What Exactly is a Weetamoo?
by Ranger Dan Small
(originally published in April 2001 newsletter)
On the north side of Lynn Woods, between Meeting House Swamp and Balanced Boulder, is a rocky cliff bearing the name Weetamoo Cliff. I was curious to know what or who a Weetamoo was and how this cliff got its name.
Weetamoo was an Indian queen, or Squaw Sachem, who lived during the time of the King Philip's War (1675). King Philip was an Indian Sachem who led an unsuccessful campaign to chase the European settlers from New England. Weetamoo tried to remain neutral, but her tribe was eventually involved and Weetamoo became a hunted woman. The English finally caught up with her near the Taunton River.
Rather than submitting to capture, Weetamoo grabbed a handful of branches and tried to swim across the river to make her escape. Her naked body was found on the riverbank a few days later by English settlers. They promptly cut off her head and carried it on a pole through the streets of Taunton.
The answer to the second part of the question still eludes me. Weetamoo lived in the area that is now Rhode Island. As far as I know, she never set foot in Boston or in the area that was to become Lynn Woods. I was unable to discover who named the cliff or when it was done.
There is a trail leading up to Mount Chocorua in New Hampshire that bears her name. I also found one reference that stated she walked from Rhode Island to Vermont and back to get 12 quarts of corn to feed her family. If anyone has the answer to this question, I would love to hear from you.