Indian Attacks Around Dover

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Indian Attacks Around Dover

28 January, 1703, when the ground was covered with snow, a small party of Indians fell upon a garrison at Berwick, but a sentinel saw them coming and gave the alarm in season for the armed men to offer successful resistance. A young man and a girl, who were at some distance from the garrison, ran for their lives. The girl was quickly overtaken and tomahawked. The lad almost reached the garrison, when they shot him and supposed he was dead; they pushed on to attack the garrison when a well aimed volley killed the leader, and while Indians were trying to drag his body away, the lad up and ran into the garrison. Then the Indians withdrew, and fell upon the Smith garrison. They were soon beaten off, however. Captain Brown aroused by the firing, rushed to their assistance with a dozen good men. He came upon the Indians as they were binding up their plunder, and put them to flight, firing (at them) and wounding some of them as the blood on the snow showed. The Indians left all their plunder, hatchets and blankets. This time they burned two houses, and killed seventy cattle.

In October 1703 they again attacked Berwick and destroyed the village. In 1704, a hundred friendly Indians, Piquods, Mohigans and Mautics were posted here to keep off the Indians from the East and Canada. They were under the command of Major Samuel Mason. They were fed and clothed by Massachusetts and given twelve pence a day by Connecticut. In July, the Piscataqua settlements were terrorized, at Dover, three were killed, three wounded, and three captured. July 18 they killed one man at Niwichawanock and captured Wheelwright’s “Sambo”. David Garland was (illegible) Hane and Humphrey Foss taken prisoners, but were released by the determined efforts of Lieutenant Heard.

May 14 at Spruce Creek they killed one lad, and carried others away. They then went to Oyster River where they shot Jeremiah Cromett and burned a saw mill at Dover. Ensign Tuttle was killed and a son of Lieutenant Heard wounded while standing guard. John Bickwell was shot at Spruce Creek as he was locking his door, his wife wounded, and his child knocked on the head and scalped. The two children of John Waldron were seized outside of Heard’s Garrison (this was the old garrison of Waldron’s) and their heads cut off, as the Indians did not have time to scalp them. This time there were no men in the fort, and Esther Jones deceived the Indians by calling out “come on, come on, here they are”, which had the effect desired and the Indians withdrew. On October 25, 1704, the Indians appeared at Oyster River again. And on that same day in Berwick, two men were shot going home from church. The Indians, being vigorously attacked, dropped their packs, and in them were found three scalps. In the spring of 1705 they were on the east side of the Piscataqua River, killing five settlers at Spruce Creek and captured many more. Mrs. Hall was killed, Enoch Hutchins lost his wife and children. Three weeks later John Rodgers was wounded and James Toby shot. In May, 1705, they wounded Mark Gile, W. Pearl and Nathan Tibbets were shot. These attacks were by bands of roving Indians. Pearl lived in a cave up Oyster River and he had been urged to come into the settlement, but he would not.

On May 27, 1707 they captured two at Oyster River. In July they came upon John Bunker and Ichabod Rawlins, aged 20 and 30 of Dover, and killed them both, as they were driving a cart from Dover to Oyster River. They also killed many cattle.  

In 1710 the settlers were warned of a new outbreak, and 400 soldiers were posted in the New Hampshire towns, In 1711 they appeared at Dover and found Thomas Downs and three men at work in a field. These they killed and lay in ambush for the settlers as they came from church. They succeeded in killing one and came near killing another, but the alarm was given and the Indians withdrew. In 1712, they killed Ensign John Tuttle at Cochecho and Jeremiah Cromwell at Oyster River, later they killed Joseph Ham at Dover, carrying off his three children. Next Tristram Heard, Jr. was killed. In the spring of 1705, the Indians made a descent on Oyster River and Nathanial Meader was shot while in his field.

Some Quakers who did not share in the ideas of war and lived out on Knox Marsh were singled out for attack, as they would not go to the garrisons. Ebenezer Downs was taken and used very roughly because he would not dance before the Indians. John Hanson was urged repeatedly to come to the garrisons but he would not, so the French Mohawks singled him out. One day when Hanson and his eldest daughter were away at church, the two eldest boys out in the field and the wife at home with four children, the time they had been waiting for, the Indians went to the house and killed the younger children, took the wife and a fourteen days old infant with the nurse and two other daughters and a young son and carried them into captivity after sacking the house. This was so quietly done that the first to discover it was the eldest daughter when she returned home, and beheld the horrible sight. The alarm was given. Mrs. Hanson was at the time at the edge of the woods but could not cry out. She was taken to Canada and sold, she has left a very interesting history of that journey.

Mrs. Hanson was a woman of slight build and tender constitution. But she had a firm and vigorous mind, and passed through the Indian captivity with much resolution and courage. When her milk gave out- she nourished the babe by warming water in her mouth and letting it fall on her breasts fed the child, until the squaws taught her how to beat the kernels of walnuts and boil them with husked corn, which proved a nourishing food for the baby. They were all sold to the French in Canada. Mr. Hanson went next spring and redeemed his wife and three young children and the nurse, but could not persuade the eldest daughter to return home although he saw her and urged her to join the family. She married a French man and never returned. He redeemed Elizabeth Downs. Mr. Hanson made another trip, but died at Crown Point, on his way to try and get his daughter. Mr. Hanson, after the first attack, went to lice with another Quaker, who had several lusty sons, “who kept the guns loaded for big game”. After he returned to his old home the Indians determined to make another attack, watching for a favorable opportunity. They secreted themselves in a barn when three men when by. The Indians, fired, and killed William Evans; John Evans was slightly wounded, but bleeding freely, The Indians thinking him dead, scalped him, turned him over and pounded him with their guns and left him. He was taken to the Fort where he recovered and lived fifty years longer. He was great uncle to the poet John G. Whittier. The Indians made their escape taking Benjamin Evans as a captive. He was at this time 13 years old, and was later redeemed in the usual way, Sept. 25, 1725.

This was the last foray into Dover, New Hampshire, as three months later a treaty was signed at Boston, and in the spring was ratified at Falmouth, 1726. After peace was declared, the Indians often visited the very home they had despoiled, and were always friendly.

From Dover History by Robert Whitehouse, c 1987.


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