King Phillips War spread into a series of battles in Maine known as the Eastern War. On October 12, 1676 about 100 Indian warriors made an assault on an English settlement at Black Point near Portland, Maine and took a number of captives. A couple of weeks later an Arosagunticook chief named Mugg Hegon visited General Dennison in Piscataqua (Portsmouth) and declared that the Indians were desirous of peace.Mugg was taken, perhaps forcibly, to Boston for negotiations with a promise of safe passage, and on Nov. 6 he concluded a treaty with the English for the Eastern Indians.

An Indian stockade in Maine

While Mugg was away however, a force was sent to attack the Indians at their winter quarters. The fortification was burned but the Indians managed to escape. Among the captives in the first attack was the son of Harvard-educated Rev. Thomas Cobbett of Ipswich.

The pastor was not universally popular. A former parishioner claimed he “had as leave to hear a dog bark as to hear Mr. Cobbett preach” and Luke Perkins who lived near the wharf was whipped for saying the minister was “more fit to be in a hog sty than in a pulpit”. Can you imagine their surprise when the ship carrying Mugg arrived at the wharf , allowing Mugg to visit Rev. Cobbet at his  home on East Street to negotiate a ransom for his son. The deal was struck, and when Mugg returned to Maine the young Cobbett was soon released in exchange for a coat as ransom to the Sagamore who was holding him.

Daniel Russell House, 6 East Street
The Daniel Russell house at 6 East Street in Ipswich was built in 1818 on the former site of Rev. Cobbet’s house, and is said to have the old house’s well in the cellar.

Mugg proposed to the English that he be allowed to go into the wilderness to bring back the captives, promising to return with them within four days. The vessels awaited his reappearance in vain. When Mugg heard about the attack during his absence and that his own people felt he had betrayed them, he rejoined the war. Mugg was killed at the re-established garrison at  Black Point on May 16, 1677, the place his forces had captured the preceding year, after conducting a second attack against the English.

(read William Hubbard’s different version of this story)

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