Wednesday, April 09, 2014


(Today is the 325th Anniversary of 8x great grandfather Stephen Greenleaf Jr.
reporting a conversation involving a William Sargent. At the time I wrote this 
back in June 2009 I thought it was my 9x great grandfather William Sargent,
but he had died in 1675. I now believe it refers to his son, also named William,
my 8x great granduncle, so the mystery is, I think, solved.))

Stephen Greenleaf, Sr. had come to the Bay Colony with his father Edmund Greenleaf
and settled in Newbury, Essex Co. Ma. On 13Nov 1651 he married Elizabeth Coffin,
daughter of Tristram Coffin and Dionis Stevens and his first son, Stephen Greenleaf,
Jr. was born 15Aug 1652.

Stephen Jr. is most often referred to as Captain Greenleaf in the family genealogy and
is termed a "great Indian fighter." I've found several references to his having had a
prominent role in a battle in 1690 in Wells, Maine but as yet I haven't found any
account of the event anywhere else online. However, I have found several documents
dealing with his military career.

The first of these seems to be a report of a conversation he had or overheard with a man
named William Sargeant(Sargent) of Amesbury. This took place during the campaign in
Maine of 1689:

"Testimony of S. Greenleafe Junr
The testimony of Stephen Greenleaf Jun. That on the 8th of Aprill he heard Wm Sargeant
of Ames bury who came lately from the Indians (among whom he had bin a season) to
affirme these things to be told by the Indians.

That the Gouernour had agreed with three nations of Indians besides the Mowhakes to
come downe vpon the English & on the agree mt had given them some money & some coats,

That the Penicook Indians had no designe for warre, but they being in combination with the mowhakes he thought they would be ruled by them, & do as they did.

That he thought that euery day that it was neglected it was too long, & he was affraid that
there would be bloud shed.

That he had done no hurt agt the English, & he was glad he went no farther then Mr Hinks
his house with the post letters, & mr Hinks stopt him,

Divers other words were spoken, but this as farre as he remembers was the substance of
what was spoken
Taken on oath Aprill 9th 1689. before me Jon Woodbridge J. P".

James Phinney Baxter, History of the State of Maine Maine Historical Society
Portland, Me. 1890 pp472-473

I think the "Gouernor" refers to the French Governor of Quebec.

Now what struck me about this testimony was the name of the person that it concerns:
William Sargeant of Amesbury. One of my ancestors is William Sargent of Amesbury and
now I'm wondering if this is him. And if it is, what was he doing spending a season among
the Indians? Noting the April 8th date, then Sargeant had spent the winter, perhaps
trapping or trading for fur with the tribes .

I've found no answers to this as yet. So now I have a new family mystery to solve!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You stated "Noting the April 8th date, then Sargeant had spent the winter, perhaps trapping or trading for fur with the tribes"

I think it far more likely he spent the winter as a captive!

I did check Emma Coleman's "New England Captives Carried to Canada" for you. He is not listed in her book, but she did not do detailed research on those who were held by local Natives and not taken to Quebec for ransom or sale.

Nancy Lecompte