Post War Survival at Hassanamesit
Located in present day Central Massachusetts, the praying town of Hassanamesit was the site for many key events throughout King Philip's war. What was a thriving and populated town pre-war quickly saw little activity following the end of the war. Daniel Gookin reported that a community that was home to twelve families in 1674, was reduced to just seven adults following the war. How did the community resist this fragmentation and dispersal to overcome various land grabs by the English and maintain their current existence in present day Grafton?
Because there were so few people at Hassanamisco in November of 1676, Gookin lumped the seven people living there in with those at Natick. By 1680, most of the praying towns were no longer functioning, and the English government began their attempts at taking the land. From 1681 to early 1682, inhabitants of Natick fought for their rights to the Nipmuck Country. They looked to the General Court to defend this right, citing loyalty to the English but more importantly their "Naturall Right" to the land. [O'Brien] Deeds were signed throughout the 1680s, and in 1698, five Indians returned to Hassanamesit, including bearers of the Printer name.
By the 1720's, English investors began negotiations with the Hassanamisco. The General Court determined that seven Indians could claim a right to the four mile square land, with about 500 acres being sold to the English by Indian landowners. In 1728, the deed of sale was signed, which included significant fragmentation and divisions of the land. The signers included the names of various families who were living at Hassanamesit pre-war including Printer, Abraham and Muckamaug, with half of them bearing the Printer name.
Following the death of Moses Printer, his land was distributed amongst his heirs, all 108 acres of it.
As BLANK writes, the early story of Hassanamesit contradicts the popular images of Native people being deprived of key resources and only offered land of poor quality.
These maps illustrate various divisions of the land following the war, including names of those who came to own each of the lots:
This image shows a lot being divided to Amy Printer.
This image features the acreage distributed in each lot and shows that Mose Printer was given 108 acres in this division.
This image shows land being laid out within the bounds of Hassanamisco by William Ward. The line within the bounds reads: Laid out to Mr Thomas Dawny within the bounds of the Indian town called Hassanamisco 160 acres of land. Aug 8. 1721. by William Ward.
This image provides a zoomed out view of the lot as divided to Amy Printer (above) providing more examples of the laying out of the land and fragmentation resulting from the English land grabs.
This is another close up image of the divided lots featuring acreage and names of those they were laid out to. Names recognized in this map feature 106 acres to Peter Muckamugg and 206 acres to Christian + Joshua mijcox (?)