Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sculptures of Springfield: Toto the Windsor Indian

Interesting Places I've Visited
Toto the Windsor Indian
and the Attack on Springfield
Springfield, MA
Topics: Sculptures of Springfield, Battlefields

GPS: N42° 04.430; W072° 35.062

Quick Description: 

During the King Phillip's War the large English settlement at Springfield was virtually completely burned to the ground. Toto the Windsor Indian warned settlers in advance allowing them to reach the safety of the Old Fort.

Long Description:

On October 5 1675, the peace between the native people and the English settlers in Springfield was shattered when the native people of the area gathered at what is now known as King Phillip's Stockade (the coordinates for this waymark) to initiate an attack on the English settlement. The leader of the Native Americans was Chief Metacomet, called King Phillip by the English. Thousands of English settlers and Native Americans died in King Phillip's War, which to this day remains the most violent war per capita in American history.

King Phillip incited the local Agawam Indians to rebel against the English settlers of Springfield and burn the town to the ground; but the residents of Springfield were warned of the impending attack from a native from Windsor, CT named "Toto", who is often referred to as "The Windsor Indian." A bronze statue of whom has been erected in King Phillip's Stockade (coordinates: N42 4.439; W72 35.055)

The first casualties of the attack were Lieutenant Thomas Cooper and Constable Thomas Miller. A plaque noting the location of this attack can be found at Mill and Main Streets (coordinates N42° 5.372; W72° 34.721). The plaque is inscribed:

Near This Spot
Lieut. Thomas Cooper
Constable Thomas Miller
were killed by the Indians
just prior to the
burning of Springfield
October 5, 1675

Erected by Mercy Warren Chapter D.A.R.

Because of the warning many residents left their homes and took refuge in the only fortified structure in Springfield, a block house, later called the "Old Fort", which was built and owned by John Pynchon, the son of the founder of Springfield. The defence of the "Old Fort" was under the command of Captain Miles Morgan, who successfully protected the settlers while their homes were being burned. Thereafter, Captain Morgan earned the nickname "The Hero of Springfield". There is a statue of him, nearby, in Court Square (coordinates: N 42° 06.078; W 072° 35.334).

There is also a plaque to mark the location of the "Old Fort" (coordinates: N 42° 06.216; W 072° 35.615) just inside the entrance to a popular restaurant on Fort Street which now occupies the site. The plaque is inscribed:

This plate commemorates
the building known as
The Old Fort
erected on this site in 1660
by John Pynchon son of
William Pynchon
leader of the first settlement
of Springfield

The King Phillip's War, claimed the lives of over 800 settlers. More than 8000 Native Americans were killed, enslaved, or became refugees. The war ended in of 1676, when King Phillip was killed by colonists and the subsequent surrender of the Native Americans.

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