Everett Schermerhorn Stackpole.

History of the town of Durham, New Hampshire : (Oyster River Plantation) with genealogical notes online

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with the rest of our neighbors, whose lives were spared, being at first forty nine:
but in one miles goeing, or thereabouts, they killed three children, so there
remained forty six captives. & that night the company parted & the captives
were distributed, but before they parted I, this deponent, numbered one


hundred and fourty of Indians&fourteen frenchmen & then, when I tooke ac-
count, there were more fireing at Woodmans garrison & at Burnhams garrison,
but the number unknown to me. Myself with nine captives more were
carried up to penecook & were Left with three Indians, & that party went
to Greaten, Bomazeen being their Commander. In nine days they returned
& brought twelve captives: & from thence with their canoes, sometimes
a float, & sometimes carried, untill that we came to Norridgeawocke, which
took us fifteen dayes, & staid about two months there, then dispersed into
the woods, twoe or three families in a place, & kept moving toe & froe, staeing
about a week in a place, until they brought us down to pemaquid & delivered
us to Capt. March. Bomazeen was my Master; his wife my Mistriss, untill
Bomazeen was taken at pemaquid; after that I belonged to his wife, untill
about two months before I was brought down to pemaquid; for then the
Indian Minister, called prince Waxa way, bought me, when I was brought to
great weakness and extremity by their bad usage, and showed me great kind-
ness; by whose means, under God, my life was preserved. My mistriss was
very cruel to me & I was cruelly whipt seaven times & they intended so to
proceed, once a week, untill they had killed me; but that the Indian Minister
had compassion on me & rescued me. That Indian Minister also bought
three captives more, and freed them from their hard usage. Their names
are Nicholas Frost, Sarah Braggonton and Thomsand Drue.

The mark of W An Jenkins.

Notice that the manual sign of Ann Jenkins was W. Was
her maiden name Williams? The Nicholas Frost mentioned in
her deposition was the beaver-trader of Kittery, now Eliot, Me.
Sarah Braggonton was doubtless of the family of Arthur Bragdon
of York and Thomsand Drue was Thomasine, or Tamsen Drew
of whom we shall learn more a little later.

Mention is made in the above deposition of a house near to
Jenkins' that was plundered and set on fire. This must have
been the house of the Rev. John Buss, who was at the time away
from home. His house, which was the parsonage, together with
the church, stood near the bank of the river, or perhaps a few
rods therefrom, on higher ground. His family hid among the trees
till the enemy withdrew. The church, which stood near the
parsonage, was not burned at this time and religious services
were held there after 1718.

The fact that Bartholomew Stevenson was appointed, 4 August
1694, administrator of the estates of his brothers, Thomas and
Joseph Stevenson, leads to the inference that these two brothers
perished in this massacre. They lived near the garrison of Thomas
Drew, who, according to Probate Records, "was killed by Indians
and left no will." Administration was granted to his widow


Mary, 30 July 1694. Thomas Drew has been confused with
Francis Drew, who married Lydia Bickford. The latler sur-
rendered the garrison at Drew's Point, on promise of quarter.
He is supposed to have killed an Indian, whose bones were found
in the house after it was burned. Francis Drew attempted to
escape and ran towards the Adams garrison but was overtaken
by the Indians, bound and tomahawked. His wife was carried
away and was rendered so feeble by hunger that she was left to
die in the woods. "Administration on the estate of Francis
Drew of Oyster Ri\'er, who was killed by the Indians and left
no will, granted to his brother, John, Nov. 16, 1694." Two
years later administration on the estate of Francis Drew was
granted to his oldest son, Thomas, he being "now returned out of
the hands of the Indian Enemy." This Thomas Drew had
been married about six months to wife, Tamsen. and lived with
his father. He was taken to Canada and his wife to Norridge-
wock, whence she returned after about four years, to become the
mother of fourteen children. The following deposition by her
sheds further light on the massacre of 1694:

The Deposition of Damsen Drew lately dwelling att Oyster River in Pis-

This Deponent maketh Oath that on or about the last day of August [evi-
dently an error of memory] in the year 1694 she this Deponent being in Bed
with her Husband they heard a great Tumult and Noise of firing of Guns which
awakened her out of her sleep, and she understanding that the Indians were in
arms & had encompassed the House, willing to make her escape, she endeav-
ored & att last got out of the window and fled, but the Indians firing fast after
her she returned to the House and her father in law took her by the hand and
haled her into the House again, where upon she endeavored to get out at
another window, but the Indians had besett that, so she returned to the other
Room where her friends were, and the window of that Room being open an
Indian named Bombazine (as she was then informed & has since seen and
known him in the Prison at Boston) caught hold of her Arm and pulled her
out att the Window & threw her violently upon the ground, she being then
with child & when he had so done he went into the House to plunder, when
another Indian named Assurowlaway (who could speak good English) came
to her & told her she would receive no hurt & took her and carryed her into
the woods, And further this Deponent saith not.

The mark of D.\mson x Drew.

Boston, May 23d 1698.

Tamsen Drew "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 with 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 northwest
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." Belknap's History of
New Hampshire, p. 141. Footnote by John Farmer, giving
traditionary information obtained from John Smith.

There were fifteen in the Drew family at the time of the mas-
sacre. John Drew was put out of the window and escaped, proba-
bly to be killed by Indians a few years later. Benjamin Drew
was about nine years old. He was carried over Winnipiseogee
and made to run the gauntlet till he was cut down with toma-
hawks. Thomas Drew and his wife, Tamsen, lived to very old
age and, dying about the same time, were buried in the same

The Matthews, or Mathes, garrison seems to have resisted
attack and probably sheltered some of the neighbors. All houses
between this and the Burnham garrison were, doubtless, burned.

The Adams garrison stood south of the road to Durham Point
and not far from the ruins of the brick house built by Washington
Mathes. This garrison was burned, and Charles Adams and
wife, his son, Samuel, and wife, and eleven others were killed.
The wife of Samuel Adams, being then pregnant, was ripped up.
They were all buried in one grave, near the Mathes Cemetery.
A son, Charles Adams, survived his father but a few months, and
so this branch of the Adams family ceased to transmit the sur-
name, though descendants of the first Charles Adams are many
in the Tasker, Nock, Durrell and Bickford lines.

After setting fire to the Adams garrison the Indians attacked
the garrison of Thomas Bickford at the extremity of the Point.
Bickford 's defence of his house seems to have been about the only
item of special interest in this massacre that the Rev. Cotton
Mather thought worthy of being recorded in his Magnalia Christi
Americana. He says:

Several persons remarkably escaped this bloody deluge, but none with more
bravery than one Thomas Bickford, who had an house, a little pallisadocd, by
the river side, but no man in it besides himself. He dexterously put his wife
and mother and children aboard a canoe, and, sending them down the river,
he alone betook himself to the defence of his house, against many Indians that
made an assault upon him. They first would have persuaded him with many


fair promises, and then terrified him with as many fierce threatenings, to
yield himself; but he flouted and fired at them, daring 'em to come if they
durst. His main strategem was to change his livery as frequently as he could ;
appearing sometimes in one coat, sometimes in another, sometimes in an
hat and sometimes in a cap; which caused his besiegers to mistake this one
for many defendants. In fine, the pitiful wretches, despairing to beat him
out of his house, e'en left him in it; whereas many that opened unto them
upon their solemn engagements of giving them life and good quarter, were
barbarously butchered by them.

Abigail, Judy and Elizabeth Willey were captured and were
still in captivity in 1699.

John Edgerly, grandson of the first Thomas Edgerly, is the
authority for the statement that his uncle, Thomas Edgerly,
lived at Ambler's. That must mean that he lived where John
Ambler afterward lived, who bought, in 1703, the place where now
lives the Hon. Jeremiah Langley. This Thomas Edgerly, Jr.,
married Jane Whedon in 1691. The above named authority
relates that "upon hearing the Indians he, his wife, and her
sister jumped outof bed and got down cellar, leaving their children
in bed; the Indians came in, killed the children, and one or two
persons living in the other end of the house were taken; they
looked into the cellar, but did not go down. They rifled the
house and fired it ; as soon as they were gone he put the fire out. "
This Thomas Edgerly removed to Exeter in the year 1700.

Thomas Edgerly, senior, sent a petition to the Governor and
Council at Strawberry Bank. It has no date but it was consid-
ered in Council 20 July, so that it must have been written the
next day after the massacre. It is as follows:

Whereas it has pleased God to cast affliction upon him and his Neighbours
by the sudden incursion of the Indian Enemyes, having his Son wounded,
now Remaining at Strawbery Bank under Capt. Packers hand, and his dwell-
ing house burned, and his goods Destroyed.

Humbly Desires your Consideration of his Low Condition and that you
would Graunt him and his Neigh" Liberty to make the house of John Rand
Deceased a Garrison fl'or the Security and defence of some of the Remaining
ffamilics adjacent, and to Graunt us supply of six men, and we shall always
pray ffor your happiness and Prosperity. [N. H. State Papers, Vol. X\'III,
p. 640.]

John Rand, mentioned in this petition, married Remembrance,
daughter of John Ault, and sister to Rebecca, wife of Thomas
Edgerly. The old farm of John Ault, bordering on Plum Swamp
brook, had been divided between Edgerly and Rand. It stretched


from Little Bay back into the woods, and on this farm was the
Rand-Edgerly garrison, wherein soldiers were quartered after the
time of the massacre, soldiers impressed from Hampton. The
Probate Records declare that administration on the estate of
John Rand and Remembrance Rand was granted to John Rand,
probably their son, and that his bond, dated March 1694/5, had
for sureties Thomas Edgerly and Edward Leathers. It is proba-
ble that John Rand and his wife. Remembrance, perished in the
massacre. A boy, named Samuel Rand, was redeemed from
captivity in 1695 and Remembrance Rand was still a captive in
1 710. Thomas Edgerly, senior, his son Joseph and a daughter
were taken captive. The rest of the family got into a canoe and
as they were setting off the Indians fired upon them and mortally
wounded his son, Zechariah. Among the captives returned,
17 January 1698/9, were Elizabeth Edgerly and Susanna Edgerly,
while Joseph Edgerly was then remaining in captivity. He
returned in 1706. See Coll. of the Maine Historical Society,
2d Series, Vol. V, 516.

Early tradition records that one Kent (it must have been
Joseph Kent, if the tradition be true), upon hearing firing, got
up and looked out, when he saw Indians waiting for him. He
was so surprised that he did not stop to awake his family, but
secured himself in a drain that led from the house, where he lay
all day. His family were soon after aroused by the firing, about
which time the Indians that were around the house retired to
assist their companions, who were besieging the Drew garrison.
This gave Kent's wife an opportunity to escape with her children.

It seems that the Indians also molested at this time the inhabi-
tants along the shore of Great Bay and those living on the road
from Oyster River Falls to Lamprey River. Peter Denbow was
carried into captivity, where he yet remained in the beginning of
1698/9. The Indians seem to have hastened back by the same
way they came, the main road leading from Bickford's Ferry to
the Falls. They assembled with their captives in the meadow
west of the Burnham garrison and, making some insulting signs,
one of them was shot at long range.

The following petition implies that the Indians attacked
another part of the town :


January 8th 1694/5
To ye honored President & Council now sitting at New Castle, in ye Great
The humble Petition of William Graves humbly sueeth y* your honours
would please to take into your consideration y<^ distressed estate and condition
of your poor Petitioner, who at y= last desolation at Oyster River was wounded
by y« enemie & his e-tate demolisht, who since hath been a long time with the
Chirurgeon for cure & by y blessing of God hath arrived to a good measure
of health; but hath not wherewithall to answear y» Doctor, nor to help him-
self, humbly craveth some succour & reliefe therein ; whereby you will do a very
charitable Deed and oblige him to pray for your honours prosperity,

Your humble Petitioner

William Graves.
[N. H. Province Papers, II, 147.]

There was another petition, without date but considered in
Council 20 July, 1694, together with that of Thomas Edgerly,
so that both must have been written 19 July 1694, the next day
after the massacre. It shows that all the families at Lubberland
were driven away, perhaps through fear of an attack. It shows,
too, that in 1694 the whole shore line from Mathes',orCrummett's
Creek, to Lamprey River was known as Lubberland.

The condition of Luberland is such: we had a good Garrison last summer
but was cut down and Burnt, and for want of a Garrison the Inhabitants are
forced to leave the place and flie for Refugg. If itt were possible to save
the place wee who know the valine valines itt at about four hundred pounds
of provisions and movables: provided the cattle Breaks in y Corn, itt will be
much damage. It is y» generall vote y« Capt. Matthews should com^ the
Garrison. Our request is for 15 or 20 souldiers to assist this place.

Belongingto the place, Betwixt Capt Matthews and Lamp . . . River,
the contents as follows:

Capt. Mathews Wm Durgin and three sons.

Fran: Mathews Tho. Morris

Jo" Benicke [Bennett] Jo° Piner [Pinder]

Jo" Doe Hen. Marsh

Samson Doe David Davis

Elias Critchett Abra Benicke [Bennett]

Jo° Cromwell [Crommett]
[N. H. Prov. Papers, II, 147.] Jer' Cromwell [Crommett]

Now we may follow the other party of Indians in their work of
slaughter and burning on the north side of the ri\cr. Remember
that all this savagery was justified under the name of war between
Christian nations and their allies and was about as civilized and
"glorious" as any wars have been till within recent years. We



do not tomahawk and burn enemies now; we blow them to pieces
with shells and bombs.

In the Jones family the tradition has been preserved that
Ensign Stephen Jones "in the night heard the barking of dogs
and thought the wolves were about. He got up and went some
distance from the house to take care of swine. Returning he
went into a flanker, got on the top of it and sat there with his
legs hanging down on the outside. An Indian fired at him; he
fell back, and the bullet entered the flanker betwixt where his
legs hung. A band of Indians from behind a rock a few rods
from the garrison kept firing on the house." The inhabitants of
ungarrisoned houses in that vicinity fled to Jones' garrison.
Some were killed in the attempt, among them a woman named
Chesley. Tradition says that Hester Chesley, who married John
Hall, escaped by jumping from an upper window, with a babe
in her arms. One account says that five by the name of Chesley
were shot, but these may have been killed in subsequent raids,
tradition not being careful as to chronology. Robert Watson,
who lived about a quarter of a mile away on land he bought of
Walter Jackson, was killed with others of his family. His wife,
whose maiden name was Hannah Kent, returned from captivity
and married Dea. John Ambler. Accompanying the inventory
of her first husband's estate are items of expense, among which
are twenty pounds ' ' for my ransom ' ' and two pounds" to a french-
man who promised to redeem my son therwith," "besides
Cloathing my self when I came naked out of Captivity."

In connection with this the following information, found in the
records of Canada, is of interest. On the 8th of April 1697,
there was baptized, "sous condition,'' an Englishman named
Joseph Houatson, aged 17. On 3 June 1715, the curate of
Boncherville baptized Marie Josef Robert Ouetsen, daughter of
Joseph Robert Ouetsen and Marie de Mers. On the nth of
April 171 7, J. R. Ouatsenne, son of Robert Ouatsenne and of Anne
hesemenne (?) an Englishman of the village of Piscataqua was
married to Angclique Benard Carignan. Here we may have a
clue as to who was the first wife of Robert Watson of Oyster
River, and we learn that Robert's son, Joseph, married and
remained in Canada.

The wife of Edward Leathers was killed and some of her


children. A woman named Jackson was slain, perhaps Ann, wife
of Walter Jackson.

Edward Small found refuge in Jones' garrison. He married
Mary, daughter of Capt. John Woodman, and soon after this
massacre removed to Monomoit, now Chatham, Mass. The
following letter is of historic interest:

'Son Edward and daughter mery Smalle: A store of Love to you: by thes
you may knowe that I received yours and that we ar not without feres of
further trobeles by the Indons: by Reson there of: I cannot yet aduyss you : to
macke Anny preparation: Horn ward: until wee heve further proued: thayr
keeping of the peace : Lest your Returen should be so unsesonebl that it might
be As much dameg to you: as your Remouing thether: thay haue not as yet:
yousd anny Hostilety: tourds ye Englesh I have sent you A thouscnd of good
bords by William Eldrege your brother Jonathan cannot yet sell your Hors:
any thing Lick to the worth of Him: senc His order to sell Him wee ar all in
Resonebel good Halth threw gods marsy : your brothers and sisters Remember
thayer Loues to you :

from your Louing father

John Woodman

Oyster River
July 26: 1700

This for Edward
Smalle at monamey

Mrs. Judith (Davis) Emerson was taken and held in captivity
several years. Tradition says that her aged mother, whose
maiden name was Jane Peasley of Haverhill, Mass., was captured
and dismissed by one band of Indians. She hid in a field of corn
and another band discovered and slew her. Among the captives
remaining in the hands of the Indians, 17 January 1698/9, was
Judah [Judith] Emerson. See Coll. of Maine Historical Society,
2d Series, Vol. V, p. 516.

The tradition is still told in Durham that Judith Emerson was
redeemed from captivity by a Mr. Morrill for two shirts, one of
which he took from his back. . Samuel Emerson, thinking his wife
was dead, went to Portsmouth to complete arrangements for a
second marriage. There he met an old acquaintance and told him
his designs. The acquaintance, knowing that some captives had
just arrived from Canada and that Mr. Emerson's wife was
among them, said, " I bet a double drink of grog your wife is in

>Iii 1889 Mr. Lucien Thompson learned of tlie existence of the original letter in the pos-
session of Mrs. M. A. Sanborn of Barnstead. Her grandfather was Samuel Pitman of Durham,
who married Sarah, daughter of Edward Small, and removed to Barnstead. Mr. Thompson
had the letter photographed and has presented a copy of it to the N. H. Historical Society.


town." The bet was taken, whereupon Mr. Emerson was con-
ducted into the presence of his wife. It is needless to say that
the second marriage was indefinitely postponed, and it faded
into a traditionary possibility. The Emerson family were living
at this time at Back River, Dover.

Old Mr. Robert Huckins, many of whose family had been slain
in the massacre of 1689, was killed at this time. The Jones
garrison was burned before 1732.

Below Jones' garrison were those of Bunker, Smith and Davis,
all of which were successfully defended. Lieut. James Davis
sent his family away by water and with the help of his brother,
Serg. Joseph Davis, defended his garrison, extinguishing the fire
applied to it. Sergt. Davis was fired upon by three Indians.
He stooped and a bullet split a sappling just above his head.
He shot an Indian, whose bones were found in a swamp soon after.

The Meader garrison was abandoned and was burned. The
family escaped by boat. Near by a man named Clark was shot
and another man named Gellison, while he was going from one
house to another for powder. A brother of the latter jumped
into a well for safety and was unable to get out. He died next
day soon after having been rescued from his hiding place.

Three Indians were sent to attack the house of William Tasker,
at the foot of Moharimet's Hill in what is now Madbury. An
Indian looked into a small window and inquired if it was not time
for them to get up. Mr. Tasker replied with a shot from his
gun which mortally wounded the Indian, who with bitter screeches
was carried off by the other two. The family immediately fled
through the woods to the Woodman garrison.

Probate Records inform us of another family broken up at this
time, not mentioned in any of the traditional accounts. It was
that of John Derry, who lived near WilHam Tasker, in Madbury.
Administration on his estate was granted, 18 May 1698, to his
widow. Deliverance, who married Nathaniel Pitman before 7
January 1698. Her petition of the latter date "humbly showeth,
that in the years 1694 yo' petition" House was burnt by the
Indians and our cattle killed, as also most of our children; my
husband, oi.e child, and yo'' Petition' taken Captives, in which
Captivitye my husband dyed; none but your Petition"" returned."
The child was Joseph Derry, and what became of him is not
known. John Derry's name is among the list of captives returned


17 January 1698/9, but this ma\' be an error, since there is no
subsequent mention of him.

Both parties of Indians met at the Falls after their raids on the
south and north sides of the river and made an attack on the
garrison of Capt. John Woodman, which resisted the attack and
remained, with bullets in its timbers, till 1896, situated at the
head of Beard's Creek.

The following letter, dated 21 July 1694, adds some historical
touches to the picture. It tells us who the Indian was that got
drunk on "occapee," at the suggestion of Mrs. Dean. Mass was
said by each of the two priests, who accompanied this expedition,
just as Chaplains went with British and American regiments,
and for a similar purpose. We may suppose they did what they
could to prevent cruelty and to soften the ferocity of savages.
We know on good evidence that some Roman Catholic priests
and missionaries among the Indians in Maine were kind to cap-
tives, bought them out of slavery, and secured their release.
The place where mass was said is thought, by Miss Mary P.
Thompson, and with good reason, to have been on a ledgy hill-
top, not far from the Woodman garrison. The tradition that
the priests made chalk-marks on the pulpit of Parson Buss'
church is interpreted by her as the writing of some verse from
Holy Writ or from the Credo. The fact that the meeting house
was not burned during this raid is evidence that they had some
respect for the place.

To Gov. Phipps,

May it pies yc Exccll.

Online LibraryEverett Schermerhorn StackpoleHistory of the town of Durham, New Hampshire : (Oyster River Plantation) with genealogical notes → online text (page 9 of 34)