On this day, May 26, 1637, Major John Mason lead a combined English and Mohegan/Narragansett force against the Pequot people. Mason's army set fire to a fortified Pequot village near the Mystic River. They shot any Pequots who tried to escape the wooden palisade fortress and killed 400-700 Pequots, consisting mostly of women and children. The only survivors were the warriors who had been with their sachem, Sassacus, in a raiding party outside the village. The event is known as the Mystic Massacre.
After the subsequent Fairfield Swamp Fight in July 1637, the English sold captured Pequot as slaves or servants and took their lands. The Pequot numbers were so diminished that they ceased to be a tribe in most senses. Many of the remaining Pequot were to be absorbed into the Mohegan and Narragansett tribes and were not allowed to refer to themselves as Pequot. In the later 20th century, Pequot descendants revived the tribe, achieving federal recognition and settlement of some land claims.
A statue of Major John Mason is on the Palisado Green in Windsor, Connecticut, The statue was originally placed at the intersection of Pequot Avenue and Clift Street in Mystic, Connecticut, near what was thought to be one of the original Pequot forts. The statue remained there for 103 years. After studying the sensitivity and appropriateness of the statue's location near the historic massacre of Pequot people, a commission chartered by Groton, Connecticut voted to have it relocated. In 1993, The State of Connecticut relocated the statue to its current setting.
On this day, March 25, 1916, the man known as Ishi died.
He was the last member of the Yahi, a group of the Yana of the U.S. state of California. Known as the "last wild Indian," Ishi lived most of his life completely outside modern culture.
At 50 years of age, in 1911, he emerged out of the undeveloped area of Butte County, California. He spent the last five years of his life as a research subject at the University of California, San Francisco.
Thomas E. Keefe
Assistant Professor of Humanities,