122 New England Historical and Genealogical Register [APRIL
There are other instances in the colony records where the same relationships are stated. In June and August 1662 Philip appeared before the Plymouth Colony Court, first seeking redress to his claim that the Narragansetts had illegally taken his property, and second, defending himself against allegations that he was plotting against the English. In the former instance Philip argued that his father conveyed the land to him; both the Narragansetts and the court concurred. In the latter instance Philip denied plotting against the English and said he wished to continue the friendship “that hath formerly bine between this govment and his deceased father and brother.”
As if the evidence so far were not sufficient, four principal figures in the
1675-76 conflict left testimony that supports these familial relationships:
Benjamin Church, who personally knew King Philip and whose troops killed the warrior sachem; William Harris, one of Rhode Island's original settlers who personally knew King Philip and Massasoit; John Easton, a Quaker and former governor of Rhode Island, and Metacom/King Philip himself In his Entertaining History, sometimes called Entertaining Passages, Thomas Church related that just after his father Benjamin, then a captain, had killed King Philip, he tried to convince his men to capture King Philip's chief aide, the elderly but fearsome warrior Axrnawon. His men were reluctant, fearful of being captured or killed. Church wrote that “they [his men] knew this Captain Annawon was a great soldier; that he had been a valiant captain under Asuhmequin, Philip's father.” In a footnote, Drake explains that Asuhmequin was Woosamequin which “was the last name by which the 'good old Massassoit' was known.”11t~ The point is that Church, who knew the major Indian figures involved in the conflict -many of whom were related to Metacom clearly identifies Massasoit as Philip's father, not his grandfather.
William Harris, in a 1676 letter to a benefactor in England, Sir Joseph Williamson, mentions the father-son relationship. In the lengthy letter, which serves as apologia for the English role in the conflict and an indictment of the Native Americans as traitors and instigators of the war, Harris wrote that:
I have told phillip (after he plotted against ye English) that he abouve all other
Indeans should louve ye English & be true to them, for, had it not bin for ye plimoth
17 Shurtleff and Pulsifer, Records of the Colony of New Plymouth [note 16], 4:24-25; Bangs, Indian Deeds: Land in Plymouth Colony [note 4], 95.
18 Thomas Church, Esq., The History of Philips War, Commonly Called The Great Indian War, of 1675 and 1676 ed. Samuel G. Drake (Exeter, N.H.: J. & B. Williams, 1829), 133. Drake edited two editions of Church's “diary.” The second edition of 1827 was reissued from stereotype plates in 1829 and some 19 more times through 1889. The reference to “Philip's father” appears in all the texts including the original edition published in 1716 and the second edition of 1772. See note 1.
2003] King Philip: Massasoit 's Son or Grandson? 123
old planters (now dead) ye narragansets had then cutt of his fathers head (then called
Mas-sa-soyt, since was called Osa-mea-quen, whom I knew forty years since. 
John Easton wrote an account of his meeting with King Philip a week before the first bloodshed. Philip had spoken of how his father had shown the English how to plant and given them land, of how his brother [Alexander] “came miserably to die by being forced to court, as they judge poisoned,” and of other grievances.
As for King Philip's own words, there are at least two instances. In 1649 MassasoitlWoosamequen sold the land called Seekonk to a group of prominent Plymouth Colony freemen who then renamed the tract Rehoboth. After the deaths of Massasoit and Wamsutta, the English, including Josiah Winslow, future governor of Plymouth, asked King Philip to reaffirm the original purchase by signing a quitclaim deed. King Philip, for a sum of eight pounds and ten shillings, did so on 30 March 1668. The deed reads in part:
whereas Osamequin, Sachem, deceased, did for good and valuable Considerations [in 1640] ... Convey.. . a tract of land eight mile square... I Philip Sachem, son, heir and successor to the said Osamequin Sachem, do hereby for my selfe . . . quit all manner of Right... to the said Tract of lands of eight mile square
And four years earlier, on 23 March 1663[/4], “Philip Sachem” had confirmed a deed that “Osamequen my father” had given to the inhabitants of Taunton in
Normally, it would be imprudent to ignore the fact that, given the severe inadequacy of colonial ''histories'' and records pertaining to Native Americans, there may be lurking in some repository undiscovered information that might alter these familial relationships. However, the evidence in this case is so overwhelming that we can safely say that King Philip/Metacom was indeed the son of Massasoit.
Dennis P. Walsh is Professor Emeritus of English and Journalism, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. He may be contacted at email@example.com.
19 William Harris, “Letter to Sir Joseph Williamson, Aug. 12, 1676,” Collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society 10 (1902): 164-65. Harris is best known to history for his widely published accounts of the 1675-76 conflict entitled A Rhode Islander Reports on King Phillip's War, the second William Harris letter of August, 1676, ed. and transcribed by Douglas Edward Leach (Providence, RI.: Rhode Island Historical Society, 1963).
20 Schultz and Tougias, King Philips War [note 4], 29.
21 Bangs, Indian Deeds: Land in Plymouth Colony [note 4], 387; Hosea Starr Ballou, “Dr. Thomas Starr, Surgeon in the Pequot War, and His Family Connections,” Register 94 (1940):347. Also see volume 3 of Richard LeBaron Bowen, Early Rehoboth: Documented Historical Studies of Families and Events in this Plymouth Colony Township, 4 vols. (Concord, N.H.: Rumford Press, 1945-50), for numerous deeds involving Massasoit, Wamsutta, and King Philip.
22 Bangs, Indian Deeds: Land in Plymouth Colony [note 4], 326.