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Women at War in the Borderlands of the Early American Northeast$
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Gina M. Martino

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469640990

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469640990.001.0001

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Necessary to Abide

Necessary to Abide

Gendered Spheres and Spaces in New England’s Wars

(p.19) Chapter One Necessary to Abide
Women at War in the Borderlands of the Early American Northeast

Gina M. Martino

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores how colonists in seventeenth-century New England used gender ideologies about women’s roles as actors in public spheres to frame their understanding of women who fought in the region’s wars. The chapter explores this idea from three different angles. First, it examines how New England’s colonies incorporated women’s martial activities into their colonization strategy, sometimes even requiring women to remain in remote fortified towns, living in garrison houses that simultaneously served as military and household spaces. Second, it looks at how Native women participated in the region’s wars as leaders (sachems), spies, combatants, and in ritual torture. The chapter investigates how English politicians used their own concepts about women’s public roles to shape their ideas about Native female combatants. This section also features a case study of Weetamoo of the Pocasset, a prominent female sachem who died while leading an anti-colonial coalition in King Philip’s War (1675-76). Third, the chapter explores how English women attempted to shape military and colonial policy through mob violence.

Keywords:   Female combatants, Garrison houses, Public sphere, Mob violence, Female sachems, New England, King Philip’s War

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