Sunday, February 01, 2009


I found a few more things during my research on Simon Willard that
touched on some of my ancestors. One of them is this transcription at by Janice Farnsworth of "Lancaster in Philip's War:
The Early Records of Lancaster, Massachusetts 1643 - 1725 Edited by
Henry S. Nourse, A.M. Lancaster, 1884 (page 107)

"Lancaster March 11, 1675/6 - Letter to the Governor and Counsell -"A
humble Petition of the poor distressed people of Lancaster (excerpt)
"...many of us heare in this prison, have not bread to last us one month &
our other provisions spent & gon, for the genrallyty, our Town is drawn
into two garisons - sixteen soulders....we areseartaynly a bayt (bait) for
the enemy. We are sorrowful to leave the place but hoplesse to keep it
unlesse mayntayed by the Cuntrey....our women cris dus daily...which dus
not only fill our ears but our hearts full of Greefe and makes us humbly
Request yo'r Hon'rs to send a Gard of men & that if you please so comand
we may have Carts about fourteen will re-move the whool eight of which has
presed long at Sudbury but never came for want of a small gard of men, the
whooll that is, all that are in the Garison, Kept in Major Willards house
which is all from y're Hon'rs most humble servants & suplyants -
Lancast'r March 11, 1675/6 Jacob FFarrar
John Houghton Sen'r
John Moore
John Whittcomb
Job Whittcomb
Jonathan Whittcomb
John Houghton Jun'r
Cyprian Steevens

The other garrison are in like distresse & soe humbly desire yo'r like
pitty & ffatherly care, having widows & many fatherless children - the
number of carts to Carey away this garison is twenty carts. Yo'r Hon'rs
Humble pettisioners
John Prescott Sen'r
Tho. Sawyer Sen'r
Tho. Sawyer Jun'r
Jonathan Prescott
Tho Willder
John willder
Sarah Wheeler, Wid.
Widow Ffarbanks
John Rigby
Nathaniell Wilder
John Rooper
Widow Rooper

The whole is in the handwriting of Cyprian Steevens.
[Massachusetts Archives, LXVII, 156.] "

Transcribed by Janice Farnsworth

What struck me reading this was the names of those in the garrison. They include my
direct ancestors John Prescott, Thomas Sawyer, Senior and Thomas Sawyer, Junior
in the second garrison two of my Houghton relatives in the first. It reminded me again
of how many of my ancestors were so close to a violent death during the Indian wars
of New England. Some, as I've mentioned in earlier posts, did not escape it. One of
those things that historians sometimes ponder is "What If?" If more of my colonist
ancestors had died, I and many more of their descendants wouldn't be around to
trace our ancestry.

As it was, Thomas Sawyer Junior was to have another encounter with Indians
some years later, and I'll be telling that story soon.

Thank you to Janice Farnsworth for granting me permission to use her transcription!

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