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Mayflower, Day by Day - Tuesday, 8 June 1621

8 Jun 2021 3:06 AM | Soule (Administrator)


Just about now, or perhaps in a day or two, John Billington the younger strolled into the Indian village at Manomet.  What must have been going through his mind?  The only Indians he had thus far met were friendly ones: Samoset (“Welcome, Englishmen!”), Squanto, Massasoit, Quidequina, and the numerous others that were overrunning the Pilgrim settlement and testing the limits of Pilgrim hospitality.  He probably had every expectation that he would be taken care of, maybe fed well, and then sent back home, perhaps with an escort.

If that was his expectation, he was rather quickly disabused of it.  The Manomet sachem, Canacum, could have had not even a slight doubt about where the boy had come from.  But instead of returning the boy to the English, he sent him off to the Nausets on Cape Cod (near the modern Eastham).  These were the very people who had attacked the Pilgrims on First Encounter beach back in December.  They were also the ones whose graves and corn storage the Pilgrims had rifled in the starvation-fuelled search.

Why would Canacum do this?  More on that tomorrow, but ponder what this says about the relations among the natives until then.

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