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John Wheelwright and Wehanownowit – Can we all live together?

by Barbara Rimkunas

This "Historically Speaking" column appeared in the Exeter News-Letter on Friday, October 13, 2017.

In early 1638, the Reverend John Wheelwright was faced with a decision. He’d been banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for theological differences and had spent the long cold winter of 1637-38 couch-surfing either at Strawbery Banke (now Portsmouth) or with Edward Hilton near today’s Dover. Once the weather cleared and warmed up a bit, he was planning to head up the Squamscott River to the falls at a place the Englishmen were already calling “Exeter.” There was ample lumber, a series of waterfalls for power, some open land for grazing and salt marsh hay to feed animals, what wasn’t to love about this new Exeter?

There was one small matter Wheelwright had to contend with – once spring arrived, the Natives would return for the season. Settling around the river each summer, the Squamscotts would farm, hunt, fish and replenish their stores for winter, wh…

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