Rev. Takawambpait Gravestone, Eliot Church - Natick, MA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NorStar
N 42° 16.393 W 071° 18.961
19T E 309010 N 4682709
Quick Description: Beside the Eliot Church of South Natick in the center of the village of South Natick, Massachusetts, is a gravestone for the Reverend Daniel Takawambpait, who was minister to the Natick "Praying Indians" after John Eliot on this location.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 3/29/2009 9:39:25 AM
Waymark Code: WM63YF
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 1

Long Description:
This lone marker for the Reverend Daniel Takawambpait is located on the east side of the Eliot Community Church in a tight triangular plot of land bordered by legs of Eliot Street and Union Street.

Takawambpait was a Native American who was from a "Praying Indian" town established by John Eliot. "Natick" was the earliest and most successful of these towns and was one of four that survived after the Metacomet/King Phillip War of 1675-6. When Rev. Eliot died in 1690, the congregation at Natick was leaderless until Takawambpait took over in 1698. He continued to preach until his death in 1716. The church then dissolved. Daniel Takawampbait is believed to be the only Native American ordained into the ministry of the Puritan Church, and the only one of the period known to have a gravestone [See Natick Walking Tour web site link].

The present church, which has no direct lineage to the Praying Indian Church is an amalgamation of two churches, the First Unitarian Church of Natick and the Eliot Congregational Church, and operates as community church. The activity of the Unitarian Church go back to 1828 at this location. In 1731, years after Takawambpait's death, the Indians at this location gave a plot of land to Rev. Peabody for the burial of English settlers of the town, which is the current cemetery north of the present church. The old church was split in the 1700s, but the part that remained later closed, and the old meetinghouse was destroyed by vandals. Thus, the other cemetery plots were not included in this waymark and are presently under town control.

The marker was once closer to the other Indian internments, now beside the Bacon Free Library. Originally, it marked his place of interment about the middle of Pleasant Street at Eliot. Street widening caused its removal to the sidewalk-hedge north of the Stowe House. In 1986, it was moved here, within view of the church pulpit [See Natick Walking Tour web site]. It is presumed that his remains were moved with the marker.

Sources:

Natick Walking Tour Site:

(visit link)

Crawford, Michael J. History of Natick, Massachusetts: 1650 -1976. Natick, MA: Natick Historical Commission, 1976.

Natick Historical Society:

(visit link)
Name of church or churchyard: Eliot Church Lawn or Yard

Approximate Size: Very Small (1-10)

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