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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A SHOT IN THE DARK PT2

I haven't been able to find a description of Andrew Gardner's garrison house
but from what I've found about the circumstances of his death there was a wall
with some sort of watchtower around the house. During times of heightened
of Indian activities in the area Rev. Garner's garrison was manned by his neighbors
and likewise sheltered their families. Since his house had originally been part of
John Prescott's lands, it's unsurprising to find Prescott relations among the 9 men
in the garrison list:

"on ye west side of Nashuway River
Mr, Andrew Gardner & Thomas Sawyer Jur a Garison
Thomas Sawyer Comander -3
Mr. Gardner -1
Jabez Fairbank -1
Nathl. Sawyer -1
John Harris -1
Daniell Rugg -1
Saml Prescott -1--9"

So on that October night in 1704 there were nine men and their families within the
garrison. The men would have taken shifts on sentry duty, and it was this which led to
the circumstances of Rev. Gardner's death:

"I now return to the westward, where, on the 25th of October the enemy did some mischief. Lancaster was alarmed, and the alarm was the means of the untimely death of the Rev. Mr Gardiner their worthy pastor. Several of the inhabitants who belonged to the garrison, were wearied by hard travelling the day before, in pursuit of the enemy. This caused this good
man out of pity and compassion to watch that night himself: accordingly he went into the
box which lay over the flanker, where he staid till late in the night; but being cold (as was supposed) he
was coming down to warm himself, when one between sleeping and waking,
or surprised
through excess of fear fired upon him as he was coming out of the watch house where no man could rationally expect the coming of an enemy. Mr Gardner, although he
was shot through
the back came to the door and bid them open it for he was wounded. No sooner did he enter, but he fainted away: As he came to himself, he asked who it was that
shot him, and when they told him, he prayed God to forgive him, and forgave him himself, believing that he did it not on purpose; and with a composed frame of spirit, desired them
that bewailed him not to weep,
but pray for him and his flock. He comforted his sorrowful spouse, and expired within an hour.

[Samuel Penhallow's History of the Indian Wars.]"


The name of the man who shot Rev. Andrew Gardner was Samuel Prescott.

An account in the November 30th 1704 issue of the Boston News Letter added
that three of the defenders were away. The Early Records of Lancaster tells how
a coroner's inquest was held and that contrary to the accounts above, Samuel Prescott
stated he was the sentinel on duty. When he saw someone climbing down from the
sentry box, he challenged the person twice but receiving no reply fired.

The jury exonerated Samuel Prescott but apparently he was unable to forgive himself.
He left Lancaster and moved to Concord, Ma.

As I said in the first part this article, life under such circumstances had to have been
extremely stressful for our ancestors. The story of Andrew Gardner's death is just one
instance we know about in which those circumstances led to tragic mistakes. I wonder
how many more there might have been that were never recorded.

1 comment:

Heather Rojo said...

I love your Prescott stories about Lancaster. Keep them coming!