Quincy, Mass. Historical and Architectural Survey

East Squantum Street (Moswetuset Hummock)

Moswetuset Hummock is a promontory lying east of East Squantum Road in the northern part of Quincy. This arrow-shaped mound is approached from the road across a short and narrow neck. The Hummock is bounded by the waters of Quincy Bay, where the Indians fished, and salt marshes which afforded them protection. The vegetation on the two acre site remains much the same as when the Indians occupied the Hummock in the early seventeenth century (and before). Four stone bounds are sunk along the north, east and south edges of the Hummock and on the south side is a monument placed there by the Squantum Women's Club.

Moswetuset Hummock is the only surviving memorial of the tribe of Indians from whom the Colony, province and Commonwealth of Massachusetts derived their name; in the early 1600's, this small hill was the chief seat of Chicatabot, the Sachem of the Massachusetts Indians. Further, Moswetuset Hummock is one of the few important Indian sites in New England that has remained unchanged since it was occupied by the Indians. The purely rustic form of the Hummock has not been altered by modern improvement. It is still bounded by the sea where the Indians fished, the marshes that protected them from their enemies and the original planting grounds of the tribe on land to the west.

Neal's History of New England, published in 1747, explains the origin of the name Massachusetts. "The Sachem or Sagamore who governed the Indians in this part of the country when the English came hither, had his seat on a small hill, or hummock, containing perhaps an acre and a half, about two leagues to the southward of Boston, which hill or hummock lies in the shape of an Indian's arrowhead, which arrow-heads are called in their language MOS, or MONS, with O nasal, and hill in their language is WETUSET hence, this great sachem's seat was called Moswetuset, which signifies a hill in the shape of an arrow's head, and his subjects, the Moswetuset Indians, from whence with a small variation of the word, the Province received the name MASSACHUSETTS.

Mass. Archaeological Society, Reflections Uopn the Past and Present of the Massachusetts Indians", Bulletin vol. #4,#3.