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Lowell, Mass.

Last Updated Dec-2008

Wabanaki Family Names Known Here

Wabanaki Events That Occurred Here

Bits & Pieces from Books, news-clippings, etc.

Howard Richardson ... on way to see the Indians, now encamped on "Musquash Island." likely fell & drowned never making it to the camp site.

Source: Lowell Mercury, 12-Sep-1834


Some time every summer a fleet of canoes would glide noiselessly up the river [Merrimac], and a company of Penobscot Indians would land at a green point almost in sight from our windows. Pawtucket Falls had always been one of their favorite camping-places. Their strange endevors to combine civilization with savagery were a great source of amusement to us; men and women clad alike in loose gowns, stove-pipe hats, and moccasons; grotesque relics of aboriginal forest-life. The sight to these uncouth-looking red men made the romance fade entirely out of the Indian stories we had heard. Still their wigwam camp was a show we would not willingly have missed.

Source: A New England Girlhood; Outlined from Memory
by Lucy Larcom (1824 to 1893)
Contributed by: Judith Ranta

Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - 1st published in 1889, the source is Larcom's autobiography, she lived and worked in Lowell MA. Date of events mentioned probably 1830-1840s.


I remember also the first time I ever saw the aborigines of our country. They were Penobscot, and then, I believe, upon their way to the city [Lowell MA]. They encamped among the woods of the Newbury shore, and crossed the river (there about a mile in width) in their little canoes, whenever they wished to beg or trade. They sadly refuted the romantic ideas which I had formed from the descriptions of Cooper and others; nevertheless they were to me an interesting people. They appeared so strange, with their birch-bark canoes and wooden paddles, their women with men's hats and such outre dresses, their little boys with their unfailing bow and arrows, and the little feet which they all had. Their curious, bright-stained baskets, too, which they sold or gave away. I have one of them now, but it has lost its bright tints. It was given me in return for a slight favor. I remember also one dreadful stormy night while they were amongst us. The rain poured in torrents. The thick darkness was unrelieved by a single lightning-flash, and the hoarse murmurs of the seething river was the only noise which could be distinguished from the pitiless storm. I thought of my new acquaintance, and looked out in the direction of their camp. I could see at one time the lights flickering among the thick trees, and darting rapidly to and fro behind them, and then all would be unbroken gloom. Sometimes I fancied I could distinguish a whoop or yell, and then I heard nought but the pelting of the rain. As I gazed on the wild scene, I was strongly reminded of scenes which are described in old border tales, of wild banditti, and night revels of lawless hordes of barbarians.

Source: Shells from the Strand of the Sea of Genius
by Harriet Farley (1813-1907), publ. 1847
"Scenes on the Merrimac" pg.214-244
Contributed by: Judith Ranta

Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - Judith adds - the book is a collection of Farley's writing, many of which were first published in the 'Lowell Offering'. Date of events mentioned probably 1830-1840s.


On other afternoons I went to walk with a playmate, who, like myself, was full of romantic dreams, along the banks of the Merrimack River, where the Indians had still their tents, or on Sundays, to see the 'new converts' baptized

Source: "Loom and Spindle, or Life among the Early Mill Girls"
by Harriet H. Robinson, publ. 1898
pg. 22-23
Contributed by: Judith Ranta

Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - Judith adds - the passage can be dated to 1835-1840



Oct. 9, 1865
Went to the Circus ... Some real Indians performed Iroquies [sic]. I knew them to be genuine for I have seen real ones in Lowell. When I was a child they used to encamp every year on the banks of the Merrimac near the Lawrence Corporation and we used to run over there and see them make baskets. I remember how smoky their tents smelled.

25 Sept. 1867
[of walking] to the Merrimack, beyond the Lawrence Corp where the Indians always used to encamp and the baptisings were always held.

Source: Diary Entries
by Harriet H. Robinson
Contributed by: Judith Ranta

Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - Judith adds - The Lawrence was the closest of all the corps to Pawtucket Falls. It was near a bend in the river where an island called Musquash Island was located. Harriet came to Lowell with her mother about 1832, so her memories of Lowell would have begun no earlier than that year.


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