Untimely Deaths

1620/21 – The first winter after the arrival of the Mayflower was extremely difficult and a number of the settlers died. Amongst these were John Tilley, wife Joan, brother Edward, and sister-in-law Ann.  This left daughter Elizabeth the only surviving member of the Tilley family in America. The orphan was taken in by John Carver but he and his wife both died that spring. Elizabeth married John Howland, Carver’s former servant, in 1623/24 and left many descendants including us!

1634 – Edward Bosworth, who with his wife Mary….had with them their sons…a daughter Mary, and her husband William Buckland… came to the new World in the ship Elizabeth Dorcas.  The ship was detained at Gravesend, Eng., from 22 Feb 1634, until early spring, while it was ascertained that all passengers had secured the necessary paper work for immigration.  The Elizabeth Dorcas lost sixty passengers and many animals before docking. Many of the bodies were buried at sea.   Edward survived the trip was Edward, but he died in Boston Harbor on arrival. From the Diary of Samuel Sewall (Vol. 3, page 396):

Edward Bosworth, the Father, being ready to dye ask’d to be carried upon Deck, that he might see Canaan. When he had seen the Land he resigned his Soul and dyed: was carried ashoar and buried at Boston.

26 May 1637 –Captain William Hedge participated in the Mystic Massacre. During the Pequot War, English settlers under Captain John Mason, and Narragansett and Mohegan allies set fire to a fortified Pequot village near the Mystic River. They shot any people who tried to escape the wooden palisade fortress and killed the entire village, in retaliation for previous Pequot attacks. The only Pequot survivors were warriors who had been with their sachem Sassacus in a raiding party outside the village.

A Brief History of the Pequot War Page 9 –

The Fire was kindled on the North East Side to windward; which did swiftly over-run the Fort, to the extream Amazement of the Enemy, and great Rejoycing of our selves. Some of them climbing to the Top of the Palizado; others of them running into the very Flames; many of them gathering to windward, lay pelting at us with their Arrows; and we repayed them with our small Shot: Others of the Stoutest issued forth, as we did guess, to the Number of Forty, who perished by the Sword.

In reference to Captain Underhill and his Parties acting in this Assault, I can only intimate as we were informed by some of themselves immediately after the Fight, Thus They Marching up to the Entrance on the South West Side, there made some Pause; a valiant, resolute Gentleman, one Mr. HEDGE, stepping towards the Gate, saying, If we may not Enter, wherefore came we hear; and immediately endeavoured to Enter; but was opposed by a sturdy Indian which did impede his Entrance: but the Indian being slain by himself and Serjeant Davis, Mr. Hedge Entred the Fort with some others; but the Fort being on Fire, the Smoak and Flames were so violent that they were constrained to desert the Fort.

24 Apr 1639 – Robert Bullard died  at Watertown, Mass. His death was accidental, the result of “the overthrow of a cart,” according to the early records of Medfield.

21 Oct 1650 – “Benjamin Coleman, son of Thomas Coleman, drowned in Hampton New Hampshire. His brother drowned nine years later, water safety was not a family virtue.

20 Oct 1657 – John Brown (Hampton) built the first ‘barque’ (small boat) ever built in Hampton, New Hampshire in 1641 or 1642 at the river near Perkins Mill.  It would seem that this barque was the one that John Greenleaf Whittier features in his poem, ‘The Wreck of River Mouth’.”    This poem expands on the true story of a Hampton shipwreck (click for original report) from 1657, when a group of eight were killed in a sudden storm.   Whittier also includes the character of  another of our ancestors Rev. Stephen BATCHELDERthe founder of Hampton, NH in this poem. The Browns River is named after John.  It is a 2.9 miles long river, primarily tidal, in southeastern New Hampshire in the United States. It is part of the largest salt marsh in New Hampshire, covering over 3,800 acres.

Sep 1659 – “Isaac Coleman, son of Thomas Coleman, accompanied Thomas Macy in Autumn of 1659, in the boat, he being a ‘boy of 12 or 13. By town record of births and deaths, John Barnard and “Bethia his wife, and Isaac Coleman, ended their days ye 6th mo., 1659, “being drowned out of a canoe between Nantucket and the vineyard, At the same time Eleazar Folger was preserved. “This Bethia Barnard was a daughter of Peter Folger and Sister of “Abigail Franklin, the mother of Benjamin Franklin. In other word’s Benajmin Franklin’s aunt died in this canoe accident. *N. E. Hist, and Gen. Register.

1675 – Richard Scott’s son Richard Jr. was killed in Rhode Island in King Phillip’s War

18 Sep 1675 – Leonard Harriman’s son John was killed at the Battle of Bloody Brook with Captain Lathrop. At a given signal, hundreds of warriors, who were lying concealed all around the spot, opened fire on the convoy. Chaos followed, bullets and arrows flew from every direction. Captain Lathrop immediately fell. Of the 80 soldiers, only 7 or 8 escaped.

19 Dec 1675 – Joseph Batcheller’s son Mark was killed.as a soldier in the company of Capt. Joseph Gardner of Salem,  in King Philip’s War, in the Great Swap Fight with the indians. The colonists lost many of their officers in this assault: about 70 of their men were killed and nearly 150 more wounded.  Mark’s estate was valued at £131.

5 Feb 1675/76 – Capt. John Gorham died  after being wounded 15 Nov 1675 in the  Great Swamp Fight in King Phillip’s War.  He was wounded by having his powder horn shot which split against his side, and he was severely weakened further from exposure. He died of the resulting fever. John was Captain in the 2nd Barnstable Company, Plymouth Regiment.  As a reward for service in the war with King Phillip, soldiers were given lands in Maine and the town of  Gorham, Maine was named in John’s honor.

10 Feb 1675/76 –  Jonathan Fairbanks’ son Joshua and grandson Joshua were killed during a raid in King Philip’s war. Several hundred Indians attacked Lancaster, setting many homes on fire.  More than 50 English were killed, and twenty four taken captive with the Indians, who roamed about with their prisoners for the next few months. Our ancestors John Houghton and Jonas Houghton were made homeless  in this same attack and they fled  to Charlestown under escort. (See John Houghton’s page for the story of Indian captive Mary Rowlandson.)

26 Mar 1676 – John Low died  at Nine Men’s Misery a battle in King Philip’s War.

the English and their few Indian Friends were quite surrounded, and beset on every Side. Yet they made a brave Resistance, for about two Hours: during all that Time they did great Execution upon the Enemy, whom they kept at a Distance, and themselves in Order. For Captain Pierce cast his 63 English and 20 Indians into a Ring, and fought Back to Back, and were double-double Distance, all in a Ring, whilst the Indians were as thick as they could stand, thirty deep. Overpowered with those numbers, the said Captain, and 55 of his English and ten of their Indian Friends were slain upon the Place.

1676 –  Robert Goodale’s son Jacob was killed at age 34 by Giles Cory, for whom he worked.  He was beaten and died soon afterwards.  The coroner’s jury said “The man was bruised to death, having clusters of blood about the heart.” Giles Cory was fined for the offense.   Longfellow wrote a poem about the death and trail but used the name “Robert” instead of “Jacob” the son.  Giles Cory was pressed to death at age 80 in Salem Mass., a victim of the witchcraft trails of 1692.

When Corey was accused of witchcraft with five other men years later, the murder of Jacob came back to haunt him during his trial. Refusing to plead, Corey was crushed to death when the tribunal ordered heavy stones be laid on his body.

Legend has it that the ghost of Jacob Goodale appeared to Corey from time to time, crying out about his murder. In his play “The New-England Tragedies,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow refers to the lore: “Look! Look! It is the ghost of Jacob Goodale . . . Whom fifteen years ago this man did murder, By stomping on his body! In his shroud. . . . He comes here to bear witness to this crime.”

3 May 1676 – In Nov of 1666 Richard Kimball’s son Thomas exchanged his Ipswich farm with George HADLEY and immediately removed  there.  The Kimball farm was in the westerly part of Ipswich known as the Line Brook Parish near Topsfield.  On May 3, 1676, the house Thomas Kimball received of George Hadley was burned by the Indians, Kimball was killed and his wife and 5 children carried into captivity.

19 May 1677 – Richard Kimball’s daughter Martha killed by the Indians near Deerfield, Mass.

1 Jun 1677 – John SCOTT Sr. (1640 – 1677 )  was shot by an Indian on his own doorstep and died a few days later,  in Providence, RI.   In Bodge’s “Soldier’s in King Philip’s War”, it appears that John served from June 1675 to August 1676. As neither John nor his father are in “A List of the inhabitants who Tarried in Providence during Philip’s War—1675,” it appears probable that the entire Moshasuck quaker settlement went to Newport during that struggle, and that John Scott and his family returned too soon for safety.

9 Nov 1679 – Thomas Huckins and his son Joseph were cast away in hs vessel and perished in a gale.

21 Oct 1680 – As recorded in the journal of Simeon Bradford: “Octob. 21. Matthew Brecket Sen. (Matthew Beckwith) about 70, missing his way in a very dark night, fell from a Ledge of rocks about 20 or 30 foot high and beat out his brains against a stone he fell vpon. Another man yt was wth him was wthin a yard of ye place but by gods Providee came not to such an end. Let him and all nearly concerned, ye every one, make good vse of such an awfull & Solemne Providee.”

In the course of New Hampshire’s history, perhaps the unluckiest family was that of Bradley. Were their untimely deaths the result of a curse, or did they simply have the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

It started with the progenitor of this prolific New England family–Daniel Bradley. He immigrated to the New World on 8 Apr 1635 on the ship, “Elizabeth,” of London first settling in Rowley and later in Haverhill, Massachusetts. On 13 Aug 1689 a small party of Indians appeared in the northerly part of this town, and killed him. But not before he married and his wife gave birth to his nine children.

13 Aug 1689 – A small party of Indians made their appearance in the northerly part of Haverhill Mass and killed Daniel Broadley.

They then went to the field of Nathaniel Singletary, nearby, where he and his oldest son were at work. They approached in their slow and serpent-like manner, until they came within a few rods, when they shot Singletary, who fell and died on the spot; his son attempted to escape, but was quickly overtaken and made prisoner. The Indians then Scalped Singletary, and commenced a hasty retreat; but their prisoner soon eluded their vigilance, and returned to his home, on the same day, to make glad the hearts of his afflicted relatives. Nathaniel Singletary was a “squatter” on the parsonage lands. The marks of the cellar of his house are still to be seen, on the land now owned by Benjamin Kimball, on the Parsonage Road -a short distance northwest from the gate. Bradley was killed on the “Parsonage Road,” not far from the present Atkinson Depot”

1695: His eighth child, Isaac (b 1679/80 in Haverhill MA) was abducted by Indians in 1695 but escaped. He married and had ten children.

1 Dec 1690 – Edmund Greenleaf’s son Captain Stephen Greenleaf drowned off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada, at age 62 .   In the French and Indian War, Captain Stephen Greenleaf, Lieutenant James Smith, Ensign William Longfellow, Sergeant Increase Pillsbury, William Mitchell and Jabez Musgrave were cast away and lost on an expedition against Cape Breton.

“The expedition under Sir William Phips, consisting of thirty or forty vessels, carrying about two thousand men, sailed from Nantasket on the ninth day of August, 1690, but did not arrive at Quebec until the fifth day of October. Several attempts were made to capture the town, without success; and, tempestuous weather having nearly disabled the vessels and driven some of them ashore, it was considered advisable to re-embark the troops and abandon the enterprise. On their way back to Boston, they encountered head winds and violent storms. Some vessels were blown off the coast, and ultimately arrived in the West Indies. One was lost upon the island of Anticosti, and several were never heard from. Capt. John March, Capt. Stephen Greenleaf, Lieut. James Smith, Ensign William Longfellow, and Ensign Lawrence Hart, of Newbury, Capt. Philip Nelson, of Rowley, and Capt. Daniel King, of Salem, were among the officers commissioned for service in the expedition to Canada, under the command of Sir William Phips.”

1692 – John Diamond’s son John Jr.  

“At the brave defence of Wells by Captain Converse…, one John Diamond was taken prisoner by the Indians, and dragged away by his hair into the thickets. After their humiliating defeat, in their ‘nefandous rage,’ the savages put their captive to the most dreadful tortures. “They stripped him,” writes Cotton Mather, ‘they scalped him alive; they slit him with knives between his fingers and toes; they made cruel gashes in the most fleshy parts of his body, and stuck the gashes with firebrands, which were after found sticking in the wounds.'”

During King William’s War, , when Wells contained about 80 houses and log cabins strung along the Post Road, the town was attacked on June 9, 1691 by about 200 Native Americans commanded by the sachem Moxus. But Captain James Converse and his militia successfully defended Lieutenant Joseph Storer’s garrison, which was surrounded by a gated palisade. Another sachem, Madockawando, threatened to return the next year “and have the dog Converse out of his hole”

A year passed when cattle, frightened and some wounded, suddenly ran into the town from their pastures. It was a recognized sign that a Native American attack was imminent, so residents sought refuge. On June 10, 1692, a force of 400 Native Americans and some French troops commanded by La Brognerie marched into Wells, knowing that Converse would be in Storer’s garrison. But with a 15 soldier militia and an approximate number of townsfolk, Converse resisted assaults during a 2–3 day siege. The attackers alternated between attacks on the village and the narrow harbor, where Captain Samuel Storer, James Gooch and 14 soldiers, sent as reinforcements, were aboard two sloops and a shallop. Native Americans shot flaming arrows onto the boats, but the crews extinguished the fires. The attackers fastened a wall of vertical planks to the back of a cart, then pushed it toward the vessels at low tide. La Brognerie and 26 French and Native Americans huddled behind the shield, but the cart got stuck in mudflats within 50 feet of the nearest boat. When La Brognerie struggled to lift the wheel, he was shot through the head. The remainder ran, some dropping in the hail of bullets. Next they towed downstream a raft of about 18–20 feet square and covered with combustible material, expecting the ebbing tide to carry it ablaze to the boats. But the wind shifted and the raft drifted to the opposite shore.

 Running out of ammunition, the attackers retreated, although not before burning the church and a few empty houses, shooting all the cattle they could find, and torturing to death John Diamond, who had been captured at the outset trying to escape the boats for the fort. They left behind some of their dead, including La Brognerie. The victory of so few against so many brought Converse fame and advancement. A granite monument in Storer Park now marks the site of Lieutenant Storer’s garrison.

Storer Tablet, Wells, ME.jpg

Storer Tablet, which marks the Storer garrison site, Wells, Maine

15 Mar 1697 – Daniel Bradley’s son Daniel Jr. was killed by Indians in the Dustin Massacre in Haverhill, Mass.  Twenty-seven persons were slaughtered in the raid.  Included in the  list of the killed: Daniel Bradley, his wife, Hannah, and two children, Mary and Hannah.After the attack on Duston’s house, the Indians dispersed themselves in small par ties, and attacked the houses in the vicinity. Nine houses were plundered and reduced to ashes  and in every case their owners were slain while defending them.

– 1718: His fifth child, Mary BRADLEY HEATH  (b. Apr 1671 in Haverhill MA) was killed 3 Sep 1718 by Indians. She was married twice, her first husband, Bartholomew Heath, being killed by Indians in 1704. She had 6 children. The Haverhill chapter of C. F. Jewett’s 1878 “History of Essex County, Massachusetts”

“On the 4th of August, in the same year [1704, the year Mrs. Joseph Bradley was captured], another attack was made by the Indians, but the details of the struggle were never recorded, except that Joseph Page and Bartholomew Heath were killed, and a young lad in company with them narrowly escaped the same fate.”

– 1727: His second son, Joseph (b. 1664 in Rowley) died Oct 1727. Joseph’s wife Hannah (Heath) Bradley was captured not once, but twice by Indians and abducted to Canada. During one of these captivities her newborn child was killed by the abductors. Three other of their children were killed by Indians.

8 Feb 1705 – Daniel Bradley’s son Joseph  had a garrison at his home in Haverhill where he  was surprised 8 Feb 1705, when his wife for the second time was taken by the Indians and carried away.  Her infant child was born after her captivity dying of want.

Chase, History of Haverhill, 210-212

8 Feb 1705,  about 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon, a party of six Indians attacked the garrison of Joseph Bradley, which was unhappily in an unguarded state-even the sentries had left their stations, and the gates were open. The Indians approached cautiously, and were rushing into the open gates, before they were discovered.  Jonathan Johnson, a sentinel, who was standing in the house, shot at and wounded the foremost, and Mrs. Bradley, who had a kettle of boiling soap over the fire, seized her ladle, and filling it with the steaming liquid, discharged it on his tawny pate -a soaporific that almost instantly brought on a sleep, from which he has never since awoke. The rest of the party immediately rushed forward, killed Johnson,; made prisoner of the intrepid woman, and of some others.  Pike in his Journal says four. Three persons escaped from the garrison. The Indians, then fearing lest they should soon be attacked by a stronger party, commenced a hasty retreat, aiming for Canada, which was their place of resort when they had been so successful as to take a number of prisoners.

Mrs. Bradley was in delicate circumstances, and in slender health ; still she received no kindness from her savage conquerors. No situation of woman would ever protect her from their  cruelties. The weather was cold; the wind blew keenly over the hills, and the ground was covered with a deep snow, -yet they obliged her to travel on foot, and carry a heavy burden, too large even for the strength of man. In this manner they proceeded through the wild wilderness ; and Mrs. Bradley informed her family, after she returned, that for many days in succession, she subsisted on nothing but bits of skin, ground-nuts, the bark of trees, wild onions, and lily roots.

While in this situation, with none but savages for her assistants and protectors, and in the midst of a thick forest, she gave birth to a child. The Indians then, as if they were not satisfied with persecuting the mother, extended their cruelties to the innocent and almost friendless babe. For the want of proper attention, it was sickly, and probably troublesome; and when it cried, these remorseless fiends showed their pity, by throwing embers into its mouth. ‘ They told the mother that if she would permit them to baptize it in their manner, they would suffer it to live. Unwilling to deny their request, lest it should enrage their fierce passions, and hoping that the little innocent would receive kindness at their hands, she complied with their request. They took it from her, and baptized it by gashing its forehead with their knives. The feelings of the mother, when the child was returned to her with its smooth and white forehead gashed with the knife, and its warm blood coursing down its cheeks, can be better imagined than described.

Soon as Mrs. Bradley had regained sufficient strength to travel, the Indians again took up their march for Canada. But before they arrived at their place of rendezvous, she had occasion to go a little distance from the party, and when she returned, she beheld a sight shocking to a mother, and to every feeling of humanity. Her child, which was born in sorrow, and nursed in the lap of affliction, and on which she doted with maternal fondness, was piked upon a pole. Its excrutiating agonies were over it could no more feel the tortures of the merciless savages – and its mother could only weep over its memory. Soon after, they proceeded to Canada, where Mrs. Bradley was sold to the French for eighty livres. She informed her friends, after her return, that she was treated kindly by the family in which she lived. It was her custom, morning and evening, when she milked her master’s cow, to take with her a crust of bread, soak it with milk, and eat it; with this, and with the rations allowed her by her master, she eked out a comfortable subsistence.

In March, 1705, her husband, hearing that she was in the possession of the French, started for Canada with the intention of redeeming her. He travelled on foot, accompanied only by a dog that drew a small sled, in which he carried a bag of snuff, as a present from the Governor of this Province to the Governor of Canada. When he arrived, he immediately redeemed her, and set sail from Montreal for Boston, which they reached in safety; and from there returned to Haverhill.

Penhallow mentions this as her second captivity, and Hutchinson says the same ; but Penhallow is, without doubt, his authority. Diligent search has been made to learn the history of her first ; but, thus far it has been unsuccessful. Very accurate traditions of the captivities of the other members of the family, have been transmitted to their descendants, but they have never heard their fathers tell that this person was taken at any other time ; at least, they can give no account of such a fact. We extract the following, from Rev. Abiel Abbot’s MS., taken by him from Judith Whiting:-”Destitute of nurses and necessaries, the child was sickly, and apt to cry, and they would put hot embers in its mouth. Being obliged to leave it a short time, on her return, she found it piked on a pole. “‘ Having been brought home by her husband, she was taken a second time, but not before she had finished and wounded an In dian, by pouring boiling soap into his mouth.” From this, it appears that she was twice captivated; but of the truth of the statement, in this par ticular, we will not undertake to judge. It certainly does not agree with Penhallow’s, and if we rely on one, we must throw up the other, at least, in part.”

Mrs. Bradley’s deposition,  is conclusive evidence that the above was her second captivity. As we have it from one of her descendants, Mrs. Bradley was engaged in boiling soap, when she was startled by the appearance of Indians at her very door, one of whom exclaimed, exultingly, -” Now, Hannah, me got you.” Instead, however, of quietly allowing herself to be captured a second time, Hannah saluted the savage with such vigorous applications of “soft soap,” that he quickly gave up the ghost. After a desperate resistance, she was at last made a prisoner. Revenge for the death of their comrade, was doubtless the principal cause of the subsequent tortures of the child by the savages. Their extreme barbarity, in this particular instance, can only be accounted for upon some such supposition.

On the 29th of the same month in which the attack was made on the garrison of Mr. Bradley, Hertel de Rouville, with two hundred French, and one hundred and forty-two Indians, fell upon the town of Deerfield, Mass., killed forty-seven, and made prisoners of one hundred and twelve of its inhabitants”

– 1746: His grandson (by Abraham) Lieut. Jonathan (b 1713 in Haverhill MA) died 11 August 1746 in Concord NH killed by Indians. He had married and had four children previously.

– 1746: His grandson (by Abraham) Samuel Bradley (b 1721 in Haverhill MA) was killed on the same day as his brother Jonathan, in Concord NH on 11 August 1746. He had married and had three children.

–His grandson (by Abraham) Lieut. Timothy Bradley (b. 1711 in Haverhill MA) married Abiah Stevens and had twelve children. Timothy and his wife died of normal causes. But such was not the fate for their children.

–1759: His great-grandson, (by gr-son Timothy, and son Abraham) Benjamin Bradley (b 1739 in Concord NH). He was one of Roger’s Rangers who perished after the St. Francis flight of Oct 1759. [SEE upcoming article about New Hampshire’s Lost Treasure: The Silver Madonna].

2 Apr 1690 – Richard Dana died from a fall from a scaffold in his barn on, Cambridge, Mass.

18 Jul 1694 – During King William’s War,”Oyster River” Durham, Stratford, NH was attacked in the Oyster River Massacre by French career soldier Sebastien de Villieu with about 250 Abenaki Indians under command of their sagamore, Bomazeen.  In all, 45 inhabitants were killed and 49 taken captive, with half the dwellings, including 5 garrisons, burned to the ground. Crops were destroyed and livestock killed, causing famine and destitution for survivors.

Ens. John Davis’ daughter Sarah,  John’s son John Jr., John Jr.’s wife  and two other members of his family were killed in this attack.  Two of Sarah’s sons, Two of Sarah’s daughters and two of John Jr.’s daughters were carried as captives to Canada.   Another sister, Judith Davis, wife of Captain Samuel Emerson, was also taken by the Indians and remained in captivity five years.  One of John Jr’s girls, Mary Anne,  became a nun at the Hotel Dieu, Quebec, in 1710, under the name of Sister St. Cecilia. She was taken to Canada by the Rev. Father Vincent Bigot, S.J., who had ransomed her from the Indians at St. Francis. She is mentioned as leading ” a holy life ” for more than fifty years in the religious state. She died in 1761, at the age of seventy-three.

27 Jul 1694Groton, Mass – Benjamin Crispe’s daughter Deliverance,  her husband and five of her children were massacred by Indians. Three other children, Lydia, John and Betty, were taken into captivity, and carried to Canada.   Lydia was sold to the French and placed in the Congregation ofNotre Dame, a convent in Montreal, where she embraced the RomanCatholic faith, and died July 20, 1758. Betty died soon after hercapture from hunger and exposure.  John remained with the Indiansmore than 4 years, when he was ransomed and brought away. At one timeduring his captivity he was on the verge of starvation, when an Indiankindly gave him a dog’s foot to gnaw, which for the time appeased his hunger.

7 Oct 1695 – In the afternoon, a party of Indians, not more than five or six in number, secreted themselves near John Brown’s house; and, after the male members of the family had departed with a load of farm produce, the Indians left their place of concealment, and, stealthily approaching the house, tomahawked a girl standing at the front door, seized such articles of household furniture and wearing apparel as they could conveniently take away, and hastily departed with nine captives, all women and children.  John Brown lived with his father on the farm on the southwesterly side of Turkey Hill.   Here’s today’s street view of Turkey Hill Road in Newburyport from Google Maps, less than half a mile from I95. View Google Map   The names and ages of the children of John and Ruth Brown at this time were as follows:

John, born Oct. 27. 1683, twelve years old.

Isaac, born Feb. 4. 1685, ten years, eight months old. (died on that date)

Thomas, born Jan. 1, 1689, five years, ten months old.

Joseph, born Nov. 5, 1690, nearly five years old.

Abel, born April 4, 1693, two years, six months old.

Ruth, born July, 1695, three months old.

Only one inmate of the house, a girl, escaped capture; and, after the departure of the Indians, she gave the alarm. Colonel Daniel Pierce, of Newbury, immediately notified Colonel Appleton and Colonel Wade, of Ipswich, that assistance was needed, and requested that men be sent to range the woods toward Bradford and Andover, to prevent the escape of the Indians, if possible.

According to tradition, the captives were recovered on the northwesterly side of Pipe Stave Hill, near a small stream that empties into the Merrimack, now known as Indian River. The number killed or seriously injured is somewhat uncertain, as the reports of the attack and pursuit are contradictory and confusing.  See John Brown’s page for details of these reports.

9 May 1698, – Enoch HUTCHINS (1645 – 1698) was killed by Indians in his own door in Oyster River , Kittery, Maine. He was killed by Indians at Spruce Creek,   as he was at work in his field, and 3 of his sons carried away. The same day Joseph Pray of York was wounded.” Tradition says the wife of Hutchins was also taken, but she was back in time to show his estate to appraisers on 7 June 1698. Enoch’s son Samuel was captured by Indians on 9 May 1698 and taken to Canada. He was returned 24 Jan. 1699.  On 6 Feb. 1703 Samuel received 29 pairs of snowshoes, 20 of which were to go to the soldiers at Piscataqua. In 1720 he was a field officer in Kittery his house being made into a garrison.

29 Feb 1704 – John FRENCH’s (1622 – 1697) infant grandson John French was killed in the Raid on Deerfield.  His daughter-in-law Mary Caitlin French was killed on the trip to Canada on 9 March 1703/04.  His son Thomas, grandson Thomas and granddaughter Mary were returned in 1706, but his granddaughters Freedom and Martha stayed with the French in Montreal and his granddaughter Abigail lived as a Mohawk  Indian, in  Caughnawaga.

26 Jul 1708 – Martha Kitchrell WRIGHT (1645 – 1708) was scalped by the Indians.  She lived until October 19 of that year. On 26 July 1708, seven or eight Indians rushed into the house of Lt Abel Wright of Skipmuch (Skepmuck, later to become the present town of Westfield) in Springfield, and killed two soldiers, Aaron Parsons of Northampton and Benjah Hulbert of Enfield; scalped the wife of Lt Wright.  After they had gone, Martha was found lying unconscious in the yard beside their ransacked house and she died Oct 19.  They took Hannah, the wife of Lt.Wright’s son Henry, who died soon after; killed her infant son Henry in a cradle and knocked in the head of her daughter Hannah, aged 2 years, in the same cradle; the latter recovered.  Henry and Hannah had been married only three years.

4 May 1705: “Many persons surprised by the Indians at Spruce Creek and York. John Brown, H. Bams, a child of Dodavah Curtis  and a Joseph Hutchins child of Enoch HUTCHINS slain,—rest carried captive by ten or a dozen Indians. Also Mrs. Hoit [Hoel it should be], running up the hill to discern the outcry, fell into their hands and was slain.”

4 Jul 1706 – John Prowse’s son Barnes is presumed to have died 4 July 1706 when Indians attacked the town of Amesbury, Mass. About eight other Amesbury citizens were killed in that battle. Barnes was missing from that date and his body never found. Finally in 1715, he was declared dead and his estate was settled

26 July 1708 – Seven or eight Indians rushed into the house of Lt Abel Wright of Skipmuch in Springfield, and killed two soldiers, Aaron Parsons of Northampton and Benjah Hulbert of Enfield; scalped Martha Kitcherel Wright, the wife of Lt Wright, who died Oct 19; took Hannah, the wife of Lt.Wright’s son Henry, and probably slew her; killed her infant son Henry in a cradle and knocked in the head of her daughter Hannah, aged 2 years, in the same cradle; the latter recovered.

1714 – Thomas son of  Thomas Huckins lost at sea.

24 May 1724 – Tobias Coleman’s son Jabez killed in an Indian raid, perhaps Abenaki, at Kingston, NH at the age of 55.

Kingston Location in Rockingham County, New Hampshire

Kingston was one of the frontier towns, the buffer settlement between the towns along or near the coast and the great interior wilderness, and for more than 50 years the people suffered severely from French and Indian attacks. The Indians, supplied with ammunition, and incited by the French in Maine and Canada, kept the settlers in a state of continued anxiety and fear. Farmers, travelers and worshippers on Sunday could not count on a single day ahead. Although scouts patrolled a line of frontier for 50 miles at great expense of money and life, it was impossible to prevent small bodies of lndians from passing, by day or night. People were much discouraged in their efforts to clear land and secure homes for themselves and their families. Many settlers left their lands and returned to safer localities in the older settlement. Some who remained were obliged to send back their wives and children to the homes of their friends. These were perilous times when their cattle were killed, crops destroyed, buildings burned and lives in constant danger.

10 Jun 1724 – John Davis’ son Moses was another victim. He escaped the massacre of 1694 and accompanied his brother James in some of the expeditions to Maine and Port Royal. He lived in a clearing of the forest about a mile from Oyster river falls, where, 10 Jun 1724, he and his son Moses Jr. were killed by a party of Indians, who lay in ambush to attack the settlement. He was then sixty-seven years of age. A negro slave of his avenged their murder by pursuing the Indians and shooting one of the leaders. Love Davis, daughter of Moses, in view of the fidelity of this slave, gave orders that at his death he should be buried at her feet. This was done, and their graves are still pointed out at a short distance from Durham village.

The Indian thus slain by the servant of Moses Davis is now generally supposed to have been a son of the Baron de St. Castin, who had married the daughter of an Indian sagamore of Maine. Dr. Belknap, whose account of the affair was derived from the Rev. Hugh Adams * —a man of extreme malevolence— His equipment, moreover, proves that he held the rank of a chief. Dr. Belknap thus describes him : ” The slain Indian was a person of distinction, and wore a kind of coronet of scarlet-dyed fur, with an appendage of four small bells, by the sound of which the others might follow him through the thickets. His hair was remarkably soft and fine, and he had about him a devotional book and a muster-roll of one hundred and eighty Indians.”  The scalp of this young chief was presented to the New Hampshire General Assembly at Portsmouth June 12, 1724, by Robert Burnham, son of Jeremiah before-mentioned, and a bounty of one hundred pounds was ordered to be paid to the slayer.

A few weeks later Father Rale himself, the deliverer of Mary Anne Davis from the Indians, was slain at the foot of his mission-cross in the attack on Norridgewock by the Massachusetts forces, August 12, 1724, and his chapel pillaged and burnt to the ground.

5 Sep 1724 – John Burbean’s son John Jr. was one of eight men slain by the Indians at Thorton’s Ferry near Dunstable, Mass.  (Fox’s Hist., p. 108) Lt. Ebenezer French was also killed at Naticook.  14 men were in pursuit of a party of Indians who had captured two men the night before

15 Aug 1754 –  During the French and Indian War, Indians made a successful attack on  the house of Phillip Call III, in Stevenstown, New Hampshire.  This town was subsequently known as Salisbury and the attack was made in that part of Salisbury, west of, and upon the Merrimack, now included in the town of, Franklin.  Mrs. Call [Sarah Trussell Call], her daughter-in-law, wife of Philip CALL IV. and an infant of the latter, were alone in the house, while the Calls, father and son, and Timothy Cook their hired man, were at work in the field.

Upon the approach of the Indians, Mrs. Call the elder, met them at the door, and was immediately killed with a blow from a tomahawk, her body falling near the door, and her blood drenching her own threashold! [sic]  The younger Mrs. Call, with her infant in her arms, crawled into a hole behind the chimney, where she succeeded in keeping her child quiet, and thus escaped from sure destruction.

The Calls, father and son, and Cook, saw the Indians, and attempted to get into the house before them, but could not succeed. They were so near the house, as to hear the blow with which Mrs. Call was killed.  Seeing however the number of the Indians, they fled to the woods and the Calls escaped.  Cook ran to the river and plunged in, but was pursued, shot in the water, and his scalp taken. The Indians, some thirty in number, rifled the house, took Mrs. Call’s scalp, and then retreated up the river.  The Calls soon notified the garrison at Contoocook of the attack, and a party of eight men followed in pursuit.

The Indians waited in ambush for them, but showed themselves too soon, and the English party taking to the woods escaped, with the exception of Enos Bishop, who after firing upon the Indians several times was at length taken and carried to Canada as a captive.

5 Mar 1850 –  Thomas Gibson CARSON’s grandson Thomas Brantley Carson ( b. 1 Sep 1818 Jones, Georgia; d. 5 Mar 1850) was killed on the Steamboat, Orline St. John, along with his son George on the Alabama River.

The Sinking of the Orline St John

The Orline St. John was a side-wheel steamboat built in 1847 at Louisville, Kentucky. The packet boat ended its short life in 1850 on the banks of the Alabama River.The Orline St. John set out from Mobile to Montgomery when fire broke out about 20 miles above Camden.  The boat burned and sank with some forty lives lost, including all the women and children on board. Some of the bodies were found downstream as far as seventy miles. Here is an account of the disaster from a maritime newspaper of the time.

The wreck of the steamboat was found by two fishermen in 1955. They brought in diving gear and explored the wreck. The list of artifacts recovered is very impressive and sheds a bit of light on the lives of the people of that time. Though it is thought that millions in gold may have gone down with the steamer, more than one salvage operation has failed to produce many valuables.

Silver Coins from the Wreck of the Orline St. John

1852 – William L Latta’s grandsons John and Thomas went to Oregon.    During the latter part of the trip Thomas with others rode forward for help, as provisions were low.  He was 48 hours in the saddle without food.  Died shortly after from exhaustion and mountain fever. John had a cattle ranch near Prineville OR and was a prominent man there.

10 Aug 1862 – Hermon S. Webber  (Son of Oliver Webber) dies of his wounds received 4 June 1862 at Fair Oaks.  The Battle of Fair Oaks, also known as the Battle of Seven Pines or Fair Oaks Station  took place on May 31 and June 1, 1862, in Henrico County, Virginia, as part of the Peninsula Campaign.  It was the culmination of an offensive up the Virginia Peninsula by Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, in which the Army of the Potomac reached the outskirts of Richmond.  Both sides claimed victory with roughly equal casualties, but neither side’s accomplishment was impressive. George B. McClellan’s advance on Richmond was halted and the Army of Northern Virginia fell back into the Richmond defensive works. Union casualties were 5,031 (790 killed, 3,594 wounded, 647 captured or missing), Confederate 6,134 (980 killed, 4,749 wounded, 405 captured or missing).

1 Jul 1863 – Virgil Webber (Son of Oliver Webber) was killed at the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg.  While further research revealed that Virgil served in Company E of the 16th Maine Regiment at Gettysburg.  Virgil and his brother Gustavus (also wounded in this action) arrived around 11: 30 on the morning of July 1, 1863, as part of two divisions of the 1st Corps, Army of the Potomac to join a fight that had been raging all morning, as the Confederates advanced on Gettysburg from the west and from the north.  The 16th Maine along with the rest of the army, had been marching since June 12 up from Virginia.

16th Maine fought bitterly for approximately three hours in the fields north of the Chambersburg Pike; but by mid-afternoon, it was evident that, even with the addition of the rest of the 1st Corps and the entire 11th Corps, the position of the Union forces could not be held. They began to fall back toward the town of Gettysburg.

The 16th Maine was then ordered to withdraw to a new position to the east of where they had been fighting. “Take that position and hold it at any cost!” was the command. This meant that those of the 275 officers and men of the regiment who had not already become casualties had to sacrifice themselves to allow some 16,000 other men to retreat. This they valiantly did, but they were soon overwhelmed and forced to surrender to the Confederates.

By sunset on July 1, 11 officers and men of the 16th Maine had been killed, 62 had been wounded, and 159 had been taken prisoner.  Company E suffered heavy losses 3 killed, 8 wounded including Capt,William A. Stevens and Lt. Aubrey  Leavitt and 14 taken prisoner including Capt. Leavitt.   Only 38 men of the Regiment managed to evade being captured and report for duty at 1st Corps headquarters. But the 16th Maine had bought precious time for the Union Army. Those whose retreat they had covered were able to establish a very strong position just east and south of the center of the town of Gettysburg along Cemetery Ridge. During the night and into July 2 the 1st and 11th Corps were reinforced by the rest of the Army of the Potomac. For the next two days they would withstand successive assaults by the Confederates until the final repulse of Pickett’s Charge, on July 3.


Maine Gettysburg Commission – Maine at Gettysburg -Google Books

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3 Responses to Untimely Deaths

  1. Pingback: Favorite Posts | Miner Descent

  2. LoannaHooft says:

    Hello! Just want to say thank you for this interesting article! =) Peace, Joy.

  3. Pingback: Favorite Posts 2011 | Miner Descent

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