SOLDIERS

IN

KING PHILIP'S WAR

 Chapter 5, Part III 

This evidence would seem to confirm definitely the conclusions of Dr. Paige, and settle the location positively at Meminimisset, (Wenimisset). It certainly shows that in 1785, that spot was known as the scene of the struggle. By the courtesy of the Mass. Historical Society I am able to present this ancient plan in part to my readers.

The Nipmuck tribes were alone concerned in this attack upon Brookfield; the Quabaugs, Wabbaquassets and Nashaways, being the chief. Philip left Pocasset Swamp July 31st, and with a small number of his warriors arrived at "Quabaug Old Fort" on Thursday, August 5th. By a letter from Major John Pynchon, of Springfield, to Gov. Winthrop of Connecticut, we learn that Philip was settled with his band on August 7th, not far from Meminimisset; and that Philip's brother was there, and Mattaloos (Mattoonas) also with some two hundred men. George Memicho, the Indian captive taken at Brookfield, relates that Philip brought about forty men with him, and "many more women and children." About thirty of his men had guns, the rest bows and arrows. On their return from Brookfield, the victorious Nipmucks told Philip of their exploit, and he gave three of the Sagamores, Apequinash, Quanansit and Mattaump, about a peck of unstrung wampum apiece. Philip told the Indians that when he came from Pocasset he had about two hundred and fifty men in his company, besides women and children, including Weetamoo and her company; but now they had gone by themselves, and some were killed. He also said that if Capt. Henchman had pursued him closely, he must have been taken with his whole company. After this Philip and his company seem to have disappeared from this vicinity. But the affair at Brookfield had stirred up the Pocumptucks and other River Indians so that they were ripe for the scenes which ensued along those river towns, in which Philip apparently had small part.

On August 7th fresh forces arrived from Boston, and all remained at the garrison till the 10th day, when Capts. Hutchinson and Wheeier, with all of their company that were able to travel, came away and arrived at Marlborough on August 14th. Capt. Hutchinson died there of his wounds on the 19th, and was buried the next day. Capt. Wheeler and the remnants of his company remained there until the 21st, when they returned home to Concord.

Of those who were engaged in this affair, the following received credit for military service under Capt. Thomas Wheeler:

Sept. 15, 1675

Samson Robin.

00

13

08

Joseph Robin.

00

13

08

Sept. 28th

Benjamin Graves.

02

16

04

Simon Davis.

03

08

16

John Buttrick.

03

01

06

Oct. 19th

George Howard.

01

08

06

John Hartwell.

01

11

06

John French, Corp.

07

04

00

John Kittery (Kitteridg).

03

08

06

George Farly.

00

14

00

James Paddison.

01

14

08

John Bates.

01

14

03

Simon Howard.

01

10

00

Samuel Smedly.

00

14

00

Sidrach Hopgood.

00

10

00

November 30th

John Waldoe.

04

00

00

John Fisk.

01

14

09

Jan'y 25

1675-6

   

James Richardson.

02

02

00

Besides these credited above, there are several mentioned in the "Narrative" and elsewhere, who doubtless belonged to Captain Wheeler's troop -- Zechariah Phillips, Timothy Farlow and Edward Coleburn, killed at the ambuscade, and Henry Young killed at the garrison. These with young Thomas Wheeler, make up the number to twenty-one, besides the guides. In Rev. John Russell's list of men killed in Hampshire County, I find the name of James Hovey, killed at Brookfield, August 2. There is no other authority for the statement. The name occurs after that of Capt. Hutchinson, and it may be that he, like Capt. H., died of injuries received at the fight or garrison. Ephraim Curtis was credited as directly in the service of the Council, 2 for his service. It will be noticed that neither Capt. Wheeler nor his son receive credit in the treasurer's account, but it is seen by two items in the Court Records first, October 13th, 1675, in answer to his petition setting forth his necessities, that he receives ten pounds, and again in October, 1676, for his own and his son's service, he is credited full wages for both from the time they left their own homes till they returned to them again, which was 28 in addition to the 10 granted him the year before, which in the Treasurer's Ledger, is put under the head of "Contingencies," and is in part remuneration for his losses and recognition of his eminent services. The twenty-eight pounds must have included subsequent service. He remained at home for some time, and probably in that time wrote out his "Narrative." Together with others of his troop, he celebrated the 21st of October, 1675, as a day of thanksgiving for their safe return from Brookfield. Before February 29th, as is evident from the credits following, he had been out again in service. What or where that service was I have not been able to find from any published reference.

There was, however, much quiet, though efficient, service performed in those times, that the chronicler passed over in giving account of the more stirring events; and such service is often only revealed by these dim old pages of Hull's Journal, or the brief business or official letters preserved in our precious Archives. Such data may be helpful here. And first, the similarity of the amounts of credit would indicate that nearly all in this list were on the same service, and it would follow that the service was rendered before February 29th, 1676. The reference to "Groton Garrison" in the credit of a part of the men, seems to point to Groton and the neighboring towns as the place of service. And again the letter to the Court from Groton, dated February 6th, 1675-6, and signed by James Parker, Thomas Wheeler and Henry Woodhouse (Woodis), respectfully suggests that the maintenance of a scout of "forty men, troopers and dragoons," to scout between Groton, Lancaster and Marlboro', is unnecessary, the garrison at Lancaster being sufficient for such purpose. Moreover, that such method, considering the distance, renders the force unavailable in case of sudden surprise, and that such towns as Billerica and Chelmsford are weakened by the withdrawal of their troopers for this service, and that now in view of the sudden disappearance of the Weymesit Indians, the troopers from those towns "demand a release," etc. I find that many of those in the list were from Billerica and Chelmsford. The letter shows this scouting service to have been going on, and I think it is safe to conclude that most of these thirty-seven men were engaged in it under Capt. Wheeler and Lieut. Woodhouse.

 

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