Monday May 7, 2012

Carole Owens’ interesting May 2 op-ed column about murder in Stockbridge overlooks the first such case in the town and the most celebrated until modern times.

In the spring of 1754 two white men killed a Stockbridge Indian named Waumpaumcorse. One of the murderers was acquitted and the other found guilty of manslaughter. This provoked a number of the Indians to seek revenge and "the Negroe Ser vant of one of the Neighbours made known a Secret Plott Dis covered to him by one of our young Indians . . . that now there was a Number of them who were come to a Determination to be revenged for [Waumpaum corse’s] murder and that several of them had already been abroad to bring in some Strangers to their Assistance, that their purpose was to kill as many of the English in Stockbridge as they could."

The court awarded the small sum of six pounds to Waum paumcorse’s family but there was a delay in sending the money. At the urging of Joseph Dwight and Timothy Wood bridge, the General Court finally ordered 20 pounds to the near relatives of Waumpaumcorse "to Satisfy & Quiet the Indians at Stockbridge."

That seems to have averted further bloodshed.

LION G. MILES

Stockbridge