Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Great Swamp Fight - July 13, 1637


   Mr. Stoughton, with about eighty of the English, whereof Mr. Ludlow, Capt. Mason, of Connecticut, were part, sailed to the west in pursuit of Sasacus, at Quinepiack, they killed six, and took two. At a head of land a little short they beheaded two sachems; whereupon they called the place Sachem's Head. About this time they had given a Pequod his life to go find out Sasacus. He went, and found him not far off; but Sasacus, suspecting him, intended to kill him, which the fellow perceiving, escaped in the night, and came to the English. Whereupon Sasacus and Mononotto, their two chief sachems, and some twenty more, fled to the Mohawks. But eighty of their stoutest men, and two hundred others, women and children, were at a place within twenty or thirty miles of the Dutch, whither our men marched, and, being guided by a Divine Providence, came upon them, where they had twenty wigwams, hard by a most hideous swamp, so thick with bushes and so quagmiry, as men could hardly crowd into it. Into this swamp they were all gotten. Lieut. Davenport and two or three more, that entered the swamp, were dangerously wounded by the Indian arrows, and with much difficulty were fetched out. Then our men surrounded the swamp, being a mile about, and shot at the Indians, and they at them, from three of the clock in the afternoon till they desired parley, and offered to yield, and life was offered to all that had not shed English blood. So they began to come forth, now some and then some, till about two hundred women and children were come out, and amongst them the sachem of that place, and thus they kept us two hours, till night was come on, and then the men told us they would fight it out; and so they did all the night, coming up behind the bushes very near our men, and shot many arrows into their bats, sleeves and stocks, yet (which was a very miracle) not one of ours wounded. When it was near morning, it grew very dark, so as such of them as were left crept out at one place and escaped, being (as was judged) not above twenty at most, and those like to be wounded; for in the pursuit they found some of them dead of their wounds. Here our men gat some booty of kettles, trays wampom, and the women and children were divided and sent some to Connecticut and some to the Massachusetts. The sachem of the place, having yielded, had his life, and his wife and children, &c. The women, which were brought home, reported, that we had slain in all thirteen sachems, and that there were thirteen more left. We had now slain and taken, in all, about seven hundred. We sent fifteen of the boys and two women to Bermuda, by Mr. Peirce; but he, missing it, carried them to Providence Isle.

John Winthrop

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Story of Pequot Swamp

Pequot Swamp


The Northwestern part of Southport is called Pequot Swamp. Two hundred years ago, and more, was fought here the great battle between our English forefathers and the Pequot tribes of Indians. This locality--then a lowland forest--as the scene of the Pequot massacre, was named Pequot Swamp. It is, comparatively, but a few years ago since an effectual bugbear to frighten children into obedience, was to mention them "the Indians," who-- their youthful imaginations led them to believe--were still lurking in the dark recesses of this dreaded forest. One of the "oldest inhabitants" of the village, relates to us, that he can recollect the time when the superstitious "children of a larger growth" were afraid to go near the "swamp" after dark, such was their dread of the red man. Not many years have elapsed since stone tomahawks and other relics of the Pequot’s were frequently discovered in this Indian retreat. And now at this day, when the farmer turns up its soil, flint arrow heads, such as are know to have been used by the Indians in their battles, are often found. The following account of the first white settlers in Pequot swamp is "founded on fact," although the imagination has been largely drawn upon to supply what history does not furnish.

  A short time previous to the battle between the English and the Pequot’s, Enoch Griswold, an exile from the Providence Colony, settled on the border of the Pequot Swamp. The house occupied by Enoch, a rude log cabin, was still standing (on the site now occupied by the Congregational church) at the beginning of the present century. Enoch's family consisted of Mary his wife, a daughter Esther, in her seventeenth year, and Josiah Morgan, a young friend and distant relative of the Griswold’s. But a few Indians lived in the vicinity of Enoch's settlements, and these were friendly. The Pequot’s were driven in here from the eastern part of the Connecticut colony, and all exterminated or carried away prisoners, except the few who escaped and were supposed to have fled and joined the Mohegan. But as the sequel will appear, they returned as soon as the English had left, and secreted themselves in an almost impenetrable thicket in the swamp. They doubtless resolved there to remain, until they had avenged, in a measure, their fallen comrades, by retaliation on the white family they had noticed in the vicinity. Those were good old Puritanical, patriarchal days. Enoch and his family were happy. Their simple wants were easily supplied from the fruitful land and the bountiful sea. Often they, in company with their Indian friends, spend the day fishing, and return with well filled baskets, for our river and the Sasco were then teeming with finny beauties. It was while returning from an excursion of this kind, one afternoon that Esther, who had loitered behind the rest of the company, gathering wild flowers for a wreath, was suddenly missed. No great fears for her safety were at first entertained, as no hostile Indians were known to be within many miles, and it is a common occurrence for her to drop in at the neighboring wigwams and chat with the squaws and their children, her goodness of heart making her a general favorite. But as evening began to approach, and no Ester returned, strange foreboding filled the minds of Enoch and his household. Inquiries were made at the various wigwams, but no trace of her could be obtained. All passed a sleepless, anxious night, but as soon as morning dawned, the firm lip and dauntless eye of both Enoch and Josiah, told of their determination to ascertain if possible her whereabouts. They first retraced their steps, by the path they had come the day before, to the landing, (Now White's Rocks) near the mouth of the river, that being the usual place for hauling up their canoes; it having just occurred to them that Esther, who being accustomed to use the paddle had often taken alone might, for a little playful scare, have hidden until they were out of sight, and then returned to the boat and been carried out by a fierce squall that had arisen soon after. But their canoes were all there. A wreath was found, the tell-tale wreath to the eye of Josiah, for none but Esther could have made it. On looking further, the print of strange moccasins was discovered in the sand, an arrow was found and recognized as belonging to the Nehantics, a Long Island tribe. At the water's edge there was a mark from the prow of a much larger canoe than any at the landing. it flashed upon their minds at once that Esther had been seized and carried to Long Island by the Nehantics. Who can picture to mind the anguish of the good father as he thought of the fate of his dutiful, affectionate daughter? Who can describe the agony of Josiah, as he imagined his idol, his betrothed, in the hands of a cruel, savage, foe!
A pursuit was once resolved upon.  Hastily filling up their largest canoe with supplies, and accompanied by two faithful Indian allies, Wampeag and Catoonah, all were well armed, they started for the islands (now Norwalk Islands) a short distance from the mouth of the river, thinking that if their fears were true, and Esther had been abducted by that tribe, they had probably stopped their over night, and might not yet have left.  Love, filial affection, and revenge nerved the ears, and they were not long in reaching the islands.  As they had surmised, the Indians had stopped there; but they were now gone.  The embers from a recent fire were still warm; the print of the same moccasins was visible; the prow of the same canoe had left its mark in the sand.  Burning with impatience and rage, and resolved to lose their lives if need be, in the attempt to save her, they started at once for Long Island, feeling sure from so many indications, that their foes were Nehantics, living near what is now known as Eaton's Neck.  But to return to Esther, whom we left gathering flowers, little dreaming of danger.  She had wandered from the path in quest of some rare colors with which to deck the brow of her lover, and having sufficient for her purpose, seated herself near a thick copse and finished her wreath.  As she was looking with admiration upon her work, her cheeks flushed with the thought of how pleased Josiah would be, she was suddenly seized by four dusky Pequots.  Before she had time to make any outcry, she was gagged, tied, and hurried into the woods.  Making a wide detour through the woods, which were then continuous from Pequot Swamp to the Sasco, the Indians dragged the almost insensible Esther to a bend in the Sasco, (where now stands the dwelling of Capt. Thorp,) and there meeting two comrades in waiting with a canoe, hastily embarked and glided down the river to a dense clump of woods near  itsmouth, where they waited until under cover of the darkness,  they could proceed in safety.  As soon as it was fairly dark they left the river, and hugging along the land, stopped at the place where Esther, a few hours before, had so happily tripped ashore.  Here they purposely dropped the wreath, and the arrow which had formerly belonged to the Nehantic, and leaving plenty of traces in the sand, they started for the islands.  Staying there until near midnight, and leaving fuel enogh on the fire to last till morning, they then doubled their track, and returning to Sasco River, were long before daylight, snugly ensconced in their Pequot lair; succeeding well, as we have seen, in throwing his party off trail.
   So intent were the pursuers on the object they had in view, so earnest in their purpose to rescue Esther, that they had hardly noticed the heavy swell of the sea noticed the heavy swell of the sea from a violent northeaster, which then, as now, was common to September.  The wind blew almost a gale, and was increasing every moment.  They had proceeded about half the distance fromLong Island, when Enoch, who seemed to have a presentiment of his fate, exclaimed to his companions, "we shall never reach the shore!  O, my poor Esther, I shall never see you again!"  Their frail bark soon after began to take in water.  Still by bailing and using the utmost skills to keep her trimmed, they succeeded in getting within a mile of the shore, near the reef, when they were capsized.  Enoch, with one look of despair, sank, and was not seen after.  Josiah and the two Indians clung to the boat, and nearly exhausted, drifted ashore.   The Nehantics, though not friendly to the tribe on this side, yet had enough of human kindness in their hearts to befriend a shipwrecked company. Josiah and his companions were tenderly cared for, and they learned from the Nehantics, without exciting their suspicions, that none of their tribe had made any voyages to the north shore within several days.  Grief, the double bereavement, the loss of his beloved and of him who was a father, had well-nigh unmanned Josiah, and with a heavy heart he made preparations for returning.  The next morning, the storm having subsided, they started.  On their way they stopped again at the islands to see if they could discover any more traces of Esther and her captors.  That her abductors had been their was plain; but the Nehantics were not the guilty party.  Who could it have been?  They again examined the beach.  The footprints of Esther were plainly visible, for the Pequots had unbound her after reaching the islands.  On looking further, where there was a spot of smooth clean sand, the tracks appeared to have a method--a design about them, and examining them closely, they could plainly make out the word "Pequot" imprinted by her feet in the sand.  this gave them a clue, and yet a faint one.  Of the history of the battles they were familiar, knowing that the Pequots were all killed or taken away prisoners, except the few that joined the Mohegans.  Had some of that few returned, and with their whites captive gone back to the Mohegans? Oh, with what a feeling of loneliness and almost utter despair Josiah gazed upon that word in the sand.  He could imagine how she, intently watching her masters lest they should discover her intentions, had endeavored to guide her friends in their pursuit.  those dear footprints seemed to him the last of Esther.  Hope of seeing her again had nearly fled.     Sadly they turned the prow of their boat homeward.  No Esther-no Enoch.  How could Josiah break the tidings to the mother, the wife.  Had they come back--this party of rescuers--bringing the darling object of their search, with what alacrity their little craft would have sped over the intervening water.  But now, instead of one to them as dead, another, Enoch, the head--the chief of the little family, was gone.  How languidly the canoe crept towards the landing.  How they dreaded to meet the anxious bereaved one.
   To Mary the blow was overwhelming.  To be deprived of her husband and her daughter, and she in a strange land, an exile from the home of her kindred; it was well nigh insupportable.  The sympathy of the little community was aroused, and not only their sympathy, but their anger.  It seemed to be the one opinion among the Indians, that Esther had been carried off to the Mohegans.  The Sachem was indignant that a sneaking Pequot should dare to steal his pale faced daughter, as he regarded her.  Wampeag and Catoonah offered to go in disguise to the Mohegan country, and if they found her, one of them was to return for help to assist in the rescue, and the other to remain near, to shield her, as far as possible, from harm.  They started on their hazardous journey, but with little hope of success.  The anguish and excitement of the last few days was too much for the not over robust Josiah.  The Pequots in their secure retreat were gloating over the prospect of revenge their captive they treated kindly in their rude way, not being ready to take her life--the final satiation of their hate.  They knew the value of their prize, for, unperceived, they had often been near the dwelling of Enoch, before the capture of Esther, and knew the high esteem in which she was held. The torturing--the death of one such pale face, was to them an equivalent to the torturing and death of scores of red men.   During the day they did not venture far from their hiding place, except to fish on the thickly wooded banks of the Sasco. They avoided the friendly Indians, and if seen, being dressed like them, they escaped detection.  At night, leaving one or two in charge of their prisoner, the others would travel miles away to gather clams, oysters, and other food.      Esther had become almost a stoic.  Sorrow had benumbed her faculties.  She did not dread death; to her it would be a relief.  The past happy life was like a dream. The few weeks that she had been imprisoned seemed an age.  Where she was she knew not.  The islands to which she was taken immediately after her capture, she was familiar with, having often visited them with her parents and Josiah; but before they returned, the Pequots had blindfolded her.  She little thought that not a mile intervened between her and her home.
   Three months rolled by.  The two Indians had come back, but brought no tidings of Esther.  They found that the remnant of the Pequots had not joined the Mohegan Tribe.  Josiah had recovered in some degree his wonted strength, but the fire of his manhood was gone; the light of his life had, to him, been put out.  Sometimes he would fish or hunt with his Indian friends, but these sports had lost much of their zest.  Twice, lately, on the banks of the Sasco, after a light snow, they had noticed tracks of a moccasin similar to those seen in the sand, at the landing, the morning after her abduction.  They appeared to proceed from and go towards the dense thick in the swamp.  This copse had never been entered since the battle.  It was the most difficult of access, and a sort of supernatural dread seemed to affect the minds of the Griswold family and the Indians regard to it; and no wonder, for around it lay bleaching the bones of many a Pequot.  The more Josiah thought of the similarity of the tracks in the snow and those in the sand, the more he felt convinced that they were made by the same feet.  All at once it occurred to him that Esther was in that thicket.  So sudden was the thought that his brain fairly reeled with excitement.  As soon as he became more calm, he resolved to immediately explore this part of the swamp, and hastily told a few trusty Indians of his plans.  Knowing well that if the Pequots were there, they would naturally leave at night, or most of them, for their food, as soon as it was dark, Josiah and his friends stealthily approached the thicket on the side toward Sasco river, until they were as near as possible without being discovered.  They had not long to wait, when five Pequots passed out, so near as almost to touch them in their place of concealment.  Waiting until they had gone far beyond hearing, Josiah, with feelings excited to an intense degree, led the way in the direction the Pequots had just come.  With a panther like tread, they slowly entered the tangled passage.  those minutes were hours!  Soon, a light in the far end of the opening guided their footsteps!  Two figures could be plainly seen!  It needed iron nerves just then!  A few more steps, half walking, half creeping, and Josiah had the swooning Ester clasped in his arms!  Her guard, asleep, was quickly dispatched by Josiah's comrades.  Loosing her bonds, they at once made their way out.  Leaving the Indians to watch for the Pequots, who, returning towards morning, were riddled with bullets, Josiah and Esther, with feelings too happy for utterance, returned to their home, to meet with still another joy; the father--the good Enoch was there!  Was it truly him, or his spirit from the dead!      When the canoe upset, the box containing their supplies had drifted near the spot where he arose, and clinging to it, he had been carried by the current some miles below the Neck, and had been picked up, more dead than alive, by a tribe just starting for the Hudson.  He had finally escaped from them, and after many adventures, had returned just in time to make the happiness of that family complete.  The lone settlers were soon made glad by an accession to their number, several more families emigrating from the Providence colony.  Josiah and Esther were married a few months after, and some of their honored descendants are now living in our midst.  Enoch and Mary lived to a good old age, happy in their declining years, in having such a son and such a daughter.




Saturday, February 20, 2016

Roger Ludlow


From the beginning, in 1630, Ludlow had been identified with the interests of the people of Dorchester; and now this "principal lay citizen," well knowing that possession was nine points of the law (and he alone of the commission from Massachusetts knew what the law was), at once assumed the responsibility of organization, and the occupancy of the domain very dimly defined as "the Ryver of Conecticott" in the agreement. This was no easy task. It was one of finesse, of diplomacy, and finally one of arms. Who were the parties already represented there, and zealous to maintain their claims or rights?

First, the Indians, — original land-owners and proprietors,—the Sequins and Nawaas of the river valley, hemmed in by the Mohawks on the west, and on the east by the conquerors of the river tribes, the Pequots, who could set a thousand warriors in the field; the Dutch, who had discovered the country, bought lands of the natives, established trade with them, and built the "House of Hope" at Hartford, ten years before any Englishman came to the " Quonehtacut"; the men of Plymouth, who had been treated with scant courtesy at Boston, as to the Connecticut occupation, and then had set up a trading house at Windsor, on lands purchased of the Indians; and lastly, the company sent out by Saltonstall under the Say and Sele patent, which also sought to settle at Windsor, finding the pioneers from Plymouth in possession, and a party from Dorchester breaking ground and arranging for the arrival of the people from that plantation. It was long before "ye controversie ended." It is needless to follow in detail the many steps to the end of the fierce and bitter strife for domination and ownership of the coveted lands. It resulted in the supremacy of the Dorchester claimants, by the withdrawal of the Dutch, the abandonment of their territorial claim by young Winthrop and his party and their settlement at Saybrook, and the ultimate driving out of the Plymouth men, with whom an adjustment was last made.

"The trading house at the mouth of the Farmington, which William Holmes and his Plymouth company had built, despite the blustering of the Dutch, seemed to the practical, godly people of Dorchester set apart for their own uses; and it became the rallying point of the congregation guided and inspired by John Wareham, and in secular affairs byLudlow." Who won the victory in this contest for the Dorchester man? Who stood unmoved in the storm of promises, persuasions, and threats, and with signal ability and tact and force held fast to the possession of their new homes, for the little band of his people, and saved them from disaster? Sir Richard Saltonstall answered these queries for all time in a letter describing the efforts of his company to seize the lands, when he said of Ludlow, "He was the cheffe man who hindered it." The Dutch cared more for trade than colonization; and their claims of discovery, of purchase, of sovereignty, vanished when CapL John Underhill pasted this notice on the doors of their " House of Hope," at Hartford: "I, John Underhill, do seize this house and land for the State of England, by virtue of the commission granted by the Providence Plantation "; and the General Court of Connecticut sequestrated all the property, on its own authority, despite the duplicate sales and title deeds of the braggart captain. The demands of Saltonstall and his company, represented by Francis Stiles and his men, instructed to impale in ground where Saltonstall appointed them, were set aside by the Dorchester pioneers under Ludlow, on the ground of prior right to this "Lord's waste and for the present altogether void of inhabitants." The real controversy as to the Dorchester usurpation is set in a clear light in a letter of Jonathan Brewster, the leader of the Plymouth men, who had been two years on the ground, and who had purchased from the Indians the open meadows — the bone of contention — on the right bank of the Connecticut, from opposite Podunk River northward nearly seven miles. Brewster writes, July 6, 1635:

"Ye Massachusetts men are coming almost daily, some by water, some by land, who are not yet determined where to settle; though some have a great mind to ye place we are upon. . . . What they will do I cannot yet resolve you. ... I shall do what I can to withstand them. ... I hope they will hear to reason, as we were here first, and bought the land, and have since held a chargeable possession." Small parties from the three Bay towns, Dorchester, Newtown, and Watertown, came to Connecticut, to choose locations, and make ready for their families in 1635 ) tne chief immigration taking place in 1636. Ludlow was among the first comers, that he might hurry on the Dorchester occupancy before stronger forces gathered from any source, and before Saltonstall's agent could get further instructions from England. Matthew Grant, the surveyor, says he began to set out men's lots in 1635, and a large one was allotted to Ludlow in this first distribution. When Sir Henry Vane, John Winthrop, Jr., and Hugh Peters demanded a "pertinent and plain answer from Mr. Ludlowe, Mr. Maverick, Mr. Newberry, and Mr. Stoughton, and the rest engaged in the business of Conn, plantation in the town of Dorchester," the answer was written in Ludlow's presence there, who had returned from the new plantation, after opening his campaign for possession, and was then supervising the departure, and in the busy stir of the people to join their friends on the river,—more than all, in the unyielding spirit of the men who had wrung from the government a reluctant leave to remove, and who counted in their ranks the ministers, soldiers, statesmen, artisans, husbandmen, who were to plant the three towns, the nucleus of the State, and stand fast in the storm of war and the sunshine of peace. At the fall of winter in 1635, the advance parties from Massachusetts were scattered along the river from Windsor to Wethersfield; and the pioneers of the Saltonstall patentees were holding out against the Dutch at the river's mouth. Snow came early to a great depth, food and clothing were lost en route, and the settlers suffered the extremes of hardship and privation. Some went back to their homes by land or water; others withstood all perils and distress, and stayed through the winter. Among those who remained were some of Ludlow's Dorchester company with their families, who encamped in part near the Plymouth trading house, and in part in the open meadows on the east bank of the river.

Scarcely had the colonists in the three settlements on the river—Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield—made good their claims to ownership and occupancy under Ludlow's leadership, and set up their standards of independence under exigent laws and orders of their own making, when a crisis came that threatened their destruction. Only instant, resolute action saved them. It was taken May 1, 1637.

"It is ordered that there shalbe an offensive warr ag' the Pequoitt, and that there shalbe 90 men levied out of the 3 Plantacons, Hartford, Weathersfield and Windsor (viz'), out of Hartford 42, Windsor 30, Weathersfield 18: under the Comande of Captain Jo: Mason." In this order of the General Court held at Hartford is written the story of a great tragedy, itself the outcome of lesser tragedies more poignant and terrible to their victims. The Pequots, enraged at the sale of lands on the river by the tribes they had conquered, resolved upon a war of extermination against the settlers. They had already opened their campaign of murder and assassination, arson, captivity, and torture. Ambush and surprise, torch, tomahawk, and scalping knife were the instruments of their hellish vengeance. This is but a partial record of Indian atrocities before the declaration of war:Murder of Captain Stone, and crew of twelve men, when going up the river to trade. Murder of two men above Saybrook, one, Brookfield, dying by torture.Murder of John Oldham, the founder of Wethersfield, at Block Island. Murder of Mitchell, brother of the Cambridge minister; burned at the stake. Murder of two soldiers in the Saybrook cornfield; bodies cut in halves and hung on trees. Attack on Gardiner's fort at Saybrook, in which he and two others were wounded, and two were killed.Massacre at Wethersfield, April 23, 1637,when one hundred Indians fell on the settlers at work in the fields, and killed one woman, one child, and seven men, and carried two young women into captivity. More than thirty English lives were sacrificed before the famous order was written. In the presence of such horrors, who values the sentimental charge that the war was cruel and unrighteous? It was civilization against barbarism. It was a mighty blow struck in self-defence, by a handful of settlers against a horde of demons; sachem and sagamore against soldier and legist, sannup and squaw against husbandman and housewife ; war-drum against church-bell; wickiup against meetinghouse; war-whoop against psalm; savagery, squalor, devilish rites and incantations, against prayers, and hymns, and exhortations; the native in his paint and feathers against the Englishman of sand with his pike and musket; Sassacus and Sowheag, Tatobam and Sunckquasson, against Ludlow and Hooker, Stone and Mason; warfare, rapine and desolation against peace and plenty, enlightenment and culture, and all the social forces that bear fruitage under the sunlight of civilization. Down the river in "a pink a pinnace and a shallop " went the little company (seventy-seven in all when they went into action), and sailing eastward to Narragansett Bay, they landed, and after a wearisome and perilous march through the Narragansetts' country, with some scared and useless Indian auxiliaries and guides, in the early morning of May 26, 1637, they fell upon the sleeping Pequots in their fort on Pequot Hill, smote them hip and thigh, and wiped out between six and seven hundred warriors — the flower of their race, according to the Indians' own admission. It was courage and endurance that wrought the great deliverance. Ludlow presided at the court which declared the "offensive warr." It was chiefly due to him that the desperate task was undertaken. He knew the Indians in Massachusetts and Connecticut; he had studied their character, had a personal acquaintance with some of the chiefs, and was alive to the vital necessity of prompt action, of destroying the conspiracy at one bold stroke; and it was done. Upon Ludlow chiefly fell the duty of defence of the settlers and their families, in the stockade at Windsor and along the river, while the soldiers were away on the Pequot expedition. More than one-half of the fighting men had gone. Watch and ward night and day, anxiety and alarm, waited on the little companies in their villages until news of the victory brought relief. Deep are the pathos and devotion in his letter of those days to his friend Pynchon, in a like stress at Agawam, May 17, 1637.

"I have received your letter, wherein you express that you are well fortified, but few hands. I would desire you to be careful and watchful that you be not betrayed by friendship. For my part, my spirit is ready to sink within me, when upon alarms which are daily I think of your condition; that if the case be never so dangerous, we can neither help you nor you us. But I must confess both you and ourselves do stand merely by the power of our God: therefore he must and ought to have all the praise of it. I can assure you it is our great grief we can not, for our plantations are so gleaned by that small fleet we sent out that those that remain are not able to supply our watches, which are day and night, that our people are scarce able to stand upon their legs; and for planting, we are in like condition with you; what we plant is before our doors, little anywhere else. Our fleet went away tomorrow will be seven night."

Westward, toward the Mohawk country, in the following July, fled the remnant of the Pequots, after the battle at their stronghold; and they finally stood at bay in a dense thicket in Fairfield. Ludlow was present at this socalled " Swamp Fight," having joined the forces of Mason and Stoughton and their Indian allies at Saybrook. After a gallant defence, several of the sachems and warriors were killed; about two hundred prisoners were taken and allotted to the Mohegans and Narragansetts, and an end forever put to the " Pequoitt Potencie"; and after the death of the noted Sassacus, a compact of peace was made at Hartford with Uncas and Miantonomo, by the magistrates of Connecticut in behalf of the colonies, under which full mastery was given to the English, until King Philip's war. It was not a "benevolent assimilation." It was on this march, and in scouting the adjacent country, that Englishmen first saw the beautiful region about Quinnipiac. Fair Unquowa, "beyond Pequannocke," with its hills and streams, rich intervales and forest lands, captured the imagination of Ludlow. At the earliest moment he made another visit there, sent out some planters from Windsor, and there he stood for his last service to his state, when in his conscientious and hazardous defence of this frontier post against the Dutch and Mohawks he was left alone, and made the target of criticism and reproof by his associates in office. Ludlow's services to Connecticut, from the inception of its colonization to the adoption of the Fundamental Orders at Hartford, Jan. 14, 1639,— as shown in a later summary,— were of the highest order, and always equal to the greatest demands upon his experience, tact, courage, foresight, and judicial qualities.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Thomas Munson

Letter from John Mason to the Commissioners of the United Colonies - July 1649

To the Righte worshipfull the Comissionrs of the United Colonyes at Massathusetts wth trust present.

Righte worshipful,

I thought good being desired by Oncos to prsent Somethings to yor consideracon shortly after hee was wounded by Cuttaquin I being at Monheag sent for the men that sayled in the Bark wherin he was hurt and Did then examine Cuttaquine before them Wm. Lord alsoe being he then confessed that hee had wounded Oncos wth a Sword and that he had beene hired to Doe it two yeares since, by Webetomauge Nynicunnett Pessicus and meeksaw, and was to have for his paynes 1000 fathom of wampom of wch he had already recd two hundred he alsoe said that hee was frequently urged by them to Doe the thing especially Seaven dayes before the fact, I alsoe asked by one Valentine whoe is a good Indian interpreter how he Durst attempt Such a thing soe neare monheag sd he Said was necessitated for eyther he must kill Oncos or be kild himselfe he alsoe then confessed that he had received two hundred fathem of wampon already and that he had played away ten fathome at one time and the foresd Sachems payd it for him hee alsoe confessed the same voluntary at Hartford before me Will Ruscoe being present that he was hyred by the foresd Sachems to kill Oncos & Oncos Still complaynes of his being Deprived of his men whoe lived Nameag ten or twelve of them being harboured at fishers Island the reſs are wth Nynicunnett: and that Severall of his men being lately at Mr. Winthrops weare threatened in his presence by his servant Jno. Auſtin that if any of the Monheags came to fishers Island he would kill them, and alsoe that he would come to Monheag and shoote them there. hee is much trobled that those that should be helpfull to him are now held and maynteined to be his greatest professed enemies may it please yor worships at yor last sitting at Plymouth I acquainted you that Wequashcook Declyned the Nannogansett and protested agst their plotting and that hee Desired the favor of the English provided hee weare inocent he hath hitherto kept at a Distance wth them haveing combyned wth Oncos, he Desireth that you would please to take his case into consideration: he sayth and indeed I have been enformed severall times that he is a Sachem as great as any at Nannogansett but they have usurped and Tiranized over him meerely because hee Did somewt favor Oncos forceing him to fight with Oncos agt his will telling him if hee would not goe wth them to fighte they would cutt of him and his and that the Sachems of Nayantuck have forcibly Deprived him of his prop rights Driveing him out of his native countrey takeing from him not only the ground but wth all the privledges that Did proply belong to his father and himself, haveing noe other place he is constrayned to live in a parte of Pequott countrey neare adjoyneing Notwthstanding he heareth that the Nannogansett would put him to pay two hundred of wampom as parte of the 2000 Due by covenant he doth ernestly Desire that his condicion may be weighed by your worships hee alsoe sayth that Robbin Servant to Mr. Winthrop threaten him that his Mr. shall there build and keepe Cowes and so force him from thence alsoe, Oncos Doth alsoe complayne that the English of Nameag hath forbid and will at noe time pmitt him to fish in Pequot (Thames) River, and he hath had two Cannoes about tenne weekes since being ceazed the one halfe way to monheag taken from him by Robt Bradle, and forceibly Kept the other ceazed about three miles from Nameag taken by a short man as he Describes him of Nameag and is alsoe Deteyned to this present; I shall alsoe adventure to acquaint yor worships concerneing Some other passages shortly after the Nannogansett strange attempt and plotting the last yeare Mr. Winthrop wrott to me for approbacon that Nymcunnet might hunt in Pequot countrey. I utterly Disallowed of such a course and protested agt, it as farre as it any way cocerned me and wth all acquainted Mr Wintrhop that I thought would be very Displeasing to the English considering theire late insolencies and the present condicion in wch they weare, under breach of Covenant wth the Comissionrs. Shortly after he wrott to Mr Haynes whoe was then at Seabrooke to that purpose and recd the like answer not long after I was enformed that Mr. Winthrops Servant as he is caled possessed and gave out that by his Masters allowance the Nannogansett had liberty to hunt Pequot countrey often being enformed that they weare resolved alsoe to Doe accordingly where upon Mr. Haynes wth my selfe acquainted the Court at Hartford whoe being Some what affected wth it, that it should be Soe acted by those Nannogansetts considering the present state of things: I had then liberty to endevor to prevent theyr intended purpose, and soe my Selfe for I must confess I was much trobled about it went to Monheag to that end heereing the Nannogansett weare sodaynly to hunt. I wrott from thence to acquaint Mr. Winthrop wt was my busines whoe Sent mee a protest agst proceeding If I went in right of Connecticott I thought wth my self it weare much to suffer standing in theire condicon a people to hunt in any English ground but was not all I thought morevoer that Pequot Did proply belong to Connecticott, by pattent and I conceive under correcon that if there should be warre upon a people in the Massathuset pattent wherin Connecticott might have a hand to conquer and soe force put the Indians to flighte I suppose I say it will not be granted that they have conquered the right of the pattent but I shall leave that to yor worships I what I say is in my owne Defence supposing the thing may be questioned only shewing the ground on wch I went: I humbly Desire the Lord to Direct you as I Doubt not but hee will yor occasions very waighty as I conceive I shall cease to troble further but leave all to yor wisedomes and you to the Lord hoping that peace wth righteousnes may still flourish amongst us.
John Mason

Thomas Stanton to Major John Mason about a conspiracy of Indians - July 8, 1669

Honored  Sir Majr. Mason 

   After due respecktes to your selfe these maye informe you yt wee have Divers and strang informationes Consirning the Indianes in these ᵱrts, Harman Garrat this daye Came to mee and teles mee yt Nenegrates dasserter sent a messenger on purpose to in forme him yt there is speedylye the greatest dans to bee made by Nenegrat yt ever was in the Naragansset and yt if hee would Com and Joyn wth him in it, it should bee the meanes of his rising upp, and yt hee Nenegrat had sent to Nip net and Long IsLand and to the pequates and to Unkas & his to invite them and from Divers other ᵱartes so yt there is Like to bee a great concors of Indianes at yt meeting, An English boye about 12 yeeres of age well verſed in the Indian tung wc he Liveth at Cowsattack, was in Joyned secrelie last maye and then bid tell his mother whoe was present, yt in pittie to yu hur the Indian squa did tell hur yt the Indianes did speedilyie in tend to Cutt off the Englysh and yt it was plotted at Robines town at the dance when I arested Nenegrat when Unckas was wth him at the dance, the woman would (yt is good wife Osborn would) have spoke of this Long since but hur husband Comananded hur the Contrarie and tould hur shee would bee Counted, but shee heering of the rumor yt is abroad, shee came to mee to informe mee of wt shee met wth in maye where uppon I sent for an Indian whom shee said was by when the squa in formed hur of the a boy said plot, uppon Examination the Indian did owne yt Osbornes wife & son did tell them yt the Indianes had plotted to Cutt of the English, and yt such a squa did in form them so, but said hee I did not heare the discors beetwene Osborns wife and the squa thaye discorſsng privatlie my selfe beeing a pretie spase from them, allso an Indian called mosomp, a man of Noat amongst the pequates, tould this a boy said Osbornes son at Cowsatock yt it should Cost them there blloods but thay would have Cowsatock agaien, the truth is thaye are verie hie of Late and slite all athorietie of the Inglish but such as lutes wth ther own rumores, Allso Nenegrats and Unckas beeing together at the dans at Robinestown, is and was matter of wonderment to mee yt thaye woe durst not Looke Each uppon other this 20 yeeres but at the muzzell of a gunn or at the pille of an arrow should now bee so great when as Nenegrat a Littell beefore said Unckas was matchet bee Case hee had such afffiniety wth mowakes, Thomas Edwardes whoe Lives at my farme Came and informed mee yesterdaye yt Nenegrat sending for all the block IsLand Indianes whoe Came and those yt would not or Could not fight hee sent them over a daye & would Entertayn non but such as would fite, but would not Declare whome thaye were yt hee would fite wthall, this was declared to Edwards by severall Naraganset Indianes, allso there hath bin severall Long IsLanders Last weeke whoe brought Considrabell sumes of wampam to Nenegrat for the Caring on the war as is reported, allso 2 dayes since there there Came a naraganset to my sln Thomasses to by powder and Lead beeing denyed hee inquired of him wt store I had, and if I would ſell anye, but my son & after found hee had store of powder and bulletes about him Thaye are Exceedingly furnished of amunition and the report is yt if thaye ar disapoynted of destroying the Inglish then thaye will flie up in to the Cuntrie towards the mowakes & there Live yt is there Last shift, if thaye doe any thing it will bee wthin these few dayes, and if god prevent them not, our town is Like to under goe the first of there Cruelltyes, A Credebell Indian reportes heare yt Danyell Robin Sonemanes partner hath bin up wth the mōwakes this spring wth a great sum of wampam and since his returne hath uttred discontent & yt hee would Live no Longer under the English but would goe & Live under or wth the mowakes, allso Nenegrat hath his postes wch run to & from wth great Speede wch are of his neer atendanc this is for a certen tru, wch gives us to deeme yt thinges ar wth them bee yond there ordinarie or usuall Cours, other surcumstances I Could ad, but yt I may not bee tedious to you. 
   I hope you will bee rightlie direct by the most hie to doe yt wch maye bee for his glorie & the saftie of his poore peopell Comited to your Care & watch, so wth hope of a Line or to of Advies from you.
   I rest & subscribe my selfe Sir, 
   your Sirvant Tho Stanton 
   Stoningtun this 8th of July 1669

Monday, February 15, 2016

Grant of Land from James, Sachem of Quinnebaug, to John Winthrop - 1653

Quinebaug 1653, Nov. 2

James Sachem of Quinabaugh his Grant of Land to John Winthrop Esqr.

 Know all Men by these Presents that I James the Sachem of Quinabaugh in consideration of the great Friendship formerly from Mr. Winthrop, sometime Governor of the Massachusets and desire of continuance of the same with his Son now residing at Pequot, and considering that he hath erected a Saw Mill at Pequot a Work very useful both to the English and Indians for the supply whereof, I conceive I have Swamps of Timber very convenient, and for divers other Causes and considerations me thereunto moving. I the said James do of mine own free and Voluntary Will and Motion, Give Grant Bargain and Sell to Mr John Winthrop of Pequott at my land at Pautusket upon the River that cometh from Quinabaugh and runneth down towards Monhegan and toward the Plantation of Pequott into the Sea, the Bounds thereof to be from the present place of the Indians planting Grounds at Quinabaugh where James his Fort is on an Hill to the said Pautuskett and so down toward Shawtuskett so far as the Right of the said James doth reach, or any of his Men, and so far on both sides of the River as the right of the said James doth Reach of ˄ the Right of any of his Men, with all the Meadow Swamps and other Land , and all the Swamps of Cedar Pine Spruce or any other Timber fit for Sawing and all other Timber and Wood whatsoever together with the Place where the Marcasite Stones that Moas found.

To Have and to Hold to the said John Winthrop and his Heirs forever. Witness my hand this 2d of November, 1653

The Mark of James
Witnesses Richard Smith
hereunto Samuel Smith
Thomas Bayley

Treaty of Hartford September 21, 1638

Articles of Agreement between the English in Connecticutt And the Indian Sachems

 A Covenant and Agreement Made between the English inhabiting the Jurisdiction of the River of Connecticut of the one part and Miantimony the Cheif Sachem of the Narragansets in the behalf of himself and the other Chief Sachems there and Poquin or Uncas the Chief Sachem of the Indians called the Mohegans in the behalf of himself and the Sachems under him as followeth at Hartford ye 21st September 1638. There is a Peace and familiarity made between the said Miantinomie and the Narragansett Indians and the said Poquin and Mohegans Indians and all former Injuries and wrongs offered each to other remitted and buried and never to be renewed any more from henceforth – It is Agreed if there fall out injuries and wrongs for future to be done or Committed each to other or their Men they shall not preſently revenge it but they are to Appeal to the English and they are to Decide the same And the Determination of the English to stand and they are each to do as is by the English set down and if the one or the other refuse to do it shall be lawful for the English to compel them and to side and take part if they see cause against the Obstinate or refusing party.  It is Agreed and a conclusion of peace and friendship made between the said Miantinome and the said Narragansetts and the said Poquin and said Mohegans as long as they carry themselves Orderly and give no Just cause of offense and that they nor either of them do Shelter any that may be Enemies to the English that shall or formerly have had hand in Murdering or killing any English Man or Woman or consenting thereunto they or either of them shall as soon as they can either bring the Chief Sachem of our late Enemies the Pequots that had the chief hand in killing the English to the said English or take off their heads As alſo for those Murderers that are now agreed upon amongst us that are living they shall as soon as they can possibly take off their heads if they be in their Custody or elsse whersoever they or any of them Shall come amongst them or to their Wigwams or any where if they can by any means come to them. And whereas therebe or is Reported for to be said Narragansetts and Mohegans 200 Pequots living that are Men besides Squaws and Papoſes The English do give unto Miantinome and the Narraganſetts to make up the Number of Eighty with the Eleaven they have already and to Poquin his Number and that after they the Pequots shall be divided as aforeſaid shall no more be called Pequots but Narragansetts and Mohegans and as their Men or either of them are to Pay for every Sannop One fathom of Wampampeag and for every Youth half so much and for every Sannop Papose one hand to be paid at shilling time of Corn at Connecticutt Yearly and shall not Suffer them for to live in the Country that was formerly theirs but now is the English by Conquest neither shall the Narragansets nor Mohegans possess any part of the Pequot Country without leave from the English And it is always expected that the English Captives are forthwith to be delivered to the English such as belong to Connecticutt to the Sachems there and such as belong to the Massachusets.  The said Agreements are to be kept inviolably by the Parties abovesaid and if any make breach of them The other Two may Joyn and make Warr upon such as shall break the same unless Satisfaction be made being reasonably required.

Governour John Haynes
Roger Ludlow
Edward Hopkins
The Mark of Miantinomy
The Mark of Poquiam, alias Uncas

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Letter from Thomas Hooker to John Winthrop - May, 1637

 Much Honored in or Blessed Savior. when I first heared of those heavy distractions wch have risen so unexpectedly: I did rejoice from the root of my heart that the Lord did, & hath gratiously kept you from any taynt of those new coyned conceits: the Lord strengthen & establish you in every holy word & work: In a good cause he hath given you gratious abilityes to do him much service, & I am Perswaded he will blesse you in such indeavors, you know my playnnesse: you cannot keepe your comfort, nor an honorable respect in Christ in the hearts of his more , then in keeping close to the truth: you shall have what intrest I have in heaven to help you in yt work: How the Pequoyts have made an inrode by a suddayne supris all upon some of our brethern of watertown, slayying weomen & children who were sent out carelessly without watch & guard, this bearer will tell you: Though we knew nether the tyme nor our strength fitt for such a service, yet the Indians here our friends were so inpurtanate wch is to make warr presently yet unlesse we had attempted some thing we had delivered our psons unto contempt of base fear & coward iſ, & caused them to turne enemyes agaynst Us: Agaynst our mynds, being constrayined by necesssity we have sent out a company, taking some Indians for guides with us: what is done you will better heare it by report, then I shall relate it by penn, for or men went downe as those pynaces came to us: Only we heare, ther is six of the Pequoyts slayne by or Indians not far from the fort:

I hope you see a necessity to hasten execution, & not to do this work of the Lords revenge slackly: I shall commend the cause to your love & wisdome, & your self to the rich mercy of or God in Christ, & in all thankfullness for all your love rest yours in all due respect Thomas Hooker

Stiles Map of the Mystic River - October, 1761

Letter from Roger Williams to Roger Carr

Sr . My humble, & hearty respects presented with humble, & hearty desires of your present, & eternall felicitie: Haveing heard of a late confederacy amongst great numbers of those Barbarians to assist Pumham &c. I thought it my duty to wait upon your Honor : with these humble salutacons, & apprecacons of the safety of your person, not to be easily hazarded amongst such a Barbarous scum, & offscouring of mankinde. Besides, Sr . this is an old ulcerous busines, wherein I have been many yeares ingaged, & have (in the behalf of my loveing friends of Warwicke) pleaded & this cause, with the whole Generall Court of the Massachusets Magistrates, & Deputies; and prevailed with them to yeild, that if I, & Pumham could agree, they would ratifie our agreement: But Pumham would not part with that Neck, on any termes. I crave leave to add (for the excuse of this boldness) that the Natives in this Bay doe (by my promise to them, at my first breaking of the ice amongst them) expect my endeavors of preserving the publike peace, which it hath pleased God, mercifully to help me to doe many times (with my great hazard, & charge) when all the Colonies & the Massachusets, in especiall, have meditated, prepared, & been (some times many hundreds) upon the march for warr against the Natives in this Colony: Of this my promise, & duty, & constant practise, mine owne heart, & conscience before God; as also some Natives put me in mind at present. 1. first then (although I know an other claime laid to this land, Yet) Pumham being the ancient possessor of this Lordship, I humbly querie, whether it be just to dispossess him (not only without consent, which feare may extort, but without some satisfying consideration.) I had a Commission from my friends of Warwicke to promise a good round value, and I know some of them have desired the Natives I though it cost them some hundreds of Pounds. 2. Your Honor will never effect by force a safe, & lasting conclusion, untill you first have reduced the Massachusets to the obedience of his Matie and then these appendants (towed at their stern) will easily (and not before) wind about also. 3.The business as circumstantiated will not be effected without bloudshed: barbarians are Barbarians. There be old grudges betwixt our country men of Warwick, and& them. They are a Melancholy people, & judge themselves, (By the former Sachim & these English) oppressed, & wronged: you may knock out their braines, & yet not make them peaceably to surrender; even as some oxen will die before they will rise; yet with patience, & gentle meanes will rise, & draw, & doe good service. 4. These Barbarians know that it is but one partie in Warwick, which claim this Neck, The greatest part of the Towne cry out against the other, to my knowledg & the Natives also. 
5. The Natives know that this party in Warwick are not only destitute of help, from their owne Townesmen, but of the other townes of this Colony also. 6. They know it would please the Massachusets, & most of the other Colonies, that Mr . Gorton, & his friends had been long ere this destroyed. 7. They know that Ninicroft, & Pessicus are Barbarians, & if it come to blows, and that at the first, the worst be to the English (in my appearance) they will joyne to further the prey: However if King Phillip keepe his promise, they will be too great a party against those two Sachims. 8. Lastly Sir, We prosess Christianity, which commends a litle with Peace: a dinner of green herbes with quietness: and if it be possible, commandes peace with all men. I therefore humbly offer, if it be not adviseable (in this juncture of time) to lay all the blame on me, & on my intercession, & mediation, for a litle further breathing to the Barbarians until Harvest, in which tence a peaceable & loveing agreement may be wrought, to mutuall content, & satisfaction. 
Sr . I humbly crave your Honors. gracious pardon to this great boldneſs of Your most humble, & bounden Servant Roger Williams. Providence 1. March 1665.

Deposition of Roger Williams Regarding the Narragansett Country - July 21, 1679

Deposition of Roger Williams touching ye Narraganſet Countrey Providence 21 July 1679 
 I Roger Williams of Providence in ye Nahigonset Bay in New England being (by Gods mercy) ye first Beginner of ye Colony of Rhode Isand & Providence Plan tations, being now neere to fower score years of Age, yet (by Gods mercy) of ſound understanding & memorie: doe humble & faithfully declare, yt Mr Rich, Smith since deceased, who for his Conscience to ward God left a fair possession in Glocestershire & adventured with his Relations & Estate to New Engl. & was a most acceptable & prime leading Man in Taunton in Plymmouth Colony, for his Conscience sake (many differences arising) he left Taunton & came to the Nahigonsik Countrey, where (by ye Mercy of God &) ye favor of ye Nahigonsik Sachims, he broke ye Ice (at his great charges & hazards,) & put up in the thickest of ye Barbarians, ye first English howse amongst them I humbly testifie yt about forty two years from this date, he kept Possession (coming & going) him selfe Children & servants, & he had quiet Possession of his howsing Land & Meadow, & there in his owne howſe with much Serenitie of Soule, & comfort, he yielded up his Spirit to God (ye Father of Spirits) in Peace.  I doe humbly & faithfully testifie (as aforesaid) yt since his departure his honrd son Capt. Richard Smith hath kept possession (with much accepta tion with English & Pagans) of his Fathers howsing Lands & Medowes, with great Emprovemnt allso by his great Cost of Industrie, & in ye Late bloudie Pagan War, I knowingly testifie, yt it pleased ye Most High to make ue of Himselfe in person, his howsing, Goods, Corne, provision & Cattell for a Garrison & supply to ye whole Army of New England under ye Command of ye Ever to be honrd Gen. Winslow, for ye services of his Maties honour & Countrey in N. Engl. I doe allso humbly declare yt ye aforesaid Capt: Richard Smith junr ought by all ye rules of Justice Equitie & Gratitude (to his honrd father & himselse) be fairly treated with, considered, recruited, honoure & by his Maties Authoritie Confirmed & Established in a peacefull possession of his Fathers owne & his owne possessions in this Pagan Wildernes & Nahigansik Countrey 
 The premises I humbly testifie as Leaving this Countrey & this World Roger Williams Taken upon oath, this Twenty one day of July,1679 before me John Whipple Assistant of this his Majestys Collony of Rhode Island and providence plantations in New England in America.

Letter of Roger Williams to the General Court of Massachusetts - October 5, 1654

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Thomas Munson _ Historical Address

Rev. MYRON A. MUNSON, M. A., A great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson of Capt. Thomas Munson.
I congratulate you, admirable and esteemed cousins, upon the dawning of our Quarter-Millennial. Arise we and with reverent hands break the seal and roll away the stone from the mouth of the family sepulchre.
This day is the resurrection of the name and the Salutatory. .  fame our greatest grandsire, Thomas Munson. With him, at his august beck, step forth from their shadowy habitations in God's-acre sterling sons and delectable daughters by thousands, smiling and glad though serene, to join with voiceless fellowship and silent rejoicings in our commemorative and congratulatory festival.
Half a thousand minds are eagerly inquiring: What was the origin of our venerable originator? He suddenly emerges from silence and darkness,—his antecedents as mysterious as those of the lightning's flash. He Our Adam. .was never born,—so far as history knows. Do we not conceive of the Adam of the human race as about twenty-five years of age at the moment of his creation? In a similar manner the Adam of our family, without any antecedents or any nativity, suddenly makes his appearance on the stage of life, like a new creation, at the age of twenty-five. This first appearance was at Hartford, by the Indians called Suckiaug, two hundred and fifty years ago last May, and he is already accouted as a soldier, about to engage in a war as pregnant with momentous results, it may be, as any which has ever been waged.

At that period the region from the Atlantic ocean to the Alleghanies was one vast, solemn forest,—a paradise of war-paths and hunting-grounds. The throne of Indian power was among The Five Nations, of central situation New York,—usually called The Mohawks, from 1637- confederate which enjoyed the supremacy. Proud, warlike, vehement, irresistible, their name was a terror to all other red-men. Every spring, two old Mohawk chiefs might have been seen going from village to village through Connecticut, collecting tribute and haughtily issuing orders from the great council at Onondaga.
The number of Indians who were occupying the territory now known as the State of Connecticut has been very diversely estimated at from six or seven to twelve or twenty thousand. These estimates imply from 1200 to 4000 warriors. It is conceived that one-half of these may have been Pequots, whose forts and wigwams extended along the Sound some thirty miles. The Thames, on which New London is situated, was then called Pequot river, and one of the two great forts of the nation—the one at which the historic battle occurred—was located eight miles northeast of New London. The Pequots were the most ambitious, the most valiant, the most fierce and the most powerful by far of all the communities eastward of the Hudson. They were a terror to all the wide reaching wilderness around them: they were to New England what the Mohawks were to the whole country eastward of the Mississippi. To them, as well as to the Mohawks, the Quinnipiacs of this neighborhood paid tribute.
Such was the Indian situation in the spring of 1637: what was that of the Colonists? Hartford was two years old; north and south of it, adjoining, were Windsor and Wethersfield. Twenty-six miles north was Agfa Colonists' situation wam, one year old; we know it as Springfield.
in 1637.
Sixty miles below Hartford,—forty-six as the crow flies,—at the mouth of the river, on the west shore, was Saybrook fort, one year old. These five infant settlements were the only habitations of white men in all the Connecticut valley. Their neighbors were about a hundred miles distant, and mind you these were roadless, wilderness miles. There was no New Haven, Milford, Guilford, Middletown, Waterbury,—but, rather, Quinnipiac, Wepowaug, Menunkatuc, Mattabesett, Mattatuck. The Bay State had no Westfield, Northfield, Deerfield, Hadley or Northampton,—but, instead, Woronoco, Squakheag, Pocomptuck, Norwottock and Nonotuck. Accordingly when trouble arose with the Pequots the aspect of affairs was extremely serious. The white settlements could muster two hundred and fifty or two hundred and seventy-five men capable of bearing arms; there were 5000 Indian braves within easy marching distance of the mouth of the Connecticut.
Endicott's expedition, calling the Pequots to account for murders, converted that nation into a gigantic hornets' nest. Killing whites became their recreation. Several at Wethersfield were assassinated and two girls were ( carried into captivity. The savages, dressed in the clothes of the English whom they had murdered, would approach the fort at Saybrook with defiant jeers: "Come out and get your clothes again!" and they would mimic and mock the prayers and shrieks and groans of the wretched colonists whom they had tortured. Great was the distress of the settlements. A cunning and ferocious enemy haunted them and hunted them day and night.
Ninety men, of whom forty-two were furnished by Hartford, descended the Connecticut under the leadership of Capt. Mason, and sailed eastward past the Pequot country to the vicinity of Point Judith: seventy- seven men disembarked among the Narragansetts, took up their march westerly, and, at daybreak on the 5th of June, surprised one of the hostile forts—a palisade on a hill, enclosing about an acre, and embracing seventy wigwams. A dog barked—a Pequot yelled, "Owanux! Owanux!" In rushed the lion-like pale-faces and engaged in a desultory, heroical warfare. At length, in desperation, the commander seized a fire-brand and applied it to the dry mats with which one of the rude dwellings was covered. Several hundred of the Pequots perished by the musket, the sword and the conflagration, and only seven escaped.
While the victorious army was retreating, three hundred warriors, dispatched by Sassacus from the other fortress, rapidly approached until they beheld the smoking and smouldering ruins which were the crematory of their brethren ; then stamping and tearing their hair, they rushed down with great fury upon the conquerors. They were promptly repulsed, with a hundred slain and wounded.
It was in this terrific war, pregnant with inexpressibly momentous consequences, that ThomasMunson made his first appearance, two centuries and a half ago; and he was preeminently a military man during the forty-eight years which followed.
You may note, if you please, that our spirited and intrepid soldier received an allotment in the Soldiers' Field, (on the northern margin of Hartford,) in recognition of his meritorious services in this war, and that he was subsequently presented with an additional hundred acres for the same cause.
We have recognized that Hartford was two years old at the date of the Pequot war; whether Soldier Munson had been there from the beginning, as is most likely, we are not informed. He had probably spent some months or years in the older towns about Massachusetts Bay; but we lack light upon the subject. Boston, at the time of the war, was seven years old; Salem, nine; Plymouth, seventeen.
Munson's Transatlantic History.
In respect to his transatlantic history there is nothing known with positiveness. Traditions have come down, along numerous and widely separated family lines, that he had some kind of connection with Wales; and it is the only tradition concerning him which has any value whatever. In some way his early history acquired a Welsh tinge. But there is no doubt of his English nationality. The Monson race belonging to the peerage has a known and accepted history of five hundred years; our American history extends back one-half that distance; the presumption is almost a certainty that our branch is from that ancient trunk. Lord Monson, Aide-de-Camp to the Queen, concluded his fourth letter to me, u March, 1887, in this graceful way: "With best wishes for the welfare of my Transatlantic Cousins and for the success of your Autumnal gathering." A brother of Lord Monson, Sir Edmund, Her Majesty's Minister to the King of Denmark, wrote from Copenhagen, July 24, 1886: "When I was appointed Attache to the British Legation at Washington, in 1858, my Father, Lord Monson, . .
. . was very anxious to know the subsequent career of the Monsons which had emigrated to America in the Seventeenth Century." Sir Edmund observes again: "I have little doubt that our common ancestor was a Dane."

Turning from things obscure, let us return to what may be known. Our forefather was born two hundred and seventy-five years ago, somewhere, and two hundred and fifty years ago was a pioneer of Hartford and Hartford participated in the Pequot war; after the war, he continued to reside in that plantation a little more than two years, apparently,—having a house-lot comprising two and one-half acres on the present High street, opposite the head of Walnut: this street was then known as "the highway leading from the Cow-pasture to Mr. Allen's land." There was a house on this ground in February, 1640, which was probably built by Munson. Previously to this date he had sold the place to Nath. Kellogge, and he had also sold his portion of the Soldiers' Field. Two parcels of land, on opposite sides of the Connecticut river, had been forfeited by his removal from the plantation.
In 1639, at the age of twenty-seven, Thomas became a pioneer of New Haven, then known as Quinnipiac. The settlement was begun the preceding year. The beginners had laid out a town-site half a mile square, having its base, on the south, parallel to the West Creek, and having its east side parallel with East Creek; both of these arms of the sea were navigable. The town-plot was divided into nine equal squares, of which the central was called the Market-place, square designed for public uses; it is the famous Green, upon which we are now assembled. Each of the eight streets was called "the towne streete "—having no distinctive name, and at the end of each there was a gate. In the Market-place the military forces were drilled, and here they assembled when an alarm was sounded. Here was the watch-house, the head-quarters of the night watchmen. Here were the other public buildings,—and especially the public building called the Meeting-house, which was the sanctuary where all worshiped, but also the town-house, court-house, state-house, and, to some extent at least, the arsenal. "The Church of Christ in New Haven," which was the only ecclesiastical organization within the limits of the present town during the first one hundred and four years of its history, still survives and has opened to us its hospitable doors on this occasion.
The "Proprietors" purchased lands from the Indians with a common fund, and there were nine "divisions" of different sections of the so-called common-land, extending over a hundred and twenty years. The amount of land each proprietor received in the distribution was determined by his investment in the common stock, the number of heads in his family, his official dignity, and other considerations. The size of the house-lots in the town-square was similarly determined. To certain settlers who did not contribute to the common stock "small lots" were granted,—most of them along the West Creek, opposite the town-square. Such "planters" also received limited allotments of land in the second "division,"—" layd out beyond the East River betwixt our pastors farme and the Indians wiggwams."
On the, north side of the town-square was the house-lot of Robert Newman, afterwards ruling-elder. That lot, of perhaps two and one-half acres, is now divided by Temple street, whose superb Gothic arch of elms you admired as
you were entering this sanctuary. 
The colony was created in June, 1639. It was ordained that those not present who were to be "planters," should subscribe this " Fundamental Agreement," as it was called, with their own hand; and so it comes to pass that we have the autograph of Thomas Munson, which is sixth in a list of forty-eight.
The first definite date touching Thomas Munson's history as a New Havener is April 3d, 1640, when the court ordered "thatt brother Andrewes and brother Mounson shall veiw the grounds of difference betwixt Mr. Malbon and Thomas Mouleno1 the elder." This appointment was complimentary to "brother Mounson" as a new-comer, and only twenty-eight years of age.
And now, patient seekers for knowledge, we have somewhat tediously worked our way through the fogs and snags and sand-bars of the subject into an open sea where fair sailing rewards us.
Private Biography.
The private biography of our ancestor, as known to us, is very brief.
As early as 1640, he received one of the "small lots" on the south side of George Street, along the West Creek. Eleven years later, intending probably to remove to Delaware Bay, he disposed of his lot together with a dwelling house, barn, shop, hen-house, garden and trees. His residence the next five years is unrevealed. In 1656, he bought the lot on the southeast corner of Elm and Church streets, opposite the Green, where the "Blue Meetinghouse" afterwards stood; just below, on Elm street, were the habitations of Mr. Davenport and Gov. Eaton.
Six years later he purchased the place formerly owned by Robert Newman on Grove street—now bisected by Temple street. This was his home during the last twenty-three years of his life. His neighbor eastward was Andrewes, the ex-innkeeper; his neighbors westward were Benjamin Linge and his life-long guest, Col. Dixwell, the regicide. Capt. Munson's home was afterwards owned by his son and three of his grandsons successively; and in more recent times Noah Webster, the maker of dictionaries, had a residence on that ground.
Thomas was the father of three children: Elizabeth, the wife of Richard Higginbothom, a tailor, who removed to Elizabethtown, N. J., and thence to Stamford; Samuel, to whom we shall return later; and Hannah, who married Joseph Tuttle.
We know little of the domestic animals which added animation to the home-life of these children; but there is distinct mention of a dog—not a detestable barking whelp, but an exemplary creature—one that is silent, thoughtful and courageous, and willing to bite—when that is his duty. This worthy fellow's function was to discourage stupidity. Accordingly, in 1661, just ten days before the arrival of Goffe and Whalley, some ill-natured inhabitant complained of certain "doggs wch bite horses as they passe in the streets, to the endangering of their Riders: Sargent Munsons dogg, -and Thos. Johnsons dogg, was spoken off." Well—some people are hard to please. Sydney Smith says he once heard a man "speak disrespectfully of the equator."
Our first father owned lands which he cultivated; but his trade was that of a carpenter. He and Boykin contracted to do a part of the work in building the first meeting-house,—in particular, some work connected with the tower and turret. He and Andrewes built the first bridge over the Quinnipiac. His business was not limited to the New Haven plantation. You should add that his enterprising spirit led him to take a deep practical interest in the project of establishing a colony at Delaware Bay.
Though, as a recent writer remarks, "there was a woful shrinkage of estate in those days," though there were pervasive business disasters and impoverishing wars, and though our public-spirited forefather was consumingly devoted to civic and military service, yet, beginning as we suppose empty-handed, he came to be numbered with the wealthy.
It is scarcely necessary to say that this man worshiped and served the Almighty Lord, and was for some fortyfive years, a member of the church which assembles under this roof. His burial, in 1685, was on the Green, a few yards from this spot, where Joanna his wife had been interred seven years previously. The grave-stones of both may be seen in the old cemetery.
Turn we now, Mr. President and worthy kinsmen, to the official career and the public services of We give attention to a number of points in his wide and rich experience as a committee-man, and then take up the honorable story of his executive, judicial, legislative and military career.
The term committee (pardon this parenthesis) ordinarily indicates a number of men who are appointed by a larger body to examine into some particular matter or manage some specific affair; this one thing done, it ceases. Its limitation is a peculiarity.
Munson was appointed by government to appraise property; I have noted ten estates of which he was an appraiser. In 1670 he was member a colonial committee "to set an appraisement upon the land belonging to the several plantations. He was often appointed (with others) to " view " objects and conditions. Thus he viewed' the "way to the Plaines" where a highway was to be located; he viewed3 the Quinnipiac to select a site for a bridge; he inspected the equipment of the cavalry; he inspected the West Bridge4 and the historic Neck Bridge6 which, four years later, afforded refuge to Goffe and Whalley when nearly overtaken by King Charles's emissaries; he inspected the condition of the first meetinghouse eight times within twenty-one years,"—the last time using his influence decisively, it would appear, in favor of building a new house instead of multiplying repairs upon the old. At an uncertain date, " The Townes men Agreed to goe to all the Inhabitance [of the] Towne and farmes to see how the children are educate in reading the word of God: Lievtenant Munson and J Chidsey for the square of the Towne," etc.
Munson was appointed (with others) to supervise work for the public: to fence vacant lots ; to construct a chest in the meeting-house "to putt the pikes in to keepe them from warping ; "to mend yc ladder" by which a sentinel on "dayes of publque meeting went up to take his stand upon the meeting-house ;8 to provide a suitable building for "a Colony Schoole (for teaching of latine, Greeke, & Hebrew) to execute an order "that the market place be forth-with cleared & the wood carryed to the watch-howse & there piled for the vse & succour of the watch in cold weather."2 In 1658 a scheme six years old had become so interesting that Thomas Munson and three others were chosen to consider whether "ye beavour pond brooke can be brought to the Towne, that the mill might be set up here;" this committee reported to another plenipotentiary committee of which Munson was a member, and the bold work was undertaken. In the records there is an abstract of a speech upon this subject by our ancestor, in which he specifies " the great dam," " ye great trench," and the "pen-stocke" of which there is mention twenty years later.
This man, who was so rich in the faculty of judgment, was a member of committees to make final determinations. In two or more cases he was chosen as arbiter.3 He was selected (with others) to lay out roads, as "the highway from Woodbury to Pawgasuck [i. e. Derby] to the most convenient place for a ferry;" * and also the conspicuous East Haven thoroughfare, agreeably to this record under date of 1677: "Capt. Munson informed ye Towne, that himselfe Capt. Rosewell & John Cooper senior who was appointed by ye Towne had now stated out and settled a highway from ye ferry unto ye farmes at ye iron works." He was chosen to establish the boundaries of towns. Thus, in 1671, the General Court "appoints Lnt Thomas Munson to runn the depth of the bownds of Brandford and Guilford to the northwards, according to their grant." In 1674 the Lieutenant assisted in establishing the "diuideing bownds" between New Haven and Branford; and in 1675 he was on a committee "to see to the settlement of both the bownds and distribution of lands in the new plantation of Derby. In 1679 "The Town did appoint Mr. Wm Jones, Tho: Munson & John Cooper seneor theyer comittee to state out ye Indians Land on ye east side."
Our judicious ancestor served on committees whose duties were diplomatic, — as, e. g., to persuade Wm Andrewes "not to give up keeping the ordinarie;"1 to treat with Fowler concerning the sale of his
Diplomatist. .
interest in the mill; to treat with Christopher Todd concerning ye removeall of ye mills on this side nearer ye rocke & soe to make ym breast mills ;"' "to treat with the Indians about some matters of complaint, as, planting where they ought not," "killing of hoggs, and stealing pease and again, pending the inquiry "whether a village might be settled neare the black Rock "—a notable promontory on the east side of the harbor and at the north end of The Cove—the site of a fort in the Revolutionary days,—" Brother Andrewes and Bro: Munson were desired to Treat with the Indians about the exchange of some Land." One other item: within two or three years after the English founded New Haven, some of the colonists purchased large tracts of land on both sides of the Delaware; but the hostility of the Swedes and the Dutch spoiled their attempts at trade and settlement. In 1654 there was a revival of the Delaware movement, and a committee was constituted, including Munson, "to whom," says the record, "any that are willing to goe may rapaire to be taken notice of." Early in the next year, between fifty and sixty men had found leaders of nerve and enterprise in Munson and Cooper, and attempted very resolutely to establish plantations at Delaware Bay, with a view to erecting eventually a separate commonwealth. The records of the General Court for 1655 contain the petition of the adventurers, with the conclusion, namely: "The Court returned, That having read and considered .... some propositions presented by Thomas Munson and John Cooper, of New Haven, in the name and behalfe of sundrie persons of this jurisdiction and elsewhere, appearing as undertaker for the first planting of Delaware, .... 'they are willing . . . . to grant libertie to one or both of those magistrates mentioned to goe alonge with them And they
purpose when God shall so enlarge the English plantations in Delaware as that they shall grow the greater part of the jurisdiction .... the gouernor may be one yeare in one part and the next yeare in another," &c. Samuel Eaton, Francis Newman and Stephen Goodyear were disposed to have a hand in this high enterprise; but it was presently reported that three ships had " the Sweeds," difficulties loomed up formidably, and the great and superb project took its place with the splendid visions of Dante and Milton.
It is time to direct attention to our pioneer's record as an executive officer, elected for lengthened periods of service. The modest though at that time important and respectable position of viewer of fences 1 need not detain us. Our Lieutenant was made plantation-commissary when that office was created at the beginning of King Philip's war. He was chosen treasurer of the town for the unexpired term of Benjamin Linne. Three years he was elected lister or assessor.4 He served as Townsman thirteen years,1 first in 1656 and last in 1683; four years he was at the head of the board. It devolved upon him and his associates to take a census of the Quinnipiac Indians and of the acres of land allotted to them;2 to change the location of the ferry to "the Red Rocke ;"8 to encourage the erection of a village for the inhabitants at Stony River and South End (East Haven);' to resurrect and revivify the Hopkins Grammar School —the Captain, as chief of the Townsmen, making: to consider whether health requires that burials upon The Green should cease,—though it was yet one hundred and thirty-eight years before the place of burial was changed ;' to consider, again, whether the burying place—" about 20 rod square "—ought not to "be fenced about and kept in a comely manner,"—but the matter had hindrance until 1690, when an order was issued that the place of burial "be fencd with a stone wall ... in Ovall forme."
As a townsman Capt. Munson was desired (with others) to revise the report of a former committee on the third division of common-land, "and allsoe to endeavor Division.") to purchase from ye Indians such lands as are yet unpurchased." This division took place in 1680; the first and second had occurred in 1640.
The call to public meetings—religious, military and civic—during forty-three years, was by a drum beaten in the turret on the meeting-house, and often about some of the streets. The drummer was instructed "to may heare." In 1681, more than two centuries ago, a bell was brought into the harbor,—of which the public records take notice as follows: "Capt. Thomas Munson on of ye townsmen declared ye occasion of this meeting was to Considder ye buysines of ye bell for ye Townes use which was spoken of the last Towne meeting (which meeting was in April last) at which y" Townsmen were desyred to Considder ye matter how ye bell might suit ye Townes occasions and to veiw ye Terrett of ye meeting house, and to make returne to ye Towne of theyer apprehensions in ye Case: Now they had veiwed the sd Terrett and doe judg ye place may be fitted to hang it in for ye use of ye Towne, and allsoe being informed that ye owner of ye bell had sent to have it brought to ye Bay 1 in Joseph Allsups vessell, and that yesayd Joseph had undertaken that ye Bell should yet stay untill another returne, and it having Lyen soe long it would not be hansom for ye Town to put it of, and therefore it wer necessary that now ye Towne would Considder whether they will have it or not and how to raise ye pay for it which will bee fourteen pound in money." It was voted that the bell be purchased, and that the townsmen have it properly hanged for use.
In 1678 our Captain had a hand ex officio in the delicate task of seating the Meeting-house. The men were to occupy one side of the house and the women the other, while the assignment of places to individuals was to have (Seating the resPect *o civic dignity, military rank, age, Meeting- wealth, social value, and so on. Mr. Jones House. . . reported that the committee had finished seating the men "and had begun ye seating of women but found some dificulty in that matter." Ah yes,—that beautiful absence of "dificulty" in the seating of men! The report alleged some "want of Roome," with reference to which "Divers desyred that ye women might be seated as farr as seats would reach;" but it was cautiously replied "that ye comittee had some reasons that were not meet to mention at this time." The ex-Deputy-Governor, who had risked his neck to defend Goffe and Whalley against Charles II., was mindful that a bird of the air would repeat every word of the discussion to the Hannahs and Elizabeths and Temperances; and the Townsman and Soldier who had faced Pequots, hostile New Yorkers under Andross, the embattled Dutch, and the terrible conspiracy under King Philip, could not forget that every whisper in the meeting would be telephoned to the "pink and white tyrants" named Joanna and Rebecca and Charity and Prudence; and Jones and Munson resolved upon a masterly discretion.
We pass now to Thomas Munson's judicial career.
At the age of fifty-one he was elected to the Plantation Court, a tribunal which was convened monthly "to hear and determine inferiour causes,"—if "Civill," "in valew not exceeding twenty Pounds;" if "Criminall,"
Court. when the punishment by scripture Light, exceeds not stocking, and whipping," or "when the fine exceeds not five Pounds." The '"fitt and able men" chosen for this service are styled "the ordinary judges." Those elected in 1662 were "Mr. John Davenport, Jun., Leiutenant John Nash, Ensigne Thomas Munson, and James Bishop." They were all twice re-elected, and they held office until Charles II. united the New Haven and Connecticut colonies.

It was not until after the Union that trial by jury was instituted. Lieut. Munson was a member of the first jury impanelled at New Haven,1 and he was its fore First Jury man. This was in October. He was also foreman of the juries in January and February following.
In 1666 the Lieutenant was designated as supernumerary Commissioner, to perform duty as a member of the monthly court, in a contingency.
Again, our pioneer was a member for many years of the supreme Court of Appeals, in that period, to wit, the General Court for the Jurisdiction,—at first that of New Haven colony, and after the Union, that of ConAppeai°f necticut. One of the six general functions of this high court, in the New Haven colony, was thus stated: "To hear and determine all causes, whether Civil or Criminall, wch by appeal or complaint shall be orderly brought unto them, either from any inferior Court, or from any of the Plantations." In Connecticut colony a similar custom was in force.
Let us now advance to contemplate Munson's career as a legislator.
In 1662 and 1663 he was elected "third man" or substitute deputy for four sessions of the General Court of New Haven colony, and at the third session he had occasion to take his seat and act. In 1664 he was elected
New Haven
General deputy for two sessions of the same body. The next year,—it will be remembered that there was a great deal of contention between the colonies in regard to a union,—Connecticut invited New Haven to send deputies to a General Assembly to be holden on the 15th of March. "After much debate," says the record, "it was thought best to send," and Lieut. Thomas Munson and John Cooper were chosen to represent the community. That meeting of the Assembly was "put by," and a summons to another for April 20th being issued, "the former deputies declaring themselves not willing to goe," there was a new choice, though a minority objected to sending. There is no doubt that the unwritten history connected with these events would be very entertaining if we could recover it. Lieut. Munson was chosen "third man" for the October session of 1665, and he was elected to the same situation in 1668 and 1684.
In 1666 he was elected deputy to the General Assembly, and he served in this capacity twenty-four sessions, a very impressive testimony to the extraordinary esteem
General in which his legislative qualifications were held.
It appears, therefore, that he represented New Haven in the colonial legislatures twenty-seven sessions. He was in the Assembly nineteen consecutive sessions, with one exception during King Philip's war when he was engrossed with military duties. The town was represented by two persons each session. During thirteen years, 1669, 1682, there were fifty-six individual elections of deputies, twenty-three of which fell to Munson and thirty-three to seven other men,—the former being elected more times than any three of his competitors,—while in every instance except one he was at the head of the delegation,—evincing his easy preeminence among the sterling citizens who filled this office in his time.
Be it observed that legislation in the age of Pioneer Munson was something else than atomizing rose-water. It was the mighty task of sagacious statesmen. Not theirs the vocation to conserve and administer a ready-made system. They had need to be colossal inventors in the sphere of government, for they were founders of new, unique, exemplary institutions. Liberty regulated by law was the beneficent object to be attained. To originate and elaborate a fabric of self-government—an expression of intelligence, wisdom and virtue, and to be maintained by intelligence, wisdom and virtue,—this, conducted in allegiance to the divine government, was the sublime task assumed by the colonial legislators. And this work, you should remark, might not be done at leisure, but amidst diversions and embarrassments springing from other unfriendly and often hostile communities,—the aborigines, the English and again the Dutch of New York, the Rhode Islanders, and we may as well add, (softly,) the English Crown.