The History of Moswetuset Hummock
Austin Steelman's Summary of Native History and European American Contact

Massachusett Indians
The Massachusett tribe lived in what is now the town of Quincy. Their territory ranged from the Blue Hills to Quincy Bay. They hunted and fished for food in the salt marshes around the Moswetuset Hummock and the forests of the region. The Massachusett tribe was a part of the Algonquian family. The tribe numbered from 3,000 to 5,000 leading into the seventeenth century, but the Old World diseases for which they had no immunity reached them before the colonists themselves. By the time Myles Standish would meet sachem Chickatabot in 1621, the tribe numbered around five hundred. Disease continued to decimate them. As the 1600s continued on, the Massachusett Indians became part of the “praying towns” established by European missionaries.

Sachem Chickatabot and the Moswetuset Hummock
Chickatabot was the sachem or chief of the Massachuset Indians during their first encounters with Europeans. He
ruled from Moswetuset Hummock on the north end of what is now Wollaston Beach abutting Quincy Bay. The hill’s name means “shaped like an arrowhead,” but has also been translated to mean “site of the great house.” The Massachusett or Moswetuset tribe took their name from the hummock. From here, Chickatabot had a clear view of the surrounding area as well as access to prime hunting and fishing grounds. Captain John Smith first noted the hummock, and included it in his 1616 map. Myles Standish, commander of Plymouth colony, together with Squanto his guide met Chickatabot there for in 1621. Chickatabot and the Massachusett Indians maintained good relations with the colonists. Chickatabot traded Indian corn for English clothes with Governor John Winthrop of the Plymouth colony. The men ate and smoked tobacco together. Chickatabot lived until 1633 when small pox killed him as it had  so many others in his tribe.

James R. Cameron's Detailed Account of Moswetuset Hummock (reprinted courtesy of the Quincy Historical Society, 1972)

A small hillock rises from the salt marsh which separates Quincy Bay from the Neponset River. Moswetuset or Massachusetts Hummock was the seat of Chicatabot, sachem or sagamore of the Massachusetts Indians, at the time of the settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It is the only important relic of the Indians from whom the Commonwealth derived its name. Moswetuset retains its original form and character, appearing today much as it did when Captain John Smith visited New England in 1614 or when Miles Standish came to Squantum in 1621. >>> continue reading the pdf

For more information on historical sources related to the Moswetuset Hummock, see the bibliography page

Created 12/8/11