Francis Chase.

Gathered sketches from the early history of New Hampshire and Vermont : containing vivid and interesting account of a great variety of the adventures of our forefathers, and of other incidents of olden times ; original and selected online

. (page 1 of 12)
Online LibraryFrancis ChaseGathered sketches from the early history of New Hampshire and Vermont : containing vivid and interesting account of a great variety of the adventures of our forefathers, and of other incidents of olden times ; original and selected → online text (page 1 of 12)
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Cn this day the victory of the Confederate Army at Chancellor*
viJle was balanced with the loss of Gen. Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackso
who never could be replaced. He fell, mortally wounded, after he ha
been fired on while returning from a scouting expedition with his ow
mejSbshgjrtly after sunset. He had been mistaken for a Union office











gmh of otljer liuibmts of GMant &inu.






18 5 0,

THE ***

public l:?< •



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the Tear 1856, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of New Hampshire.



Gentle reader, you have before you a collection of Sketches,
gathered from the early history of New Hampshire and Vermont ;
or, perhaps we ought to say, a selection, for the first period of the
existence of these two states is a deep and copious mine, from
which the diligent student may exhume any number of incidents,
which it would be well worth while, both as a matter of curiosity
and of information, to place before the reading public.

In this selection you will find incidents both grave and gay,
both pathetic and amusing ; some of them of considerable histori-
cal importance, and others which some persons might think almost
trifling. But it is intended that the following pages shall illustrate
as fully as possible the character of the times in which our ances-
tors lived. Their life, as is ours, was made up of trifles and
weightier things combined, and the best illustration is that in
which minor matters have their due proportion. We hope they
will not be found too numerous in this attempt.

The Editor takes no credit to himself for his portion of the
work. His work has been, for the most part, merely to select and
arrange, adding here and there a note or a prefatory remark to
clear up the meaning of the text, or to give additional information.
Such articles as have been taken from connected histories have of
course been altered to make them clear and intelligible when
standing by themselves. Matters not connected with the main
point of the story have been pruned out, and in some cases eluci-
dating sentences have been put in ; occasionally too, an inelegant



expression has been amended. The biographical and a few other
articles have been prepared expressly for this work. Some frag-
ments have been found in looking over old files of newspapers ;
but most of them have been culled from books now out of print,
and inaccessible to the majority of readers. Where the origin of
an article has been certainly known, it has been duly credited.
The Editor takes pleasure in acknowledging his indebtedness to
the following excellent works : Williams's History of Vennont,
Belknap's History of New Hampshire, Drake's Indian Captivities,
Farmer and Moore's Historical Collections of New Hampshire,
De Puy's Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Heroes of '76, and
Powers's interesting little History of the Coos Country. For the
excellent fragment of history entitled " Kilburn's Defence," he is
indebted to the faithful pen of Dr. E. Morse, of Walpole, N. H.
Above all, he would offer his sincerest thanks to those kind
friends, -without whose generous assistance he could, in his present
circumstances, by no means have performed the labor of preparing
the present work. He indulges the hope that their joint labors
will be kindly received, and that this humble book may, in the
houses of both the lofty and the lowly of New England, be a source
of lasting pleasure. To the aged may it bring up pleasant pictures
of former days ; to the rising generation may it serve as an instruc-
tive history of times past, and as an agreeable substitute for the
useless works of fiction which are scattered in such profusion
throughout the Land.



Introductory Chapter, 7

The Ked Man's Stratagem, 13

Death of Major Waldron, 18

The Captivity and Sufferings of Miss Sarah Gerish, .... 21

Three Narratives, 25

Lovewell's Fight, 32

The Boar and the Bear, 39

The Captivity of Mrs. Isabella M'Coy, of Epsom, N. H., . . 46

Peabody's Leap, 54

Kilburn's Defence, 62

Indian Bridge, 71

The Captivity and Sufferings of Mrs. Jemima Howe, ... 75

Hilton, of Famous Memory, 91

Indian Fun, 97

The Headless Spectre, 99

Attack upon Number Four, 102

The Indians at War ; their Usages and Customs, .... 106

A Witch Story of Olden Time, . 116

1* (5)


Destruction of the Indian Village of St. Francis, 124

Peter Brown's Temperance Lesson, 131

Incidents from the Life of Colonel Ethan Allen, 135

Seizure of Captain Remember Baker by the Yorkers, . . .143

Female Courage, 149

The Battle of Bennington, 151

Anecdotes from the Life of General Stark, 158

An Act of Courage, 165

The Old Man of the Mountain, 170

The New Hampshire Rangers, 174

The Burning of Royalton, 181



No history is more interesting to a nation than
the narrative of its own origin and progress. No
events are more attractive to young and old than
the incidents of varied suffering and prosperity, of
romance and of sturdy fact, which cluster around
the beginning of their country's existence. The
polished writers of Greece and Rome knew this,
and because Homer and V irgil sang of these things,
their vivid and graceful verses were in the mouths
of the lowest as well as the highest of their coun-
trymen. Greeks and Romans alike were fain to
magnify into gods and heroes the founders of their
respective empires. The exploits of Jason, Her-
cules, and Romulus were magnified by tradition into
superhuman actions ; and their heroic achievements
were related in hovel and palace with equal pride
and admiration. In this respect, the feelings that
actuated ancient nations prevail in the same degree
among modern ones. And perhaps there is no



nation on the face of the earth that has so much
patriotic pride in their ancestry as our own. A
son of that state whose green and beautiful moun-
tains have given it a name, feels his bosom glow as
warmly when the name of Ethan Allen is mentioned,
as did the Greek when speaking of his Hercules, or
the Roman when relating the deeds of Romulus.
There is no nation indeed which has more reason
to be proud of its founders than our own, and
there are no states, within the broad boundaries of
our country, whose early history is fraught with
incidents so interesting, or so full of exciting ad-
venture, as is that of New Hampshire and Vermont.
The first settlers of these states were men of strong
arms and brave hearts, who came with wives as
energetic and fearless as themselves, to hew them
out a home from among the dense and tangled for-
ests which then covered the land. They were men
fitted either for action or endurance. They were
accustomed to the hardships of a frontier life.
They understood the ways of the savage tribes
which surrounded them, and were most of them
more than a match for their wily foe in all the arts
and stratagems of Indian warfare. True, they were
sometimes overpowered by numbers, or lured by the
savages into traps set for their destruction ; but still
it seems almost a wonder that they were able to
exist, or to stand at all against a numerous and
cunning enemy. Their settlements were scattered ;
so much so, that frequently oife family was located
several miles distant from any other. Such a


position was of course exposed at all times to open
and secret attacks from a savage foe, and called
for the most extreme caution on the part of the
adventurous settlers. Each cabin was a castle, that
must be defended by the inhabitants to the death.
The story of " Kilburn's Defence " will be found to
illustrate what has been said on this point.

There seems to be a peculiar propriety in con-
necting the early histories of New Hampshire and
Vermont. True, New Hampshire was settled by
the whites one hundred years before any permanent
location had been made by civilized persons within
the borders of Vermont ; still, the same tribes of
Indians roamed and hunted over the whole territory.
The French and Indians of Canada, when they
dashed down upon the infant settlements of New
Hampshire, took their course over the verdant
mountains of Vermont and along the meadows of
the Connecticut Valley ; and when they returned,
they dragged their unwilling and woe-worn captives
through the same forests and across the same green
hills. They were connected too, in the eye of the
law, by grants from the crown of England ; which
made the western boundary of New Hampshire
extend to within twenty miles of the Hudson River.
The State of New York did indeed set up an op-
posing claim to the land west of the Connecticut
River ; but the claims of New Hampshire had been
first acknowledged by many of the actual settlers,
and though New York tried to enforce her authority
she could not succeed. For some time previous to


the revolutionary war quite a fierce strife was car-
ried on between the inhabitants of the New Hamp-
shire grants and the New York officials, in which
the former were assisted and abetted by the author-
ities of the state from which they had derived their
lands. No apology need therefore be made for
uniting in one volume incidents from the early his-
tory of these sister states. They were connected
in actual fact, and it is well they should be so in
whatever resembles an historical account.

A brief sketch of the settlement of New Hamp-
shire and Vermont may be useful as a chain to con-
nect together the following detached narratives.
As early as the year 1G23 the English had begun
settlements on the Piscataqua River. One David
Thompson, with others, erected salt works and es-
tablished a fishery at Portsmouth. Edward and
William Hilton went eight miles farther up the
river, to Dover. Thompson did not remain long in
his location, but it does not appear that the estab-
lishment he had made was entirely deserted. The
Hiltons of Dover played quite a prominent part in
the early history of this state, and some of their
descendants have been quite famous for their brave-
ry, prowess, and skill in Indian warfare. It is of
one of these that an incident is related in the fol-
lowing pages. The early settlers in New Hamp-
shire never pretended that they sought a home in
the wilderness for the sake of religious liberty.
They declared openly that they came to the Piscat-
aqua River to fish and to trade, and they hoped to


secure an abundant compensation for their labor.
It was deemed probable that stores of precious
metals would be found in the mountainous regions
of New Hampshire ; and stories of beautiful lakes
and rivers abounding in fish were circulated, and
received considerable credence. Having their at-
tention turned at first to such objects, they neglect-
ed agriculture ; and the growth of the settlements
was consequently slow for a number of years. A
number of townships were afterwards granted by
Massachusetts, within the borders of New Hamp-
shire, but were afterwards given up to the latter
state. Among these were Hopkinton, Charlestown,
Hinsdale, &c. Epsom, N. H., was chartered in
1727, and settled from the neighborhood of Dover.
Hence Mrs. Isabella M'Coy was carried captive in
1747. Hollis was settled in 1731 by Captain Peter
Powers. The interesting story of " the Boar and
the Bear n is related of him.

In Vermont, the first settlement was made by the
whites in 1724. The government of Massachusetts
in that year erected Fort Dumtner, near what is
now Brattleboro'. Soon after, StartwelFs and
Bridgeman's forts were built a little below,, in the
present town of Vernon, Vt. It was at the latter
that the tragical event occurred which is described
in the narrative of the captivity of Mrs. Howe.
These forts were formerly included in the township
of Hinsdale, New Hampshire, but were given up to
Vermont when the two states separated. After the
establishment of Fort Dummer, the settlement of


the Connecticut valley went on rapidly. The first
settlement by the English on the west side of the
Green Mountains was made at Bennington in 1761,
although a charter had been granted for the town
in 1749 by Benning Wentworth, governor of New
Hampshire. The French had located themselves on
the banks of Lake Champlain, opposite to Crown
Point, but evacuated both places when General
Amherst captured Ticonderoga in 1759. The
Abenaqui or St. Francis tribe of Indians were the
greatest and most powerful enemies the English had
among the denizens of the forest. These were scat-
tered all along the northern part of New Hamp-
shire and Vermont, and throughout Maine. This
was the tribe that espoused most strongly the cause
of the French in their wars against the colonists.
From first to last, they were the cause of a vast
deal of bloodshed and misery to our ancestors. A
portion of the tribe is still existing in Canada ;
but while the descendants of the English have con-
stantly gone forward in wealth and prosperity, and
in all the arts of civilization and refinement, these
down-trodden sons of the wilderness have sunk
lower and lower, until they are hardly the shadows
even of what they once were. While we drop the
tear of pity over the sufferings of our fathers, let
us not fail generously to commiserate the wretched
condition of those who caused these sufferings.
Parcete vidis.



The early settlers of Cocheco were exposed at
all times to the relentless hostility of the Indians.
No precautions could circumvent their stratagems.
They came at all times and in all seasons, with the
tomahawk in one hand and the torch in the other,
to massacre and destroy. The traveller was cut
down on his journey, the husbandman was butchered
in his field, the women and children were assaulted
at the fireside, and consigned to an ignominious
death, or a captivity worse than death.

In the summer of 1666, a band of savages made a
descent upon the infant settlement. Their approach
having, on this occasion, been observed, time was
afforded for such of the inhabitants as could not do
good service at bush fighting, to retreat to the block-
houses or garrisons. The women and children were
hurriedly gathered within the palisades of their
defences, while the rifle of the husband and father
for a moment checked the advances of the enemy.
There were at this time some half a dozen of these
block-houses at Cocheco, all of which, with one
2 (13)


exception, were successfully defended against this
assault of the savages. The manner in which this
one was captured shows at once the wily character
of the enemy against which our fathers had to guard
their possessions and their lives, and the persever-
ance with which that enemy labored to effect their

The Indians, having been repulsed in their first
onset upon the settlement, retired, carrying with
them the bodies of several of their warriors, who
had been shot down in the fight. Two or three of
the white men had also been killed. Their bodies
were also dragged off, and, having been scalped and
otherwise horribly mutilated, were left as a prey to
the beasts of the field ; while the remains of the
Indian braves who had fallen were interred with all
the forms and ceremonies of their race. The in-
habitants of Cocheco were congratulating them-
selves upon their successful escape from the enemy.
Some of their little band, it was true, had fallen —
some, too, whom they could but illy spare. Their
voices hereafter would be missed in the council, and
their arms in the fight. But such things were of
common occurrence, and the cares of a precarious
existence left little time for mourning to the living.

The Indians, though repulsed, had not abandoned
their designs upon Cocheco. They retired only to
devise new, and, as they hoped, more successful
stratagems for surprising the white man. For sev-
eral days the watchfulness of the inhabitants cir-
cumvented all their machinations, during which they


did not deem it prudent to show their copper-col-
ored visages within the range or reach of a rifle shot
from the block-houses.

On the fourth day after the first attack they dis-
covered that one of the block-houses, which was
built on the margin of the river, could be entered
on the water side, provided any means could be de-
vised to reach it unobserved. To proceed to it
openly in their canoes, and make the attempt, either
by day or night, was out of the question, as the
inhabitants kept a strict lookout, and would have
bored a bullet hole through the head of the first
Indian that came within their reach. In this block-
house were four men, with their families, in all about
twenty. The Indians, having discovered an open-
ing to the garrison, were not long in devising a
way to enter it.

About half a mile above the settlement was a
mowing field, the grass of which had been cut and
made into cocks by some of the Cocheco men, the
day before the descent of the Indians upon them.
It was ready for the barn, and as soon as the Indians
should retire, it was the intention of the owners to
cart it in. Early in the morning of the fourth day,
however, they discovered that the enemy, having
exhausted every other means of annoying them,
were about to commence an assault with and under
cover of the hay. Having procured a cart belong-
ing to the settlement, which they had found within
their reach, they placed a large quantity of the
hay upon it, and having dragged it within a short


distance of the garrison, set it on fire, and, under
cover of the burning mass, attempted to back it up
to and burn with it the garrison.

Previous to this, however, they had, as it seemed,
in mere wantonness, set some fifteen or twenty cocks
of the hay adrift in the river, which were floating
vslowly down towards the garrison. The besieged
had observed this movement, but, suspecting noth-
ing, directed their attention exclusively to the dan-
ger which was pressing upon them on the other side
of the garrison. The cart, with its contents in a
mass of flames, was coming down upon them. The
men of the garrison stationed themselves at the loop-
holes, with their guns, to pick off as many of the
enemy, as they approached, as they could reach ;
while the women and children brought up water
from the river, which they obtained through the
door which the Indians had previously discovered,
to extinguish the flames.

The burning hay had reached the garrison, and
was sending its lurid flames far above the walls ;
yet, as the house was built of unhewn logs, massive
and strong, the fire made but little impression upon
it. More than one Indian who had assisted in push-
ing down the cart had paid for his temerity with
his life ; the muskets of the besieged kept them at
bay, or cut them down, as they exposed themselves ;
and the fire from the hay would have been extin-
guished, and the garrison successfully defended, had
it not been carried in another quarter.

While the inmates of the garrison w r cre thus de-


fending themselves from the attack on the land side,
the hay in the river had floated down opposite the
garrison, having gradually drawn towards the shore
as it approached ; and as the besieged, having driven
the Indians from the cover of the burning hay, were
employed in extinguishing it, a dozen savages sprang
upon them, as it were, from the bosom of the river,
entering the garrison from the water side. Each
hay cock had concealed the head of an Indian, as
he swam down the river beneath it !

The inmates of the garrison t#io escaped the
tomahawk, with the exception of some half a dozen
who succeeded in reaching one of the neighboring
houses, were carried off as captives into Canada.
Some of the more feeble died on the journey, and
were left by the wayside ; others lived to return,
after years of hardship and suffering, to their



DOVER, N. II., JUNE 27, 1689.

In August, 1676, King Philip was slain. Some
of his followers *took refuge among the Penacooks,
others with the eastern Indians — the Ossipees and
Pequawketts. Hostilities were renewed through the
influence of these refugees, and at length two com-
panies of soldiers were sent from Boston to Dover.
Here they found a large number of Indians at the
house of Major Waldron, whom they regarded as
their friend and father. The Boston companies had
orders to seize all Indians who had been engaged
in King Philip's war, and, recognizing such among
the number, would have fallen upon them at once
had they not been dissuaded by Major Waldron,
who proposed to have a training and sham fight the
next day, in order to take them by stratagem. This
having been done, they were all seized and disarmed.
A separation was then made ; the Penacooks and
those who had made peace the autumn before were
set at liberty ; while the refugees — the strange In-
dians, as they were called — were retained as pris-
oners to the number of two hundred. Seven or
eight, who were convicted of having killed Eug-



lishmen, were executed. The rest were sold into
slavery in foreign parts.

Thirteen years passed since the seizure of the In-
dians at Dover ; but they still remembered it, and
longed for vengeance. Some of those who had
been sold into slavery had returned to excite their
brethren, and they soon broke out in hostilities.

On the evening of the 27th of June, 1689, two
squaws applied at each of the garrisoned houses in
Dover for lodging. The people, fearing no danger,
readily admitted them. Mesandowit, one of the
chiefs, was entertained at Major Waldron's. " Broth-
er Waldron" said he, with his usual familiarity, while
they were at supper, " what would you do if the strange
Indians should come ? n u I can assemble a hundred
men" was the reply, " by lifting up my finger" With
this fatal confidence they retired to rest. When all
was quiet, those within opened the gates and gave
the signal. The savages rushed in and began their
bloody work. Waldron, though eighty years of
age, seized his sword and drove the assailants back
through two doors, but when returning for his other
arms, was stunned with a hatchet, and fell. They
then dragged him into his hall, seated him in an
elbow chair upon a long table, and insultingly asked,
" Who shall judge Indian now ? " After feasting
upon provisions which they compelled the rest of
the family to procure, each one with a knife cut
gashes in Waldron's breast, saying, "J cross out my
account ! " They then cut off his nose and ears, and
forced them into his mouth ; and when, weakened


from the loss of blood, he was about to fall from
the table, his own sword was held under him, which
put an end to his tortures. At other houses, similar
acts of cruelty were perpetrated, and in the whole,
twenty-three persons were killed, and twenty-nine
carried prisoners to Canada, who were shortly sold
to the French. Many houses were burned, and
much property was plundered ; but so expeditious
were the Indians, that they had fled beyond reach
before the neighboring people could be collected.



Sarah Gerish, daughter of Captain John Gerish,
of Quochecho, or Cocheco, was a very beautiful and
ingenious damsel, about seven years of age, and hap-
pened to be lodging at the garrison of Major Wal-
dron, her affectionate grandfather, when the Indians
brought that horrible destruction upon it, on the
night of the 27th of June, 1689. She was always
very fearful of the Indians ; but fear, may we think,
now surprised her when they fiercely bade her go
into a certain chamber and call the people out. She
obeyed ; but finding only a little child in bed in the

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Online LibraryFrancis ChaseGathered sketches from the early history of New Hampshire and Vermont : containing vivid and interesting account of a great variety of the adventures of our forefathers, and of other incidents of olden times ; original and selected → online text (page 1 of 12)