Nathan Goold.

Stephen Manchester, the slayer of the Indian chief Polin, at New Marblehead, now Windham, Maine, in 1756, and a soldier of the revolution, with his ancestry online

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Online LibraryNathan GooldStephen Manchester, the slayer of the Indian chief Polin, at New Marblehead, now Windham, Maine, in 1756, and a soldier of the revolution, with his ancestry → online text (page 1 of 2)
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When Brown by Polin slain,
Winsliip twice scalped was Iain,

The Indian yell
Triumphant pierced the air;
But Manchester was there
Undaunted by a fear

And Polin fell.

The events of May, 1756, at New Marblehead, now
"Windham, Maine, were of but small moment in the
great progress of the world, but to the early settlers
of the outlying towns of what is now Cumberland
County they were of the greatest importance. Time
has proved that the Indian's deed to these towns of
ours was not recorded in heaven, but that this was
God's country, and His great plan was that if the sav-
ages opposed the progress of civilization they must be
banished from the land.

New Marblehead had several settlers before 1740,
but the order of their coming will probably never be
known. The story of Stephen Manchester, one of the


earliest settlers, must always be interesting and prom-
inent in the town's history. The romance connected
with his coming to the town brightens the dry facts of
history. He was born and spent his early life in Tiv-
erton, Rhode Island, and when a young became
much interested in a neighbor's daughter, named
Grace Farrow. Her parents objected to his attentions
to their daughter but were unable to prevent them.
At last they decided to emigrate to the District of
Maine and settle in the new country where their
daughter would soon forget her lover, her parents
thinking that the attachment for young Manchester
was but a childish fancy. John Farrow, his wife
Persis, daughter Grace, and other children came to
New Marblehead to make themselves a home, and he
is said to have been the third settler, in 1738, on
home lot No. 29.

Stephen Manchester was then about twenty-one
years of age and probably as resolute as he was in his
later life. Tradition does not give what passed after
Grace Farrow left Tiverton with her parents, but in
two long weeks Stephen Manchester walked into her
father's door. It was probably the same old story, of
her parents consenting to their marriage, which prob-
ably occurred that year. For their home he selected
home lot No. 32, next to John Farrow, Jr's., lots (his
brother-in-law), cleared the land and built a loghouse.

The situation at this time in the new township was
that a bridge had been built over the Presumpscot
River in 1736, for communication with Falmouth, and
in the winter of 1737-38, a meeting-house was begun,


but the Indians forbade their building it. Tn the
autumn of 1738, the Indians troubled the men so
much in building the mill at Horse Beef Falls, now
Mallison Falls, that the proprietors were asked for an
extension of time when the mill should be completed.
Such was the condition of affairs when young Man-
chester started life in the new settlement, with a pros-
pect of being obliged to contest with the Indians
every right.

8oon it was discovered that the Indian chief Polin
was bent on the destruction of their settlement, but
resolutely they kept at work improving their land.
In times of peace the Indians camped near the settle-
ment and they became well acquainted, but Manches-
ter never liked Polin. In 1739, there were camped
on the Presumpscot about twenty-five Indians, besides
the squaws and children.

In the summer of 1739, Chief Polin with other
Indians went to Boston and held a conference with the
governor and council, where they stated their griev-
ances. They wished a fishway kept open in the dam
of Col. Westbrook at the Presumpscot Lower Falls,
and objected to the further settlement of the land on
the river, as they wished the river for their trade.
They also wished that some trader might be placed
where it would be convenient to buy a small quantity
of rum, but not enough to get drunk upon as that was
contrary to their religion. They also wanted a drum
as their young men wished to have a dance sometimes.
They objected to a settlement at New Marblehead,
saying that Saccarappa was as far as the English had

a right to settle. In reply the governor ordered a
fishway in the dam. and also that the Indians be
treated kindly, but he told them that there had been
deeds of the land given to Rev. Robert Jordan and
others, which had been burned during the Indian war,
probably in Jordan's house at Spur wink, in 1675. He
then told them that the opportunities for getting rum
were sufficient. The Indians at the end of each re-
quest laid down a skin saying it was the pledge of the
tribe, whom they called the " Pesumpscots."

The settlers kept on in the work of the settlement,
but for their protection they were obliged to build a
fort, which was on home lot No. 33. It is described
as fifty feet square, two stories high, with walls one
one foot thick of hewn hemlock timber, the upper
story jutting out over the lower, with a tier of
portholes. There were two watch-boxes placed at
diagonal corners, two stories high, twelve feet square,
with walls one foot thick, each watch-box having a
swivel gun, furnished by the proprietors, and so placed
as to defend two sides of the fort. The fort sur-
rounded with a stockade about twenty-five or thirty
feet from it, made by setting posts ten or twelve
inches in diameter, twelve feet long, perpendicularly
in the ground so near together that the Indians could
not pass between them. This fort was built during
the spring of 1744, and was paid for by the state ap-
propriating one hundred pounds for the purpose. An
iron nine-pounder was placed before the fort for firing
alarms, and the proprietors provided fifty pounds of
powder. This preparation was made because of the

declaration of war between England and France that
year. During that war the settlers were obliged to
live in the fort for protection against the Indians, who
destroyed their crops and reduced them almost to

Smith in his history of Windham says : —

The first settlers of this town commenced their settlement under
the most discom-aging circumstances. No succor or supplies could
be obtained without traveling six or eight miles through the track-
less woods. Yet they persevered with untiring zeal, displayed a for-
titude that does honor to human nature, turned the barren wilder-
ness into the fruitful field, and ultimately taught the savage Indians,
by whom they were surrounded, to know by sad experience, that
the first settlers were a class of men who would not suffer them to
take life with impunity.

The story of the years to 1756 has been told by
others, but that was an important year in Stephen
Manchester's life. Let us now turn to his origin, the
events of his life in the township, now Windham,
Maine, and the story of his ancestors.

Stephen Manchester was born in Tiverton, Rhode
Island, May 23, 1717, and was the son of Gershom
and Anna Manchester. He married, probably in
1738, Grace Farrow, a daughter of John and Persis
Farrow. Her father had cleared twelve acres of land
on home lot No. 29, built a log house, which had
rotted down, and he had died before April 26, 1759.
Her mother died May 12, 1758. Stephen Manchester
cleared twelve acres on lot No. 32, built a house,
which stood about twenty rods from the river before
1759. From a report of a committee discovered by
Rev. George M. Bodge, a native of Windham, it seems

that Manchester did not settle on lot No. 32 until 1742
Where he lived before that time is not known, but
perhaps with her father on lot No. 29. Manchester's
lot is now owned by the heirs of Col. Edward

Stephen Manchester's son Thomas was the first
child born in the township in 1739. He was a lad of
seventeen in the fight in 1756, and married, December
6, 1764, Hannah Bailey. He bought of John Farrow,
probably his uncle, ten acres of home lot No. 31 with
a convenient landing-place on the Presumpscot River,
March 12, 1766, also twenty-five acres of lot No. 21,
second division. Before the Revolutionary war he
moved to Haverhill, New Hampshire, and January 31,
1776, enlisted in Capt. Samuel Young's company of
Col. Timothy Bedel's New Hampshire rangers. They
marched to the St. Lawrence River and joined the
Northern army, and were in the affair at the '• Cedars,"
forty-three miles above Montreal, in May, and Col.
Bedel was cashiered in August for cowardice and inca-
pacitated from holding office under the government.

Stephen Manchester's wife, Grace, died about 1745,
and was buried on their lot. She was about twenty-
six years of age. He married his second wife, Seafair
Mayberry, December 21, 1749. She was a daughter
of William Mayberry, the second settler of the town,
and was born on the passage from Ireland to Marble-
head, Massachusetts, about 1730. Her name was
given her for the fact that she was born at sea. By her
he had Stephen Jr., born August 9, 1751, who never
married but enlisted for three years, January 1, 1777,

in Col. Joseph Vose's 1st Massachusetts regiment,
took part in the Saratoga campaign and surrender of
Burgoyne, went to Valley Forge, where he was taken
sick, carried to Reading, Pennsylvania, where he died,
January 5, 1778, aged twenty-six years. The next
child was Abigail, born November 9, 1753, who mar-
ried, January 28, 1773, Davis Thurrel and moved to
Poland, Maine. Soon after the birth of Abigail, his
wife Seafair died, December 12, 1753, aged about
twenty-three years.

Stephen Manchester married for his third wife, Mary
Bailey, April 9, 1758. She was born at Marblehead,
Massachusetts, November 4, 1726, and was a daughter
of John and Rachel Bailey, who were at Newbury,
Massachusetts, in 1722, at Marblehead in 1726 and at
Falmouth in 1728. Her brother was probably the
selectman of Windham in 1765-66, and her father's
family may have lived there as the heirs of John
Bailey were taxed for lot No. 23 in 1759. This was
the lot settled by Seth Webb in 1744. Mary (Bailey)
Manchester owned the covenant in the Windham
church May 21, 1762. Her children were Gershom,
born May 10, 1761 ; married, July 23, 1787, Anne
Bunker who died in 1842, aged eighty-two years.
She was a woman respected by those who knew her.
Gershom enlisted at eighteen, in Capt. William Harris
company in 1779 and served twenty-six days on Fal-
mouth Neck. He lived near his father at East Wind-
ham, then moved to North Windham where he died in
1853, aged ninety-two years. He was erect and ac-
tive until after he was ninety years of age.

The next child was Annah, born February 13, 1765;
married in 1785, William Fields of Falmouth and
died February 10, 1857, aged almost ninety-two years.
She had twelve children. They lived at Windham in
the Ireland school district, and the farm is occupied
by their descendants. She was much loved by her
family and left a good name to her posterity.

The youngest child was John, born about 1767 ;
married, February 8, 1795, Mary Hannaford. They
had a large family. He lived near his father at East
Windham and afterwards moved to the West Gray
road, where he died about September, 1839, aged
about seventy-two years.

Stephen Manchester was an Indian scout. He was
in Capt. George Berry's company of scouts, May 19,
1746, to January 19, 1747, and was also in Capt.
Daniel Hill's company from March to December,
1748. In 1749, in a deposition, he states that in 1748
he went on a ten days' march from Gorhamtown up to
the head of Sebago Pond and back into the woods
eighty miles. They went across the pond in whale-
boats and returned home by the same route. He also
states that it was a common practise to watch, guard
and scout around about New Marblehead. In these
scouting expeditions he became familiar with the
whole region and the Indian methods. It is a tradi-
tion that for many years he resolved to kill the chief
Polin at the first opportunity.

In the early spring of 1756, the settlers noticed that
the Indians were uneasy and they expected when the
snow went off that there would be trouble, and May

fourteenth their fears were verified. Joseph Knights
had been captured at New Marblehead in February and
escaped in time to alarm the inhabitants at Falmouth,
May fifteenth, four days before Polin was killed. The
following account of the events of that day, written by
Thomas L. Smith, Esq., seems to be the accepted one as
he must have known in his earlier life some of those
alive at that time and received the story from their

On the morning of May 14, 1756, Ezra Brown and Ephraim
Winship left the fort for the purpose of laboring on Brown's lot,
which was about one mile to the rear, or northeast of the fort.
They were accompanied by a guard, consisting of four men and four
boys ; the names of the men were Stephen Manchester, Abraham
Anderson, Joseph Starling and John Farrow, the names of the boys,
Timothy Cloudman, Gershom Winsliip, Stephen Tripp and Thomas
Manchester. In going to Brown's lot they had to go through a
piece of woods, Brown and Winship being about sixty rods in ad-
vance, and in the thickest part of the woods were fired upon by a
body of fifteen or twenty Indians, who lay in ambush. The Indians
were of the Rockameecook tribe commanded by Polin their king.
Brown was shot dead upon the spot, Winship received two balls,
one in the eye and another in the arm and fell to the ground where
both were scalped by the Indians. Upon hearing the report of the
guns part of the guard went back to the fort. The residue, Abra-
ham Anderson, Stephen Manchester, Timothy Cloudman and Ger-
shom Winship determined to pursue the Indians and avenge the
blood of their fallen companions or perish in the attempt. Polin
the Indian chief, who was concealed behind a tree, was the first to
begin the bloody combat. He discharged his musket at Anderson
without taking effect. In his eagerness to reload his piece the body
of Polin became uncovered and exposed to the view of Manchester,
who was about thirty feet on Anderson's right, when Manchester
instantly leveled his musket, took deadly aim and fired ; swift as


lightning the fatal ball sped its way and Polin, the warrior king of
the Rockameecooks, fell to rise no more.

A tradition in Manchester's family is, that Polin and
Manchester fired at each other without effect, and in
the race to get loaded again Manchester was too quick
for the Indian by his gun priming itself, when he
fired and killed the chief.

Parson Smith states. May 10, 1756, that the Indians
were coming on the frontier from Brunswick to Saco,
and the next day says that Capt. Milk's, Capt. llsley's,
Capt. Smith's and Capt. Berry's companies have gone
scouting after Indians. The Indians captured a young
woman and killed Thomas Means at Flying Point
(Freeport) a few days before. He speaks May four-
teenth, of the killing of Polin by Manchester, and
gives particulars, also says '' The Indians fled affrighted
and left five packs,, a bow and a bunch of arrows and
several other things." He says " Manchester was the
hero of the action, but Anderson behaved gallantly
calling, ' Follow on my lads, ' or the English, perhaps
all of them, would have been killed."

The death of Polin brought peace and happiness to
the border settlements, and of course the settlers felt
grateful to Manchester for killing him A tradition
is that Manchester was offered a township for his re-
ward but declined the offer saying it was " reward
enough to have killed the skunk."

In a petition of the inhabitants of New Marblehead
to Lieut. Gov. Phips and the government at Boston
for relief, dated April 4, 1757, signed, with others,
by Stephen Manchester, his son Thomas, his father


Gershom and his brother John, they state that the
settlers have been confined in the garrison fourteen or
fifteen years, and that they had raised little corn and
that many fields of several acres had been destroyed
by " ye wild varmounds " (Indians). They said they
had " no credit because they had nothing to pay with
and then their creditors did not know how soon they
might be destroyed by the Indians."

After the retirement of the Indians, settlers went
to the township and it rapidly filled up. Then it
became a prosperous settlement. The town voted,
March 30, 1768, that a good handy pair of bars shall
be kept by Stephen Manchester's and Widow Chute's
across the road leading down to the river, probably to
a landing place.

At the beginning of the Revolutionary war one of
the first, and perhaps the first, to enlist in the army
from Windham was Stephen Manchester, then fifty-
eight years of age. He enlisted, in Capt. John
Brackett's Company, in Col. Edmund Phinney's 31st
Regiment of Foot, May 12, 1775, and marched to
Cambridge July third, where he served under Wash-
ington to December thirty-first. He enlisted, Jan-
uary 1, 1776, in Capt. Jonathan Sawyer's Company, in
Col. Edmund Phinney's 18th Continental Regiment
and served through the siege of Boston and was dis-
charged August 20, 1776. He was a soldier in Capt.
George Smith's Company in Col Joseph Vose's 1st
Massachusetts Regiment and served three years, prob-
ably from early in the year 1777. He took part in
the Saratoga campaign, was at surrender of Burgoyne,


spent the winter at Valley Forge, was in the battles in
Rhode Island, and returned home after the expiration
of his term of service.

When the locality where he settled, at South Wind-
ham, became a prosperous community he longed to
go further into the forest to pass the last years of his
life as near nature as he had begun it, and February
7. 1788, he bought the lot No. 79, second division of
one hundred acres, situated at East Windham, where
he moved, being then in his seventy-second year.
Here on a steep and rugged hill, at least two hundred
and fifty feet above the surrounding country, he built
a small one-story house and cleared himself a farm.
He built here in the forest on this hill for the same
reason that the eagle builds its nest in the highest
tree overlooking the country — a natural love of free-
dom. His old home had become too tame for him.
This hill where he established his new home has
alwa3^s been known as Manchester's Hill and from the
front of his house on the hill looking northwest, he
had a fine view of at least eight miles along Pleasant
River valley, and in the distance on a clear day the
White Mountains loom up, about sixty miles away.
It is a beautiful view now, and was on such a spot, as
such a man as he would be likely to locate.

A few months after Manchester located his new
home, John Akers Knight bought land at the foot of
the hill, built a log house and they soon became fast
friends. Knight went from Quaker Lane, now in Deer-
ing, and a few years later built the two-story house
now occupied by his grandson Albert M. Knight. He


was the son of Moses and Hannah (Akers) Knight
who came from Newbury, Massachusetts and settled
on what is called the " Hart Place " on Quaker Lane,
in Deering, in 1737. John A. Knight built the first
mill at Huston Falls near his home at Windham. He
had eighteen children and died July 10, 1834, aged
eighty-five years. His wife was Keziah Morrell, a
daughter of John and Sarah (Winslow) Morrell, and
was married April 16, 1778.

Stephen Manchester lived in his little house on the
hill until he was unable to carry on his farm, when he
first moved to his son Gershom's and afterwards to his
son John's at the foot of the hill on the road, where
he died June 24, 1807, aged ninety years. He was
buried in his friend and neighbor Knight's graveyard,
where now lay these two old pioneers, near each other,
awaiting their final summons. Manchester's grave is
marked only by two iron rods, one at the head and
the other at the foot, placed there by his neighbor
Knight's family, so that the grave might not be forgot-
ten. Some monument should mark that grave, so in-
scribed that every generation would know where
Stephen Manchester, the slayer of Pol in, was buried.
His last wife Mary, died May 15, 1815, aged eighty-
eight years.

Stephen Manchester hated the Indians to his dying
day, and always noticed the fourteenth of May as the
anniversary of the day on which, as he said, he " sent
the devil a present." He, in his later years is des-
cribed as a man of full six feet in height, sinewy and
compactly built, very erect, with dark curling hair, a


somewhat swarthy complexion, keen eyes and he
probably weighed over one hundred and eighty
pounds. He was calm and collected under all circum-
stances, a man of resolute courage and an adept in all
manner of woodcraft.

The only signs now of his last home on Manchester
Hill, are a small mound where the chimney stood, three
of his apple trees, scraggy and partly dead, and a few
23iles of rocks now well sunken into the earth, gath-
ered by his hands from the farm. The juniper and
pine trees have taken possession of his land and his
farm is now a pasture.

For one hundred and forty years the name of
Stephen Manchester has been one of the best known
in Windham. The mothers of the town for many
generations have told their children at their knees
the story of the killing of the Indian chief Polin, and
how that act freed their forefathers from the savages'
depredations, leaving the impression that to Manches-
ter the town owed a debt of gratitude which they
never could discharge.

Whenever our country has needed defenders the
family of Stephen Manchester have stood ready and
willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with the bravest.
Five generations of the family have served their
country from Windham.

Stephen Manchester, his father Gershom and brother
John, also his son Thomas, served in the French and
Indian wars. He, his brother John, and his three sons,
Thomas, Stephen Jr., and Gershom, served in the
Revolutionary war, Stephen Jr. dying in the service.


His grandson, Stephen Manchester 3d, served in the
Windham company in the war of 1812, and several
great-grandsons entered the army to restore the
Union that their ancestor fought to estabHsh, two of
whom went from Windham, and gave their lives
that we might have a new birth of freedom for the
nation, " and that government of the people, by the
people, for the people, should not perish from the

The tradition and stories of Old Windham, the land
of our fathers, will always be of interest to the sons
and daughters of that town. Their preservation for
posterity is the result of the affection for the town
that those fathers loved and where they lie buried.
The place where Chief Polin fell has been marked by
such loving hands, to whom those interested in the
town's history are indebted for their thoughtfulness
in placing there a granite marker before the location
was forgotten. It was in lot No. 21, first division of
one hundred acre lots, which is off the old River Road
on the road to Duck Pond village, and is not far from
the Westbrook line. The lot was owned at the time
by Ezra Brown, whose heirs sold it to Abraham And-
erson in whose family it has since remained.

The public spirited citizens, through whose efforts
the marker was located and dedicated November 16,
1895, were Samuel T. Dole, William M. Smith, Frank
Cobb, Edwin and Charles Hunnewell, Abraham Cloud-
man and John Webb.

The name of Manchester
His numerous children hear
Among the brave.


Stephen Manchester's Ancestry.

Stephen Manchester's earliest known ancestor was
Thomas Manchester, who had a grant of land at Ports-
mouth, Rhode Island, December 10, 1657. He mar-
ried Margaret Wood, daughter of John Wood of
Portsmouth. She died in 1693, and he was alive in
1691. The following were the names of his children :
John, Thomas Jr., William, Stephen, Mary and Eliza-
beth. Stephen married first, September 13, 1684,
Elizabeth Wodell, daughter of Gershom Wodell of
Portsmouth, whose wife was a daughter of John Tripp
of that town. Gershom Wodell was the son of William
and Mary Wodell of Warwick, Rhode Island. William
Wodell was one of a company taken at Gorton and
imprisoned by the government of Massachusetts, and
after he was liberated went to Portsmouth, Rhode
Island. Stephen Manchester's wife Elizabeth died in
1719, and he married Demaris, her last name un-
known. He was a freeman in 1684, and was an in-
habitant of Tiverton, Rhode Island, at the organization
of that town, March 2, 1692. His children were Ger-
shom, born about 1687, and Ruth, born May 27, 1690.


Online LibraryNathan GooldStephen Manchester, the slayer of the Indian chief Polin, at New Marblehead, now Windham, Maine, in 1756, and a soldier of the revolution, with his ancestry → online text (page 1 of 2)