Saturday, March 21, 2015


The 13th New England Regional Genealogical Conference is only a few more weeks away,
 (April 15-18 2015 at Providence, R.I.) and it's loaded with knowledgeable speakers giving
presentations on a variety of interesting subjects. One of those speakers will be historian Michael
Tougias, the author and co-author of bestselling books on stories of survival such as Ten Hours 
Until Dawn and The Finest Hours. He also co-authored King Philip's War: The History and 
Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict with Eric B Schultz, and his presentation at NERGC
will be "King Philip’s Indian War in New England" .

The organizers of the Conference asked New England genealogy bloggers to help get
out the word by conducting email interviews with the speakers.  I have Colonial
ancestors who fought in King Philip's War so I was familiar with Mr. Tougias' book and he
graciously answered some questions for me:

1. How did you first become interested in the King Phillip's War?

I grew up in Longmeadow Mass and remember seeing various roadside signs about this war and wondered what it was all about.  When I learned it had a higher per capita casualty rate than the civil war, I became very interested.  Then when I learned that the Natives were winning in the first few months I was hooked!

2. Why do you think that one of the bloodiest wars in American history is among the
    least known?

I think the text books used in the schools skipped right over this period because it didn't fit with the "all-american" view of the first Thanksgiving, etc. So they conveniently jumped from the Pilgrims land here and the next thing you know we are in the American Revolution, skipping over a hundred years history!

3. What was the biggest effect on the English settlements in New England from the war?

It all depended on where you lived.  If you were in CT, the colony escaped with just one attack (Simsbury), while MA and RI were devastated, and took years to recover.

4.You've also written a novel about the war, Until I Have No Country. How did that come

My historical novel Until I Have No Country, was something I wanted to write since I was a boy.  I had dreams about this period and felt that if I could time travel I'd love to go back and see New England before the colonist's had expanded to every region.  I also felt readers would connect with a book told with balance.  That's why part of it is told from the perspective of a Native American, Tamoset, and part from Colonial farmer John Homer.  I'm an avid reader of historical fiction, and the best books have a realistic love story, and so Until I Have No Country also has a love story: between Tamoset and another Native American.  Even in war, there is love and day to day living.

My thanks to Michael Tougias for taking part in this interview. If you had ancestors in Colonial New England at the time of King Philip's War, Mr. Tougias' talk will give you some new insights into their lives, as will his books. 

You can see the information here on how to register for the NERGC, and see the Conference program

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