The History of Caroline County, Maryland, From Its Beginning, 1920, pp. 45-49


FOREWORD TO THE TRIAL OF POH POH CAQUIS
(Adapted from the Maryland Archives)

        On the 18th day of December, 1682, Poh Poh Caquis, Indian of the Eastern Shore, Maryland, came to the home of William Troth at Dover Bridge. Troth was absent from home but, the Indian being cold, Mrs. Troth permitted him to sit by the fire.
        After an hour had passed Troth returned, accompanied by John Shepherd, a neighbor.  A few minutes later as the Indian, Troth and Shepherd conversed together Thomas Bussey came to the door.
        As Troth turned to speak to Bussey, Poh Poh Caquis seized his gun and fired directly at Troth, but failing in this attacked him with his tomahawk, then ran away followed by Troth, Shepherd and Bussey.  Although he finally escaped Poh Poh Caquis carried with him a load of buckshot from Troth’s gun.
        Fearing further trouble, on Dec. 22, 1682, Troth went to the home of John Edmondson where Col. Philemon Lloyd, a member of the Governor’s Council, was visiting, and made formal complaint against Poh Poh Caquis.
Lloyd at once wrote to the Governor, and later when the Council met definite action was taken.  At this meeting only four members of the council were present, namely:
        The Hon. Col. Thomas Zailler,
        The Hon. Col. Vincent Lowe,
        The Hon. Col. William Burges,
        The Hon. Mr. John Darnall.
The Council appointed as a Special Commission “to go examine and try” the case of Poh Poh Caquis the Honorable Henry Coursey, Esq.  And the Honorable Colonel Philemon Lloyd.
The Hon. Henry Coursey, Esq., was President of the Commission which met at Wye River, Talbot Co., March 5, 1683.

TRIAL OF POH POH CAQUIS

Scene--. Courthouse at Wye River, Mar. 5, 1683.
Characters:
Special Commission.
President, the Hon. Henry Coursey, Esq.
Gov. Council the Hon. Philemon Lloyd
Secretary to the President

White men.
The Constable
The Interpreter
William Troth
John Shepherd
Thomas Bussey

Indians.
Poh Poh Caquis
King Ababsco
King Tequassimo
Wewohquak
Wasatwahan
Weenakaman
Cha Cha Pohosse

TRIAL

Pres. of Court.  (Calls order):
        This body has convened today for the trial of one Poh Poh Caquis, Indian of the Eastern Shore, subject to Ahatsawak of Assoteaque.  Will the constable bring the prisoner into Court.

Constable (Retires)
(Returns immediately with Poh Poh Caquis)
        Here he is, Your Lordship.

Pres. of Court (Addressing assemlage.):
        Gentlemen, we have before us today, in the Sub-Court of King George in the Province of Maryland, a case of much interest to our Red brothers as well as the White man,--that of an Indian for an evil attack on his white brother.
        Red men, our Rt. Honorable Lord Proprietor gave you a convenient dwelling place free from the encroachment of the white man.  It is the will of his Lordship, Gov. Charles Calvert, that you have such a home.
        King Abasco and King Tequassimo have in past times given testimony of their fidelity.  Shall that fidelity be broken now?  The charge is that Poh Poh Caquis has placed himself under the law of the Province of Maryland by attempting murder.  The Secretary has the complaint as made by one William Troth to Colonel Philemon Lloyd, while at the home of John Edmondson, Dec. 22, 1682.  Let the Secretary read the Indictment.

Secretary to President (Reads):
        About the 18th day of December (1682) came an Indian to my house about two o’clock in the afternoon.  I, not being present in the house and the said Indian pretending to be cold, my wife bid him go to the fire and there he was about an houre.  By this time my wife sent for me an when I came into the house the said Indian came from where he had been sitting by the fire and look’d upon me, but said not a word to me not I to him; then straight-way returned to the fire again.  I went to where he was sitting by the fire with his Gunn standing by him.  I spoke to him and said, “How is Ketop.”  “Howan Pawmen kees,” he replied in Delaware.

Governor’s Council (Addressing Pres.):
        Your Lordship, may I address William Troth.
(Pres. bows assent and Troth rises facing G. C.)
(Addressing Troth) Do you affirm the truth of this indictment as read in part before this court.

William Troth:
        Your Lordship, I do (sits)

Secretary of Pres (reads):
        John Shepherd, sitting by the fire, said, “He tells me he is a Delaware Indian, and that there are two hundred Senniquox Indians hard by,” I said, “Pish, does thou believe him what he talks of.  He lies.”  The Indian make answer he did not lie, for I should see them by and by.  I made answer I would not see them if I could help it, but he said I should and forthwith fell ahollowing.

Governor’s Council (Addressing Pres.):
        Your Lordship is John Shepherd in Court?

John Shepherd (Rising):
        Yes, Your Honor.

Governor’s Council (Addressing Shepherd):
        Were you present at the home of William Troth at the time referred to in indictment read?

John Shepherd:
        I was Your Honor.

Governor’s Council:
        Do you affirm the truth of the indictment as read.

John Shepherd:
        I do Your Honor (Sits)

Governor’s Council (To Sec.)
        Proceed.

Secretary of President:
        Before I could speak any more words to him, come to the doore Thomas Bussey. I turned me about to speake to the said Thomas; while my back was toward the Indian the said Indian made ready his Gunn; I presently turned about again and seeing the muzzle of the gunn towards me, I endeavored to get hold of it, but before I could she went off, and with the bonding of my body to get hold of the gun, the shott mist.  When he saw he had done no execution he took his Tomahawke, and followed me abut eight or ten yards; and when I saw he followed me I called for my gunn, and as soon as he heard me call for my gunn he ran and when he was about thirty yards from me I discharged my gun at him. (Sec. sits.)

Governor’s Council (Addressing Assembly)
        Thomas Bussey, stand.

Thos. Bussey (stands and bows):
        Your Lordship.

Governor’s Council (Addressing Bussey):
        Were you present on the 18th of December 1682 when Poh Poh Caquis attacked William Troth as charged.

Thos. Bussey:
        I was your Lordship.

Governor’s Council:
        Thomas Bussey do you affirm that this accusation charging Poh Poh Caquis with an attempt on the life of William Troth of Dover Bridge is true?

Thos. Bussey:
        The charge is true Your Lordship. (Gov. Council and Bussey sits.)

Pres. of Court:
        The indictment has been read and its truth affirmed by these witnesses.  Interpreter will you ask the prisoner why he denied his tribe.

(Mock interpretation)

Interpreter (To Pres. of Court):
        The prisoner says he was drunk and knew not what he did.

Pres. of Court (To interpreter):
        Ask the prisoner what defense he makes.

(Mock interpretation)

Interpreter (To the Pres. of Court):
        The prisoner says he was drunk otherwise he would not have shot at William Troth or have done any mischief.

Pres. of Court (To interpreter):
        Tell the Indians that it is the English law that if a man do mischief he must suffer.  If drunkenness is an excuse then the English might make themselves drunk and kill Indians.

(King Ababscoete confer with Interpreter.)

Interpreter (To Assembly):
        King Ababsco says that an English man shott at three Indian boyes but the came home not hurt, soe took noe notice.

Governor’s Council (Interrupting):
        Tell him the English were not informed.  If they had the English man should have suffered as the law prescribes in such cases.

Pres. of Court (Ignoring Council’s words):
        Tell the Indians we can remember several miscarriages of their people, for which they have not been punished but we came not here to call to mind old differences but rather expect they should be forgot on both sides; but now we have taken this prisoner in fact he ought to suffer.  We desire to know whether they justify the prisoner.

(Mock interpretation)

Interpreter:
        They say they cannot justify the prisoner, neither did they come to excuse him.

Pres. of the Court:
        Tell them that it is the custom of Christian Nations, that, if the peace is broken, he that doeth it must surely die, and this Indian by the law deserves death; but that the English are not desirous to exercise this rigour of the Lawe; therefore Poh Poh Caquis shall be carried to the whipping post and have twenty lashes on his bare back.

Interpreter (After mock interpretation):
        Your Lordship, the Indians consent and have commanded one of their great men, Weahquap to execute the judgment.  (Constable, prisoner and Indians turn to leave.)

Governor’s Council (With Emphasis) (Indians turn):
        Your Lordship the punishment is not sufficient.

(Mock Interpretation)

Interpreter:
        King Ababsco and King Tequassimo engage their words for the prisoner’s good behavior forever hereafter.

Gov. Council:
        It is not enough.  Poh Poh Caquis may, notwithstanding, doe further mischielf.  Troth’s life may be in constant danger.  In what custody will they keep him.

(Pres. Order Interpretation.)

Interpreter:
        Your Lordship, the Indians do not know how to secure him.  They can say not more than Abatsawok had said formerly,-- that they left it to his Lordship.

Pres. of Court:
        The order is given that Poh Poh Caquis receive twenty lashes on his bare back.  This for his evil attack.  Moreover for the further safety of the English the Court decree that after this punishment Poh Poh Caquis be transported into some part beyond the sea, as a villan not fit to be trusted here without danger of having the peace broken.
        The Constable may remove the prisoner and after Wewahquap hath executed the sentence, the sentence of twenty lashes on the bare back, Poh Poh Caquis may be delivered to the High Sheriff of St. Mary’s.  (Constable leads out Poh Poh Caquis followed by Indians.  Conversation and handshaking among men.)

Pres. of Court:
        The trial of Poh Poh Caquis being ended this Special Commission has fulfilled it duty and adjourns the Court.


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