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Davenport's danger, they generously and were still exposed to,
and the little chance they had of finally escaping, in a country
where every stranger is immediately known to be such, would
not have been sufficient to have induced them. They let the
deputy governor, Mr. Leete, know where they were ; but he
took no measures to secure them ; and ithe next day some per-
sons came to them to advise them not to surrender. Having
publicly shown themselves at New Haven, they had cleared
Mr. Davenport from the suspicion of still concealing them, and
the twenty-fourth of June went into the woods again to their
cave. They continued there, sometimes venturing to a house
near the cave, until the ninteenth of August — when the search
for them being pretty well over ihey ventured to the house of
one Tompkins, near Milford meeting house, where they re-
mained two years, without so much as going into the orchard.
After that they took a little more liberty, and made themselves
known to several persons in whom they could confide, and each
of them frequently prayed, and also exercised, as they termed
it, or preached at private meetings in their chambers. In 1664,
the commissioners from King Charles arrived in Boston. Up-
on the news of it, they retired to their cave, where they tarried
eight or ten days. Soon after some Indians in their hunting,
diseovered the cave with the bed ; and the report being spread
abroad, it was not safe to remain near it. On the thirteenth of
October, 1664, they removed to Hadley, nearly one hundred
miles distance, traveling only by night ; where Mr. Russell, the
minister of the place, had previously agreed to receive them.
Here they remained concealed fifteen or sixteen years, very few
persons in the colony being privy to it. The last account of
Goffe, is from a letter, dated Ebenezer, the name they gave
their several places of abode, April 2, 1679. Whalley had been
dead some time before. The tradition at Hadley is, that two
persons unknown were buried in the minister's cellar. The
minister was no sufferer by his boarders. They received more

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or less remittances every year for many years together, from
their wives in England Those few persons who knew where
they were, made them frequent presents. Richard Saltonstall,
esq., who was in the secret, when he left the country, and went
to England in 1672, made them a present of fifty pounds at
his departure ; and they took notice of donations from several
other friends. They were in constant terror, though they had
reason to hope, after some years, that the enquiry for them was
over. They read with pleasure the news of their being killed,
with other judges, in Switzerland. Their diary for six or sefven
years, contains very little occurrence in the town, church, and
particular families in the neighborhood. They had indeed, for
five years of their lives, been among the principal actors in the
great affairs of the nation : Goffe especially, who turned the lit-
tle Parliament out of the house, and who was attached to Oliver
and to Richard to the last ; but they were both of low birth and
education. They had very constant and exact intelligence of
every thing that passed in England, and were unwilling to give
up all hope of deliverance. Their greatest expectations were
from the fulfillment of the prophecies. They had no doubt,
that the execution of the judges was the slaying of the

They were much disappointed, when the year 1666 had
passed without any remarkable event, but flattered themselves
that the Christian era might be erroneous. Their lives were
miserable and constant burdens. They complain of being ban-
ished from all human society. A letter from GofiEe's wife, who
was Whalley's daughter, I think worth preserving. After the
second year, Goffe writes by the name of Walter Goldsmith and
she of Francis Goldsmith, and the correspondence is carried on
as between a mother and son. There is too much religion in
their letters for the tastes of the present day ; but the distresses
of two persons, under their peculiar circumstances, who ap-
peared to have lived very happily together, are very strongly

Whilst they were at Hadley, Feb. 10, 1664-5, Dixwell, anoth-
er of the judges, came to them ; but from whence, or in what
part of America he first landed, is not known. The first men-
tion of him in their journal, is by the name of Colonel Dixwell ;
but ever after they call him Mr. Davids. He continued at
Hadley some years, and then removed to New Haven. He
was generally supposed to be one of those who were obnoxious
in England j but he never discovered who he was, until he was

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on his death bed. I have one of his letters, signed James
Davids, dated March 23, 1683. He married at New Haven,
and left several children. After his death, his son, who before
had been called Davids, took the name of Dixwell, came to
Boston, and lived in good repute ; was a ruling elder of one of
the churches there, and died in 1725, of small-pox by inocula-
tion. Some of his grand-children are now living. Colonel
Dixwell was buried in New Haven. His gravestone still re-
mains with this inscription : ' J. D. Esq., deceased March i8th
in the 82d year of his age, 1688.'

It cannot be denied, that many of the principal persons ^in
the colony greatly esteemed these persons for their professions
of piety, and their grave deportment, who did not approve of
their political conduct. Mr. Mitchel, the minister of Cam-
bridge, who showed them great friendship upon their first arriv-
al, says in a manuscript which he wrote in his own vindication :

" * Since I have had opportunity, by reading and discourse., to
look a little into that action for which these men suffer, I could
never see that it was justifiable.'

'* After they were declared traitors, they certainly would have
been sent to England, if they could have been taken. It was
generally thought they had left the country ; and even the
consequence of their escape were dreaded, lest when they were
taken, those who had harbored them should suffer for it. Mr.
Endicott, the governor, writes to the Earl of Manchester, that
he supposes they went towards the Dutch of Manhados, and
took shipping for Holland ; and Mr. Bradstreet, then governor,
in December, 1684, writes to Edward Randolph, * that after
their being at New Haven, he could never hear what became
of them.' Randolph, who was sent to search into the secrets of
the government, could obtain no more knowledge of them than
that they had been in the country, and respect had been shown
them by some magistrates. I am loth to admit an ancedote
handed down through Governor Leverett's family. I find Gjffe
takes notice in his journal of Leverett's being at Hadley.

" The town of Hadley was alarmed by the Indians in 1675,
in the time of public worship, and the people were in the ut-
most confusion. Suddenly, a grave elderly person appeared in
the midst of them. In his mien and dress he differed from the
rest of the people. He not only encouraged them to defend
themselves, but put himself at their head, rallied, instructed,
and led them on to encounter the enemy, who by this time were
repulsed. As suddenly the deliverer of Hadley disappeared.

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The people were left in consternation, utterly unable to account
for this strange phenomenon. It is not probable they were
ever able to explain it. If Goffe had been then discovered, it
must have come to the knowledge of those persons, who de-
clared by their letters that they never knew what became of

Governor Hutchinson's house in Boston was burned at the
time of the Stamp act riots, and with it, all the papers, letters
and manuscripts of Goffe, including his diary, so that the price-
less memorials of the man are lost forever.

" General Whalley died about the year 1678, and General
Goffe the year following."

Potter's History of Manchester has this to say :

" It has been claimed that John Goffe of Londonderry was a
grandson of General Goffe, but this is altogether improbable.
The connection, if any, must have been collateral. True, Gen-
eral Goffe had one or more sons, but there is no evidence
showing that a son of his was ever in this country. Unening
circumstances show to the contrary.

** The retreat of the father was well known to his family, cer-
tainly to his wife, and as the utmost pains had been taken to
apprehend him on the part of the royalists, it is not at all pro-
bable that his son would have been permitted to come to the
country, openly bearing his father^s name, and almost in daily
contact with those who would have been glad to have destroyed
the regicide, lest the presence of the son should have led to the
apprehension of the father. And it is not at all probable that
either of his children came to his country ; on the contrary, it is
evident from a letter, written by General Goffe to his wife, in
1674, that his son was then in England. Now John Goffe, of
Londonderry, came to this country in 1662 or 1663 and was a
member of Dr. Increase Mather's church in 1676. The e facts
show that he^could not have been a son of General Goffe. Yet
he may have been a nephew, and the fact, that his immediate
descendants continue the family names of Stephen, John and
William, would seem to indicate that he might have been a de-
scendant of Rev. Stephen Goffe, of Stanmore, who had those
names in his family.

"John Goffe came to Londonderry as an agent for the
Scotch-Irish emigrants. He was a man of some considerable
business capacity, and performed his stipulated duties to the
satisfaction of his employers^ as is shown by the fact that he

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had a special grant in the charter for his 'good service in pro-
moting the settlement of the said town.' The closing stipula-
tion of the charter reads thus :

To Mr. McGregore, 250 acres.

To Mr, McKeen, 250 acres.

To Mr. David Cargill, 100 acres.

To Mr. James Gregg, 150 acres.

To Mr. Goffe, 100 acres,

for good services, and to the last two mentioned, namely Gregg
and Goffe, a mill stream within the said town for their good
services in promoting the settlement of said town."

Mr. Goffe was the first town, or rather proprietor's clerk.
He was chosen in 17 19 and served in that capacity until March,
1723, having been chosen town clerk at the organization of the
town under the charter of 1722. Soon after the organization
some difficulty ensued betwixt him and a portion of the proprie-
tors, in relation to his acts while agent and clerk. It was
alleged that his son. John Goffe, Jr.'s name was introduced im-
properly among the grantees and that a " transcript of land "
was improperly recorded in his own favor. The subject of the
alleged improper record was referred to a committee, March 5,
1 73 1, with directions to commence a suit at law against him,
but it does not appear that the committee had any action upon
the subject, or that a suit was commenced against him. This
fact would seem to show that upon investigation, there was no
cause of action. The difficulty however in relation to the in-
sertion of his son's name in the schedule attached to the char-
ter, continued, and the town refused to lay out any land to John
Goffe, Jr. Upon this he brought a suit against the town. This
action was brought some time prior to May 18, 1731, as on that
day a warrant was posted calling a town meeting to act upon
the subject. This was the first notice of the matter on record.
The town defended the suit stoutly, but after six years of liti-
gation Mr. Goffe obtained a judgment against the town, and in
1738 they adjusted the matter with him by laying him out a
home lot of sixty acres, and paying his costs, amounting to
twenty-six pounds and eight shillings. The result, coupled

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with the fact that the committee to prosecute the father, never
took any action in the matter, shows pretty conclusively that
the whole charge against John Goffe, Sr., had no foundation in
substance. Yet his enemies made the most of the matter and
succeeded in keeping him out of any public employment.

Mr. Goffe's farm in Londonderry proved to be next to worth-
less, as upon making a clearing, his position was such, that it
was subject to frosts, and he could not succeed in raising In-
dian corn, to him a Massachusetts man, an indispensible pro-
duct. Upon this, his son, John Goffe, Jr., invited him to move
to the Cohas Brook, and live with him, where he had plenty of
good land for corn and other purposes. He accepted the
invitation, taking the principal charge of the farm of his son,
who from his connection with public affairs, had little time to
devote to farming. This was probably in 1722, as before
suggested. He resided with his son until his death, Aug. 9,
1 748, at the age of 69 years.

John Goffe, 2d., called John Goffe, Esq., the oldest son of
Emigrant John Goffe, and father of the subject of this sketch,
was born Sept. 18, 1679, married Hannah Pafrish in 1700, and
moved to Londonderry, N. H., the same year. His wife was
the daughter of Robert Parrish, who had a garrison house in
the southern part of Nashua, N. H. He, Parrish, his wife and
one of his daughters, were killed by the Indians in an attack on
their home made somewhere about the year 1691. Their two
youngest children, girls, hid under a hogshead in the cellar and
were saved. One of these girls, Hannah, was afterwards
married to John Goffe, Esquire, as above stated.

He was town clerk of Londonderry, and as we have seen, a
man of some consequence in the settlement. His name is
found in the list of military officers of the Province, who took
the oaths of allegiance, supremacy and abjuration on the
accession of George II, and in 1729 he was a member of the
provincial assembly. His family of children were all brought
up to a life of industry and frugality. They were not of the

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same race as the rest of the settlers^ among whom they lived,
but were of English antecedents.

On Oct. i6^ 1722, at the age of 21 years, Colonel Goffe, the
subject of our sketch, was married to Hannah Griggs of
Roxbury, Mass. Their children were ten in number : Hannah,
born Jan. 16, 1723, married, first, Thomas Chandler; second^
Capt. John Bradford; Esther, born Feb. 15, 1725, married James
Walker of Bedford ; John, born Feb. 17, 1727, married Jemima
Holden ; Mary, born June 12, 1730, died young and unmarried ;
Ebenezer, bom Feb. 7, 1732 ; Margaret, born Nov. 26, 1734,
married Maj. John Moore ; Sarah, born March 26, 1737, married
the Rev. John Rand; Elizabeth, born Aug. 17, 1739, married

; Rebecca, born Dec. 15, 1724, married Samuel

Moore (brother to Margaret's husband) ; Mary, born Dec. 20,
1744, married Nathaniel Martin.

In 1724, the locality where Colonel Goffe lived and where
we now are, was the remote frontier. It was situated on a great
waterway near Amoskeag Falls, then the famous fishing place
well known to the Indian*^, not only of the locality, but also to
members of distant tribes who resorted here to obtain a supply
of fish for winter. There was a white settlement at Nutfield,
or Londonderry, and another at Dunstable, now Nashua, or
near Nashua, but other than these two places the whole coun-
try westward to Lake George and Albany and northward to
Montreal and Quebec, was a vast unbroken forest, whose paths
were known only to the trappers and scouts as savage as the
Indians they lived among. Cohas brook is the outlet of Massa-
besic lake and on its southern bank near where the stream
empties into the Merrimack river, at what we now call Goffc's
Falls, stood the home of the young frontiersman and his wife.
Until recently the foundations of his house could be seen near
that of Nathaniel Moore. Near him lived his brother-in law,
Benjamin Kidder and Edward Lingfield, and these three were
the only white men who lived within the limits of what we now
call Manchester.

At that time, 1724, although there was nominal peace be-

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COL. JOHN 60FFB. 245

tween Ring George I of England and the Regent Orleans who
ruled in France during the minority of the young king, Louis
XV, yet there was always in existence a more or less acute con-
dition of hostility between the French settlers in Canada and
the English settlers in New York and New England. Their
main and real cause of discord arose over the boundaries of
their separate provinces, but in spite of nominal peace with the
French there was always present in the minds of the English a
well grounded fear of attack from the Indian allies of the
French incited by the French provincial government. On the
remote frontier these incursions were of almost yearly occur-
rence and so^ while at times it could not be truly said that the
French and English were at war with one another, it was also
true that the English frontier settler lived in daily and hourly
dread of Indian war parties whose deeds of horribly cruelty
and barbarity it is difficult now to even read about. In the year
1724 two men, Nathan Cross and Thomas Blanchard^ crossed
from nether Dunstable to the north side of the Nashua river,
and were engaged in making turpentine. While at their work
a party of Indians seized them, stove their casks of turpentine
and hurried them towards Canada as prisoners. Feeling sure
tSiey would be followed by the friends of their captives they lay
in ambush all one day to receive them. When night came and
Cross and Blanchard did not return to their sleeping place, a
sawmill on Salmon brook, their friends at once imagined the
reason and the alarm was given through the neighborhood. A
party of ten men started at once. When they reached the
place where the workmen had been captured they found the
barrels cut open and the turpentine slowly spreading over the

They inferred that the Indians were not far ofif and decided
on instant pursuit. Their route was up the west bank of the
Merrimack. At the brook near Thornton's Ferry they were
waylaid by the savages and the larger part of them instantly
killed. A few fled but were overtaken and destroyed, with one
exception. He, Farwell by name, managed to escape and re-

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turned to Dunstable with the news of this second disaster. The
greatest excitement prevailed. Three men of approved skill
and courage were selected to organize an expedition and the
general assembly of Massachusetts was petitioned for aid in the
undertaking. In answer the Legislature gave permission to
raise a company " to range, and to keep out in the woods in or-
der to kill and destroy their enemy Indians," and voted a
bounty of ;f loo per scalp.

With such encouragement the borderers soon raised a com-
pany and chose John Lovewell as their leader. In it was in-
cluded our hero, John Goffe, afterwards known as Colonel
Goffe, but then a young man of but 23. With him were two of
his brothers-in-law, Benjamin Kidder and Edward Lingfield.
Their home was on the opposite side of the Merrimack river
about five miles north of the ambush in which the year before
the Indians had destroyed so many of their neighbors. They
were but recently married and must leave wife and babies at
home while they hunted the savage to his lair and grappled
him to the death. But they were not men to hesitate, and
joined the expedition at once. Eighty-seven men were mus-
tered at Dunstable on the 29th of January, 1725. The destina-
tion was the main village of the Pequakets, the remnant of the
once powerful confederation of the Pennacooks, whose home
was in a section of country north and east of Lake Winnepe-
saukee. Their main village was in a bend of the Saco river
near what is now Fryeburg, Me. About midnight on the 20th
of February they found a party of Indians. They were asleep
round a large fire and by the side of a frozen pond. Determin-
ing to make sure work Lovewell placed his men in convenient
position and at the signal they fired. In a few moments all
were destroyed and some attempt against the New Hampshire
frontier prevented.

For as Penhallow in his " Indian Wars" says : " Their arms
were so new and good that most of them were sold for seven
pounds apiece and each of them had two blankets with a great
many mocassins which were supposed to be for the supply of

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captives they expected to have taken." The party returned to
Boston and received the bounty out of the public treasury.

Such was their delight at their success that they resolved to
try again and this time to attack Paugus, the great war chief of
the Pequakets, in his home. Paugus had frequently been to
Dunstable and was personally known to most of the hunters of
the valley of the Merrimack, as a bold and wily chieftain, who
at the head of his warriors had taken part in many of the at-
tacks on the frontiers. The second expedition started April
16^1725. Young Goife and his brothersin law were again
among the numbers, this time consisting of 47 men. At Ossi-
pee lake, Benjamin Kidder fell sick and building a small fort
and leaving him with the doctor and eight others, the remainder
pushed on. On the 8th of May, about 10 o'clock in the morn-
ing, while at prayers they heard a gun across a pond near
where they then were. Soon they saw the Indain who had
fired it. Shortly after they fell in with the main body of the
Indians, Paugus among them, and the famous ** Lovewell's
fight " ensued. It will not be necessary for our present pur-
poses to describe it. Suffice it now to say that it resulted in
the death of Paugus, the utter defeat and destruction of the In-
dians, and is, perhaps, the most famous of all the many bush
fights of this frontier. Soon afterwards^ in 1726^ a treaty was
made by the Province of Massachusetts with the Eastern In-
dians, and for a long time its provisions were faithfully ob-
served. Indian depredations in this neighborhood ceased and
young Goffe seems to have taken up his ordinary routine of
life on a farm in the wilderness. His main occupation seems
to have been hunting, for in some deeds he is spoken of as
*^ Hunter John Goffe." This would bring him into frequent
contact with Indians and give him a knowledge of their lan-
guage and manners, and customs, besides making him — as he
was — an excellent marksman. His family increased and he
began to accumulate property. Numerous deeds to him of land
in Derryfield, Starktown or Dunbarton, Goffstown and Bed-
ford, are extant, and among other things, he became the owner

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of Uncanoonuc mountain. Such land was at that time and in
such a neighborhood practically the only form in which wealth
existed, we must conclude that John Goffe, Junior, as he was
then known, in distinction from his father, John Goffe, Esquire,
was a man of property. His house had been already formed
into a garrison for the convenience of safety of his family and
neighbors, and near it he had erected a mill for grinding corn>
the power for which was supplied by the Cohas brook and is
the same power which now turns the Devonshire mills at Goffers
Falls. His nearest neighbors were the Scotch-Irish settlers at
Londonderry. They were a class of colonists distinct from the
English Puritans, who had originally settled at and near Boston
and between the two little sympathy existed. The English re-
garded them as little better than Papists, would neither marry
with them nor live among them on any terms of peace, denied
them a location for their settlement and regarded the Presby-
terian form of worship and church government to which the
Scotch-Irish were devotedly attached, as a pestilential heresy.
They classed them with Quakers, Baptists and Unitarians, and
denied them all welcome to the more protected settlements of
the colony. Accordingly the Scotch-Irish sought the remote
wilderness for their homes and choosing the district of Nutfield
as it was called they made their homes there. They were a
hardy race. For the sake of their religion they and their fath-
ers had endured the horrors of the siege of Derry in Ireland
and now they had come here to this new country prepared to
hew out a home in the forest and to live their lives and bring
up their families in their own way. Goffe was of English de-
scent and so was his wife. It may well be supposed therefore

Online LibraryN.H.) Manchester Historic Association (ManchesterCollections, Volume 1 → online text (page 23 of 29)