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Symon, Peter, and Andrew: From Cocheco to Pemaquid
Contributed by Heru Craig with Lisa Brooks
Prior to Richard Waldron’s "surprise" at Cocheco, he took three men captive during the treaty negotiations in June. Symon, Peter and Andrew had “come in” with Wanalancet for the peace councils at Cocheco, but were imprisoned for their activities in war.
This letter, from the Massachusetts Council, by their Secretary Edward Rawson, documented the "information" they received from Waldron, about the capture of Symon, Peter and Andrew:
Symon and his kinsman Andrew were originally from the mouth of the Merrimack River (in northern Massachusetts), but joined Wabanaki forces on the northern front early in the war. Their story is one of the many threads that link the southern theatre of the “First Indian War” to the northern front. Symon was present at many of the significant events of the conflict, from relatively small-scale raids to tense diplomatic negotiations.
The Councill having received information by Major Waldron of the coming in of Wanalanset with the sachim of Penicook & severall other Indians now of Cocheechoo, & that they have brought in severall English Captives & freely delivered them as a testimony of their goodwill to the English & their desire to maintain peace & friendship with us; as also that by order of the committee there three Indians of the number abovesay'd [are] in hold of having an hand in the killing of two Englishmen & captivating those that they have now brought in, It is ordered that the committee for treating with the Indians in those Eastern parts are licensed & Authorized if they see cause to imploy those Indians to come in in the publick service against the enemy ^having some English in their company, & for that end supply them with compitent ammunition, & that they may also send out with them ^any one of the Imprisoned Indians retaining & ^effectually securing the other two, that they may all three take their turns to go out if incouragement be found so to doe [pass?] 15th June 1676: By ye Council Edward Rawson, Secretary
Symon and Andrew were among the “Christian Indians” who “lived among the settlers [and] worked for them.” According to Haverhill historian George Wingate Chase, “this very Symon…for several years made his home in this town and Amesbury,” on the Merrimack River. No records from Haverhill, or elsewhere, describe the circumstances that caused Symon and Andrew to join with the “eastern Indians” to the north. Before the war, the worst crime of which Symon stood accused was “horse stealing.” However, Symon became notorious among settlers for his participation in the war, earning the monikers “Yankee killer” and the “arch villain” of the English, with notes of betrayal by a man many must have believed was under their control. Both Symon and Andrew resisted the bonds and the roles that were placed upon them.
Symon and Andrew were involved in raids as early as the Fall of 1675. Andrew is credited, along with Hopehood, with leading the October 1675 raid on Salmon Falls, or Newichiwannock. The Salmon Falls or Newichiwannock River and trail (along the current New Hampshire/Maine boundary) led north from the coast all the way up to the Ossipee and Winnepesaukee region. Like the people of Newichiwannock, Andrew and Symon experienced the devastating impacts of dams and mills on their fishing places. It appears that they were back in their homeland on the Merrimack River in May 1675, when they “killed one Thomas Kimball, an inhabitant there,” at Bradford, near Haverhill, “and took captive his wife and five children.” Kimball had operated a mill at Oyster River, in Piscataqua, and had been the constable at Bradford. Symon and Andrew escaped containment by colonial forces beyond the Piscataqua River, and eventually sought refuge with the Penacooks. In August 1676, Symon led the raid on Anthony Brackett’s farm, in Cascoak, on the same day that Metacom was killed. This act initiated a new wave of raids on the Northern Front, part of an organized effort to halt further encroachment upon and damage to vital Native lands.
Throughout that summer, many Native people were seeking refuge with the Penacook sachem Wanalancet. He, in turn, was working with other leaders to establish terms of peace through meetings with colonial representatives at Cocheco. As part of these diplomatic missions he had brought with him English captives who had been taken in raids. Symon and Andrew, along with their compatriot Peter, carried some of the Haverhill/Bradford captives with them to the treaty councils at Cocheco in June 1676, as part of the gesture toward peace. It is unclear precisely how events unfolded, but Symon came in with Wanalancet—either seeking peace as part of the diplomatic delegation, or as a prisoner to surrender. At Cocheco, Symon, Andrew and Peter were imprisoned by Richard Waldron, for “having a hand in the killing of two Englishmen & captivating those that they have now brought in.”
This letter from the Massachusetts council documented the imprisonment of these three men and also gave Major Richard Waldron license to “employ those Indians to come to the publick service against the enemy.” The plan was to “retain” two of the men in prison as a way of forcing the remaining man to act as a scout for an English company. This method of leveraging the well-being of kinsmen was readily employed by the Massachusetts forces. However, instead of submitting to this usage by the English, Symon, Andrew and Peter broke the jail and escaped to join with Wabanaki people to the north. Symon participated in numerous raids, including the reclamation of Owascoag at Black Point (Scarborough), with the Wabanaki leader Mogg, but he was also present at the Treaty of Pemaquid, in 1677, which brought the war to a close. Andrew continued to live in the north, becoming known as “Andrew of Saco.” He later joined with leaders like Hopehood, Kancamagus, the brother of Wannalancet, and Worumbo, of the Androscoggin River, to defend Wabanaki homelands from the military expeditions of Benjamin Church during the second Anglo-Abenaki War. During that time, Kancamagus joined with other Wabanaki people to “artfully contrive a stratagem” to “surprise” Richard Waldron, which was initiated by Native women, enacting a balance of justice at Cocheco.
 George Wingate Chase, The History of Haverhill, Massachusetts from its First Settlement in 1640 to the Year 1860 (Lowell: Stone & Huse, 1861), 117, 124-6. William Williamson, History of the State of Maine (Hallowell, ME: Glazier, Masters and Co., 1832), 1: 534. Samuel Gardner Drake, The Book of the Indians (Boston: Antiquarian Bookstore, 1841), 3:110-112 Chase, History of Haverhill, 118-120. Williamson, History of Maine, 1:533-5. New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 4, edited by William Richard Cutter (Baltimore, MD: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1913), 1800. William Hubbard, A History of the Indian Wars in New England, ed. Samuel Gardner Drake (Roxbury, MA: W. E. Woodward, 1865), 134-146. Drake, Book of the Indians, 3:112. Petition of Mary Kimball to the Massachusetts Council, August 1, 1676, (1676.08.01.00), Grant-Costa, Paul, et. al., eds., Yale Indian Papers Project, Yale University, http://jake.library.yale.edu:8080/neips/data/html/1676.08.01.00/1676.08.01.00.html Massachusetts Archives 30:204. Massachusetts Archives 30:204. Drake, Book of the Indians, 3:110-116.