SHORT STORIES

                                                                       SHORT STORIES WILL BE ADDED IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

 

THE GREAT COLONIAL HURRICANE  

James E Butterworth Clipper  1635

The Strongest hurricane to ever hit Massachusetts happened 379 years ago on the 25th of August 1635. The hurricane took place just 15 years after the Pilgrims founded the Plymouth Colony. With God’s grace and the skill of English seaman many little wooden ships crossed the Atlantic Ocean almost without mishap until 1635. The following story is based on written reports of the day and a diary kept by Rev. Richard Mather a passenger on board the ship, St. James.  He was a Puritan who was sailing in disguise to escape the wrath of King Charles. In a journal giving details of the trip the minister wrote…..

“We saw the truth of the Scripture Psalm 107:23-31. ‘Some went out to sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord. His wonderful deeds of the deep. For he spoke and stirred the tempest, that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths, in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits end. They cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.”

In June, the “James of London,”described as a relatively small, but sturdy wooden ship set sail from England in a fleet of five ships. The St. James was carrying one- hundred passengers bound for Boston. The  240 ton, Angel Gabriel was heading to Pemaquid Point, Maine, a regular destination for the 16 gun ship, and the smaller and faster ships Elizabeth, Diligence and Mary’s  final destination was Newfoundland.  On June 4th, the fleet departed Bristol, England and went as far as Lundy Island before dropping anchor. On June 9th they tacked north to Milford Haven, Wales where they remained stalled by unfavorable high winds and had to stay put for 12 days. While they waited for better sailing conditions the pilgrims held joint church services with the other ships in their fleet of five and feasted on mutton, turkey, milk cheeses and fresh fish. They had time to go ashore to wash and buy more oats and hay for the animals, and bread for themselves. With so much time on their hands it was no surprise when the crew became unruly and one of the sailors on the James was put on shore by the ship’s Captain for drunkenness, blasphemy, brawling and cursing. Finally on the 22nd when the winds calmed down the five ships set sail, but by noon the next day the James and Angel Gabriel lost sight of the three ships sailing for Newfoundland. Fearing an attack by pirates, The James’ captain decided to keep pace with the Angel Gabriel because of it’s 16 cannons. However the larger ship was slow in sailing, and at times, the James had to sail with three less sails just so the Angel Gabriel could keep up with them. By the 4th of July the James went on ahead because they were concerned that their cattle would not hold out if they slowed to let the Angel Gabriel keep pace with them. For the first time, the St. James was now able to go full sail, and might very well be the reason that it almost made it to it’s final destination of Boston, before the hurricane struck.

All five of the pilgrim’s ships, who left Bristol, England together and crossed the Atlantic were caught by the Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635. The Elizabeth, Diligence and Mary were able to outran the storm and all landed safely in Newfoundland.  However as the St. James was approaching New England the hurricane struck and the ship was forced to ride it out just off the Isle of Shoales, near the coast of Massachusetts. It was there that the St. James encountered the worst hurricane ever recorded in history. According to the ship’s log and Rev. Mather’s journal…

“At this moment… their lives were given up for lost; but then, in an instant of time, God turned the wind about, which carried them from the rocks of death before their eyes…her sails rent in sunder, and split in pieces, as if they had been rotten rages.

The Angel Gabriel was shipwrecked off  the coast of Maine at Pemaquid Point, and became the first ship carrying passengers to the new world who suffered a catastrophic fate. The Gabriel lost it’s entire live stock and had only a few survivors out of all the passengers and crew that boarded the ship in England. The St. James might have been torn and tattered from sustaining 135 miles per hour winds, but not one death! All one-hundred passengers managed to make it to Boston Harbor two days later.

On board the St. James were brothers, *Stephen and John Kingsley  Jr., sons of **John Kingsley. John Sr. traveled to the new world the year before in 1634 with his wife and daughter, Grace Kingsley (8XGGM.)

**Common Great Grandfather – *Stephen Kingsley was 10X & 11X GGF of George Herbert Bush “41” and George Walker Bush “43.” 

 

THE KING PHILIP’S WAR 1675-1678

KingPhilipsWar The Attack on Mendon in the Massachusetts Bay Colony

The Bloody, King Philip’s war was the single greatest calamity to occur in seventeenth-century New England. Proportionately, it was one of the bloodiest and costliest wars in the history of North America. More than half of New England’s towns were attacked by Native American warriors. In the space of little more than a year, more than a dozen of the region’s towns were completely destroyed and many more damaged. The colony’s economy was all but ruined, and much of it’s population was killed, including one-tenth of all men available for military service. It was an armed conflict between the Native Indian tribes of New England and the English Colonists and their Native Indian Allies. The war is named after the main leader of the Native American side, Metacomet who was also known as “King Philip.”

Benjamin Albee was born in England  and arrived to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1639 at 25 years old. In Boston he met and married Hannah Miller and shortly thereafter they settled in the newly, re-settled town of Braintree, which is 17 miles south of Boston. Five of their children Hannah, Lydia, John, Prudence and James were born there between 1641 and 1645.  Then in 1649 Benjamin Albee moved his family westward from Braintree, and settled in the town of Medfield where 2 more children were born, Sarah in 1652 and Benjamin Jr. in 1653.  Benjamin’s wife and mother of his seven children, Hannah Miller died in Medfield in 1655 at age 37.

In 1662 pioneers from Braintree petitioned to receive and got a land grant for an 8 square mile stretch of land, 15 miles west of Medfield. However early settlers from Braintree and Medfield did not begin entering the newly acquired land until after a deed was signed with Native American chief, “Great John.”  Benjamin Albee who was an official surveyor, road builder and carpenter did not relocate from Medfield to the new plantation called MENDON until he reached an  agreement with the Superintending Committee from Boston to erect and maintain a corn-mill on Mill River. In about 1664/5 Benjamin had a dam built, put the mill into operation and moved his family from Medfield to Mendon. In consideration of building and maintaining the first water powdered mill for grain grinding in these parts, the enterprising pioneer received 50 acres of land situated east of the river and south of the road.  Mendon was incorporated and settled in 1667/8 and Benjamin Albee as a prominent figure and major land owner became one of the town’s first selectman.

By 1675 the peaceful co-existence that was demonstrated at the first Thankgiving at Plymouth in 1621, had long ended. The first skirmish with the Wampanoag Tribe occurred in June in the town of Swansea in the Plymouth Colony.  The attack was orchestrated by the tribe’s leader, King Philip who had become chief upon his father’s death in 1662.  Since then King Philip had become painfully aware that the culture of his tribe was eroding and he knew that the Native American Indian’s way of life, soon would be gone if he didn’t take action. Up until early in July of 1675, Philip and his tribe were the only Indians engaged in atrocities or that had shown any dissatisfaction or disposition to break the peaceful relations with the Colonists. The attack on the settlement of Mendon came three weeks after Plymouth and sent shock waves of terror throughout the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The raid was made by the peaceful, Nipmuc Indians who had been baptized into Christianity and were members of the “Praying Indian Towns.”  This could only mean one thing, King Philip’s attempts at lobbying neighboring tribes had succeeded, and signaled the beginning of an all-out bloody war between the English Colonists and the proud and noble Indian Civilization from Southeastern, New England.

At the time Mendon was attacked it was just a lonely settlement set in a dense wilderness with only a horse and cart path connecting it with the civilized world.  The town had a blacksmith, a carpenter, a weaver and a minister, but it’s crown and glory had to be Benjamin Albee’s Mill on Medfield Road. Before the mill was built, the settlers had to carry their grain to be ground in Medfield which was separated from Mendon by 15 miles of forest.  I pray that Benjamin Albee’s son, John never knew what hit him when he was killed on the 14th of July 1675 during the Indians surprise attack on Mendon. The unsuspecting thirty-two-year-old was probably working in his corn field when an Indian snuck up behind him and planted a tomahawk in his skull!  It is rumored that after the murder of his oldest son, Benjamin Albee took all the woman and children in his household back to Braintree while his other son, James stayed to protect the family’s holdings. Like the Albee Family many families moved eastward, but those who stayed in Mendon, lived in daily fear of a second attack and prepared for conflict by building a military fort.  In light of the desperate situation they were in, the remaining residents hoped to get help from the General Court in Boston. Instead a letter was delivered to them on November 3rd, ordering that all residents who had left were to return, and that all remaining residents were forbidden to leave. The order further stated that all residents who did not comply with this directive would forfeit their homes and property.  The residents sent back word to Boston that they would be defying the order, and shortly thereafter they abandoned the unprotected town.

After the last of the settlers had gone from Mendon in February of 1676 the warriors returned and burnt down every building still standing in town, which included Albee’s Mill. That winter the war quickly spread throughout New England from Connecticut to Rhode Island and all the way up to Maine. Many frontier settlements were destroyed and settlers were either killed or carried away.  The atrocities committed by the Indian’s tomahawk and the setting of heads and hands of victims on poles along the savages path of retreat, is hard to fathom. But what is even more difficult to imagine is colonial men being tortured to death as a part of the Native Americans ritual treatment of enemies and their bodies being burnt alive. The tide of the war slowly began to turn in the colonists favor in the spring and upon King Philip’s death. The thirty-seven-year-old, Chief of the Wampanoag was killed by an enemy Indian on the 12th of August 1676, not far from his home in Mount Hope. However there would be much more bloodshed spilled on both sides, before a treaty was signed in April of 1678  finally ending the conflict known as, “King Philip’s War.”

Benjamin Albee never returned to the town he helped build, however his son, James came back to Mendon in 1680. Benjamin died in Medfield in 1686 at age 72 and all his property in Mendon was passed to the hands of his second oldest son. James rebuilt his father’s corn-mill and continued to earn a livelihood from the sales off the cornflower. In His time, *James Albee became a large land holder and was a man of social influence. He continued to live in Mendon for the rest of his life, and died there in 1717 at age 72, the same age his father, Benjamin was when he died.

FOUNDING FATHERS OF MENDON, MA. – BENJAMIN ALBEE, WALTER COOKE AND FERDINANDO THAYER (7Xgreat grandfathers)

*JAMES ALBEE (my 6XGGF and 6XGGF of the 27th PRESIDENT, WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT

 

THE STORY OF BEAR SKIN NECK 1700

Bear Skin Neck - Sign By Roger W. Babson

The first male Babson to come to America was James (born in 1633 and died in 1683.) James Babson built the little stone building at Beaver Dam as a Cooperage Shop sometime between 1658 and 1662. It is now the oldest existing building on Cape Ann in Rockport, Massachusetts. He had ten children and from his son John most of the Babsons on Cape Ann have descended. John however had an unmarried brother named Ebenezer, who was born in 1667 and was known to be a fearless chap. According to a letter written to Cotton Mather by the local minister, Rev. John Emerson, he figured in the “diabolical” work of protecting “witches” from persecution. This in 1692 kept the town in an agitation for several months.

Ebenezer Babson not only showed his bravery by speaking his mind on theological questions, but “distinguished himself in an encounter with less ethereal enemy.” From this episode Bear Skin Neck received it’s name. Here it should be said that John and Ebenezer Babson had a sister Abigail, who married Thomas Witham. They lived at the corner of what is now Whitham Street and Eastern Avenue where John J. Babson, from 1855 to 1860, wrote his famous History of Gloucester. This as well as the above mentioned little stone building is on Route 127 between Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts.

Among the children of Abigail Babson and Thomas Whitham was Henry Witham, born in 1695. One day when Henry as a child was playing on the “Neck”, a bear unexpectedly encountered him. It happened that his Uncle Ebenezer Babson who then resided at the Farms, saw the bear attack the boy. He immediately attacked the bear to get his attention away from the child, but having no gun he permitted the bear to follow him into the water. Thereafter a terrific struggle Ebenezer killed the bear with a fish knife. This was in 1700.

Ebenezer then brought the bear onto the shore , skinned him, and spread the skin on the rocks to dry. Ebenezer Babson died shortly afterwards, presumably lost at sea, but his nephew Henry Witham, whose life he saved, lived to a ripe old age. Naturally he often told the story of his rescue and when people asked how his uncle killed the bear, he would reply: “With his knife, I do declare.”

Bear Skin Neck Rockport, Massachusetts BEAR SKIN NECK, ROCK PORT, MASSACHUSETTS

 

THE MURDER OF JOHN IRISH 1777

Fort Ticonderoga Fort Ticonderoga 

Fort Ticonderoga is located in northeastern New York on Lake Champlain, directly across from Vermont. On the 10th of May in 1775 the capture of Fort Ticonderoga was  the first American victory of the Revolutionary War. Captain Samuel Herrick aided in the victory and was promoted to Colonel  for the bravery he demonstrated in the bloodless victory at the Battle of Ticonderoga. On July 8th of 1777 Vermont’s newly appointed delegates met in a Tavern in Windsor for the purpose of finalizing the constitution for the newly formed State of Vermont. A weary messenger rushed into the tavern and announced that two days before Lieutenant General John Burgoyne’s army marching south from Canada had recaptured Forts Ticonderoga and Mount Independence. He said the roads from Lake Champlain were clogged with fleeing refuges and The Green Mountain Boys of Vermont were in tatters and unable to defend Vermont’s western boarder. The assembly succeeded in going on to ratify each article of the Constitution and appointed a 12-man Council of Safety to address the defense of Vermont from Burgoyne’s Army. Vermont at the time was a wilderness populated by farmers and frontiersmen, few of whom knew battle. The delegates unanimously endorsed raising a full regiment to protect Vermont. Samuel Herrick became the logical choice to lead the Vermont’s Regiment. A week later on the 15th of July 1777  Captain Samuel Herrick received his commission as Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment that would be known as Herrick’s Rangers.

John and his brother, William Irish (3Xgreat granduncles) lived on adjoining farms in the northwestern section of  Tinmouth, Vermont  only 15 miles away from the British Camp at Fort Skeneborough in New York. Their homes were built but a little distance apart and near the road which ran parallel to the line fence between their farms. When the news that the British re-captured Fort Ticonderoga reached John and William on the second week of July in 1777 a good many of the towns inhabitants had already moved southward, however they decided to stay.  Like their father, *Jesse Irish, who lived on a farm 5 miles south of them in Danby, John and William were devout Quakers who refused to participate in war.

On the 27th of July Colonel Samuel Herrick’s Council of Safety sent a scouting party  into Danby, Vermont to see what was going on and whether there was any hostile designs from anyone against the American Colonists fight to win independence. When Captain Ebenezer Allen, Lieutenant Isaac Clark, and Privates, John Train and Phineas Clough arrived in town they were informed that “John and William Irish from Tinmouth were about joining the Tories and that the shortest route to the British held camp at Fort Skenesborough would pass their dwellings.” When Phineas Clough said he was a personal acquaintance of the Irish brothers, the four Herrick Rangers headed north from Danby to Tinmouth with a plan to entrap one or both of the Irish brothers. Phineas Clough approached the brothers chopping wood outside John’s house, while his cohorts remained hidden in the woods.  There are two accounts of what happened next….

The following statement was made by Captain Ebenezer Allen and sworn to by his men: Clough said when he approached John and William he told them “I’ve decided to join the Tories!” to which he said  the brothers replied, “consider yourself a prisoner, and we’ll see about you joining the Tories.” Clough then said, William Irish then directed his younger brother, John to take him inside, and that he would soon follow and they would all go to the British Camp together. John Irish had an Indian tomahawk uplifted  in his hand and told Clough to walk along with him; and they walked on. Captain Allen said when he saw this from his place of concealment he told his men “We have to get as close as we can to the house without being discovered.” And then gave the direction “Under no circumstances should any one fire their guns until I do.” Then one by one he and his men crawled along behind the brush fence, undetected. Allen said that they had not waited long before their decoy stepped from the door and after looking about, started for the woods. Captain Allen said, ” Private Clough had gotten partly over the fence when John Irish came out, half dressed, with a gun in one hand and powder-horn in the other.” Then John Irish called out to Clough, “Stop or I’ll shoot!” While in the act of raising his gun, apparently to carry out the threat Allen said “I shot him through his left hand knocking his gun from him.”  Irish then turned around to face Lieutenant Clark who shot him through the heart.

Another account of the murder and witness was John Irish’s wife, Rebecca Doty (mother of his three children ages 3 to 2 months.)  The following is Rebecca’s statement: “My husband  had been previously engaged in reaping the wheat and had mowed about an acre when Clough came to the house, and inquired the way to Durham Bridge. He asked my husband to direct him through the woods as he said he did not like to travel the road because of spies. John told him to keep to the road as the safest way and then because dinner was ready asked Clough to eat, but he declined and just stood in the doorway. After dinner John put more wood in the fireplace and then laid down on the bed with the two oldest children.  At some point Clough asked for a drink of water and I went to the spring to fetch it for him. A few moments after I got back with the water, while engaged in doing the dinner dishes,  all at once, Clough took off out of the house in the direction of the spring. When John jumped up to follow him out the door, I begged him not to go. My husband was not far from the house when a man (Allen) raised up behind a maple log and shot John through the hand, nearly severing his third and little finger. Another man (Clark) then in a rough manner asked my husband if he’d like to take more prisoners. John said he would take or harm no man, and added you have wounded me, upon which he held up his hand and Clark shot him through the heart.” Rebecca then added, “My husband then turned walked about a rod and fell dead upon his face!”

In conclusion it is up to the reader as to which account of the murder is to be believed, however it was reported that about two weeks before his death John Irish heard that all persons found with arms would be dealt with as enemies. Wishing to evade all trouble he dismembered his fowling piece of it’s stock and lock. The lock he wrapped and put in the bottom of his chest and the stock and barrel he took to the swamp and placed in a hollow log.  There the gun remained until the winter following his death when his wife traded the gun for necessary articles.  It is believed that John Irish was never accused or tried for being a Tory and in regard to the truth of Rebecca’s statement  it was said, “Wherever she was known her word was never doubted.”  It was said that John Irish lived in the peaceful enjoyment of his property until the day he was shot by Isaac Clark on the 27th of July 1777.  John Irish was a Quaker in principle and was a quiet and unassuming man who was shot dead at thirty-two years of age because it was rumored he was a British sympathizers.

*JESSE IRISH (my 4XGGF)      

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