Wednesday, July 04, 2012


((Originally posted on 6Jul 2009))

On 4Jul 1690 my 8x great grandfather Simon Stone wasn't having a very good day
but displayed amazing tenacity which Cotton Mather pointed to as an example of
why one should never despair. Author Samuel Green quoted Mather in a book
published in 1883:

"Cotton Mather mentions, in his Magnalia, a few instances of "mortal wounds
upon the English not proving mortal," and gives the case of an inhabitant of this
town who was in a garrison at Exeter, New Hampshire, when that place was
assaulted, July 4, 1690. He says : —

`It is true, that one Simon Stone being here Wounded with Shot in Nine several 
places,lay for Dead (as it was time!) among the Dead. The Indians coming to 
Strip him,attempted with Two several Blows of an Hatchet at his Neck to cut 
off his Head, which Blows added you may be sure, more Enormous Wounds
unto those Port-holes of Death,at which the Life of the poor Man was already
running out as fast as it could. Being charged hard by Lieutenant Bancroft 
they left the Man without Scalping him; and the English now coming to Bury 
the Dead, one of the Soldiers perceived this poor Man to fetch a Gasp ; 
whereupon an Irish Fellow then present, advised 'em to give him another
Dab with an Hatchet, and so Bury him with the rest. The English detesting
this Barbarous Advice, lifted up the Wounded  Man, and poured a little Fair 
Water into his Mouth at which he Coughed ; then they poured a little Strong 
Water after it, at which he opened his Eyes. The Irish Fellow was ordered now
 to hale a Canoo ashore to carry the Wounded Men up the River unto a 
Chirurgeon; and as Teague was foolishly pulling the Canoo ashore with the
Cock of his Gun, while he held the Muzzle in his Hand, his Gun went off
and broke his Arm, whereof he remains a Cripple to this Day: But Simon 
Stone was thoroughly Cured, and is at this Day a very Lusty Man; and as 
he was Born with Two Thumbs on one Hand, his Neighbours have thought 
him to have at least as many Hearts as Thumbs.' (Book VII. page 74.)

Many families who have lived in Groton trace back their line of descent to 
this same Simon Stone, who was so hard to kill, and to whom, fortunately, 
the finishing " Dab with an Hatchet" was not given."-

Green, Samuel A., Groton During the Indian Wars, Groton, Ma. 1883 pp56-57

The astonishing thing to me reading this today is how Simon Stone wasn't accused
of being a witch, given the two thumbs and his amazing recovery!

2012 Notes
I forgot in my original posting to mention that the Irishman's advice made me
chuckle. Being Irish on my Mother's side of the family I could appreciate the
man's apparent philosophy that one less Englishman in the world was a good
thing. Luckily his son had already been born so I'd still be here today if they
had given him a "Dab".

"Strong Water" most likely was "Aqua Vitae"  aka whiskey.

It's probable the Bancroft mentioned in the story was one of my Bancroft

And it was a happy 4th of July for Simon Stone because he survived it!

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