E/MS Unit I

Activity 1: Accounts of King Philip’s War

Have students refer to their maps showing where Native American tribes lived and where English settlers had built towns prior to 1675. Share key points from the Mass Moments essay on the war. Given what they have learned about the relationship between English settlers and native people, how do students think war could have been avoided?

Highlight on the Big Maps the English towns that suffered most from the war.

  • Mendon, Brookfield, Lancaster, Deerfield, Northfield, Wrentham, Worcester, Groton, Rehoboth, Middleboro, and Dartmouth were reduced to ashes.
  • In Swansea and Marlboro, only a handful of buildings were left standing.
  • Hatfield, Springfield, Medfield, Weymouth, Scituate, Sudbury, and Chelmsford all had significant loss of property and life.

If students live in or near one of these towns, check local histories to see what the authors say about the war.

  1. From whose point of view are accounts of the war written? Why?
  2. Do we have a list of villages in which native people lived that were damaged or destroyed? Why not?
  3. If we only know one side of the story in detail, how does that affect our knowledge of the event?

Give half the class Church’s account and the other half Wheeler’s. After students have read the excerpts, discuss the following questions:

  1. What do these accounts tell us about Native American military tactics?
  2. What did Church think about the Native Americans’ tactics? Did Wheeler agree with him? What words and phrases did Church and Wheeler use that help us understand their thinking?
  3. Does it make a difference that Benjamin Church’s thoughts were written down by his son 30 years after the war ended? If so, why?
  4. What don’t we know after reading these two accounts?