Upon the very threshold of this historical sketch we find ourselves quite destitute of early public records for Swan’s Island. For over half a century from the settlement of this island until its organization as a plantation no municipal records were kept. But we are fortunate that H. W. Small saw purpose in bringing to light many private family records, old deeds showing what lots were occupied by the pioneer settlers; and written mutual agreements, which seem to have been often the result of arbitration on any disputed point where different claims to land conflicted with one another.
This article is to treat particularly of the John Haward/Howard branch of the family to which belonged the late Daniel S. Howard, who was one of Brockton’s foremost citizens and most successful shoe manufacturers; his brother, Gorham B. Howard, now retired, who for a number of years was one of that city’s successful merchants, engaged in the dry goods business; and the former’s sons, Warren A. Howard, now deceased, who for years was extensively engaged in the manufacture of shoes, and Daniel S. Howard, Jr., who is president of the Emerson Shoe Company, of Rockland, Massachusetts.
A Narrative of the captivity of Nehemiah How, who was taken by the Indians at the Great Meadow Fort above Fort Dummer, where he was an inhabitant, October 11th, 1745. Giving an account of what he met with in his traveling to Canada, and while he was in prison there. Together with an account of Mr. How’s death at Canada. Exceedingly valuable for the many items of exact intelligence therein recorded, relative to so many of the present inhabitants of New England, through those friends who endured the hardships of captivity in the mountain deserts and the damps of loathsome prisons. Had the author lived to have returned, and published his narrative himself, he doubtless would have made it far more valuable, but he was cut off while a prisoner, by the prison fever, in the fifty-fifth year of his age, after a captivity of one year, seven months, and fifteen days. He died May 25th, 1747, in the hospital at Quebec, after a sickness of about ten days. He was a husband and father, and greatly beloved by all who knew him.
John Gyles captivity narrative provides a stunning display of Abenaki culture and lifestyle, as it was in the 1690’s. John was 10 years old when he was taken captive in the attack on Pemaquid (Bristol Maine) and his narrative provides an accounting of his harrowing treatment by his Indian captors, as well as the three years exile with his French owners at Jemseg New Bruswick. His faith in Christ remains central in the well-being of his mind throughout his ordeal.