Sassamon, John, - 1675
Orphaned by the epidemics that ravaged New England in the early 17th Century, John Sassamon [Wasassman] (c. 1620-1675) was a Massachusett from Ponkapoag who grew up in an English household, possibly the home of Richard Calicot. He accompanied Calicot into service during the Pequot War and acted as an interpreter for John Underhill and his men. Afterward, he may have married one of Sassacus' daughters, a Pequot captive.
As a young man, Sassamon was one of John Eliot's exemplary pupils and assisted him in translating the Bible into Wampanoag. He was the first Native student to attend Harvard College in 1653. Afterward, he served as schoolmaster at the Natick Praying Town but left his post after the death of Massasoit to assist Wamsutta in the transition of government. Following Wamsutta's death, he became Philip's interpreter, scribe, and legal representative. In 1673, his kinsman through his daughter's marriage, Tuspaquin, deeded him land at Assawamspset.