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Assacumbuit

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Assacumbuit. An Abnaki (“Tarratine”) chief who appeared in history about 1696. He was a faithful adherent of the French and rendered important aid to Iberville and Montigny in the reduction of Fort St Johns, N. B., Nov. 30, 1696. With two other chiefs and a few French soldiers Assacumbuit attacked the fort at Casco, Maine, in 1703, then defended by Capt. March, which was saved by the timely arrival of an English vessel. He assisted the French in 1704-5 in their attempt to drive out the English who had established themselves in Newfoundland, and in 1706 visited France, where he became known to Charlevoix and was received by Louis XIV, who knighted him and presented him an elegant sword, after boasting that he had slain with his own hand 140 of the King’s enemies in New England[1]. Assacumbuit returned from France in 1707 and in the following year was present with the French in their attack on Haverhill, Mass. From that time until his death in 1727 nothing further in regard to him is recorded. He is some times mentioned under the name Nescambiouit, and in one instance as Old Escambuit.[7]


Mather calls Assacumbuit “a bloody devil.”[2]


Penhallow calls “Mauxis, Wanungonet, and Assacombuit, three of their most valient and pussiant Sachems.” Among the Abenake, Assacumbuit was the leader of the Pequawkets, whose settlement was along the upper waters of the Saco. He was with D’Iberville at the capture of St. John; with Subercase in his Newfoundland campaign; also at Haverhill in 1708, and at Casco in 1703. In 1706 he went to France and was knighted by Louis, when this savage held up his right hand with the bloody boast: “This hand has slain one hundred and forty of your majesty’s enemies in New England.” [3]


His tribe was dispersed by Lovewell before Assacumbuit died.[4]


Drake[5] mentions his warclub which carried ninety-six notches. Each notch was a mortuary suggestion of the tomahawk, else an unerring bullet.


In 1698 Assacumbuit led about 40 Indians into Andover, burned two dwelling-houses, and killed Simon Wade, Nathaniel Brown, Penelope Johnson, Capt. Pascoe Chubb, his wife Hannah, and a daughter of Edmund Faulkner. [6]

Footnotes

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  1. Penhallow, Ind. Wars, I, 40, 1824
  2. Hodge, Handbook of American Indians, 102, 1905.
  3. Mather, Magnolia, vol. vii., p. 98.
  4. Penhallow, p. 40.
  5. Charlevoix, vol. ii., p. 294.
  6. Drake, Book of the Indians, vol. iii., p. 116.
  7. Nason, A gazetteer of the state of Massachusetts, 60,1874.

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