Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Last of the Nemaskets, 1786

One of the last of the Nemasket tribe was Alice Anthony who died in Middleborough on December 2, 1786 at the age of 80. Little is known of her other than the fact that she presumably resided in a wetu located in the vicinity of the area now bounded by High, Oak and Southwick Streets. On January 24, 1742, she along with seven others was admitted as a member of the First Church of Middleborough. The following item which refers to her as "Else Antony" (the same name as was used in the record of her church admission) was published in the Nemasket Gazette in 1857.

[Just to the west of Oak Street is] an old well now in good repair. It marks the spot where lived one of the last of the Nemasket Indians, by the name of Else Antony, who died about the year 1790. The tract of land lying between [South] Main street and the Depot [on Station Street], formerly belonged to Mr. Silas Wood, grandfather of Mr. Abial Wood. He dug this well by the side of Else's wigwam, and gave her the privilege of cutting broom and basket stuff on this land, as a compensation for her watering his herds, the water being poured into a long trough which he handhewn out for the purpose. Else was a member of the church on the Green, and appears to have been conscientious. In those days Dick Thompson, a slave of Clerk Jacob, went to pay his addresses to Else, but she refused him admission with the declaration, that her first lover was dead and that must be the end of it. A second was not to be entertained.

Source:
Namasket Gazette, "Local Antiquities", July 24, 1857.

Illustration:
"Indian Corn Hanging on a Post", photograph taken October 15, 2008, by
Live♥Laugh♥Love. Reprinted under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

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