On July 20, 1636, a respected trader named John Oldham was attacked on a trading voyage to Block Island. He and several of his crew were killed and his ship looted by Narragansett-allied Indians who sought to discourage English settlers from trading with their Pequot rivals. In the weeks that followed, colonial officials from Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, assumed the Narragansett were the likely culprits. Knowing that the Indians of Block Island were allies of the Eastern Niantic, who in turn were allied with the Narragansett, Puritan officials became equally suspicious of the Narragansett. Even so, the colonial English response to Oldham's death, the last in a series of escalating incidents, has traditionally been viewed as the beginning of the Pequot War.