17th Century MeetUp Group Finds Massasoit’s Home in Warren, RI

In the 19th century, Warren, RI, was purported to be the home of Massasoit based on Edward Winslow’s description of his journey from the Plymouth Colony to meet Massasoit in both in 1621 and in 1623. While Thomas Bicknell argued at the turn of the 20th century that Massasoit’s home was in Barrington, probably at Tyler Point, the Town of Warren still claims to be Sowams, the home of the American Aborigine chief who met with the Pilgrims in 1621 and struck a treaty that ensured the survival of both the Pokanoket Tribe as well as the English Pilgrims for the next fifty years.

A frieze on Warren’s Town Hall depicts Massasoit and his village of Sowams that Edward Winslow visited in 1621 along with the date of 1746 when the town was incorporated in the state of Rhode Island after being part of Massachusetts since 1653.


The 17th Century Rhode Island MeetUp group gathers at the Franklin Street Park & Ride before Sowams Heritage Area Coordinator Dave Weed leads them over to Burr’s Hill Park where they stop at a monument to the Massasoit above his burial remains that were returned to the Park in 2017.


Members of the group stop to read the bronze plaque placed at the Massasoit Spring on Baker Street in 1907 and then stop across the street to look at American Aborigine  symbols painted on a rock when the park was constructed in the 1990s.


The group stops in front of the Warren Town Hall to read the frieze shown in the photo at the top of this page with the reference to Sowams before heading to the Charles Whipple Greene Museum on the second floor of the George Hail Library where items taken from Aboriginal graves in 1913 by the then Library Director Charles Carr.


The group looks over a collection of stone tools that were found along the shore of the Kickemuit River in Warren a century ago while Steve Greenleaf of the East Providence Historical Commission listens to Doug Blum of Providence College remark on what the indigenous people were able to do with these stone tools. The group also watched a ten-minute video about the Massasoit.

Click here to see the original deed for the sale of Sowams to the colonists in 1653.