Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoags
Massasoit was born around 1580-90 in the village of Pokanoket near present-day
Bristol, Rhode Island and died 1661-62 near Bristol, Rhode Island.
The name “Massasoit” is a title meaning “Grand Sachem” or “Great Leader”.
Massasoit was also known by other names such as: Yellow Feather (Ousa Mequin),
Woosamequin, Asumequine, Oosamequin, Osamekin, Ousamequine, and Ussamequen.
Little is known about Massasoit prior to contacting with the Pilgrims in 1621. All
that is known is that he rose to leadership over 8 large villages, he had residences in
Middleborough and Raynham, and had 2 brothers who were mentioned in earlier
records: Quadequina (older brother) and Akkompion (younger brother). Quadequina was
considered one of the “two kings”, suggesting that he was the Massasoit’s Chief
Councilor. Massasoit also had 3 known sons and 2 daughters: Alexander (Moanam,
Wamsutta) was the oldest born 1621-24, Philip (Pometacomet), Amie (Sonkanuchoo),
and 2 other unnamed children.
The first time contact was made with the English by Massasoit was in 1619,
where he met Capt. Thomas Dermer and second Governor of the Plymouth Colony,
When the Pilgrims arrived on the
they were very sick and weak and
the settlers had to spend the winter in extreme hunger. They had very little food left after
the long voyage, so about half of them died of hunger, disease, and bad weather. But the
Wampanoags provided food, advice and other important help. The Wampanoags along
with Massasoit, taught the Pilgrims how to build houses, hunt for food, and survive in