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Texts Related to the Works of Sarah Orne Jewett
Jeremy Belknap (1744-1798)
The History of New Hampshire (1812)
From New York: Johnson Reprint, 1970.
Jewett drew upon Belknap for her essay, "The Old Town of Berwick" (1894).
Volume 1 -- CHAPTER V.
Remarks on the temper and manners of the Indians. The first general war with them called Philip's war.
At the time of the first discovery of the river Pascataqua by Captain Smith, it was found that the native inhabitants of these parts differed not in language, manners, nor government, from their eastern or western neighbors. Though they were divided into several tribes, each of which had a distinct sachem, yet they all owned subjection to a sovereign prince, called Bashaba, whose residence was at Penobscot. It was soon after found that the Tarrateens, who lived farther eastward, had invaded his country, surprised and slain him, and all the people in his neighborhood, and carried off his women, leaving no traces of his authority. (1) Upon which the subordinate sachems, having no head to unite them, and each one striving for the pre-eminence, made war among themselves; by which means many of their people, and much of their provision were destroyed. When Sir Richard Hawkins visited the coast in 1615, this war was at its height; and to this succeeded a pestilence, which carried them off in such numbers that the living were not able to bury the dead; but their bones remained at the places of their habitations for several years. (2) During this pestilence, Richard Vines and several others, whom Sir Ferdinando Gorges had hired, at a great expense, to tarry in the country through the winter, lived among them and lodged in their cabins, without receiving the least injury in their health, "not so much as feeling their heads to ache the whole time." (3) By such singular means did divine providence prepare the way for the peaceable entrance of the Europeans into this land.
When the first settlements were made, the remains of two tribes had their habitations on the several branches of the river Pascataqua; one of their sachems lived at the falls of Squamscot, and the other at those of Newichwannock; their head quarters being generally seated in places convenient for fishing. Both these, together with several inland tribes, who resided at Pawtucket and Winnipiseogee, acknowledged subjection to Passaconaway the great sagamore of Pannukog, or (as it is commonly pronounced) Penacook. He excelled the other sachems in sagacity, duplicity and moderation; but his principal qualification was his skill in some of the secret operations of nature, which gave him the reputation of a sorcerer, and extended his fame and influence among all the neighboring tribes. They believed that it was in his power to make water burn, and trees dance, and to metamorphose himself into flame; that in winter he could raise a green leaf from the ashes of a dry one, and a living serpent from the skin of one that was dead.["] (4)
An English gentleman, who had been much conversant among the Indians, was invited in 1660, to a great dance and feast; on which occasion, the elderly men, in songs or speeches recite their histories, and deliver their sentiments, and advice, to the younger. At this solemnity, Passaconaway, being grown old, made his farewell speech to his children and people; in which, as a dying man, he warned them to take heed how they quarrelled with their English neighbors; for though they might do them some damage, yet it would prove the means of their own destruction. He told them that he had been a bitter enemy to the English, and by the arts of sorcery had tried his utmost to hinder their settlement and increase; but could by no means succeed. This caution perhaps often repeated, had such an effect, that upon the breaking out of the Indian war fifteen years afterwards, Wonolanset, his son and successor, withdrew himself and his people into some remote place, that they might not be drawn into the quarrel. (5)Whilst the British nations had been distracted with internal convulsions, and had endured the horrors of a civil war, produced by the same causes which forced the planters of New-England to quit the land of their nativity; this wilderness had been to them a quiet habitation. They had struggled with many hardships; but providence had smiled upon their undertaking; their settlements were extended and their churches multiplied. There had been no remarkable quarrel with the savages, except the short war with the Pequods, who dwelt in the south-east part of Connecticut. They being totally subdued in 1637, the dread and terror of the English kept the other nations quiet for near forty years. During which time, the New-England colonies being confederated for their mutual defence, and for maintaining the public peace, took great pains to propagate the gospel among the natives, and bring them to a civilized way of living, which, with respect to some, proved effectual; others refused to receive the missionaries, and remained obstinately prejudiced against the English. Yet the object of their hatred was at the same time the object of their fear; which led them to forbear acts of hostility, and to preserve an outward shew of friendship, to their mutual interest.Our historians have generally represented the Indians in a most odious light, especially when recounting the effects of their ferocity. Dogs, caitiffs, miscreants and hell-hounds, are the politest names which have been given them by some writers, who seem to be in a passion at the mentioning their cruelties, and at other times speak of them with contempt. (6) Whatever indulgence may be allowed to those who wrote in times when the mind was vexed with their recent depredations and inhumanities, it ill becomes us to cherish an inveterate hatred of the unhappy natives. Religion teaches us a better temper, and providence has now put an end to the controversy, by their almost total extirpation. We should therefore proceed with calmness in recollecting their past injuries, and forming our judgment of their character.It must be acknowledged that human depravity appeared in these unhappy creatures in a most shocking view. The principles of education and the refinements of civilized life either lay a check upon our vicious propensities, or disguise our crimes; but among them human wickedness was seen in its naked deformity. Yet, bad as they were, it will be difficult to find them guilty of any crime which cannot be paralleled among civilized nations.
They are always described as remarkably cruel; and it cannot be denied that this disposition indulged to the greatest excess, strongly marks their character. We are struck with horror, when we hear of their binding the victim to the stake, biting off his nails, tearing out his hair by the roots, pulling out his tongue, boring out his eyes, sticking his skin full of lighted pitch-wood, half roasting him at the fire, and then making him run for their diversion, till he faints and dies under the blows which they give him on every part of his body. But is it not as dreadful to read of an unhappy wretch, sewed up in a sack full of serpents and thrown into the sea, or broiled in a red hot iron chair; or mangled by lions and tigers, after having spent his strength to combat them for the diversion of the spectators in an amphitheatre? and yet these were punishments among the Romans in the politest ages of the empire. What greater cruelty is there in the American tortures, than in confining a man in a trough, and daubing him with honey that he may be stung to death by wasps and other venomous insects; or fleaing him alive and stretching out his skin before his eyes, which modes of punishment were not inconsistent with the softness and elegance of the ancient court of Persia? or, to come down to modern times; what greater misery can there be in the Indian executions, than in racking a prisoner on a wheel, and breaking his bones one by one with an iron bar; or placing his legs in a boot and driving in wedges one after another; which tortures are still, or have till lately been used in some European kingdoms? I forbear to name the torments of the inquisition, because they seem to be beyond the stretch of human invention. If civilized nations, and those who profess the most merciful religion that ever blessed the world, have practised these cruelties, what could be expected of men who were strangers to every degree of refinement either civil or mental?
The Indians have been represented as revengeful. When any person was killed, the nearest relative thought himself bound to be the avenger of blood, and never left seeking, till he found an opportunity to execute his purpose. Whether in a state, where government is confessedly so feeble as among them, such a conduct is not justifiable, and even countenanced by the Jewish law may deserve our consideration. (7)
The treachery with which these people are justly charged, is exactly the same disposition which operates in the breach of solemn treaties made between nations which call themselves christians. Can it be more criminal in an Indian, than in an European, not to think himself bound by promises and oaths extorted from him when under duress?
Their jealousy and hatred of their English neighbors may easily be accounted for, if we allow them to have the same feelings with ourselves. How natural is it for us to form a disagreeable idea of a whole nation, from the bad conduct of some individuals with whom we are acquainted? and though others of them may be of a different character, yet will not that prudence which is esteemed a virtue, lead us to suspect the fairest appearances, as used to cover the most fraudulent designs, especially if pains are taken by the most politic among us, to foment [forment] such jealousies to subserve their own ambitious purposes?
Though the greater part of the English settlers came hither with religious views, and fairly purchased their lands of the Indians, yet it cannot be denied that some, especially in the eastern parts of New-England, had lucrative views only; and from the beginning used fraudulent methods in trade with them. Such things were indeed disallowed by the government, and would always have been punished if the Indians had made complaint: but they knew only the law of retaliation, and when an injury was received, it was never forgotten till revenged. Encroachments made on their lands, and fraud committed in trade, afforded sufficient grounds for a quarrel, though at ever so great a length of time; and kept alive a perpetual jealousy of the like treatment again. (8)
Such was the temper of the Indians of New-England when the first general war began. It was thought by the English in that day, that Philip, sachem of the Wompanoags, a crafty and aspiring man, partly by intrigue, and partly by example, excited them to such a general combination. He was the son of Massassoit, the nearest sachem to the colony of Plymouth, with whom he had concluded a peace, which he maintained more through fear than good will, as long as he lived. His son and immediate successor Alexander, preserved the same external show of friendship; but died with choler on being detected in a plot against them. Philip, it is said, dissembled his hostile purposes; he was ready, on every suspicion of his infidelity, to renew his submission, and testify it even by the delivery of his arms, till he had secretly infused a cruel jealousy into many of the neighboring Indians; which excited them to attempt the recovering their country, by extirpating the new possessors. The plot, it is said, was discovered before it was ripe for execution: and as he could no longer promise himself security under the mask of friendship, he was constrained to shew himself in his true character, and accordingly began hostilities upon the plantation of Swanzey, in the colony of Plymouth, in the month of June, 1675.
Notwithstanding this general opinion, it may admit of some doubt, whether a single sachem, whose authority was limited, could have such an extensive influence over tribes so remote and unconnected with him as the eastern Indians; much more improbable is it, that those in Virginia should have joined in the confederacy, as it hath been intimated. The Indians never travelled to any greater distance than their hunting required; and so ignorant were they of the geography of their country, that they imagined New-England to be an island, (9) and could tell the name of an inlet or strait by which they supposed it was separated from the main land. But what renders it more improbable that Philip was so active an instrument in exciting this war, is the constant tradition among the posterity of those people who lived near him, and were familiarly conversant with him, and with those of his Indians who survived the war: which is, that he was forced on by the fury of his young men, sorely against his own judgment and that of his chief counsellors; and that as he foresaw that the English would, in time, establish themselves and extirpate the Indians, so he thought that the making war upon them would only hasten the destruction of his own people. It was always a very common, and sometimes a just excuse with the Indians, when charged with breach of faith, that the old men were not able to restrain the younger from signalizing their valor, and gratifying their revenge, though they disapproved their rashness. This want of restraint was owing to the weakness of their government; their sachems having but the shadow of magistratical authority.
The inhabitants of Bristol shew a particular spot where Philip received the news of the first Englishmen that were killed, with so much sorrow as to cause him to weep; a few days before which he had rescued one who had been taken by his Indians, and privately sent him home. (10) Whatever credit may be given to this account, so different from the current opinion, it must be owned, that in such a season of general confusion as the first war occasioned, fear and jealousy might create many suspicions, which would soon be formed into reports of a general confederacy, through Philip's contrivance; and it is to be noted that the principal histories of this war, (Increase Mather's and Hubbard's) were printed in 1676 and 1677, when the strangest reports were easily credited, and the people were ready to believe every thing that was bad of so formidable a neighbor as Philip. But as the fact cannot now be precisely ascertained, I shall detain the reader no longer from the real causes of the war in these eastern parts.
There dwelt near the river Saco, a sachem named Squando, a noted enthusiast, a leader in the devotions of their religion, and one who pretended to a familiar intercourse with the invisible world. These qualifications rendered him a person of the highest dignity, importance and influence among all the eastern Indians. His squaw passing along the river in a canoe, with her infant child, was met by some rude sailors, who having heard that the Indian children could swim as naturally as the young of the brutal kind, in a thoughtless and unguarded humor overset the canoe. The child sunk, and the mother instantly diving fetched it up alive, but the child dying soon after, its death was imputed to the treatment it had received from the seamen; and Squando was so provoked that he conceived a bitter antipathy to the English, and employed his great art and influence to excite the Indians against them. (11) Some other injuries were alleged as the ground of the quarrel; and, considering the interested views and irregular lives of many of the eastern settlers, their distance from the seat of government, and the want of due subordination among them, it is not improbable that a great part of the blame of the eastern war belonged to them.
The first alarm of the war in Plymouth colony spread great consternation among the distant Indians, and held them awhile in suspense what part to act; for there had been a long external friendship subsisting between them and the English, and they were afraid of provoking so powerful neighbors. But the seeds of jealousy and hatred had been so effectually sown, that the crafty and revengeful, and those who were ambitious of doing some exploits, soon found means to urge them on to an open rupture; so that within twenty days after Philip had begun the war at the southward, the flame broke out in the most northeasterly part of the country, at the distance of two hundred miles. (12)
The English inhabitants about the river Kennebeck, hearing of the insurrection in Plymouth colony, determined to make trial of the fidelity of their Indian neighbors, by requesting them to deliver their arms. They made a show of compliance; but in doing it, committed an act of violence on a Frenchman, who lived in an English family; which being judged an offence, both by the English and the elder Indians, the offender was seized; but upon a promise, with security, for his future good behaviour, his life was spared, and some of them consented to remain as hostages; who soon made their escape, and joined with their fellows in robbing the house of Purchas, an ancient planter at Pegypscot.
The quarrel being thus begun, and their natural hatred of the English, and jealousy of their designs, having risen to a great height under the malignant influence of Squando and other leading men; and being encouraged by the example of the western Indians, who were daily making depredations on the colonies of Plymouth, and Massachusetts; they took every opportunity to rob and murder the people in the scattered settlements of the province of Maine; and having dispersed themselves into many small parties, that they might be the more extensively mischievous, in the month of September, they approached the plantations at Pascataqua, and made their first onset at Oyster river, then a part of the town of Dover, but now Durham. Here, they burned two houses belonging to two persons named Chesley; killed two men in a canoe, and carried away two captives; both of whom soon after made their escape. About the same time, a party of four laid in ambush near the road between Exeter and Hampton, where they killed one, (13) and took another, (14) who made his escape. Within a few days an assault was made on the house of one Tozer at Newichwannock, wherein were fifteen women and children, all of whom, except two, were saved by the intrepidity of a girl of eighteen. She first seeing the Indians as they advanced to the house, shut the door and stood against it, till the others escaped to the next house, which was better secured. The Indians chopped the door to pieces with their hatchets, and then entering, they knocked her down, and leaving her for dead, went in pursuit of the others, of whom two children, who could not get over the fence, fell into their hands. The adventurous heroine recovered, and was perfectly healed of her wound. (15)
The two following days, they made several appearances on both sides of the river, using much insolence, and burning two houses and three barns, with a large quantity of grain. Some shot were exchanged without effect, and a pursuit was made after them into the woods by eight men, but night obliged them to return without success. Five or six houses were burned at Oyster river, and two more men killed. (16) These daily insults could not be borne without indignation and reprisal. About twenty young men, chiefly of Dover, obtained leave of Major Waldron, then commander of the militia, to try their skill and courage with the Indians in their own way. (17) Having scattered themselves in the woods, a small party of them discovered five Indians in a field near a deserted house, some of whom were gathering corn, and others kindling a fire to roast it. The men were at such a distance from their fellows that they could make no signal to them without danger of a discovery; two of them, therefore, crept along silently, near to the house, from whence they suddenly rushed upon those two Indians, who were busy at the fire, and knocked them down with the butts of their guns; the other three took the alarm and escaped.
All the plantations at Pascataqua, with the whole eastern country, were now filled with fear and confusion. Business was suspended, and every man was obliged to provide for his own and his family's safety. The only way was to desert their habitations, and retire together within the larger and more convenient houses, which they fortified with a timber wall and flankarts, placing a sentry-box on the roof. Thus the labor of the field was exchanged for the duty of the garrison, and they, who had long lived in peace and security, were upon their guard night and day, subject to continual alarms, and the most fearful apprehensions. (18)
The seventh of October was observed as a day of fasting and prayer; and on the sixteenth, the enemy made an assault upon the inhabitants at Salmon-falls, in Berwick. Lieutenant Roger Plaisted, being a man of true courage and of public spirit, immediately sent out a party of seven from his garrison to make discovery. They fell into an ambush; three were killed, and the rest retreated. The Lieutenant then despatched an express to Major Waldron and Lieutenant Coffin at Cochecho, begging most importunately for help, which they were in no capacity to afford, consistently with their own safety. The next day, Plaisted ventured out with twenty men, and a cart to fetch the dead bodies of their friends, and unhappily fell into another ambush. The cattle affrighted ran back, and Plaisted being deserted by his men, and disdaining either to yield or fly, was killed on the spot, with his eldest son and one more; his other son died of his wound in a few weeks. (19) Had the heroism of this worthy family been imitated by the rest of the party, and a reinforcement arrived in season, the enemy might have received such a severe check as would have prevented them from appearing in small parties. The gallant behaviour of Plaisted, though fatal to himself and his sons, had this good effect, that the enemy retreated to the woods; and the next day, Captain Frost came up with a party from Sturgeon creek, and peaceably buried the dead. But before the month had expired a mill was burned there, and an assault made on Frost's garrison, who though he had only three boys with him, kept up a constant fire, and called aloud as if he were commanding a body of men, to march here and fire there: the stratagem succeeded, and the house was saved. The enemy then proceeded down the river, killing and plundering as they found people off their guard, till they came opposite to Portsmouth; from whence some cannon being fired they dispersed, and were pursued by the help of a light snow which fell in the night, and were overtaken by the side of a swamp, into which they threw themselves, leaving their packs and plunder to the pursuers. They soon after did more mischief at Dover, Lamprey river (20) and Exeter; and with these small, but irritating assaults and skirmishes, the autumn was spent until the end of November; when the number of people killed and taken from Kennebeck to Pascataqua amounted to upwards of fifty. (21)
The Massachusetts government being fully employed in defending the southern and western parts, could not seasonably send succors to the eastward. Major General Denison, who commanded the militia of the colony, had ordered the majors who commanded the regiments on this side of the country, to draw out a sufficient number of men to reduce the enemy, by attacking them at their retreat to their head-quarters at Ossipee and Pequawet. (22) But the winter setting in early and fiercely, and the men being unprovided with rackets to travel on the snow, which by the tenth of December was four feet deep in the woods, it was impossible to execute the design. This peculiar severity of the season however proved favorable. The Indians were pinched with famine, and having lost by their own confession about ninety of their number, partly by the war, and partly for want of food, they were reduced to the necessity of suing for peace. With this view, they came to Major Waldron, expressing great sorrow for what had been done, and promising to be quiet and submissive. By his mediation, a peace was concluded with the whole body of eastern Indians, which continued till the next August; and might have continued longer, if the inhabitants of the eastern parts had not been too intent on private gain, and of a disposition too ungovernable to be a barrier against an enemy so irritable and vindictive. The restoration of the captives made the peace more pleasant. A return from the dead could not be more welcome than a deliverance from Indian captivity. The war at the southward, though renewed in the spring, drew toward a close. Philip's affairs were desperate; many of his allies and dependents forsook him; and in the month of August, he was slain by a party under CaptainChurch. (23)
Those western Indians who had been engaged in the war, now fearing a total extirpation, endeavored to conceal themselves among their brethren of Penacook who had not joined in the war, and with those of Ossipee and Pequawket, who had made peace. But they could not so disguise themselves or their behaviour as to escape the discernment of those who had been conversant with Indians. Several of them were taken at different times and delivered up to public execution. Three of them, Simon, Andrew and Peter, who had been concerned in killing Thomas Kimball of Bradford, and captivating his family, did, within six weeks, voluntarily restore the woman and five children. It being doubted whether this act of submission was a sufficient atonement for the murder, they were committed to Dover prison till their case could be considered. Fearing that this confinement was a prelude to farther punishment, they broke out of prison, and going to the eastward, joined with the Indians of Kennebeck and Ameriscoggin in those depredations which they renewed on the inhabitants of those parts, in August, and were afterward active in distressing the people of Pascataqua.
This renewal of hostilities occasioned the sending of two companies to the eastward under Captain Joseph Syll, and Captain William Hathorne. In the course of their march, they came to Cochecho, on the sixth of September, where four hundred mixed Indians were met at the house of Major Waldron, with whom they had made the peace, and whom they considered as their friend and father. The two captains would have fallen upon them at once, having it in their orders to seize all Indians, who had been concerned in the war. The major dissuaded them from that purpose, and contrived the following stratagem. He proposed to the Indians, to have a training the next day, and a sham fight after the English mode; and summoning his own men, with those under Capt. Frost of Kittery, they, in conjunction with the two companies, formed one party, and the Indians another. Having diverted them a while in this manner, and caused the Indians to fire the first volley; by a peculiar dexterity, the whole body of them (except two or three) were surrounded, before they could form a suspicion of what was intended. They were immediately seized and disarmed, without the loss of a man on either side. A separation was then made: Wonolanset, with the Penacook Indians, and others who had joined in making peace the winter before, were peaceably dismissed; but the strange Indians, (as they were called) who had fled from the southward and taken refuge among them, were made prisoners, to the number of two hundred; and being sent to Boston, seven or eight of them, who were known to have killed any Englishmen, were condemned, and hanged; the rest were sold into slavery in foreign parts.
This action was highly applauded by the general voice of the colony; as it gave them opportunity to deal with their enemies in a judicial way, as rebels, and, as they imagined, to extirpate those troublesome neighbors. The remaining Indians, however, looked upon the conduct of Major Waldron as a breach of faith; inasmuch as they had taken those fugitive Indians under their protection, and had made peace with him, which had been [scrictly] strictly observed with regard to him and his neighbors, though it had been broken elsewhere. The Indians had no idea of the same government being extended very far, and thought they might make peace in one place, and war in another, without any imputation of infidelity; but a breach of hospitality and friendship, as they deemed this to be, merited, according to their principles, a severe revenge, and was never to be forgotten or forgiven. The major's situation on this occasion was indeed extremely critical; and he could not have acted either way without blame. It is said that his own judgment was against any forcible measure, as heknew that many of those Indians were true friends to the colony; and that, in case of failure, he should expose the country to their resentment; but had he not assisted the forces in the execution of their commission, (which was to seize all Indians who had been concerned with Philip in the war) he must have fallen under censure, and been deemed accessary, by his neglect, to the mischiefs which might afterward have been perpetrated by them. In this dilemma, he finally determined to comply with the orders and expectations of government; imagining that he should be able to satisfy those of the Indians whom he intended to dismiss, and that the others would be removed out of the way of doing any further mischief; but he had no suspicion that he was laying a snare for his own life. It was unhappy for him, that he was obliged in deference to the laws of his country, and the orders of government, to give offence to a people who, having no public judicatories and penal laws among themselves, were unable to distinguish between a legal punishment and private malice. (24)
Two days after this surprisal, the forces proceeded on their route to the eastward, being joined with some of Waldron's and Frost's men; and taking with them Blind Will, a sagamore of the Indians who lived about Cochecho, and eight of his people for pilots. The eastern settlements were all either destroyed or deserted, and no enemy was to be seen; so that the expedition proved fruitless, and the companies returned to Pascataqua.
It was then thought advisable, that they should march up toward the Ossipee ponds; where the Indians had a strong fort of timber fourteen feet high, with flankarts; which they had a few years before hired some English carpenters to build for them, as a defence against the Mohawks, of whom they were always afraid. It was thought that if the Indians could be surprised on their first return to their head-quarters, at the beginning of winter, some considerable advantage might be gained against them; or if they had not arrived there, that the provisions, which they had laid in for their winter subsistence, might be destroyed. Accordingly, the companies being well provided for a march at that season, setoff on the first of November; and after travelling four days through a rugged, mountainous wilderness, and crossing several rivers, they arrived at the spot; but found the fort and adjacent places entirely deserted, and saw not an Indian in all the way. Thinking it needless for the whole body to go further, the weather being severe, and the snow deep, a select party was detached eighteen or twenty miles above; who discovered nothing but frozen ponds, and snowy mountains; and supposing the Indians had taken up their winter quarters nearer the sea, they returned to Newichwannock, within nine days from their first departure.
They had been prompted to undertake this expedition by the false accounts brought by Mogg, an Indian of Penobscot, who had come in to Pascataqua, with a proposal of peace; and had reported that an hundred Indians were assembled at Ossipee. This Indian brought with him two men of Portsmouth, Fryer (25) and Kendal, who had been taken on board a vessel at the eastward;he was deputed by the Penobscot tribe to consent to articles of pacification; and being sent to Boston, a treaty was drawn and subscribed by the governor and magistrates on the one part, and by Mogg on the other; in which it was stipulated, that if the Indians of the other tribes did not agree to this transaction, and cease hostilities, they should be deemed and treated as enemies by both parties. This treaty was signed on the sixth of November;Mogg pledging his life for the fulfilment of it. Accordingly, vessels being sent to Penobscot, the peace was ratified by Madokawando the sachem, and two captives were restored. But Mogg, being incautiously permitted to go to a neighboring tribe, on pretence of pursuading them to deliver their captives, though he promised to return in three days, was seen no more. It was at first thought that he had been sacrificed by his countrymen, as he pretended to fear when he left the vessels; but a captive who escaped in January, gave a different account of him; that he boasted of having deceived the English, and laughed at their kind entertainment of him. There was also a design talked of among them to break the peace in the spring, and join with the other Indians at the eastward in ruining the fishery. -- About the same time, it was discovered that some of the Narraganset Indians were scattered in the eastern parts; three of them having been decoyed by some of the Cochecho Indians into their wigwams, and scalped, were known by the cut of their hair. -- This raised a fear in the minds of the people, that more of them might have found their way to the eastward, and would prosecute their revenge against them.
From these circumstances, it was suspected, that the truce would be but of short continuance. The treachery of Mogg, who was surety for the performance of the treaty, was deemed a full justification of the renewal of hostilities; and the state of things was, by some gentlemen of Pascataqua, represented to be so dangerous, that the government determined upon a winter expedition. Two hundred men, including sixty Natick Indians, were enlisted and equipped, and sailed from Boston the first week in February, under the command of Major Waldron; a day of prayer having been previously appointed for the success of the enterprise.
At Casco, the major had a fruitless conference, and a slight skirmish with a few Indians, of whom some were killed and wounded. At Kennebeck, he built a fort, and left a garrison of forty men, under the command of Captain Sylvanus Davis.(26) At Pemaquid, he had a conference with a company of Indians, who promised to deliver their captives on the payment of a ransom: Part of it being paid, three captives were delivered, and it was agreed that the conference should be renewed in the afternoon, and all arms be laid aside. Some suspicion of their infidelity had arisen, and when the major went ashore in the afternoon with five men, and the remainder of the ransom, he discovered the point of a lance hid under a board, which he drew out and advanced with it toward them; charging them with treachery in concealing their arms so near. They attempted to take it from him by force; but he threatened them with instant death, and waved his cap for a signal to the vessels. While the rest were coming on shore, the major with his five men secured the goods. Some of the Indians snatching up a bundle of guns which they had hid, ran away. Captain Frost, who was one of the five, seized an Indian, who was well known to be a rogue, and with Lieutenant Nutter, carried him on board. The major searching about, found three guns, with which he armed his remaining three men; and the rest being come on shore by this time, they pursued the Indians, killed several of them before they could recover their canoes, and after they had pushed off, sunk one with five men, who were drowned; and took four prisoners, with about a thousand pounds of dried beef, and some other plunder. The whole number of the Indians was twenty-five.
Whether the casual discovery of their arms, which they had agreed to lay aside, was sufficient to justify this severity, may be doubted; since, if their intentions had really been hostile, they had a fine opportunity of ambushing or seizing the major and his five attendants, who came ashore unarmed; and it is not likely that they would have waited for the rest to come ashore before they opened the plot. Possibly, this sudden suspicion might be groundless, and might inflame the prejudice against the major, which had already been excited by the seizure of their friends at Cochecho some time before.
On the return of the forces, they found some wheat, guns, anchors and boards at Kennebeck, which they took with them. -- They killed two Indians on ArrowsickIsland, who, with one of the prisoners taken at Pemaquid, and shot on board, made the number of Indians killed in this expedition thirteen. They returned to Boston on the 11th of March, without the loss of a man, bringing with them the bones of CaptainLake, (27) which they found entire in the place where he was killed. (28)
There being no prospect of peace at the eastward, it became necessary to maintain great circumspection and resolution, and to make use of every possible advantage against the enemy. A long and inveterate animosity had subsisted between the Mohawks and the eastern Indians, the original of which is not mentioned, and perhaps was not known by any of our historians; nor can the oldest men among the Mohawks at this day give any account of it. These Indians were in a state of friendship with their English neighbors; and being a fierce and formidable race of men, their name carried terror where ever it was known. It was now thought, that if they could be induced to prosecute their ancient quarrel with the eastern Indians, the latter might be awed into peace, or incapacitated for any farther mischief. The propriety of this measure became a subject of debate; some questioning the lawfulness of making use of their help, "as they were heathen;" but it was urged in reply, that Abraham had entered into a confederacy with the Amorites, among whom he dwelled, and made use of their assistance in recovering his kinsman Lot from the hands of their common enemy. (29) With this argument, the objectors were satisfied; and two messengers, Major Pynchon of Springfield, and Richards of Hartford were dispatched to the country of the Mohawks; who treated them with great civility, expressed the most bitter hatred against the eastern enemy, and promised to pursue the quarrel to the utmost of their power. (30)
Accordingly, some parties of them came down the country about the middle of March, and the first alarm was given at Amuskeag falls; where the son of Wonolanset being hunting, discovered fifteen Indians on the other side, who called to him in a language which he did not understand; upon which he fled, whilst they fired near thirty guns at him without effect. Presently after this, they were discovered in the woods near Cochecho. Major Waldron sent out eight of his Indians, whereof Blind Will was one, for farther information. (31) They were all surprised together by a company of the Mohawks; two or three escaped, the others were either killed or taken: Will was dragged away by his hair; and being wounded, perished in the woods, on a neck of land, formed by the confluence of Cochecho and Ising-glass rivers, which still bears the name of Blind Will's Neck. This fellow was judged to be a secret enemy to the English, though he pretended much friendship and respect; so that it was impossible to have punished him, without provoking the other neighboring Indians, with whom he lived in amity, and of whose fidelity there was no suspicion. (32) It was at first thought a fortunate circumstance that he was killed in this manner; but the consequence proved it to be otherwise; for two of those who were taken with him escaping, reported that the Mohawks threatened destruction to all the Indians in these parts without distinction. (33) So that those who lived in subjection to the English grew jealous of their sincerity, and imagined, not without very plausible ground, that the Mohawks had been persuaded or hired to engage in the war, on purpose to destroy them; since they never actually exercised their fury upon those Indians who were in hostility with the English, but only upon those who were in friendship with them; and this only in such a degree as to irritate, rather than to weakenor distress them. It cannot therefore be thought strange that the friendly Indians were alienated from their English neighbors, and disposed to listen to the seducing stratagems of the French; who, in a few years after, made use of them in conjuction with others, sorely to scourge these unhappy people. The English, in reality, had no such design; but the event proved, that the scheme of engaging the Mohawks in our quarrel, however lawful in itself, and countenanced by the example of Abraham, was a pernicious source of innumerable calamities.
The terror which it was thought this incursion of the Mohawks would strike into the eastern Indians was too small to prevent their renewing hostilities very early in the spring. Some of the garrison who had been left at Kennebeck were surprised by an ambush, as they were attempting to bury the dead bodies of their friends, who had been killed the summer before, and had lain under the snow all winter. (34) The remainder of that garrison were then taken off and conveyed to Pascataqua; whither a company of fifty men and ten Natick Indians marched, under Captain Swaine, to succor the inhabitants, who were alarmed by scattered parties of the enemy, killing and taking people, and burning houses in Wells, Kittery, and within the bounds of Portsmouth. (35) A young woman who was taken from Rawling's house, made her escape and came into Cochecho, informing where the enemy lay. Three parties were dispatched to ambush three places, by one of which they must pass. The enemy appearing at one of these places, were seasonably discovered; but by the too great eagerness of the party to fire on them, they avoided the ambush and escaped.
Soon after this, the garrisons at Wells and Black Point were beset, and at the latter place, the enemy lost their leader Mogg, who had proved so treacherous a negotiator. Upon his death they fled in their canoes, some to the eastward and others toward York, where they also did some mischief. On a sabbath morning, a party of twenty, under the guidance of Simon, surprised six of our Indians, who lay drunk in the woods, at a small distance from Portsmouth. They kept all day hovering about the town, and if they had taken advantage of the people's absence from home, in attending the public worship, they might easily have plundered and burned the outmost houses; but they were providentially restrained. (36) At night, they crossed the river at the Long Reach, killed some sheep at Kittery, and then went toward Wells; but, being afraid of the Mohawks, let their prisoners go. Four men were soon after killed at North Hill, one of whom was Edward Colcord, whose death was much regretted. (37)
More mischief being expected, and the eastern settlements needing assistance, the government ordered two hundred Indians of Natick, with forty English soldiers, under Captain Benjamin Swett of Hampton, and Lieutenant Richardson, to march to the falls of Taconick on Kennebeck river; where it was said the Indians had six forts, well furnished with ammunition. The vessels came to an anchor off Black Point; where the captain being informed that some Indians had been seen, went on shore with a party; and being joined by some of the inhabitants, so as to make about ninety in all, marched to seek the enemy; who shewed themselves on a plain in three parties. Swett divided his men accordingly, and went to meet them. The enemy retreated till they had drawn our people two miles from the fort, and then turning suddenly and violently upon them, threw them into confusion, they being mostly young and inexperienced soldiers. Swett, with a few of the more resolute, fought bravely on the retreat, till he came near the fort, when he was killed; (38) sixty more were left dead or wounded, and the rest got into the fort. (39) The victorious savages then surprised about twenty fishing vessels, which put into the eastern harbors by night; the crews, not being apprehensive of danger on the water, fell an easy prey to them. Thus the summer was spent with terror and perplexity on our part; whilst the enemy rioted without control, till they had satiated their vengeance, and greatly reduced the eastern settlements. (40)
At length, in the month of August, Major Andros, governor of New-York, sent a sloop with some forces to take possession of the land which had been granted to the Duke of York, and build a fort at Pemaquid, to defend the country against the encroachment of foreigners. Upon their arrival, the Indians appeared friendly; and in evidence of their pacific disposition, restored fifteen prisoners with the fishing vessels. They continued quiet all the succeeding autumn and winter, and lived in harmony with the new garrison.
In the spring, Major Shapleigh of Kittery, Captain Champernoon (41) and Mr. Fryer (42) of Portsmouth, were appointed commissioners to settle a formal treaty of peace with Squando and the other chiefs, which was done at Casco, whither they brought the remainder of the captives. (43) It was stipulated in the treaty that the inhabitants should return to their deserted settlements, on condition of paying one peck of corn annually for each family, by way of acknowledgment to the Indians for the possession of their lands, and one bushel for Major Pendleton, who was a great proprietor. (44) Thus an end was put to a tedious and distressing war, which had subsisted three years. The terms of peace were disgraceful, but not unjust, considering the former irregular conduct of many of the eastern settlers, and the native propriety of the Indians in the soil. Certainly they were now masters of it; and it was entirely at their option, whether the English should return to their habitations or not. It was therefore thought better to live peaceably, though in a sort of subjection, than to leave such commodious settlements and forego the advantages of trade and fishery, which were very considerable, and by which the inhabitants of that part of the country had chiefly subsisted.
It was a matter of great inquiry and speculation how the Indians were supplied with arms and ammunition to carry on this war. The Dutch at New-York were too near the Mohawks for the eastern Indians to adventure thither. The French in Canada were too feeble, and too much in fear of the English, to do any thing which might disturb the tranquillity; and there was peace between the two nations. It was therefore supposed that the Indians had long premeditated the war, and laid in a stock beforehand. (45) There had formerly been severe penalties exacted by the government, on the selling of arms and ammunition to the Indian; but ever since 1657, licenses had been granted to particular persons to supply them occasionally for the purpose of hunting, on paying an acknowledgment to the public treasury. (46) This indulgence, having been much abused by some of the eastern traders, who, far from the seat of government, were impatient of the restraint of law, was supposed to be the source of the mischief. But it was afterward discovered that the Baron de St. Castine, a reduced French officer, who had married a daughter of Madokawando, and kept a trading house at Penobscot, where he considered himself as independent, being out of the limits of any established government, was the person from whom they had their supplies; which needed not to be very great as they always husbanded their ammunition with much care, and never expended it but when they were certain of doing execution. (47)
The whole burden and expense of this war, on the part of the colonies, were borne by themselves. It was indeed thought strange by their friends in England, and resented by those in power, that they made no application to the king for assistance. It was intimated to them by Lord Anglesey, 'that his majesty was ready to assist them with ships, troops, ammunition or money, if they would but ask it;' and their silence was construed to their disadvantage, as if they were proud, and obstinate, and desired to be considered as an independent state. (48) They had indeed no inclination to ask favors from thence; being well aware of the consequence of laying themselves under obligations to those who had been seeking to undermine their establishment; and remembering how they had been neglected in the late Dutch wars, when they stood in much greater need of assistance. The king had then sent ammunition to New-York, but had sent word to New-England, 'that they must shift for themselves and make the best defence they could.' (49) It was therefore highly injurious to blame them for not making application for help. But if they had not been so ill treated, they could not be charged with disrespect, since they really did not need foreign assistance. Ships of war and regular troops must have been altogether useless; and no one who knew the nature of an Indian war could be serious in proposing to send them. Ammunition and money were necessary, but as they had long enjoyed a free trade, and had coined the bullion which they imported, there was no scarcity of money, nor of any stores which money could purchase. The method of fighting with Indians could be learned only from themselves. After a little experience, few men in scattered parties were of more service than the largest and best equipped armies which Europe could have afforded. It ought ever to be remembered for the honor of New-England, that as their first settlement, so their preservation, increase, and defence, even in their weakest
infancy were not owing to any foreign assistance, but under God, to their own magnanimity and perseverance.
Our gravest historians have recorded many omens, predictions, and other alarming circumstances, during this and the Pequod war, which in a more philosophical and less credulous age would not be worthy of notice. When men's minds were rendered gloomy by the horrors of a surrounding wilderness, and the continual apprehension of danger from its savage inhabitants; when they were ignorant of the causes of many of the common appearances in nature, and were disposed to resolve every unusual appearance into prodigy and miracle, it is not to be wondered that they should imagine they heard the noise of drums and guns in the air, and saw flaming swords and spears in the heavens, (50) and should even interpret eclipses as ominous. Some old Indians had intimated their apprehensions concerning the increase of the English, and the diminution of their own people, which any rational observer in a course of forty or fifty years might easily have foretold, without the least pretence to a spirit of prophecy; yet these sayings were recollected, and recorded, as so many predictions by force of a supernatural impulse on their minds, and many persons of the greatest distinction were disposed to credit them as such. These things would not have been mentioned, but to give a just idea of the age. If mankind are now better enlightened, superstition is the less excusable in its remaining votaries.
1. Smith's Voyage.2. Gorges's Narrative, p. 17, 54. Prince's Annals.3. Gorges, page 12.4. Hutch. Hist.Mass. vol. i. p. 474.5. Hubbard's printed Narrative, page 9, 31.6. Hubbard's Narrative and Mather's Magnalia.7. Numbers, ch. 35, v. 19. Deuteronomy, ch.19, v. 12.8. Mons. du Pratz gives nearly the same account of the Indians on the Mississippi. "There needs nothing but prudence and good sense to pursuade these people to what is reasonable, and to preserve their friendship without interruption. We may safely affirm, that the differences we have had with them have been more owing to the French than to them. When they are treated insolently, or oppressively, they have no less sensibility of injuries than others." History of Louisiana, lib. 4, cap. 3.9. Hubbard's Narrative, page 12. Neal's Hist. N. E. vol. i. p. 21.10. Callender's Century Sermon, p. 78.11. Hubbard, [Wars with the Eastern Indians, p. 61.] Magnalia, lib. 7, p. 55.12. Hubbard, [Indian Wars] page 13.13. [Goodman Robinson, of Exeter, who, with his son, was going to Hampton. He was shot through his back, the bullet having pierced through his body. The son escaped by running into a swamp, and reached Hampton about midnight. Hubbard, Wars with Eastern Indians, 19, 20.]14. [Charles Ranlet, who escaped by the help of an Indian. Ibid. 20.]15. Hubbard, [Wars with Eastern Indians] p. 19.16. [William Roberts and his son-in-law. Ibid. 21]17. [Hubbard, Eastern Wars, 20.] Hubbard, [Eastern Wars] page 21.18. Ibid. 22.19. [Soon after this, they assaulted a house at OysterRiver, which was garrisoned. Meeting with a good old man without the garrison, whose name was Beard, they killed him upon the place, and in a barbarous manner cut off his head and set it on a pole in derision. Hubbard, Eastern Wars, 22.]20. [One was killed near this place; and between Exeter and Hampton, they killed one or two men in the woods as they were travelling homewards. -- Hubbard's Eastern Wars, 25.]21. Hubbard, [Eastern Wars] p. 23, 24, 25.22. [This name was spelled Pigwacket in the former editions, but the true orthography, which conveys the aboriginal pronunciation, is said to be as given above in the text. It is variously written by the early historians. Winthrop has it Pegwaggett; Hubbard, Pigwauchet; and Sullivan, Peckwalket and Pickwocket.]23.Church's Memoirs, p. 44.24. The above account of the seizure of the Indians is given from the most authentic and credible tradition that could be obtained within the last sixteen years, from the posterity of those persons who were concerned in the affair. It is but just mentioned by Hubbard and Mather, and not in connexion with its consequences. Neal, for want of better information, has given a wrong turn to the relation, and so has Wynne who copies from him. Hutchinson has not mentioned it at all.
25. [James Fryer was the eldest son of Nathaniel Fryer, who was afterwards one of the council. He had received a wound in his knee from the Indians at Richmond's island, which proved mortal a few days after his return to his father's house, at GreatIsland. Kendal, whose name according to Hubbard should be Gendal, was taken prisoner at the same time with Fryer. Hubbard, Indian Wars from Pascataqua to Pemaquid, 46, 47.]26. [Sylvanus Davis resided some time at Sheepscot in Maine. He was an officer in the war of 1675, and received a wound from the Indians, as related by Hubbard in his Account of the Wars with the Eastern Indians in 1675, p. 41. Hutchinson (ii. 21) says that he was "the commander of the fort at Casco, where he was taken prisoner and carried to Canada." He was nominated by Rev. Increase Mather as one of the counsellors in the charter of William and Mary, granted in 1691, and his name was inserted as one of the twenty-eight appointed. There is an account written by him, of the management of the war against the English in the Eastern parts of New-England by the Indians, in 3 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc. i. 101-112.]27. [Capt. Thomas Lake was a merchant of good character, and was the joint owner with Major Clarke of Boston of Arrowsick island, in Maine, where he had a house and occasionally resided. It was while residing here, that he was killed by the Indians on the 14 of August, 1676. Hubbard, Eastern Wars, 41, 42. Hutch. Hist.Mass. i. 209. Records of the 2d church in Boston. -- Hubbard, page 72, states that "the body of Capt. Lake, was preserved entire and whole and free from putrefaction by the coldness of the long winter." By what means the body could be so long preserved from decomposition, Captain Lake having been killed in the preceding August, it may be difficult to explain, but we must seek for an additional cause to the one assigned by Hubbard.]28. Here ends Hubbard's printed Narrative. The account of the remainder of this war is taken from his MS. history, from sundry original letters, and copies of letters, and from a MS. journal found in Prince's collection, and supposed to have been written by Capt. Lawrence Hammond of Charlestown.29. Genesis, chap. 14.30. Hubbard's MS. Hist. [p. 629 of printed copy.]31. MS. Journal, March 30.32. Hubbard's MS. Hist. [p. 630 of printed copy.]33. MS. Journal.34. Hubbard's MS. [p. 630 of printed copy.]35. The following extract from the before mentioned Journal, shews something of the spirit of the times."April 16. The house of John Keniston was burnt, and he killed at Greenland. The Indians are Simon, Andrew and Peter, those three we had in prison, and should have killed. The good Lord pardon us."
36. MS. Letter of Mr. Moodey.37. [Hubbard, Hist. N. E. 633. The names of the four persons killed according to the Town records of Hampton, were Abraham Colcord, jun., Abraham Perkins, jun., Benjamin Hilliard and Caleb Towle. Edward in the text is doubtless a mistake for Abraham. MS. Letter of Rev. Josiah Webster, of 29 January 1, 830.]38. [Capt. Benjamin Swett had formerly been an inhabitant of Newbury, where several of his children were born. A record of his death in the NorfolkCounty records, says, he "was slayn att Black point by the barberus Indians, the 29th of June, 1677."]39. MS. Letter of Mr. Gookin of Hampton.40. Hubbard's MS. Hist. [p. 634 of printed copy.]41. [Francis Champernoon, who was in 1684, appointed a Counsellor. It is said that he was a cousin of Ferdinando Gorges. He died about the year 1686.]42. [Nathaniel Fryer lived some time at New-Castle. He had been a representative of Portsmouth to the General Court in 1666. He was appointed a counsellor in 1683, and died 13 August, 1705.43. MS. Journal, April 12.44. [Bryan Pendleton was born about the year 1599, and came early to New-England, and fixed his residence at Watertown, in Massachusetts. He was admitted a freeman in 1634, and was the deputy or representative of Watertown from 1636 to 1639,1647 and 1648. He was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1646, and the principal military officer in the place. He removed to Portsmouth before 1654, and was the deputy of that town to the Court at Boston in 1654,1658,1660, 1661 and 1663. In 1658, he purchased a neck of land at the mouth of Saco river, and removed thither in 1665, but returned to Portsmouth in 1676. He was appointed a counsellor under President Danforth in 1680, in which, or the following year, he died, leaving one son, James, and a daughter who married Seth Fletcher, minister of Saco.]45. Hubbard's printed Narrative, page 82.46. Randolph's Narrative in Hutchinson's col. papers, page 492.47. Ibid. p. 562.48. Hutch. History vol. i. p, 309.49. Hutch. collection of papers, p. 506.50. [The rays of the rising or setting sun, illuminating the edge of a cloud, frequently produce appearances of this kind. Marginal Note of the Author in the corrected copy.]
Volume 1, CHAPTER X.
The war with the French and Indians, commonly called King William's war.
It was the misfortune of this country to have enemies of different kinds to contend with at the same time. Whilst the changes above related were taking place in their government, a fresh war broke out on their frontiers, which, though ascribed to divers causes, was really kindled by the rashness of the same persons who were making havoc of their liberties.
The lands from Penobscot to Nova-Scotia had been ceded to the French, by the treaty of Breda, in exchange for the island of St. Christopher. On these lands, the Baron de St. Castine had for many years resided, and carried on a large trade with the Indians, with whom he was intimately connected; having several of their women, besides a daughter of the sachem Madokawando, for his wives. (1) The lands which had been granted by the crown of England to the duke of York (now King James the Second) interfered with Castine's plantation, as the duke claimed to the river St. Croix. A fort had been built by his order at Pemaquid, and a garrison stationed there to prevent any intrusion on his property. In 1686, a ship belonging to Pascataqua landed some wines at Penobscot, supposing it to be within the French territory. Palmer and West, the duke's agents at Pemaquid, went and seized the wines; but by the influence of the French ambassador in England, an order was obtained for the restoration of them. Hereupon, a new line was run which took Castine's plantation into the duke's territory. In the spring of 1688, Andros went in the Rose frigate, and plundered Castine's house and fort; leaving only the ornaments of his chapel to console him for the loss of his arms and goods. This base action provoked Castine to excite the Indians to a new war, pretences for which were not wanting on their part. (2) They complained that the tribute of corn which had been promised by the treaty of 1678, had been withholden; that the fishery of the river Saco had been obstructed by seines; that their standing corn had been devoured by cattle belonging to the English; that their lands at Pemaquid had been patented without their consent; and that they had been fraudulently dealt with in trade. Some of these complaints were doubtless well grounded; but none of them were ever inquired into or redressed.
They began to make reprisals at North-Yarmouth by killing cattle. Justice Blackman (3) ordered sixteen of them to be seized and kept under guard at Falmouth; but others continued to rob and captivate the inhabitants. Andros, who pretended to treat the Indians with mildness, commanded those whom Blackman had seized to be set at liberty. But this mildness had not the desired effect; the Indians kept their prisoners, and murdered some of them in their barbarous frolics. Andros then changed his measures, and thought to frighten them, with an army of seven hundred men, which he led into their country in the month of November. The rigor of the season proved fatal to some of his men; but he never saw an Indian in his whole march. The enemy were quiet during the winter.
After the revolution, the gentlemen who assumed the government took some precautions to prevent the renewal of hostilities. They sent messengers and presents to several tribes of Indians, who answered them with fair promises; but their prejudice against the English was too inveterate to be allayed by such means as these. (4)
Thirteen years had almost elapsed since the seizure of the four hundred Indians, at Cochecho, by Major Waldron; during all which time, an inextinguishable thirst of revenge had been cherished among them, which never till now found opportunity for gratification. (5) Wonolanset, one of the sachems of Penacook, who was dismissed with his people at the time of the seizure, always observed his father's dying charge not to quarrel with the English; but Hagkins, another sachem, who had been treated with neglect by Cranfield, was more ready to listen to the seducing invitations of Castine's emissaries. Some of those Indians, who were then seized and sold into slavery abroad, had found their way home, and could not rest till they had revenge. (6) Accordingly, a confederacy being formed between the tribes of Penacook and Pequawket, and the strange Indians (as they were called) who were incorporated with them, it was determined to surprise the major and his neighbors, among whom they had all this time been peaceably conversant.
In that part of the town of Dover, which lies about the first falls in the river Cochecho, were five garrisoned houses; three on the north side, viz. Waldron's, Otis's and Heard's; and two on the south side, viz. Peter Coffin's and his son's. These houses were surrounded with timber-walls, the gates of which, as well as the house doors, were secured with bolts and bars. The neighboring families retired to these houses by night; but by an unaccountable negligence, no watch was kept. The Indians, who were daily passing through the town, visiting and trading with the inhabitants, as usual in time of peace, viewed their situation with an attentive eye. Some hints of a mischievous design had been given out by their squaws; but in such dark and ambiguous terms, that no one could comprehend their meaning. Some of the people were uneasy; but Waldron, who, from a long course of experience, was intimately acquainted with the Indians, and on other occasions had been ready enough to suspect them, was now so thoroughly secure, that when some of the people hinted their fears to him, he merrily bade them to go and plant their pumpkins, saying that he would tell them when the Indians would break out. The very evening before the mischief was done, being told by a young man that the town was full of Indians and the people were much concerned; he answered that he knew the Indians very well and there was no danger.
The plan which the Indians had preconcerted was, that two squaws should go to each of the garrisoned houses in the evening, and ask leave to lodge by the fire; that in the night when the people were asleep, they should open the doors and gates, and give the signal by a whistle; upon which, the strange Indians, who were to be within hearing, should rush in, and take their long meditated revenge. This plan being ripe for execution, on the evening of Thursday, the twenty-seventh of June, two squaws applied to each of the garrisons for lodging, as they frequently did in time of peace. They were admitted into all but the younger Coffin's, and the people, at their request, shewed them how to open the doors, in case they should have occasion to go out in the night. Mesandowit, one of their chiefs, went to Waldron's garrison, and was kindly entertained, as he had often been before. The squaws told the major, that a number of Indians were coming to trade with him the next day, and Mesandowit while at supper, with his usual familiarity, said, 'Brother Waldron, what would you do if the strange Indians should come?' The major carelessly answered, that he could assemble an hundred men, by lifting up his finger. In this unsuspecting confidence, the family retired to rest.
When all was quiet, the gates were opened, and the signal was given. The Indians entered, set a guard at the door, and rushed into the major's apartment, which was an inner room. Awakened by the noise, he jumped out of bed, and though now advanced in life to the age of eighty years, he retained so much vigor as to drive them with his sword, through two or three doors; but as he was returning for his other arms, they came behind him, stunned him with a hatchet, drew him into his hall, and seating him in an elbow chair, on a long table, insultingly asked him, "Who shall judge Indians now?" They then obliged the people in the house to get them some victuals; and when they had done eating, they cut the major across the breast and belly with knives, each one with a stroke, saying, "I cross out my account." They then cut off his nose and ears, forcing them into his mouth; and when spent with the loss of blood, he was falling down from the table, one of them held his own sword under him, which put an end to his misery. They also killed his son in law Abraham Lee: (7) but took his daughter Lee with several others, and having pillaged the house, left it on fire. Otis's garrison, which was next to the major's, met with the same fate; he was killed, with several others, and his wife and child were captivated. Heard's was saved by the barking of a dog just as the Indians were entering: Elder Wentworth, (8) who was awakened by the noise, pushed them out, and falling on his back, set his feet against the gate and held it till he had alarmed the people; two balls were fired through it, but both missed him. Coffin's house was surprized, but as the Indians had no particular enmity to him, they spared his life, and the lives of his family, and contented themselves with pillaging the house. -- Finding a bag of money, they made him throw it by handfuls on the floor, whilst they amused themselves in scrambling for it. They then went to the house of his son who would not admit the squaws in the evening, and summoned him to surrender, promising him quarter. He declined their offer, and determined to defend his house, till they brought out his father and threatened to kill him before his eyes. Filial affection then overcame his resolution, and he surrendered. They put both families together into a deserted house, intending to reserve them for prisoners; but whilst the Indians were busy in plundering, they all escaped.
Twenty-three people were killed in this surprisal, and twenty-nine were captivated; five or six houses, with the mills, were burned; and so expeditious were the Indians in the execution of their plot, that before the people could be collected from the other parts of the town to oppose them, they fled with their prisoners and booty. As they passed by Heard's garrison in their retreat, they fired upon it; but the people being prepared and resolved to defend it, and the enemy being in haste, it was preserved. The preservation of its owner was more remarkable.
Elizabeth Heard, with her three sons and a daughter, and some others, were returning in the night from Portsmouth. They passed up the river in their boat unperceived by the Indians, who were then in possession of the houses; but suspecting danger by the noise which they heard, after they had landed they betook themselves to Waldron's garrison, where they saw lights, which they imagined were set up for direction to those who might be seeking a refuge. They knocked and begged earnestly for admission; but no answer being given, a young man of the company climbed up the wall, and saw to his inexpressible surprise, an Indian standing in the door of the house, with his gun. The woman was so overcome with the fright that she was unable to fly; but begged her children to shift for themselves; and they with heavy hearts, left her. When she had a little recovered, she crawled into some bushes, and lay there till day-light. She then perceived an Indian coming toward her with a pistol in his hand; he looked at her and went away; returning, he looked at her again; and she asked him what he would have; he made no answer, but ran yelling to the house, and she saw him no more. -- She kept her place till the house was burned, and the Indians were gone; and then returning home, found her own house safe. Her preservation in these dangerous circumstances was more remarkable, if (as it is supposed) it was an instance of justice and gratitude in the Indians. For at the time when the four hundred were seized in 1676, a young Indian escaped and took refuge in her house, where she concealed him in return for which kindness he promised her that he would never kill her, nor any of her family in any future war, and that he would use his influence with the other Indians to the same purpose. This Indian was one of the party who surprised the place, and she was well known to the most of them. (9)
The same day, after the mischief was done, a letter from Secretary Addington, written by order of the government, directed to Major Waldron, giving him notice of the intention of the Indians to surprise him under pretence of trade, fell into the hands of his son. This design was communicated to Governor Bradstreet by Major Hinchman of Chelmsford, who had learned it of the Indians. (10) The letter was despatched from Boston, the day before, by Mr. Weare; but some delay which he met with at Newbury ferry prevented its arrival in season.
The prisoners taken at this time were mostly carried to Canada, and sold to the French; and these, as far as I can learn, were the first that ever were carried thither. (11) The Indians had been seduced to the French interest by popish emissaries, who had began to fascinate them with their religious and national prejudices. They had now learned to call the English heretics, and that to extirpate them as such was meritorious in the sight of heaven. When their minds were filled with religious phrensy, they became more bitter and implacable enemies than before; and finding the sale of scalps and prisoners turn to good account in Canada, they had still farther incitement to continue their depredations, and prosecute their vengeance.
The necessity of vigorous measures was now so pressing, that parties were immediately dispatched, one under Captain Noyes to Penacook, where they destroyed the corn, but the Indians escaped; another from Pascataqua, under Captain Wincol, (12) to Winnipiseogee, whither the Indians had retired, as John Church, who had been taken at Cochecho and escaped from them, reported: one or two Indians were killed there, and their corn was cut down. But these excursions proved of small service, as the Indians had little to lose, and could find a home wherever they could find game and fish.
In the month of August, Major Swaine, with seven or eight companies raised by the Massachusetts government, marched to the eastward; and MajorChurch, with another party, consisting of English and Indians, from the colony of Plymouth, soon followed them. Whilst these forces were on their march, the Indians, who lay in the woods about Oyster river, observed how many men belonged to Huckin's garrison; and seeing them all go out one morning to work, nimbly ran between them and the house, and killed them all, (being in number eighteen) except one who had passed the brook. They then attacked the house, in which were only two boys, (one of whom was lame) with some women and children. The boys kept them off for some time and wounded several of them. At length, the Indians set the house on fire, and even then the boys would not surrender, till they had promised them to spare their lives. They perfidiously murdered three or four of the children; one of them was set on a sharp stake, in the view of its distressed mother, who, with the other women and the boys, were carried captive. One of the boys escaped the next day. Captain Garner with his company pursued the enemy, but did not come up with them.
The Massachusetts and Plymouth companies proceeded to the eastward, settled garrisons in convenient places, and had some skirmishes with the enemy at Casco and Blue Point. On their return, Major Swaine sent a party of the Indian auxiliaries under Lieutenant Flagg toward Winnipiseogee, to make discoveries. -- These Indians held a consultation in their own language; and having persuaded their lieutenant with two men to return, nineteen of them tarried out eleven days longer; in which time, they found the enemy, staid with them two nights, and informed them of every thing which they desired to know; upon which, the enemy retired to their inaccessible deserts; the forces returned without finding them, and in November, were disbanded. (13)
Nothing was more welcome to the distressed inhabitants of the frontiers than the approach of winter, as they then expected a respite from their sufferings. The deep snows and cold weather were commonly a good security against an attack from the Indians; but when resolutely set on mischief, and instigated by popish enthusiasm, no obstacles could prevent the execution of their purposes.
The Count de Frontenac, then governor of Canada, was fond of distinguishing himself by some enterprises against the American subjects of King William, with whom his master was at war in Europe. For this purpose, he detached three parties of French and Indians from Canada in the winter, who were to take three different routes into the English territories. -- One of these parties marched from Montreal and destroyed Schenectady, a Dutch village on the Mohawk river, in the province of New-York. This action which happened at an unusual time of the year, in the month of February, alarmed the whole country; and the eastern settlements were ordered to be on their guard. On the eighteenth day of March, another party which came from Trois Rivieres, under the command of the Sieur Hertel, an officer of great repute in Canada, found their way to Salmon-falls, a settlement on the river which divides New-Hampshire from the province of Maine. This party consisted of fifty-two men, of whom twenty-five were Indians under Hoophood, a noted warrior. They began the attack at day-break, in three different places. The people were surprised; but flew to arms and defended themselves in the garrisoned houses, with a bravery which the enemy themselves applauded. But as in all such onsets the assailants have the greatest advantage, so they here proved too strong for the defendants; about thirty of the bravest were killed, and the rest surrendered at discretion, to the number of fifty-four, of whom the greater part were women and children. After plundering, the enemy burned the houses, mills and barns, with the cattle (14) which were within doors, and then retreated into the woods, whither they were pursued by about one hundred and forty men, suddenly collected from the neighboring towns, who came up with them in the afternoon at a narrow bridge on Wooster's river, in Berwick. Hertel expecting a pursuit, had posted his men advantageously on the opposite bank. The pursuers advanced with great intrepidity, and a warm engagement ensued, which lasted till night, when they retired with the loss of four or five killed. -- The enemy by their own account lost two, one of whom was Hertel's nephew: (15) his son was wounded in the knee. Another Frenchman was taken prisoner, who was so tenderly treated that he embraced the protestant faith, and remained in the country. (16) Hertel on his way homeward met with a third party who had marched from Quebec, and joining his company to them attacked and destroyed the fort and settlement at Casco, the next May. Thus the three expeditions planned by Count Frontenac proved successful; but the glory of them was much tarnished by acts of cruelty, which christians should be ashamed to countenance, though perpetrated by savages. (17)
After the destruction of Casco, the eastern settlements were all deserted, and the people retired to the fort at Wells. The Indians then came up westward, and a party of them under Hoophood, sometime in May, made an assault on Fox Point, in Newington, where they burned several houses, killed about fourteen people, and carried away six. They were pursued by the Captains Floyd and Greenleaf, who came up with them and recovered some of the Captives and spoil, after a skirmish in which Hoophood was wounded and lost [h]is gun. (18) This fellow was soon after killed by a party of Canada Indians who mistook him for one of the Iroquois, with whom they were at war. On the fourth day of July, eight persons were killed as they were mowing in a field near Lamprey river, and a lad was carried captive. The next day, they attacked Captain Hilton's garrison at Exeter, which was relieved by Lieutenant Bancroft, with the loss of a few of his men. One of them, Simon Stone, received nine wounds with shot, and two strokes of a hatchet: when his friends came to bury him they perceived life in him, and by the application of cordials he revived, to the amazement of all. (19)
Two companies under the Captains Floyd and Wiswall were now scouting, and on the sixth day of July, discovered an Indian track, which they pursued till they came up with the enemy at Wheelwright's Pond, in Lee, where a bloody engagement ensued for some hours; in which Wiswall, his lieutenant, Flagg, and sergeant Walker, with twelve more, were killed, and several wounded. It was not known how many of the enemy fell, as they always carried off their dead. Floyd maintained the fight after Wiswall's death, till his men, fatigued and wounded, drew off; which obliged him to follow. The enemy retreated at the same time; for when Captain Convers went to look after the wounded, he found seven alive, whom he brought in by sunrise the next morning, and then returned to bury the dead. The enemy then went westward, and in the course of one week killed, between Lamprey river and Amesbury, not less than forty people.
The cruelties exercised upon the captives in this war exceeded, both in number and degree, any in former times. The most healthy and vigorous of them were sold in Canada; the weaker were sacrificed, and scalped; and for every scalp they had a premium. Two instances only are remembered of their releasing any without a ransom: one was a woman taken from Fox Point, who obtained her liberty by procuring them some of the necessaries of life; (20) the other was at York; where, after they had taken many of the people, they restored two aged women and five children, in return for a generous action of Major Church, who had spared the lives of as many women and children when they fell into his hands at Ameriscoggin. (21)
The people of New-England, now looked on Canada as the source of their troubles, and formed a design to reduce it to subjection to the crown of England. The enterprise was bold and hazardous; and had their ability been equal to the ardor of their patriotism, it might probably have been accomplished. Straining every nerve, they equipped an armament in some degree equal to the service. What was wanting in military and naval discipline was made up in resolution; and the command was given to Sir William Phips, an honest man, and a friend to his country; but by no means qualified for such an attempt. Unavoidable accidents retarded the expedition, so that the fleet did not arrive before Quebec till October; when it was more than time to return. It being impossible to continue there to any purpose; and the troops growing sickly and discouraged, after some ineffectual parade, they abandoned the enterprise. (22)
This disappointment was severely felt. The equipment of the fleet and army required a supply of money which could not readily be collected, and occasioned a paper currency; which has often been drawn into precedent on like occasions, and has proved a fatal source of the most complicated and extensive mischief. The people were almost dispirited with the prospect of poverty and ruin. In this melancholy state of the country, it was an happy circumstance that the Indians voluntarily came in with a flag of truce, and desired a cessation of hostilities. A conference being held at Sagadahock, they brought in ten captives, and settled a truce till the first day of May, which they observed till the ninth of June; when they attacked Storer's garrison at Wells, but were bravely repulsed. About the same time, they killed two men at Exeter, (23) and on the twenty ninth of September, a party of them came from the eastward in canoes to Sandy Beach, (Rye) (24) where they killed and captivated twenty-one persons. (25) Captain Sherburne of Portsmouth, a worthy officer, was this year killed at Maquoit. (26)
The next winter, the country being alarmed with the destruction of York, some new regulations were made for the general defence. Major Elisha Hutchinson was appointed commander in chief of the militia; by whose prudent conduct the frontiers were well guarded, and so constant a communication was kept up, by ranging parties, from one post to another, that it became impossible for the enemy to attack in their usual way, by surprise. The good effect of this regulation was presently seen. A young man being in the woods near Cochecho, was fired at by some Indians. Lieutenant Wilson immediately went out with eighteen men; and finding the Indians, killed or wounded the whole party, excepting one. This struck a terror, and kept them quiet the remainder of the winter and spring. But on the tenth day of June, an army of French and Indians made a furious attack on Storer's garrison at Wells, where Capt. Convers commanded; who after a brave and resolute defence, was so happy as to drive them off with great loss.
Sir William Phips, being now governor of Massachusetts, continued the same method of defence; keeping out continual scouts under brave and experienced officers. This kept the Indians so quiet that, except one poor family which they took at Oyster river, and some small mischief at Quaboag, there is no mention of any destruction made by them during the year 1693. Their animosity against New-England was not quelled; but they needed a space to recruit; some of their principal men were in captivity, and they could not hope to redeem them without a peace. To obtain it, they came into the Fort at Pemaquid; and there entered into a solemn covenant; wherein they acknowledged subjection to the crown of England; engaged to abandon the French interest; promised perpetual peace; to forbear private revenge; to restore all captives; and even went so far as to deliver hostages for the due performance of their engagements. (27) This peace, or rather truce, gave both sides a respite, which both earnestly desired. (28)
The people of New-Hampshire were much reduced; their lumber trade and husbandry being greatly impeded by the war. Frequent complaints were made of the burden of the war, the scarcity of provisions, and the dispiritedness of the people. Once, it is said, in the council minutes, that they were even ready to quit the province. The governor was obliged to impress men to guard the outposts: they were sometimes dismissed for want of provisions, and then the garrison officers were called to account and severely punished: Yet all this time, the public debt did not exceed four hundred pounds. In this situation, they were obliged to apply to their neighbors for assistance; but this was granted with a sparing hand. The people of Massachusetts were much divided and at variance among themselves, both on account of the new charter which they had received from King William, and the pretended witchcrafts which have made so loud a noise in the world. Party and passion had usurped the place of patriotism; and the defence, not only of their neighbors, but of themselves was neglected to gratify their malignant humors. Their governor too had been affronted in this province, on the following occasion.
Sir William Phips, having had a quarrel with Capt. Short of the Nonsuch frigate about the extent of his power as vice admiral, arrested Short at Boston, and put him on board a merchant ship bound for England, commanded by one Tay, with a warrant to deliver him to the secretary of state. The ship put into Pascataqua, and the Nonsuch came in after her. The lieutenant, Carey, sent a letter to Hinckes, president of the council, threatening to impress seamen, if Short was not released. Cary was arrested and brought before the council, where he received a reprimand for his insolence. At the same time, Sir William came hither by land, went on board Tay's ship, and sent the cabin boy with a message to the president to come to him there; which Hinckes highly resented and refused. Phips then demanded of Tay his former warrant, and issued another commanding the redelivery of Short to him, broke open Short's chest, and seized his papers. This action was looked upon by some as an exertion of power to which he had no right, and it was proposed to cite him before the council to answer for assuming authority out of his jurisdiction. The president was warm; but a majority of the council, considering Sir William's opinion that his vice admiral's commission extended to this province, (though Usher had one, but was not present) and that no person belonging to the province had been injured, advised the president to take no farther notice of the matter. (29) Soon after this, Sir William drew off the men whom he had stationed in this province as soldiers; and the council advised the lieutenant governor to apply to the colony of Connecticut for men and provisions; but whether this request was granted does not appear.
The towns of Dover and Exeter being more exposed than Portsmouth or Hampton, suffered the greatest share in the common calamity. Nothing but the hope of better times kept alive their fortitude. When many of the eastern settlements were wholly broken up, they stood their ground, and thus gained to themselves a reputation which their posterity boast of to this day. (30)
The engagements made by the Indians in the treaty of Pemaquid, might have been performed if they had been left to their own choice. But the French missionaries had been for some years very assiduous in propagating their tenets among them, one of which was 'that to break faith with heretics was no sin.' The Sieur de Villieu, who had distinguished himself in the defence of Quebec when Phips was before it, and had contracted a strong antipathy to the New-Englanders, being then in command at Penobscot, he with M. Thury, the missionary, diverted Madokawando and the other Sachems from complying with their engagements; so that pretences were found for detaining the English captives, who were more in number, and of more consequence than the hostages whom the Indians had given. Influenced by the same pernicious councils, they kept a watchful eye on the frontier towns, to see what place was most secure and might be attacked to the greatest advantage. The settlement at Oyster river, within the town of Dover, was pitched upon as the most likely place; and it is said that the design of surprising it was publicly talked of at Quebec two months before it was put in execution. Rumors of Indians lurking in the woods thereabout made some of the people apprehend danger; but no mischief being attempted, they imagined them to be hunting parties, and returned to their security. (31) At length, the necessary preparations being made, Villieu, with a body of two hundred and fifty Indians, collected from the tribes of St. John, Penobscot and Norridgewog, attended by a French Priest, marched for the devoted place. (32)
Oyster river is a stream which runs into the western branch of Pascataqua: the settlements were on both sides of it, and the houses chiefly near the water. Here, were twelve garrisoned houses sufficient for the defence of the inhabitants, but apprehending no danger, some families remained at their own unfortified houses, and those who were in the garrisons were but indifferently provided for defence, some being even destitute of powder. The enemy approached the place undiscovered, and halted near the falls on Tuesday evening, the seventeenth of July. Here they formed two divisions, one of which was to go on each side of the river and plant themselves in ambush, in small parties, near every house, so as to be ready for the attack at the rising of the sun; and the first gun was to be the signal. John Dean, whose house stood by the saw-mill at the falls, intending to go from home very early, arose before the dawn of day, and was shot as he came out of his door. This firing, in part, disconcerted their plan; several parties who had some distance to go, had not then arrived at their stations; the people in general were immediately alarmed, some of them had time to make their escape, and others to prepare for their defence. The signal being given, the attack began in all parts where the enemy was ready.
Of the twelve garrisoned houses five were destroyed, viz. Adams's, Drew's, Edgerly's[,] Medar's and Beard's. They entered Adams's without resistance, where they killed fourteen persons; one of them, being a woman with child, they ripped open. The grave is still to be seen in which they were all buried. Drew surrendered his garrison on the promise of security, but was murdered when he fell into their hands. One of his children, a boy of nine years old, was made to run through a lane of Indians as a mark for them to throw their hatchets at, till they had dispatched him. Edgerly's was evacuated. The people took to their boat, and one of them was mortally wounded before they got out of reach of the enemy's shot. Beard's and Medar's were also evacuated and the people escaped.
The defenceless houses were nearly all set on fire, the inhabitants being either killed or taken in them, or else in endeavoring to fly to the garrisons. Some escaped by hiding in the bushes and other secret places. Thomas Edgerly, by concealing himself in his cellar, preserved his house, though twice set on fire. The house of John Buss, the minister, was destroyed, with a valuable library. He was absent; his wife and family fled to the woods and escaped. (33) The wife of John Dean, at whom the first gun was fired, was taken with her daughter, and carried about two miles up the river, where they were left under the care of an old Indian, while the others returned to their bloody work. The Indian complained of a pain in his head, and asked the woman what would be a proper remedy: she answered, occapee, which is the Indian word for rum, of which she knew he had taken a bottle from her house. The remedy being agreeable, he took a large dose and fell asleep; and she took that opportunity to make her escape, with her child, into the woods, and kept herself concealed till they were gone.
The other seven garrisons, viz. Burnham's, Bickford's, Smith's, Bunker's, Davis's, Jones's and Woodman's were resolutely and successfully defended. At Burnham's, the gate was left open: The Indians, ten in number, who were appointed to surprise it, were asleep under the bank of the river, at the time that the alarm was given. A man within, who had been kept awake by the toothache, hearing the first gun, roused the people and secured the gate, just as the Indians, who were awakened by the same noise were entering. Finding themselves disappointed, they ran to Pitman's defenceless house, and forced the door at the moment, that he had burst a way through that end of the house which was next to the garrison, to which he with his family, taking advantage of the shade of some trees, it being moonlight, happily escaped. Still defeated, they attacked the house of John Davis, which after some resistance, he surrendered on terms; but the terms were violated, and the whole family was either killed or made captives. Thomas Bickford preserved his house in a singular manner. It was situated near the river, and surrounded with a palisade. Being alarmed before the enemy had reached the house, he sent off his family in a boat, and then shutting his gate, betook himself alone to the defence of his fortress. Despising alike the promises and threats by which the Indians would have persuaded him to surrender, he kept up a constant fire at them, changing his dress as often as he could, shewing himself with a different cap, hat or coat, and sometimes without either, and giving directions aloud as if he had a number of men with him. Finding their attempt vain, the enemy withdrew, and left him sole master of the house, which he had defended with such admirable address. Smith's, Bunker's and Davis's garrisons, being seasonably apprised of the danger, were resolutely defended. One Indian was supposed to be killed and another wounded by a shot from Davis's. Jones's garrison was beset before day; Captain Jones hearing his dogs bark, and imagining wolves might be near, went out to secure some swine and returned unmolested. He then went up into the flankart and sat on the wall. Discerning the flash of a gun, he dropped backward; the ball entered the place from whence he had withdrawn his legs. The enemy from behind a rock kept firing on the house for some time, and then quitted it. During these transactions, the French priest took possession of the meeting-house, and employed himself in writing on the pulpit with chalk; but the house received no damage.
Those parties of the enemy who were on the south side of the river having completed their destructive work, collected in a field adjoining to Burnham's garrison, where they insultingly showed their prisoners, and derided the people, thinking themselves out of reach of their shot. A young man from the sentry-box fired at one who was making some indecent signs of defiance, and wounded him in the heel: Him they placed on a horse and carried away. Both divisions then met at the falls, where they had parted the evening before, and proceeded together to Capt. Woodman's garrison. The ground being uneven, they approached without danger, and from behind a hill kept up a long and severe fire at the hats and caps which the people within held up on sticks above the walls, without any other damage than galling the roof of the house. At length, apprehending it was time for the people in the neighboring settlements to be collected in pursuit of them, they finally withdrew; having killed and captivated between ninety and an hundred persons, and burned about twenty houses, of which five were garrisons. (34) The main body of them retreated over Winnipiseogee lake, where they divided their prisoners, separating those in particular who were most intimately connected, in which they often took a pleasure suited to their savage nature. (35)
About forty of the enemy under Toxus, a Norridgewog chief, resolving on farther mischief, went westward and did execution as far as Groton. A smaller party having crossed the river Pascataqua, came to a farm where Ursula Cutt, widow of the deceased president, resided, who imagining the enemy had done what mischief they intended for that time, could not be persuaded to remove into town till her haymaking should be finished. As she was in the field with her laborers, the enemy fired from an ambush and killed her, with three others. (36) Colonel Richard Waldron and his wife, with their infant son, (afterward secretary) had almost shared the same fate. They were taking boat to go and dine with this lady, when they were stopped by the arrival of some friends at their house; whilst at dinner they were informed of her death. She lived about two miles above the town of Portsmouth, and had laid out her farm with much elegance. The scalps taken in this whole expedition were carried to Canada by Madokawando, and presented to Count Frontenac, from whom he received the reward of his treacherous adventure.
There is no mention of any more mischief by the Indians within this province till the next year, when, in the month of July, two men were killed at Exeter. The following year, on the seventh day of May, John Church, who had been taken and escaped from them seven years before, was killed and scalped at Cochecho, near his own house. On the twenty-sixth of June, an attack was made at Portsmouth plain, about two miles from the town. The enemy came from York-nubble to Sandy-beach in canoes, which they hid there among the bushes near the shore. Some suspicion was formed the day before by reason of the cattle running out of the woods at Little-harbor; but false alarms were frequent, and this was not much regarded. Early in the morning, the attack was made on five houses at once. Fourteen persons were killed on the spot; one was scalped and left for dead, but recovered, and four were taken. The enemy having plundered the houses of what they could carry, set them on fire, and made a precipitate retreat through the great swamp. A company of militia under Captain Shackford (37) and lieutenant Libbey pursued, and discovered them cooking their breakfast, at a place ever since called Breakfast-hill, inRye.The Indians were on the farther side, having placed their captives between themselves and the top of the hill, that in case of an attack they might first receive the fire. The lieutenant pleaded to go round the hill, and come upon them below to cut off their retreat; but the captain fearing in that case that they would, according to their custom, kill the prisoners, rushed upon them from the top of the hill, by which means they retook the captives and plunder, but the Indians, rolling down the hill, escaped into the swamp and got to their canoes. Another party, under another commander, Gerrish, was then sent out in shallops to intercept them as they should cross over to the eastward by night. The captain ranged his boats in a line, and ordered his men to reserve their fire till he gave the watchword. It being a calm night, the Indians were heard as they advanced; but the captain, unhappily giving the word before they had come within gun-shot, they tacked about to the southward, and going round the Isles of Shoals, by the favor of their light canoes escaped. The watch-word was Crambo, which the captain ever after bore as an appendage to his title. (38) On the twenty-sixth day of July, the people of Dover were waylaid as they were returning from the public worship, when three were killed, three wounded, and three carried to Penobscot, from whence they soon found their way home. (39) (40)
The next year, on the tenth of June, the town of Exeter was remarkably preserved from destruction. A body of the enemy had placed themselves near the town, intending to make an assault in the morning of the next day. A number of women and children contrary to the advice of their friends went into the fields, without a guard, to gather strawberries. When they were gone, some persons, to frighten them, fired an alarm; which quickly spread through the town, and brought the people together in arms. The Indians supposing that they were discovered, and quickened by fear, after killing one, wounding another, and taking a child, made a hasty retreat and were seen no more there. But on the fourth day of July, they waylaid and killed the worthy Major Frost (41) at Kittery, to whom they had owed revenge ever since the seizure of the four hundred at Cochecho, in which he was concerned. (42)
The same year, an invasion of the country was projected by the French. A fleet was to sail from France to Newfoundland, and thence to Penobscot, where being joined by an army from Canada, an attempt was to be made on Boston, and the seacoast ravaged from thence to Pascataqua. The plan was too extensive and complicated to be executed in one summer. The fleet came no further than Newfoundland, when the advanced season, and scantiness of provisions obliged them to give over the design. The people of New-England were apprized of the danger, and made the best preparations in their power. They strengthened their fortifications on the coast, and raised a body of men to defend the frontiers against the Indians who were expected to cooperate with the French. Some mischief was done by lurking parties at the eastward; but New-Hampshire was unmolested by them during the remainder of this, and the whole of the following year. (43)
After the peace of Ryswick, Count Frontenac informed the Indians that he could not any longer support them in a war with the English, with whom his nation was then at peace. He therefore advised them to bury the hatchet and restore their captives. Having suffered much by famine, and being divided in their opinions about prosecuting the war, after a long time they were brought to a treaty at Casco; where they ratified their former engagements; acknowledged subjection to the crown of England; lamented their former perfidy, and promised future peace and good behaviour in such terms as the commissioners dictated, and with as much sincerity as could be expected. (44) At the same time, they restored those captives, who were able to travel from the places of their detention to Casco in that unfavorable season of the year; giving assurance for the return of the others in the spring; but many of the younger sort, both males and females, were detained; who, mingling with the Indians, contributed to a succession of enemies in future wars against their own country. (45) (46)
A general view of an Indian war will give a just idea of these distressing times, and be a proper close to this narration.
The Indians were seldom or never seen before they did execution. They appeared not in the open field, nor gave proofs of a truly masculine courage; but did their exploits by surprise, chiefly in the morning, keeping themselves hid behind logs and bushes, near the paths in the woods, or the fences contiguous to the doors of houses; and their lurking holes could be known only by the report of their guns, which was indeed but feeble, as they were sparing of ammunition, and as near as possible to their object before they fired. They rarely assaulted an house unless they knew there would be but little resistance, and it has been afterward known that they have lain in ambush for days together, watching the motions of the people at their work, without daring to discover themselves. One of their chiefs, who had got a woman's riding-hood among his plunder, would put it on, in an evening, and walk into the streets of Portsmouth, looking into thewindows of houses, and listening to the conversation of the people.
Their cruelty was chiefly exercised upon children, and such aged, infirm, or corpulent persons as could not bear the hardships of a journey through the wilderness. If they took a woman far advanced in pregnancy, their knives were plunged into her bowels. An infant, when it became troublesome, had its brains dashed out against the next tree or stone. Sometimes to torment the wretched mother, they would whip and beat the child till almost dead, or hold it under water till its breath was just gone, and then throw it to her to comfort and quiet it. If the mother could not readily still its weeping, the hatchet was buried in its skull. A captive wearied with a burden laid on his shoulders was often sent to rest the same way. If any one proved refractory, or was known to have been instrumental of the death of an Indian, or related to one who had been so, he was tortured with a lingering punishment, generally at the stake, whilst the other captives were insulted with the sight of his miseries. Sometimes a fire would be kindled and a threatening given out against one or more, though there was no intention of sacrificing them, only to make sport of their terrors. The young Indians often signalized their cruelty in treating captives inhumanly out of sight of the elder, and when inquiry was made into the matter, the insulted captive must either be silent or put the best face on it, to prevent worse treatment for the future. If a captive appeared sad and dejected he was sure to meet with insult; but if he could sing and dance and laugh with his masters, he was carressed as a brother. They had a strong aversion to negroes, and generally killed them when they fell into their hands.
Famine was a common attendant on these doleful captivities. The Indians when they caught any game devoured it all at one sitting, and then girding themselves round the waist, travelled without sustenance till chance threw more in their way. The captives, unused to such canine repasts and abstinences, could not support the surfeit of the one, nor the craving of the other. A change of masters, though it sometimes proved a relief from misery, yet rendered the prospect of a return to their homes more distant. If an Indian had lost a relative, a prisoner bought for a gun, a hatchet, or a few skins, must supply the place of the deceased, and be the father, brother, or son of the purchaser; and those who could accommodate themselves to such barbarous adoption, were treated with the same kindness as the persons in whose place they were substituted. A sale among the French of Canada was the most happy event to a captive, especially if he became a servant in the family; though sometimes, even there, a prison was their lot, till opportunity presented for their redemption; whilst the priests employed every seducing art to pervert them to the popish religion, and induce them to abandon their country. These circumstances, joined with the more obvious hardships of travelling half naked and barefoot through pathless deserts, over craggy mountains and deep swamps, through frost, rain and snow, exposed by day and night to the inclemency of the weather, and in summer to the venomous stings of those numberless insects with which the woods abound; the restless anxiety of mind, the retrospect of past scenes of pleasure, the remembrance of distant friends, the bereavements experienced at the beginning or during the progress of the captivity, and the daily apprehension of death either by famine or the savage enemy; these were the horrors of an Indian captivity.
On the other hand, it must be acknowledged that there have been instances of justice, generosity and tenderness during these wars which would have done honor to a civilized people. A kindness shewn to an Indian was remembered as long as an injury; and persons have had their lives spared, for acts of humanity done to the ancestors of those Indians, into whose hands they have fallen. (47) They would sometimes "carry children on their arms and shoulders, feed their prisoners with the best of their provision, and pinch themselves rather than their captives should want food." When sick or wounded, they would afford them proper means for their recovery, which they were very well able to do by their knowledge of simples. In thus preserving the lives and health of their prisoners, they doubtless had a view of gain. But the most remarkably favorable circumstance in an Indian captivity, was their decent behaviour to women. I have never read, nor heard, nor could find by inquiry, that any woman who fell into their hands was ever treated with the least immodesty; but testimonies to the contrary are very frequent. (48) Whether this negative virtue is to be ascribed to a natural frigidity of constitution, let philosophers inquire: The fact is certain; and it was a most happy circumstance for our female captives, that in the midst of all their distresses, they had no reason to fear from a savage foe, the perpetration of a crime, which has too frequently disgraced, not only the personal, but the national character of those, who make large pretences to civilization and humanity.
Notes:1. Hutch. coll. papers, p. 548.2. Hutch. coll. pap. p. 562.3. [Benjamin Blackman graduated at HarvardCollege in 1663; was sometime a preacher at Malden, which place he left about 1678, and went to Saco. Mather, ii. Magnalia, 508. Hutchinson, i. Hist.Mass. 326. Folsom, MS. Hist. Saco.]4. Hutchinson, Neal and Mather.5. The inveteracy of their hatred to Major Waldron, on account of that transaction, appears from what is related by Mr. Williams in the narrative of his captivity, which happened in 1704. When he was in Canada, a Jesuit discoursing with him on the causes of their wars with New-England, "justified the Indians in what they did against us; rehearsing some things done by Major Waldron above 30 years ago, and how justly God retaliated them." Page 18.6. [In the corrected copy of the author, the following note is inserted. "A vessel carried away a great number of our surprised Indians in the time of our Wars, to sell them for slaves, but the nations whither they went would not buy them. Finally, they were left at Tangier, where they be, so many as live, or are born there. An Englishman, a Mason, came thence to Boston. He told me they desire that I would use some means for their return home. I know not what to do in it, but now it is in my heart to move your honour, so to mediate, that they may have leave to get home, either from thence hither, or from thence to England, and so to get home. If the Lord shall please to move your charitable heart therein, I shall be obliged in great thankfulness, and am persuaded that Christ will at the great day reckon it among your deeds of charity done to them for his name's sake." Letter from Rev. John Eliot, of Roxbury to Hon. Robert Boyle, Nov. 27, 1683, in Birch's Life of Boyle, p. 440.]7. [Abraham Lee was a chymist and probably the first in New-Hampshire. He seemed to have made some trial of his skill in 1685, as the records of the Quarter Sessions show that he was indicted for coining that year, but "the grand jury having found upon the bill of indictment, ignoramus,"he was discharged, "paying the fees." He married Hester Elkins, 21 June, 1686, and she was probably the daughter of major Waldron named in the text.]8. [The note on Elder Wentworth is transferred from the Appendix to the first volume of the first edition, to this place. "William Wentworth was one of the first settlers of Exeter, and after the breaking up of their combination for government, he removed to Dover, and became a ruling elder in the church there. In 1689, he was remarkably instrumental of saving Heard's garrison, as is related in the proper place. After this, he officiated several years as a preacher at Exeter, and other places, and died at a very advanced age at Dover, in 1697, leaving a numerous posterity. From him the several governors of that name are descended. He was a very useful and good man."]9. [Elizabeth Heard was the widow of John Heard, and, according to Mather, ii. Magnalia, 512, was the "daughter of Mr. Hull, a reverend minister, formerly living at Pascataqua." She had five sons, viz. Benjamin, born in 1644; John, born 1659; Joseph, born 1661; Samuel, born 1663; Tristram, born 1667, and five daughters. Tristram was killed by the Indians as will be seen under the year 1723.]10. Mass. Records. Original Letter. [The letter of Major Hinchman, dated 22 June, is published in the Coll. of the N. H. Hist. Soc. i. 222, 223.]11. One of these prisoners was Sarah Gerrish, a remarkably fine child of seven years old, and grand-daughter of Major Waldron, in whose house she lodged that fatal night. Some circumstances attending her captivity are truly affecting. When she was awakened by the noise of the Indians in the house, she crept into another bed and hid herself under the clothes to escape their search. She remained in their hands till the next winter, and was sold from one to another for several times. An Indian girl once pushed her into a river; but, catching by the bushes, she escaped drowning, yet durst not tell how she came to be wet. Once she was so weary with travelling that she did not awake in the morning till the Indians were gone, and then found herself alone in the woods, covered with snow, and without any food; having found their tracks she went crying after them till they heard her and took her with them. At another time they kindled a great fire, and the young Indians told her she was to be roasted. She burst into tears, threw her arms round her master's neck, and begged him to save her, which he promised to do if she would behave well. Being arrived in Canada, she was bought by the Intendant's lady, who treated her courteously, and sent her to a nunnery for education. But when Sir William Phips was at Quebec she was exchanged, and returned to her friends, with whom she lived till she was sixteen years old.
The wife of Richard Otis was taken at the same time, with an infant daughter of three months old. The French priests took this child under their care, baptised her by the name of Christina, and educated her in the Romish religion. She passed some time in a nunnery, but declined taking the veil, and was married to a Frenchman, by whom she had two children. But her desire to see New-England was so strong, that upon an exchange of prisoners in 1714, being then a widow, she left both her children, who were not permitted to come with her, and returned home, where she abjured the Romish faith. M. Siguenot, her former confessor, wrote her a flattering letter, warning her of her danger, inviting her to return to the bosom of the catholic church, and repeating many gross calumnies which had formerly been vented against Luther and the other reformers. This letter being shown to Governor Burnet, he wrote her a sensible and masterly answer, refuting the arguments, and detecting the falsehoods it contained: Both these letters were printed. She was married afterward to Capt. Thomas Baker, who had been taken atDeerfield in 1704, and lived in Dover, where she was born, till the year 1773.
Mr. John Emerson, by declining to lodge at Major Waldron's on the fatal night, though strongly urged, met with an happy escape. He was afterward a minister at New-Castle and Portsmouth. [The Mr. John Emerson who declined to lodge at Major Waldron's on the 27 June, 1689, according to Mather, ii. Magnalia, 511, was "a worthy minister at Berwick," and could not have been the future minister at New-Castle and Portsmouth, as he had not at this time graduated at college. Alden, both in his Collection of Epitaphs and in his Account of Religious Societies in Portsmouth, has fallen into the same error in considering the minister of New-Castle and Portsmouth as the one, who "met with an happy escape by declining to lodge at Major Waldron's."]
Some of the circumstances relating to the destruction of Cochecho are taken from Mather's Magnalia. The others from the tradition of the sufferers and their descendants.
12. [Captain John Wincol belonged to Kittery, which he represented in the General Court of Massachusetts six years, the last time in 1678.]13. Magnalia, lib. 7, p. 67.14. Charlevoix says they burned "twenty-seven houses and two thousand head of cattle in the barns." The number of buildings, including mills, barns and other out houses, might amount to near twenty; but the number of cattle as he gives it, is incredible.15. Charlevoix, lib. 7, p. 74.16. Mather, Magnalia, lib. 7, p. 68.17. The following instances of cruelty exercised towards the prisoners taken at Salmon-falls are mentioned by Dr. [Cotton] Mather.
Robert Rogers, a corpulent man, being unable to carry the burden which the Indians imposed upon him, threw it down in the path and went aside in the woods to conceal himself. They found him by his track, stripped, beat and pricked him with their swords; then tied him to a tree and danced round him till they had kindled a fire. They gave him time to pray, and take leave of his fellow prisoners who were placed round the fire to see his death. They pushed the fire toward him, and when he was almost stifled, took it away to give him time to breathe, and thus prolonged his misery; they drowned his dying groans with their hideous singing and yelling; all the while dancing round the fire, cutting off pieces of his flesh and throwing them in his face. When he was dead they left his body broiling on the coals, in which state it was found by his friends, and buried.
Mehetabel Goodwin was taken with her child of five months old. When it cried they threatened to kill it, which made the mother go aside and sit for hours together in the snow to lull it to sleep; her master seeing that this hindered her from travelling, took the child, struck its head against a tree, and hung it on one of the branches; she would have buried it but he would not let her, telling her that if she came again that way she might have the pleasure of seeing it. She was carried to Canada, and after five years returned home.
Mary Plaisted was taken out of her bed, having lain in but three weeks. They made her travel with them through the snow, and "to ease her of her burden," as they said, struck the child's head against a tree, and threw it into a river.
An anecdote of another kind may relieve the reader after these tragical accounts. Thomas Toogood was pursued by three Indians and overtaken by one of them, who having inquired his name, was preparing strings to bind him, holding his gun under his arm, which Toogood seized and went backward, keeping the gun presented at him, and protesting that he would shoot him if he alarmed the others who had stopped on the opposite side of the hill. By this dexterity, he escaped and got safe into Cochecho; while his adversary had no recompense in his power but to call after him by the name of Nogood. When he returned to his companions without gun or prisoner, their derision made his misadventure the more grievous.
18. Mag. lib. 7, p. 73.19. Mag. lib. 7, p. 74.20. Ibid. p. 73.21. MS. Letter.22. [1690. The ship Faulkland of 54 guns, was built at Portsmouth. Adams, Annals of Portsmouth.]23. Mag. 78.24. MS. Letter of Morrill to Prince, [Magnalia.]25. [In the same month, a party made a descent on Dunstable, where they killed Joseph Hassell, sen., his wife Anna, and son Benjamin, Mary Marks, daughter of Peter Marks, Obadiah Perry, one of the founders of the church there, and Christopher Temple. Perry and Temple were killed in the morning of the 28 September; the others were killed in the evening of the 2d. -- MS. Letter of J. B. Hill, Esq.]26. Fitch's MS.27. Mag. p. 85.28. [This "Submission and Agreement of the Eastern Indians, at Fort William Henry, in Pemmaquid, the 11th day of August, in the fifth year of our Sovereign Lord and Lady William and Mary, by the grace of God, of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, King and Queen, Defender of the Faith, &c. 1693," may be found in Mather, ii. Magnalia, p. 542. It is signed by thirteen Indian Chiefs, four Indians, and three English Interpreters.]29. MS. in files.30. [1693. New-Castle, formerly GreatIsland, was incorporated. This is now the smallest town in point of territory in the state of New-Hampshire, containing only 458 acres. It originally consisted of GreatIsland, Little Harbor, and Sandy Beach, (now Rye) all which were once comprehended within the limits of Portsmouth. Some of the principal merchants of the Province resided there -- and the principal seat of business for many years was at GreatIsland.
1693. An act passed the General Assembly of New-Hampshire to establish a Post-office "in some convenient place within the town of Portsmouth." The postage on letters from beyond sea was two pence; on packets equal to not less than three letters, four pence. The postage on letters from Boston was not to exceed six pence, and double for a packet, and "so proportionably for letters on this side Boston," and "for all other letters beyond Boston, shall be paid what is the accustomary allowance in the government from whence they came."]
31. Magnalia, lib. 7, p. 86.32. Charlevoix, lib. 15, p. 210.33. [John Buss is mentioned in the 3d volume, p. 250, of the first edition, as a practitioner of physic, and as having died in 1736, at the age of 108 years; but his age is overstated. It should be 96. In a petition from him to Gov. Shute and the General Assembly of Massachusetts, in 1718, he states that he had labored in the work of the ministry at Oyster-River 44 years successively; that he was then advanced to 78 years of age; that he had kept his station there, "even in the time of the terrible Indian war, when many a score fell by the sword, both on the right hand and on the left, and several others forced to flight for want of bread;" that he was then "unable to perform the usual exercise of the ministry," and that "the people had not only called another minister, but stopped their hands from paying to his subsistence, whereupon he was greatly reduced, having neither bread to eat, nor sufficient clothing to encounter the approaching winter." The ministers of Durham from that time down to our own days have not unfrequently complained that they prophesied in sackcloth.]34. Charlevoix, with his usual parade, boasts of their having killed two hundred and thirty people, and burned fifty or sixty houses. He speaks of only two forts, both of which were stormed. [The Rev. John Pike, in his manuscript Journal, says they "killed and carried away 94 persons and burnt 13 houses." As he then lived in Dover and made a record of the event near the time it occurred, we can probably depend upon the accuracy of his statement.]35. Among these prisoners, were Thomas Drew and his wife, who were newly married. He was carried to Canada, where he continued two years and was redeemed. She to Norridgewog, and was gone four years, in which she endured everything but death. She was delivered of a child in the winter, in the open air, and in a violent snow storm. Being unable to suckle her child, or provide it any food, the Indians killed it. She lived fourteen days on a decoction of the bark of trees. Once, they set her to draw a sled up a river against a piercing north-west wind, and left her. She was so overcome with the cold that she grew sleepy, laid down and was nearly dead, when they returned; they carried her senseless to a wigwam, and poured warm water down her throat, which recovered her. After her return to her husband, she had fourteen children; they lived together till he was ninety-three, and she eighty-nine years of age; they died within two days of each other, and were buried in one grave.These particular circumstances of the destruction at Oyster river were at my desire collected from the information of aged people by John Smith, Esq. a descendant of one of the suffering families.36. Magnalia, lib. 7, page 86.37. [William Shackford was of Dover, and one of the grand jury in 1682.]38. Judge Parker.39. Magnalia, lib. 7, p. 89.40. [The persons killed were Nicholas Otis, Mary Downs and Mary Jones; those wounded were Richard Otis, Anthony Lowden and Experience Heard; those captured were John Tucker, Nicholas Otis, jr., and Judith Ricker. On the 25th August following, Lieutenant Lock was slain by the Indians at Sandy Beach, and soon after Arnold Breck, &c. was shot at betwixt Hampton and Greenland. Rev. John Pike, MS. Journal.]41. [Major Charles Frost, was the representative of Kittery in the General Court of Massachusetts in the years 1658, 1660 and 1661, and was long an active and useful officer in the Indian wars. He is named by Hubbard in his Wars with the Eastern Indians, p. 28. Under the charter of William and Mary, at the first election of counsellors, in 1693, he was selected for one of those to be chosen for Maine. He was probably related to the Frosts of New-Hampshire, where the name has continued with reputation from an early period to the present time.]42. Mag. lib. 7, page 91. MS. Journal.43. [It was in 1697, on the 15 of March, that the town of Haverhill, in Massachusetts, was attacked by the Indians, and some of the prisoners there taken were brought into New-Hampshire, among whom was the intrepid Hannah Duston, whose story is well known. It was on a small island at the mouth of Contoocook river, about six miles above the State House in Concord, that she destroyed her captors. She and her coadjutors killed two men, two women, and six others, and having scalped them, carried their scalps to Boston.]44. Mag. lib. 7, page 94.45. [I have endeavored to collect from various authorities, but principally from a MS. Journal of the Rev. John Pike, of Dover, a summary account of the depredations committed by the Indians in the Eastern part of New-England, during what Cotton Mather calls "Decennium Luctuosum, or the long War with the Indian Salvages," which is presented below in a tabular form, and so far as was practicable, in chronological order. Other depredations doubtless were committed of which no account is preserved.
Time Places attacked Number Killed Wounded Capt'd 1689 28 June August August Dover Oyster River, (Durham) Andover, Ms. 23 18 2 (1) 29 1690 2 February 18 March 22 August
July or Aug
Schenectady, N. Y. Salmon-Falls York, Me.
Fox Point, (Newington)
Wheelwright's Pond, (Lee)
Maquoit, (near Casco)
27 52 1
1692 25 January 18 July 1 August
York, Me. Lancaster, Ms. Billerica, Ms.
Newichwannock, (S. Berwick)
Sandy Beach, (Rye)
48 6 6
1 1693 10 May Dover 1(3) 1694 18 July 21 July 27 July
Oyster River Portsmouth Groton, Ms.
Spruce Creek and York
Long Reach, (Kittery)
Pond Plain, Ms. (6)
94(4) 4 22
1695 28 March 6 July 7 July
Saco Fort, Me. Kittery, Me. York, Me.
Saco Fort, Me.
(1) Four from Andover died the same year in the war at the Eastward. -- Abbot, Hist. Andover, 43.(2) This number includes those who were killed and carried away. Pike, MS. Journal.(3) This was Tobias Hanson, who is not named by Dr. Belknap.(4) Killed and carried away.(5) Killed and captured.(6) Between Amesbury and Haverhill, Ms.
Time Places attacked Number Killed Wounded Capt'd 1695 9 September 7 October Pemaquid, Me. Newbury, Ms. 4 6 1 9 1696 7 May 24 June 26 June
Dover, (or near it) York, Me. Sagamore's Creek (Ports.)
Saco Fort, Me.
1 2 24
1697 15 March 20 May
Haverhill, Ms. York, Me. Groton, Ms.
Saco Fort, Me.
1698 22 February February 9 May
Andover, Ms. Haverhill, Ms. Spruce Creek, Me.
5 2 1
5 2 3
(1) This place was in New-Hampshire.(2) This was the number killed and taken. Mr. Saltonstall in his Hist. of Haverhill, p. 8, says that, "In 1697, fourteen persons were killed, [in Haverhill] eight of them children." These he makes in addition to the above 40 killed and taken when Mrs. Duston was captured, the time of which he erroneously places under 1698.]
46. Hutch. vol. 2, page 110.47. Several instances to this purpose have been occasionally mentioned in the course of this narrative. The following additional one is taken from Capt. Hammond's MS. Journal. "April 13, 1677. The Indians Simon, Andrew and Peter burnt the house of Edward Weymouth at Sturgeon creek. They plundered the house of one Crawley but did not kill him, because of some kindness done to Simon's grandmother."48. Mary Rowlandson who was captured at Lancaster, in 1675, has this passage in her narrative, (p. 55.) "I have been in the midst of these roaring lions and savage bears, that feared neither God nor man nor the devil, by day and night, alone and in company; sleeping all sorts together, and yet not one of them ever offered me the least abuse of unchastity in word or action."
Elizabeth Hanson who was taken from Dover in 1724, testifies in her narrative, (p. 28) that "the Indians are very civil toward their captive women, not offering any incivility by any indecent carriage."
William Fleming, who was taken in Pennsylvania, in 1755, says the Indians told him "he need not be afraid of their abusing his wife, for they would not do it, for fear of offending their God (pointing their hands toward heaven) for the man that affronts his God will surely be killed when he goes to war." He farther says, that one of them gave his wife a shift and petticoat which he had among his plunder, and though he was alone with her, yet "he turned his back, and went to some distance whilst she put them on." (p. 10.)
Charlevoix in his account of the Indians of Canada, says, (letter 7) "There is no example that any have ever taken the least liberty with the French women, even when they were their prisoners."
The History of New Hampshire (1812)
Volume 2, Chapter VII
Monuments and relics of the Indians.
IN describing any country, it is natural to make some inquiry concerning the vestiges of its ancient inhabitants. It is well known that the original natives of this part of America, were not ambitious of perpetuating their fame by durable monuments. Their invention was chiefly employed either in providing for their subsistence, by hunting, fishing and planting, or in guarding against and surprising their enemies. Their houses and canoes were constructed of light and perishable materials. Their mode of travelling was to take all possible advantage of water carriage, and to shorten distances, by transporting their birchen canoes across the necks of land which were convenient for the purpose. Their manner of taking fish was either by entangling them in wears, or dipping for them in scoopnets, or striking them with spears. They took quadrupeds in traps or pit-falls, or shot them, as well as birds, with arrows. For the construction of their canoes and houses they used hatchets, chissels, and gouges of stone. To cook their meat, they either broiled it on coals, or on a wooden grate, or roasted it on a forked stick, or boiled it in kettles of stone. Their corn was pounded in mortars of wood, with pestles of stone. Their bread was either baked on flat stones set before a fire, or in green leaves laid under hot ashes. Clam-shells served them for spoons, and their fingers for knives and forks. They had no sharper instruments than could be formed of stones, shells and bones. Of these the two last are perishable by age; but of the first, relics are frequently found in the places of their former residence, generally in the neighborhood of water falls, and other convenient fishing places. The manner of finding them is by plowing or digging. The most of those which have been discovered, have come to light by accident, and a few only are so perfect as to merit preservation.
The hatchet is a hard stone, eight or ten inches in length and three or four in breadth, of an oval form, flatted and rubbed to an edge at one end; near the other end is a groove in which the handle was fastened; and their process to do it was this: When the stone was prepared, they chose a very young sapling, and, splitting it near the ground, they forced the hatchet into it, as far as the groove, and left nature to complete the work by the growth of the wood, so as to fill the groove and adhere firmly to the stone. They then cut off the sapling above and below, and the hatchet was fit for use.
The chissel is about six inches long and two inches wide, flatted and rubbed sharp at one end. It was used only by the hand, for it would not bear to be driven. The gouge differs from the chissel only in being hollow at the edge. With these instruments they felled trees, cut them into proper lengths, scooped them out hollow for canoes, trays, or mortars, and fashioned them to any shape which they pleased. To save labor, they made use of fire, to soften those parts of the wood which were to be cut with these imperfect tools; and by a proper application of wet earth or clay, they could circumscribe the operation of the fire at their pleasure. (1)
Their pestles are long, cylindrical or conical stones, of the heaviest kind; some of which have figures, rudely wrought, at the end of the handle.
Their kettle is nothing more than a hole, either natural or artificial, in a large stone; but their mode of boiling in it would not readily occur to a person who had seen a kettle used no other way than with a fire under it. Their fire was made by the side of the kettle, and a number of small stones were heated. The kettle being filled with water, and the food placed in it, the hot stones were put in, one after another, and by a dextrous repetition of this process, the meat or fish was boiled.
Of arrow-heads, there is found a greater number than of any other instrument; and they are of all sizes from one to five inches in length; pointed and jagged, with a notch on each side, at the lower end, to bind them to the shaft, the end of which was split to let in the head. Children were early taught the use of the bow, and many of the arrow-heads which are found seem to have been fit only for their use.
Another implement of stone is found, the use of which is to us undetermined. It is shaped like a pear, with a neck, and was probably suspended by a string. Some suppose it was hung to a net, and that many of them placed at the lower edge served the purpose of weights to sink it.
Some specimens of sculpture have been found, but they are not common. In the museum of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, there is an imitation of the head of a serpent, at the end of a long stone pestle, found at Wells, in the county of York. There is, in the possession of a gentleman in New-Hampshire, a piece of bone, on which is engraven the bust of a man, apparently in the agonies of death. The countenance is savage, and the work is well executed. The bone with the figure on it, was found at the shore of the little bay, in the river Pascataqua.
In the places of their habitations are sometimes found circular hearths of flat stones, which were laid in the middle of their wigwams. Their mode of lodging was with their feet to the fire. This custom is adopted by people who lie abroad in the woods, and by others at home. It is accounted both a preventative and a remedy for a cold.
The cellars in which they preserved their corn, are sometimes discovered in the new settlements, and their graves are frequently seen. Most of the skeletons appear to be in a sitting posture, and some remains of their instruments which are supposed necessary to their subsistence, ornament or defence in the "country of souls," are found with them; particularly the stone pipe for smoking tobacco, of which there are several varieties. In a piece of intervale land near the Ossapy pond, is a tumulus or mound of earth, overgrown with pine, in which, at the depth of two feet, several skeletons have been discovered, buried with the face downward. (2) At Exeter, about two years ago, the remains of an infant skeleton were dug up. It was in a perpendicular position, and had been inclosed with a hollow log. Some strings of wampum were found near it and several spoons, apparently of European manufacture.
The remains of their fields are still visible in many places; these were not extensive, and the hills which they made about their corn stalks were small. Some pieces of baked earthen ware have been found at Sanborn-town and Goff's-town, from which it is supposed that the Indians had learned the potter's art; but of what antiquity these remnants are, and whether manufactured by them or not, is uncertain.
The paths which served them for carrying places between rivers, or different parts of the same river, are frequently discovered, in the cutting of roads, or laying out of new townships. Probably some hints might be taken from this circumstance, to expedite and facilitate our inland navigation.
In their capital fishing places, particularly in great Ossapy and Winipiseogee rivers, are the remains of their wears, constructed with very large stones. At Sanborntown there is the appearance of a fortress consisting of five distinct walls, one within the other, and at Hinsdale there is something of the same kind; but these are vastly inferior, both in design and execution to the military works found in the country of the Senekas and in the neighbourhood of the Ohio.
I have heard of two specimens of an Indian Gazette, found in New-Hampshire. One was a pine tree, on the shore of Winipiseogee river, on which was depicted a canoe, with two men in it. This is supposed to have been a mark of direction to those who might come after. (3) The other was a tree in Moultonborough, standing by a carrying place, between two ponds. On this tree was carved the history of one of their expeditions. The number of the killed and prisoners, was represented by so many human figures; the former were marked with the stroke of a knife, across their throats, and even the distinction between the males and females, was preserved. (4)
Some of their modes and customs have been learned by our own people, and are still retained. In the river Pascataqua, lobsters and flat fish are struck with a spear; and the best time for this kind of fishing is the night. A lighted pitch-knot is placed on the outside of a canoe, which not only attracts the fish, but gives the fishermen direction where to strike. The river is sometimes illuminated by a multitude of these floating lights. The Indian scoop-net is shaped like a pocket; the edge of which is fastened to a wooden bow, at the end of a long pole. With these are caught salmon, shad, alewives, smelts and lampreys. Frost-fish are taken with wooden tongs, and black eels in cylindrical baskets, with a hole, resembling mouse traps made of wire.
The culheag or log-trap, is used for taking wolves, bears and martins. Its size varies, according to the bulk or strength of the animal. It is a forceps, composed of two long sticks, one lying on the other, connected at one end, and open at the other. Near the open end is made a semicircular, covered enclosure, with short stakes, driven into the ground on one side of the logs, which are firmly secured by another stake, on the opposite side. In this enclosure is placed the bait, fastened to a round stick, which lies across the lower log, the upper log resting on the end of a perpendicular pointed stick, the other end of which is set on the round stick. The animal having scented the bait, finds no way to come at it, but by putting his head between the logs. As soon as he touches the bait, the round stick, on which it is fastened, rolls; the perpendicular gives way; the upper log falls, and crushes him to death in an instant, without injuring his skin.
To take martins, the hunters make a great number of these traps, at the distance of about a quarter or half mile from each other; they scent the whole space between the traps, by drawing a piece of raw flesh on the ground; this scent guides the animal to the trap, which is baited with the same. The hunters visit the traps once in a day, and retire to their camp with the prey. There are two seasons for this species of hunting, namely, in December and March.
Beavers are taken in iron spring traps. The Indians have learned to use these traps, in preference to their own.
The use of snow-shoes was learned at first from them. The shape and construction of them are well known. The stick which projects behind acts as a spring, and sets the man forward at every step; by which means, one who is used to this mode of travelling, can walk on the snow, more expeditiously than on the ground.
We are indebted to them, for the method of preserving the flesh of animals in snow. This is very useful to people who raise or buy large quantities of poultry for the market. They fill the hollow parts, and pack them in a cask with snow; which, whilst it remains undissolved, preserves the flesh in its original sweetness. The Indians had another way of preserving flesh, by cutting it from the bone, and drying it in smoke; but this is now seldom used, unless the meat has been previously cured with salt, the use of which, was unknown to the savages.
Their mode of catching ducks, is still used in those places where this species of game abounds. In the month of August, the old ducks shed their feathers, and the young, being unfledged, are not able to fly. During this period they swim on the water, and may be driven into small creeks, whence they cannot escape. They are then easily caught in great numbers, and preserved for winter by salt or smoke.
We have also learned from the natives, to dress leather with the brains and fat of the animal, which render it extremely soft and pliable. (5) They have an art of dying hair in various colors, which are bright and permanent. I know not whether they have communicated this knowledge.
Some of their modes of cookery have been adopted, and are retained. Their roasted and boiled ears of green corn, their samp and homony, which consist of corn bruised and soaked or boiled, their nokehike, which is corn parched and pounded, their suckatash, which is a mixture of corn and beans boiled, are much used, and very palatable. One of the most delicate of their dishes was the upaquontop, or the head of a bass boiled, and the broth thickened with homony. The lip of a moose, and the tail of a beaver, prepared in this manner, were among their greatest luxuries. They prepared a very agreeable liquor by infusing the meal of parched corn in warm water and sweetening it with the sugar of maple.
Their cultivation was extremely imperfect. The only objects of it were corn, beans, pumpkins and squashes, which were planted by their women, with the aid of no instruments but stones and clam-shells; and no manure but fish. Yet, their judgement of the proper season for planting cannot, be amended. It was when the leaves of the white oak are as big as the ear of a mouse. Their method of girdling trees to kill them, that the land might be opened for planting, is used by some people in their first essays of husbandry. It is not only a lazy fashion and quite inexcuseable where axes may be had, but the ground needs clearing as often as the trees or branches are broken off by the wind.
The virtues of many herbs, roots and barks, with which the country abounds, were well known to the natives, and some traditionary knowledge of this kind has been preserved, though much is lost for want of a more certain mode of preservation than human memory. Some of their medicinal operations are still practiced; but most of them are disused, being superseded by professional improvements. They raised a blister by burning punk or touchwood on the skin. They applied roots, boiled soft, in the form of a poultice to the throat or other parts, when swelled or inflamed. They relieved a person chilled with cold, by pouring warm water down the throat. They attempted the cure of fevers by sweating in a covered hut, with the steam of water poured on hot stones, and then plunging into cold water. For pains in the limbs they had another mode of sweating. A number of sods were heated, and the patient, wrapped in a mat, was laid on some and covered with others, till the heat of the turf was supposed to have extracted the pain. The offices of physician and priest were united in the same person, and a variety of mysterious rites accompanied his operations.
They had a knowledge of poisons and antidotes, and could so prepare themselves, that the most venomous serpents would avoid them, or prove harmless in their hands. This knowledge has seldom been communicated, and is always treated as mysterious.
I wish it could not be said, that some of their superstitious notions have been transferred and propagated. The idea that lonely mountains and rocks are inhabited by departed spirits, and other invisible and imaginary beings, is not yet worn out. Certain charms and spells, which are supposed to be effectual preservatives, or cures in cases of witchcraft, are still in use among the vulgar; though perhaps some of the these traditions may owe their origin to the superstition of our European ancestors, descended from the remoter savages of Britain, Ireland and Germany. These notions, however pitied by some, and ridiculed by others, are still deeply engraven on the minds of many, and are maintained with an inflexibility which would do them honor if the cause were worthy of defence. So strong are these impressions, that the same persons, whose intrepidity in scenes of real danger is unquestionable, often render themselves miserable by the apprehension of evils, which exist only in their imagination.
1. 'I have seen a native (says Roger Williams) go into the woods with his hatchet, carrying only a basket of corne, and stones to strike fire. When he hath felled his trees (either a chestnut or pine) he maketh him a little hut or shed of the bark of it. He puts fire, and follows the burning of it, in the midst, in many places. His corne he boils, and hath the brooke by him, and sometimes angles for a little fish. So he continueth burning and hewing, until he hath, in ten or twelve days, finished, and getting hands, launched his boat.'2. MS. letter of Wentworth Cheswell, Esq.3. Woodman's MS. letter.4. Shaw's MS. letter.5. A lather is made of the brains and the soft fat or marrow in which the skin is soaked; it is then dried in smoke; afterward washed and soaked in warm water, till the grain is open then wrung out, dried by a slow fire, rubbed and stretched as long as any moisture remains in it. It is then scraped with a circular knife, and becomes very soft and delicate. Hearne.
Edited by Terry & Linda Heller, Coe College
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