can speak, read and write English and Indian competently. He is one of
those that was bred up at school, at th(» charge of the Corporation, for the
Indians. These Indians, if they wei-e diligent and industrious. — to which
they have been frequently excited, — might get much by their fish, espe-
ciall}'^ fresh salmon, which are of esteem and good price at Boston in the
season; and the Indians being stored witli horses of a low price, miglit
furnish the market fully, being at so small a distance. And divers other
sort of fish they might salt or pickle, as sturgeon and bass, which would
be much to their profit. But notwithstanding divers arguments used to
persuade them and some orders made to encourage them, yet their idleness
and improvidence doth hitherto prevail.
■'At this place once a j^ear, at the beginning of May, the English
magistrate keeps his court, accompanied with Mr. Eliot, the minister; who
at this time takes his opportunity to preach, not only to the inhabitants,
but to as many of the strange Indians that can be persuaded to hear him ;
of which sort, usually, in time of peace, there are considerable nuuibers at
that season. And this place being an ancient and capital seat of Indians,
they come to fish ; and this good man takes this opportunity to spread the
net of the gospel to fish for their souls. Here it may not be impertinent to
give you the relation following. May 5. 1674, according to our usual
custom. Mr. Eliot and myself took our journey to Wamesit, or Pawtuckett;
and arriving there that evening, Mr. Eliot preached to as many of them as
could be got together out of Matt, xxii, 1-14, the parable of the marriage
of the king's son. We met at the wigwam of one called Wannalancet,
about two miles from the town, near Pawtuckett falls, and bordering upon
Merrimak river. This person, Wannalancet, is the eldest son of old Passa-
conaway, the chiefest sachem of Pawtuckett. He is a sober and grave
person and of years between fifty and sixty. He hath been always loving
and friendly to the English. Many endeavors have been used several years
to gain this sachem to embrace the Christian religion ; but he hath stood off"
from time to time and not yielded up himself personally, though for four
years past he hath been willing to hear the word of God preached and to
lOG HISTORY OF BILLERICA. '
keep the Hnbhath. A gient reason that hath kejit hun oft". I eonceive. hath
been tlie indisposition and averseness of sundry of liis chief men and rela-
tions to pray to God ; which he foresaw would desei-t him in case he turned
Christian. But at this time, May 6, 1674. it pleased God so to influence
and overcome his heart, that it being proposed to hiui to give 1 is answer
concerning praying to God. after some deliberation and serious pause, he
stood up and made a speech to this effect : Sii's, You have been pleased
for four years last past, in your abundant love, to api)ly yourselves partic-
ularly unto me and my people, to exhort, press, and persuade us to pray to
God. I am very thankful to you for your pains. I must acknowledge,
said he. I have all lyy days used to pass in an old canoe (alluding to his
frequent custom to pass in a canoe upon the river) and now you exhort me
to change and leave my old canoe, and embark in a new canoe, to which I
have hitherto been unwilling ; but now I yield up myself to your advice,
and enter into a new canoe, and do engage to pray to God hereafter.
"■This his professed subjection was well pleasing to all that were
present, of which there were some English persons of quality, as Mr.
Eichard Daniel, a gentleman that lived in Billerica, about six miles off;
and Lieut. Henchman, a neighbor at Chelmsford; besides brother Eliot and
myself, with sundry others. English and Indians. Mr. Daniel, before named,
desired brother Eliot to tell this sachem from him, that it maybe while he
went in his old canoe, he passed in a quiet stream : But the end thereof
was death and destruction to soul and body. But now he went into a new
canoe, perhaps he would meet with storms and trials ; but yet he should be
encouraged to persevere, for the end of his voyage would be everlasting rest.
Moreover, he and his people were exhorted by brother Eliot and myself, to
go on and sanctify the sabbath, to hear the Word, and use the means that
God hath appointed, and encourage their hearts in the Lord their God. Since
that time, I hear this sachem doth persevere, and is a constant and diligent
hearer of God's Word, and sanctifieth the Sabbath, though he doth travel to
Wamesit meeting every Sabbath, which is above two miles; and though
sundry of his people have deserted him since he subjected to the gospel,
yet he continues and persists.
*' In this town they observe the same civil and religious orders as in other
towns, and have a constable and other officers. This people of Wamesit
suffered more in the late war with the Mohawks than any other prajang
town of Indians, for divers of their people were slain ; others, wounded ;
and some cai'ried into captivitj^ ; which providence hath much huidered the
prosperous estate of this place."
The picture of this faithful magistrate and friend of the Indians,
accompanied by his "brother" Eliot, on this annual visit to Wamesit,
dispensing justice and the Gospel to the red men there, is full of
interest; and the convei'sion of AVannalancet might furnish a painter -
with au attractive subject. Its interest to Billerica would be increased
l)v the presence in it of Mr. Daniel, our "English gentleman," who
THE INDIANS AND WAMESIT. 107
for ten 3'ears resided here with his ''noble" wife, and then returned
Wannalancet is credited with building the fort from which "Fort
Hill" takes its name ; and traditions which seem trustworthy fix the
site of the log chapel, in which Mr. Eliot preached to the Indians,
very near the fine edifice of the Eliot Church.
In the summer of 1(375, when the alarm and peril of King Philip's
War assailed the Colony, these Indians retired to the wilderness, at
Penacook, (Concord, New Hampshire,) to avoid being inyolved in
it. Still, the}- were suspected, and in September a company of one
hundred men was sent to ascertain the position of Wannalancet in
regard to the war. On their approach, the Indians concealed them-
selves in the woods, and their deserted wigwams were wantonly
burned. But, though thus sorely tempted to join Philip in retalia-
tion, the sachem did not forget his father's counsel, aud restrained
his young warriors, who were eager to attack the whites. He soon
after went farther, to the head waters of the Connecticut, and there
spent the winter. The next year the Indians were allured to Dover
and unjustl}' imprisoned ; but the}* were soon set at libert}^ and
returned to their Merrimack home. After the conclusion of the war,
the sachem visited the Reverend Mr. Fiske, of Chelmsford. To his
question, whether Chelmsford had suflTered much, the clergyman
replied that they had not, and devoutly thanked God. "Me next,"
said Wannalancet, implying that he had restrained the Indians under
his control. Billerica perhaps owed her security during those dark
days to the same friendly sachem.
But the Indian occupation of Billerica w^as not confined to
Wamesit. The frequency with which their arrow points and other
articles are fouud, shows how numerous tbey once were. Graves
and the site of a wigwam are still shown north of Jaquith Brook,
near Concord River ; and the north shore of Nutting's Pond was so
distinctively theirs as to be sold by them in IGGo. The hill north
of this pond was known as Indian Hill. In May, 1665, the town
granted to Henry Jefts, "four acres of land, lying at the Indian Hill
on the north of y" Indian field at Nuttins pond." In December,
"the bounds of his land purchased of the Indians at Indian Hill by
the pond were taken by Ralph Hill and Jonath : Danforth, which are
as followeth : i. e. on the south it is bounded by the pond, and on the
southwest, west, and somewhat northerly, it is bounded by that land
[above mentioned] ; it runnes easterly to a maple marked in the
108 HISTORY OF BILLERICA.
swamp and a white oak marked beyond it ; both which are oil the
west of the high cleft of rocks \ and from thence a little rounding to
the N. E. corner of his fence, * and from thence it turnes towards
the pond to a red oak with a rock by it, and from thence it turns a
little inward to a bunch of maples by the pond side."
Danforth records the death of his Indian servant, John Warrick,
1686; and, in 1681, James Speen, Indian, receives "eight pounds
due to y^ Indians for four wolves heads," and other records occur of
the same sort. These dusky forms must have been frequently seen
in the early homes of Billerica. Did their coming excite fear or
confidence, repugnance or pleasure? Whatever it was, the sensation
was a familiar one. And, however they had learned to trust their
Wamesit neighbors, as the}' observed the labors of the saintl}' Eliot
among them and the fruit the}' bore, the fathers could never be
long forgetful of the darker fringe of savage humanity beyond, the
working of whose policy or passion might at almost any moment
involve them in peril or ruin. This danger hung over the pioneers
of Billerica for more than fifty years, and their slumbers were likel}'
to be broken by a warwhoop. In our estimate of their faith and
courage in planting the town, this fact should be remembered.
The earliest indication of this danger afforded b}' the Records
occurs in "1667, 9™, 11. At a meeting of the selectmen. It is
aoreed concerning fortification in this Town, That ther shall be a
house built of stone & brick w^"' a chimney at y*^ west end of it, }'*
dementions of y'' house to bee twenty-six foote in length, twentN'-two
foot wide from outside to outside, with a doore three foot wide on y*
south side, near y'' west end, & two windows, one at y" east end & }'*
other on y" south side, being each window three foot wide & two foot
& a half in height, all in y^ clear ; y'' walls of y^ house shalbe nine
foote in height from y" floore to y^ under side of y* plate ; also, a
floore, lying one foot below y*' plate, with crosse rufiers, y'' long girt
lying cross y" house ; also, ther shalbe iron barres in each wijidow &
one window at y** gable end on y^ east ; y^ roofe of y* house to be
sawne stuffe, covered with bords, chamfered & after shingled. And
for y* effecting of y" premises, we do agree that hands shall forthwith
be employed to digge clay and stones, & y" rest of y* work to be
cairied on with as much convenient speed as may be, according to
y" order of y*" gen'^ Court."
The order of the General Court was passed in May, 1667,
requiring every town to erect, " either inclosing the meeting-house,
THE INDIANS AND WAME8IT. 109"
or iu some other convenient place, a fortification, or fort, of stone,
brick, timber, or earth, as the place maybe most capable, of such
dimensions as may best suit their ability, where women, children, &
the aged ma^-be secured iu case of sudden danger, whereby the
souldjers maj^be more free to oppose an enemy."
But this fortification never was built, whether because the tax
was too great, or the alarm less, we can onl}- conjecture ; but this
description is interesting in depicting the house the fathers would
have built for such a purpose.
Plight 3'ears passed, find the peril came in earnest, the most
critical hour, perhaps, in the history of New England. The Indians,
alarmed at the growing numbers and strength of the settlements, and
incited by resentment for fancied and, perhaps, some real injuries,
rose in a determined eflJbrt to exterminate the colonists. Philip,
chief of the Pokanokets, was the leader, enlisting the Narragansetts
and as many, others of the natives as he was able. They fell upon
Swanze^', and soon after Brookfield suflTered. Deerfleld was burned,
and Hadle}' attacked. Springfield, Northfield, Lancaster, Medfield,
Wej'mouth, Groton, and Marlborough were successively the victims
of savage assaults ; and where the next blow might fall was an ever
present dread in ever}' hamlet and home. Had the Wamesit Indians
joined in the fray, Billerica would probably have been among the first
to suffer. The town and perhaps the Colony owed its salvation to
their friendly neutrality. Eliot and Gookin had such reward as they
did not foresee for their benevolent labors. Other reward they had
too, in the suspicion and bitter denunciation of many of the people,
because they would not turn away from the friendly Indians, when
the popular feeling included all red men in a common conspiracy and
The alarm came unexpectedly upon the town. On the third of
May the selectmen ''order the constables watch to cease this present
sumer unless greater need appear." The need. did appear, and the
following pages of the record are of sufficient interest to be exactly
"13. 6'". 75. At a publick Towne Mei'ting.
"The Towne, considering- the providence of God at the pi-sent calling
us to lay aside our ordinary occations in providing for our creatures and
to take special care for tlie p^serving of our lives and the lives of our wives
and children, the enemy being near and the warnings by gods providence
upon our neighbors being very solenme and awfull, do therefore order &
110 HISTORY OF BILLEKICA.
agree joyntly to p^'pave a place of safety for women and children, and that
all persons and teams shall attend y* said worke untill it be finished ; and
account of y« whoU cliarge being kept, it shalbe equally divided upon the
inhabitants witli other Towne charges. Also they appoint Serj"f ffoster.
gpi-jiit Tomjison, Sam" Manning & Jonathan Danforth to be overseers of y'^
•••S. 8™. 75. At a meeting of ye selectmen <& comittee of millitia.
'•In persuance of an order from the Hon
warrant from y"^ worshp" Simon Willard Esquir, Serg"!^ Major, in i-eference
to the gathering tlie inhabitants of the towne into severall garrisons
according to their best capacity.
'■^ Imprs. They liave ordered serg"' Hiirs house to be a garrison for
that end of y^ towne, taking to it Nathaniel & Jonathan Hill. Tho : Dutton
Jun^ 1/. W"". ftVench, Will'" Chamberline Sen% & Isaac Cliamberline, & two
soldiers ; nine soldiers & five houses.
"2. flfor y*' South end of y^ towne Serg"' flfoster's house is appointed &
so to take to it his son Joseph fibster, James ftVost, Joseph fiVench, Joseph
Walker, Daniel Rogers, John Kitteridge, Thomas Richardson, and two
soldiers; ten soldiers and six liouses.
'^'3. They appoint Simon Crosbees house for garrison and to receive
Mr. Daniel, in cases, William and Jacob Hamlet, Jonathan Hides, Serj'.
Tompson. Peter Bracket and three soldiers; 7 families.
''4. They order to the Reverend Mr. Samuel Wliiting, his house,
Thomas Dutton Sen'' & his son John, Daniel Shed Sen'' & his son John
Shed, John DuiTant, John Rogers Sen"^ & his three sons, John. Thomas &
Nathaniel Rogers, and two soldiers; eleven soldiei's & six families; & this
to bee y'^ maine garrison & y^ last refuge in case of extremitj^
"5. They appoint Thomas Pattins house for garrison and to entertaine
Goldin Moore, Samuel fi'rost, Jno Kidder, Roger Toothaker & John Trull ;
seven soldiers & five families.
•'G. They appoint James Patterson's house for garrison & to enter-
taine John Baldwin, Edward & Tho^. Farmer, Henery & John Jeitts & two
soldiers; 8 soldiers & 4 families.
"'7. Whereas severall at y^ north end of y^ towne have already
departed their own Habitations & several of y'" vnwilling to returne to y""
againe at ye present. Hence they order them to be entertained in y^ body
of ye towne.
"8. They order Serg"^' Kidder & Jonathan Danforth's houses to be
garrison houses, & to entertaine as shall after be ordered to theui.
"9. They order that y'^ ij^ons ordered to each garrison shall dispose of
their corne (acording to ye order of y« Councill) neer unto their owne
garrisons, unless they can els where better secure the same.
"10. They order that every p^on afores
labour or otherwise to fortify each house of garrison to which they are
api)olnted and seasonably to attend y^ same, acording to y^ Councill's order,
both psons & teames to attend ye same as in y® order of highway worke is
THE INDIANS AND WAMESIT. HI
reciuired, untill y*^ worke be clone. Only in case Mv. Daniel and Mr. Laine
fortify themselves (they being very far from neighbours) they shall then
be freed from fortifying y" garrisons to which they are appointed. And
are also Empowered to keape a watch at their owne and to examine p^ons
as other watches may do.
'■11. They order that the Comitee of millitia & selectmen, each person
that do pertaine to any garrison, shall oixler & regulate y® worke of y*^ same
as overseers, & Serg°' Kidder is appointed overseer of Mr. Whiting's
garrison, Joseph Tompson of Thomas Pattin's, & Jonathan Danforth of
James Paterson's garrison, & that any three of y^ s" Comitee & selectmen
may determine what shalbe done in reference to the fortifying each gari-ison
& to determine any difference that may arise respecting y^ same.
'"12. They order that all brush & underwood near y^ aforesaid garri-
sons shalbe cutt up and cleared away, acording to the Council's order, each
person to attend ye same both for time & place as they shall have after
order. Also they order each inhabitant to attend their severall watches, as
formerly, untill further ordei'."
"14. 8m. 1675. At a meeting of y^ Hon'' major .Willard, The Select
men, & Comittee of millitia. These severall orders were read before y^
Hon"i Major afores'^, considered and allowed by him, & ye inhabitants
enjoyned to attend y^ same.
"At the same time George ffiirley's house is allowed for garrison and
to entertain more as it may be capable in time of extremity, as shalbe after
ordered to him.
''Also Jacob Frenches house is allowed for a garrison and to entertain
John French, Corp' Marshall, Thomas Rosse, Will™ Chamberline Jun^ &
two soldiers ; seaven soldiers & four houses ; and Corporal Marshall to be
y<^ overseer & master of the garrison.
'•Also, to Sargent Kidder's house is ordered Daniel Shed Jun, Samuel
Trull & John Brackit, James Kidder Junr. and two soldiers ; 7 soldiers &
"To Jonathan Danforth's house is ordered Samuel Manning. John
Dunkin, Jonathan Danforth Junr, & 2 soldiers; 6 soldiers & 3 families.
'•The Masters of y<^ severall garrison houses are the Rev^' Mr. Whiting,
Sergn' Kidder, Serg"* Foster,^ Sei'g"f Hill, Serg"' Tompson, Corp" Marshall,
Jonathan Danforth, Thomas Pattin & James Paterson.
"Also, Timothy Brookes house is allowed for garrison & to entertain
Michael Bacon's family, & to have two garrison soldiers to defend ye mill
& himself y" master of the garrison.
"Also, it is ordered that the severall soldiers sent hither to garrison
shall assist in fortifying y severall houses to which they are appointed, as
also to clear away such brush as is near such houses appointed for garrison,
as they shall be ordered from time to time.
•'Also, it is ordered that no hsted soldier of the Troop, or of y« foot
company, shall remove their habitations & abode out of the town without
lihertv first had & obtained from the Major of y*^ regiment or Comittee
112 HISTORY OF BILLERICA.
of millitia & selectmen of the town, on y^ peril of such a fine as shalbe
imposed on them by such authority as shall have power to determine y®
"■Neither shall any soldier af ores'* absent himself out of the towne
about any private occations of his owne without leave first had and obtained
from ye master of the garison to which tliey belong, vnder the penalty of
five shilling's p day for every such defect, to be levied bj'^ y** Clark of ye
band, as other fines for defect in training days are levied.
"■And fiuther, it is ordered, in case of an alarme every soldier shall
repair to y*" garrison vnto which he is appointed.
"And in case any garison house be set upon by y'= enemje, Then y«
garrisons next to them shall send reliefe to them as they are capable, not
leaving their owne garrison without competent security for the time.
"And in case of need, the women & children shall be conveyed to y^
inaine garison, if it may bee Avith safety, that so there maybe the better
supply in case of need, the cheife officer to order and regulate the same,
where there may be time so to do.
"Also, the soldiers in garrison with us and the rest of the inhabitants
yet remain vnder y^ comand of y<^ cheife officer, for ranging and scouting,
as the case ma}' require, still securing y® towne in general.
"Also, it is ordered, that every pson that shall shoot off" a gun, small
or great, without leave from a coinander or in case of offence or defence
against an enemie, shall pay as a fine two shillings & six pence, or set oft
so much of their wages if they be garison men.
"Also, the Selectmen & Comittee shall have further power to act in
and about the premises (keeping to the order of the Hon"! Council afore-
said) so as may best conduce to the benefit of the wholl, although in some
respects altering what is alreadj^ ordered.
"Also. Job Laine was allowed to fortify his owne house, and to have
two soldiei's for garrison men to defend his house, in case y® country could
" All this is allowed & confirmed by me,
"Si: Willard. Serj.-3Iajor.'''
It needs no lively imagination, reading between the lines of this
record, to depicit something of the tumult, hardship, and peril through
which Billerica was passing. Families fled from their homes to the
garrison-houses, or the greater security of the lower towns. The
labors of the field gave place to fortifying, scouting, and watching.
The corn must be removed to safer receptacles. They organize a
military company with Jonathan Danforth, lieutenant, and James
Kidder, ensign. Some of their own brave sons enlist in the service
of the Colony and march to peril and death. Timoth}' Farley was
killed at Quaboag, August 2, in the assault on Lieutenant Wheeler's
company, and John French carried through life the effect of the
THE INDIANS AND WAMESIT. 113
wounds received there. And two mothers approaching their con-
finement sought comfort and safet}' in Charlestown — the wives of
John Marshall and of the pastor ; nor is it too much to infer that
the anxiety and hardship they had suffered may explain the death, in
a few da3-s, of the sons born to them there. ^
Forty-eight families are enumerated in the list of assignments
above given. In 1677, a question arose and it was decided by the
General Court, that the families who "departed the town" at this
time should pay their war tax in Billerica. The names of seven are
recorded as involved in this decision. Three of these are included
in the above forty-eight : Timothy Brooks, Michael Bacon, and
Joseph Foster. The four others who fled from the town were John
Blood, Robert Blood, Josiah Bracket, and John Poulter. But the
Blood brothers, notwithstanding this decision, seem to have been
doubtfully* attached to Billerica, and were soon after recognized as
belonging to Concord. Billerica had then fifty families, in 1675.
The location of these garrisons was substantially as follows :
Sergt. Ralph Hill's house was near Mrs. Bo^'den's and opposite the
late Captain Ranlett's. It stood till about 1850. Sergt. Thomas
Foster's house was near Mr. Mason's, southeast of Bare Hill ; and
Simon Crosby's was northwest of the same hill, near the fork of the
Lexington and Woburn Roads. Rev. Samuel Whiting's, the main
garrison, was just north of Charnstaffe Lane and west of the brook.
Thomas Patten's was near the house of Mr. Frank Richardson.
James Paterson's was the most northerly garrison, near Mr. Sanborn's.
Sergeant Kidder's and Jonathan Danforth's were opposite each other
on West Street, the former on the south side, where Gardner Parker,
Esq., lives ; and Danforth's still standing, or rather just disappearing
as this is written, in 1879, the only structure in town which is an
incontestible relic of that day. George Farle^-'s was near the Jaquith
place, southwest of the village ; and Jacob French's was near, if not
identical with, the house in which Mr. James Fletcher resides, a
half-mile east of the village. Mr. French's house, j-ears later, stood
on the east side of the road, but he may have changed his own
residence ; or, as uncertain as roads often were in those daj-s, this
may easily have been turned from one side of the house to the other.