Seekonk, Massachusetts

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Seekonk is a town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States, on the Rhode Island border. It was incorporated in 1812 from the western half of Rehoboth. The population was 13,425 at the 2000 census.



Early years

The first inhabitants of Seekonk were Native Americans from the Wampanoag Tribe. The name Wampanoag means People of the Morning Light. This name refers to the geographical area of the tribe. Living in the East they would be the first people to greet the sun each morning. The area now known as Seekonk and Rehoboth provided agricultural and water resources with abundant food supplies. During the warm summer months the Natives spent time near the rivers and oceans in what is now Southeastern Massachusetts. In the winter months the Natives lived inland, including several locations in Seekonk. At one time there were three Native American villages in the area we now call Seekonk.

There have been many spellings of the name Seekonk. Some of the various spellings include Seconch, Sink Hunk, Secquncke, Seaconke, and Squannakonk. The symbol of the goose in flight is used on the Town Seal.

Chief Massasoit

The chief of the Wampanoags at the time the colonists settled in Southeastern Massachusetts was known as Massasoit or Ossamequin. In English this name means yellow feather. Ossamequin's people had been seriously affected by a plague just prior to the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. A large number of Wampanoag Indians had been killed by this illness. Most historians believe this plague to have been yellow fever.

Massasoit decided to make a peace treaty with the new immigrants for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most important factor was that the Wampanoags were fearful of being overtaken by the Narragansett Indians who lived nearby. Ossamequin believed an alliance with the English would help to secure the safety of his people.

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