Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England

Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England

by Jenny Hale Pulsipher


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Indians, too, could play the land game for both personal and political benefit

According to his kin, John Wompas was “no sachem,” although he claimed that status to achieve his economic and political ends. He drew on the legal and political practices of both Indians and the English—even visiting and securing the support of King Charles II—to legitimize the land sales that funded his extravagant spending. But he also used the knowledge acquired in his English education to defend the land and rights of his fellow Nipmucs.

Jenny Hale Pulsipher’s biography offers a window on seventeenth-century New England and the Atlantic world from the unusual perspective of an American Indian who, even though he may not have been what he claimed, was certainly out of the ordinary. Drawing on documentary and anthropological sources as well as consultations with Native people, Pulsipher shows how Wompas turned the opportunities and hardships of economic, cultural, religious, and political forces in the emerging English empire to the benefit of himself and his kin.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300214932
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 06/19/2018
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 638,796
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jenny Hale Pulsipher is associate professor of history at Brigham Young University and author of Subjects unto the Same King: Indians, English, and the Contest for Authority in Colonial New England.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

A Note on the Text xiii

Introduction 1

1 "The Place of Their Desires": Hassanamesit 9

2 "Prask That Was Wife to John Wompas": The Pequot War and the Enslavement of Ann Prask 31

3 "To Bee Trained Up Among the English": John Wompas and the Civilizing Project 50

4 "My Proper Right & Inheritance": John Wompas and the English Land Market 85

5 "I Cherish a Desire to Be at Sea": John Wompas and the Maritime Atlantic 110

6 "New England Hath Lost the Day": John Wompas Protests to the English Crown 129

7 "Hee Had Lost a Great Many Men in the Warr": The Nipmucs and Ann Wompas in King Philip's War 157

8 "The English Did Wrong Them About Their Lands": The Political Awakening of John Wompas 176

9 "Royall Protection": John Wompas, Subject Status, and the English Crown 203

10 "One Piece of Land to Cling on To": The Hassanamisco Reservation 224

Appendix 1 Land Transactions of John Wompas and Ann Prask Wompas, 1662-1679 255

Appendix 2 People and Places Connected to John Wompas 262

Chronology of Key Events 267

Notes 271

Index 353

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Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love history, but I'm a lazy reader. I get bored if the writing isn't really good, or if the author doesn't move the story along. Pulsipher has done a great job with this book. There are enough historical details to satisfy the hard-core historian, but it reads enough like a story to keep me entertained. I knew nothing about this period of history. Thank you for the entertaining enlightenment.