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Annals of the town of Keene, from its first settlement, in 1734, to the year 1790 .. online

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took off, and, on their return home, took Ferry and
bis ealt into the canoe. This, uiiich was known
by the name of Andrews' flood, was the hi!i;hest
e^er known in the township. Tne water came
within a few feet of tlie street, north of Capt.
lilaKe's okl house.

Mr. Andrews was the father of ten children, nine
of whom he brought with liim. Between Sep-
tember, 1 711, and September, 1715, every one of
tiie nine died of tlie throat <.hsteni[)er, and he then
returned disconsolate to his former residence.


January 7, a meeting of the proprietors was held.
In tlie warrant calHng it, an article was inseited,
*' To make such grant or grants of land, to such
person or persons as they shab think deserve the
same, for hazarding their lives and estate bj' living
here to bring forward the settling of the place.'"
Upon this article, the following vote was passed.
"Which probably gives the names of nearly all the
men then residing in the township, and the number
of dwellings erected. " Voted, to grant ten acres
of upland to eacli of the persons hereafter named,
viz. Jacob Bacon, clerk. Josiah Fisher, Joseph Fish-
er, Nathan Blake, VVilliam Smeed, Scth Heaton,
Joseph Ellis, Ebenezer x\im:^, Joseph Guild, Joseph
Richardson, Isaac Clark, Edward Dale, Jeremiah
HaII, Ebenez(M' Force, Daniel Ill^vs, Amos Foster.
Elunezer Day, Beriah Maccaiicy, Jabez Hili,Obed
Blake, Jeremiah Hall, jr. David Nirns, Timothy
Piiffrr, El)«*nez T Daniels, NatlntJ Fairbanks, John
Bulhird^ David Foster, Solomon Richardson' Abner
Ellis, BtMijaTnin Guild, Asa Richardson,*" Ebenezer
Hi!l, vSaMUicl Fisher, Ephraim Dornian, Timothy
Sparliawk. Jonathan Underwood, John Andrews,

iG ^^nnals of Keem.

Samuel Smith, Samuel Daniels, (39) anrl to such
other persons, having an interest here, who, from
the first of next March, to March l742, shall make
up the quantity or space of two years in living
here, and build a legal dwelling house, to the num-
ber of sixty, including thjse before mentioned."

A run»or of war having reached the township,
the proprietors, February 25, voted that they would
build another fort, whenever seven of the propri-
etors should request it. It is no krjown, that this
fort was ever built They also voted that there
should be allowed, for every man who should work
upon the forts, ei^ht shiUings, and for every pair of
oxen, four shillings, per day.

1 he long and spirited contest, between the prov-
inces of Massachusetts and New-Hampshire, res-
pecting the divisional line between them, had been
carried before the King in council, and in i740, a
decision was made, that from a point three miles
north of Pawtucket falls, the line should run due
west until it reached his majesty's other govern-
ments. This left Upper Ashuelot far within the
boundaries of New Hampshire. Upon this sub-
ject, the proprietors, on the 3d day of October,
held a meeting, and the following proceedings ap-
pear upon their records.

»' The proprietors being informed that, by the
determination of his majesty in council respecting
the controverted hounds between the province of
the Massachusetts and New Hampshire, they are
excluded from the province of the Massachusetts
Bay, to which they always supposed themselves to

" Therefore, unanimously voted, that a petition be
presented to the King's most excellent majesty, set-
ting forth our distrest estate, and praying we may
be annexed to the said Massachusetts province.

" Also unanimously voted, that Thomas Hutchin-
*?on, Esq. be empowered to present the said peti-

Annals of Keene, 17

tion to his majesty, and to appear and fully to act
for and in behalf of this town, respecting the sub-
ject matter of said petition, according to his best

Mr. Hutchinson had previously been appointed
the agent of Massacliusetts,to procure an alteration
of the order in Council. He made a voyage to
England, but failed to accomplish the object of his
aiiency. It is remarkable that, in his history of
Massachusetts, he makes no mention of his ap-


At a meeting, held September 7th, the proprie-
tors voted, '* that the meeting-house be removed
from the place where it now stands, to the most
convenient place on the hill, over against the house
of Mr. Isaac Clark." This hill^ which has entirely
disappeared, was a conical eminence in the street,
one or two rods south of the old Ralston tavern.
The meeting-house was accordingly removed thith-
er, and was placed near the centre of the street,
the travelled path being east of it.

At tlie same meeting, it was voted, " that if the
collectors shall be obliged to go through a course
of law, to recover their collections, and the Massa-
chusetts law, by which we are, or have been sup-
ported, should fail, they should be remunerated for
their expenses, from the proprietors' treasury."


July 27, the proprietors voted, that, " whereas
there was a vote passed by this propriety, Decem-
ber 4, '738, to glaze the meeting-house, and set the
glass in lead, and to cover the outside with sawed
clapboards, we do now, having thought sedately up-
on it, agree, and vote, to set the glass in wood, and
to cover the outside with shingles, for the following
reasons : I, because we judge it stronger ; and 2,
because we can do it at less expense of money,

18 Jnnals of Keem.

V hich is no small article, not easy to be obtained
b} us, at this day. And, whereas the proprietors
agreed, with the first committee, to make the doors
plain, we now ac^ree to have them done otherwise,
even framed, or pannel doors, and the north door
to be a doubie tolding; door, and that the committee
ati» ee with a man to do it well, and decently, as be-
comes such a house."


January 16, a vote was passed, allowing Jeremi-
ah Hail eijiht pounds, old tenor, " tor getting that
100 pounds, at Boston, ot Col. Dudley." This was
probably the sum, which the (General Court of Mas-
sichusetts had directed should be paid to tlie pro-
prietors, on the erection of a meeting-house.

In March, of this year, war was declared by
Great-Britain, against France and Spain, which,
w as soon followed by a war between the colonists
and liulians. The dread of savage incursions, in-
creased the labors and distresses of the frontier
settlements. I he attention of the whites was di-
verted from the cultivation of their lands, to the de-
fence, and protection, of themselves and families.
They dared not perform their usual labors in the
field, n(U' even go far from their forts, without car-
rying arms, and being accompanied by a guanl ;
and they lived in peipetuai apprehension of a sud-
den attack.

Upper Ashuelot was also visited by a distressing
sickness. Between August 1744, and October
J7 45, agreat number died in the township, most
of them of the throat distemper.


At a meeting, held February 5, the proprietors
voted, " that the support granted to the Rev. Mr.
Bacon, for the year I 41, being l/)4 pounds, old
tenor, (£e -50 for salary, and £'2f for fire wood) and
which, by reason of war and sickness, was neglect-

Annals of Keene. 1§

ed, and not assessed, be brou<z;ht into tlie assess-
ment of tills year."

In the warrant, callins; this meeting, an article
W^s inserted, " to see il tlie proprietors vvill seek
all) further protection, iti case the war contniues ;
and if so, to agree upon some method how they will
do it." The pioprietors " voted, not to act upon
this article."

On the lOth of July, deacon Josiah Fisher was
killed, as he was driving his cow to pasture. The
road leading up the river, then left the main street,
b}^ Mr. Samson's tan yard, led along the margin of
the meadow, back of his house, crossed West street
a few rods west of Aaron llalPs house, and contin-
ued up the river, near the adjoining low land, until
it came upon the route of the present tvirnpike
above deacon Wdder's house, now occupied as a
tavern. Fisher was found dead, and scalped, in the
road, near where Mr. Samson^s back house stands ;
and it w^as supposed that the Indian who sliot hitn,
was concealed behind a log, which then lay within
the present limits of Mr. Samson's garden. lie
had a brass slug in his wrist, which, at tiie time, v, as
conje'^tured to have been cut from a ^^ arming pan,
that had lately been lost by one of the inhabitants.


March 10. the proprietors agreed to raise the sum
of forty pounds, lawful montn* of New-En<j:!and,
(Sl.'5i, 3:^) or one Inr.dred ^nd sixty pounds, old
tenor, for the Rev. Mr. Bacon's support the pres-
ent year. From this vote, it a})pears that, at this
time, old tenor, in comparison with lawful money,
was as four to one.

Here occurs a chasm in the proprietors records,
which the following relation of events will sulii-
ciently account for.

In the early part of the year, 17^6, the General
Ccurt of Massachusetts sent a j^artv of men to
Canada, lor what purpose, is not now recoliected.

20 Jlmials of Keene.

ami perhaps was not generally known. On their
return, they passed through Upper Ashuelot. On
arming in sight of the settlement, they fired their
guns. This, of course, alarmed the inliabitants,
and all who were out, and several were in tr-e
woods making sugar, hastened home. From some
cause or other, suspicion was entertained, that a
party of Indians had followed the returning whites ;
and for ;several days the settlers were more vigil-
art, and more circumspect in their movements ;
seldom leaving the fort, except to look after their
cattle, which were in the barns, and at the stacks,
in the vicinit}^

Early in the morning of the 23d of April,
Ephraim Dorman left the fort to search for his cow.
He went northwardly, along the borders of what
was then a hideous and almost impervious swamp,
]}ing east of the fort, until he arrived near to the
place where the turnpike now is. Looking into
the swamp, he perceived several Indians lurking
in the bushes. He immediately gave the alarm,
by crying, " Indians ! Indians !" and ran towards
the fort. Two, who were concealed in the bushes,
between him and the fort, sprang forward, aimed
their pieces at him, and fired, but neither hit him.
They then, throwing away their arms, advanced to-
wards him, one he knocked down by a blow, which
deprived him of his senses ; the other he seized,
and being a strong man, and able wrestler, tried his
strength, and skill, in his favorite mode of " trip
and twitch." He tore his antagonist's blanket from
his shoulders, leaving him nearly naked. He then
seized him by the arms and body, but as he was
painted and greased, he slipped from his grasp.
After a short struggle, Dorn)an quitted him, ran
towards the fort and reached it in safety.

When the alarm was given, the greater part of
the inhabitants were in the fort ; but some had just
left It, to attend to their cattle. Capt. Simons, the

dnnals of Keene. 21

commander, as ^vas the custom cveiy morpinoj f)e-
fore |)ru)frs, was readinii a char»ttT in tiie bihlo.
lie immediatel} exclaimed, " rush out, and assist
those who arc cut to L':et in." Most of the men
immediately rusljcd out, and each ran w here !as
interest or aflections led him; the remainder cnose
posiiions in the tort, irom w Inch thej could the on
the enemy.

1 liose who were out, and within hearing, instant-
ly started ior the lort ; and the ituiians. from every
direction, rushed into the slrett, hliiii; the air with
their usual horrid }eil. Mrs. >j'Keni:N hai! iione
to a barn, near wliere Miss Fiske's house now
stands, to milk her cow-. She was a2:ed and corpu-
lent, and could only walk slowly. When she was
w ithin a few rods of tiie fort, a naked Indian, prob-
ably the one with whom Dorman had been w'?est-
linjj;, darted from the bushes, on the east side ot the
street, ran up to her, stabbed lier in the back, and
crossed to the other side. Slie continued walkinij;,
in the same steady f)ace as before, untd she had
nearly reached the gate of the fort, w hen the blood
gushed from her mouth, and she fell and expired.
John Bullard was at his barn, below Dr. Adams' ;
he ran towards the fort, but the instant he arrived
at the iiate, he received a shot in his back. He
fell, was carried ii', and expired in a few hours.
]VIrs. Clark was at a barn, near the Tochi tiouse,
about 50 rods liistant. Leaving it, she espied an
Indian near her, w ho threw away his gun, and ad-
vanced to make her prison -r. She g.ithere<l her
clothes around her waist, and started for the f;srt.
The Indian pursued ; the woman, animated by-
cheers from her friends, outran her pursuer, w ho
skulked back for his gun. Nathan Biake was at
his barn, near where his son's house now stands.
Hearing thecry of Indians, and presumimihis bnrn
would be burnt, he determined that his cnttle
should not be burnt with it. Throwing open his

22 Annals of Keene.

stable door, be let tbem loose, and presuminp: his
retreat to the fort was cutoff, went out at a back
door, intetiding to place himself in ambush at the
only place where the river could be crossed. He
had gone but a few steps, when he was hailed bv a
party of Indians, concealed m a shop between him
and the street. Looking back, he perceived sev-
eral guns pointed at him, and at this instant several
Indians started up from their places of cnuceal-
ment near him, upon which, feeling; himself in their
power, he gave himself up. They sliook hands
w ith him, and to the remark he made, that he had
not yet breakfasted, they smiling replied, that " it
must be a poor Englishman, who could not go to
Canada without his breakfast." Passing a cord
around his arms above the elbows, and fastening
close to his body, tliey gave him to the care of one
of the j)arty, who conducted him to the woods.

The number of Indians, belonging to the party,
was supposed to be about jOO. I hey rame near
the fort, on every side, and fired whenever they
supposed liieir shot would be effectual. They, iiow-
ever, neither killed nor wounded any one. The
whites fired whenever an Indian presented himself,
and several of them were seen to tall. Before noon,
the savages ceased firing, but they remained sever-
al da\s in the vicinity. The guns first fired were
heard at the fort in Swanzey, the commander of
which imme 'lately sent an express to Winchester,
with information that the Indians had made an at-
tack upon Upper Ashuelot. From Winchester
an express was sent to the next post, and so on
from ])Ost to post to Northampton,where Col. Pome-
roy commanded. Collecting all the troops, and mi-
litia there, and pressing all the horses in the place,
he instantly, at their h ead, set out for Upper Ash-
uelot, and on his way added to his number all the
disnosable force in the intermediate settlements.
In little more than 48 houris from the time the ex-

Annals of Keene. 23

press started frooi Swanzey, he, wilh 400 or 500
uit'ii, arrived al Upper Asliutlot, tlje distance down
and back, being, at least, nniety niiles. The arri-
val, so soon, ot this relief, was as unexpecteil, as it
was gratit>in^ to the seitiers. 1 he next morning,
Ponieroy sent out his men to scour the woods in
starch of Blake. - While these were absent, the
Indians agaiti shewed themselves on the meadow,
Southeast of the fort, where they killed a iiumber
oi cattle. To recall the troops, an alarm was fired,
but uas not heard. In the afternoon, they return-
ed unsuccesstui, and that evening Mr. Bullard, and
IVirs M 'Kenny were buried. Ihe next morning,
they found the track of the Indians, and followed
it, until they came to he place of their encamp-
ment at night i his was east of Buck hill, TiOt far
from the present residence of Capt. C'hapman. It
appearing that they dispersed, when departing
fron» this place, they were pursued no farther.
Col. Pomeroy, on his way back to the fort, found
that a house, beloni^ing to iVlr. Heaton, and stand-
ing near the place where his son's house now stands,
ha<l been burnt. A'liong the ashes, they discover-
ed human bones, and the leg of an Indian uncon-
sumed As it is known to have been the custom
of the Ir-.dians to take t!ie most eflfectual means
in their power, to conceal the amount of their loss,
they had doubtless placed in this house, before
thev set it on tire, tiie bodies of such of their par-
ty as had been killed, which they had not other-
wise concealed. The number, as near as could be
asc,*rtained, was nine, and one or two were burnt
in the barn of IVIr. Blake.

The next day, enquiry was made for Mark Fer-
ry, the hermit. As he did not reside among them,
and had never performed the duties of relation,
friend or cotnpanion to any of the settlers, they
felt little solicitude for his fate ; but Col. Pomeroy
offering to send a party of men, they agreed to

24 Annals of Keene.

send a pilot to tlie place where they supposed he
niisht be iouiid. This was Ferry oieadow, on the
stream called Ferry brook, within the present lim-
its of SuUivan, whither he had repaired, as to a
plar e of safety, when driven by the flood from his
cave on Bui lard's island. They found his horse
confined under the shelter of the root of a fallen
tree, and, looking further, espied him perched high
upon the limb of a laige tree, mending his clothes.
His personal appearance indicated that he had not
received the benefit of shaving, nor ablution, for
months. They compelled him to descend, brought
him to the fort, led him to the officers' quarters,
and, with mock formality, introduced him to all the
officers, and gentlemen of the party.

Apprehending no farther danger to the settlers,
Col. Pomeroy and his men returned to their homes.

In the early part of May, the same, or another
party of Indians, liovered about the settlement,
watching for an opportunity to make prisoners, and
to plunder. For several successive nights, the
watch imagined that they heard some person walk-
ing around the fort. When it came to the turn of
young M'Kenny, whose mother had been killed,
to watch, he declared he should fire, on hearing the
least noise without the fort. In the dead of night,
he thought he heard some person at the picket
gate, endeavoring to ascertain its strength. Hav-
ing loaded his gun, as was usual among fhe first
settlers of the country, with two balls and several
buck shot, he fired through the gate, which was
made of thin boards. In the morning blood w^s
discovered on the spot, and also a number of beads,
supposed to have been cut, by the shot, from the
wampum of the Indian.

The inhabitants n^mained in the fort until March,
or April, 7 47. About this time, they passed an
informal vote, releasing Mr. Bacon, their minister,
frpm all his obligations to tnem, and resolved to

Annals of Keene. 25

abandon the settlement, which resolution was im-
Diediately executed. JSoon after, a paity of In-
dians visited the place, and burnt all the buildings,
except the mill on Beaver brook, and the house in
which the miller had resided.

It has been already mentioned, that Mr. Blake,
wheti captured, was pinioned, and conducted by an
Indian into the woods. Alter travelling about two
miles, they came to a sn»all stony brock. The
Indian stooped to drink, and as Blake's hands were
not confined, he thouiijht he could easily take up a
stone, and beat out his brains. He silently prayed
for direction ; and his next thought was, that he
should always regret that he had killed an Indian
in that situation, and he refrained.

No particulars of his journey to Canada have
been obtained, except that he passed by Charles-
town. At Montreal, he, with another prisoner of
the name of Warren, was compelled to run the
gauntlet Warren, receiving a blow in the face,
knocked down the Indian who gave it ; upon
which, lie was assaulted b}- several, who beat Jiim
unmercifully, making him a cripple lor life. Blake,
exhibiting more patience and fortitude, received no
considerable injury. He m as then conducted to
Quebec, and thence to an Indian village, several
miles north of that place, called Ccnissadawga.
He was a strong, athletic man, and possessed ma-
ny qnalities, which procured him the respect of the
savages. He could run v^ith great speed, and in
all the trials to which he was put, and they were
many and severe, he beat every antagonist.

Not long after his arrival at the village, the tribe
lost a chief by sickness. As soon as his decease
was made known, the women repaired to his wig-
wam, and with tears, sobs, and clamorous lamenta-
tions, mourned his death. The funeral ceretuonies
performed, the men sought Blake, dressed him in

26 Annals of Keene.

the Indian costume, and invested him with all the
antiiont} and privileges of the deceased, as one of
the cidifs of the tribe, and as husband of the wid-
o V. In the fam.!} to vvliich he now stood in the
rt'laiion of fitlier, there were, as he has often re-
marked, several dau«j|iters of uncommon beauty.

Yet, notwithstanchng; this good fortune, he still
had diificulties to encounter. The tribe was divid-
ed into \\\o parlies, his friends and his enemies.
The former consisted of the great mass of tne
tribe, who respected him for qualities, to which,
they had not equal preterisions ; the latter, of tiiose
who were envious ol his success, and had beea
worsted in their contests with him. These, to
humble his pride, sent far into the northern wilder-
ness, and procured a celebrated Indian runner, to
run against him. At the time assigned, the whole
tribe assembled to witness the race ; and a French-
n)an, from Quebec, happened to be present. Per-
ceiving the excitement among them, he advised
Blake to permit himself to be beaten, intimating
that fatal consequences might ensue, if he did not.
The race was run, and Blake, as advised by the
Frenciunan, permitted his antagonist to reach the
goal, a moment before he did. He persisted, how-
e\ er, after his return trom captivity, in declaring
that he njight have beaten hitn, if he had tried.
The evei t of the race, restored harmony to the
tril'e, and Bhdie was permitted to live in peace.

But, rememberinij the family he had left, he felt
anxious to return to his home. After much inter-
cession, the tribe proposed, that, if he would build
a house, like those of the Knglish, he should be
permitted to go to Quebec. Presuming, that, when
there, he could more easily obtain his liberty, he
gladly aceeded to the proposition. With such-tools
as the Indians possessed, he prepared the necessa-
r; timber, ^plittins the boarrls fmn the tree, and
sooii completed the task. He then went to Que-

Annals of Ketone. 27

bee, and gave himself up to the French. He had
"been tlieie but a short time, wiitn hi> In lati uile
came in a canoe to reclaim him. lie retvis(:(l to re-
turn ; but she soliciting; anil even deuiandinii ii, lie
declared to her, that, if he should be c mpelled to
set out v.ith her, he would overturn the canoe, iind
drown her ; upon which, she concluded to retura
without him. In the tall, the French commandant
gave Blake his election to pass the winter, as a la-
borer, with a farmer, in the vicinity of Qa bee, or
be confined in the common jjaol. He chose the
latter, and had no reason to regret his ciioic e, as
he had a comfortable room, and sullicient rations
assigned him. He remained in confinement until
spriniJj, when his liberation was procured in
manner, which will now be related.

Amonscthe numerous parties, wliich the love of
war, and of adventure, brought upon the frontier
seUlements, was one consisting of a small nnmber
of Indians, commanded by lieutenant Pierre Kam-
bout, a young Frenchman. In the autumn ot l'/-i7,
this party penetrated the wilderness, as far as the
southern bank of the Ashnelot, in Winchester,
about two miles below the village. They then
halted, at^d the commander, taking his guii, passed
alone. over a neighboring hill, which descended ab-
ruptly to the southward. While standing near a
road, which led along the foot of tiic hill, he saw,
and, at the same moment, was seen I)} asioul.con-
sisting of Mr. Alexander, and Mr. Willard, of
Northfield, and Dr. Hall, of Keene, who were tisen
travelling this road, in a direction towards JNorth-
field. Perceiving that he could not esca|)e, he, in
French, asked for quarter. Not understandiiig l.'iin,
Alexander fired, and he fell. On examination, ihey
concluded his wound was mortal, to( k his arms,
and presuming he had a party near him whii h
would be drawn to the s[ ot, by the repoit of the
musket, they hastened to Nortn field. The Indians

28 jSnnals of Keene.

repaired immediately to the spot, and findinsj their

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Online LibrarySalma HaleAnnals of the town of Keene, from its first settlement, in 1734, to the year 1790 .. → online text (page 2 of 6)