Sakonnet AOG-61 - History

Sakonnet AOG-61 - History

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(AOG-61: dp. 2,700 (f.), 1. 220'6", b. 37', dr. 13'1"; s. 10 k., cpl. 62, a. 1 3", 2 40mm., 3 20mm., el.Sequatchie; T. T1-M-A2)

Sakonnet (AOG-61) was laid down under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 789) on 1 May 1943 by Todd Galveston Dry Docks, Inc., Galveston, Texas
launched on 1 December 1943, sponsored by Miss Adele Geer; and commissioned on 20 November 1944, Lt. Comdr. Raymond P. LeViness in command.

Sakonnet departed Galveston in December 1944 and sailed, via the Panama Canal, to the Aleutians. Arriving in February 1945, she operated in the Aleutians until the end of World War II and returned to San Francisco on 18 September. She was decommissioned on 26 October 1945; struck from the Navy list on 13 November 1945; and returned to the Maritime Commission on 1 July 1946.

Awashonks was a female chief of the Sakonnet tribe of Little Compton, Rhode Island. Her real name is not known, but Awashonks was her official name as chief. It means “She who is queen.”She lived near the Pilgrims’ settlement, Plymouth Plantation, on the southern side of the bustling establishment. The Natives were not familiar with the settlers, and Awashonks helped her people and their confusion. Her life as a ruler of her Indian tribe was one of importance, and her story will inspire us all.

Awashonks’ birthdate is a mystery, aside from several doubted files. It is thought that she was born around the year 1620 after the Pilgrims arrived on the famous journey and ship, which was called The Mayflower. She was important, even before she became chief because she was the daughter of the current sachem, Corbitant.

Awashonks became the sachem of her tribe when the next chief and husband, Tosoneyin, died in 1660. She didn’t obtain the chief’s position through inheritance only, though. She was also a leader because of her strength, wisdom, and power. Though her tribe was more accommodated to a male chieftain, no one else but her would step up to the highest position. Awashonks also discussed problems with other sachems and tried to find solutions to the issues and obstacles with different tribes. Awashonks also greeted the first settler, Benjamin Church, into her territory with a peaceful welcome.

Awashonks, even before she became sachem, played her part for her tribe, and helped with problems and conflicts among the group. She participated in the signing of a peace treaty among a league of neighboring tribes and with the Plymouth Colony. Her tribe lived to the south of Plymouth Plantation, the Pilgrims’ establishment and the second successful settlement, and stretched east from the Sakonnet River. Her tribe traveled often for gatherings and other important ceremonies. Awashonks and her tribe also traded frequently with the English colonists.

Awashonks played a huge role in the war between King Philip and the English colonists. She thought only of protecting her people, and used strategies and allies to defend her tribe. By the end of the war, she had made numerous peace alliances.

It is also guessed that Awashonks agreed to make an alliance with the English as long as no more men, women, or children would be killed or shipped away as slaves. During this time period, Native Americans were forced to be sent away to places where they would be put into forced labor, against their will. Natives were abused, and Awashonks wanted to put an end to it.

Though Awashonks’ deal with the English after they won the war kept her people safe from slavery and deportation, her tribe still endured stolen land and displacement and even enslavement once more.

Awashonks had two husbands. With her first husband, Tosoneyin, she had three children, two sons and one daughter. Her second husband went by the name of Waweyewet.

Awashonks led her people through hard times. She stayed strong for her people, even when her tribe lost most of their power. The struggle for power was a problem among all tribes during this time period, including Awashonks’.

Awashonks was an aristocrat and is a symbol of strength, and though she isn’t here with us, she has a place in history. She stood to defend her tribe, to protect her people and be a leader and chief to its fullest potential.

Written by: Marjorie Leary, Grade 5 -Wilbur & McMahon School

About & History

Sakonnet Farm was founded by Adam & Kristin Silveira in the fall of 2009. Looking for a family friendly business for our 4 children to participate in we decided to increase our chicken flock and open a retail business. For some years we were able to spend time farming and produced things like jams, jellies, free range broilers and eggs, vegetables, etc. Unfortunately, we are no longer able to do this, although we do anticipate returning to it someday.

In 2011 our business took an unanticipated turn and we landed in the vacation rental market with our Old Tiverton Four Corners Schoolhouse No. 1, a two bedroom guest rental house on the farm. We were so pleased with the new venture, we very quickly added another property, Potters Corner, in neighboring Little Compton. We have since added more homes in both Tiverton & Little Compton and continue to find the vacation rental market very rewarding.

Alyssa age 21, Megan age 20, Jami age 18 and Jonathan age 16 are all adulting and finding their own ways in the world, but they continue to be involved in our small business. We still carry full time jobs, Adam works for National Grid and Kristin is a nurse with Brown Surgical Associates. In 2020 Kristin obtained her Real Estate Licence, she’s excited for this new opportunity to share her love of real estate. We look forward to the future and what other unanticipated adventures might someday appear.

The farm is located on what once was the Cavaca family compound. Manny Cavaca and his wife Marjorie raised their six daughters here in the main house. He had chickens and a garden where he grew enough produce to feed his family and share with his friends. He was the fire chief for the town of Tiverton, and the garage was the fire station for some time. Our South cottage, called the “fire barn” by the family, was brought to the property to house the firemen who stayed here in shifts.

Sakonnet AOG-61 - History

It was March 28, 1676, and Zoeth Howland was riding through the deep woods of Tiverton. According to the story that has been told for more than 300 years, Howland never made it to his destination. Later that day, town residents discovered his tortured and mutilated body, a casualty of the bloodiest war in American history.

Relations between native people and New England settlers had been tense since the Pilgrims arrived in 1620. Colonists encroached on local lands, and natives retaliated by raiding settlers’ homes and property. By the 1670s, the English colonists had abandoned diplomacy and resorted almost exclusively to force in their dealings with local tribes. Wampanoag leader Metacom—known by the English as King Philip—struck back. An alliance of Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Nipmuck people led by Metacom embarked on a guerilla campaign that, over the course of fourteen months, left an indelible mark on the landscape and history of New England.

The English colonists responded to the “many notorious and execrable murders, killings, and outrages” committed by Metacom’s men with extreme violence of their own. Three months before Howland’s murder, English soldiers shot and burned alive up 600 Narragansett men, women, and children in what the victors named the “Great Swamp Fight.” Tribes that remained neutral early in the war sided with Metacom as the war spread across New England, devolving into a racial struggle.

On that day in March 1676, Howland’s journey from his home in Dartmouth to worship in Newport with fellow Quakers should have been an easy one. Howland had moved to Dartmouth in 1657 from Plymouth, where his religious beliefs led to persecution from Puritan clergy, including time spent in the stocks. As Howland rode alongside a small brook, six Native Americans suddenly beset him. Seemingly attacked without provocation, he was tortured until he died, his mutilated body thrown into the brook.

By late summer of 1676, King Philip’s War was nearly over. Metacom had been shot and killed in August, and the English commander ordered his body cut into pieces. The Pocasset Indian who killed him received one of Metacom’s hands as a reward. His head was carried back to Plymouth and mounted on a palisade of the town’s fort, along with the proudly exhibited dismembered heads of other “heathen malefactors.” Metacom’s head remained on display for twenty years, a clear message that the colonists had staked their claim on this land.

Only one of the men involved in Howland’s murder was ever identified in court records. “Manasses,” alternatively written as “Molasses,” was turned over to colonial authorities and sold as a slave.

Many Natives Americans who survived the war were sold into slavery. Colonial authorities shipped more than 1,000 Natives to labor on Caribbean sugar plantations. Of a total Native population of about 20,000, at least 2,000 had died as a result of battle, another 3,000 died of sickness and starvation, and thousands fled the region. The total Native population declined by 60 to 80 percent as a result of the war. Plymouth Colony lost about 8 percent of its men, compared to losses of 4 to 5 percent of American men during the Civil War.

The unnamed brook where Howland’s body was found became known as “Sinning Flesh Brook.” Did this refer to the sinful killing of a pious Englishman? Or did some people consider Howland a sinful man for going against Puritanical teachings? Perhaps you can ask Zoeth Howland yourself. Some say his spirit still flits along the hiking trails that crisscross what is now called “Sin and Flesh Brook.”

(Sin & Flesh Brook runs southwesterly from the area around Fish Road near Route 24 and empties into Nanaquaket Pond. The best place to see it on foot is by hiking on the trails in Fort Barton Woods.)


Chief Metacom

This hand-tinted engraving by Paul Revere was originally titled "Philip, King of Mount Hope." Chief Metacom's Pokanoket band of the Wampanaog made their home on the Mount Hope peninsula, near today's Bristol, Rhode Island. View File Details Page

Pease Field Fight

On July 9, 1675, a group of about forty colonial soldiers, led by Benjamin Church of Little Compton, were ambushed by several hundred Native Americans. Church and his soldiers had initially been hoping to make contact with the Sakonnet band of Indians to persuade them from siding with "King Philip" in the burgeoning conflict. Church's men "bravely and wonderfully defended themselves" for several hours until they were able to retreat across the Sakonnet River to the safety of Aquidneck Island. View File Details Page

Great Swamp Fight

One of the worst atrocities of King Philip's War was the colonial attack on the Narragansett Indians' palisade hidden deep within the "great swamp" in southwestern Rhode Island. Although the Narragansetts had remained neutral in the initial months of the war, the colonial authorities feared that they would eventually side with the Wampanoags. In December of 1675, colonial soldiers launched a preemptive attack on the settlement - with drastic consequences for both sides. Several hundred Narragansetts were killed, including many women and children, while colonial soldiers in the battle had a 20% casualty rate View File Details Page

Bristol & Warren

Maximizing the use of local skills and talent is the essence of good business. We make all of our products right here in Bristol and Warren Rhode Island.

Both Bristol and Warren were part of the lands inhabited by the Wampanoag Natives and were claimed as part of the original Plymouth Colony. Warren started out as a trading post in 1621 with the Wampanoags. It was incorporated in 1668 under the name of Sowams, and in 1747 under its current name. It has been a manufacturing town almost since it began--textiles, luggage, machined products and ships. It still makes machined products and ships. Warren also produces consumer products and a wide range of crafts.

Incorporated in 1680 following King Phillip's War, Bristol has been a leader in making fast ships for more than 200 years. Over the past 150 years many of the America's Cup winners were designed and built here. Bristol has been an early leader in the manufacture of rubber, aluminum, textiles, rugs, shoes, machine tools and machined products. It remains a leader in the manufacture of boats and carbon fiber products.

The people of Bristol and Warren have a long history of making things and making them well.

The benefits of location

Providence, Newport, Sachuest Point, Jamestown, Tiverton, Little Compton, Sakonnet Point, Westport, Padanarum, New Bedford, the Cape. The Atlantic Ocean. Ferry to Prudence Island. Easy drive to Block Island, Orient Point, Nantucket, and Vineyard ferries. Brown, RISD, Providence College, Johnson and Wales, Roger Williams, Salve Regina, UMASS Dartmouth. Commute to Boston.

Sakonnet AOG-61 - History

Composed by Spalding Gray and Elizabeth LeCompte
in collaboration with Libby Howes, Alexandra Ivanoff,
Ellen LeCompte, Erik Moskowitz and Leeny Sack
Directed by Elizabeth LeCompte

Original cast: Spalding Gray, Erik Moskowitz, Leeny Sack, Ellen LeCompte, Alexandra Ivanov, Gail Conrad, Gabrielle Lansner, Nancy Campbell, Jim Strahs
Later: David Hoffmann, Libby Howes, Vicky Raab, Miriam Charney, Joan MacIntosh, Ron Vawter, Willem Dafoe

Technical Directors: Bruce Porter, Bruce Rayvid
Stage Manager: Gabrielle Lansner
Designers: Jim Clayburgh and Bruce Porter with Elizabeth LeCompte
Assistant to the Designers: Libby Howes
Lighting: Jim Clayburgh

Production History

May 29, 1975: SAKONNET POINT open rehearsal
June 12 - 27, 1975: SAKONNET POINT performances at The Performing Garage
September 1975: SAKONNET POINT rehearsals
October 15 - November 13 1975: SAKONNET POINT performances at The Performing Garage
October 10 - November 1 1976: SAKONNET POINT performances at The Performing Garage
September 19 - October 29 1978: THREE PLACES IN RHODE ISLAND (SAKONNET POINT, RUMSTICK ROAD, NAYATT SCHOOL) performances at The Mickery Theatre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
December 8 1978 - February 4 1979: THREE PLACES IN RHODE ISLAND performances at The Performing Garage

Sakonnet AOG-61 - History

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