Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jonathan M. Chu

Second Advisor

Roberta L. Wollons

Third Advisor

Olivia Weisser


Despite the vast amount of research that has been done on the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts almost all of the scholarship is focused on the raid of 1704. Little is known about the decades leading up to the raid and the alliances that flourished and faltered during this time period. This study uses Deerfield as a case study for testing the concepts of “useable Indian” and “middle ground” as a lens to examine how Euro-Indian affairs functioned within the complex web of alliances that constantly shifted during the late seventeenth century within the greater New England world. This research is almost completely reliant on the correspondence of one man, John Pynchon, who functioned as a merchant, land broker, and leader of the regional militia within the Connecticut River Valley. Pynchon’s letters span a time period from the 1650s until his death in 1701 and provide insight into the alliances formed, maintained, and destroyed among the English, French, and Native communities throughout the late seventeenth century as they were shaped by local circumstances and the larger patterns of conflict and wars in North America and Europe.


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