The New International Encyclopædia/Pennacook
PEN′NACOOK (nut place, or crooked place). A confederacy of Algonquian tribes formerly occupying the Merrimac River basin and adjacent region in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and southern Maine. They occupied a middle ground between the Southern New England tribes, with whom the English had dealing, and the Abnaki and others of the north, who were under French influence. Their early treaties were with the English, but their later alliances were with the French. The capital of the confederacy and the residence of the head chief, Passaconaray, was at Amoskeag, the present Manchester, New Hampshire. Wamesit village, with Pawtucket Falls, was the great rendezvous during the fishing season. When first known to the English they were estimated at 3000, which was probably below their real number, under the rule of the noted chief and medicine man, Passaconaway. He was friendly to the whites and invited the English to settle upon the Merrimac. Before his death, about 1669, he saw almost his whole country in the hands of the whites and was himself obliged to petition for enough ground to live upon. In the mean time his people had been reduced by smallpox and other introduced diseases to about 1200. On the outbreak of King Philip's War in 1675, one or two of the Pennacook bands joined the hostile Indians, but the greater portion, under Wanalancet, the son of Passaconaway, remained on friendly terms with the English until, angered by the treacherous seizure of a number of their people, they abandoned their country and fled, part to the French in Canada, others to the Mohican on the Hudson. Those who removed to Canada were finally settled at Saint Francis, Quebec Province.