The New Student's Reference Work/Massachusetts Indians
Massachusetts Indians. Massachusetts when first settled was occupied by five Algonquin tribes: the Pennacooks, the Massachusetts, the Nausets, the Pokanokets and the Nipmucks. These tribes were all friendly, save the Nausets, with whom Plymouth made a treaty of peace. Missions among the Indians were begun by the Mayhews of Martha's Vineyard in 1644 and by John Eliot two years later. After five years' work Eliot gathered “the praying Indians,” as the converts were called, at Natick, and translated the Bible into their language. By 1674 the Christian Indians numbered 3,200. The next year King Philip's war broke out, which began with the rising of the Pokanokets under Philip, their chief, and spread to the Nipmucks, Massachusetts and Pennacooks. The frontier settlements were ravaged; the praying Indians were attacked by red men and by white men, and the savages were not conquered nor the war ended until the death of Philip in 1676. Many Indians were sent as slaves to the West Indies; the Pennacooks mostly joined tribes eastward or in Canada; the others quieted down and were given lands from time to time. They have since mostly intermarried with whites or negroes, and now there are less than 100 full-blooded Indians in the state. See Abbott's History of King Philip and Moore's Life of John Eliot.