Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tension Builds- Trouble with the Susquehanock

A picture of a longhouse inside the Yoacamoco village
in Historic St Mary's City, Maryland.

St Mary's Grows

You should go visit Historic St Mary's, about 2 hours south of Baltimore. It's got building reconstructions, period actors, and all that Jamestowney stuff.  As well as some reconstructions of the old colonial stuff, HSM also has a recreation of the old Indian village that St Mary's formed over. You can see the inside of a longhouse on the left.

Check out a review here.

Fallout from the Clash Between Colonies

a 1663 depiection of a public execution
in Charleston, SC
After the little naval battle, Clayborne must have been like, "Oh fuck, I might be in trouble" because he was back in England before the trial even started. Meanwhile, the survivors on his side of the battle were brought to trial for the murder of William Ashmore and general piracy , where they plead not guilty. Leonard Calvert apparently disagreed and  one of Clayborne's guys, Thomas Smith, was hanged. (64-66)

Back in England, Clayborne was still stirring shit up. He was asking the king and anyone he could to give him back Kent Island. And what's more, and this is kind of insane, he wanted land that would snake around Maryland and continue all the way up to the great lakes to all be considered Virginia. Obviously, he didn't get what he wanted so he even tried less respectable methods of getting the island back.(75) Nothing worked.

In 1638, Kent Island was apparently almost in revolt. We don't know the details, Kent Island wasn't much of a town, it was pretty much just a trading post and a fort for the fur trade.

Anyway, Leonard appointed Thomas Cornwallis, the guy who'd just made a name for himself by beating Clayborne's pirates, to go take care of it. With a bunch of armed colonists  he went to Kent Island and used whatever force necessary to put things right. Though we don't know for sure how he was successful, he probably wasn't very nice about it. Kent Island gave no further trouble after Cornwallis' mission, so we can give that guy another Win.

Trouble with the Susquehannocks

A visualization of an acre
Let me stop and tell you how Cecil was getting people to move to his new colony: by offering them a fucking shitload of land. 50-100 acres for one person, and 50-100 more for each person they brought with them. Cecil's system would have effectively turned Maryland into a true Feudalistic state. But what's really important about this is that it meant tons of new English were coming to Indian occupied lands and going, "Sup Natives, this is mine now so you hafta get off it."

Remember the Susquehanocks? The guys who'd been coming down and fucking up our buddies the Yoamacoans? They were getting a little tired of these new-comers stealing up all their land, and decided to start getting violent.. Though details of what was happening did not make it through the history (you'll find out why later), we know that several areas throughout Maryland were getting harassed by the Indians (largely believed to be Susquehanocks).

An early depiction of the Susquehannock from
John Smith's book in which he describes the
 Susquehannock as "gyant-like"

So the guys at St Mary's are like, "Oh shit guys, I think we have a problem." And then I guess someone else responded like, "Okay, let's go fuck some shit up, show em who's boss." So they sent a couple of those small river boats (pinnaces) one to each Kent Island to the Susquehanocks own area of the Bay. At home, things got serious. Every colonist living in the city was given a gun and trained to use it as a militia. They fixed up the city walls real nice and got ready for the attack they felt certain was coming. (162, 163)

And they were right to. Within a year, in 1642, the colony of Maryland would officially declare war on the Susquehanocks.