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In the Classroom > Unit Overview > Lesson 4

Lesson 4
Falls Fight
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 led.

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