Sunday, August 28, 2016

Candelmas Day Massacre

January 25, 1692 was a snowy morning in York, Maine.  Within a few short hours the peaceful village was destroyed.  Thirty, a Jesuit priest, had incited the raid. Along with an estimated 150 members of the Abenaki tribe under the command of officers of New France attacked his hometown of York, Maine. This event during the Second Indian War or King William’s War, became known as the Candelmas Day Massacre.

Just as with the Raid on Salmon Falls in 1690, the town quickly became a bloody shamble. The natives killed about 100 settlers, with 80 hostages taken on a forced walk to Canada, many dying on the way.  Forty of the forty-five homes were burned to the ground.  Many children who saw their family members scalped and killed were taken prisoner. To gain their release, Benjamin Church, the Indian fighter from Plymouth Colony had captured a number of Indian women and children.  Church used his captors to negotiate the release of many of the town's children.  Capt. John Alden, son of the Mayflower passenger, also was instrumental in ransoming the release of other children as well.

York was originally settled around the mouth of the York River. The settlers depended on it for trade and their livelihood. In order to shut it off from use, the natives set fire to all the undefended houses around the river destroying any thought of escape for those settlers.

Once the battle was over, the settlers reassessed their position. They rebuilt the town moving it from the mouth of the river to the higher ground of today's
York Village today
York Village. However, the one item that can not be replaced is
all the church and town records that were kept before 1695. All aspects of the settlers' history and life was destroyed during this raid. With the help of neighboring towns it took the village approximately three years to rebuild and resettle.

Perhaps my Trafton line was more fortunate than others. My 7th great grandfather, Thomas Trafton, survived this attack with one exception. Similar to other families who had lost members, Trafton’s son Charles was captured and taken to Quebec. Charles was baptized as a French Catholic, given a French name and lived in Canada, only returning when his father died.

My Trafton ancestors
Thomas Trafton(1620-1706)m Elizabeth Moore
Zaccheus Trafton(1687-1765)m Annabel Allen
Jotham Trafton(1741-1804)m Abigail Lewis
Jotham Trafton(1777-1849)m Lydia Parson
John Trafton(1811-1906)m Lavina Chadbourne
John Frank Trafton(1848-1919)m Sarah Elizabeth “Lizzie" Dixon
Emma F. Trafton(1866-1921)m George P. Emery
Forrest Bartlett Emery(1894-1961)m Ruth Whitman
Elinor Francena Emery(1924-2004)m Bertram Gerrish

Picture - google images
Quebec, Genealogical Dictionary of Canadian Families (Tanguay Collection), 1608-1890

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