Constructed in 1676, Nine Mens Misery is a stone pile that marks the spot where nine colonists were killed during King Phillip’s War. It’s thought to be the oldest veterans memorial in the United States.
The war was a last-ditch effort by Native Americans in the region to prevent English settlements on their native lands. The colonists were members of a force of 60 Plymouth colony troops and 20 Wampanoag who were led by Captain Michael Pierce. They were in pursuit of the Narragansett.
Pierce’s troops found the band of Narragansett but were ambushed by a larger force. After fighting for several hours, the colonists were eventually overwhelmed. Nearly all were killed including Pierce. Ten of the men were taken prisoner and nine were eventually killed at the site that now contains the marker.
The site is located in Cumberland Rhode Island in the woods behind the old Cumberland Monastery. The woods themselves are part of the monastery property and contain an old quarry that was used by the monks, as well as miles of trails and carriage roads. The site is open to the public year-round.
Know Before You Go
Parking for the trails is located behind the old monastery. There is a board with the trail map. The site is on the red dash trail which is appropriately named the Nine Mens Misery trail.