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Eleazer V^iilliams-His Porer^lnners,
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WILLIAM iA/AED V^IGHT



PARKIviAiNi C TUB PUBLICAilONS No. 7






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GIFT OF

SEELEY W. MUDD

and

GEORGE I, COCHRAN MEYER ELSASSER

DR. JOHN R. HAYNES WILLIAM L. HONNOLD

JAMES R. MARTIN MRS. JOSEPH F.SARTORI

to the

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

SOUTHERN BRANCH




JOHN FISKE






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This book is DUE on the last
date stamped below



APR 2 1 m

OCT 5 1931 1

JUN 1 7 193?

JUL 7 1937




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IPARKMAN CLUB PUBLICATIONS

No. 7
Milwaukee, Wis., June 9, 1896






Eleazer Williams-His Forerunners. Himself



WILLIAM WARD WIGHT



LOS ai^'geiles



(Copyright, 1896, by William Ward Wight)



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Eleazer Williams.



ELEAZER WILLIAMS— HIS FORERUNNERS, HIJMSELF.



Until within a recent period it had been supposed that the claims

lor royal descent for Eleazer Williams had been abandoned, that they

were, in truth, as

"Dead as the bulrushes round little Moses
On the old banks of the Nile."

The publication, however, by a reputable London house, of The
Story of Louis Xl'II. of Fraticc} and the appearance of many news-,
paper screeds relying upon that volume as authority have re-directed
attention to these extravagant pretensions and justify, even if they do
not demand, this present writing.

In the parish church of St. Nicholas in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk,
Robert eldest son of Stephen and Margaret (Cooke) Wilyams was
baptised on December ii, 1608. Robert's wife, Elizabeth Stalham,
was a year or thereabouts her husband's junior. Robert was a cord-
wainer and plied his trade in his native shire from 1623 until he de-
serted his ancestral shores. On April 8, 1637, he with his wife and
their four children Samuel, John, Elizabeth and Deborah, was exam-
ined preliminary to emigration to New England. One week later the
family sailed in the Rose of Yarmouth for Boston. Others of the
same sirname from the same neighborhood followed their example.
Forthwith Robert made permanent settlement in Roxbury where in
1643 his household, now augmented to six children, dwelt upon an
estate of twenty-five acres. As a member of the church of the Rev.
John Eliot, and as otherwise qualified, Robert was made a freeman
May ID, 1643.-

He was a personage of strong fibre — a rigid Puritan. Self-exiled
for conscience's sake, his conscience was his constant mentor. A single
incident will picture his character: The magistrates of Massachusetts
Bay sent letters to the several towns in 1672, re<[uesting pecuniary

1. The .story of IjouIs XVII. of France. By Elizahoth E. Evans. Sw:in, Son-
no-scliein & Co., London, 1893.

2. Williams' Robert Williams, :ulili'n<l;i Hotten's Original l!sts, 230, 292: L'^t-
t<M-s of Edward H. Williams, jr., of BcthlPhem, Pa.; New England Historical and
fionoalogical Register, II, 53; III, 190; XIV. 325: XXXV, 2J7: XI.IV. 212; XLVII.
:i(>3. This last set will hereinafter be abbreviated to Register. All authorities cited
will l)e onuniprated with fuller titles in Appendix I.



1 U 051;;



134 ELEAZER WILLIAMS.

assistance for Harvard College and inviting criticisms upon the con-
duct of the institution. Roxbury, while not refusing the aid, replied
on March 5, 1672, complaining of an evil in the method of education —
that the youth were brought up in pride ill fitting persons intended
Jor either the magistracy or the ministry, and particularizing their
wearing long hair, even in the pulpit, to the great grief and fear of
many godly hearts. Prominent among the endorsers of this indictment
were Robert Williams and his son Samuel."

Both Robert and Elizabeth Williams died in Roxbury — the former,
September i, 1693, the latter, July 28, 1674. ^They were the progenitors
of many distinguished and honored Americans; not a few of these,
despite the capillary criticism, were graduates of Harvard, and one,
Colonel Ephraim Williams, was himself the founder of a college.^

Samuel Williams, the eldest surviving son of the emigrant, whose
age at death allows 1632 to be computed as his probable birth year,
was, like his father, a cordwainer. He was a deacon, and from Decem-
ber 9, 1677, ruling elder, in the Roxbury church. On March 2, 1654,
he married Theoda, born July 26, 1637, the eldest daughter of Deacon
William and Martha (Elolgrave) Parke of Roxbury. There Samuel
became a freeman in March, 1658, there he died September 28, 1698,
and there his widow died August 2, 1718.''

The second son of this pair, John, over whose strange, sad history
the veil of human sympathy has long and fondly hung, was born in
Roxbury December 10, 1664.'^ Educated by the generosity of his
grandfather Parke he graduated in 1683 at Harvard College,*^ doubt-
less without long hair, and entered the ministry. He married July 21.
1687, Eunice, born August 2,t 1664, daughter of the Rev. Eleazcr and
Esther Mather of Northampton, Esther being the daughter oi the
Rev. John Warham of Windsor. Mr. Mather, who was born in Dor-
chester May 13, 1637, and died July 24, 1669, was a brother of the Rev.
Increase Mather and a son of the emigrant the Rev. Richard Mather
(born 1596, died April 22, 1669). '-• Upon tlie premature death of the
Rev. Eleazer Mather, his widow Esther (who died aged ninety-two
years February 10, 1736) married Solomon Stoddard of Northampton.
She thus became the mother of Captain John Stoddard, born Feb-
ruary 17, 1682, who figures briclly later in tliis narrative.

:r lU'si-ftov XXXV, 122, 12;?.

4. Uesistor XXXIV, C9.

.">. 'J'hc Itev. Ml'. Van Iteiisselacr. in liis Ilisturical l>isc.iuise, 54. sa.vs. of tlio
foiiiKlri- ui AVilliaius College, "Kplu-aiin WJllianis \vas <li sei-'iided from the liesi Pu-
ritan anee.sti'.v."

C. .Slieldon's Duertiekl It, SHi: Williams' Koliert Williams. 7; \\il]i,ims' Wil-
liams I'amil.v. 3:_!; Kegi.stor XXXIV, G!l. Shclil.m piiiils .\imn^f 2i;. ITIs. in-lrad oi'
.\ugii.^t 2. 171S.

7. Williaius' Uolieit Williams. S; .Sbeldoirs Dccrlield. II. .'!7r,.

8. Williams' Kodeemed Captive, 'M\: Sildi'.v's llavvaid -iMdnates. HI. 24!i.
0. r.eiijsler VI, 20.



HIS FORERUNNERS, HIMSELF. 135

Minute, perhaps tedious, have been these genealogical details — yet,
purposely minute, that it might clearly appear how gentle the flower
of saintly New England growth that was forcefully transplanted from
Deerfield into the wildernesses of Canada to bloom, and fade, in exile
there.

Deerfield, or Pocumtuck meaning High Rock Place, ^'^ was on
the outskirts of the Massachusetts world when the Rev. John Williams
began to preach there in June, 1686. His little following was formally
organized into a church and he ordained its pastor October 17, 1688.^^^
Here he faithfully ministered to a loyal flock; here were born the
eleven children of his marriage with Eunice Mather.^^ Yd in much
disquietude was his life passed. 2\lore than once in the circling years
tlie dusky prowler surprised the sleeping village; more than once the
ruthless hatchet and the pitiless rifle wrought their ruin among its
brave inhabitants. These pathetic events pertain not to my theme;
yet of one, brief mention is necessary.

Early in the morning of leap-year day, 1704, three hundred and
forty French and Indians^^ under Major Hertel de Rouville attacked
the slumbering inhabitants. A few happily escaped, more were slain,
still more — chattel property for their greedy captors — were taken pris-
oners. ■ The narrative of that fatal morning of February 29, 1704, may
be read in many histories — in Penhallow, Hoyt, Dwight, Parkman,
Sheldon;"^

Seven children of the Rev. John Williams were sleeping peace-
iull3' at home when the assault began. Two of these, John and a babe
Jerusiia were killed; five, — Samuel, Esther, Stephen, Eunice and War-
ham were captivated. These last with their parents and more than one
hundred other prisoners were started without delay upon a cold and
dreary journey across Vermont to their future Canadian abodes. Upon
the second day of their wintry tramp, March i, Mrs. Williams, whose
confinement had been recent,^^ -with failing strength was fording Green
River five miles northwest of Greenfield. No friend was near to
assist her, for the captives had been sprinkled here and there among

10. Ilegi.ster XXVIII, 2S(!. CousuU as to Deeillel<l New Y.rk Col.juial Docn-
in.;ut.s, IV, 1083, 1099.

11. Sheldon's Deerfield I, 97; Williams' Eedeem^B Captive, yii; KugisUT. \'I, 74.

12. The names and vital statistics of these children form Appendix II. A ped-
igree of uiemljors of the Williams family lu'nlionod iu this paiirr form.s Aiipondis III.

13. Two hundred French and the remainder Indians— ijartly Eastern Indians 'n
native costume, partly Mohawks or Maecjuas (c-alleci Maquass in N. Y. Col. Docs. IV,
S03) of Caughnawaga, probably in civilized attire. Sheldon's Deerlield I, 294.

14. Penhsllow's Indian wars, 24; Hoyt's Antiquarian Researcbes, 186; Dwight'a
Travels II, C7: Parkman's Half-century of conflict, I, 52: Sheldon's D.'ei-field, I. 9.!.
An alnioist contemporary account is mentioufd Itiglsttr IX, 161. A wood-cut of .lean
Baptiste Hertel, Seigneur de Kouville can be seen in Wins ir's Narrafve aul ciit'cal
iiistory V, IOC. He was thirty-four years of age at the tln:e of tin- i-aid.

15. Hor child .Teruslia was horn January 15, 1704. Re.gistrr XLIV, 315.



136 ELEAZER WILLIAMS.

the scattered savages. Her Indian attendant, perceiving that she would
prove unprofitable for sale or exchange, tomahawked her as she was
staggering up a hill just after crossing the stream. Her body, found
by pursuing whites, was reverently returned and now sleeps in God's
acre in Deerfield, and a monument to her memory, dedicated August
12, 1886, adorns the slope where she fell.^"

After many privations, terrible to suffer, thrilling even to read.
the remainder of the Williams family, although in separated bands,
reached their different destinations. All of them except one eventu-
ally returned to their Deerfield home. The father was exchanged,
reached Boston by water November 21, 1706, was recalled to his pas-
torate in Deerfield and died there June 12, 1729.1'' His The Redeemed
Captive Keliiniiiig to Ziou, relates in quaint language the story of
the Indian attack, of the inclement march, of the life in Canada. ^^

One of the Williams family, it is repeated, did not return to the
Deerfield home. This one, Eunice, her mother's namesake, the de-
scendant of two deacons and three ministers of Puritan New England,
the far away child of m.any paternal supplications and bitter tears,^^
frail solitary maiden among many stalwart Indian braves, claims now
our sole attention.

Upon the divison of the captives Eunice fell to a chieftain of the
settlement which the French called Sault St. Louis but which in
sonorous Iroquois is Caughnawaga.-" This village, the namesake of
a Mohawk hamlet west from Albany, was situated four leagues above
Montreal on the south side of the St. Lawrence. As early as 1636 the
spot was considered sightly for habitation but it was not uniil ibl, )
that the first Iroquois went there. These Iroquois, largely Mohawks
with a few Oneidas, had been converted by Jesuit missionaries to
Catholicism and to the French interest and had been induced from time
to time to abandon their ancient seats in New York for homes near
Montreal where they would be under the wing of the Church. Thus
dwelling they served both as a bulwark against the English and as
allies of the French in war and in marauding, while they enriched
themselves by lucrative contraband trade between the lower Hudson
and the St. Lawrence. .A.t about the period of the Deerfield massacre
two-thirds of the New York Mohawks had been persuaded to deport
themselves to Caughnawaga, so that about three hundred and fifty
praying Indians were then living there. In 1750 the entire population
may have been one thousand souls. But notwithstanding the religious

16. SheUlou's Deeiflekl II, 37T.

17. Sheldon's DeeiUeld I, .338; Williams' Williams family, 6li.

IS. For tbe editions of tliis little book see Williams' Redeemed captive (Noitli-

.Tnipton, 1853) page iii; Allibone's Dictionary III, 2741; Sheldon's Deerfield II. 377.

19. Williams' Redeemed captive, 17ii, 171; Will'nms' Williams family, 93.

20. P.akor's Eunice Williams, 23.



HIS FORERUNNERS, HIMSELF. 137

intluenccs these mission Indians still continued savages. Although
baptized and wearing the crucifix they yet hung their wigwams with
scalps, yet wielded their tomahawks against feeble women and innocent
children.

Remnants of the Caughnawaga mission still exist and travelers
down the St. Lawrence peer curiously at ungarbed pappooses sporting
about the shore and at tawny braves stalking aimlessly under the
arching trees. -'^

Eunice Williams, born September 17, 1696, - was between seven
and eight years of age when her captivity began. Once or twice
during her father's stay in Canada he was permitted to visit and con-
sole his daughter. At these occasions he conjured her to the remem-
lirance of her prayers and of her catechism and warned her against the
desertion of her faith. Strenuous yet futile efforts were made to secure
her return with him to New England; persistent j'et vain endeavors
for her release were afterwards pressed by Colonel John Schuyler
of Albany and Deacon John Sheldon of Deerfield. Gradually her
susceptible child-nature yielded to her environment and to the gentle
demeanor of her captors. She became an Indian in dress and man-
ners, a Catholic in religion. Her conversion was consummated by
her re-baptism with the name of Margaret. She forgot her English
and her catechism. Her lapse from the ancestral creed was to her
father the keenest torture.-^

After the treaty of Utrecht in 1713 brought brief peace to America
alike with Europe, the father of Emiice and Colonel John Stoddard
were appointed by the government of Massachusetts Bay to negotiate
the redemption of New Englanders who were in captivity in Canada.
The commissioners left Boston November 5, 1713, and spent more
than a year in parleyings which were characterized by earnestness and
skill on their side and by extreme disingenuousness on the part of the
French authorities. The commissioners finally sailed homeward with
twenty-six redeemed captives. Eunice however was not of the num-
ber although her father saw her and had discourse with her "and her
Indian relations.'' How tantalizing such an interview must have been
to the now impatient and angered father the dry tone of Stoddard's

l!l. Authorities concerning Caugbnawaga: N. Y. Col. Docs. IV, 87, 747: V, 742;
VI, 582. G20; X, 301; Relation des Jesuites, 1636, 42; I.ettres 'difiantes et cniieuses
1, 665; Parknian's Half-contury of conflict I,. 11, 12; Parkiiian's The old legiuie In
Canada, 368; Parkinan's Montcalm and Wolfe, I, 64; II, 144; Letter, May 15, 1896,
from the Rev. Arthur K. .Tones, S. J., of St. Miiry's CollPge, Montreal; Ba.xtor's New
Fiance in New England, 327; Stone's Sir William' Johnson I, 30. Caughnawngu means.
Cook the kettle. Documentary history of New York III> 1108.

22. Sheldon's Deerfield II, 377; Baker's Eunice Williams, 20. Williams' Robert
Williams, 15, prints September 16, 169G.

23. Baker'.'i Eunice Williams. 23, 24: Williams' Kerleemed Captive. .'iG: Park-
man's Ilalf-cciitiiry of iMjutlid. I.. 77.



138 ELEAZEB WILLIAMS.

Journal-* leaves to inference and imagiit&tion. Mr. Williams never
saw his daughter again.

The date of her marriage is imknown. From the reference in
Stoddard's Journal to her "Indian relations,"-^ from the earnest pro-
test of her father to the governor of Canada against marriages be-
tween Indians and minor white girls^s and especially from a memorial
of Colonel John Schuyler to the governor of Massachusetts, it appears
that Eunice was already a wife when the commissioners arrived in
Canada. The last mentioned document shows-^ that the marriage oc-
curred before May 25, 1713- — before she was seventeen years of age.
Her husband was Amrusus, a name roughly civilized into Roger
Toroso, a full-blood Caughnawaga Indian. -^

Of her life among her adopted people there are but few glimpses.
She never forgot her ancestral home; she never entirely lost the New
England spirit. Her husband assumed the sirname Williams; her
only son was called from her father, John."^ In 1740, by the solicita-
tion of Colonel John Scliuyler,^^ who hoped to accomplish her volun-
tary return to civilization, she and her husband visited Albany. Here
by prior arrangement were present her brothers Eleazer and Stephen
and the Rev. Joseph Meacham, her brother-in-law. Yielding to their
entreaties the visit was extended to Long Meadowy where her brother
Stephen was minister.-"*! Finding that no force was used to detain
them Eunice and her husband returned in 1741 with two children,
tarrying at Mansfield,^^ Boston and other towns and remaining several
months. Public interest in these visitors is attested by the fact that the
legislative assembly of the province offered the family a tract of land
m Massachusetts for their settlement — a gift which Eunice refused,
fearing its acceptance would endanger her soul.^-"' In 1743 a third visit

24. Stoddard's Journal is printed at length in Register V, 26. Miss Baker's
Eunice Williams is an interesting account of tbe el^orts made for the release of
Eunice.

25. Register V, 33.

26. Baker's Eunice Williams, 33.

27. Baker's Eunice Williams, 28, 29.

28. Sheldon's Deerfleld I, 347; Letter, April 6, 189G, from Edward H. Wil-
liams, jr.

29. Parkman's Half-century of conflict I, 87; Baker'.s Eunice Williams, 37.

30. Colonel Schuyler was born April 5, 1668, and was grandfather of General
Philip Schuyler. N. Y. Col. Docs. IV, 406; Lamb's New York I, 153.

31. But she would not lodge in the house; a wigwam was constructed in the or-
chard and she slept there. Longmeadow Centennial, 74.

32. An extract from; a sermon preached in the presence of Eunice Williams, at
Mansfield, Connecticut, August 4, 1741, by her remote 'elative, the Rev. Solo^rion
Williams of Lebanon, Connecticut, is preserved in Williams' Redremed Captive, 170.

33. Statement of Jerusha M. Colton, a descendant of the Rev. John Willinms,
dated May 26, 1836, printed in Williams' Redeemed Captive, 171.



HIS FORERUNNERS, HIMSELF. 139

was made.•''* On all these occasions her New England cousins unavail-

ingly endeavored to persuade the renunciation at least of her Indian

dress and customs.

In 1758, fifty-four years after her forcible abduction from Deerfield

she visited this home of her infancj'. By her civilized kindred she
was rehabilitated in English garb to attend the Sunday preaching in

her father's church. Bur neither the sacred associations of the occasion
nor the memories of the past, nor the tearful entreaties of her friends,
could restrain her from resuming her Indian blanket after the service
had closed. 35 Yet she never became a savage in her disposition. Her
influence at Caughnawaga was always exercised upon the side of
clemency towards captured foes and against barbarous warfare. The
humane inclinations with which she inspired her martial grandson
Thomas Williams amazed .his white allies. ^^ A letter written or dic-
tated by her to her brother Stephen in December, 1781, when she was
more than eighty-five years of age, shows, if faithfully rendered into
English, a resumption, perhaps a continuance, of the methods of
expression and drift of thought which must have been familiar to her
earliest childhood i^^

My beloved brotber, once in captivity with me, and I am still so as you may
consider it, but I am' free in the Lord. We are now both very old and are still per-
mitted iiy the goodness of God to live in the land of the living. This may be the last
time .vou may hear from me. Oh pray for me that I may be prepared for death and
I trust we may meet in Heaven with all our godly relatives.

The writing of this letter is the latest event yet discovered in the
life of Eunice. Five years after, in 1786, she died at Caughnawaga.^*

Of her marriage with the Indian Amrusus were born one son and
two daughters, whose dates of birth are unknown. The son John
died childless at Lake George in 1758; the daughter Catherine al-
though married was likewise without offspring ; the remaining daugh-
ter, called sometimes Alary but more often and perhaps more correctly
Sarah is therefore the only child of Eunice by whom her blood has
been perpetuated. ^o That this statement as to the posterity of Eunice
is true is known from her own lips. The Rev. James Dean, who was

34. A letter (now owned by Edward E. Ayres of Clilcago) was written to the
Rev. Stephen Williams of Longmeadow. brother of Eunice, on October 24, 1743, by
the Rev. John Sergeant of Stoekbridge. congratulating Mr. Williams "on this third
visit from' your poor captive sister," and expressing the hope that "she will now be
persuaded to stay with you." The writer, born in Newark, Xew Jersey, 1710, Yale
1729, became a missionary to the Stockbridge Indians, 1734. Register X, 185, 232.
Mr. Sergeant married Abigail, sister of Colonel Ephraim W'illiams, founder of Will-
lamg College. Scribner's Monthly, February,; 1895, 247.

.35. Williams' Williams family, 92-94.

30. Williams' Te-ho-ra-gwa-ne-gen, 21.

37. Williams' Te-ho-ra-gwa-ne-gen, 41.

38. letter, April 6, 1896, from Edward H. Williams, jr.

.39. Williams' Williams family, 94; Williams' Te-ho-ra-gwa-ne-gcn, 17, IS.



140 ELEAZER WILLIAMS.

on a mission to the Indians of Caughnawaga and St. Francis in 1773
and 1774 and became well acquamted with Eunice and her surround-
ings, thus wrote to her brother Stephen under date of November
12, i774:-i'>

She has two daughters and one grands )u wh!c';i are all the di'sieudants s e has.
Both her daughters are married but one of thcni lias no children. Your sister lives
comfortably and well and considering lier advanced age enjoy'd a gojd state o' laeaith
when I left the country. She retains still an affectionate remembianc of her fr ends in
N. England but tells me that she never expects tu Sje thL'm again, the fatigues of so
long u journey would be too mncli for her to undergo.

This letter makes no reference to Anirusus — 1 assunu' tliat he
was dead.

Much obscurity gathers about Sarah, the daughter of Eunice.
That she was living in 1774 the above extract renders certain. The
name of her husband, the father of her children, has eluded much
vigilance, and in the search for him the shadow of the Rev. Eleazer
Williams of Green Bay glances for the first time across this paper's
path. In 1846 that gentleman had personal interviews with Stephen
W. Williams, M. D., then compiling the genealogy of the Williams
family, and threw this light, if light it be, upon the identity of Sarah's
husband :■*!

In the French war of 1755-60, an English fleet sent out against
the French was separated in a tremendous storm near the coast of
Nova Scotia. Doctor Williams, an English physician, was on one of
the vessels which was afterwards taken by a French man-of-war. As
Doctor Williams was a man of science and a distinguished pliysician,
he was treated with a great deal of attention by the French physicians
in Canada. He was a botanist and was suffered to ramble in various
parts of Canada and was carried by the Indians in their canoes to
several of their towns. At Caughnawaga he became acquainted with
Sarah, the daughter of Eunice, and in 1758 married her on condition
that he would not move from Canada. The physician proved to be the
son of the bishop of Chester.

The genealogist who preserves this story was in his lifetime
worthy of credit. His genealogy is not a model of execution, is un-
indexed and in many ways faulty, but the author was of high character



40. This letter is owned by Edward E. Ayres of Chicago, and was transcribed
for me (as well as the Sergeant letter) by the courtesy of Charles A. Smith of Chi-
cago. Mr. Dean graduated from Dartmoutli in 1773. lie i^assed his early life among
the Indians and became familiar with their language. After the Eevo-utionary war,
he was stationed at Fort Stanwix, now Rome, New Yorli, as interpreter. He died
at AVestmoreland, New York, in 1823, aged 75 years. Dartmouth Centennial, 21;
Hammond's Madison County, 110.

41. Williams' Williams family, 94.



HIS FORERUNNERS, HIMSELF. 141

and of unimpeached integrity and has been praised for his patient,


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Online LibraryWilliam Ward WightEleazer Williams-- his forerunners, himself → online text (page 1 of 9)