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New Braintree in Worcester County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Wheeler’s Surprise

1630 – 1930

 
 
Wheeler’s Surprise Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Roger W. Sinnott, May 24, 2011
1. Wheeler’s Surprise Marker
Inscription.  One mile to the southwest, off the North Brookfield Road, Edward Hutchinson’s company seeking a parley with the Nipmucs was ambushed by Indians August 2, 1675, and more than half were slain. Captain Hutchinson died from his wounds. Captain Thomas Wheeler was wounded but escaped.
 
Erected 1930 by Massachusetts Bay Colony-Tercentenary Commission.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial EraSettlements & SettlersWars, US Indian. In addition, it is included in the Massachusetts Bay Colony—Tercentenary Commission Markers series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1675.
 
Location. 42° 20.1′ N, 72° 6.825′ W. Marker is in New Braintree, Massachusetts, in Worcester County. Marker is at the intersection of Barre Road (Massachusetts Route 67) and Daniel Whitney Road, on the right when traveling north on Barre Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New Braintree MA 01531, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Battle of New Braintree (approx. 1.4 miles away); Entertainment & Industry
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(approx. 1.4 miles away); New Braintree Veterans Monument (approx. 1.4 miles away); Education – Business (approx. 1.4 miles away); Sgt. M.J. Ryder (approx. 3.1 miles away); Sgt. Joseph Illiscavitch (approx. 3.1 miles away); PFC. Francis R. Sinclair (approx. 3.1 miles away); Staff/Sgt. Thomas W. Power (approx. 3.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Braintree.
 
Regarding Wheeler’s Surprise. In their King Philip’s War: The History and Legacy of America’s Forgotten Conflict (Contryman Press, 1999), Eric B. Schultz and Michael J. Tougias call this one of the war’s most devastating ambushes. Hutchinson and Wheeler had with them a mounted force of about 20 men and three friendly Indians as guides. While proceeding to the site of a prearranged meeting to discuss a treaty, they were set upon by about 200 Nipmuc warriors who, as Wheeler later wrote, “sent out their shot upon us as a shower of hail.”

Despite what the marker says, the exact location of the ambush is not known with any certainty (see, for example, Jeffrey H. Fiske’s 1993
Wider View Looking North image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Roger W. Sinnott, May 24, 2011
2. Wider View Looking North
book, Wheeler’s Surprise: The Lost Battlefield of King Philip’s War).
 
Also see . . .
1. Wheeler’s Surprise. Wikipedi entry. (Submitted on May 27, 2011, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts.) 

2. Tercentenary Commission. Original 1930 publication by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Tercentenary Commission, commemorating the 300th anniversary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. (Submitted on May 27, 2011, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 27, 2011, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts. This page has been viewed 1,730 times since then and 57 times this year. Last updated on October 26, 2011, by Russell Chaffee Bixby of Bernardston, Massachusetts. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 27, 2011, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 14, 2024