There’s a tiny brook that flows from Searles Pond near Holy Family Hospital and feeds into the Spicket River just before it in turn feeds the Merrimack River in Lawrence. It’s name betrays a violent history, long before Lawrence and Methuen become heavily developed urban environments. Google has led me a couple of times to a very useful site that details the history of Methuen and some of the surrounding area that once was part of Methuen. You can Magenweb here.
The name Bloody Brook was said by George Frederick, late town treasurer and authority on Indian lore, to come from a terrific battle between the Agawams and the Tarrantines in the days before the English settlement. As near as white men could tell after they came, about September 1615 the Tarrantine Indians of Maine had a poor harvest so they invaded the Merrimack Valley to raid the fields,and naturally the local Indians resisted as best they could. It is said that clubs and stone axes, rather than arrows, were found in this area, indicating the closeness of combat.
The Tarrantines were part of the larger Mi’kmaq tribe of coastal Native Americans who lived from Maine to Newfoundland. For them to make the long trip down to what is now Methuen to raid the fields of the Agawam speaks to their desperation. There is another famous Bloody Brook that points towards the better-known history of conflict between the white settlers and Native American population.We hear a lot about the encroachment of European settlers in the area and the conflicts that arose with the Native American population as a result. The conflict between tribes is a lesser known, but no less violent history of the land we live on today. Names like this dot the map, just waiting for someone to remember the ghosts who once inhabited this land.