The History of Fairfield, Fairfield County, Connecticut: From the Settlement of the Town in 1639 to 1818: Volume 1

The History of Fairfield, Fairfield County, Connecticut: From the Settlement of the Town in 1639 to 1818: Volume 1 – Elizabeth Hubbell Schenck

In accepting the task of compiling the history of a town, rich with historic lore, the author was fully sensible of the labor connected with it; but she resolved to go bravely on and accomplish all that health, perseverance, research and industry, would eventually achieve. Fairfield is her native town, and in Southport, which is a part of it, she was born. For over two hundred years her ancestors have lived and died within the limits of the township. On the hill which summoned the inhabitants of Green’s Farms, by the beating of a drum, to the meeting-house on the Lord’s day, her honored father, the late Jonathan Godfrey, was born. Her great grandfather, Lieutenant Nathan Godfrey, of Colonel Whiting’s company, fought the battles of Ticonderoga and Crown Point. On her mother’s side, she is a direct descendant of Richard Hubbell and of Joshua Jennings, and on both sides of the house of the Couch family. The blood which nerved some of the bravest men and women of Fairfield to deeds of courage, endurance, and military and political achievements, runs in her veins. It therefore, has proved no reluctant task for her to write the history of the men and women who took part in the settlement of New England, and more particularly of Fairfield. It is at all times interesting to study the history of our New England ancestry, which, like the seed of Abraham, has become throughout the vast domain of the United States, in numbers like unto the sands upon the sea-shore: and for their intelligence, sound religious principles, thrift, ingenuity, indomitable perseverance and industry, they are honored by all the nations of the earth. Therefore, to write of their political and military prowess, their religious views, their manners and customs, will prove interesting to all who love old Fairfield. This is book one of two of this series and presents the years 1639 through 1700.

The History of Fairfield, Fairfield County, Connecticut: From the Settlement of the Town in 1639 to 1818: Volume 1

The History of Fairfield, Fairfield County, Connecticut: From the Settlement of the Town in 1639 to 1818: Volume 1.

Format: eBook.

The History of Fairfield, Fairfield County, Connecticut: From the Settlement of the Town in 1639 to 1818: Volume 1

ISBN: 9783849661144.


Excerpt from the text:


In the spring of 1636, the General Court of Massachusetts commissioned Roger Ludlow and seven other gentlemen, to govern the colony of Connecticut ” for the space of one year.” At the expiration of the year Roger Ludlow, who had acted as governor of the colony, summoned his constituents to attend a General Court at Hartford, to consider the necessary steps to be taken for the protection of the infant settlements on the Connecticut. After deliberating upon the barbarities of their chief enemy the Pequots, one of the most powerful Indian tribes in New England, and the dangers thickening around them, a proclamation of war was issued in the following words:

 ” It is ordered that there shall be an offensive war against the Pequots, & that there shall be 90 men levied out of the three Plantations, Hartford, Weathersfield, & Windsor, (viz) out of Hartford 42, Windsor 30, Weathersfield 18: under the command of Capt. John Mason, & in case of death or sickness, under the command of Robt. Seely Leift.: & the eldest s’geant or military officer surviving, if both these miscarry.”

 One is filled with astonishment at this declaration of war by a body of men, who, with all the adults able to bear arms in the three river settlements did not exceed two hundred and fifty, from which nearly one-third were sent against the Pequots. This small band of Englishmen, with brave hearts prepared themselves to give their very lives for the preservation of their homes, and the life of the New England colonies. Bound in one common tie of brotherhood, the other colonies resolved to assist them in subduing the savage foe. Plymouth agreed to send forty men, and Massachusetts one hundred and sixty, which included a small band already sent out under Captain Underhill to strengthen the fort at Saybrook. Before this number could be prepared for marching, Captain Patrick, of Massachusetts, was sent forward with forty men to capture the families of the Pequots in Block Island, after which he was to join Mason’s forces. As prompt in action as in their declaration of war, the Connecticut soldiers were speedily equipped for the perilous undertaking. On the loth of May, Captain Mason with about ninety Englishmen, and seventy Mohegah and river Indians under Uncas, sailed from Hartford in a pink, a pinnace and a shallop, down the river to Saybrook. The Rev. Samuel Stone accompanied the expedition as chaplain. Owing to the shallow water of the Connecticut river at that season, they were five days in reaching the fort at its mouth. In the meantime, Uncas and the other Indians became impatient, and begged leave to make their way to Saybrook on foot, which request was granted. Upon Mason’s arrival at the fort (Monday, May 15) Uncas joined him, and related that while on their way he and his men had already fought one battle, killed seven hostile Indians near the fort, and taken one prisoner.1 This prisoner had been a spy employed by Sassacus to watch the fort, and had witnessed all the murders committed upon the garrison near it. Uncas and his men requested that he should be executed according to the Indian custom of killing a spy, which was granted. The unfortunate Indian was tortured to death, while Uncas and his men danced around him with savage delight, until Captain Underhill put an end to his sufferings, by shooting him through the head with a pistol.

Captain Mason had been instructed to make an attack upon the fort at Pequot harbor. The long delay, however, in reaching Saybrook, and adverse winds on the sound, led him to fear that Sassacus would concentrate his warriors at that point, and thus make his attack unsuccessful. He had been educated in military tactics in England, and conceived the plan of passing by the Pequot harbor, and sailing to the Narragansett country as more judicious. By this course, he not only hoped to capture Sassacus by making an unexpected attack upon his rear, but thought he might fall in with the English troops on their way from Massachusetts. He also deemed it advisable to secure aid from the warriors of Canonicus.

Many of his men were opposed to this plan. They had already been longer from home than they had anticipated; and thought the attack, as ordered by the General Court, should be made at all hazards.

 ” But Capt. Mason, apprehending an exceeding great hazard in so doing for the reasons fore mentioned, as also some other which I shall forbear to trouble you with, did therefore earnestly desire Mr. Stone that he would commend our condition to the Lord that night, to direct how, and in what manner we should demean ourselves in that Respect: he being our Chaplin and lying aboard our Pink, the Captain on shoar. In the morning very early Mr. Stone came ashoar to the Captain’s chamber, and told him he had done as he desired, and was fully satisfied to sail for Narragansett: our council was then called, and the several reasons alledged: in fine we all agreed with one accord to sail for Narragansett, which the next morning, (May 12,) we put in execution.

The little army arrived at Narragansett bay on Saturday towards evening, where they kept the Sabbath. On account of the wind they were not able to go on shore till sunset on Tuesday, when Capt. Mason landed and went to the chief sachem’s residence, and desired a free passage through his country, which was granted. The next day, Wednesday, they arrived at a place called Nayantic, eighteen or twenty miles distant, where resided another Narragansett sachem, who lived in a fort. As they would not suffer any of the English to go into their fort, Capt. Mason set a guard around it, and would not suffer any of the Indians to go out and give information to the Pequots of their approach.

On Thursday, about eight of the clock in the morning, we marched thence towards Pequot, with about five hundred Indians; but through the heat of the weather and want of provisions, some of our men fainted, and after having marched about twelve miles, we came to Pawcatuck river, at a Ford where our Indians told us the Pequots did usually fish; there making an Alta, we stayed some small time; the Narragansett Indians manifesting great fear, in so much that many of them returned, although they had frequently despised us, saying, That we durst not look upon a Pequot, but themselves would perform great things; though we had often told them that we came on purpose, and were resolved, God assisting, to see the Pequots, and to fight with them before we returned, though we perished. I then enquired of Onkos, (Uncas,) what he thought the Indians would do? who said the Narragansetts would all leave us, but as for himself, he would never leave us; and so it proved; for which expression, and some other speeches of his, I shall never forget him. Indeed he was a great friend, and did great service.

And after we had refreshed ourselves with our mean commons, we marched about three miles, and came to a field which had lately been planted with Indian corn: there we made another Alt, and called our council, supposing we drew near to the enemy; and being informed by the Indians that the enemy had two forts almost impregnable; but we were not at all discouraged, but rather animated, insomuch that we were resolved to assault both their forts at once. But understanding that one of them was so remote that we could not come up with it before midnight, though we marched hard: whereat we were much grieved, chiefly because the greatest and bloodiest sachem there resided, whose name was Sassacous: We were then constrained, being exceedingly spent in our march with extreme heat and want of necessaries, to accept the nearest.”

” We then marching on in a silent manner, the Indians that remained fell all into the rear, who formerly kept the van, (being possessed with great fear;) we continued our march till about one hour in the night: and coming to a little swamp between two hills, we pitched our little camp; much wearied with hard travel, keeping great silence, sup. posing we were very near the fort, as our Indians informed us, which proved otherwise. The rocks were our pillows; yet rest was pleasant. The night proved comfortable, being clear and moonlight. We appointed our guards, and placed our sentinels at some distance, who heard the enemy singing at the fort, who continued their strain till midnight, with great exulting and rejoicing as we were afterwards informed. They, seeing our pinnaces sail by them some clays before, concluded we were afraid of them, and durst not come near them, the burthen of their song tending to that purpose.



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