MOG (Heracouansit, Warracansit, Warracunsit, Warrawcuset), a noted warrior, subchief, and orator of the Norridgewock (Caniba) division of the Abenakis, son of Mog, an Abenaki chief killed in 1677; b. c. 1663; killed 12 Aug. 1724 (o.s.) at Norridgewock (Narantsouak; now Old Point in south Madison, Me). In the La Chasse* census of 1708, Mog is listed under the name Heracouansit (in Abenaki, welákwansit, “one with small handsome heels”).
During King William’s and Queen Anne’s Wars Mog took part in the numerous raids on English settlements by Abenakis and carried captives and scalps to Quebec. Following the peace of Utrecht in April 1713, Mog, Bomoseen, Moxus, Taxous, and other chiefs concluded a peace with New England at Portsmouth, N.H., on 11–13 July. The Abenakis pledged allegiance to Anne, though “it is safe to say that they did not know what the words meant” (Parkman). They also admitted the right of the English to land occupied before the war. The English, on their side, promised that the Indians could settle any individual grievances with them in English courts. Mog and the others then sailed with six New England commissioners to Casco Bay, where the treaty and terms of submission were read to 30 chiefs, in the presence of 400 other Abenakis, on 18 July. “Young Mogg” was described as “a man about 50 years, a likely Magestick lookt Man who spake all was Said.” The Abenakis expressed surprise when told that the French had surrendered all the Abenaki lands to the English: “wee wonder how they would give it away without asking us, God having at first placed us there and They having nothing to do to give it away.” Father Sébastien Rale, the Jesuit missionary at Norridgewock, reported a month later that he had convinced the Indians the English were deceiving them with an ambiguous phrase, for England and France still disagreed about the limits of “Acadia.” Apparently the Indians remained disturbed, however, when the English offered to show them the official text of the European treaty in the presence of their missionaries.
The New England government and settlers did not delay in advancing into coastal Maine and the lower Kennebec River, erecting forts to support their claims to Abenaki land. In a parley at Boston in January 1713/14, Mog and Bomoseen repeated their willingness to have the English resettle lands which they had formerly occupied. Another conference was held at Portsmouth on 23 July 1714, but Mog did not attend because he was sick. In August 1715 some Abenakis – including possibly Mog – vainly tried to prevent John Gyles* from constructing a new post, Fort George (now Brunswick, Me.), on the Androscoggin River. Two years later, at Georgetown on Arrowsic Island, Wowurna repeated the Abenakis’ fears for their land. At the same meeting Mog complained of dishonest trading, a leading cause of discontent, by Captain John Lane, the commander of Fort Mary (now Biddeford Pool). Governor Shute of Massachusetts promised them trading-posts, but the fur trade remained in the hands of unscrupulous official and private traders who defrauded the Indians and debauched them with rum. The elders of the tribe, Father Rale, and some English authorities made efforts to curb the liquor traffic, but in vain.
Although the governor had promised to respect the Abenakis’ claims, more English settlements and forts were established on their lands. In the summer of 1716 the Abenakis sent a delegation to Quebec. Governor Rigaud de Vaudreuil reported to Paris that the Abenaki orators – probably Mog and Wowurna – asked him whether they could count on the French, whom they had always aided in time of need, if force was needed to dislodge the English. By the terms of Utrecht he could not openly help them, but the governor promised arms, and when pressed by the delegates, the aid of French Indians. The Abenakis wanted a promise of troops, however, and retorted “with an ironical laugh” that they could expel, if they wished, all foreigners “be they who they may.” The governor reassured them that he would lead them himself if necessary, and the Norridgewocks left apparently satisfied but unsure of his sincerity. Their report agitated the entire Abenaki nation, more convinced than ever that they had been used as a cat’s-paw by both alien peoples. The building of Fort Richmond (Richmond, Me.) in 1718 aggravated the situation further.
The Iroquois secretly solicited the embittered Abenakis to join them in a war against the French, and but for their Catholicism and the persuasiveness of Father Rale a pro-French party might have ceased to exist. An English party appeared for the first time at Norridgewock, including Bomoseen and Nagiscoig (Captain John), a younger brother of Wowurna. Mog formed with Wowurna and others a nativist and neutralist party. Still others, like Ouikouiroumenit, wanted peace at any price. Tension between the English and the Abenakis grew, for the situation of the Indians was deteriorating in several respects. The continuous warfare was ruining their agriculture and thinning out local game, while their access to fish and game on the coast was being hampered by the rapidly spreading English settlements. Moreover, their economy depended more and more on the fur trade with the English, and this too was faltering.
In November 1720 Mog and Wowurna led a delegation to Georgetown to protest the advance of settlement to Merry Meeting (Merrymeeting Bay, Me.), but were forced to promise payment of 200 skins and to send four hostages to Boston as security for damage done by young men of the tribe. After this, however, relations between the English and the Abenakis degenerated into small raids. Finally, in July 1722 Massachusetts declared war on the Indians, although there was opposition to this move both within the colony, and among the Connecticut English who held that “the War [was] not just on the English Side.”
Weakened by war and disease, the Abenakis could muster fewer than 500 men, but they had Indian allies, including the Hurons of Lorette, Micmacs, Malecites, Ottawas, and the mission Iroquois of Canada, all encouraged by Vaudreuil. The governor of New France also sent secretly both arms and ammunition, although he could not get permission from Louis XV to send troops. The English attempted to enlist the aid of the Iroquois and Mahicans against the Abenakis, but these nations refused to be involved. In September 1722 the Norridgewocks, about 160 Hurons of Lorette, Canadian Abenakis, and other Indians formed a party of 400 which laid waste all the English settlements on the lower Kennebec. Scores of skirmishes kept the frontier aflame from eastern Maine to the Connecticut valley.
In October the Canadian Indians returned home, accompanied by some Norridgewocks who told Vaudreuil that they could not resist the English without help. Most of them came to Canada for the winter, leaving only Rale and about 15 others to protect the village. Mog, Wowurna, and other chiefs again requested that Vaudreuil aid them with men. The Norridgewocks returned to the Kennebec in the spring and made minor raids until the summer of 1724.
One of the major engagements of the war was the English expedition against Norridgewock on 12 Aug. 1724. That afternoon the village was surprised by Captain Jeremiah Moulton*, 80 English soldiers, and 3 Mohawk mercenaries, the leader of whom was named Christian. About 50 Abenaki warriors were in the village. When the alarm was given the Indians ran for their guns, fired wildly, and then followed the women and children in a rush for the river. Some drowned or were shot down in the water, but most escaped to the woods on the opposite shore. Mog and a few others remained behind with Rale. Mog was trapped in his wigwam with his family, and fired from within at one of the Mohawks. He did not kill the Iroquois, but the man’s brother broke in, shooting Mog dead before he could reload his gun. At that moment some English soldiers ran in and killed his wife and two children. Their four scalps were taken with those of 22 other Abenakis and that of Father Rale to Boston, where the lot brought £505 in bounties.
[Accounts of the Norridgewock campaign are greatly at variance. The counter-claims of Vaudreuil and Dummer are echoed by Charlevoix, Penhallow, and Thomas Hutchinson, the first historians of the incident. Although he tried to ascertain the truth by interviewing Moulton years later, Hutchinson left much unexplained and made a number of errors, including the statement that Mog killed one of the Mohawks. In the 19th century Williamson compared some of the earlier reports, and Baxter sharply criticized Charlevoix’s account, but many contradictions remain unresolved. f.t.s.]
Newberry Library, Ayer Coll., La Chasse census (1708). Charlevoix, Histoire, II, 383. Coll. de manuscrits relatifs à la N.-F., II, 562–64. Documentary hist. of Maine, IX, 340–42; X, 106–14, 215–16, 229–30, 244–45, 250–54, 292–96, 368; XXIII, 23–26, 30–31, 37–57, 64–80, 83–87, 89–93, 97–108, 110–46. George Town on Arrowsick Island, a conference of His Excellency the governour with the sachems and chief men of the Eastern Indians, Aug. 9, 1717 (Boston, 1717). [John Gyles], Memoirs of odd adventures . . . (Boston, 1736), “Appendix.” Hutchinson, Hist. of Mass.-bay (1768), 218–21, 241, 244–45, 261–63, 269, 294, 296, 302–3, 309–13. Maine Hist. Soc. Coll., 1st ser., III (1853), 112, 361–75. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), IX, 878–81, 903–6, 909–12, 933–39. Penhallow, Hist. of wars with Eastern Indians (1726), 74–81, 83, 89–91, 94, 105. [Thomas Westbrook, et al.], Letters of Colonel Thomas Westbrook and others relative to Indian affairs in Maine 1722–26, ed. W. B. Trask (Boston, 1901), 76–77. Lane genealogies, comp. Jacob Chapman and J. H. Fitts (3v., Exeter, N.H., 1891–1902), I, 227–32. J. P. Baxter, The pioneers of New France in New England, with contemporary letters and documents (Albany, 1894), 341–46 [this work is valuable for the documents it contains, but they do not entirely support Baxter’s conclusions. f.t.s.]. Frederick Kidder, The Abenaki Indians; their treaties of 1713 and 1717 . . . (Portland, 1859), 19–28. Parkman, A half-century of conflict (1893), I, 213.
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Cite This Article
Frank T. Siebert, Jr., “MOG,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 4, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/mog_2E.html.
The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:
|Author of Article:||Frank T. Siebert, Jr.|
|Title of Article:||MOG|
|Publication Name:||Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2|
|Publisher:||University of Toronto/Université Laval|
|Year of publication:||1969|
|Year of revision:||1982|
|Access Date:||June 4, 2023|