Petition of William and Joseph Wannuckhow, and John Appamatahqueen to the Court of Assistants

To the Honourable Court of Assistants Sitting at Boston, September 5, 1676

The humble petition of William Wannuckhow, Joseph Wannuckhow, and John Appamataquin, all prisoners at the bar, humbly imploreth your favor to hear and consider our supplication.  We know that Your Honours are men of truth, seeing God, and will faithfully perform your promises, especially when it concerns so great a matter as the lives of men. You pleased (of your own benignity not for any deserts of ours) to give forth your declaration dated the 19th of June wherein you were pleased to promise life and liberty unto such of your enemies [ blot ] as did come in and submit themselves to your mercy, order, and disposal within a time limited, which afterward was enlarged to a longer time,1 and tidings thereof sent by James Printer unto us, which offers of grace, as soon as we heard of it, we readily embraced it and came in accordingly, ourselves, wives, and children (as Captain Prentice and his son with others, to whose house we were directed to come, are ready to testify, and those orders of yours are upon be said that we are known to be notorious in doing mischief to the English.  We answer none can so say in truth or prove any such thing against us.  Indeed we do acknowledge that we were in company of those that burned Goodman Gaines his house,2 but we did not act in it.  It was done by others, who are slain in the wars and so have answered God's justice for their temerity, as for our part we came along with that company upon a necessary and just occasion to get our corn, which we had planted, gathered, and put up at Magunkaquog.  But finding our corn taken away, we intended to return, but Netus and another man that were our leaders earnestly moved to go to Goodman Eames' farm for to get corn,3 and they said they did believe he had taken our corn, but we were unwilling to go.  But they, by this persuasion and threatening, carried us with them.  But as we said before, we neither killed nor burned nor took away anything there but were instrumental to save Goodman Eames, his children alive, one of us carried one boy upon our backs rather than let them be killed.4 This is the truth of things, so that we cannot be reckoned among such as have been notorious in doing mischief.  Indeed, we were among the enemies, being tempted to go among them by the example of our chief man Captain Tom and others.  But we had no arms nor did not hurt the English as many others have done, that are upon their submission to your mercy are pardoned.  Besides it was a time of war when this mischief was done, and though it was our unhappy portion to be with the[ blot ] enemies, yet we conceive that depredations and slaughters in war are not chargeable upon particular persons, especially such as have submitted themselves to Your Honours upon promise of life5 as we have done.  Therefore, we desire again to insist upon that plea that we may receive the benefit of your declarations before-mentioned.  Our lives will not be at all beneficial to Goodman Eames.  Those that slew his wife and relations and burned his house have already suffered death 6, and the satisfaction of Goodman Eames in our death will not countervene the honor and justice of the authority of the Country that may be blemished thereby.  Therefore, let it please Your Honor to consider the promises and grant us our lives as you have promised which will ever oblige us to be your most faithful subjects and servants.

The marks of

William Wannuckhow
Joseph Wannuckhow
John Appamatakquin


Petition of the Indian prisoners William Wannuckhow alias Jackstraw and son


216, 217

  • 1. On June 19, 1676, Massachusetts Bay Colony offered amnesty to any Indian, except for those who had taken or conspired to take English lives, who surrendered to its authority. James Printer was one of the several Natick who availed himself of the proposition. Moreover, he was able to secure an extension of time to allow other of his community to submit to the Colony. Increase Mather, An earnest exhortation to the inhabitants of New-England, to hearken to the voice of God in his late and present dispensations as ever they desire to escape another judgement, seven times greater that any thing which as yet hath been (Boston, MA: John Foster, 1676), 45. Evans Early American Imprint Series. Drake, Biography and History of the Indians of North America, 51. Brooks, Our Beloved Kin, 3-9-315.
  • 2. Possibly Daniel Gaines. A tailor from Lancaster, Massachusetts, he was killed in the Indian raid on that town on February 10, 1676. Homer W. Brainard, compiler. "The Descendants of Henry Gaines of Lynn, Mass." Roberts, Genealogies of Connecticut Families, Vol. 1, 651.
  • 3. In February of 1676, a number of Natick under the leadership of Netus and Annaweekin, believing that Thomas Eames had stolen their corn supply, attacked his house, which was located within the bounds of Framingham, Massachusetts near the southern slope of Mount Wayte. While Eames was away in Boston at the time, his wife, Mary, fought off her attackers. Nonetheless, she and four of her children were killed, as were the livestock, the house and outbuildings were also burned. Several other children were carried into captivity. Brooks, Our Beloved Kin, 315. Schultz and Tougias, King Philip's War, 185.
  • 4. In the attack, Thomas Eames' wife Mary Blandford Paddleford Eames was killed, as were daughter Mary (age 30), stepson Edward Paddleford (age 15), son Thomas Eames, Jr. (age 12), and Sarah Eames (age 5). Stepson Zachariah Paddleford (age 18), sons Samuel(age 11) and Nathaniel (age 7) were captured and escaped. Daughter Margaret Eames (age 9)was captured and later ransomed. Lydia Eames was captured and remained in Canada. Thomas's daughter, Mary Eames, was from a previous marriage. The Paddleford children were from Mary Blandford's prior marriage. James L. Parr and Kevin A. Swope, Framingham Legends & Lore (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2009).
  • 5. Deleted Text: etc.
  • 6. Deleted Text: for it