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Updated: October 2017

At the time of European contact in the early 1600's, there lived a Chief named Passaconaway ('Child of the Bear'). It is believed he was born between 1550 and 1570.  He reigned over the Pennacook confederacy which was made up of many tribes, including those in the Lowell area such as the Pawtucket, Wamesit and Nashua.  Legend states he was a giant and possessed mystical powers such as making himself invisible and making water burn.  He made one of his seasonal residences near the Pawtucket Falls located in Lowell. One legend states he was summoned by Wampanoag Sachem Massasoit to use his supernatural powers in removing the Pilgrims from his people's lands.  But, after conversing with the 'Great Spirit', Passaconaway strongly encouraged the native people to live the rest of their lives in peace with the 'white' man. 

The Kancamagus Highway, located through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, is named after his grandson who was the last Chief of the Pennacook Confederacy. 

Mount Agiocochook (now known as Mount Washington) was referred to as the place of the 'Great Spirit' and given it's original native name by the Abenaki Tribe.

Piscataqua River, which separates the states of Maine and New Hampshire,  is believed to mean 'rapid waters' and also given this name by the Abenaki Tribe.