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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
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.
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.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Massachusetts Bay Colony—Tercentenary Commission Markers marker series.
 
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.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Brig. Gen. Timothy Ruggles (approx. 4.4 miles away); Hardwick (MA) Civil War Monument (approx. 4.5 miles away); Birthplace of Lucy Stone (approx. 6.5 miles away); a different marker also named Birthplace of Lucy Stone
Wider View Looking North image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, May 24, 2011
2. Wider View Looking North
(approx. 6.6 miles away); Fort Gilbert (approx. 6.8 miles away); Boston Post Road (approx. 6.9 miles away); Brookfield (approx. 8.1 miles away); Civil War Memorial (approx. 8.1 miles away).
 
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 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.) 

3. New Braintree Historical Society. The Society endeavors to stimulate a local interest in antiquarian research, by the preservation of historic materials, and identifying and marking memorable sites within the borders of the town. It collects photos, journals, family papers, business ledgers, antiques, collectibles, and artifacts relating to the history of New Braintree. The Society operates a museum where historic materials may be kept and displayed for the information and enjoyment of all. It also presents activities and programs of educational benefit, such as exhibits, lectures, and demonstrations. (Submitted on October 15, 2011, by Russell Chaffee Bixby of Bernardston, Massachusetts.) 
 
Categories. Colonial EraSettlements & SettlersWars, US Indian
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 27, 2011, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts. This page has been viewed 990 times since then and 74 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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