Thomas Weston

 

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Weston, THOMAS, colonist; born in England about 1575; became a wealthy merchant in London. An active member of the Plymouth Company, he sold out his interest in the affair and entered upon speculation on his own account. Sixty men, chiefly indentured servants, without women, were sent to the Plymouth colony to make a new and independent settlement not far away. They subsisted for two or three months on the bounty of the Plymouth people, and committed thefts and other crimes. Late in the year (1622) they established themselves at Wissagasset (now Weymouth), on the south shore of Massachusetts Bay, where they wasted their provisions and were reduced to great distress. They dispersed in small parties, begging or stealing from the Indians, who finally resolved to destroy the unwelcome intruders. At about that time Edward Winslow visited and healed the sick Massasoit, who, in gratitude, gave his healer warning of the plot.

Winslow hastened back and laid the matter before the governor, when Captain Standish was sent with eight men, under the pretext of trade, to ascertain the truth and warn the Wissagasset men of their danger. He was ordered, if the natives were hostile, to bring back the head of Wituwamut, a noted warrior, mentioned as the leader of the conspirators. Standish found the Indians full of defiance. Taking this as an evidence of their guilt, Standish, being with the obnoxious chief and three of his followers in a cabin, and having his men with him, closed the door, and at a given signal seized the knife of one of the warriors and stabbed Wituwamut to the heart. Two of the others were slain, and the third—a boy—was hanged. The Indians, alarmed, fled to the swamps, and several more of them were killed. Then the ill-favored plantation of Wissagasset was abandoned. Wituwamut's head was carried to Plymouth upon a pole and set up as a warning to the other Indians. This savage work distressed the good Robinson, who wrote to the Plymouth colonists, " Oh, how happy a thing would it have been that you had converted some before you killed any!" Weston died in England after 1624.

 

 

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