Monday, August 22, 2016

Troubles with the Natives - Berwick becomes a town

Berwick suffered greatly in the Indian Wars. For the most part, they had lived in peace with the Natives for over 30 years until the tribes throughout New England came together as the Wabanaki (see map) and worked with New France (Canada). With the exception of King Phillip’s War, the wars were instigated by New France who was trying to curb the colonist expansion northward. Gone was the peace, friendliness and trust. Living with the natives would never be the same.

Peace is broken

Massasoit, the old Great Sachem of the Wampanoags, dies during the winter of 1661/62. Massasoit was a friend to the colonists and helped sustain a peace with the settlers for over 50 years. By July 1662, the colonists accused and arrested Alexander, Massasoit's oldest son and heir, for plotting war. Alexander dies while in custody under suspicious circumstances. Philip, Massasoit’s youngest son and Alexander’s brother, accused the colonists of poisoning him. This gave Philip the reason he needed for planning war. By 1675, King Philip’s War broke out in Plymouth Colony and spread throughout New England.  Philip was killed at Mount Hope in 1676 but fighting continued in the upper regions of New England after Philip's death. Historians feel that King Philip's War literally went down in history as a war without end.

Settlers are targeted

In Berwick, Richard Tozier’s house above Salmon Falls was targeted. 15 people were in the home except Tozier who was in the command of Captain John Wincoll. A brave 18 year old girl held the door shut while the others escaped to the garrison. The Natives, seeing what happened struck down the girl but she survived. The next day the house and barns of Captain Wincoll were burned to the ground. In October of 1675, a band of 100 Natives attacked Richard Tozier’s house again, burning it to the ground. Tozier and his son Thomas were killed. As Lt. Roger Plaisted was in charge of the garrison house, he sent his men out and as the Natives laid in wait, three of his soldiers were killed. The next day Lt. Plaisted along with his son and several others were killed as they went out to gather the bodies in the field from the attack the day before.

War continues

In 1690–1691 during King William's War, sometimes called the Second Indian Wars, the village was burned and abandoned in the Raid on Salmon Falls as well as during Queen Anne’s War 1702-1713. Peace lasted from 1713 to 1722. Lovewell’s War broke out lasting until December 1725. During this time, near Love’s Brook, our ancestor Miles Thompson was killed and his son captured. Another man was attacked at the same location. He survived but lived a miserable life. Because of his injuries, he wore a silver caul and was subject to convulsive fits all his life. By 1720, the town ordered the construction of garrisons or ‘places of refuge’ at specific residences with assignments of neighbors to lodge within the said garrison. 

Berwick becomes a town

Berwick went by several names: originally called Kittery Commons, Kittery North Parish, and later called the Parish of Unity. Parish of Unity was in reference to the ship that transported the Scottish prisoners of war from the Battle of Dunbar in 1650 to the colonies. Many of the Scottish prisoners settled near Berwick in an area near the northern Eliot-York border, which to this day is known as Scotland Bridge.
Kittery signed the petition to fall under the government of Massachusetts 16 November 1652. In 1713, the Massachusetts General Court granted incorporation as Berwick to become the ninth town in Maine. The new town contained land mass for what is known as North and South Berwick today. When referring to all three locations they are sometimes collectively referred to as “the Berwicks”. 

Many of my ancestors living in Berwick within this time period are:

William Chadbourne               John Andrews
Hugh Gunnision                     Alexander Shapleigh
Nicholas Frost                        John Diamond
Humphrey Chadbourne           Thomas Withers
Abraham Conley                     Richard Tozier
Thomas Spencer                     Lt. Roger Plaisted
John Wincoll                           Miles Thompson
Richard Nason                        Anthony Emery
Gowen Wilson                        Various indentured servants from Scotland

Sources include: Old Kittery and her families by Stackpole
Who When Where in King Philip's War by Edward Lodi
The Maine Spencers. A history and genealogy, with mention of many associated families by Wilbur Spencer for King William's War; Queen Anne's War and Lovewell's War.
Wabanaki Map - Commentary: When Indians ruled Maine's seas - The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

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