John Wompas: American Indian, Real Estate Mogul, Swindler

Top of Mind with Julie Rose - Radio Archive, Episode undefined

  • Nov 11, 2017
  • 52:09 mins

Guest: Jenny Hale Pulsipher, PhD, Associate Professor, History, Brigham Young University, Author, “Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England” The story of a fascinating American Indian starts about a decade after English settlers and the Wampanoag Indians gathered for a harvest festival we now consider the first Thanksgiving. John Wompas was born around 1637 near what today is Grafton, Massachusetts. He was a Nipmuc Indian, but he didn’t come from any royal lineage in the tribe. His father was not a chief – or “sachem,” as the tribe’s leaders were called. And yet, John Wompas would become prominent in both Nipmuc and English communities. He would study at Harvard. Become the first Indian involved in the transatlantic sea trade. Get rich off of real estate deals. End up in debtor’s prison in London and convince the King to lend him a hand.

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