Native Natick in a Violent Century: 1650-1750

On September 14, 2022, the Natick Historical Society welcomed Professor Emeritus of History Daniel R. Mandell for a virtual lecture tracing Natick’s development from its establishment as a Christian Indian town in 1651 to its domination by Anglo settlers a century later. Click here for a 64-minute YouTube video of Dr. Mandell’s presentation.

Initially, the community, led by Puritan minister John Eliot’s initial convert, featured Indigenous and English traits, including a subsistence economy, patriarchal families, and a Biblical leadership structure.

In 1675, King Philip’s War shattered this world; most Christian Native people were forced to winter at Deer Island where many died. Afterward, the surviving Christian Indians resettled Natick and resumed many traditions.

But by the 1720s their numbers were shrinking and becoming elderly. They increasingly sold land to white settlers to pay debts. By midcentury, the Natick Indians were a scorned minority in the town they had created.