The Bounty Teacher's Guide

The Fourth Anglo-Abenaki War

Fourth Anglo-Abenaki War (1722-1727)

aka Dummer’s War, Father Rasle’s War, Lovewell’s War, Grey Lock’s War

During this conflict, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire governments issued ten known bounty proclamations. Nineteen known scalp-bounty claims were awarded to scalpers between 1720-1727: 14 in cash and five in land.[136] At least 28 additional land claims were made in the period between the 4th and 5th Anglo-Abenaki Wars. These were allocated to soldiers and their heirs, who had fought in this and previous Anglo-Abenaki wars, as far back as Pometacomet's Resistance/King Philip's War, resulting in dispossession and redistribution of tens of thousands of acres of Wabanaki homelands. For a detailed list see the e-timeline.

Despite a fragile period of peace following the 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth, wars impacting Wabanaki and Europeans continued. In 1720 and prior to the Fourth Anglo-Abenaki War, Boston land speculators known as the Muscongus Proprietors had pushed the English frontier eastward to the St. George River in present-day Thomaston, Maine, violating the Treaty of 1713. They attempted to justify new land grants based on the Madockawando deed of 1694, which was repeatedly repudiated and invalidated by Wabanaki leaders. The tenuous peace crumbled, and Massachusetts Governor Shute blamed the Kennebecs and French influence of Father Rasles. When four Kennebec sagamores attending talks in Boston were taken hostage, the Wabanaki issued a statement written by Father Rasles, declaring that the Creator had placed them on the land first and the English could not claim it by conquest, gift, or purchase. In 1721, authorities from the Massachusetts colony kidnapped Baron de St. Castin, who had aligned with Wabanaki people to drive the English from Maine in the late 1600s, and they almost captured Father Rasles, who had a bounty placed on his head. [137]

Two bounty acts were issued by Massachusetts in 1722, one in January and the other in August, as well as one issued by New Hampshire. Here we see the link between a bounty act and a bounty claim, as in this one made by Johnson Harmon.

Soon thereafter, in 1722, the War began as a series of skirmishes in Wabanaki and Abenaki territory in Maine and Vermont, where the French and English continued to vie for power. Two bounty acts were issued this year, one in January and the other in August. “In January 1722, a party of one hundred English soldiers pillaged Norridgewock’s church.... In revenge for this attack about forty Norridgewocks burned houses and a mill at the English settlement of Merrymeeting Bay.” [138]

On July 25, 1722, Lieutenant Governor Dummer declared war on the Abenakis, offering recruits gifts, arms, and ammunition, as well as substantial scalp bounties.

Here, too, we see the link between a bounty act and bounty claim.

Wabanaki leader Grey Lock led a series of retaliatory attacks against English settlements. Originally from the Connecticut River Valley, Grey Lock lived in Missisquoi (present-day Vermont) and from there he responded to continued English aggression by organizing a series of raids on English settlements after the English declared war on the Wabanaki in 1722.

Grey Lock, who came to be known as “Wawanolewat” or “he who fools the others or puts someone off track” took great advantage of the disparity between Native and English regional knowledge. Using established networks and paths, he was able to quickly strike settlements and then disappear northwards. [139]

Responding to Wabanaki raids in March 1723, acting Governor William Dummer sent militia under Colonel Thomas Westbrook into the Kennebec region to burn Wabanaki villages and fields. [140]

[t]he Massachusetts government offered presents, arms, and ammunition, as well as substantial scalp bounties “for the further Encouragement of your Warlike people” — one hundred pounds in New England currency for the scalps of males aged twelve and over, fifty pounds for all others. The warriors were also to receive fifty pounds for each prisoner and to be allowed to keep all plunder and all female captives and prisoners under twelve…. [141]

Colonel Westbrook, Major Benjamin Church (who readers will recall from the First and Second Anglo-Abenaki Wars), and other veteran bounty hunters contacted local militia officers when they wanted to recruit new eligible men to replenish their fighting forces. In the 1720s, Westbrook informed the government that “I believe I can enlist the number of thirty men & more generally young men and such as must leave the county if not enlisted.” [142]

The captains initially commissioned under Colonel Thomas Westbrook included Johnson Harmon, Jeremiah Moulton, Richard Bourne and Bean (aka Bane). In 1724, the Wabanaki villages of Norridgewock and Pigwacket were assaulted and destroyed under the command of Johnson Harmon and Jeremiah Moulton from York, Maine. They were intent on scalping Wabanaki people and attacked them while they slept.

The raiding party, numbering 205 white and three Mohawk, including the old scout Christian, left Fort Richmond on August 8 in seventeen whaleboats. Arriving at Teconnet on the 9th, they left the whaleboats under the protection of an officer and forty men and the rest proceeded on foot. As they approached the village, Harmon took sixty men to destroy the cornfields while Moulton ordered ten men to guard the packs. The remainder of the force, after a brief firefight, charged through the village, driving the people across the river where they fled on foot and sought sanctuary with their relatives from other Wabanaki tribes. After torching the village, the raiding party returned to Fort Richmond on the 16th, and Johnson Harmon made his report in Boston on August 22nd. [143]

Harmon and his men killed a hundred Wabanaki and scalped 27 dead corpses, receiving the sum of 60 pounds for each scalp. Among the victims were Father Rasles, as well as the Wabanaki leader Bombazens and his daughter (his wife was also taken prisoner). [144]

To sharpen our understanding of events during this period of violence, let us recall that the English, who were Protestants, tried to weaken the relationship between the Mi’kmaq and the Acadians, who were Catholic. On August 1, 1722, the English Governor of Acadia, Richard Philipp, issued a proclamation that declared it illegal for Acadians to engage with Mi’kmaq in any manner. How strictly this proclamation was enforced is reflected in the minutes of the Council meeting held on May 22, 1725.

The Honourable Lt. Governor, John Doucett, acquainted the board that Prudane Robichau, senior inhabitant in the Cape, had entertained an Indian in his house, contrary to His Excellency’s proclamation, dated August 1, 1722. That he had therefore put him in irons and in prison amongst the Indians for such heinous demeanour. This was to terrify the other inhabitants from clandestine practices of betraying the English subjects, into Indian hands. [145]

In a letter found by troops who stormed Norridgewock, Rasles laments, “the English still keep their forts and … unless the French join with the Indians the land is lost. This is what now discourages the Indians.” As the priest saw it, Wabanaki homelands were at the heart of the violence. The Norridgewock Massacre was considered the biggest colonial victory in half a century over the Wabanaki. In a grotesque display of vengeance, Harmon’s men paraded through Boston streets with Kennebec scalps. Judge Samuel Sewall witnessed “great shouting and trembling” when Harmon’s men returned to Boston brandishing their scalps on August 22, 1724.

Harmon is given a silver handled sword by Colonel Westbrook, and at his urging, is made Lieutenant Colonel by the Governor and later elected to the Massachusetts House.[146] Speaking at the General Court in November, 1724, Lieutenant Governor Dummer proclaimed that Norridgewock succeeded in "such a destruction of the enemy as has not been known in any of the late wars, and (as I hope) in the entire dissipation of that tribe." In 1726-27 Harmon, Moulton, Bourne and others are also granted land for their service. Westbrook also profits from land as a speculator in the region further cleared of Native people by the decimation of Norridgewock.  

Ben Franklin’s brother published, “The Rebels Reward,” a popular ballad, to commemorate what the Bostonians considered a great victory. [147]

To the Tune of, All you that love Good Fellows
[the following is the last portion of the ballad]

Then several English Soldiers
as Bombazene came near
The Town, did fire upon him,
which made him fly for fear.
He run into the River
where he was shot i’th’Head,
And[?] sunk down to the Bottom
like to a Piece of Lead.
A dextrous Lad then diving
unto the Bottom far,
Pull’d out this monstrous Villain
by his long Indian Hair
Old Captain Job comes next,
With Captain Carrabasset
And Captain Wissemeset[?]
who us’d the Warlike Hatchet
These all were slain in Fight
and many Captains more,
As many a one can tell
who knew them heretofore
One Rebel that was swimmed[?]
unto a Rock he took’
But cause his Scalp was precious
our men they did not …[?]
Then did old Christian Brother[s][?]
a Mohawk brave and stout[?]
Swim to him with his Knife,
and cut him in the Throat.
By which his Scalp was saved,
which brings good store of Chink
For if our Men had shot him
the Rogue would surely

Our Men got store of Plunder
both Guns and Blankets too,
And drank the Fryars Brandy,
which was their Honest due.
Good powder too, and Kettles
which they long enjoy’d
Their Houses they were burned,
and their Canoes destroy’d
They Brough away a Squaw
and likewise Children three
Which only were preserved
our bond Salves for to be,
Full eight and twenty Scalps
our Valiant Lads claim’d
And were it not for the River
they many more had gain’d.
Old Rallee’s[?] glad they got
which the Indians did adore,
On which were Crosses many,
and bows and Arrows four.
Which Flag he always joisted
when they to Prayers did go
Before they went to Fighting
and danced in a Row.
This did our Honest Soldiers
their Honor to preserve;
And Harmon’s made a Colonel,
which he does well deserve.

Boston. Printed and told by J. Franklin in Union Street 1724

The following year, James Cochran, an “Irish lad” who was captured at Maquoit Bay near Brunswick, Maine, and taken up the Androscoggin River, claimed a bounty payment after he escaped, scalped two of his captors, and brought the scalps to Brunswick, receiving £200. As a minor, the Governor’s Council put the bounty money owed to him in trust. [148]

In September 1724, John Lovewell, Josiah Farwell, and Jonathan Robbins petitioned the General Court in Boston for permission “to range and to keep out in the woods for several months together, in order to kill and destroy their enemy Indians, provided they can meet the Incouragement suitable.” On November 17, the General Court voted and approved their petition for up to fifty men to be paid a per diem of 2 shillings and 6 pence for each day in the woods, and a 100-pound bounty for each male Indian scalp. On December 19,

the troop came upon a wigwam about 40 miles above Winnipesaukee where they killed and scalped an Indian man and made captive an Indian boy. The Boston New Letter of January 7, 1725 reported that “for which good services, and for their further encouragement the Honorable the Lieut. Governor and Council were pleased to give them fifty Pounds over & above the one hundred & fifty pounds allowed them by law. [149]

Lovewell’s fighting force grew to 87 members, some of whom participated in two additional scalping missions.

On February 20th [Lovewell’s men] came across a recently inhabited wigwam and followed tracks for some five miles…. A description of their attack can be found in the expedition’s diary and in a “Report of Committee, 1728” probably prepared for the establishment of a land grant at Pennacook…. Supposedly, Lovewell’s signal shot killed two Indians! The volley killed five more. Two more were killed and one wounded by the reserve [troops]. The wounded Indian was chased down by a dog and killed. [emphasis added] [150]

After killing and scalping these ten Wabanaki, Lovewell and his men sold the guns they seized for £7 each.

They were awarded one hundred pounds per scalp and collected £1,000 from the public treasury, for "Lovewell came into Council with ten Scalps, & made Oath that they were from Male Enemy or Rebel Indians, all above the age of twelve years." He is reported to have walked around Boston with the scalps, by some accounts even making a wig from them. In this way, scalping had become more common “in backwoods warfare, and frontiersmen expected—and were expected—to lift trophies from Indian enemies.” [151]

April 1725, Lovewell embarked on his final expedition, Lovewell’s Fight or the Battle of Pequawket, near present-day Fryeburg, Maine, in which he and 11 other English and Wabanaki were killed, and his company was forced to retreat. Lieutenant Seth Wyman claimed a bounty of £100 and was richly rewarded and promoted for scalping sachem Paugus. For more information, see the May 1725 Bounty Claim entry in the e-timeline. [152]

Another popular ballad written shortly after the battle of May 8, 1725, “Lovewell’s Fight,” expresses the tone found in many of these commemorative writings.

Of worthy Captain LOVEWELL, I purpose now to sing,
How valiantly he served his country and his King;
He and his valiant soldiers did range the woods full wide,
And hardships they endured to quell the Indian’s pride....

Our worthy Captain LOVEWELL among them there did die,
They killed Lieut. ROBBINS, and wounded good young FRYE,
Who was our English Chaplain; he many Indians slew,
And some of them he scalped when bullets round him flew....

In addition to these ballads, Lovewell’s Fight was

celebrated with song and story, and its importance not eclipsed until the American Revolution. More than one hundred years later Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (poem, “The Battle of Lovell’s Pond”), Nathaniel Hawthorne (story, “Roger Malvin’s Burial) and Henry David Thoreau (passage in the book A week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers) all wrote about Lovewell’s Fight. [154]

Shortly after Lovewell’s Fight, the surviving company of militia was rewarded land in the town called Lovewell’s Town or New Suncook. [155] They were also awarded other lands. Between 1728 and 1736, the authorities in Massachusetts granted Lovewell’s company and their heirs “wild lands” in Pennicook and Pembroke, New Hampshire, as well as Rutland and Petersham, Massachusetts.[156]

Around this time, the French were offering limited assistance to Wabanaki, leaving them vulnerable to targeting by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. With the destruction of Norridgewock, Penobscots headed a new intertribal alliance and new leaders emerged.

The English and Wabanaki raids subsided after 1726 as the war ended through a series of treaties, notably Dummer’s Treaty, which Penobscot statesman and tribal leader Saugaaram, aka Loron, helped negotiate. For several decades thereafter, Grey Lock remained at Missisquoi; he was never found or prosecuted by the British, and never signed any treaty. Ongoing Wabanaki resistance and diplomacy prevented the British from pushing their way into the heart of the Dawnland for several decades. Both documents and oral tradition indicate he lived well into the 1740s and was in his eighties by the time of his death. Grey Lock remains a highly regarded figure among the Wabanaki and other regional tribes. Today, his daughter Charlotte is remembered in the Missisquoi community and his descendants live in Abenaki communities. [157]

As English authorities took drastic measures to enforce the conformity of their subjects and despite gruesome violence, the Penobscot succeeded in brokering Dummer’s Treaty in 1727, in what may be considered the most successful treaty ever signed in the Dawnland, thus, reestablishing Wabanaki power. The treaty further promised, “if the English cannot make out and prove their titles to the Lands Controverted, they shall disclaim them.” Despite its flaws, this treaty served as the basis for lasting peace, relying upon Wabanaki practices of reciprocity tied to English fixation on written contracts and property laws, ensuring land rights for colonial and Wabanaki proprietors. [158]

Led by the Penobscots, the Wabanakis achieved a diplomatic coup. While compromising on certain land claims, the Wabanakis succeeded in attaching Indian expectations of reciprocity onto most of the old land sales, bridging the divide between different cultures of ownership. The [English] proprietors still clung to their belief in the importance of permanent, exclusive individual ownership of land proved by paper deeds, while the Wabanakis continued to understand land transfers as part of an ongoing relationship. However, as long as they continued to recognize Dummer’s Treaty, the Wabanakis would acknowledge the land cessions contained in the seventeenth-century deeds....

This blending of property and diplomacy motivated Wabanaki and Massachusetts leaders to establish a working relationship based on Dummer’s Treaty after 1727.

This treaty helped facilitate cooperation for nearly two decades.

The treaty was largely made possible through the diplomatic statesmanship and skill of Penobscot Saugaaram, aka Loron, a gifted orator who spoke on behalf of the Wabanaki at every major conference until 1751. Denouncing the 1694 deed signed by Madockawando, which the Wabanaki viewed as invalid, Loron expressed concern for the future of the tribes’ youngest members: “We have a number of young people growing up who never were acquainted of the land being sold.” He further exclaimed that Massachusetts was “a great and rich government … and it would be but a small matter for the Government to make allowance for them, and give them up.” Loron helped to set the terms of this agreement, including the provision that “no houses or settlements to be made to the Eastward of Pammaquid or above Arrowsick.” Despite its flaws, Dummer’s Treaty, which put an end to Dummer’s War (the Fourth Anglo-Abenaki War) served as the basis for a three-year peace.

For many, scalp-hunting expeditions became a significant source of income, starkly manifest in the numerous bounties claimed in a few short years.

Guidance for Teaching

Ask middle school students to read aloud the ballads, The Rebel’s Reward and Lovewell’s Fight, and highlight the sentences that convey the key ideas in these texts and the words that reinforce prejudice. See if they can track down the tune of All You That Love Good Fellows and then ask them to consider how music may have been passed from person to person in the age before the Internet and music-sharing platforms.
Ask upper level students to consult the e-timeline for more information about Loron. Then, ask them to write a short essay that includes 2-3 attributes they notice about Loron and 2-3 things they wonder about him. Interested students could contrast Loron’s perspective on his people’s relationship to the land with the perspectives and actions of Madockawando and Egeremet. Do a Turn and Learn activity as students share their essays.

In the next Deeper Dive section we read a View from the Boat of a settler who witnessed the arrival of indigenous people in Boston and the redemption of scalps for money by English scalp-bounty hunters.

Deeper Dive: Excerpts from the Diary of Jeremiah Bumstead of Boston [160]

For a view of this period from the perspective of a colonial settler in Boston, the diary of Jeremiah Bumstead, compiled from notes he made in the margins of his almanacs from 1722-1728, is a rare and valuable source.

Born in 1678, Bumstead was a glazier in Boston. On June 3, 1685, his father, also Jeremiah Bumstead of Boston, “petitioned the general court for remuneration for losses and wounds “in the late public Calamity by reason of the Indian War.”” Presumably Bumstead Sr. was referring here to his experiences during Pometacomet’s Resistance/King Philip’s War. [161]

In his diary, Bumstead Jr. recorded with considerable detail the major events of his life and his community: births, deaths, suicides, burials, marriages, illness, accidents, fires, hangings, weather events, storm damage, meetings, letters (written, received, and delivered), charitable donations, purchases (of wood, pigs, Indian meal (cornmeal), coal, books), training afternoons (presumably as part of the militia), sermons preached, fasts declared, and the capture and in some cases the scalping of Wabanaki people. The very fact that he included the capture and scalping of Native people alongside the purchase of wood indicates how normalized it was for colonial settlers in Boston to degrade the Original peoples of the land.

The following excerpts from Bumstead’s diary span three years: 1722 to 1725. The diary entry on July 3, 1722 reports “6 Indians, taken att [sic] Dunstable, brought into Boston.” On July 25 Bumstead observes, “15 more [Indians] brought in from Nashaway.” The following day, Bumstead mentions that war was declared against the Eastern Indians. Here Bumstead refers to “An Act to Encourage the Prosecution of the Indian Enemy and Rebels,” which promised a reward of £100 for the scalp of a male Wabanaki over the age of 12 and £50 for the scalps of all others. On October 19, we learn that “A Mohawk dyed here in town.” No name is provided for the person who perished, nor do we know their age or how they died. Bumstead records the deaths of settlers with humanizing details that are not extended to Wabanaki and other Indigenous people. [162]

On August 31, 1723, “about 60 Mohawks came to Boston & entertained at Mr. Usher’s house in [the] Common." [163] The following year on August 22, 1724, “28 Indian scalps brought to Boston ; one of [which] was Bombazens, and one fryer Railes [sic].” [164]

The scalps were redeemed for £60 each, payable to the militiamen under the command of Captain Johnson Harmon in the raid on Norridgewock. It is noteworthy that Bumstead provides the name of Bombazens, otherwise referred to as Bomazeen (the spelling used by some Wabanaki people with lineage ties to the lands and waters of western Maine today [165] ) or Bommaseen, a Kennebec Sagamore, whom the militia scalped. Thirty-one years before, in 1693, Bombazeen and over a dozen leaders of Abenaki nations agreed to a treaty with the English at the outset of the second Anglo-Abenaki War. In 1703, Bombazeen was part of a peace negotiation with Governor Dudley at Casco Bay, where he warned the English of the presence of French priests in Wabanaki villages attempting to undermine peace with the English. [166]

In early 1725, Jeremiah Bumstead recorded scalp bounty rewards given to the youth James Cochran and John Lovewell.

10 Indian [scalps] brought in & in [the] next month, April, 2 more Indians killed by a lad of 17 years of age & their scalps brought town, & 25 pound in money paid him down, and [the] remainder of [the] 2 hundred put out to use him by [the] authority. Mr. Lovell [sic] was [the] captain that brought in those 10 scalps, who afterwards was killed in another fight. [167]

Four years after Bombazeen’s demise, we learn about his widow in light of “disbursements for entertaining the Indians at Richmond Fort” including £5-10 “to the old blind squa of Abomazeen who lay about ye fort healpless being that ye Governor shoud [sic] marcy for her for Christs sake.”[168]

We now turn our attention to the Fifth Anglo-Abenaki War.

Work Cited

136 ​​MA A&R 10, 14; Ibid: 9, 258; Laws of New Hampshire, Vol. II, 373-4, 1913; MA A&R: 10, 263; Ibid: 269-270; Ibid: 10, 363; Ibid: 10, 484.
137 ​​Saxine, Properties of Empire, 70-82, 94-104; Maine Memory Network,
138 ​​Haefeli and Sweeney, Captors and Captives, 228-229.
139 ​​For more information, see
140 ​​The town of Westbrook, Maine, was named for Thomas Westbrook. For more information, see Penobscot scholar, Rebecca Sockbeson, “Waponahki Anti-Colonial Resistance in North American Colonial Contexts: Some Preliminary Notes on the Coloniality of Meta-Dispossession,” 32, in Dip Kapoor, ed. Against Colonization and Rural Dispossession: Local Resistance in South and East Asia, the Pacific and Africa (London: Zed Books, 2017).
141 Colin G. Calloway, The Western Abenakis of Vermont, 1600-1800: War, Migration, and the Survival of an Indian People (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990), 115.
142 ​​Eames, Rustic Warriors, 144.
143 ​​ Ibid, 86; Saxine, Properties of Empire, 93-95
144 ​​Pennhallow, Adams, Colman, and Dodge, The History of the Wars of New-England with the Eastern Indians, 103.
145 ​​Daniel N. Paul, We Were Not the Savage (Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 2008), 82-83.
 ​​147 Saxine, Properties of Empire, 77.
148 ​​Vol. 8, 397, CER.
149 ​​Pat Higgins, “Lovewell’s Fight,” The Maine Story, 2002,
150 ​​ Ibid.
151 ​​Calloway, Dawnland Encounters, 167.
152 ​​Saxine, Properties of Empire, 98-99; Vol. 8, 176, CER; Calloway, Dawnland Encounters 1991, 167; Sidney Perley, The History of Boxford: Essex County, Massachusetts, From the Earliest Settlement Known to the Present Time: A Period of about Two Hundred and Thirty Years (Boxford, Mass.: Published by the author, 1880), 152; Grenier, The First Way of War, 50.  
153 ​​
155 Jeremy Belknap, The History of New Hampshire (Dover: O. Crosby and J. Varney, 1784), 220.
156 MA A&R: 10, 612-13; MA House Journal: 11, 252; MA House Journal: 8, 266; MA A&R: 11, 355; MA A&R: 11, 726.
158 Saxine, Properties of Empire, 70-82, 94-104.
159 Ibid, 79-80.
160 Ibid, 78-82, 94-97.
161 Ibid, 196.
162 Some events mentioned by Bumstead appear in other parts of this lesson.
163 The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 15, Diary of Jeremiah Bumstead, published July 1861, 194.
164 ​​Ibid, 196.
166 ​​Haefeli and Sweeney, Captors and Captives, 89.
167 The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 15, Diary of Jeremiah Bumstead, 204.
168 ​​Calloway, Dawnland Encounters, 195. For more on Bombazeen and his captivity in Boston in 1696 after he went to Pemaquid under a flag of truce, and to read of his conversation with Puritan minister Cotton Mather, see 70-74.

Continue to the Next Section:

The 5th Anglo-Abenaki War