Down the Street Where I Live
A fourth example of genocide that occurred from early contact between the Wampanoag and the English is right down the street where I live. It is referenced on a plaque that says:
“The Indigenous people of Cape Cod traded with both England and France with goods such as beaver skins. In 1614, English Captain Thomas Hunt captured over 20 Nausett and Patuxet, who, along with the Nobscussett were part of the Wampanoag confederation. They were brought to Spain where Captain Hunt sold as many as he could into slavery. This outraged the Wampanoag and they stopped trading. In 1618/19, a plague killed most of the Nobscussett. Possibly, the burying of the dead from this plague marks the origin of this Burial Ground.”
The Nauset/Nobscussett was the first tribe to meet the Mayflower Pilgrims. The Pilgrims had come ashore looking for food and found bushels of corn that the Nobscussett had left as an offering for their ancestors. The Pilgrims took as much of the corn as they could before the Nobscussett were able to get them out of the area.
Years later, the Pilgrims returned to the Nobscussett. The Pilgrims began converting them to Christianity, and the Wampanoag became one of several tribes in Massachusetts that became known as “Praying Indians.”
The Town of Dennis voted to fence in this burial ground in 1828, and have been maintaining it ever since. There is a hedge-lined trail from Route 6A to the Burial Ground.