Maine Indians and the Revolutionary War

I’m working my way through the DAR’s wonderful resource, Forgotten Patriots: African American and American Indian Patriot in the Revolutionary War.  These names of course are all going on the Native Names document. 

The DAR has separated their research into states, and I’ll be summarizing as I go along.

In Maine, which was at the time of the Revolutionary War, part of Massachusetts, the goal was to balance British influence among the Indians and keep them neutral.  To this end, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress addressed the Penobscot Tribe in May of 1775.

The St. John’s and Micmac tribes sent a letter to the Council, joining their brothers, the Penobscot Indians and declared to the Americans: “We are Brothers  of One Father and God made us all, and we will stand by you, as long as the Almighty will give us strength, and we hope you will do the same for us.”

This does not mean that the British stopped trying to recruit the Indians of course, but the Indians did indeed fight alongside the Americans. 

The final great military action in the north took place in July of 1779 with an expedition to Penobscot which involved the Penobscot Indian unit.  A monument on Indian Island in Old Town, Maine was erected by the Bango Chapter of the DAR in 1910 to commemorate the support of the Penobscot tribe.

The DAR document sums the situation up in their final introductory paragraph:

“In the final days of the Revolution, attention of the governing bodies was far from Maine.  When the peace negotiations took place, the hopes of a St. Johns’ River border were dashed as all of the land north of the St. Croix River went to Canada.  Maine remained the home of only remnants of two of the tribes who supported the American cause.  The Penobscots have a reservation at Indian Island, Old Town, Maine and the Passamaquoddy Tribal Reservation is near Perry, Maine.  Few Indians received Federal pensions or any proper compensation for their sacrifices.”

In the list of Maine Patriots, we find Indians from the following tribes:

  • St. John’s Indians
  • Maliseet Indians
  • Passamoquoddy Indians
  • Micmac Indians
  • Penobscot Indians
  • Mohawk Indians
  • Canawango Indian

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Canawango, Maine, Maliseet, Micmac, Mohawk, Passamoquoddy, Penobscot, St. John's Indians. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Maine Indians and the Revolutionary War

  1. Richadr Dyer says:

    The “St. John’s Indians” was a generic term applied to Mostly Maliseet/Malecite Indians whose encampments peppered the entire length of the St. John River, from Lower Quebec to Passamaquoddy Bay. In fact, the Passamaquoddy Indians & the Maliseet are one and the same.

  2. Fred Hanning says:

    I am looking for a list of names of native warriors that joined the ranks of George Washington forces during the American Revolution and especially the Micmac and Maliseet. Thank you for any direction you may give me.

  3. Has anyone heard the story of Penobscot Chief Bear who killed a British Colonel with a fantastic long shot over water as the British were advancing in boats, presumably on the St. John River. The Colonel was in a lead boat and fell dead from the shot and the British expedition turned around and withdrew. The event was witnessed by Americans and Penobscots and I read of the account in a history book but I have seen no mention of it on the internet.

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