May 19, 1676
Peskeompskut was a traditional gathering place
for Native peoples. Located at the falls on the Connecticut River
in present-day Montague, Massachusetts, Peskeompskut was an ideal
place to meet, to fish and to trade. Salmon and shad spawned at
the falls, and the river provided quick and easy transportation.
During King Philip's War (1675-1676), several hundred Native people
gathered there to replenish food supplies and to launch a series
of raids against English towns in Hampshire County. On May 19, 1676,
Captain William Turner of Northampton led 150 mounted settlers from
Hatfield, Northampton and Hadley in a surprise attack on Peskeompskut.
Falling on the sleeping camp at daybreak, the English attackers
killed as many as two hundred people, most of them women and children.
They also burned the camp and destroyed valuable food supplies.
The English withdrawal turned into disorganized flight when Native
warriors from a nearby camp arrived and cut off their escape route.
Severely wounded, Captain Turner died at the Green River in present-day
Greenfield. English casualties mounted as warriors harassed the
inexperienced soldiers all the way to Hatfield. Nevertheless, the
attack by Turner and his men was a terrible blow to Native resistance
and hastened the end of King Philip's War. The area of Peskeompskut
remains known as Turners Falls to commemorate the attack Turner
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