Pequot War 1634-1638

In 1634 the the Pequot Tribe initiated peace negotiations with the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They wanted the English to re-establish trade and arbitrate a peace settlement with the Narragansetts. The Bay Colony responded with demands for exorbitant tribute (1000 fathoms of wampum) and the surrender of the killers, something the Pequots were not prepared to do.

In the same year, John Stone was murdered by the Pequots on the Connecticut River. It may be that he was thought to be a Dutchman, and one of the murderers of Tatobem. Stone was known to the Bay Colony authorities as a privateer and rogue and may have provoked the Indians who claim to have acted in self-defense, but he soon became another statistic in the Colony’s list of Pequot “crimes.”

Then in 1636, John Oldham, a respected trader and friend of the Narragansetts, was murdered in his boat off Block Island. The murderers were Block Islanders, tributaries to the Narragansetts, however, they escaped capture and were given safe haven by the Pequots.

A punitive expedition, led by John Endicott, enraged the Pequots. They retaliated by raiding the unsuspecting settlement of Wethersfield on 23 April 1637. Thirty settlers were killed and two girls were kidnapped. They tortured many of their victims, as was the custom of some Eastern tribes, and reinforced their reputation for cruel savagery.

On 26 May 1637, captains John Underhill and John Mason led another retaliatory expedition through Narragansett territory and struck the Pequot settlement in Mystic. Mason’s order to his soldiers and Narragansett allies was “Let us burn them.” The settlement, comprised mostly of women and children, was decimated. An estimated thirty or forty Pequots escaped. The ones who were captured were sold into slavery in Boston, meeting there fates in the plantations of the Bermuda. In the following weeks, the warriors were hunted down and killed.

The war officially ended on September 1638 when the few survivors of the Pequot tribe were forced to sign the Treaty of Hartford, also called the Tripartite Treaty, declaring the Pequot nation to be dissolved.

Tribes who fought in the Pequot War

History of the Pequot War – Connecticut

History of the Pequot War –  Massachusetts

Suggested Reading for Pequot Tribe

Endicott, Mason, Oldham, Stone,

US Military Records. A directory of resources providing online access to military records. Copyright 1999-2020, AccessGenealogy.

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