Captain Braden planned to visit Mr. Levine as soon as possible to confront
him on plans being made without the advice of his “military advisor.”
“Give us two days before you visit him,” I asked.
“Time is of the essence, isn’t it?” asked Braden.
“Yes, it is,” I said, “but we just need some time to set the stage a bit.”
“Alright. If there are any men I trust here, it is you and Shepherd,” said
the aging Captain.
“Don’t forget Albert!” I winked at him.
“Of course, my friend Albert!” smiled Braden.
I told Shepherd of my plan for the “action of the people,” as he and
Henry Adams had often discussed. I was simply reflecting upon how people can
exercise power when they believe that they have none. Shepherd and Adams
loved to discuss governance and the ideas of Hugo Grotius. Grotius was terribly
radical, I felt. However, the practical idea of engaging people to change a
particular situation appealed to me. I began to meet with people very casually at
our little gathering place, which was part tavern, meeting hall, church gathering
place, and lecture hall. I found no trouble “coming across” the people I wanted
to speak with there. Edwin Carr and Henry Adams were there to pick up mail
that had been delivered from Plymouth. I mentioned to them my concern that
there was a plan afoot for attacking the Algonquin. Once again I found that they
had some vague idea of Levine talking about the need for the increased defense
of our settlement. However, the idea of a full, coordinated attack on the
Algonquin was never really discussed. I grew a little more restive as I talked
about how our dear Captain had not been apprised of a “military” decision that
affected our camp. Edwin Carr told me, however, that about twenty men, several
of whom had been crew on the Courageous and Merryweather, were well aware
of some “military action,” and they were doing some training near Gloucester. I
suggested that we might want to alert others in the settlement about our
Meanwhile, I asked Albert to stop by some of the women who seemed
to always be near Margaret and little Jacob. The women seemed protective of
Albert and his handicaps, and they always gave him sympathy and a caring ear
if he should come by. Albert went to Margaret’s house and saw three women
with her, putting a new little outfit on Jacob that one of them had sewn. Albert
innocently said to the women, “I wonder if you kind ladies could tear up some
strips of cloth to make bandages.”
“What could you possibly mean, Albert?” they asked.
“Dr. Shepherd and Dr. Greene told me to ask you for the favor of making
bandages for the men who will likely be wounded when we attack the
Algonquin,” he said matter-of-factly.
The women were shocked, just as I had hoped. They went forth with
their concerns to their homes, and before two days were gone the stories of the
women and the concerns from Adams, Carr, and several other men had burst
forth like steam from a kettle.
Captain Braden met with Levine to register his concern, and Levine was
patronizing to him.
“Dear Captain Braden,” he began, “your role is that of defense advisor
of the settlement. Frankly, I simply asked you to do that out of courtesy to your
age and your skills as a Captain. I would never ask you to be involved in an
“So you do plan an attack on the Algonquin,” he said.
“None of your concern!” Levine said sharply. With that he dismissed
“I will give you my last piece of advice, Mr. Levine,” said Braden. “It
is a fool who takes only his own counsel. You, Mr. Levine, are the worst kind of
fool – one who does not know he is one!”
By the next evening, Henry Adams had met with several other men and
asked for the word to be spread about that there would be a settlement meeting.
He planned to challenge not only Levine’s decision about attack, but about
where governance came from. We had been chartered by the Dorchester
Company, and we were subject to their decisions. Henry Adams and others were
ready to ask for a council of men who would be elected by the community to
decide how the growing settlement would be governed.
Levine, seeing that the unrest would only grow if he did not put an end
to it, came to the meeting, where he addressed the men assembled. He began,
“My only concern and charge is for the safety of this settlement. Therefore, I
have commissioned a band of men to defend our settlement from the attacks of
the Algonquin warriors. You have seen the damage, and if we do not punish
them they will continue to attack us until they wipe us from this place. I further
believe that the actions of Joseph Shepherd have hurt us. He has, by his rash and
provocative behavior, put us into harm’s way! I also must tell you that this
assembly is unlawful, as it is not condoned by the Dorchester Company to whom
we have sworn allegiance.”
Almost on cue, a band of nearly fifty men marched outside the building.
They were armed with muskets, and marched in a line similar to the English
Royal Guard. I nearly laughed at the incongruity of the ragged dress of these
men who were trying to emulate the Royal Guard. Then I realized that laughing
would not be a good response to this intended show of force.
Henry Adams was incensed and demanded that the settlement not be
subjected to this demeaning show of force and humiliation.
“By God, we are free men, and we will not be cowed by your
arrogance!” said Adams.
“Then perhaps a rope would be more to your liking!” taunted Levine.
He was relishing his authority now, and many present were frightened. Others
were considering the legal standing they had to defy the Dorchester Company to
whom they had indeed pledged allegiance and service in exchange for the
opportunity to come to America and make a new life.
Joseph Shepherd spoke up.
“Gentlemen,” he began, “we are indeed subject to the authority of Mr.
Levine, the duly authorized head of our settlement. My only request is that we
try to settle this issue with the Algonquin in a peaceful and forthright way, not
by military force and killing. Mr. Levine, am I allowed this opportunity to go to
the Algonquin camp and try to settle this peacefully?”
“You would go to the enemy to propose peace with them?” questioned
“Mr. Carr, I go not to our enemies, but to people who want war no more
than almost all assembled here,” he said.
A great swell of, “Hear, hear!” went up from the crowd. Shepherd had
managed to acknowledge the authority of Levine while at the same time offering
a peaceful solution.
“By all means, Levine, let this man try to reason with the Algonquin.
We have nothing to lose!” said Captain Braden.
A swell of, “Aye! Aye!” rose up from the assembled group.
“We lose nothing but the most important military tactic,” shouted
Levine, “the element of surprise!”
“This is not war,” I inserted. “We are here in an attempt to live in this
new country without the tyranny of kings and individuals exerting their own
power over others! Let Shepherd try. God knows he has the best chance of
Once again the men assembled shouted in approval. Levine, once again
trying to save face, said, “I will authorize Dr. Shepherd to approach the
Algonquin, but should he fail to secure from them an apology, a promise to never
again intrude on our land, and restoration of loss from their attack, we will surely
“I will go with him,” said Mr. Kelley. “I owe my life to this man, and I
will follow him to the Algonquin camp to help however I can!”
“I will also,” I heard myself say. “I will go to the Algonquin camp with
Shepherd and Kelley.”
“Very well,” said Levine, “it is settled. You may go in the morning, and
may God go with you.”
“He is already there,” whispered Shepherd with a discreet smile. “He is
We left the next morning to head to the Algonquin camp. We were
strangely at peace with our mission. Shepherd had said that he had prayed about
the trip, and he felt comfort from that. I trusted my fellow travelers, and I trusted
in that. Kelley and Shepherd were warriors in their own special ways, and I took
strength and comfort from that. Somehow, I believed that our mission would
We set off early in the morning on a beautiful day. A little crispness had
entered the air, but the sunrise was invigorating as we left for the Algonquin
camp. It was well less than a few hours’ journey to reach the camp, and we
discussed our approach to the Algonquin. Kelley believed that most of the
Algonquin did not blame Shepherd and me for the death of Achak. He also was
assured by Chepi that she did not believe that the Algonquin had been involved
in the raid on Cape Ann. She believed that the French were behind the raid, and
pointed out that had the Algonquin done a raid, it would not have been as sloppy
and noisy as the raid that happened. Further, she said that the Algonquin wanted
more of the muskets that the English had, and that a raid would have included
the theft of firearms. But most of all, she did not think that the elders were
interested in raiding the English. While many wanted the English to leave, they
would not do such a clumsy and provocative thing.
Shepherd too believed that the Algonquin people were not prone to such
actions unprovoked. Yes, Achak had died, but even many of the elders said that
the spirits take whom they will, and not because of someone else’s actions, but
because they simply do what they want. Shepherd had been trying to expose
them to a God who loved them and cared about them, not an arbitrary being who
punishes at will.
As we reached the camp, Kelley spoke in what of their language he had
learned from Chepi. He asked if we could meet with the elders, and if Chepi
could be present to help interpret. We were ushered into the camp with little
commotion, almost as if we were expected. We explained that the raid on Cape
Ann had been very disturbing, and that some in the settlement believed that it
was the Algonquin people, but most did not. However, to avoid trouble, the
leader of Cape Ann was requesting restitution and a promise for peace in the
future. We did not mention a formal apology, believing that restitution would
take care of that.
Some of the elders began to stir, and we realized that there was
something more than we had realized taking place. Two of the elders were
visibly upset, and a little argument broke out among them. Indeed, some of the
Algonquin warriors had been a part of the raid, spurred on by the French, who
had given them plenty of whiskey the night of the raid. These elders were
embarrassed by this participation, and had hoped that the issue was over and
forgotten. Now, there had to be some decision as to how this would be resolved.
There was a lengthy discussion among the elders that at times became
quite animated. Some seemed to favor making the restitution and promising to 159
live in peace. However, a few others seemed to want to use this as an opportunity
to rid their land of the intruding English. They felt that, if any group had to be
tolerated in this land, it should be the French, who seemed more interested in
trapping, hunting, and living off the land. They seemed to be better neighbors
than the English they had experienced so far.
The discussion ended abruptly when one of the elders stood up and
motioned us out of the meeting area. Chepi told us that the elders had decided to
fight the English if they were attacked. They would not make restitution for
something they had not stolen, and they would not make a promise they could
not keep. Two elders seemed to dissent, but they were overruled. If the English
attacked, there would be a battle.
Chepi told us we had better leave quickly, since we did not know when
the English might attack. Joseph believed that Levine had given a time of
reprieve, and he would not attack until we returned with a decision from the
Algonquin. I wanted to leave as soon as possible, since I did not trust Levine,
and I wanted no part of the potential battle. Kelley wanted to stay at least one
more night to spend some time with Chepi. It became obvious to me that Kelley
and Chepi were more than friends, and that their relationship could become a
problem. However, at this point, that was not our biggest problem.
Levine indeed had been planning to attack the Algonquin regardless of
our peace mission. He seemed to believe that with Shepherd and me out of the
way and not causing trouble, he could act with impunity. In fact, as it turned out,
he had put Henry Adams in irons for rebellion, and he had confined Captain
Braden to his quarters. Braden seemed to be a broken man, and he submitted to
this humiliation without much quarrel.
Levine had marched his band of about fifty well-armed men through the
night, and, at first light, they attacked the Algonquin camp. The Algonquin were
surprised, and it looked like it might be a complete rout. A line of musket fire
had been set around the entire eastern edge of the camp and, upon the signal of
his pistol, the line opened fire. The roar sent a wave of fear through the camp,
and lead balls were ripping through their birch bark structures. The second wave
of musket men then fired quickly while the first group reloaded. Chaos was
surging through the camp.
As the rest of the camp was roused, the Algonquin made a fierce charge
directly at the source of the musket fire. They were met with another murderous
volley of fire from the line at the east edge of the camp. Then from the north of
the camp a roar of cannon fire signaled a deadly rain of grapeshot. Screams were
heard from inside the thin birch bark wigwams. The women and children under
the cover of these wigwams were exposed to the killing shot of the cannon. There
was a stream of Algonquin now heading west from the camp into the surrounding
woods. The Algonquin warriors regrouped and fired a volley of arrows in the
direction of the cannon. Then they fired a few volleys in the direction of the
musket fire. Then, inexplicably, they headed west in the direction of those 160
retreating from the camp. In a matter of minutes, the entire camp was empty; the
only things left were tattered wigwams, some wounded Algonquin, and the
smoke of untended fires. The rout was complete.
Shepherd, Kelley, and I had run in the one direction that was not
involved in the hostile action – we had headed south. There was no reason for
this other than that we felt we needed distance from both the Algonquin and the
English. The Algonquin, we thought, might blame us for being part of treachery
– making them think we were negotiating while actually lulling them to sleep.
The English obviously had betrayed our trust, and had made us the fools. We
were certain that Levine planned all along to hang us out and possibly kill us in
the battle. Either way, we felt alone in a now very hostile land.
Levine and his men headed cautiously into the deserted camp, inspecting
the site of their great victory. As they came upon wounded Algonquin, they cut
their throats. They had no desire for prisoners, and the medical people from the
camp were gone now. I was sure that the plan all along was to simply destroy
the camp and kill everyone in sight. It was a disgusting, horrifying scene.
Levine’s men plundered what they felt was worth keeping, such as some
dried meat, axes, knives, and some French muskets. The attack had been so much
of a surprise that the Algonquin had no time to even get to this stock of firearms.
Levine and his other leaders called the band of men together, formed them into
a marching unit, and headed back to Cape Ann.
As they trudged through the woods back to Cape Ann the mood was
bright and cheery. They had suffered no casualties, had routed the “enemy,” and
they were feeling confident – indeed arrogant. About a mile from the Algonquin
camp, they heard a scream from one of the men in the rear of the line. Pretty
soon there was screaming all up and down the line as arrows filled the air on
both sides of the line. Fear gripped the men as unseen death came upon them
from seemingly every direction. As fear gave way to chaos, the men began to
run in all directions, but there was no safe place. It dawned on Levine that his
men had been surrounded by the Algonquin, who had doubled back from their
“retreat” and set up an elaborate ambush. They had filtered back toward Cape
Ann from the north, even further north than the cannon emplacement had been.
Levine tried to rally his band, but they had scattered into the woods, and
few made it very far before being knifed or hatcheted to death. Levine was
captured as a prize to be admired. His fate was now completely in the hands of
the Algonquin whose people he had recently butchered.
Andrew Kensington was enjoying success with his trade routes in Africa,
England, and Virginia. He had worked with tobacco growers in the Jamestown
area of Virginia, which seemed to be beneficial for the crop. Kensington had
been one of the earliest known importers of black slaves from the west coast of
Africa, and he was considered to be the expert on how to negotiate with tribal
leaders in Africa who were slaveholders themselves. He seemed to understand
the concept of tribal allegiance, whereas his other trading counterparts seemed
to understand only business and government ideas of trade. Kensington would
laugh at the disdain some of his fellow traders had for the slave business. He
knew that there were plenty of willing partners in Africa to supply slave labor in
exchange for goods like guns, tobacco, gunpowder, and fine rum. Indeed, tribal
leaders were hungry for these items, and slaves were easy to acquire through the
constant tribal warfare that wracked Africa.
He seldom thought now about Edwin Carr, Shepherd, and me. Although
his wife, Anne, did still correspond with Edwin Carr, Kensington made it a point
not to care about that. He was making more money than he had ever made, and
he had made a lot of money in the past. He was enjoying the wealth and power
that these trade routes were providing him.
Anne was persistent with Andrew Kensington about a trip to America,
ever since Edwin Carr had begun writing about his vivid and alluring
experiences in America. Edwin had described the beauty of the forests that
covered the land, and the breathtaking views of the rolling hills, abundant game,
etc. However, it was description of the freedom he felt of starting a new life that
struck Anne. She was terribly bored in her current situation. Andrew was gone
most of the time, but that did not really bother her – she was bored of him as
well. What she felt was more than boredom – it was emptiness. She was attracted
to the idea of being with Edwin again, and he did make her laugh, but the stirring
in her was even more than that. She was an ambitious woman who had made her
way through the social ranks of London by marrying well and by flirting and
entertaining people. She needed a new challenge. Indeed, she had made some
powerful friends in King James’ court, and had established some business
dealings of her own. But her restless spirit trumped such ventures. She was very
moody, impetuous, and prone to seek adventure. When she settled on an idea,
she seldom let it go.
As much as Andrew Kensington wanted to distance Anne, he also knew
that she was an asset to him in London society and with her own business
connections. There were many men who did business with him because Anne
first flirted with them and made them feel special. She could put them at ease
with her coarse humor, or she could charm their wives with demure social graces
when she had to. Still trim and attractive in her forties, she had a presence in a
social gathering. Andrew did not want to lose that, even if they had no real
Andrew consented, finally, to her request to go with him to America. He
was planning a trip to Jamestown, Virginia to look at some land there to expand
its tobacco growing potential. He had been encouraged to do this by his partners
in the London & Western Trading Company. They departed London aboard the
Conquest, a compact but sturdy vessel that had shown her ability to travel stormy
seas with little damage and reasonable speed. Among the passengers was Herbert
Wesley, who had felt the call to preach in America. He had seen John Ward’s
profound influence as he preached, and Wesley felt the “calling” to bring
salvation to America, especially to the savages he had heard about who did not
know the true God.
The passage to Virginia was mercifully benign, at least at the start.
About two-thirds of the way across the Atlantic, they saw signs of a tremendous
storm heading toward them. The Captain of the Conquest decided to head for a
course to the north of where the storm seemed headed. The closer the Conquest
came to the brewing clouds, the more ominous they became. Captain Phillip
Monroe of the Conquest continued his northern course and began a more
extreme northern route to avoid trouble. The ship took some damage as winds
like they had never seen ripped into them. Most of the passengers, who lacked
any sea experience, were ghastly ill much of the time on board. Significant
damage to the sails caused the journey to be prolonged, and violent seas caused
damage in the hold where the foodstuffs were stored. They were now on a
voyage that was weeks longer than planned and hopelessly off course, with less
sail power than needed to do correction. It was then that Captain Monroe made
the decision to head straight for land and the nearest port he could find. The
weary and ill passengers, including Kensington, could not disagree with the
Captain’s decision. It was now about survival.
Nine weeks after their departure from London, the bedraggled Conquest
made it to Gloucester, the small fishing settlement in Massachusetts. While they
were hundreds of miles north of the Jamestown destination, they were at least
safely on shore.
Anne was excited to see the land that Edwin Carr had described, and
simply happy to be alive at that point.
Any spot on land was appealing to Anne after the dangerous trip on a
foul-smelling ship. She breathed in and smelled the salty sea air. She could not
wait to explore the area and experience some refreshment in her life.
“I have no idea what we do from here,” said Kensington. “However, this
is your home for perhaps the next several months. I hope you do not get as bored
with it as you get bored with me,” he sniffed.163
Anne ignored this jibe with her usual disdain for him.
“It looks like this land will hold my interest longer than you do,” she
“Of course,” said Kensington, “of course.”
Kensington began to whirl with ideas about how he might exploit this
part of the New World. It certainly was different from Virginia, and it did not
look like land that would grow tobacco, but he believed that he could find a way
to expand his fortune, even in this foul place. Maybe his misfortune could
somehow be used to enhance his monetary fortune!164
The Algonquin had been surprisingly restrained in their treatment of
Levine, but he did endure some torture on a regular basis. Perhaps they did not
want him to die immediately for his crimes and desired to prolong his suffering.
They routinely bound his hands behind his back with leather thongs and made
him run a gauntlet naked between lines of women whose husbands had died in
the attack on the camp. This was meant to be humiliating to him, and satisfying
for the women, who swung thorny bramble branches at him, pelted him with
stones, and hurled feces at him.
The Algonquin seemed to want to keep him alive for some time, not
letting him know the date when they would kill him. The waiting was indeed a
terrible torture, and he began to go insane. He screamed in the night, tried to run
from imaginary assailants, and he eventually begged them to kill him. His wish
would be granted sometime, but he did not know when. His misery was horrific.
Shepherd, Kelley, and I had been hiding with the help of Chepi, who
had found us easily outside the camp. She told us of the fate of Mr. Levine, and
I felt no sympathy for the fool who had engineered his own demise, as well as
the deaths of an untold number of men. We heard from Chepi that not all the
men had perished in the attack, and some had made it back to Cape Ann. We
planned to return to Cape Ann with Chepi’s help, but she kept putting us off,
suggesting that she could provide food for us as we hid out, and that it was too
dangerous to return to Cape Ann. She confided to us that the Algonquin might
soon go to Cape Ann and wipe out the rest of the settlement, but none of us could
be sure if that was their plan.
Finally, we found out why Chepi was reluctant to help us escape back
to Cape Ann. She was pregnant with Kelley’s child. It was now apparent that we
would be welcome neither in the Algonquin camp nor at Cape Ann. Chepi broke
down in tears as she told us the news. She did not know what to do or where to
turn. We pledged to her and to Kelley that we would not leave them, and both
were immensely relieved. However, we did not have any better plan than to keep
travelling in this foreign land, and live off that land. Chepi was something of an
expert in this, and we counted on that knowledge of hers to survive.
Chepi decided to make one more secret trip to the Algonquin camp to
secure some needed supplies. Horses, food, some guns and ammunition, and
some blankets were what we were hoping to secure from the trip. Risky as it
was, it was necessary.
We set out in the middle of the night with a faint moon giving scant
light. Chepi knew the area completely, and we followed her as she crept in the
woods surrounding the camp. She knew where all the supplies were, and she had
a way with horses. We were making good, unnoticed progress as we slipped into
the camp. She found a supply of dried, smoked fish and some parched corn that
she stuffed into a sack. We moved along the edge of the camp and found a small
cache of muskets and lead shot just where she had thought it would be. We
moved on to the corral where several horses lazily munched on dried grass.
Chepi spoke softly to the horses to calm them as Kelley and I slipped a rope
around the necks of two of them. We were ready to make a clean escape when
one of the horses got very skittish and let out a loud protest. The others picked
this up, and soon there was an awful commotion that roused the camp. Just then,
Shepherd walked into the middle of the camp, picked up a large stick, and stirred
the embers of a smoldering fire. The fire kicked up, and attention was drawn
immediately to his presence in the glow of a growing blaze. Numerous warriors
ran to him with raised spears. He walked toward them slowly, reassuring them
of his benign intentions with his limited Algonquian language. Two men seized
him amid the shouts of the now roused camp. We knew what he was doing, and
we were both humbled and grateful for this selfless act. Chepi urged us on, but
Kelley and I hesitated. We could not leave Shepherd in the camp to die!
We decided to wait and see what would happen. We had withdrawn to
a safe vantage point, but we felt uneasy, ashamed, to be safe at his expense.
Shepherd spoke to the group haltingly.
“Brothers,” he said, “I mean you no harm. Mr. Kelley, Dr. Greene had I
no part in the terrible attack on this camp, and I ask that you grant me safe
passage from camp. We ask forgiveness on behalf of the English, and mercy on
your prisoner, Mr. Levine.”
Chepi was interpreting for us as Shepherd talked.
“Mercy!” I thought, “I would kill the bastard myself if I had the chance!”
It slowly dawned on me that the Algonquin understood this message
from Shepherd. I was sure that he had not learned that much of the language, yet
they seemed to follow every word. Chepi too seemed surprised at his fluency,
but she was intent on following the events unfolding before us.
Shepherd continued to speak, now more softly, and he drew something
on the ground with a stick as several gathered around him. There was no turmoil,
no conflict, and soon one of the elders addressed the crowd.
“My family,” he said, “Joseph Shepherd has been a friend to us. He tried
to save Achak, but the spirits took him from us. He has tried to keep peace, and
he has tried to learn our ways. He has talked with our children about a Great
Spirit who loves all people, English and Algonquin. He shows us by his action
the Great Spirit he speaks of. We will let him go in peace.”
“And what of Levine?” asked Shepherd.
“He has murdered our people without cause,” said the elder. “He
deserves to die.”
“Then I ask that you do it quickly. No man deserves to undergo torture
such as he endures.”
Chepi nudged me, and we realized that the goodwill Shepherd had
earned over the past year had bought us freedom. We also realized that the elder
was aware of our foray into the camp, and he was going to look the other way.
Shepherd would be free, and we would accept the unspoken gift of freedom
given to us on his account. Chepi would be spared the shame of carrying Kelley’s
child in her camp.
We met up with Joseph Shepherd outside the Algonquin camp. Chepi
was in tears as she realized that she would no longer be with her people. Mr.
Kelley told us that he would stay with Chepi, and that we were free to pursue
our own course. Shepherd and I quickly decided that we would not leave them.
We discussed a return to Cape Ann, and we recognized the risks involved. We
spent the rest of the night in fitful sleep, trying to decide what to do. Finally,
Shepherd said that he believed that we should go back to Cape Ann. We had
friends there who would understand. Levine and his tyranny were gone, but we
did face uncertainty in our return. Would they believe our story of efforts to avert
the bloodshed? Was the settlement taken over by military rule? We decided to
return and find out.
As we set out early the next morning for Cape Ann, the elders quickly
executed justice upon Levine with a spear to his heart. His suffering was now
over, but he left behind a legacy of pain and death. Shepherd said he forgave
him. Kelley, Chepi, and I were not so gracious, but we realized that our hate
would not serve us well. We could not waste any more of our energy on Levine.
We needed some healing in our own souls