Maine: An Encyclopedia


The Man

A sagamore of the Norridgewock Indians, also known as Chief Bomazeen of the Canibas on Swan Island.

Despite signing a treaty at Pemaquid in 1693, Bomazeen led attacks, described as massacres, at Oyster River in New Hampshire, Groton in Massachusetts, and several other places in 1693 and 1694. Although he signed a treaty with the English in 1693, they captured him under a flag of truce in 1694. Once released, he declared war on the English and raided many of their settlements, killing residents and taking prisoners.

According to the Yale Indian Papers Project,

In 1703, Governor Dudley of Massachusetts Bay called a conference of Indians to meet with his representatives at . . . what is now Portland. Responding were chiefs of the Norridgewock, the Penobscots, the Androscoggins, the Penacooks and the Pequawkets. Chief Bomazeen told Governor Dudley that several French missionaries had lately come among his people and were inciting them against the English, but the chief assured the governor that his Indians would remain the Englishman’s firm friends.

Bomazeen may have been sincere, but he did not speak for his braves,  some of whom carried loaded muskets, ready to kill Dudley if they could without endangering the life of their own chief. Dudley was suspicious enough to keep Bomazeen close to himself during the whole conference. At any rate, a treaty between Massachusetts and the Maine Indians was made in 1703.

He and his family were killed in the English colonials’ raid on Norridgewock in August of 1724. He was shot fleeing the attackers in an attempt to warn others.

The Legend of Bomazeen*

Bomazeen is also a Boy Scout camp by that name in the town of Belgrade, named for Chief Bomazeen of the Norridgewock tribe of the Abnaki nation.

During the Prince Phillip Wars, there was a renegade Indian Chief by the name of Bomazeen, whose tribe inhabited the Norridgewock Valley.

Bomazeen was hated by the English soldiers as he believed in the free way. The English decided that the only way to get rid of Bomazeen was to kill him. In December they set off with four officers and three hundred men along with four Mohawk scouts.

They proceeded up the Kennebec River as far as Ticonnet, now known as Richmond. They camped here for a month due to a storm. Leaving a hundred and two men to guard the seventeen whaleboats, the rest set out in search of the famous Indian chieftain.

After two weeks they came upon a brave, squaw and maiden. Automatically they opened fire, killing the maiden and capturing the squaw. The Brave escaped to warn his tribe. After running a long distance they caught up to him at the fording place of the river and opened fire, killing the brave.

The squaw then called out “Bomazeen!” The English now knew that they had slain the mighty chieftain and went on to massacre the Indian’s village. The fording place in the river is now known as “Bomazeen’s Rips.”

*According to the Camp’s web site, this story has been told at least since 1969. It is not known who wrote this particular version. (accessed September 25, 2011)

Additional resources

“Bomazeen.” Dictionary of American Fighting Ships. Naval History & Heritage Command. (accessed September 25, 2010)

Wolkovich-Valkavicius William L. The Groton Indian Raid of 1694 and Lydia Longley. mhj/pdfs/Wolkovich-Valkavicius%20Summer%202002%20complete.pdf (accessed August 26, 2015)

Yale Indian Papers Project. “Bomazeen, – 1724” (accessed August 26, 2015)

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