The Bounty Teacher's Guide
The Sixth Anglo-Abenaki War
Sixth Anglo-Abenaki War (1754-1760)
aka the Seven Year’s War, French and Indian War
During this conflict, the governments of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Nova Scotia issued at least 14 bounty proclamations, including the 1755 bounty that is centered in the documentary film, Bounty. At least 14 known bounty claims were awarded payment during this time. For a detailed list see e-timeline.
Although the sixth and final Anglo-Abenaki War was partly fought in the Ohio Valley, most of the fighting took place in New England where Governor William Shirley used rumors of French maneuvers on the Kennebec River to garner enough fear and support to construct Fort Halifax above Norridgewock at Winslow. Many Penobscots withdrew from the St. Georges area when both the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the French demanded that they take up arms against other Wabanaki groups.
In 1759, English forces defeated the French at Quebec, ending the long struggle for control of North America. During the next few years Wabanaki family bands reoccupied tribal grounds on the upper Penobscot, Kennebec, and Saco rivers.
Governor Bernard banned white hunters and trappers from the upper Penobscot and sent surveyor Joseph Chadwick to mark the limits of English settlement at the falls above the Kenduskeag, but over the following years theft, murder, poaching, land encroachment, and a burst of white settlements up the river valleys undermined the aspirations of Wabanaki people to return to how their ancestors lived.
Scalp Proclamations in the Dawnland, 1750s
There were 69 bounty acts and proclamations in the Dawnland between 1675 and 1759. In this section, we will look at just two enacted in 1755, one signed by Governor William Shirley in June and the other by Lieutenant Governor Spencer Phips in November after the expiration of Shirley’s proclamation. We will explore their wording and meaning and how Shirley’s Proclamation led directly to Phips’s. There is much to be learned from these documents, which speak loudly to the present from the omitted past. It is worth noting that the town of Shirley, Massachusetts was named for William Shirley.
The precise wording of scalp-bounty proclamations merits careful examination, for it reveals the intent of the signatories and the narrative they crafted about their purpose and intended targets. Whether from the colonial era or after Independence, the choice of language to describe the “enemy” and justify the bounty, as well as the rewards stipulated by the proclamations, deserve scrutiny, as in the one signed by Governor William Shirley in “His Majesty’s Province of the Massachusetts-Bay” in June 1755.  To help prepare for the reading of the acts and proclamations, we will examine letters exchanged between Wabanaki leaders and colonial officials.
The historical archives in Massachusetts and Maine are filled with letters written by Wabanaki leaders, as well as acts, claims, letters, and other declarations written by colonial judicial and military officials in Boston. These documents, when used chronologically, demonstrate how Wabanaki people struggled to maintain control of their homelands, voice their demands, and negotiate diplomatically, as well as the workings of colonial-era governments as officials convened meetings, kept minutes, issued declarations, passed laws, and publicized agreements.
In the archives, there is evidence that colonial authorities, military officials, and Wabanaki leaders exchanged at least two-dozen letters in 1755. There is also a hand-written document of a vote taken on June 9, in which the Massachusetts House declared war on the Arresaguntacook and all other tribes east of the Piscataqua River, except the Penobscot. This declaration is a precursor to the Shirley proclamation, which can be found on the following page.
Transcription of Shirley Proclamation, June 1755
WHEREAS the Indians of Norridgewock, Arresaguntacook, Weweenock, and St. John’s tribes, and the Indians of other tribes inhabiting in the Eastern and Northern Parts of His Majesty’s territories of New-England, the Penobscot Tribe only excepted, have, contrary to their solemn Submission unto His Majesty long since made and frequently renewed, been guilty of the most perfidious, barbarous and inhuman Murders of divers [sic] of his Majesty’s English Subjects for many Months past ; and the said Indians have fully discovered an inimical, traiterous and rebellious Intention and Disposition ;
I have therefore thought fit to issue this proclamation, and to Declare the Indians of the Norridgewock, Arresaguntacook, Weweenok, and St. John’s Tribes, and the Indians of other tribes inhabiting in the Eastern and Northern Parts of His Majesty’s territories of New-England… to be Enemies, Rebels and Traitors to his Most Sacred Majesty: And I do hereby require his Majesty’s Subjects of this Province to embrace all Opportunities of pursuing, captivating, killing and destroying all and every of the aforesaid Indians, the Penobscots excepted…
…I do hereby promise, That there shall be paid out of the Province’s Treasury to all and any of the said forces, over and above their Bounty upon Enlistment, their villages and subsistence, the Premiums of Bounties, following, viz.
For every Male Indian Prisoner above the Age of Twelve Years, that shall be taken and brought to Boston, Fifty Pounds.
For every Male Indian Scalp, brought in as Evidence of their being killed, Forty Pounds.
For every Female Indian Prisoner, taken and brought in as aforesaid, and for every Male Indian Prisoner under the Age of Twelve Years, taken and brought in as aforesaid, Twenty-five Pounds.
For every Scalp of such Female Indian or Male Indian under Twelve Years of Age, brought
as Evidence of their being killed, as aforesaid, Twenty Pounds.
Guidance for Teaching
1. Do a close and careful read of the document in its original format; refer to the transcript if needed. Highlight words or sentences that stand out to you, and jot down what you think they mean.
2. Write down questions you have about the content of the document. Reflect on your experience reading the document and note any thoughts you have.
3. Choose one thing to share that stands out for you in the wording of the document. Note what you learned and what you want to learn more about.
4. Upper level students can use either of the following tools to analyze the document: Stanford History Education Group’s Historical Thinking Chart or Library of Congress Teacher’s Guide: Analyzing Primary Sources
5. Team up with four other students and share your notes. Discuss what you learned; what questions you have; and what you think is the central idea of the text.
Which, if any, of the Ten Stages of Genocide are reflected in the wording of this proclamation?
What, if anything, can you infer from the wording of the scalp proclamation about the motives of its author?
Digging into the Shirley Proclamation: letters
As noted above, the Shirley Proclamation named and targeted four tribal nations (Norridgewock, Arresaguntacook, Weweenock, and St. John’s Tribes). Evidence of the proclamation’s staggering impact can be inferred from the fact that the Norridgewock, Arresaguntacook, Weweenock, and St. John’s Tribes are not today part of the Wabanaki Confederacy.  While there used to be over twenty tribes in Wabanaki territory, today there are five. Norridgewock survivors of the Shirley Proclamation took refuge with Penobscot Nation and the Passamaquoddy Tribe; some St. John’s survivors went to live among the Maliseet. Their descendants are the keepers of countless stories of survivance.
The targeting of Wabanaki people by those who hunted them for their scalps lasted for five months under the Shirley Proclamation, but the violence unleashed against the tribal nations it named continued for decades and, if we consider the wording of the proclamation, it could be deemed ominously effective insofar as three of the four targeted tribal nations no longer exist as such.
While the Shirley Proclamation explicitly protected the Penobscot, with that came an expectation of allegiance on the part of English colonial authorities, which the Penobscot did not fulfill according to the English. This can be seen in letters written between the Wabanaki leaders, colonial authorities, and military officials in 1755. Penobscot leaders wrote the following letter to Governor Shirley on June 27, 1755, three weeks after his war/bounty proclamation, assuring the governor and council of their willingness to fight, if their women and children are supported.
June 27, 1755
Governor Shirley brother we salute you and all the counsel, we are glad that you have kept what we agreed upon. We always thought that the Canada Indians would bring us trouble, and what you desired of us we have done. You have told us that those that came against us in a hostile manner, we must join and go against them, let us know when we must do it, they have hurt us as well as you, and __ of our men are now come up to wait on you, which will be a proof of our sincerity and we expect that our wives and children will be supported at our village till our return, they that have hurt you already are gone off and will do it no more, and we shall always let you know truly when there is danger. There shall no damage be done on this side Pemequid. You must not think that we __, if you could see our heart you know that we are true. War will hurt us as well as you, therefore we are strong against it, if there should be war between England and France and we should come over to you, our women and children must be well used. We again salute you." Wombemando, Noodagunawit and Mesel on behalf of our tribe
In a letter dated July 5, before receiving news of the massacre of Penobscot at Owl’s Head Bay (near present day Rockland Harbor, Maine), which occurred on July 2 and will be discussed in the following pages, Phips replied to the Penobscot letter of June 27, in which the tribe agreed to ally with the English against rival tribes. Phips ordered that they all go to the Fort at St. Georges, under the protection of Captain Bradbury. Otherwise, he could not guarantee their safety at their home villages, as Shirley told them in a previous letter. Phips further demanded, "I expect that a competent number of your most able men do join with the English in avenging the wrongs we have received from the other tribes of Indians...."  He guaranteed them pay as soldiers and that their families will be supported during their service.
It is therefore expected that all those of your tribe that would not be reputed our enemies do appear at St. Georges (within such reasonable time as Captn. Bradbury and you shall agree upon) in order to join with the English in the war.... [A]ny further delay in this matter must be looked upon as a refusal to join with us and will constrain me to treat you as enemies in common with the other tribes...."
With these words, Spencer Phips, Lieutenant Governor of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, set the stage for his proclamation in November, declaring war against the Penobscot.
Phips became the adoptive son of Sir William Phips in 1719. The elder Phips was born on the central coast of Maine and had been the first governor of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay (1692-94). William Phips was knighted after discovering significant treasure north of the island of Hispaniola in 1687. It was he who established the court charged with adjudicating the Salem Witch Trials. He and his wife adopted Spencer Bennett, who chose to formally take the name Phips. Spencer eventually became a landowner of significant holdings on the central coast of Maine. The town of Spencer, Massachusetts was named for Spencer Phips.
We already learned about the brutality of Captain Benjamin Church during Pometacomet’s Resistance in 1675-76 and that of Harmon and Moulton in Norridgewock and Pigwacket in 1724. Another infamous bounty-hunter bent on the destruction of Wabanaki people for personal profit was James Cargill from Maine. Trigger Warning: depictions of scalping and murder in the following section.
Merciless Scalp-Bounty Hunter: James Cargill
According to some scholars, there was a sense of inevitability to the appearance of James Cargill as an especially ruthless scalp-bounty hunter. At the time,
… Massachusetts had forged a fragile policy, too dependent upon the goodwill of the inevitable dissenters on both sides to maintain peace. So, when Indian-hatred, lust for bounties, mistrust of governments, and self-righteousness all combined in the one person of James Cargill of Newcastle (Maine), the Massachusetts government’s Penobscot policy easily cracked apart with no help needed from the Penobscot. 
In response to the June 1755 Shirley Proclamation, Cargill registered with the authorities his intent to organize a scalp-hunting expedition. In spite of Governor Shirley’s orders to spare Penobscot nation, Cargill headed east to Penobscot territory, where on July 2, 1755 he assaulted two groups. The first was a Penobscot family of three near the Weskeag River and present-day Thomaston, Maine. One of those killed was a Penobscot woman named Margaret Moxa, who was a knowledge-keeper and cultural mediator engaged in diplomacy between the Wabanaki and English.
One of the crew, more ruffianly than his fellows, civilized and Christian in name, but barbarous and brutal in fact, replied to the dying mother, “every nit will make a louse,” and at a blow, dashed out the infant’s brains before her eyes! Such was the cruel fate of Margaret Moxa—a savage—but a woman and a mother, as she returned from the fort, on one of her Accustomed errands of good will, to save her neighbors—the more savage white man—from impending perils….
The cruel fate of Margaret Moxa was deeply deplored at the garrison. “Never shall I forget the deep and unappeasable grief of the women of the fort,” said one, “when they saw the scalp of her whom they had long regarded as a delivering angel;” and the more humane and considerate loudly condemned the act of Cargill, and confidently predicted that its perpetrators “would never die in their beds.” The prediction was realized in the history of those in the company from about St. George’s river. 
Here is the account given by Captain Jabez Bradbury of what James Cargill and his men saw and did. As you will read, they bound Margaret Moxa’s husband, presumably before they murdered him.
As I heard of thirty men out of Captain [Nickles’] company of marchers crossed the river. And in a few miles travel came up with an Indian, his wife and a child of two months old, without any arms / and I think he also was drunk for the persons that saw him after he was dead told me who it was, and that person they told me of always used to be Drunk when he came in, which is no new thing for Indians / and these very three Capt Cargill says he took to be a decoy. Those who were at the burying of said three Indians also told me that the man was fast bound. 
Then near Owl’s Head, Cargill’s hunting party opened fire on an encampment of Penobscot people who were returning from a peace council at the fort, killing and scalping nine of them. The acts leading to the deaths of twelve Penobscot that day became known as the Owl’s Head Massacre. It had taken “Massachusetts leaders several months to get enough Abenaki bands to agree to attend a peace conference at Falmouth, Maine (Me HSC 4:145-167).” Those efforts at diplomacy were undermined by Cargill’s unilateral actions and the ideology of exterminationism and state-sanctioned violence that drove him, making him indifferent to the tribe his victims belonged to. 
Read on for more on James Cargill, his four-year court case, and attempt to secure payment for the scalps of those he and his men murdered at Owl’s Head.
Letters exchanged between Penobscot and Phips
Following Cargill’s massacre of Penobscot at Owl’s Head, a series of letters was exchanged between Penobscot leaders and Lieutenant Governor Spencer Phips. In his July 10th letter, after having learned about the massacre, Phips appears more conciliatory and offers his condolences. On July 11, 1755, Cargill's arrest warrant was issued, and he was jailed in Boston for 24 weeks. Lt. Governor Phips and the Penobscot corresponded regarding the murders and what each was willing to do. Phips invited Penobscot to testify against Cargill for killing "friendly Indians," including Margaret Moxa and her family, and promised that Cargill would be brought to justice.
On December 31, 1757, two and a half years after commandeering the Owl’s Head massacre, Cargill presented the scalps of his Penobscot victims to the Executive Council Committee in Boston, which recorded, “Capt. James Cargill this day delivered us Twelve Indian Scalps, including two small Ones, which were put into a tar barrel, and in our presence consumed.” 
Cargill petitions the General Court again on January 2, 1758 for a scalp-bounty payment for killing Margaret Moxa, her husband, and infant son.
To his excellency the Governor and the Honr’d His Majesties Council
May it please your excellency and honours
In pursuance of your order to me by Mr. Secretary [?] I have delivered to a committee appointed by the honorable [board?] the scalps of three Indians killed by me and my company on the 2 of July 1755 in consequence of a commission received from his Excellency Governor Shirley- On the encouragement given by this government as by publick proclamation issued by Governor Shirley: and the said committee did attend the consumption of the same by time, on Saturday last agreeable to your direction. I now humbly hope after such ample proof produced relating to them. That your Excellency and Honours will be pleased to comply with the votes passed by this Government on which I placed all that confidence that may be expected from the publick faith of this Government, and which in justice I esteem myself justly entitled to receive agreeable to the tenor of said proclamation
All which is humbly submitted
By your Excellency and Honours
Most dutiful and humble servant
Boston Jan. 2, 1758 James Cargil
On January 10, 1758, Cargill is denied his bounty claim by the General Court, at the Council Chamber in Boston:
A petition of James Cargill setting forth that on the encouragement given by the General Court of this province by their vote of the tenth day of June 1755 for the Captivating and killing the Indian Enemy he obtained a commission from Governor Shirley bearing date the [blank] day of June aforesaid and that he with his Company killed twelve of the Indian enemy whose scalps he produced in Evidence thereof delivered them to a Committee of the Council in pursuance of an order therefor & that the said committee consumed the same to [ ] by virtue of said order, therefore praying that he may be allowed the bounty promised by the vote aforesaid.
The board took the same under consideration, examined the respective evidences and the matter being fully debated------- The question was put whether Captn. James Cargill & Company are entitled to any bounty for the Indians by them killed, as set forth in Captn. Cargill’s memorial? And it passed in the negative, inasmuch as it does not appear that the said Indians were such with whom this Government was then at War. [emphasis added]
At a Council held at the Council Chamber in Boston upon Tuesday the 10th day of January 1758. Sitting the General Court. Present his Excellency Thomas Pownall Esqu. Gov.
As a reverberation across time, it is interesting to note that James Cargill’s son, David, was part of a group in the late 1700s and early 1800s whose members pretended to be Indians, apparently for the purpose of scapegoating the Original peoples for acts of harm.
At that time, more English colonial settlers flooded into northern New England, many of them the children of those who scalped and hunted Wabanaki people.
As economic pressures worsened, land proprietors and their agents, and the surveyors and sheriff’s deputies who acted for them, squeezed the masses of financially broke tenants and squatters on their lands to pay up or be evicted. The targeted tenants organized fierce para-military resistance, but hid their identities by an elaborate ruse, adopted from the Boston Tea Party. They devised costumes, lingo, and rituals in caricature of Indians. After making their commando raids as Indians, they returned, metamorphosed, to be white tenants again, blaming “Indians” for the mayhem. This so called “White Indian Movement” camouflaged identities but fooled no one. No Abenaki people were officially blamed. 
David Cargill’s role in the “White Indian Movement” invites teachers and their students to reflect on the intergenerational transmission of hatred and prejudice, and the weaponization of cultural appropriation. It also beckons us to ask what the younger Cargill and his fellows were attempting to convey about their relationship to the land and belonging to that place.
Guidance for Teaching
Letters exchanged between Penobscot and Phips
Following Cargill’s massacre of Penobscot at Owl’s Head, a series of letters was exchanged between Penobscot leaders and Lieutenant Governor Spencer Phips. In his July 10th letter, after having learned about the massacre, Phips appears more conciliatory and offers his condolences. On July 11, 1755, Cargill's arrest warrant was issued, and he was jailed in Boston for 24 weeks. Lt. Governor Phips and the Penobscot corresponded regarding the murders and what each was willing to do. Phips invited Penobscot to testify against Cargill for killing "friendly Indians," including Margaret Moxa and her family, and promised that Cargill would be brought to justice. 
Brethren of the Penobscot Boston July 10, 1755
...I received a most unhappy piece of news from St. Georges which occasions this second letter. I hear that twelve Indians have been killed by a party of English who were sent out after the St. Francois and the Norridgewock tribes but as the report goes fell upon some of your tribe. Whether or no the English knew they were of your tribe I cannot certainly say. I am afraid they did. I have taken measures that the commander and several other persons who are charged with being principally concerned be secured in order to a strict inquiry being made into this affair that so such as shall appear to be guilty may be punished according to law. I am at a loss what to say to you. My grief on this occasion is very great. ...There is a great God who governs every event. He has permitted this terrible affair and suffered a great Cloud to come over us.
Sometimes your young men have done cruel things to the English notwithstanding all the endeavors of your ancient men to the contrary. Our young men I fear have now done a very bad thing, not only against the mind of the government but against the express charge of the Governour who cautioned them to be very careful of hurting any of your Tribe. I hear of a rumour that revenge has already been taken by some of your People. How it is I have no certainty. Be it as it will the Government will do nothing unjust nor dishonorable
...I give you now my Solemn Promise that if any of you will come up in order to prosecute a complaint against the English who are said to have killed your People you shall not only be absolutely secure of your lives, liberties and a safe conduct out and home but shall be kindly treated and shall have all the Justice done for the Injury received which the law will give.
I have a tender sympathy with you and am
Your Friend and Brother Phips 
In a July 12th letter to Penobscot, Phips rescinds his demand that Penobscot take up arms alongside the English if Penobscot stay east of the St. George’s River and come to the fort for protection.
Brethren July 12, 1755
Since writing the foregoing I have secured the Captain of the party who has done you this Mischief and have taken measures to secure some other persons who were principally concerned in it: and I desire you would let your resentment sleep until we can concur together. You see how much you are exposed to danger while we are at war with the other Tribes of Indians; I therefore desire you would confine yourselves to the eastward of St. Georges River until we can see one another and I will give you Orders that none of our people shall do you any Mischief, so long as you continue quiet and suffer no mischief be done us on that side of the river. If you think it better to come in with your old Men, Women and Children you shall all be supported by us, and I shall not insist upon your young men going out with us against the other Indians as I proposed in my letter to you of the 5th instant. 
On July 16, the Penobscot leader Umbarius writes to Phips, after sending a diplomatic delegation to Boston, that they will return to Boston again after holding council. Captain Bradbury also writes to Phips to say that the Penobscot told him that some Penobscot men were missing and that the English should be put on alert.  On July 25, after receiving Phips letters, "Wambemando and sundry others of the Penobscot tribe" write that they do not wish to testify in Boston against Cargill but ask that justice be served.
Brother it is very true what you have said to us in your letter, but our hearts are very sore, We thought to answer your letter but are struck with a damp, you can't think how our hearts are broken. Brother we shall say nothing further about what has been done to us, but you might make it up as you think it proper. If you see cause to make it up do so, make it up, that's all we can say. Brother I tell you I have warned all the Indians not to come this way. You know how it is and must strive to keep up love and friendship, the sooner the better.
On August 18, 1755, Phips writes a threatening letter to the Penobscot leaders, demanding that they come to Fort St. Georges or be declared enemies.
…and a war between us shall be the consequence, as I think it necessarily must, the blame will be upon you for refusing the only means of preventing and not upon us who make you these offers purely for your own sake and for the preservation of your lives for the suppositions and protecting you __ occasion a great burden and expense to us… 
On August 18, 1755, Phips writes a threatening letter to the Penobscot leaders, demanding that they come to Fort St. Georges or be declared enemies.
You must let them know that I am obliged to the people under my government for the sake of the preservation of their lives and estates to revoke the orders which I have given to the several parties on the frontier not to march within certain limits and that I must leave them at large to pursue our enemies wherever they are to be found and that it will not be possible to distinguish the people of Penobscot from the rest and I do not apprehend that they can with safety continue any longer to come into trade with us or come to any of our forts or settlements on any other occasion or pretence. I shall in conformity hereto send you a number of printed orders revoking the former orders I have given. If the Indians determine to comply with the proposals and [leave?] pledges or certify for it in this case you are to keep private the printed orders I send you but if they shall not so determine you are then to acquaint them with these printed orders no other person except the interpreter be [?] present and to assure them that you will not suffer them to be made publick in less than eight days after the Indians departure from you and at the expiration of said ten days you are to [disperse?] the said orders in the most expeditious manner you can that they may be made publick on the several parts of the frontier. 
On September 6, 1755, Penobscot leaders write one last letter, reaffirming their allegiance to the English, and explaining to Phips why they cannot meet his demands:
Brother, the first time you wrote we like it well and understood there was to be a treaty here and we of Penobscot look forward for that which is best, we do not look behind, or on one side; you told us that you would do everything for the best, and that which is good, we have always strove for that which is best and you have always said that you would do the same. We think it might do well for some gentlemen to come here. We would have you strive further and we will strive for the best. The Pasamaquody [sic] Indians have done you no hurt, they want to trade here. we pray you to consider of it, they that are loving to each other will trade together; If we should come to live among you our Dogs will destroy your creatures, and when we are drunk we might sometimes treat you ill; you shall find us true and honest. We would have no lives taken away to satisfy for the wrong done us, but would have you make that matter up as you think best. We shall be glad of an answer as soon as you can. We all salute you and all the gentlemen. Squdook, Matiue, Kehooret, Sabadis 
Guidance for Teaching
We now learn more about the November 1755 Phips Bounty Proclamation, which is centered in the documentary film, Bounty.
Spencer Phips and his Proclamation: A Growing Threat to Penobscot in 1755
The minutes of the House of Representatives meeting on October 28, 1755 in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, toward the end of the five-month mandate established by the Shirley Proclamation (June 25-November 25), shine a spotlight on the expiration of the proclamation and the seismic quarrel with Penobscot.
The present Posture of Affairs with Regard to the Indians is such as to make it necessary to provide for the Defence and Safety of our exposed Frontiers : And as the Establishment made in May Session for the Forces to be employed in the Eastern and Western Parts of the Province, will expire on the fifth of next Month ; I must earnestly recommend it to you, Gentlemen, to make further Provision for their Defence. Council Chamber
October 28 1755 S. PHIPS. 
At the House of Representatives meeting on October 31, 1755, a motion was introduced and passed.
On a motion made and seconded by divers [sic] Members, Voted, That the same Bounty [as stated in the Shirley Proclamation] be allowed for Scalps and Prisoners of the Penobscott [sic] Tribe, as for those of the other Tribes of Indians that this Government have declared War against ; 
The justification for this motion, which led to a declaration of war, is clearly articulated.
For as much as the Refusal of the Indians of the Penobscot Tribe to take up arms and to act offensively with us against the Arrasaguntacook [sic], and other Tribes of Indians that have been declared Enemies, Rebels & Traitors to His Most Sacred Majesty, as by the treaties subsisting between us and the said Penobscot Indians, they were obliged to do ; and upon divers [sic] Hostilities lately committed by them, this House has desired his Honour the Lieut. Governour and Command in Chief to declare them Enemies and Rebels... 
Lieutenant Governor Spencer Phips signed the proclamation in the Council Chamber on the second floor of the Old State House in Boston while Governor Shirley was in Wabanaki territory fighting Acadians.
It is worth recalling that while the Shirley Proclamation explicitly protected members of the Penobscot tribe, Phips subsequently targeted “the Penobscot Tribe of Indians” for the 25-day duration of his scalp-bounty act. Bounty hunters in Wabanaki territory were instructed to register with colonial officials at a garrison in Wiscasset, Maine before hunting Wabanaki people.
In the mid-1700’s several attacks on Wabanaki people took place, violating earlier peace treaties. One incident in particular occurred in Wiscasset, Maine. In what has been labeled the “Wiscasset Incident” (Ghere and Morrison 2001:378), one Wabanaki man was killed and two others wounded by a group of six Englishmen anchored at Wiscasset Harbor…. No one was ever convicted of murder….
A series of violent events followed the Wiscasset Incident and although the Penobscot Indians tried to maintain neutrality, Massachusetts declared war on them in 1755.
Although historians will likely never ascertain how many Penobscot children, women, and men perished in 1755 due to the Phips Proclamation or exactly how much money colonial officials paid in exchange for the capture or scalps of Penobscot people, this proclamation is displayed in the tribal office of Penobscot Nation as evidence of their people’s genocide and survivance. Wabanaki children and adults have been knowledgeable about it across a dozen generations.
A couple of years later, the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay increased the bounty for the scalp of an adult male to £300, which would today be worth approximately $72,000.
Hunting Wabanaki people became very lucrative at times. By resolution in 1757, the Great and General Court of Massachusetts raised the bounty to 300 pounds [a1] in an effort to “rid the colony of the ‘Indian enemy’” (Seybolt 1930:527). At the time, this was a considerable sum. By way of example, Seybolt notes that the annual salary of a schoolteacher in Boston was 120 pounds. The disbursement of bounty occurred under the signature of Samuel Waldo, a brigadier general who laid claim to Penobscot land that eventually became present-day Waldo County. 
Thirty years after the Shirley and Phips Bounty Proclamations were signed in Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts compelled the Penobscots to let go of their lands.
In the years between the end of the Revolution and the admission of Maine as a state in 1820, the Massachusetts government steadily increased the pressure on Indian lands, until the native inhabitants of Maine were confined to reservations. In 1786, Massachusetts pressed the Penobscots to give up their lands. The Indians resisted, but in years following, as it became increasingly difficult for them to make a living, the Penobscots found themselves compelled to sell off more and more of their lands. In 1796, they signed a treaty yielding almost 200,000 acres in the Penobscot Valley. Other cessions followed, until the tribe was virtually denuded of land and confined to Indian Island at Old Town and other islands in the Penobscot River. 
These struggles over the land continue today . This passage should help readers begin to answer the compelling question: What is the relationship between the taking of scalps and the taking of the land?
Guidance for Teaching
Given at the Council-Chamber in Boston, this Third Day of November 1755, and in the Twenty-ninth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord GEORGE the Second, by the Grace of GOD of Great-Britain, France and Ireland, KING, Defender of the Faith, etc
After reading the Phips Bounty Proclamation, divide students into small groups and ask them to follow several instructions:
· Analyze the tone, mood, and rhetorical devices of this document;
· Make a list of three words that are new to you;
· Pick two historical facts that surprise you;
· Pick two historical facts about which you are curious;
· Choose a word or sentence that caught your attention;
· Given what you have read, how would you answer the compelling question of this lesson: What is the relationship between the taking of scalps and the taking of land?
In the following section we learn about the participation of clergy in the encouragement of and profiteering from scalp bounty hunting of Wabanaki people in a church in southern Maine.
Guidance for Teaching
We will now focus on the historical context for a series of bounty proclamations that targeted the Mi’kmaq in the northern Dawnland.
Land for Soldiers and Bounty Hunters
There is an abundance of primary and secondary sources that provide evidence of the complicated process whereby European settlers dispossessed the Original peoples of their ancestral homelands in the place now called New England. Among the most valuable sources are the Massachusetts Acts and Resolves, the official publication of the Session Laws of the Massachusetts General Court from 1692 to 1959, and the Journals of the House of Representative of Massachusetts, which were digitized between 1919 and 1990.
Regarding the period that concerns us, there are 37 volumes containing detailed information about bills and laws, petitions and reports, and thousands of votes that impacted Native and non-Native people all over the Province of the Massachusetts Bay. The records in the Journals mention “unappropriated land,” a term used by colonial authorities to refer to all Indigenous homelands for which settlers sought deeds. These authorities allocated land to individual proprietors and to towns, based on court grants and approved purchases, in some cases, citing Native deeds (most of them contested).
While the data on land grants to scalpers are likely incomplete, the Journals provide copious evidence of a large-scale and wide-ranging appropriation of land belonging to Wabanaki people and other Indigenous peoples to soldiers who fought in the six Anglo-Abenaki wars and other conflicts, and to their heirs. Notably, many of these claims were made and granted years and even decades after the conflicts, including to descendants of those who fought on the side of the English in the 1637 Pequot War.
Land grants were authorized to individual soldiers and to groups of soldiers who petitioned the colonial government for large tracts of land to found settler towns and cities in the Dawnland. Here we present a sampling of evidence about land grants approved for individual scalpers and groups of scalpers who participated in bounty-hunting expeditions and battles. More detailed information can be found about land grants to scalpers all over the Dawnland in Appendix A and the e-timeline.
Many land grants were made to veterans of the battles that took place during Fourth Anglo-Abenaki War.
Readers may recall the role of Colonel Johnson Harmon and his company during the attack on Norridgewock in 1724. Captain Jeremiah Moulton, who played a leading role in Harmon’s company during the attack, requested and was granted 100 acres of land in York County.
We also have the record of a 1727 petition by Richard Bourne, another captain who served in Johnson Harmon’s company. He was granted 100 acres, too.
There is another record indicating that Colonel Harmon was granted 200 acres of unappropriated land in York County in 1727.
On November 30, 1727, Joseph Demmick requested and was granted 250 acres of unappropriated land for his service at Norridgewock, where he had been wounded. The land was to be for him and his five sons who do not have “any Lands upon which to settle them.”
In September 1728, Samuel Tarbell, John Goss, and 57 others petitioned the House of Representatives for a six-mile square tract of land as reward for their service fighting Native peoples.
To incentivize the founding of another settler town, on July 5, 1729, the House of Representatives of Massachusetts approved land grants to David Melvin, Thomas Richardson, and others who served under Captain Lovewell at Pigwacket, granting them six-square miles to establish a township together with 50 families on both sides of the Merrimack River near Pennacook.
A year later, David Melven  and William Ayer, who also served under Captain Lovewell, petitioned for and received six square miles of land to establish another settlement on each side of the Merrimack River for sixty veterans.
In February 1730, the House granted a petition for Narraganset land from heirs of soldiers who fought in what was referred to as the Narraganset War (First Anglo-Abenaki War, Pometacomet’s Resistance/King Philip’s War). The House ordered that groups of 120 people whose claims were approved each be allotted six-square miles to establish a township.
In June 1733, Jeremiah Pearley, John Bennet, Thomas Farmer, and others (72 total) who served under Captain Lovewell were granted a six-mile square township northwest of Rutland, Massachusetts.
In October 1733, Samuel Hunt and other veterans of the “Falls-fight,” including John Stoddard, Joseph Dwight, Charles Church, Samuel Danforth, and John Wainwright, petitioned for land near Deerfield, Massachusetts for their service in a fight near the Connecticut River in 1676, also during Pometacomet’s Resistance/King Philip’s War. 
The land north of Deerfield was granted to them the following year.
In 1734, many petitions for land were submitted to seek rewards for fighting that took place in the early 1700s during the Third Anglo-Abenaki War. Here is an image of a petition made by Richard Kent, which resulted in a grant of 300 acres in the Massachusetts Province.
As readers may recall, the Battle of Pequawket or Lovewell’s Fight occurred on or around May 9, 1725. While not officially part of the provincial military’s campaign, John Lovewell recruited volunteers to form a private squad of scalp-bounty hunters and rangers. These men chose Lovewell to lead them. Almost a decade later, Deliverence Read, whose late husband, Josiah, served under Lovewell, petitioned for land with the help of her attorney.
A large land grant was given to two men who joined Captain William Tyng’s militia and killed six Wabanaki at Winnipesaukee in 1703. Readers may recall the role of Tyng in the Third Anglo-Abenaki War, when he formed a militia known as the Snow Shoe Scouts because they wore snowshoes to hunt Wabanaki people in the winter. Among the Scouts were Ephraim Hildreth and John Shipley, who in 1735 were granted 23,000 acres (six square miles) of land on the east side of the Merrimack River, between Litchfield and Suncook (Lovewell’s town). It is worth noting that Wabanaki technology created the first snowshoes in the northeast, which the English copied. 
Also in 1735, nearly sixty years after their father fought the Wampanoag in the First Anglo-Abenaki War, otherwise known as Pometacomet’s Resistance/King Philip’s War, Thomas and Charles Church, sons of Benjamin Church, requested and received 600 acres “in unappropriated land of the Province” as a reward for their father’s service.
At the end of 1735, the House received a petition from Robert Hale, Esq., on behalf of heirs and representatives of Captain Thomas Lothrop, who had fought between Deerfield and Hatfield in 1675, when a hundred Indigenous people were killed. They requested bounty rewards equal to those received by English soldiers who fought against the Narragansett.
In closing, most of those who fought Wabanaki people and in some cases scalped them were lavishly rewarded with cash and land grants. Dozens of towns in New England were founded by soldiers who, upon returning from one of the Anglo-Abenaki Wars (or their heirs), petitioned the provincial House of Representations for acreage.
Guidance for Teaching
Ask students to conduct research into the history of the name of their town or city. They can begin with official town or city websites and Wikipedia articles, which they can analyze and critique. Students can then write a short essay in which they argue whether their source contributes to the erasure or un-erasure of Indigenous peoples.
To prepare them for this research, work with them to critique these excerpts from Wikipedia articles about the town of Wakefield, Massachusetts and a local body of water, Lake Quannapowitt.
In the following section we offer a series of maps and encourage students to use their skills of observation and analysis to deepen their understanding of the movements of opposing forces throughout the vast region where the Original peoples lived and resisted attempts to exterminate them.