East Great Plains Mohegan Battleground

East Great Plains Mohegan Battleground

The picture of a proud Irish Mary Collins Stanley with her three boys Bill, Jim and Chick, taken over 100 years ago.

Plaque sponsored by the Mohegan Tribe

Located on 574 New London Turnpike (Three Rivers Community College)

In 1643, the Narragansett Sachem, Miantonomo, raised an army of 900 and marched against Uncas. The war party was discovered coming down the Quinnebaug. Mohegan runners were sent to warn Uncas at Fort Shantok and Mohegans at nearby villages. The Mohegan warriors hastily gathered and advanced to the Great Plain where Uncas confronted Miantonomo and challenged him to single-handed combat. Miantonomo refused and said that since his warriors had come prepared to fight, they would do battle. At hearing this, Uncas dropped to the ground, and his warriors, at a prearranged plan threw the Narragansetts into flight.

They were unable to rally their men from this surprise, and they were chased to the brink of the Yantic River where many lives were lost. The remainder were pursued to Sachem Plain by the Mohegans. Miantonomo was captured and held for Uncas. Also caught were a brother of Miantonomo and two sons of the Narragansett sachem, Canocicus. After a stay with Uncas of several months, the authorities demanded Miantonomo be sent to Hartford to await their judgment.

The Norwichtown Green

The Norwichtown Green

Plaque sponsored by The State of Connecticut

Located at the intersection on Town Street, West Town Street, & East Town Street

In 1659 the Mohegan chief Uncas sold to settlers led by Major John Mason and the Reverend James Fitch “nine miles square,” part of which became Norwich. According to Frances M. Caulkin’s History of Norwich, “At the end of the first century… the church no longer necessary as a look-out post of the town, came down from the hill, and took its position at the corner of the Green… the place where trades, merchandise, public business, military exercises, shows, sports, festivals, and the general enterprise of the town, found a center.”

“The County Jail stood on the north side at the foot of the hill; the Court House was in the open area; the Post Office not far from the meeting house… taverns, schools, and shops alternating with private dwellings around the border.”

Opposition to British rule increased over the next few years and the residents erected Liberty Tree, “a lofty pole… decked with standards and appropriate devices… Here almost daily, people assembled to hear the news, make speeches, and encourage each other in the determinations to resist the oppression.”

John Mason Home Lot

The picture of a proud Irish Mary Collins Stanley with her three boys Bill, Jim and Chick, taken over 100 years ago.

Plaque sponsored by the Gernon Trust

Located on 90 Town Street

The early life of John Mason in England (born circa 1600-01) is obscure. A Puritan, he served as an officer under Sir Thomas Fairfax, in the Netherlands against Spain. He made the 63 day passage to the Massachusetts Bay colony with Reverent Wareham’s party in 1630. One of the few experienced military men, he was elected captain at Dorchester, and eventually helped found Windsor, Connecticut, where the Connecticut River Indians had invited settlement.

In 1636, the first Pequot war began in New England, between Indians and the English. The colony had but a few hundred English inhabitants. Mason commanded a contingent of 90 soldiers, and with the principal aid of Uncas and the Mohegans, he defeated the powerful Pequot nation in 1637. Disobeying orders, he made strategic decisions of his own, which helped gain victory over a more numerous enemy. He lost 2 dead and 20 wounded. The Pequots lost hundreds. Many warriors and noncombatants alike perished when one of their forts was burned by Mason. The Pequots then retreated from Connecticut. Mason said of Uncas… “He was a great friend and great service.”

Major Mason was the chief military officer in the colony for 35 years. He was magistrate and major at Windsor for 8 years. He married his second wife, Anne Peck, after the death of his first wife, and he had altogether 8 children. A son, John Jr., was mortally wounded in King Philip’s War (another English/Indian struggle) in 1675. For the next 12 years he was placed in charge of a fort in Saybrook. In 1660, with his son-in-law, the Rev. James Fitch, he founded Norwich. During the first eight years, he was made deputy governor while Gov. Winthrop was in England seeking Connecticut’s charter form King Charles. He died January 30, 1672.