Thursday, May 21, 2009


This is the eighth in a series of posts concerning my 9x great
grandfather, Jeremiah Swain.

A month after receiving his orders and instructions from the Governor and
his Council Jeremiah Swain sent the following letter detailing events after
his arrival in the province of Maine. I think George Washington would have
sympathized with Swain's concern over clothing and supplies!

I should also make note here of Jeremiah's writing style. As will become
more evident in some of his later letters, he frequently abbreviated words
and rather creatively in some cases. Note how he abbreviates September in
the date of the letter! I have changed a few things, changing "v"s to "u"s in
some words to make a sentence easier to understand, for example, but I've
left the original puncuation most of the spelling as Jeremiah wrote this.
I believe "Captain Noise" to be "Captain Noyes". And I never noticed until
just now that Jeremiah spelled his own name as Sweyen!

As in the previous post, my source is the Maine Historical Society's
Documentary History of Maine :

Salmon ffalls in Berwick 7ber 15 1689

Honored Sirs
After the tender of my most humble service to yor honrs. These few lines
humbly Sheweth the accot of my proceedings hitherto, as I came along by
Haverill, I left Orders wth Capt Noise to Scoutt upon ye Skirts of said
towne, & downe as far as Almsberry wth ye whole or pt of his Compee &
ye Troopers drawn out of ye Regiment Soe I advanced to Berwick where I
found the people in as much Danger of Some among them as of ye Enimy
for want of a well Settlement of ye Militia am. them, Then I sent for some
of ye principall Persons of ye place, and also of Hampsheir Gentlem And
advised with them, where wee agreed of ye Settlement of Severall Garrissons
wth their owne men and appointed Comanders of the same not without great
Opposition by some When I had almost done and intending to advance
towards Casco, I had news Sent me of a house poorly fortifyed at Oyster
River that it was taken by ye Enimie being about Sixty in ye Compny though
part of Capt Gardners Compy lodged the night before at said house & were
moved away about half a hour before ye assault and were got to Cocheecha
where a post overtooke them and they faced about & per sued ye Enimy but
could not find them. Our Souldiers not haveing pvission nor Amunition to
stay out were forced to return, Than I borrowed all ye Amunition & Bread I
could procure of the Inhabitants and sent pt of Capt Converss his Compny
to Cochecha to meet & Joyn with Capt Gardners who Persued ye Enimie
three dayes but finding none of them returned, but before yr returne, one
of ye Captives made his escape two dayes after he was taken, whom ye
Indians tould that they had beleagerd ye place three dayes and when they
knew how many men belonged to ye house & seeing ye all gathering Corn
came & killed them first, and then sett upon ye house where were onely
Woomen children & two Boyes, they killed & Captivated Eighteene
persons none escapeing, whereupon I ordered all ye Garrisons here abouts
(for time to Come) not to leave any Garrisson without less then 4 or five
able men upon ye Gentry at all times, we are Endeavouring but cannot yet
find any of ye Enimy by our Scouts, onely now & than there is a report of
Indians Seen & men are shott att. whereupon I offord Gaurds to ye
Inhabitants about their bussiness I cannot as yet have any Intelligence of
their head quarters but by ye Captive boyes accot he perceived or Judged
it was upon an Island at Winipessawket which is a small lake; Honed Sirs
I am now advancing towards Casco, having set there two Companyes upon
duty, Some few of or men are Sick & some lame Soe yet we are in want
of a Chirurgion, many of ye Souldiers are in much want of Cloathing &
Tobacco & please send some more good pork and bread in Convenient
time for a Recrute that we may not want as before, ye first barll of pork
we opened proved so bad could not spend it, for pease here are good to
be procured ; I hope you will be pleased to send lawes & Orders for ye
Comp. which is all at psent from Your Honors Humble Servt to

Jeremiah Sweyen

The Council took note of the request for clothing and took action:

The following in the hand-writing of Secretary Addington:
Memo for Cloathing./.
Shoes and stockins, Trucking Cloth for blanketts.
Shirts drawers Coats and wast coats./.
Men wanting in James Convers his Company
Two from Capte Hamonds Company
Two of Cambridge went back from Woburn.
One wanting from Reding another went back from

But Jeremiah would need more than extra supplies for this campaign!


Claudia said...

I am amazed that you have found your 9xgrandparents. I am having trouble finding my 2xgrandparents.

But I will keep plugging away at it.

Judith Richards Shubert said...

It's great that the Maine Historical Society has such a wealth of information! Jeremiah must have been one tough fellow - as the rest of his troop and indeed, all those who fought in that war. Thanks for giving the rest of us researchers hope that we might find our 9th g-grandfather, too!

Bill West said...

I am lucky on my Dad's side of the family in that I've been able to
find a lot about the families of the women who married into our West family.

But I know how you feel. On my Mom's side, I only can go back to her grandparents. And I'm still at a brickwall with John Cutter West.

So like you, I'll keep plugging away!

Bill West said...

Thanks for the comment.

And yes, I am really grateful I
found these MHS books on Google Books. I guess this classified as my latest genealogy Happy Dance!