Wednesday, March 13, 2013
THE DEATH OF JOHN NUTTING 13MAR 1676
337 years ago today, my 10x great grandfather John Nutting died. according
to family tradition and some historians. The reason there is no record is that
John was killed during an Indian attack on Groton, Massachusetts during the
conflict known as the King Philip's War. John Keep Nutting, another of John's
descendants, a century ago wrote about the incident
"Trouble actually began March 2, 1676. That night, Indians came and rifled
some of the deserted houses, carried off cattle and swine, and pretty thoroughly
waked up the town.
March 9, four men, who had gone out with two carts to bring hay, were attacked.
One was killed, two reached shelter, and one was made prisoner. He however
escaped, and reached Lancaster, up the River south ward.
March 13, a body of about 400 Indians stealthily came to the place. They were
under the command of a chief named Monoco, or Monojo, the latter indicating
that he had been among the Spaniards. He could speak English brokenly, and
was well acquainted with Captain James Parker, and probably with all the men
of Groton. The settlers translated his name, calling him One-eyed John, indicating
that he had lost an eye. This chief knew his business. Scouts from town had been
out in all directions the day before, and reported no Indians. Either the attacking
body had been hidden, or had come from a distance later.
Early in the morning, the watch at Nutting's garrison reported two Indians skulking
about,—no doubt "vpon discouery", or scouting. As there were supposed to be
no other Indians in the neighborhood, it seemed to all a desirable thing to capture
or kill these rascals. It would be easy, it seemed, if a sufficient force went out, to
surround them. Accordingly the whole fighting force of that garrison, and some
from Parker's (which was within speaking distance) sallied forth, led as we
suppose by our Founder himself.
Monojo had planned wisely. The two supposed scouts led the whites on and on,
till they were in the midst of the ambuscade prepared for them, which rose up
and poured in a volley. Thanks probably to the worthless guns furnished to the
Indians by traders, or to the equally worthless ammunition-—perhaps also to
poor markmanship—only two shots took effect. One man was killed outright,
and another was wounded. A panic ensued, and the men, apparently thinking
nothing of the defenceless women and children at the Nutting garrison, fled to
Parker's en masse. Meanwhile the other part of Monojo's plan had also succeeded,
a second ambush having risen up behind Nutting's, pulled down some of the
palisades, and effected an entrance.
However, the women and children all escaped to Parker's. The enemy found only
an infant, already dead. Whose, it is not recorded. There were five families in
Monojo lost no time in occupying the garrison thus captured, from which he kept
up such fire as he could upon the other houses. Night put an end to active hostilities,
but Monojo called up Captain Parker, reminding him that they were old neighbors,
and held quite a conversation with him. He discussed the cause of the war, and
spoke of making peace. He naturally ridiculed the white man's worship of God in
the Meetinghouse, seeing that God had not helped them. He boasted that he had
burnt Medfield and Lancaster, would now burn Groton, then "Chelmsford, Concord,
Watertown, Cambridge, Charlestown, Roxburv, and Boston", adding, "What me
WILL that me DO!" The chronicler, however, is pleased to add to his account that
not many months later this boaster was seen marching through the Boston streets
which he had threatened to burn "with an halter about his neck, wherewith he was
hanged at the town's end"', in September of the same year.
The Indians cut off the head of him who had beep killed by their first fire, and "did
set it vpon a pole, looking unto his own lande". " -pp54-56
Nutting genealogy: A record of some of the descendants of John Nutting,
of Groton, Mass (Google eBook) by John Keep Nutting, (C. W. Bardeen,
Syracuse, N.Y. 1908)
A few pages later he gives the reasoning for March 13th being the date of
John Nutting's death:
"Monojo was undoubtedly acquainted with John Nutting, and knew well where
"his own lande lay"—namely, at his garrison, a few rods to the north of where he
fell. It seems to me likely also, that the particular direction toward which the gory
trophy was made to "look". would hardly have been noticed,had not the chief called
attention to it by way of boasting, in his talk with Captain Parker.
The Town and Church Records, of course were in abbeyance for some time following
the catastrophe, so that the absence of any entry concerning the death of John Nutting
is not to be wondered at. (The Church Record is hopelessly lost.) But it is significant
that his name never appears after, in any connection. The names of his sons, John,
James, and (once or twice) Ebenezer, naturally take the place of his. Sarah, his widow,
is found some time later at Woburn, living, it is supposed with her married sister—
Nutting genealogy: A record of some of the descendants of John Nutting, of Groton,
Mass (Google eBook) by John Keep Nutting, (C. W. Bardeen, Syracuse, N.Y. 1908)
So once again, thanks to Google books I've found a story about one of my ancestors!