his guard for help, he was wounded in the elbow by a
ball passing through the door. Still he resisted till,
finding the door giving way, he fled through the
house and out at the back-door. The Indians over-
took liiin at the well and gave him swift despatch
with their tomahawks. Some roved over the house
for plunder and victims. Mrs. Rolfe was killed by a
hatchet stroke in the brain, and her youngest child,
Mehitabel, an infant, snatched from her protecting
arms, was dashed against a stone near the house door.
Hagar, supposed to have been a negro slave, saved
by her courage and dexterity two of the Rolfe
children — Mary,agirl of thirteen years, and Elizabeth,
who, three days later, attained her ninth year. At
the first alarm Hagar took the children into the
cellar, covered them with tubs and then hid herself.
The enemy rushed to and fro in the cellar and even
trod upon the foot of one of the girls who had the
resolution not to cryout. They drank from the milk-
pans, dashed them upon the cellar floor, and took
meat from the barrel behind which Hagar was
crouched. In after-years these girls were accounted
remarkable women. Mary married Colonel Estes
Hatch, of Dorchester. Elizabeth married Rev. Samuel
Checkley, of Boston, minister of the New South
(Church Green). Her daughter Elizabeth married
Sam Adams, the patriot, and John Lothrop Motley,
the historian, was one of her descendants. There were
two other children — Benjamin and Francis, aged
respectively twelve and si.K at the time of the
massacre. December 22, 1735, the House of Repre-
sentatives granted to Benjamin Rolfe, for himself and
other children, heirs of Benjamin Rolfe, a plot of
land in Lunenburgh, not to exceed six hundred acres
and not to interfere with any former grant. This, of
course, was in consideration of the sufferings and
losses of the family in the descent on Haverhill.
Anna Whittaker, a girl of eighteen, probably in
attendance as nurse to Mrs. Rolfe, hid herself in an
apple chest, under the stairs. She lived to be seventy-
four years old, was a famous midwife, was twice
married, and *at her death had one hundred and
twelve descendants. She probably often told the story
01 the wonderful escape, and it seems likely that in
her old age she dreamed that she had saved Mary
and Elizabeth's lives ; but the laurels of poor black
Hagar were not thus to be stripped from her.
Thomas Hartshorne lived a few rods west of the
meeting-house — the new one, on the Common, now
City Hall Park. He and two sons were shot just
after leaving the house, and a third son was toma-
hawked as he came out of the door. Mrs. Hartshorne
and the rest of the children, save one, escaped notice
by going into the cellar, closing the trap-door over
them. The enemy swarmed through the house for
plunder, and finding an infant on a bed in the garret,
threw it out of the window, on a pile of clapboards.
It was picked up unconscious when all was over.
When this infant had become a man of lofty stature
and great strength, the neighbors used to joke him,
saying that the Indians stunted him when they threw
him from the garret window.
Lieut. John Johnson lived where his descendant,
Bailey Bartlett, lived, and the Exchange Building on
Water Street now is. When a party of the enemy
made their appearance, he and his wife were standing
in the doorway; with them was Ruth, wife of Thomas
Johnson 2d (son of his son, Lieut. John, 2d) who had
in her arms a babe a year old. Johnson and his wife
were shot down where they stood, and Ruth Johnson,
flying through the house, was killed in the garden at
the rear, where the Osgood block stands. Tradition
says that the babe was found, clinging to the dead
mother's breast. Johnson was a deacon and the town
records show that he was a useful and respected citi-
zen. Chase says that he is supposed to have descended
from Captain Edward Johnson, the famous author of
the " Wonder Working Providence of Zion's Saviour,"
before quoted. This would be " important, if true,"
as a distinguished antiquary used to observe ; but
Chase gives no evidence in support of the suggestion.'
Edward Johnson came over with Wiothrop in 1630.
Returning to England a little while, he was in
Charlestown for a few years (1636-42), and tlien be-
came the chief founder of Woburn. Deacon John
Johnson was the original blacksmith, who came to
Haverhill in 1658. He was seventy-five (75) years old.
Mr. Silvers' house, within ten rods of the meeting-
house, was rifled and burned. The watch-house, on
Main Street, built seven years before, was attacked
but successfully defended.
The house of Captain Simon Wainwright, the mer-
chant, stood directly oppo.site the Winter Street meet-
ing-house. He was shot at the first assault. Mrs.
Wainwright unbarred the doors and admitted the as-
sailants. After a little parley, she left them under the
pretense of procuring them money, and escaped
with all her children, save a daughter who was taken
captive. A party of soldiers were quartered in the
chambers, and made a resolute defense, driving off
their assailants. They made an ineffectual attempt
to fire the house, but took with them three prisoners.
Meantime, the soldiers killed from the windows two
Indians, who were skulking behind a rock while they
fired. Buried in the field, the floods exposed their
bones only a few years ago.
Swan's house stood on White's lot, near the Winter
Street meeting-house. The old Revolutionary soldier.
Captain Nehemiah Emerson, used to tell the tale of
its defense, as he got it from his grandfather, who, on
the day of the great fray, lived in the garrison house
of hk father, Jonathan Emerson. The Swans had
children, in whose defense and their own, they deter-
mined to hold out as long as possible. Two Indians
attempted to break down the door, which they had
barricaded with their bodies. Hard pressed, Mr.
Swan, a timid man, thought it would be best to vield
1 It is not true. St. John JoLnsou was oldest son of WiUiam Johnson,
of Charlestown. Ue was born in England in 1033 and came in his
mother's arms to Charlestown the next year. See " Genealogical Regis-
ter," January, 1879.
HISTORY OP ESSEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS.
and not exasperate the foe. But Mrs. Swan was res-
olute, and when the foremost Indian was forcing
his way in, she ran lier spit, three feet long, tlirougli
his body. The disheartened savages retreated spir-
itless, but whether epiUese or not, the chronicles do
not vouchsafe to tell us.
Simon Wainwright, as we have mentioned, came
from Ipswicli. His father, Francis, was famous for
hia exploit in the Pequot War, when, being attacked
by two Indians, and breaking the stock of his gun,
he killed them both with the barrel. Simon was an
influential and very prosperous citizen. In those
days the traders were likely to get what ready money
there was about. Was the rumor of it so great that
even the Canadians had heard of it who asked his
wife for money ? There was a story that he had a
great chest packed tightly with Spanish dollars. He
buried a good many of his dollars in his life-time,
and there has been considerable digging at different
times to find it, but in vain. For the information of
treasure-seekers, it is deemed proper to mention
here that the dollars will be found in the space
'■ bounded by Little River on the south and west)
Winter Street on the north, and the easterly line of
the lots on the easterly aide of Emerson Street on
April 29, 1710, Widow Mary Wainwright petition-
ed the General Court from Haverhill to take some
care for the redemption of her daughter, " a long
time in captivity with the French of Canada," "be-
i'ore Canada be so endeared to her that I shall never
have my daughter more." The indorsement on the
petition is: "In the House of Representatives
read and recommended 12th June." May not this
captive girl have been " the daughter of the King's
Lieutenant," whom the Sieur Dupuys, according to
Charlevoix carried " a good part of the way" ?
Nathan Simon's house was attacked and he was
wounded in the arm by a ball. He shot two Indians
and the attacking party retired.
Sibley, the late well-known antiquarian of Harvard
College, states in his history of Union, Me., that there
was a tradition of tlie Sibley family that Samuel
Sibley, the ancestor, was killed by the meeting-house.
Sibley, was from Salem and was probably one of the
soldiers under Major Turner.
These various attacks were made about the same
time by separate small detachments of the invaders.
One of them had set fire to the rear of the new
meeting-house, constructed, as we have seen, at so
great an effort. Its loss would have been almost
irreparable. Fortunately, a wholesome diversion
occurred just at this time. Mr. Davis, a bold and
quick-witted man, going behind Mr. Rolfe's barn,
which was near the house, struck violently with a
great club, and with outcries and words of command,
shouted, " Come on I Come on 1 We will have them."
The stragglers still remaining in Mr. Rolfe's house
took alarm and, after a hasty and fruitless attempt to
fire it, ran forth crying: "The English are come."
Doubtless the raiders had been warned by their
leaders that their success depended upon a surprise,
and the work must be rapid on account of the soldiers
in garrison houses at their rear. And about this
time Major Turner actually arriving with his company
of soldiers, the whole force commenced a rapid re-
treat, taking with them a number of prisoners.
Mirick says the retreat commenced about sunrise.
The opportune Davis ran to the meeting-house, and,
with the aid of a few others, put out the flames and
saved the building. The Sibley tradition declares
that Samuel, the ancestor, was killed while throwing
water here. It might have been a last, straggling
The town was now roused and taking to arms.
Joseph Bradley (probably the commander of the
North garrison) collected a small party and secured
the medicine box and packs of the enemy, which
they had left about three miles from the village. The
spot is said to have been a short distance north of the
house of Deacon Carleton, in the West Parish, about
half a mile north of the place where the subsequent
fight took place.
Captain Samuel Ayer, a strong and fearless man,
collected a party of about twenty men and pursued
the enemy, coming up with and attacking them as
they were about entering the woods, when they faced
about and gave battle. Captain Ayer was soon rein-
forced by another party, led by his son, making the
whole number of townsmen about sixty or seventy.
After a smart fight which lasted about an hour, they
retook some of the prisoners, and the French force
retreated in haste, leaving nine of their number dead
on the field. Mirick declares that their sufferings
were so great, on account of the loss of their packs
and the consequent want of food, that many of the
Frenchmen gave themselves up as prisoners ; and
some of their own captives were dismissed with a
message that if they were pursued, the rest should be
put to death. Probably there were some stragglers
in the rapid retreat ; and we have seen that Charle-
voix admits the escape of " several " of their prison-
ers " during the last combat."
The French account states also that their people
threw down their packs of provisions in order to
carry on the last fight with greater ease, and makes
no mention of the packs having been left behind in
the outskirts of the town and taken by the English.
Mirick claims that the French left thirty of their
number dead, in both engagements, and many were
wounded whom they carried with them. Perhaps
some Indians were killed of whom no exact roster
was made. Governor Dudley, in his address to the
Assembly, says : " We might have done more against
them if we had followed their tracks." This might
well be. The French were in a very critical condi-
tion, at such an immense distance from home. The
attack kad been a bold one and thev were fortunate
tkey did not pay a terrible penalty, in their retreat
being cut off entirely.
One may conjecture that each party had seen
enough of the other.
Captain Ayer was killed in the engagement, before
the reinforcing party arrived. He was shot in the groin,
and bled so profusely his son did not recognize him.
Captain Ayer was a deacon, also one of the select-
men, and an active, resolute and worthy man. He
lived near Plug Pond.
The local historians make the number of killed be-
longing to Haverhill as sixteen, — Mr. Eolfe, wife and
child, Mrs. Smith, Thomas Hartshorne and three sons,
Lieut. Johnson and his wife Catherine, Capt. Wain-
wright, Capt. Ayer, John Dalton, Ruth, wife of Thos.
Ayer, with one daughter, and Ruth, wife of Thomas
Johnson 2d. Probably about the same number were
carried away as prisoners.
Joseph Bartlett, of Newbury, about twenty-two
years old, who was stationed as a soldier at Capt. Wain-
Wright's house, was taken prisoner, and after his
return from Canada published a very interesting
account of his adventures. He was absent over four
years. The General Court allowed him £20 15«. for
his charges and expenses. He was taken in the Wain-
wright house, in company with Mary Wainwrightand
another soldier named Newmarsh. Soon after the
retreat began a Salem soldier named Lindall was
knocked in the head. The attack by Capt. Ayer's
party so demoralized the French that they broke up
into small parties, which did not unite again for three
days. During that time they traveled hard. When
they reached Lake Winnipiseogee, the French and
Indians separated. Bartlett was taken by the Indians.
However it may have been with the former, the In-
dians suffered for lack of food. Bartlett seems to have
had his share of what was going. He appears not to
have been treated unkindly, except by the squaws.
Perhaps the Indian women may have hated the Eng-
lish, against whom their husbands fought and at
whose hands they sometimes fell, as the English
women hated the Indians. As a rule, the Indians
treated their captives tolerably well, except in case of
sudden provocation or terror. This was ordinarily a
matter of policy, as they intended to sell them to the
French for servants. The aged, sick and infants, with
whom they did not care to be embarrassed, they cer-
tainly made short and brutal work of.
Pike, in his journal, says that "many soldiers be-
longing to Salem were here slain." Among them was
AVilliam Coffin, to whose widow, Sarah, the General
Court granted £5, " on account of the remarkable for-
wardness and courage which her husband, William
Coffin, of Salem, distinguished himself by, in the ac-
tion at Haverhill, where he was slain."
When the fighting was over and comparative calm-
ness had arrived, the day was fer advanced. It was
midsummer and sultry, and the dead must be speed-
ily buried. Some, no doubt, were put in earth where
they fell. Coffins could only be made for the most
important. In the burial-ground a large pit was dug,
where several were laid away together. Mr. Eolfe,
his wife and child, were placed in one grave, near the
south end of the ground. A respectable monument
was erected to their memory, with suitable inscrip-
tions, which, in the course of a century and a half,
became illegible. In 1848 an appropriate monument
and inscriptions were erected by the care of the wom-
en of Haverhill, who were engaged in restoring the
" old burying ground " to a condition of becoming
decency. The old Latin epitaph to Mr. Rolfe was
recarved and is as follows : " Clauditur hoc tumulo
corpus reverendi, pii, doctique viri, Benjamin Kolfe,
ecclesiie Christi quse est in Haverhill, pastoris fidelis-
simi : qui domi suaj ab hostibus barbare trucidatus.
A laboribus suis requievit mane diei sacr* quietis,
Aug. XXIX, Anno Domini MDCCVIII, setatis
Samuel Sewall, then judge of the Superior Court,
entered in his diary, under the date of 1703-04 :
" Febr. 8, a garrison house is surprised at Haverhill
by six or seven Indians." This was the attack in
which Hannah Bradley was taken prisoner.
"Lord's Day, Aug. 29, 1708. About 4 p.m. an
express brings the news, the doleful news of the sur-
prise of Haverhill by 150 French and Indians. Mr.
Rolf and his family slain, about break of day. Those
words ran much in my mind, I will smite the Shep-
herd and the sheep shall be scattered. What a dread-
ful scattering is here of poor Haverill flock, upon
the very day they used to have their solemn assem-
blies ! Capt. Wainwright is slain."
May 1, 1697, the judge made entry: "Hannah
Dustan came to see me ; gave her part of Connecticut
flax. She saith her master, whom she killed, formerly
lived with Mr. Rowlandson at Lancaster. He told
her that when he prayed the English way, he thought
that was good, but now he found the French way was
better. The single man showed the night before to
Sam'l Lenarson how he used to knock Englishmen on
the head and take off their scalps, little thinking that
the captives would make some of their first exper-
iments upon himself."
September 25, 1708, there was an alarm, but no at-
tack. Colonel Saltonstall wrote the Governor and
Council on the 27th " that a party of the enemy, to
the number of about thirty, were discovered in the
town on Saturday night, but that he soon gave the
alarm, drew a number of soldiers together, and had
repelled and driven them back without suffering any
loss." The Boston News Letter of October 4th says of
this affair, — "Some few skulking Indians were dis-
covered in the town in the night, and the alarm be-
ing made, they were soon frighted, and drew off with-
out doing any mischief."
October 18th Jonathan Emerson, Jonathan Eatton
and William Johnson, selectmen, petitioned the Gen-
eral Court for abatement of a part of the town tax.
HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS.
They set forth the assaults upon the town, " damni-
1) ing us to ye value of about (£) 1000 lb. beside (which
is more) loss of lives, thereby reducing us to great ex-
tremity and distraction, discouraging of hearts of
many amongst u.s who are upon designs and endeav-
ors to remove, whereby our condition is rendered in
some measure comparable to yt of David's & ye men
with him when Ziklag was spoiled. Considering also
in conjunction therewith ye extreem charges we
must be exposed unto (if our town stands) in build-
ing strong garrisons. Now settling a minister, &c."
The court ordered an abatement of thirty pounds
from their tax.
In 1711 we find that the parsonage house was pre-
pared and fortified at an expense of £11 14s. M.
The garrisons and houses of refuge were kept in or-
der. A company of soldiers, under the command of
Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Saltonstall were armed,
equipped and exercised. June 19, 1710, the General
Court ordered these men to be equipped with snow-
shoes. Snow-shoes were also supplied to the North
Militia Regiment of Essex. Chase gives a list of fifty-
six of these snow-shoe men who lived in Haverhill.
August 27, 1712, a foot company of fifty men was
ordered raised and posted at Haverhill.
Queen Anne's War closed April 13, 1713, with the
peace of Utrecht, and on the 13th of July following a
treaty was made with the Indians at Portsmouth, em-
bracing the tribes from the Merrimac to the St.
Johns. By this treaty the English were to enjoy
their old settlements, without claim or molestation
from the Indians, while the latter reserved their an-
cient rights of hunting, fishing and fowling. The
government was to establish convenient trading-
houses, where the Indians could obtain supplies with-
out the extortion and imposition formerly common.
The next spring a shi]) was sent to Quebec to ex-
Hutchinson estimates that " from 1675 to 1715
5000 to 6000 of the youth of the country had perished
by the enemy or by distempers contracted in the
The peace with the Indians did not last long.
Fresh troubles arose with the Eastern tribes, and in
1717 it was necessary to have a confirmation of the
treaty of 171.3. The Jesuit priests, notably Father
Ralle, who had his station and mission chapel at
Norridgewock, were held to be responsible for stirring
up the Indian hostilities. Three times an attempt
was made to capture him. August 23, 1724, the Eng-
lish surprised and destroyed his settlement, and the
body of the good priest was left upon the ground
near the cross, scalped and outraged. Whatever,
however, may be said of Father Ralle, his death
broke the power of the Norridgewocks and led towards
a permanent peace. Previously, in 1722, Brunswick,
Me., was destroyed, and great alarm sprang up all
along the frontier.
August 10, 1722, the selectmen were ordered " to
build a good fort round Rev. Mr. Brown's house with
what speed they could." The people did not mean to
lose a second good minister. The town clerk jour-
neyed to Ipswich on horseback to get nails for the
fort, and two quarts of rum — a very moderate quantity
— were used for the raising, at an expense of four
shillings. In the spring ofl724 the enemy seemed to be
omnipresent. They w^ere scattered all over the country
in small parties, plundering, murdering and spread-
ing terror in every direction. A constant watch was
kept. In July Colonel Noyes, of Newbury, was di-
rected to send twelve men to Haverhill and six to
Amesbury, to serve as scouts. September loth
"John White, Capt. ; Richard Kimball, Capt. ; Jon-
athan Woodman, Capt. ; and Richard Hazzen, Lieut.,"
wrote to the Governor from Haverhill, strongly urg-
ing the sending a strong party to Lake Winnipiseo-
gee, to surprise and utterly break up the Indians in
The last important passage of arms in these hos-
tilities was at Pequawket, or Pigwacket (Fryeburg,
Me.), in May, 1725. The long Indian hostilities had
trained Indian fighters among the English as hardy,
as wary and cunning as the savages themselves.
John Lovewell, of Dunstable, was one of the most
noted, and raised a party of volunteers for this expe-
dition which numbered forty-six men besides himself,
including a chaplain and surgeon. The chaplain
prayed morning and evening. He was Frye, of
Andover, and the doggerel in which his name is
commemorated illustrates the spirit of the time:
"They wounJed good young Frye,
"Who was our Eoglish chaplHin.
He many Indians slew,
And some of tbeni he scalped
While bullets round him flew."
Four of Lovewell's men were from Haverhill, —
Abiel Asten, Ebenezer Ayer, Doctor William Ayer
and Zebediah Austin. Asten was living in 1790, at a
great age, in that part of old Haverhill now Salem,
N. H. Auritin lived in what is now Methuen. He
got back too, for he married in 1729. These Haver-
hill men probably joined Lovewell's party here,
where the expedition was furnished with supplies by
John White, who had charge of the stores kept here,
to supply the soldiers. They marched away about
April 27th. After the famous fight with Paugus and
his men at Saco Pond, only a few wounded, exhausted
men were left to crawl away. But nobody dared
hang upon their trail. After the famous fight the
power of the Eastern Indians steadily declined, and
the Abenaki chiefs signed, at the Council chamber in
Boston, December 15, 1725, a treaty of peace which
was long respected, and other tribes acceded to it at
Falmouth (Portland) in 1727.
Even after Lovewell's fight the terrors of Haver-
hill continued. A scouting-party was in service
during September and October, 1725. Joshua Bailey
and Jonathan Woodman wrote to the Governor
August 30th that Indians had recently heen "hirking
in the woods ; guns heard, etc." The men were called
" centinels," and a line of them were kept constantly-
posted on the frontier of the town to keep watch and
give alarm if need be. In 1723 John Clement had
asked to be relieved from paying the rent of the
Parsonage Farm for the previous year because he had
been driven oft' by the war.
We have arrived at a time when the troubles of
the Haverhill people, growing out of hostilities by
the Indians, were at last drawing to a close. There
were still French and Indian Wars, and Haverhill
men fought in them. But the town was now safe.
Notwithstanding the fear and annoyance inspired by
the savage, the line of settlement was moving to the
north. Haverhill ceased to be a frontier town and
was itself protected by other towns.
The story of the Indian forays upon Haverhill was
told by Mirick in his history of the town with con-