The Peace Tree of 1676

Gentahacus was 94 years old at the time of this photograph, taken at the 2004 Green Corn Ceremony where he was teaching the members of the Eastern Woodland People’s Association the history of the Peace Tree that was planted at the end of the King Philip War in 1676 at old Schaghticoke, NY.

The Peace Tree at Schaghticoke marked the end of the King Philip War. It was planted for the protection of the Christian Indian refugees of that horrible war. The tree created the vale of peace, the Tawasentha, that allowed for the people to live undisturbed under the leaves of the white oak.

John Eliot’s Praying Towns were invited to join with other Christian refugees to settle in Schaghticoke where they and their descendants enjoyed peace for 90 plus years; from the end of the King Philip War up to the American Revolution.

I grew up in the village of Schaghticoke. My father had a way of filling the days with teaching moments.

One day he took me on a trek to visit the sacred Indian burial mounds. We had to negotiate our way past snapping turtles and cross the bog on hidden humps of compacted earth. We came to a small, secret island that held the burial mounds. He explained to me that back when “the people” were living in this place, the lake was not here and that they would have lived along the river in bark covered wigwams.

There was an ancient tree in the vicinity. My dad and I stretched out our arms around it and measured it. It would have taken five people with stretched out arms to reach all the way around its trunk. Then he pointed to a little sapling that was growing nearby. “To give you a perspective of how old these graves are, figure that the grand old tree would have been the size of this little sapling when the village was here.” He gave me time to think about that before we offered a prayer for the ancient ones. Then, before we left, he made me promise to keep the knowledge of the mounds a secret. “If the wrong people found out about the graves they might be tempted to come in and dig for artifacts,” he explained.

To my knowledge, some 50 plus years later, the ancient graves remain undisturbed.



Published by


Author of PRAYING TOWNE Gawenase Johnson is of deep rooted Native and Colonial heritage.

4 thoughts on “The Peace Tree of 1676”

  1. Lisbeth,

    Thank you so much. I really would like to subscribe to your newsletter but I believe there is a problem with the form.

    Your work touches my heart & speaks to me.


    1. Sagole,
      Neahwayha for subscribing. My tech support said that she is working on the problem.

      Wow! You are one of my first commentors. This website is a whole new experience for me.

      I’m very excited for you to read my book when it comes out because the act of writing it is touching my heart. What a time in history that was.
      I’m curious if you were able to see that I wrote three different short blogs so far.
      Please feel free to share Gawenase.com with your friends whom you think might be interested.
      Monika and I might be going to the Edmonds powwow. Maybe we will see you there.
      Oneh gee wah hey, Gawenase.

  2. looking forward to read this book that you worked so hard on during that cruise. Was a pleasur to meet with you and Linda, wish you the best on that jouney of words
    Louise P.Côté

  3. I am so excited for my dear friend to be writing such a book. I can’t wait to read it! I know you, your passions, your history, our town of Schaghticoke, and I know your respect for all these things. It’s going to be a wonderful story and history lesson with a message. Love you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *