The traditional Wampanoag Indian lands known as Sowams are located in present day Bristol County, Rhode Island, on an irregular peninsula extending Southward between Narragansett and Mount Hope Bays. Sowams was sold to the English in 1653 for the sum of thirty-five pounds, in close succession with the nearby tracts of Rehoboth, Taunton and Wannamoisett.
This text provides an enlightening history of the first European settlement in this region and reprints a number of documents found in the Sowams Record Book, the Records of the Plymouth Colony and the Ancient Records of the town of Swansea, all dating to the mid-1600s.
Much material is included in Chapter 1 on the Europeans’ first encounters with the Wampanoags in 1621 and the peaceful relationship maintained between the settlers and the tribe in the forty years prior to King Philip’s War. Chapter 2 reprints the Records of the Sowams Proprietary, dating from the initial purchase of the territory to the 1680s. Chapter 3 contains biographical sketches of the original proprietors. Chapter 4 gives a general history of the settlement of Sowams. Chapter 5 provides an overview of the New England proprietary system.
The text is further enhanced by a detailed map of the region and numerous portraits. The original index to names, places and subjects adds to the value of this book.
Thomas Williams Bicknell
(1908), 2016) 5½x8½, paper, index, 205 pp.