New England Puritans & Pilgrims
Weetamoo in New England Puritans & Pilgrims
Weetamoo (unknown-1676) was the squaw-sachem (or warrior-leader) of the Pocassets. She exercised substantial power in the Wampanoag and Narragansett communities and was Metacom's sister-in-law. Weetamoo was perhaps the most powerful Native American woman of the colonial era, and allied with Metacom during his war against the colonists in 1675-76.
Weetamoo guarded Mary Rowlandson during her captivity in 1675; Rowlandson referred to herself as Weetamoo's slave. Rowlandson described her as "a severe and proud Dame...bestowing every day in dressing herself neat as such time as any Gentry of the land: powdering her hair, and painting her face, going with Neck-laces, with Jewels in her ears, and Bracelets upon her hands." In his history of the war, Puritan minister Increase Mather described Weetamoo as an enemy of similar stature and power to Metacom himself. After Weetamoo died of an accidental drowning, the Puritans beheaded her body and displayed her decapitated head on a pole as a lesson to others. Increase declared it an act of divine intervention that Weetamoo had "furnished Philip with Canooes for his men" during the war, but had drowned because she "could not meet with a Canoo."