Turner’s Falls Project

Turner's Falls, Montague, Massachusetts

Turner’s Falls, Montague, Massachusetts

About the Project

The Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center and Anthropology Department at the University of Connecticut have been asked by the Battlefield Study Advisory Board to conduct the research phase for the King Philip’s War Battle of Great Falls/Wissantinnewag-Peskeompskut (May 19, 1676). The Battlefield Advisory Board is a consortium of three towns and Five Native American tribes (Towns of Montague (Turner’s Falls), Gill, Greenfield; and the Narragansett, Mohegan, Nipmuc, Aquinah Wampanoag, Mashpee Wampanoag). The project is funded by the National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program.

The Native American community known as Peskeompskut-Wissatinnewag was located in the vicinity of current day Turners Falls and is the location of a significant King Philips War engagement between Colonial forces and Native Americans. On May 19, 1676 more than 150 Colonial militia attacked a village of several hundred Native people killing more than two hundred in less than an hour. In the immediate aftermath of the massacre Native men mobilized from several other villages in the area and repeatedly attacked the colonists as they retreated 20 miles south to Deerfield. Thirty-eight colonists died in these attacks including Captain William Turner, commander of the English militia. The purpose of this project is to identify the likely locations of the battlefield and associated sites, including Peskeompskut-Wissatinnewag and other villages through the examination of documentary records and archaeological collections, military terrain analysis, and to obtain oral histories and perspectives from the descendants of the Natives and Colonists who fought in the battle.