Lucius R. (Lucius Robinson) Paige.

History of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register online

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Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 2 of 73)
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The number from 90 to 100 years is . . . .58

The number over 100 years is . . . . . ^1

Hence it appears, that of the whole number who deceased in
Hardwick during a period somewhat exceeding ninety-one years,
nearly one fourth part (23^ in every 100) attained the age of
70 years ; more than one ninth part (11| in every 100) reached
80 years; one in every 37| survived 90 years; and one^ com-
pleted the full century.

1 The records and a headstone indicate a second centenarian ; but the age is over-



Indian Occupation. — Indian Fortress. — King Philip. — Indian Hostilities in
Plymouth and Bristol Counties. — Sanguinary Conflict at "Winniniisset. —
Quabaog destroyed. — Report by Ephraim Curtis concerning the Nipmucks.
— Captain Edward Hutchinson's Commission and Death. — Captain Thomas
Wheeler's Narrative. — The Indians abandon their Stronghold at Winnimis-
set. — Personal Encounter between Captain Eleazar Warner and a Canada

There is no evidence within my knowledge, that the present
township of Hardwick was ever occupied by the Indians as a
place of residence ; but that these hills furnished favorite hunt-
ing-grounds, there were manifest tokens in my younger days.
Stone arrow-heads ^ were found so abundantly in the fields as to
indicate their frequent and long-continued visitation in pursuit of
game. Moreover, long before the settlement of the town by
Englishmen the Indians had a military stronghold at Winni-
misset, now in New Braintree, but for many years included in
Hardwick. At this place occurred a sanguinary conflict between
the two races, at the commencement of what is generally called
King Philip's War. " From 1671 to 1674 we meet with no
transaction of moment relative to the Indians, but it is affirmed
that Philip was all this time using measures to engage the Indians
in all parts of New England to unite against the English. . . .
They did not expect to be prepared before the spring of 1676,
but Phihp precipitated his own nation and his allies into a war
before they were prepared. . . . The war was hurried on by a

^ Another vestige of Indian occup.^ncy the present owner of the field (formerly a

is in my possession. It is a stone imple- pnrt of my father's homestead), where it

ment, fashioned like a pestle, ten inches in was found half a century ago. Very prob-

length, with a groove at the smaller end ably it passed unnoticed under my own

for the purpose of attachment to a handle, hoe in my boyhood, when laboring in that

The stone is different from the Hardwick field ; and hence it has an additional value

rocks, and of much finer grain. It was to me as a memento,
given to me by Mr. William C. Wesson,


piece of revenge, which Philip caused to be taken on John Sausa-
man, a praying Indian." ^ Sausaraan had exposed to the English
some of the plots of Philip, who thereupon caused him to be
murdered. The murderers were tried and executed at Plymouth
in June, 1675. Philip was enraged, and commenced hostilities
at once. " June 24th, in the morning, one of the inhabitants of
Rehoboth was fired upon by a party of Indians, and the hilt of
his sword shot off. The same day in the afternoon, being a fast,
as Swanzey people were coming from public worship, the Indians
attacked them, killed one and wounded others, and killed two
men who were going for a surgeon, beset a house in another part
of the town, and there murdered six more." ^ The English
gathered troops, and in July attacked the Indians in a swamp at
Pocasset, hoping to capture or destroy them ; but the attempt
was unsuccessful. " This disappointment encouraged the Indians
in other parts of New England "to follow Philip's example, and
begin their hostilities against the English. Some few had begun
before. The Nipnet or Nipmuck Indians had killed four or five
people at Mendon, in the Massachusetts Colony, the 14th of July.
The Governor and Council, in hopes of reclaiming the Ni23nets,
sent Captain Hutchinson with twenty horsemen to Quabaog
(Brookfield), near which place there was to be a great rendez-
vous of those Indians. The inhabitants of Quabaog had been
deluded with the promise of a treaty, at a place agreed upon, the
2d of August. Some of the principal of them accompanied Cap-
tain Hutchinson thither. Not finding the Indians there, they
rode forward four or five miles towards the Nipnets' chief town.
When they came to a place called Meminimisset,^ a narrow
passage between a steep hill and a thick swamp, they were am-
bushed by two or three hundred Indians, who shot down eight of
the company, and mortally wounded three more, Captain Hutch-
inson being one of the number. The rest escaped through a
by-path to Quabaog. The Indians flocked into the town ; but
the inhabitants, being alarmed, had all gathered together in the
principal house. They had the mortification to see all their
dwelling-houses, about twenty, with their bai'ns and outhouses
burnt." 4

A more particular "narrative" of this sanguinary struggle,

^ Hutchinson's Hist, of Mass., i. 283- ^ Now called Winnimisset, in New
285. Braintree.

2 Ibid., i. 286, 287. * Hutchinson's Uist. of Mass., i. 291,



written by Captain Thomas Wheeler, one of the actors therein,
which Hutchinson seems not to have seen, was reprinted in the
Collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society in 1827 ;
and some manuscript details of preliminary proceedings have
been preserved in the Massachusetts Archives, but I think have
never been printed. From these sources it appears that in July,
1675, the Governor and Council employed Ephraim Curtis^ to
visit the Nipmuck Indians at Quabaog (Brookfield), and to ascer-
tain their position in the controversy which had commenced.
On his return he exhibited a report as follows : —

" To the honered Governer and Councle of the Massathusets
Colony in New England.^

" Wheras your honors imployed your servant to conduct Un-
cheas his six men homwards as far as Wabaquesesue, and alsoe
to make a perffet discover^'^ of the motions of the Nepmug or
Western Indians, your honors may be pleased here to see my
return and relation. I conducted Unkeas his men safly while I
com in sight of Wabquesesue new planting fielde ; first to Na-
tuck, from thenc to Marelborrow, from thenc to Esnemisco, from
thenc to Mumchogg, from thenc to Chabanagonkomug, from
thenc to Mayenecket, from thenc over the river to Seneksig, while
wee cam nere to Wabaquasesu, wher they were very willing that
wee should leve them, and returned thanks to Mr. Governer, and
to all them that shewed them kindness, and alsoe to us for our
company. And in my jorny my chefe indever was to inquire
after the motions of the Indians. The first information which I
had was at Marelborrow att the Indian fort, which was that my
hous at Quansigamug ^ was robed ; the Indians, to conferm it,
shewed me som of the goods and alsoe som other goods which
was non of mine. The}?^ told mee it was very daingerous for mee
to goe into the woods, for that Mattounas, which they said was
the leader of them that robed my house, was in company of fifty
men of Phillips complices rainging between Chabanagonkamug
and Quatesook and Mendam and Warwick, and they might

1 Ephraim Curtis was of Sudbury (aft- ^ Worcester. During tlie attack ou
erward of Worcester), and described liiiu- Brookfield, " Ephraim Curtis, who may be
self as thirty-five years old in a deposition considered as the first settler of Worccs-
dated Sept. 11, 1675, now in the Mass. ter, distinguished himself as a gallant
Arch., Ixvii. 254. He was an active scout soldier in repelling their attacks. Having
and guide, and rendered very important actively engaged in military service, he re-
service, ccived the commission of lieutenant." He

2 I preserve the orthography, but sup- left ])osterity in Worcester. Lincoln's
ply the punctuation. Hist, of Worcester, pp. 19, 43.



hapen to mett mee ; and if I mised them, yet it was daingerous
to meet or see the other Nipmug Indians which wer gathered
together, for they would be reddy to shoot mee as soon as they
saw mee. With this newes, thos three Natuck Indians which
wer with mee as voUenteres were discurriged and tould mee that
if I did not provide mor company they wer not willing to goe
with mee. Hearing this, I repaired to the Consable of Marel-
borrow and to the milletary officers and tould them my busnes,
and they presed two men with horses and amies to goe along with
mee. And soe as wee pased the forementioned place, wee could
not find any Indians, neither in tents nor feldes ; but after wee
pased Senecksik som milds into the woods westwards, wee found
an Indian path newly mad. There being with mee a vollenter
Indian that cam from the Indians out of the wilderness but two
or three days before, and hee tould mee hee would find them out.
Soe in our travell wee followed this tract many milds, and found
many tents built, wherin I supos they might keep their randivos
for a day or two ; and soe wee found three places wher they had
piched, but found no Indians. And following still in pursut of the
tract, wee com to the lead mynes by Springfield ould road, wher
wee saw new footing of Indians : and soe looking out sharp, in
about two milds riding wee saw two Indians, which when wee
saw I sent the Indian that went with mee from Marrelborrow to
speek with them. But soe soone as they had discovered us they
fan away from us, but with fast riding and much calling two of
our Indians stopped one of them ; the other ran away. Wee
asked the Indian wher the other Indians were ; hee being sup-
prised with feare could scarcely speak to us, but only tould us
that the Indians were but a littel way from us. Soe then 1 sent
the Marrelborrow Indian before us, to tell them that the Gouv-
ner of the Massathusets messenger was a coming with peacable
words ; but when hee cam to them they would not beleve him ;
hee therfore cam riding back and meet us. Thes Indians have
newly begun to settel themselves uppon an Hand conteinging
about four acres of ground, being compased round with a brood
miry swamp on the one sid and a mudy river with meaddow on
both sids of it one the other sid, and but only one place that a
hors could posably pas, and there with a great deal of difficulty
by reson of the mier and dirt. Befor wee com to the river ther
mett us att least forty Indians at a littell distance from the river,
some with ther guns uppon ther shoulders, others with ther guns
in ther hands reddy cocked and primed. As wee cam nere to the


river most of them next to the river presented att us. All my
aquantanc would not know mee, although I saw ner twenty of
them together and asked ther wellfare, knowing that many of
them could speek good Englesh. I speak to many of them in the
Governor's name, which I called my master, the great Sachim of
the Massathuset Englesh, requiring them to owne ther fidellyty
and ingidgement to the Englesh, telling them that I cam not to
fight with them or to hurt them, but as a messinger from the
Governer to put them in mind of their ingaidgment to the Eng-
lish. I think some of them did beleve mee, but the most of them
would not. Ther was a very great upror amonghst them : som of
them would have had mee and my company presently kiled ; but
many others, as I understood afterwards, wer against it. I re-
quired ther Sachiins to com over the river ; but they refused, say-
ing that I must com over to them. My comppany wer somthing
unwilling, for they thought themselves in very great dainger
wher wee wer ; they said what shall wee bee when [wee] are
over the river amongst all the vile rout ? I tould them wee had
better never have sen them, then not to speak with ther Sachims,
and if wee run from them in the tim of this tumult they would
shoot after us and kill som of us. Soe with much difficulty wee
got over the river and meaddow to the Hand wher they stood to
face us att our coming out of the mire, many Indians with ther
guns presented att us, redy cocked and primed. Soe wee rushed
between them and called for ther Sachim ; they presently faced
about and went to surround us, many of them with ther guns
cocked and primed at us. We rushed between them one or
twice, and bid them stand in a body, and I would face them ; but
still the uprore continued with such noyes that the aire rang. I
required them to lay down their armes, and they comanded us
to put up our armes first, and com of our horses, which I refused
to doe. Som of them which wer inclinable to beleve us, or wer
our friends, som layd down ther armes, but the others continued
the uprore for a while ; and with much threattening and perswa-
sion, at last the uprore ceased. Many of them sayd they would
neyther beleve mee nor my master without hee would send them
two or three bushells of powder. Att lingth I spok with ther
Sachims, which wer five, and ther other grandes which I think
wer about twelve more ; our Natuck Indians semed to be very in-
dustrous all this tim to still the tumult and to persuad the In-
dians. And as soone as I cam to speek with the Sachims, we dis-
mounted and put up our armes. I had a great deal of specli with


them by an interpreter, being brought to ther court and sent out
again three or four times. The nams of the Sachims are thes :
1, Muttaump ; 2, Konkewasco ; 3, Willymachen ; 4, Upchat-
tuek ; 5, Keehood ; 6, Nontatousoo. Muttaump I perceive is
chosen to bee head over the other five, and was the chefe speaker.
There company in number I judg may bee ner two hundred of
men. They would fain have had mee to stay all night : I asked
the reson of some that could speak Englesh ; they sayd that tliey
had som messengers at Cunnetequt and som southvvai'd, and that
was the reson they would have mee stay. I asked them the re-
son of ther rud behavour toward us, and they sayd they heard
that the Englesh had kiled a man of thyres about Merrymak
River, and that they had an intent to destroy them all. I left
them well apeased when I cam away. Mor might be added ;
but thus far is a true relation, p'' your honers most humbel ser-
vent. Ephkaem Cuktis.

" July y« 16, 1675." i

Immediately afterwards Curtis was sent again with " a mes-
sage to the Nipmug Indians." He reported, July 24, 1675, that
he "found them att the same place wher they wer before; " that
they manifested a better temper, and that " they promised that
Keehoud and one mor of their principle men Avould come to the
Massathusets Bay within foure or five days and speek with our
Great Sachim." ^ This promise was not fulfilled, and the govern-
ment organized a military expedition. A paper remains in the
Archives, indorsed " Capt. Hutchinsons Instructions, 27 July,
1675," to wit: —

" Boston, 27 July, 1675. The Council, beeing informed that
the Narraganset Indians are come downe with about one hundred
armed men into the Nipmuck country, — Do order you, Capt.
Edward Hutcheson, to take with you Capt. Thomas Wheler
and his party of horse, with Ephraim Curtis for a guide, and a
sufficient interpreter, and forthwith repaire into those parts, and
ther laubour to get a right understanding of the motions of the
Narraganset Indians, and of the Indians of Nipmuck ; and for
that end to demand of the leaders of the Narraganset Indians an
account of the grounds of their marching in the countrj^ and re-
quire an account of the Nipmuck Indians why they have not sent
downe their Sagamore according to their promise unto our mes-
senger Ephraim Curtis. And further let them know that we are

1 Mass. Arch., Ixvii. 214-216. 2 /i,-j.^ Jxvii. 222, 223.


informed tliat there are some among tliem that have actually
joyned with our enimies in the murder and spoyle made upon the
English by Philip, and that Matoones and his complices who
have rob'd and murdered our people about Mendon are now
among them ; and that wee require them to deliver up to j'ou, or
forthwith bring in to us, those our eniraies ; otherwise wee. must
looke at them to bee no freinds to us, ayders and abbetors. . . .
And in prosecution of this affayre, if you should meet with any
Indians that stand in opposition to you or declare themselves
to be your enimes, then you are ordered to ingage with them,
if you see reson for it, and endeavor to reduce them by force of
arras." ^

The tragical result of this expedition was described by Captain
Thomas Wheeler, in " A true Narrative of the Lord's Providences
in various dispensations towards Captain Edward Hutchinson of
Boston and myself, and those that went with us into the Nipmuck
Country, and also to Quabaug, alias Brookfield." — " The said
Captain Hutchinson and myself, with about twenty men or more,
marched from Cambridge to Sudbury July 28, 1675, and from
thence into the Nipmuck Country ; and finding that the Indians
had deserted their towns, and we having gone until we came
within two miles of New Norwitch on July 31, ... we then
thought it not expedient to march any further that way, but set
our march for Brookfield, whither we came on the Lord's day
about noon. From thence the same day (being August 1), we
understanding that the Indians were about ten miles northwest
from us, we sent out four men ^ to acquaint the Indians that we
were not come to harm them, but our business was only to de-
liver a message from our honoured Governour and Council to
them, and to I'eceive their answer, we desiring to come to a treaty
of peace with them (though they had for several days fled from
us), they having before professed friendship and pi-omised fidel-
ity to the English. When the messengers came to them they
made an alarm, and gathered together about an hundred and fifty
fighting men, as near as they could judge. The young men
amongst them were stout in their speeches, and surly in their car-
riage. But at length some of the chief Sachems promised to
meet us on the next morning about 8 of the clock upon a plain

1 Mass. Arch., Ixvii. 227. Huchcson, aud by liis orckr wont and

2 One of these men was Ephraim Cur- treated witli tlie Nijjmuf; Indians in a
tis, who says in his deposition: "The swamp about eight milds from Qua-
third time I was sent out with Cap. booge." Mass. Arch., Ixvii. 254.


within three miles of Brookfield ; with which answer the messen-
gers returned to us. . . . Accordingly we with our men, accom-
panied with three of the principal inhabitants of that town,
marched to the plain appointed. . . . The Indians kept not prom-
ise there with us. But the three men who belong-ed to Brookfield
were so strongly persuaded of their freedom from any ill inten-
tions towards us . . . that the said Captain Hutchinson, who
was principally intrusted with the matter of Treaty with them,
was thereby encouraged to proceed and march forward towards a
swampe where the Indians then were. When we came near the
said swampe, the way was so very bad that we could march only
in a single file, there being a very rocky hill on the right hand,
and a thick swampe on the left, in which there were many of
those cruel bloodthirsty heathen, who there waylaid us, waiting an
opportunity to cut us off: there being also much brush on the side
of tlie said hill, where they lay in ambush to surprise us. When we
had marched there about sixty or seventy rods, the said perfidious
Indians sent out their shot upon us as a showre of haile, they being
(as was supposed) about two hundred men or more. We seeing
ourselves so beset, and not having room to fight, endeavoured to
fly for the safety of our lives. . . . There were then slain, to our
great grief, eight men, viz., Zechariah Philips of Boston, Timo-
thy Farlow of Billericay, Edward Coleborn of Chelmsford, Sam-
uel Smedly of Concord, Sydrach Hopgood of Sudbury, Sergeant
EyreSji Serjeant Pricliard,^ and Corporal Coy,^ the inhabitants of
Brookfield, aforesaid. It being the good pleasure of God that
they should all there fall by their hands of whose good intentions
they were so confident, and whom they so little mistrusted.
There were also then five persons wounded, viz.. Captain Hutch-
inson,* myself, and my son Thomas, as aforesaid,^ Corporal
French of Billericay ; . . . The fifth was John Waldoe of
Chelmsford." 6

The survivors fled to Brookfield, took possession of " one of the

1 John Ayres. loving and dutiful son, he adventuring

2 William Prichard. himself into great peril of his life to help

3 Kichard Coye. me in that distress ; there being many of
* Captain Hutchinson died of his the enemies about me, my son set me on

wounds, August 19, 1675. his own horse "and so escaped a while on
^ Captain Wheeler's horse was killed, foot himself, until he caught an horse
and himself sorely wounded. He bears this whose rider was slain, on which he mount-
testimony to the good conduct of his son, ed ; and so through God's great mercy we
who " had then received a dangerous both escaped."

wound in the reins: ... he endeavoured ^ Coll. N. H. Hist. Society, ii. 5-10.
to rescue me, shewing himself therein a


largest and strongest houses therein " (into which all the inhab-
itants were speedily gathered), and there defended themselves
two days against the violent assaults of the Indians, until relieved
by the force under Major Willard. On his approach, the Indians
betook themselves to the wilderness. " But before they went
away, they burnt all the town except the house we kept in, and
another that was not then finished. They also made great spoyle
of the cattel belonging to the inhabitants.'' ^

After this, the Indians never returned to Brookfield as a place
of residence ; but for more than half a century they hovered
around the town, occasionally destroying property and killing the
inhabitants. It does not appear how long they retained their
stronghold at Winnimisset ; but it is certain that after a short
time they returned and remained there until after the destruction
of Lancaster on the 10th of the ensuing Februar3\ Mrs. Rowland-
son says that on the second day after that disaster, " in the after-
noon, about an hour by sun, we came to the place where thej''
intended, viz. an Indian town called Wenimesset, northward of
Quabaug," and remained there until after February 18, on
which day her daughter, six j^ears old, and wounded at Lancaster,
died, and was buried on the hill east of the swamp. ''^ Subse-
quently Muttaump, the chief Sachem of the Quabaogs, is said to
have been hung at Boston, and the remnant of his tribe joined
with the River Indians.

I have devoted much space to the narration of these events,
partly because they occurred on territory which afterwards became
our own, partly because they illustrate the labors and perils and
sufferings to which the early settlers in the wilderness were ex-
posed, and partly because at least one of the individual sufferers
was represented by his posterity among the first English inhabit-

1 Immediately after arriving at Brook- he came back again ; but towards morn-
field, Epliraim Curtis and another started ing the said Ephraim adventured forth
for Boston on horseback to report the dis- the third time, and was fain to creep on
aster; but the Indians had already ar- his hands and knees for some space of
rived, and they were obliged to return, ground, that he might not be discerned by
" The next day," says Capt. Wheeler, " I the enemy, who waited to ])revcnt our
spoke to Ephraim Curtis to adventure sending, if they could have hindered it.
forth again on that service, and to at- But through God's mercy he escaped their
tempt it on foot, as the way wherein there hands, and got safely to JNIarlborough,
was most hope of getting away undiscov- though very much spent and ready to
ered ; he readily assented and accordingly faint, . . . from whence he went to Bos-
went out, but there were so many Indians ton. Coll. N. H. Ilist. Soc, ii. 11-13.
everywhere thereabouts, that he could not 2 Indian Captivities, pp. 25, 26.
pas.s without apparent hazard of life ; so



ants of this town. With a brief notice of a single affair in which
a prominent representative of that posterity was engaged, I shall
dismiss what may be called the Indian History of Hardwick.
One of the " principal inhabitants " of Brookfield, whose cattle,
house, and household goods were destroyed by the Indians, was
John Warner,^ who fled for refuge to Hadley (where one or more
of his sons then resided), and died there nearly twenty years
later. His grandson, Eleazar Warner, who was born 27th Jan-

Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 2 of 73)