Our Family History

You are currently anonymous Log In


Male Abt 1630 - 1698  (~ 68 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    All    |    PDF

    Prefix Chief 
    Born Abt 1630  Acadie (Maine, New Brunswick area) Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Occupation Grand chief of the Abenakis and Maliseets of coastal Maine 
    Died 1698 
    • Madockawando (c. 1630; died 1698) was a sachem of the Penobscot Indians who succeeded Assaminasqua. He at times tried to make peace with the whites and his daughter married Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie de Saint-Castin, also known as Castin. That said the treaties he made with whites were often broken and so he is known for fighting against them in Maine.

      MADOCKAWANDO, Indian chief, born in Maine about 1630. He was the adopted son of Assaminasqua, whom he succeeded as sachem of the Penobscot Indians. Their lands, lying east of Penobscot river, were a part of Acadia, which was given back to France in 1667 by the treaty of Breda, though the English claimed that the country between the Penobscot and the St. Croix was included in the Duke of York's patent. The Indians were brought under French influence by the Baron de St. Castine, called in New England chronicles Castin (q. v.), who settled among them, and married a daughter of Madockawando. When King Philip's confederacy rose against Plymouth colony, the eastern Indians and the English settlers in Maine and New Hampshire became involved in war. The Penobscots were the first to treat for peace among the Indian tribes, and offered to enter into an alliance with the English. Articles were drawn and subscribed at Boston on 6 November, 1676, and the peace was ratified by Madockawando. The English, however, found a pretext for renewing hostilities. The Indians were successful, and destroyed all the English settlements in that part of Maine. In 1678 treaty was made at Casco whereby the English were permitted to return to their farms on the condition of paying rent to the Indians. The peace was kept until the territorial dispute with France was brought to an issue in 1688 by Governor Andros, who went to Penobscot in a frigate, plundered Castin's house, and destroyed his fort. The Indian chiefs took up the quarrel, being abundantly supplied with arms by Castin, attacked the white settlements, and thus began King William's war. In the atrocities committed on this border Madockawando took a prominent part. When the English built Fort William Henry at Pemaquid he hastened to Quebec to carry the intelligence to Frontenac, but divulged it to John Nelson, whose messengers warned the authorities in Boston of Iberville's expedition. In 1693 the English gained Madockawando's consent to a treaty of peace, yet he was unable to persuade the chiefs who were under the influence of French Jesuit emissaries, and was compelled to recommence hostilities. The Indian war continued for more than a year after the peace of Ryswick had been concluded between France and England, and until by the treaty of Casco the Penobscots, on 7 January, 1699, acknowledged subjection to the crown of England. In the later operations Castin was their leader, Madockawando having been, perhaps, one of the chiefs treacherously slain by Captain Pascho Chubb at a conference at Pemaquid in February, 1696.

January 25, 1692:  Today, just before dawn, the village of York, Maine, is attacked by 150 Abenaki warriors, led by Chief Madockawando. The Abenaki will kill more than four dozen settlers, and almost eight will be taken as prisoners then sold or used as slaves. The village and surrounding farms were burned for miles.


      MADOCKAWANDO (died c1698)      Western-ETCHEMIN
Madockawando was the last of the Wabanaki paramount-sakamos, wielding widespread influence from his Penobscot Bay home-base of Pentagoet (modern Castine ME). By adoptions and marriages, the prestige of Wabanaki authorityless leadership could be enhanced, and Madockawando enjoyed the benefits of both. He himself had been adopted as the son of a noted Kennebec River sakamo, Assiminasqua. His daughter Pidianiske was married to French soldier/adventurer Baron de St-Castin, who had come to live at Pentagoet to run a fur-trading post. Madockawando greatly relied upon his son-in-law's advice (and vice versa), but nevertheless he was secure enough to be quite independent, not only as a high-sakamo but as a shaman and a ginap as well. When Madockawando did not wish to make war, or had had enough of war, he abstained with impunity – at least until French Acadia Colony authority (reestablished on St John River) could not tolerate his abstinence any longer, and attempted to undermine his leadership.

Despite his pro-French environment at Pentagoet, Madockawando ceased his participation in King William's War after his surprisingly unsuccessful raid on Wells ME in 1692. It was to have been a model raid, to make up for a failure there (led by another chief) in 1691. It seems likely that, as both shaman and ginap, Madockawando took the double failure at Wells as an omen to stop fighting. Then, when that omen was coupled with evidences of English superiority in numbers & equipment, and of French exploitation of the Wabanakis, peace seemed to him to be essential for Wabanaki survival.

The French commandant in Acadia, Joseph Robineau de Villebon, understandably supported the pro-war party among the Wabanaki led by Taxous, a Penobscot River sakamo subordinate to Madockawando. So, when Madockawando signed a 1693 treaty with the English, he went beyond Villebon's tolerance & had to be controlled, lest he cost the French the war. Therefore Villebon publicly adopted Taxous as his brother and raised him as a puppet foil, thus both humiliating Madockawando and threatening to undermine the Wabanaki power-structure. Taxous was coached by Father Louis-Pierre Thury to challenge Madockawando to return to the warpath or become "contemptible to all the young Indians" as Villebon put it.

Madockawando and the alliance he headed both would have succumbed if he had not returned to the warpath, so return he did because he had no real choice. Taxous remained bumptious, but stayed a subordinate sakamo. Madockawando apparently regained full prestige, for he succeeded to a sakamoship on the St John River (in Villebon's vicinity) in addition to his other leadership responsibilities. He died c1698, leaving a definite power-vacuum in his absence.
    • Certain men renowned as warriors and hungers of endowed with a gift for oratory qualified as leaders in Wabanaki communities and were called sagamores. Greater sagamores were known to possess as well special spirit power which enabled them to accomplish extraordinary feats. The greatest Shamans were likely to be the most important chiefs.

      Madockawando is remembered as "a great chief of the Penobscots". His village was at Pentegoet (modern day Castine, Maine) and his daughter, Pidianiski, baptized Molly Mathilde, married Baron de St. Castin (1652-1707).

      Among the nomadic Wabanacki - the tribes of the Maritimes, Maine and the rest of northern New England - Shamanism was commonly attributed to the greater chiefs to whom supernatural power would give authority in the absense of a strong social organization.

      Madockawando as chief and Shaman was a soothsayer, clairvoyant, necromancer, exorcist and was in a position to act as a middleman between his people and the powers that meddle with life. He is a "wonder-worker", whose magic was derived from the spiritual and animal world. Indeed, the very ending of his name means mysterious, magical, powerful, miraculous, enabling things to be done supernaturally. He could lead them to game; he could drive out the devils of disease and circumvent the magic of enemies. Ordinary men could fight, but only the man with magic could content with the unseen powers and work out destiny.

      Among his descendants was Lt. Governor John Neptune (1767-1865) who inherited the Shamanistic power of Madockawando. As with his forbear, he was regarded as a peculiarly gifted "Medeoulinwak" (magician) "who could make his voice heard 100 miles away, who could walk in hard ground sinking up to his knees at every step, who could find green corn in winter and tobacco in the forest where there was none and who had fought and overcome that slimy, devouring monster, the dreadful Wiwiliamecq.

      "Old John Neptune and Other Maine Indian Shamans"
      by Fannie Hardy Eckstrom (1938)
    Person ID I1120  MyFamilyInfo
    Last Modified 9 Nov 2009 

    Family ID F1077  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    +2. Marie-Mathilde PIDIANSKE,   b. 1652, Acadie, Nova Scotia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1720, Acadie, Nova Scotia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 68 years)
    Last Modified 18 Feb 2016 
    Family ID F786  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Madockawando (ca. 1630-1698)
    Chief of the Penobscot Indians

    Jean-Vincent D'Abbadie, Baron de Saint-Castin (1652-1707)
    Jean-Vincent D'Abbadie, Baron de Saint-Castin (1652-1707)
    George Cerbelaud Salagnac, Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online (University of Toronto, 2000).