The Bounty Teacher's Guide

The Second Anglo-Abenaki War

(1688-1699) aka King William’s War, Nine Year's War, Father Baudoin’s War, Castin’s War, First Intercolonial War

During the 2nd Anglo-Abenaki War, the Massachusetts colonial government issued nine known bounty acts and proclamations. Several scalp bounty claimants petitioned for payment during this period, including three cash awards and one land claim which became a township in Connecticut. For a detailed list, see e-timeline.

Shortly after peace treaties ended the first Anglo-Abenaki war, colonial authorities began issuing grants for Wabanaki homelands without consent, interfering with fishing, hunting and subsistence territories. These violations led to renewed violence, during which many Wabanaki allied with French forces against the English, in what was known as Castin's War (King William's War in Europe). Baron de St. Castin lived with his Penobscot wife Pidianiske (baptized as Molly Mathilde) and their family in a village of 160 people on the Bagaduce River near present-day Castine, and led a resistance movement against English attacks as New France launched a campaign to conquer all of North America[110]. A large force of French and allied Wabanaki warriors drove the English from settlements east of Falmouth. Baron de St. Castin became a target of English militia raids and launched a series of attacks on Maine settlements in the summer of 1689.

As the English continued to violate the Wabanaki vision for the common pot (land and resource sharing), [111] the Original peoples fought back and tried to redraw the boundaries to contain the aggressive newcomers. Wabanaki warriors began to strike Maine towns in the autumn of 1688, driving colonists from east of Falmouth (now Portland), thus sparking the Second Anglo-Abenaki War. This was the first of five successive colonial wars fought between French and English colonial powers along with their respective Native allies before France ceded its remaining mainland territories in North America east of the Mississippi River in 1763.

Major Benjamin Church led a major campaign in this war in September 1689 when 200 Norridgewock, Penobscot, and Canada First Nations converged on Peaks Island in Casco Bay and, on September 20, attacked the Back Cove settlements of the English. Church, who had pursued Pometacomet in the First Anglo-Abenaki War, arrived by sloop at sunrise at Fort Loyal, and, after a “fierce fight,” drove the Wabanaki fighters from the area.

Exhausted from war and discouraged by French tactical maneuvers, Wabanaki pursued peace, and in 1693, signed a treaty with Massachusetts Governor William Phips (father of Lieutenant Governor Spencer Phips, whom readers will learn about later in this lesson). This was followed by the unpopular 1694 Madockawando deed for large tracts of Native territories:

Alongside disease and hunger, another wartime misfortune befell the Wabanakis that would only reveal itself in the fullness of time. Massachusetts governor William Phips managed to get a pair of prominent Wabanakis to make a massive land cession without consulting their people. The disaster had its origins in 1693, when a number of war-weary sagamores signed a cease-fire with Phips. [112]

It is presumed these Wabanaki agreed to the ceasefire and deed partly because the English were holding hostage some of their relatives. “But Phips did not return the hostages, who had included a brother of Kennebec Sagamore Egeremet, and a cousin of both Egeremet and Penobscot Sagamore Madockawando.” [113] An overwhelming majority of Penobscot rejected Madockawando’s 1694 land cession and the 1693 peace treaty fell apart as his leadership unraveled.

The Madockawando deed became the cornerstone of land controversies for the next sixty years, as the English continued to violate the Indigenous vision of the common pot. This brought another round of attacks on English settlements, and scalp-bounty proclamations targeting Native peoples throughout New England. In August 1696, Fort William Henry fell to a force of Canada-based Abenaki and the English, once again, abandoned the lower Kennebec. Massachusetts counter attacks against Port Royal and Quebec were largely ineffectual, as were several raids up the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers.

Franco-Wabanaki forces drove the English out of every town and fortification northeast of Wells by 1696, reclaiming much of the Dawnland and flooding present-day Massachusetts with refugees.

Although they scored a number of victories, often with French assistance, Indigenous people endured immense suffering. Military conflicts between English and French forces resulted in frequent raids by militia, which compelled Wabanaki to abandon many of their villages and disrupted seasonal subsistence patterns. Massachusetts commissioners who met with Wabanaki in 1698 received reports that they and their English captives were starving to death. [114]

English settlers also suffered gruesome violence. In 1697, a Wabanaki group attacked Pentucket (present-day Haverhill in northeastern Massachusetts) and captured settlers at the home of the Duston family. Hannah Duston, her infant baby girl, and nursemaid were taken, along with a dozen other English. The baby was killed by their captors soon after they began a forced march north, presumably toward Canada. While confined on an island in the Merrimack River, Duston killed and scalped ten family members of the group holding her captive. Although she collected the lion’s share of a bounty provided by the Massachusetts General Court (£50 for the scalps of two Native women, two men, and six children), Duston was nearly forgotten for over a hundred years. Venerated in the nineteenth century as a virtuous woman defending herself against “savages,” she became part of a larger and more indelible narrative about heroic colonial settlers in New England who contributed to America’s origin story. [115]

Monuments that honor Duston are now being reconsidered. [116]

Historians, Native Americans and even some of Duston’s descendants argue that many of the details of the 17th-century story are lost in the telling, such as the fact that many of the victims weren’t even Indigenous warriors, but children.

They say Duston’s story became propaganda for European colonists to justify eradicating New England’s Indigenous population, and served the same purpose generations later as the new nation expanded west. The monuments [to Duston] themselves were built in the late 1800s, as U.S. forces battled Indigenous peoples and forcibly removed them from their ancestral lands. [117]

In 1697, France and England negotiated peace. In 1698, Father Sebastian Rasle (also spelled Rale or Rasles) built a mission at the Native village in Norridgewock on the upper Kennebec River and it became a center for French-Indian interaction and resistance against further English territorial expansion. With the coast east of Wells nearly devoid of English settlers, Rasle’s mission was located at the southern boundary of New France.

Massachusetts signed a peace treaty with the Wabanaki in 1699, temporarily containing hostilities, although some English scouts probed north into French-held territory. The peace treaty did not hold for long.

The principal incentive for scouting was scalp money….

[The Massachusetts] Bay government set a standard policy and offered substantial rewards for the scalps of adult male Indians, with the greatest amount awarded to those who served without regular pay. Those volunteers who “maintain themselves free from the Province charge” would receive £40, volunteers in service £20, regular forces (pressed men) £10, and pursuit forces £30. Within a few years the reward for volunteers without wages from the province was increased to £100 (£60 for those with pay) and would remain at that level at least through the end of Dummer’s War [also referred to as the Second Anglo-Abenaki War, 1688-99]. The rewards were quite impressive when compared to a Boston artisan’s annual income of £40 or to the salary of Increase Mather as the president of Harvard at £50. The thought of volunteering did prove quite popular among the more adventurous sort, who balanced the risk, commitment of time, and no guarantees with the possible return, and considered the gamble worthwhile. [118]

And thus, the practice whereby colonial authorities issued acts and proclamations to encourage Englishmen, whether in regular forces or in informal militia, to go out in scalping parties to hunt and scalp Wabanaki people for bounty money continued.

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

Work Cited

110 ​​
111 ​​Lisa Brooks, The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), Introduction xix-xlvi.
112 ​​Saxine, Properties of Empire, 37.
113 ​​Ibid.
114 ​​Ibid, 36-37.
115 ​​Lesser, Dawnland Teacher’s Guide, 118.
116 ​​
117 ​​Philip Marcelo, “Statues to hatchet-wielding colonist Hanna Duston reconsidered,” Concord Monitor, April 29, 2021.
118 ​​Eames, Rustic Warriors, 136.

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The Third Anglo Abenaki War