WABBICOMMICOT (Wabacumaga, Wapackcamigat, Wapaumagen), Mississauga chief in the Toronto area; fl. 1761; d. 1768.
Like the Iroquois, the Mississaugas lived along the French line of communication with the pays d’en haut and the Illinois country. They were, as a result, subjected to similar pressures to ally themselves either with France or with Britain as the two imperial powers struggled for control of the North American interior. Although there were Mississaugas fighting on the French side during the Seven Years’ War, at least one chief kept up friendly contact with Sir William Johnson*, the British superintendent of northern Indians. The chief, whose name is not recorded, may perhaps have been Wabbicommicot.
Wabbicommicot is first mentioned by name in British documents in a report of his meeting with Johnson at Fort Niagara (near Youngstown, N.Y.) in July 1761. Prompted by word that the Senecas Kayashoton* and Tahahaiadoris were attempting to stir up the western tribes against the British, Johnson was on his way to Detroit for his first official meeting with the nations formerly allied to the French. At his request Wabbicommicot and some other Mississauga chiefs accompanied him on this delicate mission. At the conference Wabbicommicot welcomed him as “our Brother Warraghiyagey who has brought peace to our Country which was in a treamor, & has fixed our hearts in their proper places which before his arrival were fluttering & knew not where to settle.”
Johnson’s diplomacy, however, could not offset the British policy of cutting off the supply of ammunition and rum to the Indians. Some French, moreover, were unofficially encouraging Indian discontent. Wabbicommicot reported to an English trader at Toronto in the winter of 1762–63 that Luc de La Corne*, known as La Corne Saint-Luc, had earlier sent a message to the various nations promising that a French fleet would arrive and retake the country. The chief warned the trader that the Indians would go to war against the British in the spring. He disapproved of the policy himself, but although he was “ye Chief Man North & West upon Lake Ontario and so far upon Lake Erie as ye big [Grand] River . . .” he could not dictate to his people.
Late in May 1763 he appeared at Niagara, demanding rum and threatening that he would not be responsible for the consequences if he were refused. This action had clearly been forced on him by pressures within his tribe, for he added the personal opinion that the English were more generous than the French and he warned that trouble was afoot. News soon arrived at Niagara that some Mississaugas had attacked a party of traders at the mouth of the Grand River. More serious still, Detroit was under siege from Pontiac. Among the Ottawa chief’s allies were some Mississaugas from the Rivière à la Tranche (Thames River); it is not clear whether any of Wabbicommicot’s warriors were also involved. Johnson believed that Wabbicommicot had “prevented Numbers of his People from Joining against us.” In the autumn, the season when Indians began to think of dispersing for their winter hunting, Wabbicommicot travelled to Detroit. He conferred with the commandant, Henry Gladwin*, informing him that the Mississaugas wanted to end the fighting and that the Ojibwas and Ottawas would also make peace.
Although there was no open warfare in 1764 the year was an uneasy one in Indian-British relations. Wabbicommicot carried messages between Niagara and Detroit on at least one occasion and he was present in September 1764 at the signing of the abortive treaty that Colonel John Bradstreet* negotiated. With a delegation of Mississaugas he visited Johnson Hall (near Amsterdam, N.Y.) in June 1765. On the Indian superintendent’s request, he agreed to warn the western nations against further disturbances. “Be assured,” he told Johnson, “I shall communicate without delay wt. you desire to ye neighbouring Nations also to Pondiac who I think will pay regard to what I shall Say to him, should he not to Yours.” Accompanied by the interpreter Jean-Baptiste de Couagne*, who had lived among the Miamis for many years, Wabbicommicot reached Detroit in mid August and gave the message to Pontiac and his followers, who were in the vicinity.
During the following years the Mississauga chief visited Niagara from time to time, bringing bits of news which were relayed to Johnson. On one of his visits in 1767, he was asked by the fort’s commandant to stop the trading that was going on at Toronto (trade with the Indians having been restricted to the garrisoned posts since 1764). Wabbicommicot expressed his personal disapproval of the illicit trading and agreed to attempt again to prevent it, although he had tried unsuccessfully before.
In mid August 1768 four Mississaugas brought Johnson the news “of the death of our chief, and your Friend Wabicomicot. . . .”
PAC, RG 10, A2, 1827, pp.55, 56. Documentary history of New-York (O’Callaghan), II, 504–11. “The Gladwin manuscripts,” ed. Charles Moore, Michigan Pioneer Coll., XXVII (1896), 647, 652. Johnson papers (Sullivan et al.). NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), VI, 486; VII, 239, 259. Peckham, Pontiac. P. J. Robinson, Toronto during the French régime . . . (Toronto, Chicago, 1933).
© 1974–2023 University of Toronto/Université Laval
Cite This Article
Jane E. Graham, “WABBICOMMICOT,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 1, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/wabbicommicot_3E.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:||Jane E. Graham|
|Title of Article:||WABBICOMMICOT|
|Publication Name:||Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3|
|Publisher:||University of Toronto/Université Laval|
|Year of publication:||1974|
|Year of revision:||1974|
|Access Date:||June 1, 2023|