Miantonomo, - 1643
The son of Mascus and a nephew to grand sachem Canonicus, Miantanimo and his younger brother Pessicus came from a prominent Narragansett family. He and his wife Wawaloam had at least one son, Canonchet.
Sharing leadership of the Narragansetts with his uncle, Miantonomo initially cooperated with English colonists. He took part in a diplomatic delegation to Boston in 1632. Four years later, he returned there to acquit his name of infidelity. He sent men to look for the killers of John Stone and John Oldham and later contributed close to 500 warriors for the expedition against the Pequot at Mystic in 1637. The following year he signed the tripartite agreement between the English of Connecticut, the Mohegan, and the Narragansett.
He came into conflict with Massachusetts authorities when he allowed dissidents like Roger Williams and Samuel Gorton to live within Narragansett territory. At the same time, the relationship between the Narragansetts and the Mohegans deteriorated as the two tribes negotiated for Native power in the region in the wake of the Pequot defeat.
In 1640, Miantonomo was summoned to Boston on charges of organizing a multi-tribal conspiracy against the English colonies. But he successfully argued that the accusations were a plot of Uncas against him and was dismissed with a warning. Nevertheless, rumors of Narragansett bellicosity persisted. By 1643, tensions between the Mohegan and Narragansett intensified. Miantonomo was summoned once more to Boston to answer charges of conspiring to murder Uncas. By June of that year, two sub-sachems under Miantonomo submitted their allegiance to the English, weakening his control over Narragansett territory. After Uncas threatened Sequasson, an ally of Miantonomo on the Connecticut River, Miantonomo requested the Puritans for permission to attack the Mohegan but was unsuccessful.
In August 1643, war broke out between the Mohegan and Narragansett when Miantonomo confronted Uncas on the Great Plain in Norwich, Connecticut. During the battle, the Narragansett leader was captured and held at Uncas' fort Shantock. Despite efforts by the Narragansetts and Rhode Island authorities to liberate him, Miantonomo, then placed in Hartford jail, was tried by the Court of Commissioners of the United Colonies in Boston. Uncas charged that the Narragansett leadr had engaged the Mohawk in his conspiracy. Hearing this, the Puritan court decided that Uncas could never be safe if Miantonomo were alive, As a consequence, he was condemned to death and delivered to Uncas for execution. On the way back to Shantock from Hartford, Wawequa, Uncas' brother, dealt the death blow at the Great Plain battle site.
Miantonomo was survived by his son Canonchet and his brother Pessicus.
Wikipedia. Allan Gallay, ed., Colonial Wars of North America, 1512-1763 (Taylor and Francis, 2015). Drake, History of the Indian Wars in New England, 112-118.