The Squaw Sachem and Her Red Men (cont'd)

habitation, and at some unknown period in the past Indian tribes, migrating undoubtedly from the west or southwest, came to occupy the forest country of our New England states. They were all of the Algonquin race, a people at once less intelligent and less warlike than some other redskins-the Iroquois for example-and far less advanced than their distant cousins who lived in Mexico or in our own Southwest. They were not without their savage virtues, however, for they were a tall, well-proportioned race, skillful hunters and fishermen, and good enough farmers to raise corn and pumpkins on ground that they had cleared and burned over for the purpose. They were stone-age people, of course, and seem to have known nothing of metals. Their arrowheads of chipped flint, their stone axes and gouges and pestles were scattered widely over the country around Winchester, and in the early days were often turned up by the plough. Several interesting relics of this sort are to be seen today in the room of the Winchester Historical Society in the Public Library building. (1)

The Indians who dwelt hereabouts belonged to a tribe whose members called themselves Pawtuckets.† This tribe seems to have been the head of a loose confederacy of wandering savages, which, under varying names, occupied not only the territory that now forms Essex and Middlesex counties in Massachusetts but southern New Hampshire as far as the sites of Concord and Portsmouth, and perhaps a bit of southern Maine as well. The early settlers used a confusing number of designations to describe these Indians. They were often called Aberginians, which is manifestly a name of English rather than Indian manufacture, but the origin of which is obscure. Some writers have tried to connect it with the name of our placid Winchester river, the Aberjona, which seems likewise more English than Indian in composition. This name appears very early-at least as early as the settlement of Woburn-but without any explanation of its derivation; and it has been a sad puzzle to the antiquarians ever since. The learned Mr. Cutter, (2) to whom we are indebted for so much valuable research into the

(1) A most interesting Indian relic is to be seen on the summit of Horn Pond Mountain. It is a deep bowl-like depression in a ledge of rock, either artificially made or, if natural originally, adapted to their purposes by the Indians. They certainly used it as a mortar for grinding their corn into meal. A much smaller rock mortar is to be seen in the woods near the foot of the North Reservoir.
(2) William R. Cutter of Woburn.
† See Notes and Comments

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