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The First Veterans’ Monument

By Linda Tancs

The traumatic fate of nine colonists in 1676 is commemorated in a wooded area near the public library in Cumberland, Rhode Island.  Known as Nine Men’s Misery, the stone memorial there is reportedly the first veterans’ monument in the United States, a tribute to nine colonial militiamen slaughtered at the site by the Narragansett tribe during King Philip’s War.  The conflict, named for its Native American leader Metacomet (referred to as King Philip by the British), pitted tribes in New England against the British colonists and their allies as the Puritans increasingly encroached upon Native American settlements.  Despite the colonists’ eventual victory, the war ravaged the population and economy of the region.

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