Jeremy Belknap.

The history of New Hampshire online

. (page 21 of 65)
Online LibraryJeremy BelknapThe history of New Hampshire → online text (page 21 of 65)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


swamp. A company of militia under Captain Shackford* and
lieutenant Libbey pursued, and discovered them cooking their
breakfast, at a place ever since called Breakfast-hill, in Rye.
The Indians were on the farther side, having placed their captives
between themselves and the top of the hill, that in case of an at-
tack they might first receive the fire. The lieutenant pleaded to
go round the hill, and come upon them below to cut off their re-
treat ; but the captain fearing in that case that they would, ac-
cording to their custom, kill the prisoners, rushed upon them from
the top of the hill, by which means they retook the captives and
plunder, but the Indians, rolling down the hill, escaped into the
swamp and got to their canoes. Another party, under another
commander, Gerrish, was then sent out in shallops to intercept
them as they should cross over to the eastward by night. The
captain ranged his boats in a line, and ordered his men to reserve
tlieir fire till he gave the watchword. It being a calm night, the
Indians were heard as they advanced ; but the captain, unhappily
giving the word before they had come within gun-shot, they tacked
about to the southward, and going round the Isles of Shoals, by
the favor of their light canoes escaped. The watch- word was
Crambo, which the captain ever after bore as an appendage to
his title. ^ On the twenty-sixth day of July, the people of Dover
were waylaid as they were returning from the public worship,
when three were killed, three wounded, and three carried to
Penobscot, from whence they soon found their way home.^ f

The next year, on the tenth of June, the town of Exeter was

remarkably preserved from destruction. A body of the enemy

- .^„ had placed themselves near the town, intending to make

an assault in the morning of the next day. A number of

women and children contrary to the advice of their friends went

(1) Judge Parker. (2) Magnalia, lib. 7, p. 89.
* [William Shackford was of Dover, and one of the grand jin-y in 1682.]
t [The persons killed were Nicholas Otis, Mary Downs and Mary Jones ;
those wounded were Richard Otis, Anthony Lowden and Experience Heard;
those captured were John Tucker, Nicholas Otis, jr., and Judith Ricker. On
the 25th August following. Lieutenant Lock was slain by the Indians at San-
dy Beach, and soon after Arnold Breck, &c. was shot at betwi.xt Hampton
and Greenland. Rev. John Pike, MS. Journal.]



1697.1 PROVINCE. JOHN USHER. I43

into the fields, without a guard, to gather strawberries. When
they were gone, some persons, to frighten them, fired an alarm ;
which quickly spread through the town, and brought the people
together in arms. The Indians supposing that they were discov-
ered, and quickened by fear, after killing one, wounding another,
and taking a child, made a hasty retreat and were seen no more
there. But on the fourth day of July, they waylaid and killed
the worthy Major Frost* at Kittery, to whoin they had owed re-
venge ever since the seizure of the four hundred at Cochecho,
in which he was concerned.^

The same year, an invasion of the country was projected by the
French. A fleet was to sail from France to Newfoundland, and
thence to Penobscot, where being joined by an army from Cana-
da, an attempt was to be made on JJoston, and the seacoast rav-
aged from thence to Pascataqua. The plan was too extensive
and complicated to be executed in one summer. The fleet came
no further than Newfoundland, when the advanced season, and
scantiness of provisions obliged them to give over the design.
The people of New-England were apprized of the danger, and
made the best preparations in their power. They strengthened
their fortifications on the coast, and raised a body of men to de-
fend the frontiers against the hidians who were expected to co-
operate with the French. Some mischief was done by lurking
parties at the eastward ; but New-Hampshire was unmolested by
them during the remainder of this, and the whole of the following
year.f

After the peace of Ryswick, Count Frontenac Informed the
Indians that he could not any longer support them in a war . ^qq
with the English, with whom his nation was then at peace.
He therefore advised them to bury the hatchet and restore their
captives. Having suffered much by famine, and being divided
in their opinions about prosecuting the war, after a long time they
were brought to a treaty at Casco ; where they ratified trqq
their former engagements ; acknowledged subjection to
the crown of England ; lamented their former perfidy, and

(1) Mag. lib. 7, page 91. MS. Journal.

* [Major Charles Frost, was the representative of Kittery in the General
Court of Massachusetts in the years 1658,1660 and 1661, and was long an
active and useful officer in the Indian wars. He is named by Hubbard in his
Wars with the Eastern Indians, p. 28. Under the charter of William and
Mary, at the first election of counsellors, in 1693, he was selected for one of
those to be chosen for Maine. He was probably related to the Frosts of New-
Hampshire, where the name has continued with reputation from an early
period to the present time.]

t [It was in 1697, on the 15 of March, that the town of Haverhill, in Massa-
chusetts, was attacked by the Indians, and some of the prisoners there taken
were brought into New-Hampshire, among whom was the intrepid Hannali
Duston, whose story is well known. It was on a small island at the mouth
of Contoocook river, about six miles above the State House in Concord, that
she destroyed her captors. She and her coadjutors killed two men, two wo-
men, and six others, and having scalped them, carried their scalps to Boston.]



144



HISTORY OF NEW-HAMPSHIRE.



[1C99.

promised future peace and good behaviour in such terms as the
commissioners dictated, and with as much sincerity as could be
expected, 1 At the same time, they restored those captives, who
were able to travel from the places of their detention to Casco in
that unfavorable season of the year ; giving assurance for the
return of the others in the spring ; but many of the younger sort,
both males and females, were detained ; who, mingling with the
Indians, contributed to a succession of enemies in future wars
against their own country. *-

(1) Mag. lib. 7, page 94. (2) Hutch, vol. 2, page 110.

* [I have endeavored to collect from various authorities, but principally
from a MS. Journal of the Rev. John Pike, of Dover, a summary account of
the depredations committed by the Indians in the Eastern part of New-Eng-
land, during what Cotton Mather calls " Decennium Luctuosum, or the long
War with the Indian Salvages," which is presented below in a tabular form,
and so far as was practicable, in chronological order. Other depredations
doubtless were committed of which no account is preserved.





Time.


Places attacked. JVo.


Killed.


Wounded.


CavVd.


1689.


28 June,


Dover,


23





29




August,


Oyster River, (Durham)


18










August,


Andover, Ms.


2(1)








1G90.


2 February,


Schenectady, N. Y.


60





27




IS March,


Salmon-Falls,


27





52




22 August,


York, Me.








1






Fox Point, (Newington)


14





6




4 July,


Lamprey River,


8





1




5 July,


Exeter,


8


. —







C July,


Wheelwright's pond, (Lee^


1 16










7 July,


Amesbury, Ms.


3





■ —




July or Aug


'. Maquoit, Me.


1


1







21 September,


Maquoit, (near Casco)


8


24





1692.


25 January,


York, Me.


48










18 July,


Lancaster, Ms.


6


1







1 August,


Billerica, Ms.


6










28 September,


Newichwannock,(S.Berwic


;k)2










29 September,


Sandy Beach, (Rye)


21(2)


• —





1693.


10 May,


Dover,


1(3)








1694.


18 July,


Oyster River,


94(4)





, —




21 July,


Portsmouth,


4










27 July,


Groton, Ms.


22


13







20 August,


Spruce Creek and York,


5










24 August,


Long Reach, (Kittery)


8(5)










4 September,


Pond Plain, Ms. (6)


2








1695.


28 March,


Saco Fort, Me.


1


1







6 July,


Kittery, Me.





1







7 July,


York, Me.


1










July,


Exeter,


2












Lancaster, Ms.


1












Haverhill, Ms.





2







5 August,


Billerica, Ms.


10


5







August,


Saco Fort, Me.


1









(1) Four from Andover died the same j'ear in the war at the Eastward. —
Abbot, Hist. Andover, 43.

(2) This number includes those who were killed and carried away. Pike,
MS. Journal.

(3) This was Tobias Hanson, who is not named by Dr. Belknap.

(4) Killed and carried away.

(5) Killed and captured.

(6) Between Amesbury and Haverhill, Ms.



PROVINCE. JOHN USHER. 145

A general view of an Indian war will give a just idea of these
distressing times, and be a proper close to this narration.

The Indians were seldom or never seen before they did exe-
cution. They appeared not in the open field, nor gave proofs of
a truly masculine courage ; but did their exploits by surprise,
chiefly in the morning, keeping themselves hid behind logs and
bushes, near the paths in the woods, or the fences contiguous to
the doors of houses ; and their lurking holes could be known only
by the report of their guns, which was indeed but feeble, as they
were sparing of ammunition, and as near as possible to their object
before they fired. They rarely assaulted an house unless they
knew there would be but little resistance, and it has been after-
ward known that they have lain in ambush for days together,
watching the motions of the people at their work, without daring
to discover themselves. One of their chiefs, who had got a
woman's riding-hood among his plunder, would put it on, in an
evening, and walk into the streets of Portsmouth, looking into the
windows of houses, and hstening to the conversation of the people.

Their cruelty was chiefly exercised upon children, and such
aged, infirm, or corpulent persons as could not bear the hardships
of a journey through the wilderness. If they took a woman far

Time.
1G95. 9 September,
7 October,

1696. 7 May,

24 June,
26 June,

26 July,
13 August,
15 August,

25 August,
25 August,

27 August,
13 October,

1697. 15 March,
20 May,

10 June,

10 June,
4 July,

29 July,
7 August,
9 September,

11 September,
15 November,

1698. 22 February,

February,
9 May,
9 May,

(1) This place was in New-Hampshire.

(2) This was the number killed and taken. Mr. Saltonstall in his Hist, of
Haverhill, p. 8, says that, " In 1697, fourteen persons were killed, [in Haver-
hill] eight of them children," These he makes in addition to the above 40
killed and taken when Mrs. Duston was captured, the time of which he er-
roneously places under 1698.]

21



Places attacked. J^'o


. Killed.


Wuundcd.


Cap't.


Pemaquid, Me.


4


6





Newbury, Ms.





1


9


Dover, (or near it)


1








York, Me.


2


1





Sagamore's Creek, (Ports.)


24


1


4


Dover,


3


3


3


Andover, Ms.


2








Haverhill, Ms.








5


Oxford, Ms.


5








Sandy Beach,


1








Lubberland,(l)


1








Saco Fort, Me.


5


1





Haverliill, Ms,


40(2)








York, Me.







1


Groton, Ms.


1


3





Exeter,


1


1


1


Salisbury. Ms.








2


Kittery, Me.


1








Dover,


3


1





Saco Fort, Me.


3





3


Damariscotta, Me.


12


12





Lancaster, Ms.


21


a


6


Johnson's Creek,


1





1


Andover, Ms.


5


— ,


5


Haverhill, Ms.


2





2


Spruce Creek, Me.


1





3


York, Me.





1






146 HISTORY OF NEW-HAMPSHIRE.

advanced in pregnancy, their knives were plunged into her bow-
els. An infant, when it became troublesome, had its brains dash-
ed out against the next tree or stone. Sometimes to torment the
wretched mother, they would whip and beat the child till almost
dead, or hold it under water till its breath was just gone, and then
throw it to her to comfort and quiet it. If the mother could not
readily still its weeping, the hatchet was buried in its skull. A
captive wearied with a burden laid on his shoulders was often
sent to rest the same way. If any one proved refractory, or was
known to have been instrumental of the death of an Indian, or re-
lated to one who had been so, he was tortured with a lingering
punishment, generally at the stake, whilst the other captives were
insulted with the sight of his miseries. Sometimes a fire would
be kindled and a threatening given out against one or more, though
there was no intention of sacrificing them, only to make sport of
their terrors. The young Indians often signalized their cruelty
in treating captives inhumanly out of sight of the elder, and when
inquiry was made into the matter, the insulted captive must either
be silent or put the best face on it, to prevent worse treatment for
the future. If a captive appeared sad and dejected he was sure
to meet with insult ; but if he could sing and dance and laugh
with his masters, he was carressed as a brother. They had a
strong aversion to negroes, and generally killed them when they
fell into their hands.

Famine was a common attendant on these doleful captivities.
The Indians when they caught any game devoured it all at one
sitting, and then girding themselves round the waist, travelled
without sustenance till chance threw more in their way. The
captives, unused to such canine repasts and abstinences, could not
support the surfeit of the one, nor the craving of the other. A
change of masters, though it sometimes proved a relief from mis-
ery, yet rendered the prospect of a return to their homes more
distant. If an Indian had lost a relative, a prisoner bought for a
gun, a hatchet, or a few skins, must supply the place of the de-
ceased, and be the father, brother, or son of the purchaser ; and
those who could accommodate themselves to such barbarous
adoption, were treated with the same kindness as the persons in
whose place they were substituted. A sale among the French
of Canada was the most happy event to a captive, especially if
he became a servant in the family ; though sometimes, even there,
a prison was their lot, till opportunity presented for their redemp-
tion ; whilst the priests employed every seducing art to pervert
them to the popish religion, and induce them to abandon their
country. These circumstances, joined with the more obvious
hardships of travelling half naked and barefoot through pathless
deserts, over craggy mountains and deep swamps, through frost,
rain and snow, exposed by day and night to the inclemency of



PROVINCE. JOHN USPIER. 147

the weather, and in summer to the venomous stings of those num-
berless insects with which the woods ahound ; the restless anxiety
of mind, the retrospect of past scenes of pleasure, the remem-
brance of distant friends, the bereavements experienced at the
beginning or during the progress of the captivity, and the daily
apprehension of death either by famine or the savage enemy ;
these were the horrors of an Indian captivity.

On the other hand, it must be acknowledged that there have
been instances of justice, generosity and tenderness during these
wars which would have done honor to a civilized people. A
kindness shewn to an Indian was remembered as long as an in-
jury ; and persons have had their lives spared, for acts of human-
ity done to the ancestors of those Indians, into whose hands they
have fallen.* They would sometimes " carry children on their
" arms and shoulders, feed their prisoners with the best of their
" provision, and pinch themselves rather than their captives should
" want food." When sick or wounded, they would afford them
proper means for their recovery, which they were very well able
to do by their knowledge of simples, la thus preserving the lives
and health of their prisoners, they doubtless had a view of gain.
But the most remarkably favorable circumstance in an Indian
captivity, was their decent behaviour to women. I have never
read, nor heard, nor could find by inquiry, that any woman who
fell into their hands was ever treated with the least immodesty ;
but testimonies to the contrary are very frequent. f Whether
this negative virtue is to be ascribed to a natural frigidity of con-
stitution, let philosophers inquire : The fact is certain ; and it
was a most happ)^ circumstance for our female captives, that in

* Several instances to this purpose have been occasionally mentioned in tlie
course of this narrative. The following additional one is taken from Capt.
Hammond's MS. Journal. '■ April 13, 1G77. The Indians Simon, Andrew
■" and Peter burnt the house of Edward Weymouth at Sturgeon creek. They
" plundered the house of one Crawley but did not kill him, because of some
" kindness done to Simon's grandmother."

t Mary Rowlandson who was captured at Lancaster, in 1675, liae tliis pas-
sage in her narrative, (p. 55.) " I have been in the midst of these roaring
lions and savage bears, that feared neither God nor man nor the devil, by day
and night, alone and in company ; sleeping all sorts together, and yet not one
of them ever offered rne the least abuse ofunchastity in word or action."

Elizabeth Hanson who was taken from Dover in 1724, testifies in her nar-
rative, (p. 23) that '• the Indians are very civil toward their captive women,
not offering any incivility by any indecent carriage."

William Fleming, who was taken in Pennsylvania, in 17.55, says the In-
dians told him " he need not be afraid of their abusing his wife, for they
would not do it, for fear of offending tlieir God (pointing their hands toward
heaven) for the man that affronts his God will surely be killed when he goes
to war." He farther says, that one of tliem gave his wife a shift and petticoat
which he had among his plunder, and though he was alone with her, yet '* he
turned his back, and went to some distance whilst she put them on." (p. 10.)

Charlevoix in his accountof the Indians of Canada, says, (letter 7) '"Thera
is no example that any have ever taken the least liberty with the French
women, even when they were their prisoners."



148 HISTORY OF NEW-HAMPSHIRE.

the midst of all their distresses, they had no reason to fear from
a savage foe, the perpetration of a crime, which has too frequently
disgraced, not only the personal, but the national character of
those, who make large pretences to civilization and humanity.



CHAPTER XI.

Tlie civil affairs of tlie Province during the administrationB of Usher, Part-
ridge, Allen, the Earl of Bellomont and Dudley, comprehending the whole
controversy with Allen and his heirs.

John Usher, Esquire, was a native of Boston, and by profes-
sion a stationer. He was possessed of an handsome fortune, and
sustained a fair character in trade. He had been employed by
the Massachusetts government, when in England, to negotiate the
purchase of the province of Maine, from the heirs of Sir Ferdin-
ndo Gorges, and had thereby got a taste for speculating in land-
d interest. He was one of the partners in the million purchase,
id had sanguine expectations of gain from that quarter. He
'.: \d rendered himself unpopular among his countrymen, by ac-
vepting the office of treasurer, under Sir Edmund Andros, and
ining with apparent zeal in the measures of that administration,
md he continued a friendly connexion with that party, after they
were displaced. ^

Though not illnatured, but rather of an open and generous dis-
position, yet he wanted those accomplishments which he might
have acquired by a learned and polite education. He had but
little of the statesman, and less of the courtier. Instead of an
engaging affability he affected a severity in his deportment, was
loud in conversation, and stern in command. Fond of presiding
in government, he frequently journeyed into the province, (though
his residence was at Boston, where he carried on his business as
usual,) and often summoned the council, when he had little or
nothing to lay before them. He gave orders, and found fault
like one who felt himself independent, and was determined to be
obeyed. He had an high idea of his authority and the dignity of
his commission ; and when opposed and insulted, as he some-
times was, he treated the offenders with a severity, which he
would not relax, till he had brought them to submission. His
public speeches were always incorrect, and sometimes coarse and
reproachful. 2

He seems, however, to have taken as much care for the inter-
est and preservation of the province as one in his circumstances

(1) Usher's papers. (2) Province files.



PROVINCE. JOHN USHER. 149

could have done. He began his administration In tlie height of
a war, which greatly distressed and impoverished the country,
yet his views from the beginning were lucrative.* The people
perceived these views, and were aware of the danger. The
transfer of the title from Mason to Allen was only a change of
names. They expected a repetition of the same difficulties under
a new claimant. After the opposition they had hitherto made,
it could not be thought strange that men whose pulse beat high
for freedom, should refuse to submit to vassalage ; nor, whilst
they were on one side defending their possessions against a sav-
age enemy, could it be expected, that on the other, they should
tamely suffer the intrusion of a landlord. Usher's interest was
united with theirs in providing for the defence of the country, and
contending with the enemy ; but when the proprietary of the soil
was In question, they stood on opposite sides ; and as both these
controversies were carried on at the same time, the conduct of
the people toward him varied according to the exigency of the
case. They sometimes voted him thanks for his services, and
at other times complained of his abusing and oppressing them.

Some of them would have been content to have held their es-
tates under Allen's title, f but the greater part, including the
principal men, were resolved to oppose it to the last extremity.
They had an aversion not only to the proprietary claim on their
lands, but theii- separation from the Massachusetts government,
under which they had formerly enjoyed so much freedom and
peace. They had petitioned to be re-annexed to them, at the
time of the revolution ; and they were always very fond of ap-
plying to them for help in their difficulties, that it might appear
how unable they were to subsist alone. They knew also that the
Massachusetts people were as averse as themselves to Allen's
claim, which extended to a great part of their lands, and was
particularly noticed in their new charter.

Soon after Usher's arrival, he made inquiry for the papers
which contained the transactions relative to Mason's suits. Du-
ring the suspension of government In 1689, Captain John Picker-
ing,! ^ ^^^^ o^ ^ rough and adventurous spirit, and a lawyer, had
gone with a company of armed men to the house of Chamberlain,
the late secretary and clerk, and demanded the records and files

* In a letter to George Dorrington and .Tolm Taylor in London, he writes
thus : '• Jan. 29, ]69'2 — 3. In case yourselves are concerned in the province
'• of New-Hampshire, with prudent management it may be worth money, the
" people only paying 4d and 2d per acre. The reason why the commonalty
" of the people do not agree is because 3 or 4 of the great landed men dissuade
" them from it. The people have petitioned the king to be annexed to Bos-
" ton government, but it will not be for tlie proprietor's interest to admit of
** that unless the king sends a general governor overall. '

t '• I have 40 hands in Exeter who desire to take patents for land from you,
" and many in other towns." Usher to Allen, October, 1G95.

+ [He often wrote his name Pickerin.]



150 HISTORY OF iNEW-HAMPSHlRE. [169Q..

which were in his possession. Chamberlain refused to dehver
them without some legal warrant for security ; but Pickering took
them by force, and conveyed them over the river to Kittery.
Pickering was summoned before the governor, threatened and im-
prisoned, but for some time would neither deliver the books, nor
discover the place of their concealment, unless by order of the
assembly and to some person by them appointed to receive them.



Online LibraryJeremy BelknapThe history of New Hampshire → online text (page 21 of 65)