Sowheage, - 1649

Sowheage was sachem of the Wangunk, Mattabesecs, and the Connecticut River Indians in the early seventeenth century.  His wife, or one of them, may have been from an influential Quinnipiac family, as their son Montowese claimed the northern part of Quinnipiac territory in 1638.  As the lucrative fur trade economy spread through southeastern Connecticut in the early 17th century, Sowheage’s control over his territory was lost under an aggressive expansion of Pequot jurisdiction over the River Indians.  Around 1631 he approached the Massachusetts Bay colonists with an invitation to settle amongst his people.  Subsequently, Sowheage agreed to English settlement at Pyquaag, what would become Wethersfield, Connecticut.  However, angered with breach of several of the contractual obligations of the colonists, he encouraged an attack on the town by the Pequot on April 23, 1637, a factor that contributed to the outbreak of the Pequot War.  After the hostilities ended, he retained unsettled relations with the English.  At his death around 1649, he was survived by his sons Seacutt, Turramuggus, and Montowese and his daughter Sepimamaus, as well as several others: Weckpistic, Wesumpshua, Spunnoe, Sachemus, Tacomkuit, Pashamnas, Puccaca, Rachioskes, and Pewampskine.  Cave, The Pequot War, 38, 50, 58.

c. 1649