The House Rebuilt
|Camera:||Canon EOS 5D|
Is it Groundhog Day, everyday, and we just don’t realize it?
The Peak House in Medfield, Massachusetts, was burned down in 1676 during King Philip’s War. I drive by it on my way to Boston but only noticed it for the first time yesterday.
“King Philip’s War” was what the colonists and England named the uprising of Native Americans that took place fifty five years after the arrival of the Mayflower. In that span of time the spreading settlements had brought diseases that depleted the Native American population as well as tribal lands being taken and herds of British cattle grazing in each settlement over land once used for the Native American corn crops. In case you may not put two and two together (like me), cattle grazing on land used for corn means the end of corn. You couldn’t survive a steer trampling on top of you either.
The disappearing land as well as Indian culture ( add those religious zealots trying to convert “the natives” to the war mix, too) led to the expanding British settlements and domination and was described by the man who led the war in this way, “I am determined not to live until I have no country.”
He was nicknamed “King Philip” by the British settlers, according to a summary of the war written by Michael Tougias because of his “haughty” ways.
His father, Massasoit, on the other hand, had not been deemed ‘haughty” as he was the leader of the tribe of Indians living in Plymouth when the first British settlers arrived and famously helped them survive that first harsh winter.
As the saying goes: “Honey, no good deed goes unpunished.”
Fifty five years later, his father and brother dead, the uprising began with attacks on settlements by the son of this Chief who had helped the British survive and prosper.
It began with two tribes, the Wampanoags and the Nipmucks, but their ranks were widened when the colonists began attacking large, non-warring tribes like the Narrangansett Indians in Rhode Island. Following a massacre of this tribe in southern Rhode Island, they joined “King Philip’s War” and were responsible for the burning down of the original “Peak House” and a line of other settlements along this main corridor to Boston.
The war ended because King Philip’s Indians were simply depleted in rank– ironically enough, some from starvation following a severe winter and others due to devastating attacks on war camps themselves. King Philip and his remaining warriors returned to their home near Swansea and, with the assistance of a tip from an Indian traitor, his location became known and shortly thereafter, his death by gunshot.
The house that was rebuilt in 1680 was also apparently built with funds which one could view in modern terms as part of a “bailout”. The sign in front of the property says this: “Seth Clark, the owner of the house, received indemnity from the colonial government and in 1680 rebuilt the present Peak House, so called because of its architecture.”
Indemnity, (thank you Wikepedia) is : An indemnity is a sum paid by A to B by way of compensation for a particular loss suffered by B. The indemnifying party (A) may or may not be responsible for the loss suffered by the indemnified party (B). Forms of indemnity include cash payments, repairs, replacement, and reinstatement.
Today, I’m realizing that on one’s journey to Boston, it may just be the road surface and architecture that changes over the years, not human nature.
If I see history’s shadow on March 28th, does that mean there is six more weeks of winter?
©Pat Coakley 2009
PHOTOGRAPHS CANNOT BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION