The whole command now devolved upon Capt. Holyoke, who led his shattered force, fighting every rod of the way, to the south side of Deerfield meadow to the place known as the "Bars." That the retreat did not end in a general massacre is doubtless due to the skill and bravery of Capt. Holyoke in keeping the main body together, and in protecting flank and rear while pushing forward to avoid the chance of ambuscades. As it was, they found, on arriving at Hatfield, that some fortyUnknownfive or more of their men were missing. Rev. Mr. Russell's letter of May 22d gives some account of the losses, and says that six of the missing have come in, reducing the number of the lost to thirtyUnknowneight or thirtyUnknownnine. Of the Indian losses he gives the report of Sergt. Bardwell that he counted upwards of one hundred in and about the wigwams and along the river banks, and the testimony of William Drew and others that they counted some "sixUnknownscore and ten." "Hence we cannot but judge that there were above 200 of them slain."
Of the slain of our soldiers the following list is taken from the best available authorities. The battle and the leader are perpetuated in the name "Turner's Falls," applied to the scene of the fight.
The two servants mentioned in the following petition were doubtless apprentices whose service was needed by widow Turner about the Captain's business, now left to her management. Buckman (or Bucknam) may have been of Charlestown, son of William. His name appears in a later ledger of John Hull, and John Sawdy was probably son of John of Boston.
To the Honourable Gouvener And Councill Now Assembled In Boston.
Humbly showeth that whereas your poor petitioner hath lost her husband in the Services of the Country Ingaging Against the Barbarious & Cruell Heathen the Enemy thereof And having now still two servants named John Sawdy And Samuell Buckman who went out with him in the Country's service att hadley my widowhood estate & Condition for want of Convenient supply of maintenances makes me Bold to suplicate your honours for An order for theire Releas & discharge from the place to which att present they do belong & that your honours will so far Consider my Condition as to order me pay for whatt Is In your honours Judgment my Just: & Consider me In Respect of the Loss of my Husband as your honours shall see mette which shall further Ingage your poor petitioner to pray for your honors & this Countries peace & prosperity.
[Endorsed]UnknownUnknownMrs. Turners petition, 26 June 1676.
Mass. Archives, vol. 69, p. 21.
Soldiers credited under Capt. William Turner:
The credits above mostly represent those soldiers who served under Capt. Turner from February 20th until April 7th, and the sum œ02 04s. 06d. covers the time until their arrival home, about seven weeks and five days from their marching away. After April 7th, those of his soldiers who remained in the West received credit at the several garrisons at which they were located, and their names will appear in that connection; and this is the reason that so few who were in the "Falls Fight" are credited as serving under Capt. Turner. After his death the officers of the garrison signed their vouchers.
The following list is the most important of all these that are preserved pertaining to the soldiers of Capt. Turner, as it contains the names of all the soldiers of whom the committee could find any trace. The grant was made of a township of land, as near as might be to the scene of the "Falls Fight," to all officers and soldiers who were engaged therein. This alphabetical list was evidently kept in the hands of the committee, and new names are added in different hands through several years. A few fragmentary papers are preserved in the archives in connection with this list, that show the methods of proving and identifying claims.
A certificate from John Bradshaw, still alive in February, 1735, declares that himself, Mr. Isaiah Tay, late of Boston, deceased, who was a lieutenant under Capt. Turner, and Nathaniel Pierce, of Woburn, were in the fight. John Dunkin, of Worcester, certifies, April 1st, 1735, that his uncle Jabez Dunkin was killed in the fight, and applies as his proper heir. John Chase, of Newbury, certifies that he was in the expedition with Capt. Turner, and helped to bury him, and that Samuel Coleby, late of Almsbury, deceased, was with him. Some other papers of like tenor are preserved, and several fragments of evidence from town and church records, showing that the committee demanded proofs before granting the claims. The residences of the soldiers were given according to the best knowledge of the committee, very often at loss for any information after the lapse of sixty years.
Many of the soldiers, after the war, had removed to interior towns, and their descendants to different States, and sometimes the present residence of the claimant would be given as the supposed home of the soldier ancestor. Very many of the soldiers from the East were single men, boys and apprentices, and when these were killed their names were soon lost, unless some record was made. At Northampton a record of the death of thirteen of the soldiers, who had been in garrison there, together with that of Capt. Turner, is found upon the town books under date of May 19, 1676, with the comment, "all slain by Indians."
The committee finding this record, and not knowing otherwise, assigned Northampton, or "North," as their residence. It will be seen that one hundred and thirtyUnknownfive names appear, while up to 1741 only ninetyUnknownnine claimants had been admitted. This may be explained by the fact that so many of those engaged in the affair were strangers in the colony, or mere boys, who left no legal claimants in this country. In other cases it would be difficult to prove relationship such as would entitle to a claim, especially when the soldier ancestor had removed to a distant part of the country.
[King Philip's War Index Index][NY][VT]
[King Philip's War Index Index][NY][VT]