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custom to make their attacks in winter; and, like their Indian allies, with snow-shoe and toboggan, make use of the ice-bound lakes and rivers. It was always with feelings of relief that the English beheld the breaking up of the ice in the spring, for the danger of a winter's incursion was then considered to be over.
The First English Expedition into Vermont.—In the same year that the expedition against Schenectady was made, the English determined to build a fort at what is now Chimney Point in Addison, and sent Jacob de Warm (sometimes written de Narm) for that purpose. The fort was built but not garrisoned, having been intended only as a stopping-place for troops to and from Canada. This was the first English expedition into Vermont.
Attack on Deerfield.—After an interval of about five years, in which there was peace between the rival nations, Queen Anne's War broke out (1702) and continued for eleven years. The first and principal move in this country was made by the French, in 1704, in an expedition against Deerfield, one of the frontier towns on the Connecticut River.
A force of 200 French and 142 Indians proceeded over the French road in midwinter when the snow was deep upon the ground. Their provision sleds, some of which were drawn by dogs, they left at West River guarded by a small number of their men. The remaining force hurried on to Deerfield, reaching there in the evening. Concealing themselves until the latter part of the night, when the guards had left the streets, they rushed into the village, finding easy access by means of the crusted drifts piled up to the very tops of the low palisades by which Deerfield was protected.
A terrible slaughter of the unsuspecting people followed, and in a short time the town was well-nigh reduced to ashes. Forty-seven of the inhabitants had been slain ; and, soon after dawn, the victors were on their way to Canada, with over a hundred prisoners and considerable booty.
The Journey to Canada; the Williams Family - The Indians now divided their captives into small parties, over each of which an Indian was placed, who called himself the master of the party. This was done for the reason that it was easier to supply a small company with fresh meat than a large one; and they depended in a great measure on the game of the forest for their subsistence. The prisoners were also furnished with moccasins and snow-shoes, which the French had brought for them from Canada.
Among the captives was the minister's family, consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Williams, their seven children, and two negro servants.
One of the servants and two of the chil. dren were slain at the start; and Mrs. Williams was soon after put to death, as she had fallen into the water while crossing a brook, and, hindered by her wet clothing, was unable to keep up with the party.
On the first Sunday of their captivity the prisoners were allowed to rest, at a point on a western branch of the Connecticut River, not far from where Bellows Falls now stands. Here Mr. Williams preached to the captives; and, in commemoration of this circumstance, the branch was named Williams River.
At White River the company divided. One party, of which the Rev. Mr. Williams was a member, returned to Canada by the same route over which they had come, stopping for a time at the Indian village at Swanton.
Another party, containing Mr. Williams's son, ascended the Connecticut River, halting at Coös meadows, where they barely escaped starvation by procuring wild game. Indeed, two of the captives actually died of hunger.
Allured by the rich meadow-lands, the Indians decided to remain here for the corn-planting. The corn was planted the next spring, but the planters did not wait for the harvest. A report had come to them that a tribe near by had been almost entirely destroyed by English allies, and they feared that they too were about to be attacked. They accordingly left their cornfields, and hurried on to Canada by way of the Wells and Winooski rivers and Lake Cham. plain.
Most of the captives were afterward redeemed and allowed to return to their friends; but Eunice Williams, seven years old at the time of her captivity, was never ransomed. She became so attached to Indian life that she had no desire to return to her friends ; and the Indians, declaring that “they would as soon part with their own hearts,” refused all ransom for her. She finally married an Indian, and several times afterward visited Deerfield, but would never consent to return to civilized life.
Probably the real cause of this great tragedy was the desire of the Canadian governor to please the Abenaki Indians, whom he wished to retain as allies.
In an old French version a different reason is given for the raid on Deerfield. A French priest of Caughnawaga requested the Indians of his mission to send peltry to France in exchange for a bell for their church. They did so, but the vessel that bore the bell was seized on the way over by the British ; and the bell at length found its way to Deerfield. Here, with the popish inscription erased from its side, it hung in the belfry of a church, until a force of French and Indians made a raid upon Deerfield,
and carried the bell away. With much labor they conveyed it through the deep snows as far as Lake Champlain, where they buried it.
The next spring some young Indians came back for the bell. Bearing it upon a pole between them, they entered Caughnawaga in triumph ; and when in the distance the villagers heard the first faint sounds of the bell, they exclaimed
with joy, “ It is the bell !” Triumphal entry into Caughna
Whether this tale be true waga.
or not, no one knows; but a brazen bell, from whose sides the inscription had been pared away, hung for many years in a church at Caughnawagao
Thirty Years of Peace. — After the close of Queen Anne's War there was peace for over thirty years, but in the meantime Vermont history was making. Among the events of these years was the building of forts by both nations and the establishment of the boundary-line between Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Equivalent Lands.-On determining the boundaries between Massachusetts and Connecticut, in 1713, acres of land, previously granted by Massachusetts, were found to come rightfully within the limits of Connecticut. Massachusetts, wishing to retain all lands granted by her, entered into an agreement with her sister colony to give the latter a certain number of her acres as an equivalent for those taken. The Equivalent Lands were located in four different places, one being above Northfield on the west bank of the Connecticut River within the limits of the present towns of Brattleboro, Dummerston, and Putney.
The Connecticut Colony then caused these lands to be sold at public auction. The purchasers, now being tenants in common, made partition of their lands, and the tract above Northfield fell to William Dummer (afterward lieutenant-governor of Massachusetts), William Brattle, and three others, and was held by them for many years.