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Formal “Tribes” began to form about 3000-4000 BC. There were two overlapping groups of Native Americans in this region: the Penacooks and the Penobscots, with the Penacooks being dominant as the Penobscots were located largely in what would later become the State of Maine. Both were tribal branches within the regional Abenaki nation.
In the early 1600s the Penacook confederation had 17 tribes, all of whom spoke the Algonquin language. Because there was no written form of this language, much of what we now know of their life is derived from the records of European colonists. The tribes resided along the Pemigewasset and Merrimack watershed and near Great Bay. The Pequawkets, Chocorua’s tribe, were originally part of the Penobscot tribal confederation, but became allied with the Penacooks after the Europeans began to settle the White Mountains.
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Chocorua trusted the Campbells enough to put Tuamba in their care while he went north for a tribal council and pow-wow. According to the legend, while Chocorua was away, Tuamba ate some poison that was meant to kill marauding wolves and died. Some time later, while Cornelius was away from the farm, Chocorua returned to find his son had died. Stricken with grief and anger. he killed Cornelius' wife and young son.
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Returning to his mountains heartsick at the loss of his beloved Tuamba, Chocorua must have known that this story was not over. When Cornelius discovered that his family had been slain, he knew that Chocorua was responsible and set off to avenge his loved ones. Cornelius pursued Chocorua to the top of the highest mountain peak in the area, a jagged pointed peak - the peak that now bears the name of Chocorua. Chocorua climbed atop the highest boulder on the summit and, knowing that death was at hand, raised his arms to the sky and is said to have shouted, "Evil spirits breathe death upon the cattle of the white man! Wind and fire destroy your dwellings! Panthers and wolves howl and grow fat on your bones. Chocorua goes now to the Great Spirit!" Chocorua then leapt off the mountain and fell to his death on the rocks below.
Two years later, the body of Cornelius was found dead, partially eaten by wolves.
It is said that one hundred years to the day of his death a devastating plague killed all the cattle from Albany to Conway, New Hampshire. The cause of this plague has been explained by scientists, of course, but those of us inclined to the romance of the mountains still believe that the curse of Chocorua was involved.