MAJOR RICHARD WALDERNE AND HIS MEN
THE Walderne(*) family, to which the subject of this chapter, Richard Walderne, belonged, is of ancient lineage, as seen in the Pedigree, found by H. G. Somerby in England, and published by him in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. viii. p. 78. This shows descent from Edward Walderne and Joan his wife, of Alcester, in Warwickshire, through George Walderne and Joan Shallarde, married July 8, 1576, who had William, baptized July 25, 1577, married Catherine Raven at Alcester, November 26, 1600, and had nine sons and two daughters. The seventh son was Richard, baptized January 6, 1615.
This Richard(+) Walderne came to America, it is said, in 1635, "to See the Country. He stayed about two Years and returned to England and there Marryed a Gentlewoman of a very good family (whose parents were very unwilling She Should come away) her names are not remembered nor of wt place."
The matter above quoted is from the fragment of a letter from James Jeffrey to Councillor Richard3 Waldron, the Major's grandson.
Major Walderne came to America with his young wife about 1637. After her death he married Anne Scammon, sister of Richard. His children were -- Paul,2 who died in Algiers about 1669 (probably on board one of his father's vessels). Timothy,2 who died while a student in Harvard College. Richard,2 born 1650. Anna,2 married Rev. Joseph Gerrish. Elnathan,2 born July 6, 1659, in Boston, died Dec. 10, 1659. Esther,2 born Dec. 1, 1660, in Boston; married (1) Henry Elkins, (2) Abraham Lee, June 21, 1686, (3) Richard Jose, and (4) (???) (???). She died in the Isle of Jersey. Mary,2 born Sept. 14, 1663, in Boston, died young. Eleazer,2 born May 1, 1665. Elizabeth,2 born Oct.
(*) I have thought best, in this present chapter, to adopt the
spelling of the Major's own signature,
8, 1666; married John Gerrish, of Dover. Maria,2 born July 17, 1668; died about the age of fourteen. Richard,2 the son of Major Walderne, changed the surname to Waldron, and the family has since been known as Waldron. He married (1) Hannah Cutt, Feb. 16, 1681, who died Feb. 14, 1682, at the birth of her first child; (2) Eleanor Vaughan, who died September, 1727. He died Nov. 3, 1730. His children (by his first wife) were Richard,3 born 1682, who died aged about eleven months; Richard3 (2d), born Feb. 21, 1693-4; Margaret,3 born Nov. 16, 1695; William,3 born 1697; Annie,3 born 1699; Abigail,3 born 1702; Eleanor,3 born 1704.
It is supposed that Major Walderne was a man of some property when he came to this country, as he purchased a large tract of land at Cocheco (Dover, N.H.), where he settled about 1640, erected saw-mills, established his business, and made his home. He was a man of remarkable enterprise and ability, and by wise investment and diligent use of his opportunities acquired a large property for his time. He established a truck-house for the accommodation of the Indians and his own gain at Pennacook, in 1668; and it was there that an Englishman, Thomas Dickinson, was killed by an Indian who was drunk, and whom the Indians immediately punished with death. An investigation ensued, and Major Walderne was accused of selling or furnishing liquors at his truck-house, which made the Indian drunk, contrary to the laws and the special terms of the treaty. The papers in this case are preserved in the Mass. Archives, vol. 30, pp. 154-161. The liquors were said to be sold by the hand of Paul Walderne, son of the Major, and Peter Coffin. During the investigation, the Major was suspended from his office by his brother magistrates, but upon his own oath as to his entire innocence of complicity, either direct or indirect, in the affair, and upon the evidence, he was acquitted as well as his son, and was restored to his office and power, while Peter Coffin was convicted and fined fifty pounds. He was much in public life, and exerted a wide influence in various ways. He was representative to the General Court for thirteen years, and was Speaker of the House for seven years; was appointed to be a magistrate for the North Circuit of old Norfolk County, consisting of Portsmouth and Dover, and also of the County of York.
Major Walderne seems to have been in full sympathy with the strictest Puritans of Massachusetts Colony, and a sturdy champion of colonial rights and ecclesiastical authority, if we regard his severe treatment of the Quakers within his jurisdiction, as zeal for the church. His wide influence among the people is seen to have been due to general popularity, by his large vote at elections in the times when people dared to put their will, and meant to put their conscience, into their votes. In his extensive trade with the Indians and in constant communication with them, he seemed to have kept their confidence, and to have had very little trouble with them in the thirty-five years that he had lived near them. There had been provocations doubtless on the part of the English as well as the Indians, and the Major, in common with other magistrates, was obstinate and stupidly severe in the administration of English law upon a wild, heathen people, who had no more idea of its meaning than of Sanskrit. The Indians knew the meaning of gratitude as well as vengeance; they could bide their time and dissemble submission, but they did not forget. Dover was a frontier town, and, several years before the war, houses had been fortified and a stockade set up about the meeting-house to prevent a surprise. Large numbers of Indians were coming and going among the settlers, were received and entertained in their houses, were well acquainted with the habits and peculiarities of their home-life and ways of business and worship, and it is probable that there was no other place in the Colony where the relations of settlers and Indians were more free and kindly than in this settlement at Dover. At the same time, here as elsewhere, the English regarded the Indians with ill-concealed contempt as inferior beings, and not really worth conciliating in permanent friendship, but to be tolerated till such time as they could be conveniently driven away.
It is probable that in military matters, as in all others, the direction had been in the hands of Major Walderne. The first record I have found relating to this is the following commission from the General Court, Oct. 7, 1674:
Capt. Richard Walderne having had the command of the militia in Yorkshire, by authority from this Court, for the last two yeares past, & hath this summer draune forth the regiment of foote & troope of horse there, exercised them in military discipline, this Court doth heereby appoint him, the said Richard Walderne, to be the sarjant major of the forces in Yorkshire, and doe order, that he have commission as other majors have for authorizing him to that service.Col. Rec., vol. v. p. 22.
When the alarm of the attack upon Swansea reached the people, measures were at once taken to secure these frontier towns, and the colonial authorities took steps to assist the more exposed and weaker settlements. The following letter will show the Council alert also to secure active co”peration of forces all along the lines:
For Majr Richd Waldern
Having Acquainted the Council what I advised you the fifteenth Inst. I am commanded by them to order you forthwith wth 50 or 60 souldiers under your owne or Mr. Plaisteds or some other sufficient conduct you march to Pennicooke supposed to be ye great Randevous of ye enemy, where you may expect to meet Capt. Mosely, who is ordered thither and hath sufficient commission, to pursue kill & destroy them wch also you must attend as yr work unless such as shall willingly deliver up their armes & themselves or sufficient hostages to secure their peaceable behaviour you had need to take along with you a Chirurgeon & make all possible expedition. A great part of our forces are at present at Hadley.
DANIEL DENISON, Majr Genl.
An account of the expedition referred to in the letter, has been given in a former chapter relating to Capt. Mosely. The Pennacooks and their allied families took no part in the war, but they did not, and perhaps could not, prevent the hostile or "strange" Indians from passing from tribe to tribe; and occasionally small war parties, going back and forth from the East to the West, found entertainment in these tribes, but were not joined by them in their hostile movements, though some of their young men may have been enticed to join the hostiles on occasions.
In the beginning, the Indians, bent mostly upon plunder, seem to have broken up into small parties, which could easily find out and strike exposed points here and there, and, when necessary for some large enterprise, could swiftly concentrate their forces at any given time and place.
The first depredations of these Indians upon these Northeastern frontiers, began in September, 1675, at Oyster River (now Durham, N.H.); they burnt two houses of "the Cheslies," killed two men in a canoe upon the river, captured an old Irishman and a young man, both of whom escaped in a few weeks by the help of a friendly Indian. Three Indians, viz., John Sampson, Cromwel and John Linde, waylaid Goodman Robinson and his son, of Exeter, on their way to Hampton, and killed the father, the young man escaping to Hampton. These same Indians captured Charles Randlet, of Exeter, who soon after escaped. The house of Richard Tozer at Salmon Falls, wherein were fifteen women and children, was attacked by two Indians, "Andrew" and "Hope-Hood," but was valiantly defended by a young woman, who held fast the door till all the others escaped, and till it was hewn in pieces by the Indians, who then entering, struck her down, leaving her for dead, while they followed the others to the next house, which, being better fortified, the Indians did not attack. Two children were captured who were of this company, and could not keep up with the others; one of three years was killed, the other of seven was carried into captivity, but afterwards was returned. The brave girl who defended the house revived after the Indians left her, and escaped to her friends and was restored to perfect health; and it is to be regretted that Mr. Hubbard, who relates this, did not record the name of the heroine, as he doubtless could have easily done.
Small parties prowled in the woods in every direction, burning and shooting. Six more houses were burned at Oyster River, and William Roberts and his son-in-law were killed. Under these provocations the English were goaded almost to desperation, and yet, if they drew out in force to pursue, the Indians easily escaped to the woods and could not be overtaken. Several parties of volunteers went out from the garrisons in pursuit, but without avail, except that one party discovered five Indians, three gathering corn in a field, while two were building a fire to roast it. Two of the English crept up to these latter, and suddenly rushing to close quarters killed them both, knocking them on the head with the butts of their muskets. The rest escaped.
Capt. John Wincoll, who lived at Berwick, seems to have been in active service under Major Walderne, and was absent upon some service when his house and barn, with several of his neighbors' buildings, were burned by the Indians. It is possible that he was with Major Walderne at the Eastward when this took place. The following letter takes us further to the Eastward, and gives a glimpse of what was going on there, while towns upon the Connecticut were battling for life with the allies of Philip.
Douer 25th September 1675
Honrd sr yor Humble Serutt RICHARD WALDERNE
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