About Sachem Canochet Canonicus
When the English arrived, the Naragansetts had two sachems, CANONICUS and Miantinomi, his nephew. Under them were several minor sachems. The several small tribes under these sub-sachems made up the great Naragansett Nation.
In his old age, CANONICUS had admitted Miantonomi, son of his brother, Mascus, into the government to administer jointly with him. At that same time, Massasoit, b. 1580, was the Chief Sachem of the Wampanoag, who governed most of what is now MA, and a small part of RI. Shortly after the Pilgrims arrived, in 1620, Massasoit and Gov. John Carver signed the earliest recorded treaty in New England. It established a peace between these peoples.
In 1621, it was Massasoit and some of his people who attended the first Thanksgiving. When Massasoit d., in 1621, his son, Wamsutta, became sachem and chief. Peace with the Pilgrims lasted until Wamsutta was succeeded by his brother, Phillip, after whom King Phillip’s War was named.
In 1675, about 54 years after the arrival of the Pilgrims, Phillip led an uprising against the settlers, because of their ever increasing demands for more and more Indian land.
The Naragansetts, too, maintained peace with the English during the years of CANONICUS’s rule in RI. They made room for the first four RI towns. They had been watching, as their hereditary enemies, the Wampanoag, made friends with the Pilgrims, and they became deeply alarmed as the Puritans began pouring in during the beginning of the Great Migration period.
CANONICUS found the traditional Native American diplomacy didn’t work with these folks in MA, but they finally reached a shaky understanding in 1636. This was possible, because for a few years both sides feared the Pequots, and their cousins, the Mohegans, to the west. In 1637, MA and the Naragansetts fought together against the Pequots.
So, when Roger Williams asked CANONICUS’ permission to occupy land at the head of Naragansett Bay, he was given a generous tract. Williams had made trading xpeditions to the bay earlier, and had won the confidence and respect of CANONICUS
and Miantonomi (also called Ousamequin). Williams had learned their language both for
trading and preaching. Once installed at Providence, he became the intermediary between MA and the two sachems.
CANONICUS and Miantonomi rewarded Williams for his services by giving land on their eastern borders to English settlers. After giving him the site of Providence, they gave Providence Island to Williams and Gov. John Winthrop. Then, at Williams’ prompting, they gave Aquidneck to the followers of Anne Hutchinson, who had been dispelled from MA. Later still, they gave Williams a place for a trading post on the west side of the bay.
This was how the chiefs secured access to trade with the English and set up a barrier of Europeans against the Wampanoag. In a few years, the Naragansetts solidified this buffer zone by selling territory (also claimed by Wampanoag) to other newcomers who created settlements south of Providence.
By 1647, both of the chief sachems had died. While the Naragansetts were arguing over who should now be their chief sachem, the MA colonists again began to have unfounded suspicions against them, especially since MA was allied with the Wampamoag.
In 1643, the MA colonists had joined with the Mohegans to fight Naragansetts and Yarmouth was captured by Uncas, sachem of the Mohegans, and executed. Pessecus, the brother of Miantonomi, was then admitted as sachem with CANONICUS, but he was put to death by the Mohawks in 1676. Canconchet, a son of Miatononmi, was the Naragansett’s last sachem.
CANONICUS had given his allegience to the king, and was at peace with the colonists. The RI colonists had received their charter from the king, and were taking no part in the war with Phillip. In spite of this, the “united colonies” of MA, Plymouth, and CT, (not RI), formed an army to attack this peaceful tribe located outside their jurisdiction. This army formed in Boston and marched through Providence and Warwick on their way to the Great Swamp.
The Naragansetts gave no resistance until their territory was actually invaded. On a Sunday night, 19 DEC 1673, the army arrived at the Naragansett village in a blinding snowstorm. After a short skirmish, they gained entrance to the rude stockade surrounding the Naragansett village of some 500 wigwams, or about 1500 people.
Then someone set fire to the wigwams, which burned rapidly. The entire village was quickly destroyed. Mothers with babies in arms and leading little children by the hand tried to escape into the woods, but were ruthlessly shot or knocked in the head. Many burned to death, but even more were killed by gun and sword.
By morning, the Naragansetts were exterminated, except for a few who escaped.
Over 1,000 Indians had been killed, while the Whites lost between 2 - 300. This really got King Phillip’s War underway.
Canonchet, the chief sachem of what was left of the Naragansetts, was captured and killed. His capture near the Blackstone River, came after the war. and he was executed for the “crime” of defending his country and refusing to surrender the territories of his ancestors by a treaty of peace.
He was offered life, upon the condition that he would treat for the submission of his few remaining people. He indignantly refused. When told he must die, he answered:
“I like it well, that I shall die before my heart grows soft, or that I have said anything unworthy of myself.”
Ninegret was the sachem of the Ninantes, or westerly tribe under the Naragansetts, and since the division of the town, was called the Charlestown Tribe. Ninegret’s sister had m. Moranno, son of one of CANONICUS’ sons. The English purchased his neutrality during King Phillip’s War, and for this treachery the “tribe land” in Charlestown was allotted to him and his heirs forever. The Ninegrets were then called Naragansetts.
Our three English ancestors who m. Indians before King Phillip’s War must have had very divided feelings over the horrible slaughter of the Neragansetts.
Chief Sachem IYANNOUGH, who m. Mary NOEPE, was head of the Cummquid Tribe, friends of the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims. He helped the Pilgrims with supplies and hunting. His grave, discovered in 1960, is now maintained by a historical group named Tales of Cape Cod.
One interesting fact brought out in the BEARSE History was that Wampanoag means “White Indian”. It seems that when the Vikings came abt. 1001 - 1016, they were “fierce, red-headed, pale faced men who came, in some cases mixed blood with the Wampanoag, and went back to the endless waters and were never seen no more.”
Mary HYANNO was of light complexion and had flaming red hair. This story was written for record from the legends passed down over the generations by the Wampanoag Tribe.
Mr. Drake, in his Book of the Indians, thus mentions Canonicus, the sachem of the Narragansets: --
He was contemporary with Miantunnomoh, who was his nephew. We know not the time of his birth, but a son of his was at Boston in 1631, the next year after it was settled. But the time of his death is minutely recorded by Governor Winthrop, in his "Journal," thus: "June 4, 1647, Canonicus, the great sachem of Narraganset, died, a very old man." He is generally supposed to have been about 85 years of age when he died.
He is mentioned with great respect by Rev. Roger Williams, in the year 1654. After observing that many hundreds of the English were witnesses to the friendly disposition of the Narragansets, he says, "their late famous long-lived Canonicus so lived and died, and in the same most honourable manner and solemnity, (in their way,) as you laid to sleep your prudent peacemaker, Mr. Winthrop, did they honour this their prudent and peaceable prince; yea, through all their towns and countries how frequently do many, and oft times our Englishmen, travel alone with safety and loving kindness?"
from THE BOYS' BOOK OF INDIAN BATTLES AND ADVENTURES
The government of the Narraganssetts appears to have been a patriarchal despotism. Miantenomi was the nephew of Canonicus, son of his brother Mascus. Canonicus, in his advanced age, admitted Miantenomi into the government, and they administered the sachemdom jointly. The different small tribes, under the separate sub-sachems, composed the great Narragansett nation. The succession to chief authority was generally preserved in the same family. The sub-sachems occupied the soil and were moved from it at the will and pleasure of their chiefs.
•Name: Chief of the Narraganset CANONICUS
•Given Name: Chief of the Narraganset
•Change Date: 13 MAY 2009
Also known as: Canochet (Chief) Canonicus. Canochet Canonicus was the son of Wessonsuoum and Keshechoo. Wessonsuoum was the son of Chief Tashtassuck, who was born before 1520.
(The listings showing POSH-PW are incorrect. Obviously, it's a transcription error of the Ancestral File # P05H-PW)
Conanacus was the chief sachem of the Narragansetts, the primary enemy to the Wampanoag confederation led by Massasoit. The Narragansetts were not friendly towards the Pilgrims, primarily because of their alliance with the Wampanoag. The Narragansetts were very strong in number, consisting of as many as 5,000 warriors to the Wampanoag's approximately 3,000 warriors.
In January 1622, Conanacus sent the Pilgrims a bundle of arrows wrapped in the skin of a rattlesnake--a sign and challenge of war. The governor in return sent the rattlesnake back filled with gunpowder, but Conanacus was so scared of the English gunpowder he would not allow it into his territory.
Because of the Narragansett threat, construction of a fort around Plymouth began in February 1622, for the purpose of defense and protecting the colonists.
Grand Sachem Canonicus of the Narragansetts was born in 1562 in Barnstable, Massachusetts (Barnstable). He died on 4 Jun 1647 in Massachusetts, USA.
CHIEF SACHEM CANONICUS Canonicus was the Grand Sachem of the Narragansetts, when the whites settled at Plymouth. He died in 1647. Canonicus, the sachem of the Narragansetts, whose territory had escaped the ravages of the pestilence, at first desired to treat of peace; in 1622, a bundle of arrows, wrapped in the skin of a rattlesnake, was his message of hostility. But, when Bradford sent back the skin stuffed with powder and shot, his courage quailed, and he sued for amity. Canonicus, now chief of the Narragansetts, had given his allegiance to the king and was at peace with the colonists. The Rhode Island colony had received its charter from the king, and were taking no part in the war. In spite of all this, the united Colonies formed an army to attack a peaceful tribe of Indians located outside their jurisdiction. This army formed in Boston, marched through Providence and Warwick on their way to the Great Swamp. Not until their territory was actually invaded did the Narragansetts offer resistance. In the war between the Narragansetts and Mohegans, in 1643, Miantenomi was captured by Uncas, the sachem of the Mohegans, and executed. Pessecus, the brother of Miantenomi, was then admitted sachem with Canonicus. He was put to death by the Mohawks, in 1676. Canonchet, the son of the brave but unfortunate Miantenomi, was the last sachem of the race. He commanded the Indians at the Great Swamp Fight, in 1675. This battle exterminated the Narragansetts as a nation. He was captured near the Blackstone river, after the war, and executed for the crime of defending his country and refusing to surrender the territories of his ancestors by a treaty of peace. It was glory enough for a nation to have expired with such a chief. The coolness, fortitude, and heroism of his fall stands without a parallel in ancient or modern times. He was offered life, upon the condition that he would treat for the submission of his subjects; his untamed spirit indignantly rejected the ignominious proposition. When the sentence was announced to him that then he must die, he said, I like it well, that I shall die before my heart grows soft, or that I have said anything unworthy of myself. Thus ended the last chief of the Narragansetts, and with Canonchet the nation was extinguished forever.Sources: History of the United States The House of Carr--A Historical Sketch of the Carr Family from 1450 to 1926 by W.L. Watson. The History of Massachusetts Bay Bearse-Bears-Barss Family, Genealogy of Augustine Bearse and Princess Mary Hyanno by Franklin Bearse Canonicus Alive in 1623.(23) Narraganset Sachem He died on 4 Jun 1647.(24) He is thought to have been about eighty-five years old at his death. His decease was observed by all the Natives as a great and sad event. He is called a man of extraordinary capacity in Notes On the Indian Wars in New England, 12:166.
Notes from http://members.aol.com/MaryARoots/Indians.index.html A History of THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH In Narragansett Rhode Island by Wilkins Updike Boston: Printed & Published by D.B. Updike The Merrymount Press1907 Chapter X p. 252, 253 Canonicus was the Grand Sachem of the Narragansetts, when the whites settled at Plymouth. History gives no account of his predecessors. It commences with him. He died in 1647. Miantenomi was his nephew, son of his brother Mascus. Canonicus, in his advanced age, admitted Miantenomi into the government, and they administered the sachemdom jointly. In the war between the Narragansetts and Mohegans, in 1643, Miantenomi was captured by Uncas, the sachem of the Mohegans, and executed. Pessecus, the brother of Miantenomi, was then admitted sachem with Canonicus. He was put to death by the Mohawks, in 1776. (I think that was a misprint & should read 1676) Canonchet, the son of the brave but unfortunate Miantenomi, was the last sachem of the race. He commanded the Indians at the Great Swamp Fight, in 1675. This battle exterminated the Narragansetts as a nation. He was captured near the Blackstone river, after the war, and executed for the crime of defending his country and refusing to surrender the territories of his ancestors by a treaty of peace. It was glory enough for a nation to have expired with such a chief. The coolness, fortitude, and heroism of his fall stands without a parallel in ancient or modern times. He was offered life, upon the condition that he would treat for the submission of his subjects; his untamed spirit indignantly rejected the ignominious proposition. When the sentence was announced to him that then he must die, he said, I like it well, that I shall die before my heart grows soft, or that I have said anything unworthy of myself. The splendid dignity of his fall extorted from one of the prejudiced historians of the times the sentiment, That acting as if by a Pythagorean metempsychosis, some old Roman ghost has possessed the body of this Western Pagan like an Attilius Regulus. Thus ended the last chief of the Narragansetts, and with Canonchet the nation was extinguished forever. Ninegret was the sachem of the Niantics, or the Westerly Tribe, and since the division of that town, now styled the Charlestown Tribe. Ninegret was tributary to Canonicus, Miantenomi and his successors. He was only collaterally related to the family of Canonicus, Quaiapen, Ninegret?s sister, having married Maxanno, the son of Canonicus. The whites purchased Ninegret?s neutrality during the Indian war of 1675, and for this treachery to his paramount sovereign and his race, the Tribe Land in Charlestown was allotted to him and his heirs forever, as the price of the treason. The Ninegret Tribe never were the real Narragansetts, whose name they bear. It is a libel on their glory and their graves for him to have assumed it. Not one drop of the blood of Canonicus, Miantenomi or Canonchet, ever coursed in the veins of a sachem who could sit neuter in his wigwam and hear the guns and see the conflagration ascending from the fortress that was exterminating their nation forever. pp. 8, 9, 10, 11 The Narragansetts subsisted by hunting, fishing and, partially, by agriculture. Their lands, for eight or ten miles distant from the sea-shore, were cleared of wood, and on these prairies they raised Indian corn in abundance and furnished the early settlers of Plymouth and Massachusetts with large quantities for subsistence. They were a strong, generous and brave race. They were always more civil and courteous to the English than any of the other Indians. Their kind and hospitable treatment of the emigrants to Rhode Island and the welcome they gave our persecuted ancestors should endear their name to us all. The Narragansetts, as to civilization, were far in advance of their neighbours. Hutchinson* says that they were the most curious coiners of Wampumpeag and supplied other nations with their pendants and bracelets and, also, with tobacco pipes of stone, some blue and some white. They furnished the earthen vessels and pots for cookery and other domestic uses. They were considered a commercial people and not only began a trade with the English for goods for their own consumption, but soon learned to supply other distant nations, at advanced prices, and to receive beaver and other furs in exchange, upon which they made a profit also. Various articles of their skillful workmanship have been found from time to time, such as stone axes, tomahawks, mortars, pestles, pipes, arrowheads, peag, &c. (*History of Massachusetts Bay, i. 458) Respecting their reputation for integrity and good morals, Mr. Williams, after a residence of six years among them and a close and intimate acquaintance with them, observes: I could never discern that excess of scandalous sins among them, which Europe aboundeth with. Drunkenness and gluttony, they know not what sins they be, and though they have not so much to restrain them as the English have, yet a man never hears of such crimes among them as robberies, murders, adulteries, &c. (Key: Pub. Narr. Club, Providence, 1866, i. 121) The government of the Narraganssetts appears to have been a patriarchal despotism. On the arrival of the English, there were two chief sachems, Canonicus and Miantinomi, and under them several subordinate ones. The different small tribes, under the separate sub-sachems, composed the great Narragansett nation. The succession to chief authority was generally preserved in the same family. The sub-sachems occupied the soil and were moved from it at the will and pleasure of their chiefs. That the Narragansetts had an exalted estimation of their superiority over other tribes is demonstrated by the following tradition mentioned by Hutchinson: In the early times of this nation, some of the English inhabitants learned from the old Indians, that they had, previous to their arrival, a sachem, Tashtassuck, and their encomiums upon his wisdom and valour were much the same as the Delawares reported of their Chief Sachem, Tammany; that, since, there had not been his equal, &c. Tashtassuck had but two children, a son and a daughter, those he joined in marriage, because he could find none worthy of them out of his family. The product of this marriage was four sons, of whom Canonicus was the oldest. . With regard to their religious belief, Mr. Williams observes that they have a tradition, that to the southwest the gods chiefly dwell and thither the souls of all good men and women go. Their principal god seems to have been Kautantowit, or the southwest god. But they have many other objects of worship. They call the soul Cowwewonick, derived from Cowwene, to sleep, because (say they) it works and operates while the body sleeps...They believe that the souls of men and women go to autantouwit his House...Murderers, thieves and lyars, their Souls (say they) wander restless abroad. They have it from their Fathers, that Kautantowwit made one man and one woman of a stone, which disliking, he broke them in pieces, and made another man and woman of a Tree, which were the Fountains of all mankind.? (Key: Pub. Narr. Club, Providence, 1866 i. 116) The Narragansetts soon became debased and corrupted, after their intercourse with the whites, by intemperance, &c.; and many of the vices with which our forefathers have charged the Indians, they never would have known, but for their intercourse with the whites. The name of the Narragansett Country became circumscribed as Canonicus and Miantinomi sold off their territory. After the sale of Providence to Williams, the island of Rhode Island to Coddington and Shawomet or old Warwick to Gorton and their respective associates, those territories virtually ceased to be called Narragansett. After East Greenwich was conveyed (to the forty-eight grantees) and erected into a township in 1677, the name of Narragansett was circumscribed to the limits of the present county of Washington, bounding northerly on Hunt?s river and the south of the county of Kent. The first settlement in the state was by Roger Williams, at Providence, in 1636; the others were by Coddington, at Portsmouth, in 1638; by Richard Smith, at Wickford, in Narragansett, in 1639, and by Gorton, in Warwick, in 1642-3. That Smith?s was the third settlement, and before Gorton?s, Roger Williams says, in his testimony in favour of Smith?s title to the Wickford land, sworn to July 21, 1679, where he declares, y Mr. Richard Smith Sen., who for his conscience to God left faire Posessions in Gloster Shire and adventured with his Relations and Estate to N. Engl. and was a most acceptable Inhabitant and prime leading man in Taunton in Plymouth Colony: For his conscience sake (many differences arising) he left Taunton and came to the Nahiggonsik Countrey where by Godaken from Colonial Rhode Island: A History by Sydney V. James; Charles Scribner's Sons, New York; 1975
Chief Canonicus Pages 7 & 8: Clearly in 1636 there was no sparsity of inhabitants near Narragansett Bay to lure European immigrants. Quite the opposite, the region had an uncommonly dense Indian population. So it is necessary to fathom the sachem's reasons for letting in newcomers. On the Wampanoag side the thinking is easy to deduce. Ousamequin first let Williams occupy the frontier against the rivals, then granted land that his tribe claimed but no longer controlled. It is harder to puzzle out the calculations of Miantonomi and Canonicus, the wise and canny leaders of the Narragansetts, who actually made room for the first four Rhode Island towns. The Narragansett sachems quickly perceived the threat lurking in English colonization. They promptly showed their resentment when their hereditary enemy found an unforeseen ally in Plymouth. They became deeply alarmed when the Puritans began to pour in during the 1630's. Then it became necessary to define relations with the foreigners. Traditional Indian diplomacy failed; the outlanders did not know the protocol. Painfully, sometimes with the aid of Roger Williams, the Narragansetts reached a shaky understanding with Massachusetts. This was possible because both sides, for a few years, feared the Indians farther west, especially the Pequots and their cousins the Mohegans. The Puritans and Narragansetts in 1636 were maneuvering toward the agreement that allied them briefly in war against the Pequots the next year. Danger on the west made it useful for Canonicus and Miantonomi to improve their safety on the east. Accordingly, when Roger Williams sought permission to occupy land at the head of the bay, the two sachems gave him a generous tract. He had previously won the confidence of Canonicus and Miantonomi (and Ousamequin too), probably during his trading expeditions to the bay a few years earlier. He learned their language, both to carry on business and to preach Christianity, and as a result became useful in diplomacy. Installed at Providence, he began to act as intermediary between Massachusetts and the Narragansett sachems. He served both parties well, especially during the Pequot War, but afterwards Narragansetts were ceaselessly plotting against the colonists. His honest efforts, however, earned the sachems' gratitude over and over. Canonicus and Miantonomi rewarded Williams, most richly in the years when his services brought success, by giving land on their eastern borders to English settlers. Having given him the site of Providence, they gave Prudence Island to him and Governor John Winthrop of Massachusetts, perhaps in the hope of strengthening the ephemeral alliance. Then at Williams' prompting they gave Aquidneck to the followers of Anne Hutchinson and later still provided him with a place for a trading post on the west side of the bay. (Williams always gave lavish gifts to the sachems in return, probably in keeping with their customs, but he surely was correct in his claims that their esteem for him made them willing to grant the land.) By these donations the chiefs secured access to trade with the English and set up a barrier of Europeans against the Wampanoags. Within a few years the Narragansetts solidified the buffer zone by selling territory (claimed by the Wampanoags) to other newcomers who created settlements south of Providence. Thus it is quite realistic to think of the colony of Rhode Island as in part a product of Narragansett Indian policy. Page 65: One further element should be mentioned in accounting for the survival of government under the patent of 1644: the sudden scramble for land west of Narragansett Bay, with Rhode Islanders hurrying to head off outsiders with stronger backing. Even though the Indians remained numerous, they were beleaguered from outside and weakened from within by disputes over the succession to Canonicus and Miantonomi, both dead by 1647. Page 81: The troubles of the Narragansetts stemmed from the suspicions of Massachusetts and the squabbling over the succession to the principal sachems' positions after the deaths of Miantonomi and Canonicus. Massachusetts' fears revived after the brief suspension during the Pequot War, inaugurating an ever-widening conflict between the Narragansetts and the United Colonies (New England minus Rhode Island) in alliance with the Mohegans. These partners captured and executed Miantonomi; a Mohegan wielded the hatchet that "clave his head." Canonicus died a few years later in 1647.
•Birth: ABT 1562 in Of Cape Cod, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA
•Death: 4 JUN 1647 in Of Cape Cod, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA
Father: Son of Wessonsuoum WESSOUM b: ABT 1540 in Of Cape Cod, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA
Mother: Mrs. Son of WESSOUM b: ABT 1540 in Of Cape Cod, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA
Marriage 1 Mrs CANONICUS b: ABT 1543 in Of Narragansett, Washington, Rhode Island
•Married: ABT 1568 in Of Cape Cod, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA
•Sealing Spouse: 12 DEC 2002 in MADRI
1. Princess Of The Narragansitts CANONICUS b: ABT 1569 in Of Cape Cod, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA
2. Mriksah Wampanoag MAXANNO b: 1571 in Of Cape Cod, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA
1.Abbrev: Ancestral File (R)
Title: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ancestral File (R) Copyright (c) 1987, June 1998, data as of 5 January 1998/i>/i>. Copyright (c) 1987, June 1998, data as of 5 January 1998.
Name: Family History Library
Salt Lake City, UT 84150 USA
Name: Family History Library
35 N West Temple Street
Family, History Library
35 N West Temple Street
Canochet is the son of Wessonsuoum and Keshechoo
who were the married children of Tash Tassuck and show up elsewhere in the family tree, so cannot be interlinked.
Conanicus married a maiden of the Narragansett tribe.
Sachem Canochet Canonicus's Timeline
Cape Cod, Barnstable, MA, USA
Cape Cod, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States
June 4, 1647
Cape Cod, Barnstable, MA, USA