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The Founding of Norwich Vermont

As we have already seen, Norwich virtually had its origin in the colony of Connecticut in the year 1761. On the 26th day of August of that year, at the house of William Waterman, inn-holder, in the town of Mansfield, in said colony, were convened the proprietors or grantees of a newly granted township of land situated 150 miles away to the northward, in a wilderness country then just beginning to be known as the “New Hampshire Grants.” These men were assembled to decide upon the first steps to be taken to open up to settlement and improvement a tract of forest six miles square located on the west bank of Connecticut River forty miles north of Charlestown, New Hampshire (Fort Number Four), then the farthest outpost of civilization in the upper valley of that river. At the time of which we are speaking all that portion of the present state of New Hampshire lying west of the intervals of the Merrimac in the vicinity of Concord was entirely uninhabited, and lay in the primitive wildness of nature. A few townships along that river above Concord had been surveyed and located, and thither a few resolute pioneers had already penetrated, among them Captain Ebenezar Webster, the father of the future expounder of the Constitution, whose cabin was at one time, it is said, nearer the north star than that of any other New Englander. But beyond a narrow fringe of settlements along the Merrimac, the whole of western New Hampshire north of Keene was alike covered by primitive forests and untouched by the hand of man1. To the westward...

Captivity and Redemption of Mrs. Jemima Howe – Indian Captivities

A particular account of the captivity and redemption of Mrs. Jemima Howe, who was taken prisoner by the Indians at Hinsdale, New Hampshire, on the twenty-seventh of July, 1765, as communicated to Dr. Belknap by the Rev. Bunker Gay. As Messrs. Caleb Howe, Hilkiah Grout, and Benjamin Gaffield, who had been hoeing corn in the meadow, west of the river, were returning home, a little before sunset, to a place called Bridgman’s fort, they were fired upon by twelve Indians, who had ambushed their path. Howe was on horseback, with two young lads, his children, behind him. A ball, which broke his thigh, brought him to the ground. His horse ran a few rods and fell likewise, and both the lads were taken. The Indians, in their savage manner coming up to Howe, pierced his body with a spear, tore off his scalp, stuck a hatchet in his head, and left him in this forlorn condition. He was found alive the morning after, by a party of men from Fort Hindsdale; and being asked by one of the party whether he knew him, he answered, “Yes, I know you all.” These were his last words, though he did not expire until after his friends had arrived with him at Fort Hindsdale. Grout was so fortunate as to escape unhurt. But Gaffield, in attempting to wade through the river, at a certain place which was indeed fordable at that time, was unfortunately drowned. Flushed with the success they had met with here, the savages went directly to Bridgman’s Fort. There was no man in it, and only three women and...

Narrative of the Captivity of Mrs. Isabella M’coy – Indian Captivities

Narrative of the Captivity of Mrs. Isabella M’coy, who was taken Captive at Epsom, N. H., in the Year 1747. Collected From the Recollections of Aged People who knew her, by the Rev. Jonathan Curtis, a Minister of that Town, about Seventeen Years ago, and by Him Communicated to the Publishers of the New Hampshire Historical Collections. The Indians were first attracted to the new settlements in the town of Epsom, N. H., by discovering M’Coy at Suncook, now Pembroke. This, as nearly as can be ascertained, was in the year 1747. Reports were spread of the depredations of the Indians in various places; and M’Coy had heard that they had been seen lurking about the woods at Penacook, now Concord. He went as far as Pembroke; ascertained that they were in the vicinity; was somewhere discovered by them, and followed home. They told his wife, whom they afterwards made prisoner, that they looked through cracks around the house, and saw what they had for supper that night. They however did not discover themselves till the second day after. They probably wished to take a little time to learn the strength and preparation of the inhabitants. The next day, Mrs. M’Coy, attended by their two dogs, went down to see if any of the other families had returned from the garrison. She found no one. On her return, as she was passing the blockhouse, which stood near the present site of the meeting-house, the dogs, which had passed round it, came running back growling and very much excited. Their appearance induced her to make the best of her way...

John Gyles Captivity Narrative – Indian Captivities

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.

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