 30. 1656 for some agents to bee appointed in the Massachusetts to promote and forward the worke among the Indians; both in Respect of their gouerment and Incurraging meet Instruments for theire further healp and Instruction;

The Commissioners doe conceiue the the said Indians doe belong to the Jurisdiction of the Massachusetts and therfore doe Refer it to the wisdome and care of that Gouernment, and for Incurrageing the Indian worke as wee haue formerly foe att present wee doe Authorise the Comissioners of the Massachusetts whose care and fidelitie wee haue noe cause to suspect to doe or cause to bee done that which in theire Judgments may most conduce to the advancing of the Indian worke;

Whereas it was presented to the Comissioners by Mr. hollihock of Sprinkfeild that Mastiffe Doggs might bee of good use against the Indians in case of any desturabance from them which they Reddily apprehending thought meet to comend the same to the seuerall generall Courts to take care and make provision therof accordingly

Coushawshett and Cushasimmon were continued in theire Respectiue places of gouerning the Pequots for one year Insueing according to the orders and Instructions set downe by the Comissioners the last yeare att Newhauen; and were further ordered to bring in theire Tribute to Tho. Stanton three monthes before the yearly meeting of the Commissioners in September; and vpon theire Information that divers Pequots are stuburne and Redy to mannefest theire disobeidience to the orders of the Commissioners and that theire authoritie is not sufficient to containe them; and therfore did desire they might bee assisted by some English dwelling near them:  The Commisioners haue desired Mr. John Winthorpe Major Mason and Capt: Denison or any of them by theire Counsell or Countenance aiding and asisting to the said deputed Gouernors in the execution of all our orders and Instructions and containing the Pequots in obeidience to the same;

Vpon a complaint made by Ninnegrates messengers to the Generall court of the Massachuetts in May last against the Montackett Sachem for murthering Mr. Drake and some other Englishmen vpon ours near the long Iland shore and seiseing theire goods many yeares since and for Trecherously assaulting Ninnegrett vpon block Iland and killing many of his men after a peace concluded betwixt them certifyed to Newhauen by the Massachusetts Comissioners by a complaint made by Awsuntawey the Indian Sagamore near Milford and two other western Indians against the said Montackett Sachem for hiering a witch to kill Vncas with the said Milford Sachem and his son giueing eight fathom of wampam in hand promising a hundred or an hundred and twenty more when the said murthers were comitted; Notice whereof being giuen to the said Montackett Sachem and hee Required to attend the Comissioners att this meeting att Plymouth  The said Sachem with fiue of his men came over from longe Iland towards the latter end of Augut in Captaine Younges Barque whoe was to cary the Newhauen Comissioners to Plymouth but the Wind being contrary they first putt in att Milford  The Sachem then desiring to Improve the season sent to speak with Ausuntawey or any of the westeren Indians to see whoe or what could bee charged vpon him but none came but such as professed they had nothing against him:  The Comissioners being mett att Plymouth; The said Sachem presented himselfe to answare but neither Ninegrett nor Vncas nor the Milford Sachem appeared, onely Newcom a cuning and bould Narragansett Indian sent by Ninnegrett as his Messenger or deputy charged the long Iland Sachem first with the murther of Mr. Drake and other Englishmen affeirming that one Wampeag had before seuerall Indians confessed that hee liueing vnder the Montackett Sachem did it being thervnto hiered by the said Sachem which the said Sachem absolutly deneyinge and capt:  Young professing that both English and Indians in those partes thought him Innocent; Necom was asked why himselfe from Ninnegrett haueing layed such charges vpon the long Ilsnad Sachem before the Massachusetts court hee had not brought his proffe; hee answared that wampeage was absent but some other Indians were present whoe could speake to the case; whervpon an Indian afeirmed that he had heard the said wampeage confesse that being hiered as above hee had murthered the said English men; though after the said murther with himselfe that now spake the Muntackett Sachem and some other Indians being att Newhauen hee deneyed itt to Mr. Goodyer and one hundred fathome of Wampam being tendered and deliuered to Mr. Eaton the matter ended; Mr. Eaton professed as in the presence of God hee Remembered not that hee had seen Wampeage nor that hee had Received soe much as one fathom of wampam  Nor did hee believe that any at all was tendered him; whervpon the Comissioners caled to the Indian for proffe Mr. Eaton being present and deneying it the Indian answared there were two other Indians present that could speake to it; they were were called forth but both of them professed that though themselues and som other Indians were then att Newhauen yett the former afeirmin Indian was not there and that there was noe wampam att all either Receiued or tendered; so that the long Iland Sachem for what yett appeerec stood free from this foule Charge;

2cond.  The said Newcome charged the Montackett Sachem with breach of Couenant in asaulting Ninnegrett and killing divers of his men att Block Iland after a conclusion of peace the Treaty whereof was begun by a Squaw sent by Ninnigrett to the said Sachem to tender him peace and the prisoners which the said Ninnigrett had taken from the long Iland Sachem vpon condtion the said Sachem did wholly Submitt to him and yeild his countrey to claime  The Montackett Sachem acknowlidged the said message but afeirmed hee Refused to accept the Conditions which hee could not without adviseing with the English whervpon the Squaw Returned and came backe from Ninnigrett with an offer of the prisoners for Ransom of wampame which hee saith hee sent and had his prisoners Releiued Newcome affeirmed the agreement between the said Sachems was made att Pesacus his house by two long Iland Indians Deligates to to [sic] the Montackett Sachem in presence of Pesacus and his brother and others two English men being present one wherof was Robert Westcott; Pesacus his brother testifyed the agreement as abovesaid, The Muntackett Sachem acknowlidged hee sent the said Delligates but neuer heard of any such agreement and deneyed hee gaue any such Comission to his men Newcome afeirming Robert Westcott would Testify the agreement aforsaid and desiring a writing from the Comissioners to Lycence the said Westcott to come and give in his Testimony which was graunted and Newcome departed pretending to fetch Westcott but Returned Not; The Comissioners finding much Difficulty to bring theire thoughts to a certaine Determination on Satisfying grounds yett concidering how Proudly Ninnigrett and how peacably the Monthackett Sachem hath carryed it towards the English ordered that a message the contents whereof heerafter followeth bee by Tho: Stanton deliuered to Ninnigrett; and that for the securitie of the English plantations on long Iland and for an Incurragement to the Montackett Sachem thw two first particulars of the order to hinder Ninnigretts Attempts on long Iland; made last year att Newhauen bee continued; Notwithstanding the said English are Required to Improve those orders with all moderation and not by any Rashnes or vnadvisednes to begin a broile unlesse they bee Nessesitated thervnto;

The Montackett Sachem being questioned by the Comissioners concerning the paiment of his Tribute professed that hee had payed it att hartford for ten yeares but acknowlidged theire was four yeares behind which the Comissioners thought meet to respett in respect of his present Troubles;

Instructions for Thomas Stanton

YOU are to informe Ninnigrett the Nyanticke Sachem that the Commissioners with much patience and in the vse of meanes to them chargable haue minded him of his couenants made in 1645 and by him confeirmed both in the yeare 1647 and 1649 that hee hath Ingaged himselfe not to goe to warr with any of the Indians Subjects to or in frindshp with the English; and that vpon his complaint by his messengers in May last to the honered court of the Massachusetts they sent to the Montackett Sachem to attend theire meeting att Plymouth which accordingly hee hath done; but neither Ninnegrett himselfe came nor hath his messenger beene able to make any proffe of what hee charged soe that the Comissioners not willing to take advantage of some former and some latter Rash and prouoking expressions of Ninnegrett and his messengers doe aduise and expect that for the future hee better attend his Ingagement that hee neither himselfe begin nor procecute any warr first in any hostile Invaysion against the said Montackett Sachem or any others whoe are frinds to the English till first his complaints bee fully heard and ordered by the Comissioners and they shall lay the like charge vpon the Montackett Sachem that hee without further prouocation desturbe not the peace of Ninnigretts or the Nyanticke Indians; 

You are to acquaint the two Narraganssett Sachems of what the Comissioners haue told Mixam that the Comissioners are as reddy to heare theire greivances against Vncas as his against them; they allow not any dareing challenges to fight; nor that hee or any of his should take away from the Narragansett any thinge belonging to them though but a gun; that vpon complaint they haue caused aboue nine fathom of wampum belonging to Vncas to bee deposited in Mr. Thomas Stantons hands till the matter of the gun bee heared and cleared; The Comissioners expect from the Narragansett Sachems that according to theire Couenants made 1645 they neither directly nor indirectly attempt or begine any warr against Vncas or any other Indian or Indians subject to or in frindship with the English nor any that shall begine or proceed in any such warr till first theire hath been a full hearing of all such Differences and vpon Satisfying proffe a determination by the Comissioners with damages ordered to such as haue been wronged; and they shall lay the like charge vpon Vncas not to wrong or any way desturbe the peace of the Narragansetts; 

1.  You are to Informe Vncas of sundry Complaints made against him all tending to desturbe both his owne peace and the peace of the countrey; as that hostile assault made vpon the Poducke Indians near hartford and contrary to the advise giuen him by the Majestrates and court there to Revenge which (wee heare) some Mohegin blood hath been sheed and some captiues taken

2cond.  After an Agreement made and those Captiues Returned Vncas or his brother haue in an hostile manor Invadid the Nowootucke Indians which may draw on mischeivous effects aboue his power to Issue;

3.  That hee seuerall wayes prouoakes the Narragansett Indians obraiding them with theire dead Sachems which hee knowes they cannot beare; somtimes challenging them to fight which is both strange and very offenciue to the Comissioners; and wee heare that Vncas hos son hath taken a gun from a Narragansett Indian which Foxon not deneying hee hath deposited betwixt nine and ten fathom of wampam in Thomas Stantons hands till the question about the gun bee cleared;

4.  After a peace lately made or renewed by the montackett Sachem and a considerable sume of wampam receiued by Vncas hee by Fauxon &c. Chargeth the Montackett Sachem to hier a witch a western Indian to kill Vncas and others about Millford but without any proffe, and the Montackett Sachem bing lately att Milford hath nothing there charged against him; 

5.  Lastly they are informed that Vncas knowes what the English haue done for his defence against Ninnegrett &c. and how proudly and prouockingly Ninnigrett hath since carried towards the English yett he hath made a peace or some agreement with Ninnigrett without the advise or knowlidge of the English all which passages beinge strange and if true very offenciue yett the Comissioners being loth to Neglect or forgitt former freindship and Ingagements they cannot but expect that some conuenient time and place bee appointed to heare and determine these strange passages that both the Comissioners and offended Indians may receiue due Satisfaction and in the mean time that noe further prouocations bee giuen to any of the Indians in freindship with the English much lesse that any challeng bee made or any begining or assistance giuen to any warr without the Comissioners concent the like charge being layed vpon the Narragansetts not to desturbe his peace

Captaine Gorge Denis is desired to be present with and asistance to Thomas Stanton in deliuering the forgoeing messages. . . . ."

Source:  Hazard, Ebenezer, ed., Historical Collections; Consisting of State Papers, And Other Authentic Documents; Intended as Materials for an History of the United States of America, Vol. II, pp. 358-63 (Freeport, NY:  Books for Libraries Press, 1969) reprinted from original 1794 edition).

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