King Philip's War & the Colonial Contact Period in and around Barrington & Warren, RI, & Swansea, MA

On June 20, 1675, it was reported that a band of Pokanoket natives looted homes of English settlers on the Kickemuit* River in present day Warren, RI, and set two homes on fire including that of Hugh Cole. On the morning of June 23rd, more houses were ransacked and burned. The next day a Pokanoket warrior was shot and wounded by John Salisbury. Later, Salisbury and six other settlers were ambushed and killed near Swazey Corner. Two other settlers were ambushed and killed when they went to seek help. Thus began the King Philip's War, the region's bloodiest conflict and the turning point in the contest for the control of land throughout New England.

This page details, through current photographs of some of the places as they exist today, where these early events in the war took place in commemoration of the 325th anniversary of that conflict. The location of the start of the conflict is now in present-day Warren, R.I., but was then the western edge of the Swansea, a territory granted by the Plymouth Colony to Thomas Willett, John Myles, Stephey Payne and two other English settlers.

The expansion of English settlements began in Plymouth fifty-five years earlier. By 1675, settlements had been established all around Sowams, or the area of native villages near the Mauntaup (Mt. Hope) peninsula.

Though there were many events that led up to the war, the attack on the settlement on the banks of the Kickemuit River** may be attributed to the growing  perception that Native land had been increasingly encroached upon by settlers, leaving cornfields overrun by settlers' livestock and traditional hunting grounds  inaccessible. (For a good understanding of these forces, see Cronon, Changes in the Land) In fact, since the arrival of the English at Plymouth Rock in 1620, land under Native control had been reduced from all of Southeastern Massachusetts to merely the area of the Mount Hope peninsula (see map)

*Sometimes spelled Kickamuit

** For an excellent account of the first days of the War, go to "Our River" by Joe Doherty

  This web site consists of a total of seven linked pages Click to go to the next page 

This page is provided as a public service. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information presented, the author cannot be responsible for factual errors. For further information about this web site or to provide corrections or additional information, please contact the webmaster @ drweed@cox.net

Revised: 10-26-14