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Indian Child Murder (1735)

One of the most shocking and cruel murders in Massachusett's history took place at Natick in 1735. Native-American siblings were left in the custody of a 13-year old girl, while her parents left home to work for several days. When the parents returned, their 3-year old son was missing. After prodding their daughter for information, she eventually confessed to killing the boy in a most shocking manner.

The 3-year old boy had refused to bring his sister some chips, so she severely beat him with a stick, cut his throat and killed him, chopped his head off with an axe, cooked and consumed some of his flesh, and then burned the rest of his body in a fire. Sadly, their 8-year brother had watched the murder. The Native-American parents tried to conceal what had happened, but eventually the authorities talked to the girl and she confessed. The girl was then sent to jail awaiting trial for murder. Presumably, the Indian girl was either hanged or sold to slave-traders and sent to the West Indies.

The November 12, 1735 New England Journal describes the entire horrid affair:

"We have the following most sorrowful account from Natick, that on Monday the 29th of October past, John Pitoomee an Indian and his squaw, went from their wigwam or dwelling there, to Medfield to work, and left at home three Children, a Girl of between 12 to 13 years of age, a boy of about 8, and another little Boy of about 3;

On the Wednesday following the Indian woman came home and brought with her some small matter of provision for her 3 children, and soon return'd to her husband at Medfield; and on Saturday the 3rd of November instant they both came home to their Wigwam; and missing their youngest Child, they inquired of the girl where it was; who after some time, told them she kill'd, and then burnt it, and [showed] them some of its bones then in the fire not consumed. The miserable distressed parents, not willing such a barbarous action should be discovered, took the bones out of the fire, beat them to powder, and cast them in again, and gave out that their Child was lost.

The Child's being missing was much talk'd of in the neighborhood, and several were much concern'd about it; but so it happened, a young gentleman who lodg'd at the Rev. Mr. Peabody's of that place, being more than ordinary concerned about the child, a night or two after [having] dreamt it was murdered, and the same should be revealed to him; this making a greater impression upon him he went to the wigwam aforesaid, but the squaw seeing him coming, ran away and would not be seen by him, she said her father would kill her if she told, but being very urgent with her, she told him that she killed him, and related to him in what manner she did it;

Upon this the said person gave information to Col. Fullam of Weston, one if his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the County of Middlesex, who immediately sent for the father, mother, and daughter; and upon The Examination, the Justice inquir'd of the girl, what [had] become of her Brother? She told him she had kill'd him; he asked her what was the occasion of her doing it, she answer'd, she took a rod or stick and whipp'd him severely, which made him cry bitterly, and after that she took a knife and cut his throat (pointing with her finger to her own) but not being able to cut off his head with the knife, she look her father's ax, and cut it off, after which she threw it into the Fire;

She was then ask'd, what became of the remainder of the Body; She said, she eat part of it, and the rest likewise threw into the fire. She was again ask'd what part of the Body she eat, and how she prepared the same for eating; she then pointed to her leg, her thigh, her arm, &c, and then [showed] with her finger how she stuck the pieces on a strip of Wood and roasted them with the fire; She was [then] ask'd, whether her brother of eight years of age, was any way concern'd in this cruelty; she said, yes and [showed] how he held his brother’s hands while she did the bloody act:

After the Examination Justice Fullam bound over to the Court the Father & Mother, and committed the girl to the goal [jail] in Cambridge in order to her trial: She had so much of cunning in her to wash the blood off the knife & ax, after committing the horrid [act]."

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