The Tide Turns
Until now we have been concerned with the story of the rise of Quaboag Plantation from the wilderness of the Nipmuc country. We have told of an oasis of civilization, far removed from other settlements, successfully conducting the business of agriculture for its own sustenance and providing hospitality for wayfarers. Here was a settlement, planted among the Indian villages, confident of its security because of its decade of peaceful and amicable coexistence with its native neighbors. If the Quaboags had bellicose intentions, the planters at Brookfield seemed not to have been aware of them. In spite of the events of the previous few weeks in other parts of Southern New England, Pynchon’s Planters seemed to have placed much reliance on their previous good relationships with the local Indians in reassuring themselves that they were secure from aggression. Little did they realize that Muttawmp, cosigner of the deed of purchase at Quaboag, pretended friend of the settlers in peacetime, had now achieved a position of eminence in the war cabinet of the Nipmucs. This sachem was to be the leader of the forces responsible for the destruction of Quaboag Plantation.
To enumerate the reasons for the assault on Brookfield would be to give the causes of King Philip’s War. The battle which resulted in the annihilation of Quaboag Plantation, was a surge in the overall upheaval which was affecting Southern New England in the summer of 1675. The intensity of the campaign waged by the Indians reflected their determination of purpose. Having reached the conclusion that cohabitation of the same lands by white and red races could not be effected practicably, the Indian in desperation made an attempt to uproot the plantations, the symbols of white success and domination.
It was natural that Brookfield should be selected by the Indians for an early assault, since it was the most isolated of all English settlements in the Colony. The overwhelming success which the attack proved to be for the warriors served as an encouragement for Philip and his followers to continue the war.
Since the attack on Swansea, in Plymouth Colony on June 24, 1675, which had signaled the beginning of the war, the authorities of Massachusetts Bay Colony had been very much concerned with determining the temper of the Indian tribes within their jurisdiction. For this purpose, several emissaries had been sent to meet with the Nipmucs and Quaboags. These parleys had been more or less successful, but by the end of July, it had become increasingly apparent that the Quaboags were becoming more belligerent. In order to impress the restless Indians, the Government of the Colony ordered Capt. Edward Hutchinson to proceed to the Nipmuc country and demand compliance of the natives with the dictates of the Governor.
It was startling to see how quickly two people, having lived side by side for a half century could become consumed so quickly and completely with an intense hatred for one another.
Source: Quaboag Plantation Alias Brookefeild, by Dr. Louis B. Roy
For: Capt. Wheeler’s Narrative – Wheeler’s Surprise
For more information on Wheeler’s Surprise Quaboag Plantation 350th Website