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To understand ourselves it is important to understand our ancestors, and a part of them, and their heritage, lives on in us today. To the world the American Indians seemed like a forgotten people when the English colonists first arrived and began to occupy their lands. I want to give special thanks to my cousin, Mary Hilliard, for her assistance and encouragement in researching and preparing this book. Wherever possible I have tried to find at least two sources for the genealogical data, but this has not always been possible. I have also found Franklin Elewatum Bearce's history, Who Our Forefathers Really Were, A True Narrative of Our White and Indian Ancestors, to be very helpful. It is certainly possible that such a record may contain errors, but it is also very fortunate that we have access to this record as it presents firsthand knowledge of some of the individuals discussed in this book. 8 Newcomba€? Cpt.
Sometime before the colonial period, the Iroquoian tribes began moving from the southern plains eastward across the Mississippi River and then northeasterly between the Appalachians and the Ohio River Valley, into the Great Lakes region, then through New York and down the St. Though they were neighbors and had similar skin color, these two groups of Indians were as dissimilar as the French and the Germans in Europe.
Federations, as well as the individual tribes, were fluid organizations to the extent that the sachem was supported as long as he had the strength to maintain his position. Belonging to a federation meant that an annual tribute had to be sent to support the great sachem and his household, warriors had to be sent if he called for a given number to go to war, and strictest obedience and fidelity was demanded. Some of these federations had as many as thirty member tribes supporting their Great Sachem, although many of these tribes would be counted by more than one sachem, as any tribe that was forced to pay tribute was considered as part of that Great Sachem's federation. Any member of the society who dishonored himself, in anyway, was no longer worthy of the respect of his people. When viewing the typical Indians of America, one would describe them as having a dark brown skin. They wore relatively little clothing, especially in summer, although the women were usually somewhat more modest than the men.
The English resented the fact that the Indians wouldn't convert to Christianity as soon as the missionaries came among them. The various tribes of New England spoke basically the same language and could understand each other well. There are many words used commonly in our language today that were learned from these New England Indians: Squaw, wigwam, wampum, pow-wow, moccasin, papoose, etc. Today there is little doubt that prior to Columbus's voyage, the Norsemen sailed to the coast of North America early in the eleventh century. We do not have a record of all of the European contact and influence on the Indians in the early years of exploration because the greatest exposure came from the early European fishermen and trappers who kept no records of their adventures, as opposed to the explorers. In 1524, Giovanni da Verrazano wrote the first known description of a continuous voyage up the eastern coast of North America.
As the fur trade became increasingly more important to Europeans, they relied heavily on the Indians to do the trapping for them. Another problem with which the Indians had to contend was the White man's diseases for which they had no tolerance nor immunity. In the spring of 1606, Gorges sent Assacumet and Manida, as guides on a ship with Captain Henry Chalons, to New England to search for a site for a settlement.
In 1614, Captain John Smith, who had already been involved in the colony at James Town, Virginia, was again commissioned to take two ships to New England in search of gold, whales or anything else of value. Dermer wanted to trade with the local Indians of the Wampanoag Federation and asked Squanto if he would guide them and be their interpreter. Derner was given safe passage through Wampanoag land by Massasoit and soon returned to his ship. When the Pilgrims left England in the Mayflower, their stated intent was to establish a settlement on the mouth of the Hudson River, at the site of present day New York City.
The Pilgrims returned to the Mayflower and, after many days of exploration, found a more suitable location.
On March 16, 1621 the Pilgrims were surprised by a tall Indian who walked boldly into the plantation crying out, "Welcome! The Pilgrims gestured for Massasoit to join them in their fort but, he in turn, gestured for them to come to him. When the amenities were ended, the English brought out a treaty they had prepared in advance, which specified that the Wampanoags would be allies to the English in the event of war with any other peoples and that they would not harm one-another; and that when any Indians came to visit the plantation they would leave their weapons behind. After the ceremonies were ended, Governor Carver escorted Massasoit to the edge of the settlement and waited there for the safe return of Winslow.
Part of Massasoit's willingness to make an alliance with the English must be credited to his weakened condition after suffering from the recent epidemics which left his followers at about half of the strength of his enemies, the Narragansetts. In June of 1621, about three months after the signing of the treaty, a young boy from the Colony was lost in the woods. When the English could not find the boy, Governor William Bradford, (who replaced John Carver, who died in April) sent to Massasoit for help in locating the boy. That summer Governor Bradford sent Edward Winslow and Stephen Hopkins, with Squanto, to Pokanoket (Massasoit's own tribe, on the peninsula where Bristol, R.I. From this trip of Winslow's, we learn more about the daily life of the Indians in this area. Massasoit urged his guests to stay longer but they insisted they must return to Plymouth before the Sabbath. Less than a month following this visit, Massasoit sent Hobomock, a high ranking member of the Wampanoag Council, to Plymouth to act as his ambassador and to aid the Pilgrims in whatever way they needed.
Hobomock and Squanto were surprised at what they heard, and quietly withdrew from the camp to Squanto's wigwam but were captured there before they could get to Plymouth. Although the Narragansetts and Wampanoags were historical enemies and continually feuding over land, they did not usually put hostages of high rank to death.
Normally, treason was punishable by death and Massasoit would certainly have been justified in executing Corbitant for his part in the plot against him but, for some reason, Massasoit complete forgave him.
Their first harvest was not a large one but the Pilgrims were.happy to have anything at all. During the winter, a rivalry developed between Squanto and Hobomock, the two Indians who now lived continually at Plymouth.


According to the treaty he had signed with Plymouth, they were to turn over to him any Indians guilty of offense. In June and July, three ships arrived at Plymouth with occupants who expected to be taken in and cared for.
In the winter of 1622-23, Governor William Bradford made trips to the various Indian tribes around Cape Cod to buy food to keep the Pilgrims from starvation. Next, Standish went to Cummaquid (Barnstable, MA.) where Iyanough was Sachem of the Mattachee Tribe. Thinking that Massasoit was dead, they went instead to Pocasset, where they sought Corbitant who, they were sure, would succeed Massasoit as the next Great Sachem.
Winslow describes their arrival, where the Indians had gathered so closely that it took some effort to get through the crowd to the Great Sachem.
Since the Pow-wow's medicine had not produced any results, Winslow asked permission to try to help the ailing Sachem. Their second Thanksgiving was combined with the wedding celebration of Governor Bradford and Alice Southworth. Because of Massasoit's honored position, more was recorded of him than of other Indians of his time.
Massasoit most likely became Sachem of the Pokanokets, and Great Sachem of the Wampanoags, between 1605-1615.
The second son of Massasoit was Pometacomet, (alias Pometacom, Metacom, Metacomet, Metacomo or Philip.) Philip was born in 1640, at least 16 years younger than Alexander. The third son, Sunconewhew, was sent by his Father to learn the white man's ways and to attend school at Harvard. When his two oldest sons were old enough to marry, Massasoit made the arrangements for them to marry the two daughters of the highly regarded Corbitant, Sachem of the Pocasset tribe. The tribes of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, as well as some of the Nipmuck tribes of central Massachusetts, looked to him for Military defense and leadership. Following the plagues of 1617, which reduced his nation so drastically and left his greatest enemy, the Narragansetts of Rhode Island, so unaffected, Massasoit was in a weakened position. In 1632, following a battle with the Narragansetts in which he regained the Island of Aquidneck, Massasoit changed his name to Ousamequin (Yellow feather) sometimes spelled Wassamegon, Oosamequen, Ussamequen. In 1637, the English waged an unprovoked war of extermination against the Pequot Federation of Connecticut, which shocked both the Wampanoags and the Narragansetts so much that both Nations wanted to avoid hostilities with the feared English. After hearing of the death of his good friend, Edward Winslow in 1655, Massasoit realized that his generation was passing away. As Massasoit's health began to decline, he turned more and more of the responsibilities over to Alexander who was a very capable leader and who was already leading the warriors on expedition against some of their enemies. Massasoit was succeeded, as Great Sachem, by his son Alexander, assisted by his brother, Philip. The younger generation saw, in Alexander, a strong, new leader who could see the danger of catering to the English. Both Philip and Weetamoo were very vocal in their condemnation of the English and word of their accusations soon reached Plymouth. Together, Philip and Canonchet reasoned that it would take a great deal of preparation for such a war.
I knew none of this when I first met her at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival a couple of years later, then again at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference. In early 2011, How Can You Not Laugh at a Time Like This?, Carlaa€™s book about her survival and victory over illness, was published.
Our phone interview spanned almost two hours and contained more than we can cover here, but wea€™ll do our best. Carla started classical guitar lessons with a woman down the block when she was 8 years old.
Carla still wanted only to be a classical guitar player, so the other teacher was not an option.
Carla majored in music at Brevard College in North Carolina a€” at that time, a two-year school. Carla got an Associate in Fine Arts degree from Brevard and then got a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (both in music). Carlaa€™s first steady gig was at a restaurant a€” four hours with only eight songs in her repertoire! After Carla met Joe in 1996, they stayed in touch through lengthy middle-of-the-night and holiday phone calls. Carla still had her life down south and moved to Atlanta in 1998, a few miles from Eddiea€™s Attic.
Carlaa€™s first CD, Her Fabulous Debut, was released in 1999, the same year she won the South Florida Folk Festival Song Competition. An acupuncturist in Florida shea€™d used before heard about the strokes and offered to treat Carla every day for a a€?couple of weeks.a€? When that wasna€™t enough, Carla lived in her house for a month and then found another place to stay while she got treatments.
Joe would make up hybrid joke costumes for Halloween, like a€?Felix the Cat Stevensa€? and a€?Gumboa€? (Gumby and Rambo). Once in a while Carla would do concerts where shea€™d conduct talks about alternative medicine and people taking responsibility for their own health, getting well and beating the odds. Carla got an Associate in Fine ArtsA  degree from Brevard and then got a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (both in music). At first I was very skeptical of this record as it was a family tradition passed down for many generations.
She was very fond of her Grandmother, Freelove, knew all about her and stated on several occasions that Freelove's Mother was Sarah Mauwee, daughter of Joseph Mauwee, Sachem of Choosetown, and not Tabitha Rubbards (Roberts). Massasoit was the Sachem of this tribe, as well as being the Great Sachem over the entire Wampanoag Federation, which consisted of over 30 tribes in central and southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Welcome, Englishmen!" It was a cold and windy day, yet this Indian, who introduced himself as Samoset, Sachem of a tribe in Monhegan Island, Maine, wore only moccasins and a fringed loin skin. When Carla got on stage, she told jokes and used the weight of her arm to thump around on the bass strings. While I was not immediately sold on her comedy, it was just a matter of time until I would discover and appreciate her complete array of talents and remarkable will. Her parents listened to NPR and records by Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie, so a seed was planted.


She found classical guitar study to be a€?very, very uptight.a€? Body position, fingernail length and musical selection were tightly controlled. After the first year at UNC in Greensboro, she spent a summer at the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, Calif. Many songs were instrumentals but some were humorous songs about annoying teachers and fellow students that she never showed to anyone. Carla would sign up for open mics during college, but would leave before her name was called. Without enough students to pay the rent, she switched to sales, teaching just one day a week. She would start over, follow her dream of playing music and a€?build a new castle.a€? Compared with staring death in the face, stage fright was a non-issue.
You should be playing it!a€? Carla finally understood that she could combine her love of humor with her songwriting.
She pushed herself relentlessly, teaching in guitar camps and gigging around the country, traveling too much on too little sleep and forgetting to stay away from caffeine and junk food.
Carla wanted people to know that they can affect their own well-being, that their choices do matter.
After one show, she sat with Preston Reed, a respected guitar virtuoso, and told him a true story about getting rejected by an egotistical guy who wound up on a TV dating show, then bombed horribly. At the same time Carla was in Florida, Joe had lost the use of his left hand due to nerve impingement and tendonitis. She obtained her copy of Zerviah Newcomb's Chronical from Zerviah's original diary, in the hands of Josiah 3rd himself. That hadna€™t gotten better and she thought, a€?Ita€™s the lupus kicking in again.a€? Nevertheless, she set out on the hour-and-half drive from her apartment in Athens to her gig at Eddiea€™s Attic in Decatur, just outside Atlanta. Inside the covers, I found a brilliant writer who maintained an earthy sense of humor about even the grimmest aspects of her health struggles. When she was 4, her aunt Pat Brothwell, who had a degree in classical guitar, visited the family. At the end of sixth grade, the woman told her a€?I only teach beginners, so youa€™ll have to find another teacher.a€? It was a small town and the only other guitar teacher taught rock a€™na€™ roll. In the eighth grade, she got John Denver and Eagles songbooks and played every song in both of them.
It was an a€?old schoola€? music store and it meant shea€™d have to wear business suits to sell pianos and pipe organs worth thousands of dollars.
Shea€™d be gone for nine weeks at a time.A  Finally, the stress took its toll and in 2002, she suffered the strokes and kidney failure mentioned earlier. They commiserated with each other by phone, bonding even more over their mutual loss, like two people stranded on their own island. Afterward Carla was told shea€™d had two strokes, the first affecting her left foot, the second, her left hand. Amid the advice to sufferers of autoimmune disorders, there is also advice to others whose negativity affects those afflicted.
Theme songs for shows like The Love Boat, The Brady Bunch and Gilligana€™s Island were like the miniature art on the bottle caps she collected. She gave in and got through it and managed to play a couple of coffeehouses before she graduated.
She told me a€?I thought I had to save the world with every song.a€? She also realized that funny people get respect, too. Bearce's Great-aunt, Mary Caroline, lived with Josiah III and Freelove Canfield Bearce for several years, listened to their ancestral stories, and made her own personal copy of Zerviah's diary supplement.
Lawrence to what is now known as Lake Champlain where his party killed several Mohawks in a show of European strength and musketry. Once more, she thought it was lupus, which she had fought off since it had first struck her in 1991. These included clarinet, xylophone and tuba, besides the piano lessons she took outside of school. During the half-minute intro they were played, a€?They all seemed to tell stories, set the scene and pull you in.a€? She laughingly recalled, a€?Roots music?
It was a nice balance-out from the whole fear-based, think-inside-the-box approach.a€? When Carla got back to Greensboro, she played guitar for eight or nine hours a day.
This eventually resulted in an all-parody album of humorous medical songs, Sick Humor, released in 2004. It was a nice balance-out from the whole fear-based, think-inside-the-box approach.a€?A  When Carla got back to Greensboro, she played guitar for eightA  or nine hours a day. Her mantra to her parents from then on was a€?I want a guitar, I want a guitara€¦a€? So they got her a a€?fine musical instrument at J.C. Her condition worsened and the music store fired her in 1993 when she became too sick to work. And you cana€™t leave until I LICK YOUR FACE!A A  Later, reconnecting with her recorded work, my impression of a witty, acerbic chronicler of human foibles was fully established. Marching around the field under the instrument, she looked like a a€?tuba with legs,a€? and that was what they called her. Carla went to the library, checked an encyclopedia and got scared reading about the side effects, so she didna€™t take it. Maybe her next book will just be one healthy persona€™s sharply funny observations about how crazy this world is. Her weight fell to 80 pounds and she lost most of her hair and was too weak to take care of herself. He further told them that Massasoit, the Great Sachem of the Wampanoags, was at Nemasket (a distance of about 15 miles) with many of his Counselors.
She agreed to take the prednisone, but once she was well enough, she researched diet and alternative medicine to resume life without it.



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