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quite prevalent, came in soon after the restoration. A number of brothers of that family, came from Woburn,* and took up their residence on George hill, where, and in other parts of the town, many of their descendants still live.
Under the numerous inconveniences, hardships and dangers of a new settlement, it is not to be supposed that the wealth or population of the town, for some years, increased with much rapidity. In 1681 and 1682, in consequence of these thiogs, and of the exposed situation of the town, on the confines of civilization, an exemption was granted from the County rates. In 1694, 20 pounds of the public taxes were allowed to the town, in consideration of its “frontier situation.”
The civil history of Lancaster from 1680 to 1724, excepting what is preserved by Mr. Harrington, is, I fear, irretrievably lost. I regret this the more, from the circumstance stated above ; and in common with others, bave to lament, that Mr. Harrington, who preserved so much, did not preserve much more. Private documents of various kinds, and important in this respect, which were then doubtless numerous, have since been lost by lapse of time, or destroyed through ignorance of their value. Tradition was then fresh and distinct; and, more than all, the original volume of records containing a complete sequence of events from the first settlement in the valley of the Nashaway to the year 1724, was then in existence. What progress therefore the town made in popula
* Thomas Carter, first minister of Woburn, came to this country in 1635. I find also one of that pame, the same person, there is reason to suppose, who took the freeman's oath on the 2nd 3 mo., 1638. In 1642, Woburn was taken from Charlestown, and made a distinct town. There were no officers or members of the Church, capable of ordaining Mr. Carter, and they feared to in vite the elders of the other churches to perform the service, as it might savoor of dependency, and Presbytery ; so that at last it was performed by two of their own members. " We ordain thee, Thomas Carter, to be pastor anto this church and people.” Hubbard says " it was not to the satisfaction of the magistrates, and ministers present.”
In consequence, it soon became common to invite the neighboring elders to perform the services of ordination. Huhbard, 408.
Johnson remarks that the people of Woburn, “after some search, met with a young man named Mr. Thomas Carter, then belonging to the church of Christ at Watertown; a reverend, godly man, apt to teach the sound and wholesome truths of Christ.” &c. 2 Mass. Hist. Col. VII. 40-42.
Mr. Carter was one of those mentioned by Cotton Mather, “ young schol. ars whose education for their designed ministry, not being finished, yet came over from England with their friends, and had their education perfected in this country, before the College was come unto maturity enough to bestow its laurels." Magnalia, B. JII.
This Thomas Carter was the ancestor of all of the name of Carter now in Lancaster. They propably migrated to Nashaway soon after the town was rebuilt.
tion and wealth for thirty years after its resettlement is unknown. For the remainder of the seventeenth century, however, it is fair to suppose, from the assistance afforded by the General Court, and from the long continuance of the Indian wars, that its progress was slow and interrupted. In the mean time the measure of the sufferings of Lancaster was not yet full. The war that was rekindled between France and England on the accession of William, of Orange, to the throne, extended to his transatlantic provinces. Jo the 18th (0. S.) July, 1692, a party of the Indians attacked the house of Peter Joslin, and murdered bis wife, three children, and a widow by the name of Whitcomb, who resided in the family. Jos. lin himself, at the time, was at work in the field, and knew nothing of the terrible calamity that had befallen bim, till his return home. Elizabeth How bis wife's sister was taken captive, but was afterwards returned. Another child of his was put to death by the enemy in the wilderness. In 1695, on a Sunday morning, Abraham Wheeler returning from garrison to his own house, was shot by the enemy lying in ambush. No further injury was done till 1697, when they entered the town under five leaders, with an intention, after ascertaining the situation of affairs, to commence their attack on Thomas Sawyer's* garrison. It was by the merest accident, that they were deterred from their plan. The gates of Sawyer's garrison were open. A Mr. Jabez Fairbanks, who lived at some distance, mounted his horse, that came running towards him much frightened, rode rapidly to the garrison, though without suspicion, for the purpose of carrying away his son, who was there.The enemy supposing they were discovered, being just ready to rush into the garrison, relioquished their design, and on retreating, fired upon the inhabitants at work in the fields. At no time, however, excepting when the town was destroyed, was ever so much injury perpetrated, or so many lives lost. They met with the minister, the Rev. Mr. John Whiting,f at a distance from his garrison, and offered him quarter, which he rejected with boldness, and fought to the last against the cruel foe. After this they killed twenty others ;f wounded two more, who afterwards recovered, and took
* This was the first planter, or his eldest son; probably the latter.
† A more particular notice will be taken of Mr. Whiting, in the Eccle. siastical sketches.
Daniel Hudson, his wife and two daughters. Hudson, first moved to Lancaster, in 1664. He was originally of Watertown. Ephraim Roper, his wife and daughter, John Skait, and wife, Joseph Rugg, wife and three children, Widow Rugg, Jonathan Fairbanks and two children, and two chil. dren of Nathaniel Hudson. Harrington's Sermon.
six captives,* five of whom in the end, returned to Lancaster. This sad calamity sweeping off so large a part of their population called for some religious observance, and a day of fasting and prayer was set apart for the purpose. The restoration of peace, in Europe, brough: a season of repose, to the afilicted inhabitants of Lancaster. In 1702, the war between England and France was renewed. With slow, but steady progress, it reached the Colonies. In July 1704, seven hundred French and Indians proceeded against Northampton. Finding that the inhabitants were prepared for an attack, they turned their course towards Lancaster, excepting two huudred of them, who returned home, in consequence of a quarrel with their fellow soldiers about the division of spoil. On the thirty first of July, they commenced a violent and sudden attack early in the morning, in the west part of the town, and killed Lieut. Nathaniel Wilder, near the gate of bis own garrison.t Near the same place, during the day, they killed three other persons. Nor was this the only injury committed by them on that day. The inhabitants were much inferior to the French and Indians in num. ber. Capt. Tyng happened, at this time, to be in Lancaster with a party of soldiers, and Capt. How gathered in haste what men be was able, and marched with them, from Marlborough, to the relief of the town. They fought with great bravery, but the great oumber of the enemy forced the inhabitants to retreat into garrison.
This gave the enemy opportunity of doing further mischief. They burnt the Church, besides six other buildings, and destroyed no small part of the live stock of the town.
What losses the lodiaps sustained in their various encounters was never known. They were always quite careful to remove and conceal their slain. In this last conflict, Mr. Harrington observes, it was thought that their loss was considerable, and that a * French officer of some distinction, was mortally wounded," which excited them probably to prolong the battle. Towards evening, many flocked in to the relief of the town, and the enemy made good their retreat, with such success, that they were not overtaken by our soldiers. On the 26th of October following, a party of
* Jonathan Fairbanks' wife, widow Wheeler and Mary Glazer, and som of Ephraim Roper, John Skait and of Joseph Rugg.
+ This Nathaniel Wilder was youngest son of Thomas, the first inhabitant of the name of Wilder. The garrison was on the farm now owned by Mr, Soombes, and from the early settlement, till lately, owned by the Wilders.
# Abraham How, John Spaulding, and Benjamin Hutchins. How and Hutchins were Marlborough men. Worcester Magazine, II. 156.
the enemy was discovered at Still river, (Harvard.) Some of the soldiers and inhabitants went in pursuit of them : returning much fatigued, Rev. Mr. Gardner the minister, took opon himself the watch for the night. In the course of the night, coming out of the sentry's box, the noise was heard by one in the house, a Mr. Samuel Prescott. As Indians were in the neighborhood, Prescott fired upon Mr. Gardner, supposing him to be an enemy, and sbot him through the body. Mr. Gardner freely forgave the innocent, but unfortunate, cause of his death, and breathed bis last, in an hour or two after. This closed hostilities for the melancholy year of 1704. On the 15th October, 1705, Thomas Sawyer, his son Elias Sawyer, and John Biglo, were taken captive and carried to Canada. Thomas Sawyer was a man of great bravery. On the arrival of the party at Montreal, says Whitney, Sawyer offered to erect a saw mill on the Chamblee provided the French Governor would obtain a release of all the captives. This he promised, if possible, to do. The son and Biglo were easily ransomed, but the father the Indians determined to put to death, by lingering torture. His deliverance was effected by the sudden appearance of a Friar, who told them that he held the key of Purgatory in his hand, and, unless they immediately released their prisoner, he would unlock the gates and cast them in headlong. Their superstitious fears, which the Catholics could so easily excite in the breast of the savage, prevailed. They unbound Sawyer from the stake, and delivered him to the Governor. He finished the mill* in a year, and was sent home with Biglo. His son Elias, was detained a while to instruct the Canadians in the art of “ sawing and keeping the mill in order, and then was dismissed with rich presents."| The town suffered no further violence from the Indians till July 16, 1707, when Jonathan White was killed. On the 18th of August following, Jonathan Wilder,f a native of Lancaster, was taken captive. The party consisting of twenty four men was pursued, the next day, by about thirty of the inhabitants of the two towns, and was overtaken in a remote part of the town, now included in Sterling,
* Whitney from whom the above relation is taken, says, that this was " the first saw mill in Canada, and that there was no artificer there capable of building one." pp. 43, 44.
† A grandson of Elias (Jotham Sawyer) is now living in Templetop, aged eighty six. He recollects riding horseback, behind his mother, to church, to hear Mr. Harrington's century sermon, May 28, 1753.
fHe was son to Lieut. Nathaniel Wilder, who was killed in 1704, as mentioned above. Jonathan was born April 20, 1682.
and known by the name of the “ Indian fight.” The day being quite damp, and having cases on their guns, and their packs secured from the weather, the Indians were wholly unprepared for combat. However, as only ten of the English rushed upon them and engaged in the action, they determined not to surrender. Having killed their captive, they fought bravely till they lost nine of their oumber. On the other side two* were killed and twof wounded. After a lapse of three years, on the 5th of August 1710, a number of the enemy fired upon Nathaniel and Oliver Wilder, who, with an lodian servant, were at work in the fields. I The Indian boy was killed, but the others made their escape and reached the garrison. From this time till peace was concluded at Utrecht in 1713, the inhabitaots were doubtless in a continual state of alarm, from expectations of secret and sudden attacks, to which they had been trained by long and bitter experience.
But this was the last hostile measure of the lodians, against Nashaway, and it may be considered, as worthy of remark, that the last person killed by the Indians, in this place, was himself an Indian.
The following is a list of the houses fortified, at various times from the year, 1670, to 1710, &c.
Rev. Mr. Rowlandson's Garrison, before described.
Wheeler's Garrison.—Now in the south part of Bolton, where Asa Houghton lives.
Fortified House. Now the farm house of Mr. Richard J. Cleveland. This is where the first Judge Wilder lived."
White's Garrison.-On the spot where Mrs. White now lives, on the east side of the Neck-and opposite to the house of Major Jonathan Locke.
Joslin's Garrison.-West side of the Neck, one fourth of a mile north of the church, and near the house successively occupied by Peter Green, Dr. Manning and Dr. Peabody.
James Wilder's Garrison.--A large house, twenty rods back of the house of late Thomas Safford. This was the chief garrison. The house is not now standing.
* John Farrar, and Richard Singleterry.
+ Capt. Ephraim Wilder and Mr. Samuel Stevens. Ephraim was son to Lieut. Nathaniel Wilder, and died Dec. 13, 1769, aged 94.
Their guns were resting against a fence at some distance, and the Indians succeeded in getting between the men and their guns before firing. Nathaniel was son of Lieut. Nathaniel, Oliver another sop afterwards Colonel, appointed Justice Peace, January 28, 1762.