Remembering the Turners Falls Massacre, Saturday

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect the proper date of the remembrance ceremony: Saturday; and provide more info on where the event will take place.

The Great Falls Massacre

One of the bloodiest battles during the viscous King Philips War — a conflict over land and revenge between Native Americans and English settlers that lasted three years, 1675-78 — took place in the Peskeompscut-Wissatinnewag community, present day Turners Falls. This Friday, the Nolumbeka Project is holding a day of remembrance on the 341st anniversary of the “Great Falls Massacre.” On May 19 in 1676, a group of 150 colonial militia, led by Captain William Turner, attacked a fishing community of several hundred Native Americans, killing more than 200 people in less than an hour, according to Battlefields of King Phillip’s War, a project to survey Turners Falls and surrounding areas to locate battlefields. Native Americans from several villages retaliated, killing 38 militia.

Saturday’s remembrance will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a history of the war and the massacre by Nolumbeka Project historians. At 1 p.m. Tom Beck, medicine man and ceremonial leader of the Nulhegan-Coosuk Band of the Abenaki Nation, will conduct a memorial ceremony.


Day of Remembrance: 10:30 a.m. Free; donations appreciated. Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, in Turners Falls (413) 387-8195.


Kristin Palpini

Author: Kristin Palpini

Editor of the Valley Advocate

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