Because of the trauma of recurring wars and epidemics during the seventeenth century, much information about the Native inhabitants of what is now Swampscott and surrounding communities has been lost. Their great sachem, Nanepashemet, was killed in a raid by Indians from northern New England around 1619. English settlers arrived after his death and only knew of him by reputation. Click here for the video of the People’s Recognition Day event at the Swamscott Public Library on November 12, 2022.
(Above) Emerson “Tad” Baker, professor of History at Salem State University, gave an 88-minute presentation about what the historical record reveals about Sachem Nanepashemet in the early 17th century after describing what is known about the first 12,000 years.
(Above) Professor Baker describes Champlain’s discover of Maine and the great epidemic that killed the majority of Native people in 1616-1619. Their great sachem, Nanepashemet, was killed by raiding Indians from northern New England around 1619. So English settlers arrived after his death and only knew of him by reputation.
Using the fragmentary documentary record, including details about Nanepashemet’s family, Baker pieces together a picture of Native lifeways, and the challenges they faced with the arrival of English settlers.