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

history of our own and neighboring towns, convinced himself that the first part of the word was the Celtic "aber" which is common in Scottish and Welsh place names, and is said to mean " the place where a small river flows into a larger, or into the sea." It seems unlikely that settlers from the eastern countries of England should have imported a word which was unfamiliar in their native districts; but even if Cutter is right in this he had to confess himself unable to account for the "jona." Nor has anyone else ever been able to do so.

The Pawtuckets regarded the Charles River as their southern frontier. Beyond that, around the head of Boston Bay and to the southwest thereof, lived the Massachusetts, a kindred tribe that seems to have differed from the Pawtuckets only in the region they inhabited. Both these groups of Indians were once comparatively numerous. When Captain John Smith explored the coast of Massachusetts in I6I4 he found the shores along which he passed "all a long, large coin-field," and saw "great troops of well-proportioned people" on every hand. (1) Thomas Morton, the gay and lively pioneer of Merrymount, whose lack of seriousness and piety so scandalized the Pilgrim Fathers that they felt obliged to break up his settlement, relates that the Indians of the region were wont to boast that "they were so many God himself could not kill them." (2)

But a few years before fate led the white men to their shores, these complacent redskins fell upon evil days. For some obscure savage reason they incurred the hostility of the Tarratines, a related "nation " that lived along the eastern coast of Maine.† The Tarratines proved to be the better fighters. They overran the whole region from the Kennebec to the Charles. The slaughter of the Pawtuckets was, as Sir Ferdinando Gorges reports, " horrible to be spoken of." (3) Nanepashemet, the great sachem of the Pawtuckets, hastily removed his home from the borders of the great marshes between Lynn and Revere to the high land at the southern extremity of the Middlesex Fells, which could be more easily defended. His last palisaded fort was probably on Rock Hill in Medford, only a mile or so from the present borders of Winchester.

(1) Smith, Generall Historie.
(2) Morton, New English Canaan.
(3) Gorges, Brief Narratives in Mass. Hist. Society Collections, Vol., 6.
† See Notes and Comments

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