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Wonalancet (c.1619—1697) — also spelled Wannalancet and Wannalancit and probably Wanaloset and Wanalosett — was a sachem or sagamore of the Penacook Indians. He was the son of Passaconaway.


Born c.1619, Wonalancet spent most of his time with his tribe in the area known as "Augumtoocooke", which is now modern-day greater Lowell, Massachusetts. Europeans began to settle in the Augumtoocooke area around 1653, and established the town of Chelmsford, incorporated in 1655. In October 1665, Wonalancet's sister Bess, wife of Nobb How, sold Augumtoocooke to Captain John Evered for the sum of four yards of Duffill and one pound of tobacco. King Philip's War broke out in 1675.[1]

Wonalancet became chief of the tribe when his father died in 1679. In accordance with the deathbed wish of his father, Wonalancet resolved never to fight the English settlers in New England and refused to participate in King Philip's War. Invited to attend a meeting with English settlers, he was treacherously imprisoned after he arrived. Eventually released, he returned home, but despairing of his relations with European settlers in the environs of New Hampshire and Maine.

So, in 1686, he left his home on Wickasee Island, which is now known as Tyngs Island, in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, where Vesper Country Club now sits,[2] and took his people to Canada.

Wonalancet died in 1697.

Usage of name[edit]

The name "Wonalancet" translates to "Pleasant Breathing". His name is or has been preserved by:


  1. ^ Silas Roger Coburn, History of Dracut, Massachusetts, called by the Indians Augumtoocooke and before incorporation, the wildernesse north of the Merrimac. First permanent settlement in 1669 and incorporated as a town in 1701. (1922 ed.)
  2. ^ https://vespercc.memberstatements.com/tour/tours.cfm?TourID=73576