Notes by Ezra Stiles regarding the Indian Tribes of Cape Cod, Massachusetts Based on a Conversation with Benjamin Sepit and Mr. Williams


As I passed round the head of Buzzards Bay at north east at and about Quonset appeared a great quantity of shells which indicate the ancient residence of Indians, but now all gone.

From Mr. Williams1 and an Indian, aged 84, I learned that originally there were three sachemdoms on the Cape.

A. The dominion of Sachem Quichàtset, which included the head of Buzzards Bay across to Moynt and along shore to Barnstable.        

B. The dominion of the South Sea Indians, which include the Mashpee Tribe


Mr. Williams told me that on the road from Sandwich to Plymouth there is a large stone or rock in a place free of stones, and that the Indians immemorially have been used, whenever and as often as they pass this large stone, to cast a stone or piece of wood upon it.  That stones, not being plenty, pieces of wood is most commonly used, and that there will once in a few years be a large pile on the stone, which is often consumed by the firing of the woods for deer.  That the Indians continue the custom to this day, though they are a little ashamed the English should see them, and, accordingly, when walking with an Englishman, they have made a path round at a quarter mile’s distance to avoid it.  There is also at a little distance another stone which they also inject upon but pass it with less scruple but are so scrupulous that stone was ever known to omit casting stone or wood on the other.

Map Locations:  C



Cataloguing:  524

  • 1. Reverend Abraham Williams of Sandwich, Massachusetts