The Bounty Teacher's Guide

The Third Anglo-Abenaki War

Third Anglo-Abenaki War (1702-1713)

aka Queen Anne’s War, War of the Spanish Succession

During this conflict, the governments of Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and New Hampshire issued 18 known bounty proclamations between 1703 and 1713. At least 29 separate bounty claims were submitted by bounty hunters at this time. Of these, 27 were awarded cash claims and two were awarded land to establish a new town.[119] For a detailed list see e-timeline.

As England and France continued to battle over who would dominate whom in northern New England, in 1702 colonial authorities stipulated that children under ten who were taken captive were to be sold into slavery and all profits would go to the scalp hunter. The English also increased payment for bounties, amounting to premiums for killing Wabanaki who occupied lands sought by the colonial government and settlers. For many, scalp-hunting expeditions became a significant source of income, starkly manifest in the numerous bounties claimed in a few short years. In addition to physical violence, ongoing violations of territorial treaties and the common pot further endangered Wabanaki homelands, subsistence, and survival.

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

At the outset of the Third Anglo-Abenaki War, otherwise known as Queen Anne’s War between England and France, the Penobscot ratified a series of neutrality agreements to regulate their relationship with colonial Massachusetts after France proved less willing to supply them with arms. The English decreed treaties, often with little or no buy-in from the Wabanaki who did not consent to give up their homelands. These mostly unilateral arrangements failed to resolve growing tensions. Had the English wanted to create a just and lasting peace they could have agreed to no new settlements, an action which they were unwilling to consider.

In July 1703, a diplomatic delegation of leaders, including Sagamore Wattanummon’s sister, warned the English of impending attacks by French and Native allies and attempted to negotiate a peace treaty with Massachusetts Governor Dudley at Casco Bay. But then, in August 1703, an expedition of about 500 French and Mi'kmaq from the St. Lawrence devastated coastal towns and English forts from Wells to Falmouth, and the Province of the Massachusetts Bay declared war on all the Original peoples in the north. [120]

English militia raids in the upper Saco kept Wabanaki villagers from their agricultural fields and critical foraging areas. It was within this context that Massachusetts Governor Joseph Dudley asked Connecticut Governor, Fitz John Winthrop, to provide 100 Mohegan warriors to counter the raids by the French and their Native allies. To convince Winthrop, Dudley offered to pay them “£20 for every enemy killed, with the profits from any sale of captives, or £40 to those furnishing their own provisions.” His proposal made explicit the function of hunting and capturing Wabanaki people as wages. [121]

The declaration of war, An Act to Encourage the Prosecution of the Indian Enemy and Rebels, sparked another decade of bloodshed that resulted in the highest number yet of Wabanaki people hunted for their scalps and bounty claims submitted for payment.

The bounty hunters exchanged Wabanaki people’s scalps for payment “out of the Public Treasury,” which was replenished annually by estate taxes. Put another way, English colonial settlers invaded Wabanaki, Wampanoag, Nipmuc, and Massachusett homelands, and through a variety of means, secured deeds to that land, then paid property taxes on their deeded land, and colonial authorities aggregated those payments and drew down that revenue to encourage the hunting and killing of more Indigenous peoples to banish them from their land, thereby creating new opportunities for colonial settlers to occupy Native land and consequently expand the public treasury’s tax base.

After the cessation of hostilities in Europe, the Wabanaki signed the 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth, [122] which repealed the 1694 deed disputed by most Wabanaki and brought a semblance of peace to the Maine frontier. By this time, it was apparent that English population expansion would engulf southern Maine, and many Wabanaki people in the area withdrew to the St. Lawrence settlements under the command of French-Canadian Governor Vaudreuil. Wabanaki military successes were significant, however, and the upper Kennebec remained a contested territory.

The violence of 1688-1713 consumed entire communities, destroying old relationships. This destruction paved the way for new ones to grow from the wreckage. The English population of Maine plummeted from a prewar peak of 6,000 to fewer than 2,000 by 1713, most of them clustered around the three southernmost towns of Wells, York, and Kittery. The war also increased the influence of large absentee landowners, who were able to buy numerous family claims from poor settlers, now refugees, who had given up on returning. A group of wealthy speculators living in Boston snapped up many of the refugee titles, then waited for the time when the frontier could again be safe for British colonization. [123]

Wabanaki communities also experienced profound changes during the war years, and by 1713 they had coalesced into political groupings still recognizable today in the Wabanaki Confederacy: the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Houlton Band of Maliseets, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkokmikuk, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik, and Penobscot Nation. [124] In the ebbs and flows of land dispossession and other forms of violence, Penobscots and Kennebecs permitted English settlers to return to their former lands, according to the Treaty of 1713, as long as there were no new land grants issued. Land speculation increased, however, as wealthy Boston-based investors formed companies, such as the Pejepscot Proprietors, to claim war torn Wabanaki lands on the Maine frontier. Governor Phips's adopted son, and future lieutenant Governor, Spencer Phips, sold land from the fraudulent “Muscongus Patent” to Boston proprietors, breaking the treaty and renewing conflicts. [125]

Falmouth (present-day Portland), once the center of a vigorous trade in fish, masts, spars, timber, and sawed lumber, slowly revived. Sawmills, gristmills, and boatworks again dotted the rivers and inlets between the Piscataqua and Kennebec, and farms sent hay, dairy products, cattle, sheep, swine, cordwood, and fish to Massachusetts ports for the local and coastal trade. With English settlers pushing upriver, the Massachusetts militia rebuilt the fort at Brunswick, giving the English power to prevent Wabanaki from reaching the coast to harvest natural resources and fish. Wabanaki security in central Maine had become more tenuous as well. [126]

Returning settlers took up a quasi-military lifestyle. Garrisons, which were fortified block houses, usually under a militia command, provided nuclei for small settlements either just outside or within a stockade. During daylight, men and women worked in their fields under the protection of scouts and guards. For most of this period, the English in Maine lived in a state of virtual siege. Only the larger seaports – Boston, Salem, Portsmouth, Kittery – enjoyed sufficient security to benefit from the military expenditures from Great Britain. [127]

Deeper Dive: Pennacook Sagamores Wannalancet and Wattanummon Press Diplomacy

The Pennacook were part of the original Wabanaki Confederacy, and though we lack the most basic biographical information about most Wabanaki who were captured and scalped by English bounty hunters, we know something about Sagamore Wattanummon, peacemaker and diplomat who was slain in 1712. In the following paragraphs, we learn about him and Wannalancet and their impact on Wabanaki diplomatic efforts. 

Born in the 1660’s in the Molodemak (Merrimack in English) River Valley during the turbulent years leading up to Pometacomet’s Resistance and the first Anglo-Abenaki War (1675-78), Wattanummon served under Pennacook Sagamore Wannalancet with whom he had worked for peace by using diplomacy, strategic accommodation, and mobilization, and by distancing himself and his people from war zones. However, English mistrust and betrayal prompted violent attacks by organized militia, who killed women, children, and elders in praying towns and Wabanaki villages, burning crops and wigwams, obliterating Pennacook communities and homelands. Other Wabanaki communities gave sanctuary to kin and war refugees, protecting them from violence by moving them to greater safety in the northern frontier.

In 1676, during Pometacomet’s Resistance, Sagamore Wannalancet negotiated a peace agreement with Major Richard Waldron at Cochecho (present day Dover, New Hampshire) for Dawnland tribes living between the Molodemak and Androscoggin Rivers. Waldron, commander of the northern front, colonial magistrate and trader, had cheated and wronged Pennacook people in the past, illegally selling liquor from his trading post, despite protests from Wabanaki leaders. Instead of granting amnesty, as promised, to the Wabanaki and others who gathered at the peace conference, Waldron rounded up hundreds of “strange Indians,” including those who had fought against the English as well as innocent children, women, and men, who were then executed, imprisoned in Boston, or sold into foreign slavery. [128]

In 1692, Sagamores Wannalancet and Wattanummon signed another treaty, which was broken when the English assassinated two Kennebec leaders at a 1696 peace conference in Maine. Following this transgression, Wattanummon led a war party to the Andover, Massachusetts home of his former acquaintance responsible for the murders, Pasco Chubb, doing his best to ensure that no harm came to other innocent settlers, whom he knew. Wattanummon then migrated north to avoid further conflict, moving between Canada, New York, Vermont, and Maine, where he became a leader at Pequawket. [129]

In 1703, Wattanummon and the Pequawket sagamore Atiwaneto attended a peace conference with Massachusetts Governor Thomas Dudley in Casco Bay at the outbreak of the Third Anglo-Abenaki War. Demonstrating their allegiance, Wattanummon’s sister in Pequawket and other Wabanaki warned the English of multiple pending attacks, which nevertheless resulted in the death or capture of over 130 English by French and allied Native forces between Wells and Casco. As a show of indiscriminate retaliation, Massachusetts Governor Dudley increased existing scalp bounties targeting Wabanaki to £40 and then £200. These betrayals caused irreparable damage to the many diplomatic efforts made by Wattanummon, Wannalancet, and their Wabanaki kin. In the winter of 1704, Captain John Tyng and his “snow shoe scouts,” were rewarded the first cash bounty of the Third Anglo-Abenaki War, £200, for the scalps of five Wabanaki people. Among the victims from Pequawket were several women, likely including Wattanummon's sister and wife. [130] It is worth noting that Dudley Square in Boston was named for this Massachusetts governor and recently renamed by the community Nubian Square, [131] although no mention has been made, to the best of our knowledge, of Dudley’s role as an issuer of scalp bounties. And Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, was named after the Tyng family. [132]
In January 1704, Wattanummon and allied Native and French raiders attacked Deerfield, Massachusetts, killing and capturing dozens of English colonial settlers. From the home of Reverend John Williams, they took him, his children, and other captives to what is now known as Quebec. While most were ransomed and exchanged for Native prisoners held by the English, and eventually returned home, others were adopted into Native and French communities. Williams’ daughter married a Native man and remained in Canada.

Years later, many of these captives and their captors would gather in Deerfield. Reverend John Williams welcomed former captors and raiders into his Deerfield home and wrote The Redeemed Captive, one of the best-known captivity narratives of this popular genre, including an account by Stephen Williams, his young son, who had been taken by Wattanummon as his personal captive and was kept by Wattanummon’s kin. After being redeemed, Williams graduated from Harvard with a graduate degree in theology and later served as an interpreter between Governor Belcher and members of several Native nations during treaty negotiations in Deerfield in 1735[133]. Later in the century, Benjamin Franklin wrote about Europeans who lived among Indigenous people. Perhaps this quote, which sheds light on what some of them experienced, helps explain the complexity of the relationship between former captives and captors.

Happiness is more generally and equally diffus’d among Savages than in civilized societies. No European who has tasted savage life can afterwards bear to live in our societies.[134]
Following their military campaigns, Wattanummon and others sought to live peacefully in their former Dawnland homes. In 1712, toward the end of the Third Anglo-Abenaki War, a volunteer raiding party, led by former Deerfield captives Thomas Baker, Lieutenant Samuel Williams (Stephen’s brother), and Martin Kellog, attacked an isolated encampment of Wabanaki families on the Pemigawasset River, which they judged to have been occupied for several years, based on the many furs they plundered. The raiders killed eight or nine Wabanaki people, taking several scalps, including that of Wattanummon. Baker was made a Captain and his party was paid a bounty of £40 and a bonus of £20 for these scalps, the last official bounty claims made during the twilight of Queen Anne’s War. [135]

In a brazen testament to erasure, the river Asquamchumauke, where Wattanummon and his kin were killed, was renamed the Baker River. Today an historical marker stands as a bleak and disturbing testament to the erasure of Wattanummon’s legacy as a Wabanaki peacemaker and fierce protector of the Dawnland.

Guidance for Teaching

Ask middle school students to examine the Baker River historical marker in Figure 45 and discuss its wording in relation to several questions: What do you observe? If applying an anticolonial lens, is there anything you would change about the marker’s wording? If so, what would you change and for what purpose? If not, why would you keep the extant wording and what message do you think it sends?
Ask upper level students to read about Wannalancet and Wattanummon in this Deeper Dive section and pose this question: How do you think Wattanummon might have reacted to the Massachusetts bounty proclamation issued by Governor Joseph Dudley in 1712, and what is your argument? What conditions would have been required for Wabanaki diplomacy to last? And, what do you think might have happened if Wabanaki diplomacy had been allowed to endure? Consult the e-timeline for more information.

Work Cited

119 ​​Vol. 1, 530-531, Massachusetts Acts and Resolves (MA A&R); Vol. 8, 31-32, MA A&R ; Ibid, Vol. 8, 38-39; Ibid, Vol. 8, 44-45; Ibid, Vol. 1, 558-559; Ibid, Vol. 8, 681; Ibid, Vol. 1, 594-595; Ibid, Vol. 1, 621-622; Ibid, Vol. 1, 639-640, 657-658, 674-676; Ibid, Vol. 9, 175; Bouton, Provincial Papers: 1623-[1776], 1799-1878, 477; Vol. 1, 695-697, MA A&R; Ibid, Vol. 9, 251.
120 Maine Memory Network, Maine History Online, “1668-1774: Settlement & Strife,” Evan Haefeli and Kevin Sweeney, Captors and Captives: The 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield (Native Americans of the Northeast), (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2003), 87-89; Saxine, Properties of Empire, 36-37.
121 ​​Ball, “Grim Commerce,” 244, citing MA A&R, 1:175-176 and Richard R. Johnson, “The Search for a Usable Indian: An Aspect of the Defense of Colonial New England,” Journal of American History 64, no. 3 (December 1977): 630.
122 ​​For more information, consult Maine Memory Network:
123 ​​Saxine, Properties of Empire, 36-37.
124 ​​
125 ​​Saxine, Properties of Empire, 55-56.
126 ​​Haefeli and Sweeney, Captors and Captives, 87-89; Saxine, Properties of Empire, 49-50; Ball, “Grim Commerce,” 92-112.
127 ​​For more info, consult Maine Memory
128 ​​ Brooks, Our Beloved Kin: Remapping A New History of King Philip’s War, digital companion to the book

129 ​​ Ibid. and Sweeney, Captors and Captives; Evan Haefeli and Kevin Sweeney, “Wattanummon's World: Personal and Tribal Identity in the Algonquian Diaspora c. 1660-1712,” Papers of the Algonquian Conference 25 (December 1994): 1994, 212-24
130 ​​Vol. 8, 319, MA A&R; Samuel Pennhallow, Nathaniel Adams, Benjamin Colman, and W. Dodge, The History of the Wars of New-England with the Eastern Indians, (Cincinnati: Re-printed for W. Dodge, by J. Harpel), 22, C.E. Potter, The History of Manchester, Formerly Derryfield, in New Hampshire, (Manchester: C.E. Potter, 1856), 201.
131 ​​
132 ​​,_Massachusetts
133 ​​
134 ​​Franklin wrote these comments by hand in the margins of his copy of Matthew Wheelock, Reflections moral and political on Great Britain and her colonies (London: T. Becket and Co., 1770). Franklin used the margins of the pamphlet to carry on a spirited debate with Wheelock. Thomas Jefferson acquired part of Franklin’s library after his death and found these marginalia. The pamphlet is now housed in the Rare Book & Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress and can only be seen on site. We are grateful to Ann Canning, Ed.D., Consultant, Teaching With Primary Sources, Waynesburg University, for photographing the marginalia at the Library of Congress. The pamphlet, including the original text and margin annotations, is available digitally from Yale University Library
135 ​​Vol. 5, 559, Council Executive Records (CER), Massachusetts Archives Collection, Boston, Massachusetts; Haefeli and Sweeney, Captors and Captives, 205.

Continue to the Next Section:

The Fourth Anglo-Abenaki War