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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Capture and Fate of the Great Annawon

By Benjamin Church (1639–1718)

[From Entertaining Passages Relating to Philip’s War. 1716.]

THE CAPTAIN was now in great strait of mind what to do next; he had a mind to give Annawon a visit, now he knew where to find him. But his company was very small, but half a dozen men beside himself, and was under a necessity to send some body back to acquaint his Lieutenant and company with his proceedings. However, he asked his small company that were with him, whether they would willingly go with him and give Annawon a visit? They told him they were always ready to obey his commands, etc.; but withal told him, that they knew this Captain Annawon was a great soldier; that he had been a valiant Captain under Asuhmequin, Philip’s father; and that he had been Philip’s chieftain all this war. A very subtle man, and of great resolution, and had often said, that he would never be taken alive by the English. And moreover they knew that the men that were with him were resolute fellows, some of Philip’s chief soldiers; and therefore feared whether it was practicable to make an attempt upon him with so small a handful of assistants as now were with him. Told him further, that it would be a pity, after all the great things he had done, he should throw away his life at last. Upon which he replied, that he doubted not Annawon was a subtle and valiant man; that he had a long time, but in vain, sought for him, and never till now could find his quarters, and he was very loath to miss of the opportunity; and doubted not that, if they would cheerfully go with him, the same Almighty Providence that had hitherto protected and befriended them, would do so still, etc.

Upon this with one consent they said they would go. Captain Church then turned to one Cook of Plymouth, (the only Englishman then with him) and asked him, what he thought of it? Who replied, “Sir, I am never afraid of going any where when you are with me.” Then Captain Church asked the old Indian, if he could carry his horse with him? (For he conveyed a horse thus far with him.) He replied that it was impossible for one horse to pass the swamps. Therefore, he sent away his new Indian soldier with his father, and the Captain’s horse, to his Lieutenant, and orders for him to move to Taunton with the prisoners, to secure them there, and to come out in the morning in the Rehoboth Road, in which he might expect to meet him, if he were alive and had success. The Captain then asked the old fellow if he would pilot him unto Annawon? He answered, that he having given him his life, he was obliged to serve him. He bid him move on then, and they followed. The old man would out-travel them so far sometimes that they were almost out of sight; looking over his shoulder, and seeing them behind, he would halt.

Just as the sun was setting, the old man made a full stop and sat down; the company coming up, also sat down, being all weary. Captain Church asked, “What news?” He answered, that about that time in the evening, Captain Annawon sent out his scouts to see if the coast were clear, and as soon as it began to grow dark, the scouts returned; “and then” (said he) “we may move again securely.” When it began to grow dark, the old man stood up again, and Captain Church asked him if he would take a gun and fight for him? He bowed very low, and prayed him not to impose such a thing upon him, as to fight against Captain Annawon his old friend. “But,” says he, “I will go along with you, and be helpful to you, and will lay hands on any man that shall offer to hurt you.”

It being now pretty dark, they moved close together;—anon they heard a noise. The Captain stayed the old man with his hand, and asked his own men what noise they thought it might be? They concluded it to be the pounding of a mortar. The old man had given Captain Church a description of the place where Annawon now lay, and of the difficulty of getting at him. Being sensible that they were pretty near them, with two of his Indians he creeps to the edge of the rocks, from whence he could see their camps. He saw three companies of Indians at a little distance from each other; being easy to be discovered by the light of their fires. He saw also the great ANNAWON and his company, who had formed his camp or kenneling place by falling a tree under the side of the great cliffs of rocks, and setting a row of birch bushes up against it; where he himself, his son, and some of his chiefs had taken up their lodgings, and made great fires without them, and had their pots and kettles boiling, and spits roasting. Their arms also he discovered, all set together, in a place fitted for the purpose, standing up an end against a stick lodged in two crotches, and a mat placed over them, to keep them from the wet or dew. The old Annawon’s feet and his son’s head were so near the arms, as almost to touch them. But the rocks were so steep that it was impossible to get down, only as they lowered themselves by the boughs, and the bushes that grew in the cracks of the rocks. Captain Church, creeping back again to the old man, asked him, if there was no possibility of getting at them some other way? He answered, “No.” That he, and all that belonged to Annawon, were ordered to come that way, and none could come any other way without difficulty, or danger of being shot.

Captain Church then ordered the old man and his daughter to go down foremost with their baskets at their backs, that when Annawon saw them with their baskets he should not mistrust the intrigue. Captain Church and his handful of soldiers crept down also, under the shadow of those two and their baskets. The Captain himself crept close behind the old man, with his hatchet in his hand, and stepped over the young man’s head to the arms. The young Annawon, discovering of him, whipped his blanket over his head and shrunk up in a heap. The old Captain Annawon started up on his breech, and cried out, “Howoh,” and, despairing of escape, threw himself back again, and lay silent until Captain Church had secured all the arms, etc. And having secured that company, he sent his Indian soldiers to the other fires and companies, giving them instructions what to do and say. Accordingly they went into the midst of them. When they discovered themselves to the enemy, they told them that their Captain Annawon was taken, and it would be best for them quietly and peaceably to surrender themselves, which would procure good quarter for them; otherwise, if they should pretend to resist or make their escape, it would be in vain, and they could expect no other but that Captain Church, with his great army, who had now entrapped them, would cut them to pieces. Told them also, if they would submit themselves, and deliver up all their arms unto them, and keep every man in his place until it was day, they would assure them that their Captain Church, who had been so kind to themselves when they surrendered to him, should be as kind unto them. Now they being old acquaintance, and many of them relations, did much the readier give heed to what they said; and complied, and surrendered up their arms unto them, both their guns and hatchets, etc., and were forthwith carried to Captain Church….

Supper being over, Captain Church sent two of his men to inform the other companies that he had killed Philip, and had taken their friends in Mount-hope Neck, but had spared their lives, and that he had subdued now all the enemy (he supposed), except this company of Annawon’s; and now if they would be orderly and keep their places until morning, they should have good quarter, and that he would carry them to Taunton, where they might see their friends again, etc. The messengers returned, that the Indians yielded to his proposals.

Captain Church thought it was now time for him to take a nap, having had no sleep in two days and one night before. Told his men, that if they would let him sleep two hours, they should sleep all the rest of the night. He laid himself down and endeavoured to sleep, but all disposition to sleep departed from him. After he had lain a little while, he looked up to see how his watch managed, but found them all fast asleep. Now Captain Church had told Captain Annawon’s company, as he had ordered his Indians to tell the others, that their lives should all be spared, excepting Captain Annawon’s, and it was not in his power to promise him his life, but he must carry him to his masters at Plymouth, and he would entreat them for his life.

Now, when Captain Church found not only his own men, but all the Indians, fast asleep, Annawon only excepted, who, he perceived, was as broad awake as himself; and so they lay looking one upon the other, perhaps an hour. Captain Church said nothing to him, for he could not speak Indian, and thought Annawon could not speak English.

At length Annawon raised himself up, cast off his blanket, and with no more clothes than his small breeches, walked a little way back from the company…. But by and by he was gone out of sight and hearing, and then Captain Church began to suspect some ill design in him; and got all the guns close to him, and crowded himself close under young Annawon; that if he should anywhere get a gun, he should not make a shot at him, without endangering his son. Lying very still awhile, waiting for the event, at length he heard somebody coming the same way that Annawon went. The moon now shining bright, he saw him at a distance coming with something in his hands, and coming up to Captain Church, he fell upon his knees before him, and offered him what he had brought, and speaking in plain English, said, “Great Captain, you have killed Philip, and conquered his country; for I believe that I and my company are the last that war against the English, so suppose the war is ended by your means; and therefore these things belong unto you.” Then opening his pack, he pulled out Philip’s belt, curiously wrought with wompom, being nine inches broad, wrought with black and white wompom, in various figures, and flowers and pictures of many birds and beasts. This, when hung upon Captain Church’s shoulders, it reached his ankles; and another belt of wompom he presented him with, wrought after the former manner, which Philip was wont to put upon his head. It had two flags on the back part, which hung down on his back, and another small belt with a star upon the end of it, which he used to hang on his breast, and they were all edged with red hair, which Annawon said they got in the Mohawk’s country. Then he pulled out two horns of glazed powder, and a red cloth blanket. He told Captain Church these were Philip’s royalties, with which he was wont to adorn himself with, when he sat in state; that he thought himself happy that he had an opportunity to present them to Captain Church, who had won them, etc. They spent the remainder of the night in discourse. And Captain Annawon gave an account of what mighty success he had formerly in wars against many nations of Indians, when he served Asuhmequin, Philip’s father, etc….

But when Captain Church returned from Boston, he found, to his grief, the heads of Annawon, Tispaquin, etc., cut off, which were the last of Philip’s friends.