Monday, July 30, 2012


As I've said before, I sometimes wonder I'm here at all given the
number of ancestors and relatives involved in the Indian wars in
Colonial New England. Some were killed, some were captives, and
some survived because of the mercy shown by their captors. The
following is from Samuel Abbott Green's Groton During the Indian Wars
pages 94-95. The Penhallow book mentioned is Samuel Penhallow's
Indian Wars. Samuel Butterfield was the son of my 8x great granduncle
Nathaniel Butterfield:

"Penhallow, in his History, gives several instances of extreme cruelty to
the prisoners on the part of the savages, and mentions the following case
of a man who was captured in this town: —

`A third was of Samuel Butterfield, who being sent to Groton as a Soldier,
was with others attackt, as they were gathering in the Harvest; his bravery
was such, that he kill'd one and wounded another, but being overpower'd
by strength, was forc'd to submit; and it hapned that the slain Indian was a
Sagamore, and of great dexterity in War, which caused matter of Lamentation,
and enrag'd them to such degree that they vow'd the utmost revenge; Some
were for whipping him to Death; others for burning him alive; but differing
in their Sentiments, they submitted the Issue to the Squaw Widow,
concluding she would determine something very dreadful, but when the
matter was opened, and the Fact considered, her Spirits were so moderate
as to make no other reply, than, " Fortune L'guare. Upon which some were
uneasy; to whom she answered, If by killing him, you can bring my Husband
to life again, I beg you to study what Death you please; but if not let him be
my Servant; which he accordingly was, during his Captivity, and had favour
shewn him." (Pages 38, 39.) '

The account of Butterfield's case was in substance originally printed in a
pamphlet entitled "A MEMORIAL of the Present Deplorable STATE of New
England" (1707),
— now of great rarity, — which appeared twenty years
before Judge Penhallow's History was published. This pamphlet has since
been reprinted in the introduction to the sixth volume, fifth series, of the
" Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society." The account is as
follows: —

`A Man had Valiantly Killed an Indian or two before the Salvages took him.
He was next Morning to undergo an horrible Death, whereof the Manner
and the Torture was to be assigned by the Widow Squa of the Dead Indian.
The French Priests told him, they had indeavoured to divert the Tygres
from ther bloody Intention, but could not prevail with them; he must prepare
for the terrible Execution. His cries to God were hard, and heard; when
the Sentence of the Squa, was demanded, quite contrary to every ones
Expectation, and the Revengeful Inclination so usual and well-known among
these Creatures, she only said, His Death won't fetch my Husband to Life; Do
nothing to him! So nothing was done to him. (Page 58.*)' "

The Butterfields are my ancestors through the family of my Dad's Mom, Cora

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