Cawcawmqussick and Nahigonsick Countrey Cocumscussoc. Its meaning and its spelling vary, it is tricky to pronounce and impossible to recall, but it designated an area that was destined to become one of the most significant spots in the history of Rhode Island. The word is Narragansett, the language and name of the preeminent Native American tribe of early 17th-century New England. Scattered in villages on the west side of the bay bearing their name, they were hunters, fishermen, and great farmers. Roger Williams came to Cocumscussoc around 1637. He learned the Narragansett customs and language and established a trading post on land bought from his friend Canonicus, great sachem of the tribe. This transaction affirmed his belief in fair compensation for Native American land. Williams' other liberal ideas of religious tolerance and separation of church and state were to be key contributions to American political thought. Also around 1637, Richard Smith, an original settler of Taunton in Plymouth Colony, established a trading post at Cocumscussoc and, according to Williams, "Put up...the first English house...in Nahigonsik Countrey." It is thought to have been a grand house that was, possibly, fortified: thus the name Smith's Castle. Richard Smith purchased Williams' trading post in 1651. Smith continued to increase his holdings, and Cocumscussoc soon became a center of social, political, and religious activities. Smith died in 1666 leaving Cocumscussoc to his son, Richard Smith, Jr. In 1675, King Philip, sachem of the Wampanoags, led a coalition of Native Americans in a bloody conflict with the colonists over control of land. The Narragansetts, whose winter home was in the Great Swamp only 12 miles from Cocumscussoc, had pledged neutrality. Suspecting that the Narragansetts were harboring Wampanoag warriors, 1,000 colonial troops from Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, and Plymouth colonies massed at the Castle and attacked the Great Swamp village in December 1675. Both sides suffered great losses. Forty colonial soldiers were interred in a mass grave near the Castle. In retaliation for the attack, the Castle was burned in 1676. By 1678, Smith, Jr. had built a new home with front rooms flanking a large stone fireplace, a kitchen lean-to at the back, and a massive two-story, gabled porch on the front.