During King Philip’s War (1675-1678), the peace between Native Americans and colonists gave way to terrible violence. Hundreds of Nipmuc Native Americans were sent to the island by the English, although they had converted to Christianity and assimilated with the settlers. Many were left on the island to perish from disease, starvation, and cold; hundreds of men, women, and children perished.
Although allowed to leave after half a year, the community never recovered from such a blow, described by an Joseph Tuckapawill, interned in 1675: “I am greatly distressed this day on every side; the English have taken away someof my estate, my corn, cattle, my plough, cart, chain, and other goods. The enemy Indians have also taken a part of what I had; and the wicked Indians mock and scoff at me, saying ‘Now what is become of your praying to God?’ In this distress I have nowhere to look, but up to God in heaven to help me; now my dear wife and eldest son run away, and I fear will perish in the woods for want of food.”
Descendants of the Nipmuc tribe visit the memorial on the southwest corner of Deer Island every October to hold a memorial ceremony.