Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pratt Stories-The Bond Family III



Our ancestor Isaac Bond (Jr) grew up in Sherborn, Massachusetts Bay Colony, and there met and courted Miss Abigail Greenwood. They were married on April 27, 1758. Their first five children at least were born in Sherborn; Huldah in 1759, Jonas in 1761, our ancestor Sarah on Christmas day in 1762, next Miriam, date unknown, then Abigail in 1765. They left Sherborn and moved to Dublin, New Hampshire, in 1767. For their last two kids, Isaac and William, I have neither birthplace nor birthdays. Sarah would have been about 5 years old when they moved. She became my great-great-great grandmother.
 
As fate would have it, the Moses Pratt family of Natick, only three miles from Sherborn, moved to New Hampshire three years later and also settled in Dublin. Fate? I doubt it, I'll bet the two families knew each other in Massachusetts. I told the Moses Pratt family story in my Email of October 11," The Pratt Migration III-Moses".
 
My to-be great-great-great grandfather, Asa Pratt (Sr), the second of ten children, would have been about 13 when his family arrived in Dublin. He was five years older than Sarah.
 
I don't know what attracted the Bond and Pratt families to New Hampshire or to Dublin in particular. Here is what the Town of Dublin's home page says:
 
"One can barely imagine the hardships undergone by the early settlers in wresting a livelyhood from the thin, rock-strewn soil found within the township's boundaries. Nevertheless, they cleared the land, and from it derived all their necessities, not only food but flax and wool for clothing..."
 
Google Maps will show you that Dublin the town is a dinky little burg in the shadow of Mount Manadnock and that about three miles to the east is Bond Corner (named for our ancestors?) Both are in what we in Michigan would call the Township of Dublin. Back east "Town" is the equivalent of our Township. Click on "Terrain" and "Satellite" to see the place in 3D and color.
 
Mount Manadnock is the most prominent New England peak south of the White Mountains. It is nearly a 1,000 feet higher than any mountain peak within 30 miles and rises 2,000 feet above the surrounding landscape. (Translation, it really sticks out there by itsself). The term "manadnock" has come to be used by geologists to describe any isolated mountain formed from the exposure of harder rock by the erosion of softer rock that once surrounded it.
 
Asa and Sarah grew up in Dublin town. I presume they knew each other although the five years older boy probably didn't pay much attention to little Sarah.
 
The Revolutionary War came. Asa enlisted in December of 1776 at age nineteen, and after several campaigns and battles which I have described in detail in eight Emails entiltled "Asa in the War", he was finally discharged in October of 1780.
 
 I don't know what he did after the war but some time after 1778 he removed to the Town of Plymouth, Windsor County, Vermont (he is shown as a Constable in Dublin that year). In October 1782 he married in Plymouth one Betty Sandford. They had four children in Plymouth but the first died as an infant. She died in 1787 at age 27, when her youngest was but six months old.
 
Betty Stanford was from Sherborn, Massachusetts, as was Sarah's family, and Asa was from nearby Nantick so perhaps they all knew each other when they were young.. Any way, in 1789 Asa went back to Dublin and married Sarah Bond and brought her back to his home and children in Plymouth. There Sarah became the step-mother of Betty's and Asa's three kids, then had three children of her own. Our ancestor Asa (Jr) was the first of these. Sarah died in August of 1815 at age 52. She was the last in our family with the surname of Bond. As you know, Bond became the middle name of Asa (Jr)'s son William; Wilmer's son Henry, and Vincent's son Jason.
 
Sarah and Asa are buried in the Five Corners Cemetery. If you are ever in Vermont visiting Coolidge State Park, here is how you get there: Go south on Bradley Hill Road until you run into Five Corners Cemetery Road. Follow that road until it dead-ends at a farm house. There will be a sign and a foot path leading to the cemetery. Take a photo of their gravestones and send it to me please.
 
Elaine and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

(Photo: The view of Mt. Manadnock from Pack Manadnock)

Emailed Dec. 22

Pratt Stories-The Bond Family II


Following the death of our immigrant ancestor William Bond in December of 1695, an agreement for the division of his estate was made between his sons William, Thomas (II) (our ancestor) and Nathaniel, and  daughters Elizabeth and Mary. There was no mention of his second wife, the Widow Nevinson, who he married shortly before he died.
 
Thomas Bond (II) was born in Watertown, Massachusetts Bay Colony, in December 1654, the namesake of his grandfather back in England. He grew up in Watertown and in 1680 married Sarah Woolson, daughter of Thomas Woolson and Sarah Hyde. She was born in Weston, Middlesex, England in 1661, before her parents emmigrated. Thomas (II) and Sarah had six children, our ancestor Isaac (Sr) was their youngest.
 
Sarah's father (Thomas Woolson) was a veteran of King Philip's War. He was in the same troop of horsemen from Watertown under a Captain Prentice as was his son-in-law's father, William Bond. Woolson kept a tavern in Weston from 1686 to 1708. He died in 1713, his widow Sarah died in 1721.
 
Isaac Bond (Sr) was born in 1698. He grew up in Watertown and became a "cordwainer", which is a fancy name for a shoemaker, or perhaps the maker of fancy shoes since the term comes from "cordova", a fancy leather. Cordova comes from Cordoba, Spain, famous for fine leather. I was once the proud owner of a pair of Cordovan wing-tips. Son Jim, after he graduated from the University of Michigan, spent four seasons in Cordova, Alaska, working for the US Forest Sevice. His main job was facilitating the sex life of sockeye salmon. I think we have followed this thread far enough, so back to the Bond family:
 
Isaac (Sr) grew up and married a girl named Margaret (marraige date and family name unknown). He (or they) removed to Sudbury also in Massachusetts Bay Colony (14 miles west), then Natick (10 miles south), then Sherborn (3 miles farther south). They had five children, all born in Sherborn, of whom Isaac (Jr) was fourth, being born in 1733. He was the second Isaac. Their first-born child was also named Isaac, born in 1727. He died young. It is quite common to see a later-born child with the same name as an older sibling who had died.
 
Isaac (Jr) grew up in Sherborn. There he married Abigail Greenwood (1737-1767), the youngest daughter of  William Greenwood and Abigail Woodward. They were married in 1758 in Sherborn's First Church. Our ancestor, Sarah Bond, was their fourth child.
 
Abigail's  father, William Greenwood (1689-1756), was a farmer and Deacon of the First Church. Her grandfather, Thomas Greenwood (1643-1693), was an immigrant weaver from Heptonstal, Yorkshire, England, who settled in Newton, Massachusetts Bay Colony.
 
Abigail's mother, also named Abigail (1695-1775), was the daughter of John Woodward (b 1649) and Sarah Bancroft (d 1723), John's second wife. Grandfather John was a weaver in Newton who served as surveyor, constable and selectman. He died sometime after 1712. Grandmother Sarah (d 1723) was the daughter of Lt.Thomas Bancroft and Elizabeth Metcalf, the English-born immigrants who lived in Dedham and Lynnfield, Massachusetts.
 
If anybody has stayed with me this far, I am sure your eyes are glazed over by now. I'll try to avoid this much detail in the future but I wanted to demonstrate how your progenitors add up and that they were all real flesh and blood people who I think deserve our recognition by at least reciting their names.

Drawing and more information on "cordwainer" at http://www.thehcc.org/backgrnd.htm
 
NEXT: The Bonds move to New Hampshire.

Emailed Dec. 20

Pratt/Woodruff History-King Philip's War IX

Thanks to clues dug up by nephew Allen, we are finding more ancestors or relatives of ancestors who fought in King Philip's War. So far we can add Thomas Woolson, John Bisco, Lt. Thomas Bancroft, and Moses Knapp.
 
Lt. Thomas Bancroft was the son of our ancestors Thomas Bancroft and Elizabeth Metcalf, and the brother of our ancestor Sarah Bancroft Woodward. He married the daughter of Capt. Jonathan Poole "...a noted and much valued officer in King Philip's War..." At least three and maybe four ancestors served in units whch reported to Capt. Poole.
 
Are you following all this? Remember; you carry Bisco, Woolson, Bancroft, Metcalf or Woodward  genes and DNA. Be respectful. You don't carry any Knapp genes or DNA unless your are descended from my wife Elaine. You know who you are.
 
There was a militia unit out of Watertown in Massachusetts Bay Colony known as the Company of Horse under the command of Captain Thomas Prentice which was involved in the Mt. Hope campaign in 1675 (about which more later). It appears that we had at least three ancestors or ancestor's relatives in that company. One was my Gx7 grandfather William Bond who was the main subject of the Bond Family Email of December 15. He is listed as a Lieutenant in the troop. Another was his brother-in-law John Biscoe. A third was Thomas Woolson, also a Gx7 grandfather of mine in the Pratt line.
 
I have just received a book on King Philip's War which I bought through Amazon.com called "Flintlock and Tomahawk". I'm going to take time to read it so that I can knit together all the threads of the conflict that I have picked up from my genealogy stuff, Allen's internet discoveries and my knowledge of New England history. Then I'll get back to you. There is still quite a bit to tell about our ancestors' involvement.

Emailed Dec. 18

Pratt Stories-The Bond Family

Among our ancestors the Bond family seems to have been given a special respect. Asa Jr and Alpha Pratt gave their first born, William, the middle name of Bond. His grandson, my Uncle Henry was also given the middle name of Bond, as was Henry's grandson Jason.
 
The earliest known of our Bond progenitors was Jonas Bond. He was born in Woolpit, Sufffolk, England, about 1568, supposedly of an ancient English family. About 1590 he moved to Bury St. Edmunds, nearby in Suffolk, with his wife, Rose Woode (married 1588) and two little boys. Rose was the daughter of George Woode and Katherine  ??? of Rattlesden, Suffolk, another nearby town. George and Katherine would be my Gx9 grandparents. In Bury St. Edmunds Jonas and Rose had seven more children, including our ancestor Thomas, born in 1597.  Jonas died in 1601. We * don't know when Rose died.
 
* When I say "we" don't know somehing that usually means I didn't know and Allen couldn't find out either.
 
Thomas Bond grew up in in Bury St. Edmunds and married there Elizabeth Woods, parents unknown. They also had nine children. Our ancestor William was fourth, born in 1625. Thomas was called "the maltster of Bury St. Edmunds". A maltster selects and gathers barley and and "malts" it with skilled use of water, heat and time in preparation for brewing beer. Thomas died in 1659. We have no death date for his wife.
 
I went to Google Earth and "flew" to Bury St. Edmunds. I think you would enjoy a look at where your Bond ancestors came from 378 years ago. The imagery is excellent and you can zoom right in close and look at that old town and the surrounding countryside.
 
William Bond was our immigant ancestor. He came to New England with The Winthrop Fleet in 1630. He probably traveled with Deacon Ephraim Child whose wife was his Aunt Elizabeth, as he was only  5 years old. *  The Winthrop Fleet was a group of eleven sailing ships that carried approximately 700 Puritans plus livestock and provisions from England via the Isle of Wight. Of these 700 passengers, 200 had died by December. Another 100 bugged out and returnd to England. Those who stayed settled in Boston and Salem and nearby areas. This was the beginning of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Our ancestor's  aunt and uncle settled at Watertown and there he grew up. Watertown is on the Charles River about 9 miles northwest of downtown Boston.
 
* One has to wonder about the motivation of his parents sending him off to America at that young an age, never to see him again.
 
William Bond became one of the foremost men of his day; was town clerk, justice of the peace, captain of the Watertown military company; on the council of safety, a deputy to the General Court, first speaker under the new charter uniting Plymouth with Mssachusetts Bay Colony, and presided in 1691, 1693 and 1695. He was admitted a freeman in 1682, and joined the church in full communion in 1687.
 
I have notes that he served in King Philp's War as a lieutenant in the Company of Horse. He would have been fifty at the time. Allen is trying to find out more about his service.
 
After the war he served on a committee to rebuild Lancaster. Lancaster was the hometown of Mary Rowlandson who was taken into captivity by Indians after burning the town and her house and killing most of her family. She and her survivng children were forced to accompany their captors in their travels. She wrote a book while in captivity later published as "A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rawlandson" which is widely considered to be one of the great captivity narratives..
 
In 1650 William married Sarah, daughter of Nathaniel Biscoe, "...the rich tanner..." Sarah was born in 1630. Her mother was Elizabeth Honor. Sarah and William had nine children including our ancestor Thomas II (b 1654), their third. Sarah died in 1693. He remarried in 1695 but didn't last the year out.
 
Our ancestor Nathaniel Biscoe, Sarah's father, was apparently somewhat of a character. He wrote his name "Briscoe", which is undoutedly the true orthography, but it became an early usage in the town records to write it "Biscoe" or "Bisco". He was in Watertown as early as 1642, and probably 3 or 4 years earlier. In that year he wrote a pamphlet "...against the way of supporting ministers..." that gave grave offense, and for which he was fined ten pounds. In that year his barn, with leather and corn valued at 100 pounds, was destroyed by fire. He was so dissatisfied with the prevalent ecclesiastical intolereance that he returned to England about the end of 1651, or early the next year.
He wrote a letter, dated London, Sept 7, 1652...which fell into the hands of the Government and produced some excitement at the time (I don't know what it was about, religion undoubtedly).
 
Sarah and her parents were from Buckinghamshire, he from Little Missenden, she from Greater Missenden. Nathaniel was born in 1595, she in 1599. Presumably Nathaniel returned there and died about 1686. Her mother Elizabeth died in Watertown in 1642 before Sarah married William.
 
NEXT: More on the Bond family.

Emailed Dec. 15

Pratt/Woodruff History-King Philip's War VIII

In previous Emails I have identified both Woodruff ancestor Maj. Robert Treat and Pratt ancestor Lt. Col. John Talcott as being in command of all Connecticut troops during King Philip's War in 1675-76. You may be thinking, "The old man is slipping!" Not really. They were both in command, just not at the same time. Nephew Allen figured that out for me.
 
We have found a number of refernces to John Talcott.
 
1650-64. Anglo-Dutch relations. "...In the spring of 1663 Connecticut dispatched Capt. John Talcott into Westchester and James Christie into Long Island. The former dismissed the magistrates and took an oath of allegiance from the settlers; the latter forced Stuyvesant to recognize English suzerainty over the English towns on Long Island." (Encyclopedia of American History).
 
"Captain John Talcott was sent with armed men in July, 1663, to enforce her claim to West Chester." (Narratives of New Netherland).
 
In 1670 some inhabitants of Westchester, Connecticut Colony, filed a witchcraft complaint against the Widow Katherine Harrison wanting her to be run out of town. At a hearing before the Governor; Captain Richard Ponton, with whom she and her children were staying, "...produced a letter from Capt. Talcott to him in Justification of the Womans Innocency..." She was allowed to stay. (Witchcraft in New York)
 
1673 "...Major John Talcott was appointed commander-in-chief of the military forces to be sent against New York, Major Robert Treat of Milford second commander..." (History of Fairfield).
 
"When in May, 1676, Major Treat, who had been in command of the Connecticut Troops, was advanced to the deputy-governorship, Major Talcott, who resigned the treasureship, was appointed in his stead. The Connecticut forces were assembled in the east at Norwich, marched up into Massachusetts, reaching Brookfield on 7 June. By a forced march, called  'the long and hungry march', on the way capturing and killing fifty-two of the enemy, he reached Hadley the next day. He secured the country round about '...inflicting severe blows on the hostile tribes.' In particular he saved Hadley from an attack of seven hundred Indians, this too though his 'standing army' does not appear to have amounted to more than two or three hundred men". (Powers-Banks Ancestry).
 
1676 May-August: "After Major Talcott, with 250 men from the Connectcut Valley and 200 Mohegans, defeated the Indians at Hadley, chased the Valley tribes into the New Hampshire hills, then turning eastward, destroyed 250 Indians near Marlboro..." (Encyclopedia of American History). 
 
If you have been reading these Emails of mine you know more about this obscure but important war than 99.999% of the population, including probably the academics.

Emailed Dec. 12

Pratt/Woodruff History-King Philip's War VII


One of my father's favorite expressions was that when someplace was really remote that it was "out where Christ lost his shoes".
 
That certainly could be said of the Quaboag Plantation settlement in the 1600's. It was in south-central Massachusetts where Brookfield is today.
 
Quaboag was far removed from the other settlements, being planted among the Indian villages. Prior to 1675 the settlers were confident of its security because of decades of peaceful coexistence with its native neighbors. Although breakdowns in Indian relations were taking place in other parts of southern New England, the settlement at Quaboag seemed not to have been aware of it. They placed much reliance on the previous good relationships with the local Quaboag Indians, reassuring themselves that they were secure from aggression. Little did they realize that Muttaump, cosigner of the deed of purchase at Quoboag and pretended friend of the settlers, had achieved a position of eminence in the war cabinet of the Nipmucs. He would become the leader of the forces planning the destruction of the settlement.
 
When King Philip's War broke out it was natural that Brookfield (as Quoboag had been renamed) should be selected for early assault, since it was the most isolated of all English settlements in the colony. To determine the temper of the surrounding tribes Massachusetts emissaries had been sent to meet with the Nipmucs and Quaboags. One of them, Captain Edward Hutchinson, was assigned an escort consisting of Captain Thomas Wheeler and his mounted troop of about 20 men; Ephraim Curtis, a noted scout; and three friendly Indians to serve as interpreters. My Gx7 grandfather Samuel Smedley was one of the mounted troopers. The escort was accompanied by a small detachment of three sergeants from Brookfield
 
In spite of warnings by the Indian scouts, the troop moved along the Bay Path * toward a rendezvous at Mensmeset.(I can't figure out where that was). This was  August 1, 1675.
 
 * The Bay Path was an Indian trail between Boston and the Connecticut River at present -day Springfield that was enlarged by colonist traffic and livestock.
 
As the small procession approached a swamp it became necessary to travel single file, there being a very rocky hill on the right hand, and a thick swamp on the left. In the swamp Indians lay in wait to ambush the unsuspecting troop. When the men advanced about 60-70 rods the Indians attacked. With no alternative but to retreat, the men fled. Capt. Wheeler was wounded and his horse was shot out from under him. His son dropped back to help him and was wounded. Eight men were slain.
 
 One of those eight was our ancestor Samuel Smedley. He left a widow and a two year old son back in Concord.
 
 The Indians laid siege to Brookfield. Several were killed on both sides and most of the settlement was burned before relief arrived and the Indians left at dawn on August 5. Quaboag/Brookfield was abandoned. It would be 10 years before a new settlment was started on the ashes of the old.
 
Much of this was adapted from a Hovey Family History.
 
NEXT: Maj. Robert Treat (Woodruff ancestor) and Maj./Lt. Col. John Talcott (Pratt ancestor). Who's in command ??

Emailed Dec. 10

Pratt/Woodruff Histroy-King Phillip's War VI

One of my Gx7 grandfathers (Woodruff side) was "Lt." Joseph Platt who was born in Milford, Connecticut in 1649 and died in 1704. He served in King Phillip's War.
 
 I found an entry in a genealogy book about the Kellogg family (his wife was Mary Kellogg) that states "...Joseph Platt, as he was a soldier out in the service against the common enemy, as gratification for good service, do give and grant to him ten acres of land, to take it up a mile from town, and where it lyes free not yet picht upon by any other persons."
 
There is another entry which says "...at a town meeting in Norwalk...it was voted in consideration of the good service that the soldiers sent out of the town ingaged and performed by them in the Indian warr, out of respect and thankfullness to sayed soldiers, doe with one consent and freely, give and grant unto so many soldiers as were in the service at the direful swamp fight, twelve acors of land; and eight acors of land to so many soldiers as were in the next considerable service..."
 
 I don't know why Lt. Joseph got 10 acres instead of 12 or 8 but I think it is commendable that his service was recognized and rewarded.
 
Another Gx7 Woodruff line grandfather of mine was Samuel Newton. A Newton Family genealogy book says:
 
 "SAMUEL, the eldest son of Roger Newton, born Oct. 20 1646, was very active in the Milford militia, and in the Indian wars.
He was appointed Ensign in 1675, and Captain in 1698.
He was in King Philip's War, as well as in often recurring skirmishes with the Indians".
 
Samuel was prominent in  the political life of the colonies, representing Milford in the General Court fifteen sessions between 1691 and 1703. He married Martha Fenn, daughter of Assistant Governor Benjamin Fenn, and by her he had nine children.
 
I don't have anything on these two ancestors as to their units, where they served, battles etc. Maybe Allen Woodruff can find something with his search magic.
 
NEXT: What happened to Samuel Smedley.

Emailed Dec. 9

Pratt/Woodruff History-Kings Philip's War IV (Addendum)

Allen Woodruff has been doing some more research for me. He uses some sort of technical magic to find obscure sources of information on our ancestors that I was never able to find during my years of digging in the Genealogical Section of the Library of Michigan.
 
He was not only able to confirm that indeed Pratt ancestor William Ward was a surgeon appointed to help the wounded at New London after the Great Swamp Fight, but also he turned up the information that Surgeon Ward was killed in King Philip's War. That makes him the third of our ancestors who were killed. Allen's sources are in conflict as to when and where he was killed, but it is interesting to note that at the close of the war the Connecticut General Assembly presented his widow  (Deborah Lockwood) with a captive Indian boy "...to become part of her household". William and Deborah had one child, a daughter named Hester or Esther. Deborah later remarried but had no further children.
 
Allen turned up another William Ward who served in the war, but he was not an ancestor.
 
Allen also found some information on our ancestor Colonel John Talcott that was new to me but there will have to be more Emailing back and forth before I am ready to report on him.

Emailed Dec. 8

Pratt/Woodruff History-King Phillip's War V

As I work on these messages I am continually impressed with how really nasty the Pequot War and King Philip's War were. Much of the combat was at close quarters or hand-to-hand with hatchets and tomahawks or musket butts as weapons. Women and children and old people on both sides were massacre victims. White captives were tortured to death. Indian captives were sold as slaves in the West Indies. Hundreds of Indians were burned to death in their fire-trap fortresses.
 
 But while I contemplate that 17th century awfulness I am forced to remember my own 20th century with the Holocaust, the London Blitz, the Bataan Death March, the bombing of Dresden, the Tokyo fire bombings, Hiroshima and the Rawanda genocide.The Indians and the colonists were really a bunch of bush-leaguers when it came to killing innocents.
 
Nevertheless, I will continue to tell tales of our ancestors' involvement in bloody King Philip's War:
 
After his defeat by the English at his home base at Mount Hope near Bristol, Rhode Island, King Philip (Indian name Metacom) moved west into the Nipmuc country of central Massachusetts. From there he renewed the war. The Nipmuc raided Brookfield and Worchester and then combined with the Pocumtuc to attack settlements in the Connecticut River valley.
 
Following an Indian raid at Northfield, Massachusetts, a relief force under Captain Richard Beers was ambushed south of  that town and more than half were killed. Three survivors were captured and later burned at the stake. This was on September 5, 1675.
 
 On the next day Major Robert Treat (my Gx7 grandfather) who had come from Hartford to Hadley with a company of about 100 Connecticut men, marched up to Northfield. That night they camped, probably near the camp of Beers, and on 6th went forward to the scene of battle, finding a ghastly sight, for many of the heads of the slain had been cut off and set upon poles by the wayside.* Pausing only long enough to perform hasty funeral rites, they passed on to the garrison and found all safe. Hurriedly collecting the people and all their effects possible, but obliged to leave the cattle, they marched for Hadley that same evening. Thus Northfield was abandoned.
 
* Like Miles Standish did at Plymouth. Beheading was a Japanese practice during World War II and still happens in Iraq. So what's new?
 
Small bodies of enemies were still lurking in the vicinity of the village and a party of English that ventured into the fields were attacked; they were probably engaged in burying the dead, and Major Treat was slightly wounded in the thigh. It is said that many of the cattle followed the retreat of the English, and afterward came into Hadley.
 
The attacks on the towns of Deerfield and Northfield forced the colonists to abandon their homes and fort-up in Hadley. Facing a winter without food, 80 soldiers under Captain Thomas Lathrop were dispatched with eighteen teamsters to gather the abandoned crops at Deerfield..  All went well until the return journey, when the expedition spotted some grapes along the road just south of Deerfield where a small stream named Muddy Brook crossed the road.. Many of the militiamen laid down their muskets and began to pick the grapes. Then the expedition was ambushed by hundreds of Pocumtuc warriors. Only seven or eight escaped. Sixty four were buried in one mass grave. Forever after Muddy Brook became known as "Bloody Brook".
 
One of those eighteen teamsters was Deerfield settler Joshua Carter, my Gx7 Grandfather. He left a widow, Mary Field and two small children.
 
Another version of Bloody Brook: The English seem to have taken no precaution whatsoever against surprise, and many of the soldiers, it is said, had placed their arms upon the carts to be carried, and were gathering wild grapes by the roadside. The main part of the troop had apparently passed over the brook and were waiting the slow movement of the lumbering teams over the rough road when the Indians attacked. 
 
Our ancestor Major Treat and his Connecticut soldiers have been praised by historians because they always employed friendly Indians to keep them from ever being ambushed like those Massachusetts troops were
 
NEXT: More ancestors in the war.

Emailed Dec. 7

Pratt/Woodruff History-King Philip's War IV

The biggest battle of King Philip's War was the so-called Great Swamp Fight which took place near present-day Kingston, Rhode Island. It was an attack by colonial militia from Plymouth, Connecticut and Massachusetts Bay that killed about 300 Narragansett Indians on an island in the middle of what was known as the Great Swamp. Ordinarily the swamp was practically impenetrable but due to severe December weather the marshy ground was frozen and the English gained relatively easy access to the island. The Indian outposts retreated into their fort where they were followed by the English. The terrible battle which then began took place amidst ice and snow in underbrush and among fallen trees.
 
At first repulsed, the militiamen continued the assault, although with heavy losses. The Narragansetts, suffering many casualties, were driven from their fort into the swamp and woods, leaving the English with a complete, though costly victory. They had lost five captains and 20 men and had some 150 wounded.  
 
Here is a quote from "Soldiers in King Phillip's War" by George Madison Bodge (1906):
 
"After the battle at the Narragansett Fort, several weeks of partial inactivity ensued, while both the English and the Indians were seeking to recover somewhat from the severe blow each had received. The forces of Massachusetts and Plymouth remained at Smith's garrison at Narragansett while Major Treat (Woodruff ancestor) with the Connecticut regiment returned to Stonington about December 28th. In the Treasurer's (Pratt ancestor John Talcott) account with Connecticut colony there is a charge "For billiting 40 wounded men 7 days", and as there is no other occasion when so many were wounded, it is fair to assume that the Connecticut forces did not retire before the 28th.
 
On January 14th the Council of Connecticut issued orders to Mr.John Brackett of Wallingford, and "Sergt." William Ward, "to go to New London and care for the wounded there, while Mr. Buckley goeth forth with the army". So it would seem that many of their wounded had been carried as far as New London."
 
"Sergt." William Ward was our ancestor William Ward from Fairfield. I believe he was a "Surgeon", not a Sergeant, sent to help the wounded. I have found other references which call him a surgeon.
 
 He was the son of Andrew Ward, a Woodruff ancestor through the Shermans, and a Pratt ancestor through the Burr and Bartram lines. Andrew's genealogy and involvement with the Pequot War is covered in my Pratt/Woodruff History-Pequot War II Emaill of Noivember 16.
 
Wiiliam was the third child of Andrew and Hester Sherman, born about 1631. He married  Deborah Lockwood, daughter of Sergeant Robert Lockwood, another one of our double ancestors. Sgt. Lockwood would have been in Watertown, Massachusetts, and of military age during the Pequot War, but I don't know whether or not he was involved.
 
I Googled "Colonial Medicine" to see if I could get a feel for what William's qualifications would have been and what his practice might have been like. Here are some extracts from "The History of Medicine in America":
 
"There were two physicians on the Mayflower. One was Miles Standish...He was an officer in the British army, a magistrate, an engineer, an explorer, an interpreter, a merchant and a physician (what a guy!)....Standish's formal education was in the military and, like many physicians of the time, he picked up medicine in his daily life and by watching other physicians. He was exceedingly brave and had no qualms about killing a threatening native...
 
Another physician among the Pilgrims was Dr. Samuel Fuller. We don't know much about his education or his skills as a physician, but we do know he died during the first smallpox epidemic to hit the colonies in 1633.
 
We also know that Dr. Fuller was a physician AND surgeon. Around this time most doctors were not surgeons and a lot of surgeons were not doctors. In fact, it was hard to tell a surgeon from a barber or at times a barber from a physician. They all practiced some sort of medicine.
 
The therapies practiced by these conventional physicians were bleeding, purging, either by emetic or enema, blistering and poisoning. Did I say poisoning? I meant prescribing medicines. The most popular medicine of the time being calomel, a form of mercury.
 
Previous to 1685, surgeons held little favor with anyone. If you wanted something cut off, you could attend a surgeon or a barber. If you wanted a little blood letting, you could attend a physician or a barber. Barbers did everything from cutting hair to pulling teeth to removing gallstones. All without anesthesia"
 
I hope our ancestor the surgeon didn't make the wounded worse.
 
NEXT: Trying to find out more about our ancestors in the war.

Emailed Dec. 5

Pratt/Woodruff History-King Philip's War III

Lt. Col. John Talcott who fought in King Philip's War was the fourth of that name among our Pratt ancestors. He was the son of John Talcott (III) who was one of those Connecticut officials who voted to declare war on the Pequots as described in my Pratt/Woodruff History message- Pequot War II- of November 16. He was born in Braintree, England about 1630. He died in Hartford in 1688. He arrived in Boston in 1632 with his father as part of the Thomas Hooker company on the ship "Lyon". His family removed to the Connecticut River valley and settled in Hartford where he grew up.
 
He was made an Ensign of colonial troops in 1650 and Captain in 1660. He succeeded his father as Treasurer of Connecticut Colony, holding that office 1660 to 1676.
 
At the outbreak of King Philip's War in 1675 he was appointed to the command of the Connecticut Army with the rank of Major. In June of that year he went into the field at the head of "the standing army" of Connecticut accompanied by 200 Mohicans and Pequots. He scoured the Connecticut River Valley as far as the falls above Deerfield in Massachusetts, inflicted severe blows upon the hostile tribes, and saved Hadley from the attack of 700 Indians. He also performed good sevice among the Narragansetts, and fought a successful battle at the Housatonic River, killing the Sachem of Quabaug.
 
Early in the war he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel. He was known as the "Indian fighter".Many of his official papers are preserved among the state records in Hartford, and contain interesting notes regarding the war with King Philip. (Adapted from Virtual American Biographies).
 
From another source: "In the various battles with the Indians in which he was engaged he was always victorious, and obtained great renown as an 'Indian Fighter' ".
 
Remember that during the Pequot War in 1636-1637 that the guns used were matchlocks. By the time of King Philip's War flintlock firearms had been developed and both the English and the Indians had aquired them. In fact in some cases the Indians were were better armed because some militias still used old matchlocks. After King Philip's War every militiaman was required to own a flintlock musket..
 
NEXT: Other ancestors who served.

Emailed Dec. 3

Pratt/Woodruff History-King Philip's War II

I have been able to identify eight ancestors who participated in King Philip's War:
 
 Pratt ancestors were Lt. Col John Talcott, Surgeon William Ward, Lt. William Bond and Samuel Smedley who was killed in an ambush.
 
Woodruff ancestors were Maj. Robert Treat, Capt.Samuel Newton, Joseph Platt and Joshua Carter who was killed in September of 1675.
 
I am sure given the total involvement of the colonies in this war there must have been others.
 
A reminder: By Pratts I mean all us us who are descended from Wilmer and Nellie or Abigail. By Woodruffs I mean those of us who in addition are descended from Allen and Genevieve. We would probably find more veterans of the colonial Indian wars or the Revolution if someone would dig into the Kelly, Curtis, Shane, Whidby or Thayer families.
 
Today I am going to tell you about Robert Treat because he was the most prominent and I know the most about him. Much of this is adapted from Wikipedia:
 
Robert Treat (1622-1710) was an American colonial leader and long time Governor of Connecticut.
 
He was born in Somerset, England and brought to Massachussets as a child. His family were early settlers at Wethersfield, Connecticut. In 1639 he removed to Milford, Connecticut, and became one of the leaders of the New Haven Colony, serving in the General Court.
 
When the Connecticut Charter forced the New Haven Colony to merge with Connecticut he led a group of dissidents to New Jersey where they founded Newark. In 1662 he returned to Connecticut and remained for the rest of his life.
 
Treat headed the Connecticut militia for several years and was Commander-in-Chief of all Connecticut forces during King Philip's War.
 
He seved as Governor from 1683-1687 and 1689-1698. He was involved in the famous Charter Oak incident. (Google it if you don't remember from grade school history).
 
NEXT: Lt. Col John Talcott, "The Indian Fighter"

Emailed Dec. 2

Pratt/Woodruff History-King Philips War


King Philip's War, the bloodiest war in American history on a per capita basis, took place in New England in 1675. I have identified at least eight Pratt or Woodruff ancestors who fought in that war, two of whom were killed. There probably were more.
 
Pilgim leader William Bradford, whom I quoted in my First Thanksgiving tome, died in 1657. Massasoit, the Pilgrim-friendly Wampanoag chief, died around 1660 and was succeeded by his son Wamsutta. With the passing of the first generation the personal bonds which had maintained peace between the Pilgrims and the Indians were broken.
 
Tensions had long existed due to the two cultures different ways of life. Colonist's  livestock trampling Indian cornfields was a continuing problem. Competition for resouces created fiction.
 
In 1662  Colonial forces took Wamsutta at gunpoint to Plymouth. The Wampanoag were greatly angered when he sickened and died shotly afterwards. Wamsutta's brother Metacom, called by th English "King Philip" because of his haughty manner, became chief and ultimately led his people into war to preserve their traditional way of life.
 
King Philip's War lasted little more than a year. Beginning in Plymouth Colony in June of 1675 (we had no ancestors left in Plymouth at that time) the war spread throughout New England. Boston itself was threatened. Colonial resources and manpower ultimately prevailed.
 
King Philip's warriors attacked first the town of Swansea in western Plymouth Colony. Encouraged by success, they carried the war to neighboring Plymouth Colony towns. In August of 1675, hostilities expanded to the Connecticut River valley; many settlements were burned (we had many ancestors living along the Connecticut).
 
In December Philip's winter quarters in Rhode Island's Great Swamp were destroyed in a crucial colonial victory (some of our ancestors were involved).
 
In February of 1676 Indian forces swept east: Boston seemed threatened. War returned to Plymouth Colony, with a raid on Plymouth itself. Colonists considered abandoning the frontier, but time was on their side. By June of 1676, the tide of war had turned. Indian forces, lacking food, manpower and arms, retreated.
 
Not all Indians had sided with King Philip. In fact, Indians joining with the colonists helped turn the tide of war. The war effectively ended with the death of King Philip at the hand of a Wampanoag Indian ally of the colonists at Mt. Hope, King Philip's hiding place near Bristol in present day Rhode Island.
 
The war rresulted in the destruction of families and communities, Indian and colonist alike. It took decades for the colonists to recover frm the loss of life, property damage and huge military expenditures. The Indian tribes never did recover.
 
NEXT: Our ancestors who fought.

Emailed Nov. 30

Pratt/Woodruff History-Names & Numbers

Have you ever considered the number of people whose genes and DNA make you what you are? There is mother and dad, that's two people. Grandmas and grandpas, four more, total 6. Then great-grandpas and great-grandmas, 8 more, total 14. G-3 generation, 16 more, total 30. G-4 generation 32 more, total 62, G-5 generation 64 more, total 126. G-6 generation, 128 more, total 254. G-7 generation 256 more, total 510.
 
But we haven't been dealt a full deck of progenitors. Take the Bartrams. Henry Bartram's paternal grandmother was Mary Burr, twin sister of Elizabeth Burr, who was Henry's maternal great-grandmother. Thus the twins' father, John Burr Jr, was both a paternal great-grandfather and maternal great-great grandfather to Henry. That also means that the twins' mother, Catherine Wakeman, was both a great-grandmother and great-great grandmother to Henry. See how we have been shorted here? 
 
There's more. In the next generation back John Burr Sr and his wife Deborah Barlow are double-progenitors, as are Joseph Wakeman and his wife Elizabeth Hawley. It gets better (or worse) another generation back. Nathaniel Burr and Sarah Ward are doubles, as are John Barlow and Abigail Lockwood, Samuel Wakeman and Hannah Goodyear,  Ebenezer Hawley and Hester Ward, etc. etc. back two or three more generations. And there are more sister acts like Mary and Elizabeth Burr, and a couple of sister-brother progenitors. But we're alright.........
 
Other family names in our Bartram family tree include Jennings, Staple, Gould, Williams, Gray, Bradley, Canfield, Crane, Talcott, Thompson, Harrison, Pritchard, Phippen, Frost, Birdsey, Hopkins, Sherman, Cable, Vickaris, Mott, Goode, Makin, Gutter, Skinner, Wells, Mead and a bunch of others that I have never been able to identify, though Dan Elliot might be able to add to the list.
 
The same possible numbers of progenitors apply in the case of William Bond Pratt's family tree but I have not been nearly as successful in identifying them. However, I'll bet there is a lot closer to a full deck of Pratt progenitors. They tended to keep moving while the Bartram ancestors seem to have hung around Fairfield intermarrying. William Bond's mother was a Bartlett, and her father and grandfather were both named Ithamar, but I have no maternal family names. His grandmother was a Bond who brings with her the Greenwood, Woolson, Woodward, Bancroft, Biscoe, Hyde, Metcalf, Hammond, and Cason families. His great-grandmother Pratt was Jemima Alden, whose father was John Alden and mother Thankful Parker. There may be a Mayflower connection there but I haven't tied it down.
 
In the case of the Woodruffs, I have identified about as many progenitors as in the case of the Bartrams but more people since I have found no sister-sister or brother-sister combinations.
 
Here is a run-down of families in back of Newton R. Woodruff (Newton, Henry and William Bond are all great-grandfathers to me): Nettleton, Orton, Mason, Rossiter, Gould, Hopkins, Davis, Andrew, Plumb, Smedley, Carter, Pierson, Cruttenden, Butler, Phinney, Platt, Treat, Baldwin, Newton, Orvis, Dimon, Arnold, Skinner, Sherman, Robinson, Kirby, Bronson, Olmstead, Linnel, Lumbart, Plum, Kellogg, White, Tapp, Alsop, Green, Fenn, Pratt, Wheeler, Ward, Osborne, Field, Easton, Mitchell, Griegson, Ventris, Bigelow, Loomis, Shelly, Rogers, Derby, Wood, Bouton, Gaylord, Bryan, Gilbert, Bainbridge, Hooker, Butterfield, Garbrand, Pellate, Bristow, Allgar and Symonds. Whew!
 
In the Cannon clan, my great-grandfather equivalent to Henry, William Bond and Newton R. is James S. Cannon (like Harry S. Truman, the "S" stands for nothing) . The Cannon family tree in America is just a little shrub compared to the Bartrams and Wooduffs. The only families that I have found behind James S. are Brown, Woodburn, Mitchell and Shields and we are already back to Northern Ireland and Scotland.
 
Wait. There's more. If you are a Woodruff descendent you have to add the progenitors of my great-grandmother Sophronia Tanner with family names of Mead, Hill or Sweet, Palmer, Tibbets and Staunton. If your are just a Pratt-Bartram descendent you still have to add the progenitors of my great-grandmothers Elizabeth King and Freelove McIntyre with family names of Morris and Williams. There are more but they are unknown since we are already back to Germany and Scotland.
 
And even more: If you are a descendent of Burr Pratt you have to add the Kelly progenitors. If you are a descendent of Joe Pratt you have to add the progenitors of LaVica Curtis. If you are a descendent of Clara Pratt you have to add the McOmbers and so on. If you are from Helen Pratt you have to add the Tracy Shane progenitors. Likewise from Henry Pratt add the Whidbys, or from Isadora Pratt, the Thayers.
 
Any questions???

Emailed Nov. 28

Pratt/Woodruff History-First Thanksgiving III


You all remember Squanto from grade school, don't you? He was the English-speaking Indian who helped the Pilgrims by teaching them to put a dead fish in every hill of corn they planted. He and Samoset, another English-speaking Indian, were both at the three-day harvest feast in the fall of 1621 and acted as interpreters so that all the communication between the Pilgrims and Massasoit's tribe didn't have to be confined to sign language.
 
Samoset was actually the first Indian to help the Pilgrims. In March of 1621 he walked into their compound and asked if they had any beer. He was an Abneki from Maine who had learned some pidgin English from some fishermen (and had learned to like beer). It was Samoset who talked Squanto into coming to Plymouth to help the Pilgrims. Squanto was fluent in English and had been Christianized.
 
Squanto, whose real name was Tisquantum, was a member of the Patuxet sub-group of the Wampanoag tribe who had been captured in 1605 and taken to England as sort of exotic curiosity to prove that his captors actually had been to the New World. He got back to his native land in 1612 only to be captured again in 1614 for the purpose of being sold into slavery in Spain. He was saved by some religious types who converted him to Christianity (I'm sure he preferred that to slavery in Spain). He was able to get back home again in 1619 only to find that his tribe had been decimated by a plague, probably smallpox. So it was that he was in the neighborhood and able to join up with the Pilgrims in 1621 at Samoset's behest.
 
I am now going to indulge in some more speculation about what went on during that three-day First Thanksgiving fest. Winslow said "..whom for three dayes we entertained.." and "...amongst other recreations..." Thus it is plain that there was more going on than eating and sleeping.
 
How about the Indians playing a demonstration game of Lacrosse? The game was more than fun. It was also important to the Indians for conflict resolution, the training of young warriors and as a religious ritual. Certainly the Pilgrims would have been interested, probably fascinated.
 
And foot racing, I can imagine white girls vs Indian girls and white boys vs Indian boys. My Mother, who could outrun any of the three of us, said young girls loved to run and race despite long skirts. Maybe Joseph Rogers raced.
 
And how about the Wampanoag braves demonstrating their archery prowess with their bows and arrows? The Pilgims had probably already "...exercised their Armes..."
 
And Captain Miles Standish surely put his small troop through some close-order drill to demonstrate their marching and manual-of-arms proficiency.
 
I can also imagine a race between the Indians in their canoes and the Pilgrims in their long boat. Plymouth was located right on the water.
 
I can even imagine a wrestling match between two muscular Pilgrim youths. I think I read one time that wrestling was popular in those days. Improbably, one of the Pilgrim boys was named Wrestling Brewster.
 
Can you visualize ceremonial groups of Indians doing their shuffling tribal dances around campfires? And super-devout Pilgrims hym-singing? And a long-winded Pastor intoning    seemingly endless invocations, benedictions and prayers of Thanksgiving? I can.
 
Well, there's my story of the First Thanksgiving. I hope it adds to yours.
 
Elaine and I wish you all a happy Pratt-Wooduff Thanksgiving. 
 
The Patriarch

Emailed Nov. 27

Pratt/Woodruff History-First Thanksgiving II

I am trying to visualize what that first Thanksgiving at Plymouth was really like. You all have seen illustrations of immaculately dressed Pilgrim families, men. women and children, sitting around neatly set tables outdoors. So where are the Indians? And it was the Pilgrim custom for men to eat first, served by the women (I don't know where the children and adolescents fit in). Indians normally ate sitting on the ground on skins and just used their hands to eat with, and Indian men and women ate together. Some accounts have the Indians joining the Pilgrims at the tables. Did the squaws sit with the braves and Pilgrim men while the Pilgrim women still stood behind? Another question, where did the 53 Pilgrims get enough tables to seat 90 Indians? Pilgrims ate three meals a day, their big meal being at mid-day and their breakfast being leftovers. Indians just ate when they were hungry from continually simmering kettles rather than having meals (that is when they had food). And we know the Pilgrims had beer. Did they share with the Indians?
 
The accounts by Winslow and Bradford that I sent you yesterday are the only primary sources of information on the First Thanksgiving so everything else that has ever been written about that three-day harvest celebration is second-hand speculation at best. Thus I feel free to make up my own account (with the help of a lot of Googling) and share it with you.
 
My guess is that it was more like a three-day tailgate party than a sit-down banquet. I would also like to think the Wampanoag women and children were included ( Winslow said "...some nintie men..."). Probably it was a sort of long-running buffet interspersed, as Winslow indicated, with "rejoycing'", " Recreations" and discharge of "Armes". Certainly some prayers of thanksgiving.
 
 Massasoit's hunters went out with their bows and arrows and brought down five deer (probably fat does instead of bucks in rut). They had to have been butchered and roasted outdoors. Did that much venison all get devoured in three days? Probably, there were 143 mouths to feed  plus the dogs (the Pigrims had a female Mastiff and a small Spriger Spaniel that survived the Mayflower trip. Did the Indians leave their dogs back at the wigwam with no food for three days?)
 
In addition to venison the Indians would have contributed corn (as meal and cornbread) and beans and turkeys. Lobster, eels, clams and mussels were plentiful as were fish. Winslow indicated that the four men sent "fowling" were very sucessful. The"fowl" would have been migrating waterfowl; ducks, geese, swans and maybe cranes. They were probably shot on the water. The Pilgrims' "fowling pieces" were muzzle loading, funnel shaped matchlock shotguns, not hardly suitable for shooting birds on the fly like in skeet-shooting. Wild turkeys were very plentiful.
 
Wild food collected by the Pilgims in the fall season would have included grapes, both red and white, plums and rose hips. Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries would have been gone by then. I think that the huckleberries would have been gone too. Cranberries would have been avilable, but not for cranberry sauce (they had no sugar). Likewise they had pumpkins but no pumpkin pie (not only no sugar, but also no shortening or wheat flour or ovens). They collected walnuts, butternuts, hickory nuts, acorns and maybe chestnuts. Indians harvested wild onions, wild garlic and watercress to jazz up their diet.
 
What else did they not have that are part of traditional Thanksgiving menus today? No mashed potatoes. White potatoes were not yet in cultivation anywhere. No yams or sweet potatoes either. Sweet potatoes were rare, thought to be aphrodisiacs, affordable only by the wealthy. No apples or apple sauce. Apples were not native to North America. (Also no ham or bacon. The Pilgrims had no hogs).
 
So what did they have? They grew corn, onions, garlic, parsnips, collards, carrots, parsley, turnips, spinach, cabbage, pumpkins, squash, beans, sage, thyme and marjoram. Maybe radishes and lettuce. And they had salt and pepper but they didn't put a pepper shaker or mill on the table, using it only for cooking. In Pilgrim houses, all cooking was done in the fireplace.
 
As for table manners: As I said, the Indians used their fingers. The Pilgrims did not use forks. Their "silverware" consisted of a spoon and a knife. At that early stage they used wooden plates. It is said that they also handled food with a piece of cloth. I can't quite figure out how that went. Did they reach over and pull off a drumstick with the cloth? (I devour drumsticks with my bare hands and then use a piece of cloth to wipe my mouth and fingers).
 
NEXT: Communication and Recreation

Emailed Nov. 26

Pratt/Woodruff History-The First Thanksgiving

The traditional "First Thanksgiving" was a three day feast in the early fall of 1621 at Plymouth Plantation involving 53 surviving Pilgrims and about 90 Wampanoag Indians.

Three of our ancestors were there, but unfortunately two were in the graveyard. Pratt ancestor Degory Priest and Woodruff ancestor Thomas Rogers died that first winter. Thomas' son Joseph, then an adolescent teenager, survived and participated. Pratt ancestor Phineas did not arrive until 1622. His famous run through the snow took place in the late fall of 1622. Degory's daughter Mary, who would eventually marry Phineas, was still in Holland.

William Bradford tells of their situation (modern spelling):

"They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached of which this place abounds and when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was a great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports."

PERSONAL NOTE: As I type this I am looking out over my back yard towards the river. The yard is snow covered and there are 17 wild turkeys foraging. One tom is displaying. Two are pecking at an ear of corn hanging by a small brass chain from a maple tree. That ear replaces one that was stripped overnight, presumably by deer. I have seven that regularly visit my yard and meadow.

Edward Winslow describes the feast (17th century spelling):

"our harvest being gotten in, our governour sent foure men on fowling, that so we might after a speciall manner rejoyce together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labours; they foure in one day killed as much fowle, as with a little helpe beside served the Company almost a weeke, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Armes. many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoyt, with some ninetie men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governour, and upon the Captaine and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by goodness of God, we are so farre from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plentie."

NEXT: Menu and table manners

Emailed Nov. 25 - Thanksgiving

Pratt/Woodruff History-New England Geography

The study of the Pequot War that has been the subject of my recent Emails raised several questions in my mind about the migration patterns that left our ancestors exposed out in the Connecticut River valley to Indian depredations. To follow me on this you will need a paper map of New England or Google Earth or MapQuest. If geography and history bored you in grade school you might just want to skip this episode.

Look at southern New England; Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Out there to the east is Cape Cod looking like the arm of a body-builder. In 1620 the Pilgrims in the Mayflower landed right across Cape Cod Bay at what became Plymouth. Our ancestors Phineas Pratt and Joseph Rogers did not stay long with the Pilgrims and Plymouth didn't expand much so we will exclude them from further analysis.

The wave of English immigration after the Pilgrims spread along the shores of Massachusetts Bay north of Boston and concentrated in what became Boston and its suburbs. The settlements east and southeast of Boston along the Massachusetts Bay shorline tended to be by people from Plymouth rather than from overseas. Aaron Pratt in Cohasset and Joseph Rogers in Duxbury are examples.

1624-1626: The Dorchester Company planted a colony at Cape Ann (present Glouchester) that proved ill-suited for either fishing or agriculture. Most returned to England. Those that stayed removed to what is now Salem.

In 1628 two different companies, the New England Company and a compnay led by John Endecott, landed in the Salem area. They were joined by the remnants of the Dorchester colonists.

The Massachusetts Bay Company suceeded the New England Company in 1629 and sent over several shiploads of emigrants, mostly Puritan separatists..

In 1630 the so-called Winthrop Fleet brought settlers to Salem, Charlestown, Boston, Medford, Watertown, Roxbury and Dorchester. We have ancestors who came over with them.

Sarting in 1633 there was an influx of new settlers including the prominent clergymen John Cotton and Thomas Hooker (Woodruff ancestor).

In that first decade some 20,000 English settlers emigrated to the New World in what became known as "The Great Migration". That's as far as I am going to go with this recital since the only colonists I am interested in for this study are those who were in New England before the Pequot War in 1637.

Going back to the New England map: There are all these new English colonies established on or near tidewater with 100 miles of wilderness between them and the Connecticut River Valley. One would think that if you wanted to settle in that fertile valley you would put your people and livestock and tools and goods on ships and sail around Cape Cod and through Nantucket Sound and Long Island Sound to the mouth of the Connecticut and then up the Connecticut to the feritile land you were seeking. There were all kinds of ships coming from England, some of which could be easily diverted. As for getting up the river, the Dutch had built a trading post at present-day Hartford and Edward Winslow from the Plymouth Colony had been up the river by boat by 1632, and the English had built a trading post upriver from Hartford at the site of today's Windsor in 1633. Further, in 1637 when the ninety man expedition headed down the river to deal with the Pequots they went by boat so they must have had access to boats suitable for travel both on the river and and the Sound. But the historical fact is that the Connecticut Valley settlers, including some of our ancestors, went what I claim was the hard way, 100 miles overland on foot.

While you still have the map out or the Google Earth or MapQuest image on-screen, let's take a look at the war path of Captain Mason and his troops and Indian allies.

Find Hartford in the middle of Connecticut on the Connecticut River. To the north upstream is Windsor. To the south also on the river is Wethersfield. These are the three settlements that furnished the men who took on the whole Pequot tribe. Wethersfield was where the Pequots had killed six settlers, tortured one to death and kidnapped two girls.* Captain Mason led his recruits downstream on boats to Long Island Sound where they were joind by some Indian allies, foes of the Pequots. Then the combined forces sailed eastward toward Narragansett Bay. I have found an account which says they were in three pinnaces (small sailing craft usually used for ship-to-ship service in harbors). They disembarked someplace beyond the the Mystic River and marched northwestward to the Pequot fort located north of Stonington (Connecticut Route 234 is called the Pequot Trail).

After the battle the Pequots who escaped the holocaust fled westward along the shore of the Sound. Mason divided his forces. Part returned overland to the river settlements to defend them. The remainder pursued the Pequots to the swamp at Fairfield where they were trapped and finished off. Then the victorious band returned to their settlements. They had lost only a few men.

* Captain Mason later rescued the girls.

NEXT: The Old Connecticut Path.

Emailed Nov. 20

Pratt/Woodruff History-Pequot War III

The elders of the Connecticut General Court (including two Bartram ancestors) having declared war on the Pequots, it was up the the men of the Colony to muster and arm themselves for battle. Two of these men were Woodruff ancestors, John Bronson and Zecharia Field.

There may well have been others that I have not identified since "...every male over the age of sixteen was to keep his firearm at hand. Each man was continually to have in his house 'half a pound of good powder, two pounds of bullets, and a pound of match' Each man was to be trained ten days a year in the art of war by Captain John Mason." That sounds like full mobilization to me.

There were apparently no requirements for swords and in the list of equpment and supplies for the expedition there were only twenty sets of "Armour" Thus it would appear that our men would not be wearing steel breastplates or helmets like you see in illustrations of colonial-era fighters. On the other hand, reading that I have done on the military of those times indicates that all soldiers carried cutting weapons of some kind. Bayonets had not yet been developed. So maybe it was just assumed that everyone would have swords. Also heavy leather protective clothing was worn as a sort of armor..

That they were required to have "a pound of match" means that their firearms were matchlocks. Early matchlocks were clumsy weapons, often heavy enough to require the use of a prop to hold the muzzle up while aiming and firing. The matchlock gun held a burning slow match in a clamp at the end of a small curved lever known as the "serpentine". Upon the pulling of a second lever (or trigger in later models) protruding fom the bottom of the gun and connected to the serpentine, the clamp dropped down, lowering the burning mstch into the flash pan and igniting the priming powder. The flash from the primer traveled through the touch hole igniting the main charge of propellant in the gun barrel.

An inherent weakness of the matchlock was the necessity of keeping the match constantly lit. (The match looked like a rope burning on one end). Being the sole source of ignition for the powder, if the match was not lit when the gun needed to be fired, the mechanism was useless, and the weapon became little more than an expensive club.

John Bronson was born in Essex, England about 1600 and there was married to Sarah Ventris. The had a daughter Dorcas, christened in England in 1633, which means they immigarated to Connecticut sometime after that. He was one of the ninety who set off down the Connecticut River in May of 1637 under Mason's command and participated in the action at the Mystic Fort and the Fairfield swamp. He would have been about 37 years old at the time..

As a reward for his service, he was granted a lot in "Soldier's Field" in Hartford. In 1641 he removed to Farmington which he represented in the Geneal Court in 1651 and was an original member of the Farmington Church. He died about 1680. He would have been in Farmington about the time when Mathew Woodruff, the first known Woodruff in America, arrived.

Zecharia Field was born in Yorkshire in 1596 and was in Boston by 1629 and was in Hartford by 1636. The "Field Genealogy" says "At this time he was still in the vigor of his manhood, and was one of the forty-two men furnished by Hartford to take part in the Pequot War". He was also with Mason at the Mystic Fort and Fairfield swamp. He would have been 41 years old.

He remained in Hartford about twenty years after his service but after the death of Rev. Thomas Hooker "...dissensions arose in the church, and as all attempts at reconciliation proved unsuccessful..sixty proprieters and their families...moved up the Connecticut valley. Mr. Field settled in Noirthampton, Massachusetts, probably in 1659...He received a grant in a new township, and removed to Hatfield, Massachusetts, where he died in 1666."

That was deadly serious business that the two ancestors and their eighty-some comrades were embarked on when they left their wives and children in those exposed settlements and boarded boats to go down the Connecticut River to find and fight the Pequots. In modern terms, their mission could be called genocide. Although much Indian fighting was yet to come in New England, the Pequots were never again a threat.

And what of the Pequots today? They own Foxwoods Resort Casino, the second largest gambling casino in the world, located a few miles from the site of their defeat.

NEXT: The geography of the Pequot war.

Emailed Nov. 17

Pratt/Woodruff History-Pequot War II

Here is a personal impression of our ancestral families gained over decades of research and reading. The Bartram ancestors tended to be fancy-shmancy establishment types in comparison to the Pratts who tended be outsiders or even hillbillies. If the Bartram ancestor was a Colonel, the Pratt ancestor would be a private. If the Bartram ancestor was a Lt. Governor, the Pratt ancestor would more likely be a blacksmith. Bartram ancestors usually lived in nice houses in towns near the ocean. Pratt ancestors often lived in hillside cabins out in the boondocks...

The Woodruff ancestors were mostly kind of common folk in the middle but a couple were very heavy-duty religious leaders. The Cannons were kind of a cranky bunch of late comers who were against booze and were opposed to instrumental music in church. Grandmother Lizzie Cannon Woodruff probably would have objected to Allen courting Genevieve if she had known my mother's Bartram progenitors made their living in the rum trade.

But I digress. Today's subject is supposed to be our ancestors who were participants in the Pequot War.

John Talcott (III) was a Bartram ancestor through the Gould (Gold) and Jennings line. He came over from England with the Rev. Thomas Hooker's company in 1632 on the ship "Lion". He first settled in Newtown, (now Cambridge), near Boston, and then joined the migration "... led by the Rev. Mr. Hooker (a Woodruff ancestor), and went on foot, through the wilderness, to the Connecticut River where they founded the present City of Hartford; here he took an active part in the affairs of the town, was a member of the General Court for many years and was styled 'The Worshipful Mr. John Talcott'; he was one of the committee appointed May 1, 1637, to take into consideration the propriety of a war with the Pequot Indians, and upon whose reccomendation a war was accordingly declared."

Andrew Ward was a Bartram ancestor through the Burr line (he was also a Woodruff ancestor through the Shermans). He was an immigrant from Sufolkshire in England who settled in Watertown, Massachusetts Bay Colony, about 1630."He was a member of hte upper house of the General Court when war was declared on the Pequot Indians, May 1, 1637, and served twice in the lower house, 1637-38. He was an early settler at Wethersfield, Connecticut, and member of the General Assembly in 1639 and often in later years. He removed to Stamford, where he was town constable in 1642...From 1645 until his death in 1659 he resided in Fairfield, Connecticut." (Connecticut Family Histories").

Here is a contemporary description about the preparations for war:

"In May, when the 9th Session of court was held at Hartford, an offensive war was declared on the Pequoitt. Ninety men were levied out of the three plantations. Wethersfield giving 18, and the remainder coming from Windsor and Hartford.

Equipped with twenty Armour and 180 bushels of corn, half baked into biscuits, and half into meal. A hogshead of beer, for the Captain and those who were sick was also packed. Hartford provided suet, butter, oatmeal, pease, salt, and 500 fish. Windsor sent pork, rice and cheese. All Wethersfield could provide was a bushel of Indian Beanes. Every soldier carried one pound of powder, four of shot, and twenty bullets."

They didn't have to carry all this stuff. It was an amphibious operation. They traveled on boats down the river and along the coast, then made landings and marched inland to fight. It occurs to me that they were going to run out of beer before they ran out of corn or fish, though at 54 gallons a hogshead is a pretty good supply of beer.

That reminds me of a geology field trip I once ran on Lake Erie. I chartered two boats and put a keg of beer on each boat and had the boats manuevered right up close to the formations.

NEXT: Two Woodruff ancestor soldiers..

Emailed Nov. 16

Pratt/Woodruff History-The Pequot War


From Answers.com: The Pequot War.

"Tensions between English settlers and Pequot Indians, who inhabited southeastern New England and had made enemies among many other Indian tribes, developed by the early 1630's. These tensions escalated when Pequots killed English colonists and traders in 1633 and 1636. After the murder of an English captain on Block Island in 1636, both sides began to prepare for further hostilities. While English troops arrived to strengthen Saybrook Fort, located at the mouth of the Connecticut River, some Pequot Indians attacked Wethersfield further north, killing nine. This event led the General Court of the recently settled river towns--Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield--to declare war on the Pequot Indians in May 1637.

Under English and Mohegan command, white and Indian troops allied against the Pequot and courted support from rhe Narragansett Indians. After a two-day march the party surprised and and burned the Pequot fort near present-day Mystic. Only seven Indians escaped the slaughter. English forces attacked a second Pequot stonghold two miles away the same night.

In response hundreds of Pequot Indians decided to flee the area rather than stay and fight. The English and their allies pursued them and caught up with the group in Sasqua Swamp near present-day Fairfield, Conn. The ensuing battle resulted in the capture of about 180 Pequots. The Pequot's Indian enemies adopted many of the captives into their own tribes and killed many of those who initially escaped. The war decimated the Pequot tribe."

From another account: "The Indian forts were burned and about 500 men, women and children were killed. The survivors fled in small groups. One group, led by Sassacus, was caught near Faifield, Conn. on July 28, and nearly all were killed or captured. The captives were made slaves by the colonists or were sold in the West Indies. Sassacus and the few who escaped with him were put to death by Mohawk Indians. The few remaining were scattered among oher southern New England tribes."

Two Pratt ancestors, John Talcott and Andrew Ward, were members of the General Court that declared war on the Pequots. Two Woodruff ancestors, John Bronson and Zechariah Field, were soldiers at the massacre at the fort and at the fight in the swamp.

NEXT: About our ancestors.

Nov. 14

Pratt/Woodruff History

Thus far with my genealogy/family history Emails I have concentrated on our common Pratt/Bartram ancestors' stories, and given time I can come up with many more. But now I would like to widen my scope to include some of the progenitors of the Woodruffs of the same generations who were involved in the same parade of American history as the Pratts.

Example: On the Mayflower when it arrived at Plymouth in 1620 in addition to Pratt ancestor Degory Priest; there were two Woodruff ancestors, Thomas Rogers and his son Joseph. Thomas died in the first sickness that winter as did Degory. They are buried in the same cemetery. Joseph Rogers was at Plymouth when Phineas Pratt ran in from Wessagusertt in 1623 and when Miles Standish brought in the head of the Indian Wituwaumet and placed it on the stockade as a warning to other Indians (Phineas Pratt III Sept 6 2008).

Another example: The Sherman family (in Watertown, Massachusetts Bay Colony, in the 1630's) and the Skinner family (immigrants to Boston in 1638) are double ancestors. Both the Pratts and the Woodruffs are descended from them.

A third example: Pratt ancestors Abraham Gould, Ebenezer Bartram, and Asa Pratt served in the Revolutionary War; as did Woodruff ancestor Philosebius Woodruff.

When our Pilgrim and Puritan ancestors came from Holland and England in the 1620's and 1630's they brought a number of things the Indians already here did not really need; such as European diseases, gunpowder, land hunger, booze and bibles. However, it is not as if they had arrived at some innocent Native American Garden-of-Eden. Smallpox caught from French explorers or Portuguese fishermen or Dutch traders had already devastated some tribes and depopulated some areas, and although some Indians such as Massassoit and his tribe were friendly and helpful, the general Indian culture involved much intertribal jealousy and conflict. They were also big on torture of captives, red or white.

Deadly conflict between encroaching whites and the Indians they were displacing began in Virginia before our earliest immigrant ancestors arrived at Cape Cod Bay and was still going on when Newton R. Woodruff was running for the Michigan Legislature and Wilmer Pratt was getting into the barrel-making business in Riverside. Custer's Last Stand at the Little Big Horn was in 1876 and the massacre at Wounded Knee was in 1890.

The first of the wars between the settlers and the Indians in New England was the Pequot War in 1637. Some of our ancestors participated in that war.

NEXT: The Pequot War.

Emailed Nov. 14

Pratt Stories-Henry Bartram's Bridge IV


Bridge erection day:
 
         " April 27: The Adams arrived with six townspeople at sunrise. We set stringers and put the kingposts in place. We have made a fine bridge. Father put a brush atop the posts and we all sing and drank.* Sarah brought a cake. One man fell into the brook but he was not hurt. We knocked down the old bridge, which made me a little sad.
                  28: Without yet a floor in the new bridge, we could not yet proceed over it to Sunday Meeting so held services at home."
 
"Another ancient custom is seen in Izaak's 'putting a brush on top' of the new structure. Even nowadays you will see workmen put a small tree or brush on the top of a new roof when it has been completed. That ceremony always calls for a round of drinks for the builders,* and although we don't seem to know why we do it, we say 'just to give the house luck.' That tree tacked atop a new building goes all the way back to Druid lore when men worshipped trees!"
 
* Maybe rum distilled from molasses brought from the West Indies in a Bartram-Captained ship?
 
"If you will look at the drawing of the bridge-raising, you can see how the timbers were put in place and raised into a permanent truss, first with the help of Daniel the ox, and then with the help of the Adams family and other neighbors. You may also see how the slanted beams tend to push against each other as 'compression pieces' and lift the kingpost..."
 
I speculate that it was about at this stage of the construction of Henry's bridge that the accident took place. What usually happens with industrial accidents is that some component or piece of equipment fails with fatal consequences, in this case maybe a rope broke or a prop slipped or maybe he didn't have enough manpower. Remember in his diary entry for the day before the accident he said they were raising the braces and complained that the work was going slow "..for want of help..." ?
 
I had a similar experience back in 1955 when I was Division Superintendant for a natural gas pipeline company. Five of my guys were killed in a pipeline explosion caused by the failure of a specially-manufactured coupling. Telling wives that they are widows is very tough duty.

Emailed Nov. 13

Pratt Stories-Henry Bartram's Bridge III


Continuing from Sloane's book

" 'Setting timbers in place' and 'driving the joints home' were well-known procedures in the days when men built their own barns. The complete skeleton of any building was laid out upon the ground and fastened together with wooden nails (called tree-nails or ' trunnels') before raising the sections up and fastening them together.
The drawing shows how Izaak Blake put together two king-post trusses, ready to be erected into the final bridge. The beams were pounded into place on the ground with a very heavy hammer called a 'commander' or 'beetle', and then the wooden pins were inserted and hammered into place. Nowadays we assume than people once used wooden pins because it was too hard to make nails or spikes. But metal nails would either have rusted away or split the wood, so wood against wood made a much better fastening. It breathed with the weather changes and finally welded itself together into the best possible union. Even today you may find oak trunnels fastening together two barn beams that are solid and firm after two centuries, while a spike would have rusted away and rotted the wood next to it.

22: Spent the day in the forge barn fashioning trunnels for bridge. Did forty.
23: Rain and wind. We worked in the garden sewing pease (peas) and beans.
24: Rain stopped and brook is down. Prepared the beams and put them in place for Saturdays work.
25: Mr. Toms came by with a new rope from his walk. I have seldom seen so long and white a rope.
26: Rain again. Too wet to work in garden but we thinn'd brush, and we pruned the woodlot with hooks..."

"Mr. Thom's ' walk' was the place where he made his rope. Rope-walks were sometimes a quarter of a mile long, they were usually at the edge of town where traffic would not interefere with the business of rope-winding. In the early days, for example, New York's main street, Broadway, ended as a rope-walk which extended uptown for about two thousand feet and into a meadow.
The rope-spinner had a large bundle of fiber gathered loosely around his waist; he pulled out strands from this and wove them into cords, walking backward along the rope-walk as he worked. Another man wound the twisted cord into rope.
It was once the custom for rope-makers to rent rope for special purposes, so we might presume that Mr.Thoms rented Izaak the rope for raising his bridge. A backwoods farmer seldom had use for such great lengths of rope. Moreover, the expense made good rope a rare thing around a farmyard".

NEXT: The bridge is erected.

Pratt Stories-Henry Bartram's Bridge II


Continuing with Eric Sloane's book: 
 
"Like most masonry of early American times, the bridge abutments were built in 'dry wall' fashion, which merely meant that no cement was used. The old-timers had a knack of fitting stone together so cleverly that no binding at all was necessary. The art of 'dry-masonry' used to be so well known that you could just look at a wall or foundation and recognize it as the work of a particular builder."
 
"All the stones for the Blake bridge were fitted together by Izaak, but the actual moving of the heaviest stones was accomplished with a lever pole-fulcrum (see the drawing) which was operated by Daniel the ox. You might wonder how the pioneers moved some of the great stones that you see in old walls and foundations, the secret was simply in their ability to slide things. A two-ton slab of rock that could not be lifted or carted by wagon, could be slid to the location with ease just by waiting for winter and sliding the stone over ice. Almost no heavy farm loads were hauled on wheels, that was put off till winter when the loads could be slid across the countryside on sled runners. For each wagon the old time farmer had, he had about four sleds. Even smaller stones were thrown on a flat  wooden slab known as a 'stone-boat' and slid across the grass during the summer, with much less effort than it would take to lift the onto a wagon and cart them on wheels."
 
MY NOTE: We had a stone-boat at the Bowe Farm orchard that would be pulled across the fields or through the orchard, usually by one horse. Stones plowed up or heaved up to the surface by frost would would be loaded on and hauled over to the lane by the road and piled out-of-the- way fence-like like by the black walnut trees. Stones of a certain size were called "(racial ephithet) heads" with complete casualness and no negative intent. One year in those days Watervliet High School's annual musical was a black-face Minstrel Show with one of the performers playing the sole white role, "Mr. Interlocutor". I was one of the "End Men".
 
Continuing from the book: "Mr. Adams and his son came by to help with the final stonework, but found that they were more in the way than anything else.
'The way Noah handles the lever for you,' said Adams, 'I guess you'll not be needing us. But when it's time to raise the bridge timbers we'll be on hand.'
 
      15: Father used Daniel this morning to set the bridge beams in place for homing the joints. I tried my hand at spring plowing in the afternoon, with Daniel.
      16: More plowing. Father still setting up the trusses. He says the joints have swollen with the rains and need new chiseling.
      17: do. Weather fine.
      18: do
      19: Finished plowing. Father has the bridge trusses ready for raising. Tomorrow I will go to the Adams and ask them to come upon Saturday the next.
      20: Spent the day at the Adams. They shall certainly assist with the bridge next Saturday. Sarah Trowbridge did the cooking and she is most excellent.
      21: First Sunday past Easter. The meeting house was very cold. I visited with Sarah after the service.
 
NEXT: The pieces are assembled.

Emailed Nov. 11

Pratt Stories-Henry Bartram's Bridge

If you have been following the Pratt Stories Emails you know that my great-grandfather Henry Bartram died September 9, 1864, as a result of injuries sustained that day in a bridge-building accident. Despite considerable effort, I have never been able to learn any details about the accident or where the bridge project was located. In Pratt Stories-The Bartram Family XIII, Emailed Oct 7; and XIV, Emailed October  8, I told about the entries in his diary the day before and the day of the accident and about his funeral and indicated my intent to keep pursuing the matter.
 
I have no hope of finding a contemporary account of the accident since there was no local newspaper at that time and tragedy was apparently not important enough to make the local histories. Not being able to know anything about Henry's particular bridge I have looked for and finally found (in my own personal library) an illustrated bridge-building story that can give us a feel for just how Henry would have gone about the job of constructing a wooden bridge across a small stream in the early or mid-1800's. It is from "Diary of an Early American Boy" by Eric Sloane.
 
The late Eric Sloane was in my opinion the premier artist, author and historian on Americana. Google him to see some of his beautiful stuff and learn more. I have several of his books and prints of his paintings.
 
In an old house in Connecticut Sloane had found a small leather-bound diary kept by 15 year old Noah Blake in 1805. The book is based on that diary and his unquestioned expertise on period tools and the methods of construction of early American wooden and stone structures.
 
Noah's father, Izaak, had plans to build a waterwheel mill on the stream at their place, but first they had to replace the deteriorating temporary bridge. From Noah's diary:
 
"April 9. Flooding all but washed our bridge away. Father says the new bridge beams are seasoned and ready. When the waters subside, we shall begin to erect it. We are shaping up the abutments."
 
At age 15 Noah was probably a real help on the job. Henry's diary tells of taking his son Burr to the job, but at age 10 he was probably more in the way than a help. However, if Henry was anything like my Dad, he enjoed having the kid around.
 
"April 10: Worked on the bridge abutments. Daniel (their ox) helped with the bigger stones.
         11: do  (ditto).
         12: Good Friday. It rained all day. Brook went up.
         13: Bluebirds arrived. We finished the abutments. River lower.
         14: Easter Sunday. A fine service. Saw Sarah Trowbridge the new girl at the Adams. She is very pretty."
 
Sloane: "The little bridge across the brook was nothing more than two very long trees with planks set atop to walk across. It had lasted 10 years, but in the meantime Izaak had prepared a set of truss beams ready for erection as a new bridge as soon as Noah was old enough and strong enough to help.
'The bridge will be a big memory in the boy's life,' Izaak had said, 'and he will want to have taken part in putting it up'."
 
NEXT: Building the abutments.

Emailed Nov. 7

Pratt Stories-The Bartram Family XV

After Henry Bartram's death in the bridge building accident, his widow Freelove McIntyre and his children and her child and their daughters emigrated to Berrien County's Hagar Township in the year 1867. You will remember from The Bartram Family IV (Oct 6) that she was accompanied by Henry's Flora Adell and Isaac Bartram, her Mary Davis, and our ancestors Nellie and Abigail Bartram. They lived on a country road outside of the village of East Aurora, New York, about 25 miles from Buffalo..
 
They could have gone via the Erie Canal to Buffalo and then by ship on Lake Erie to Detroit like the Woodruff families did thirty years earlier, but there had been a lot of railroad development since that time..The system that became the New York Central Railroad had lines going to  Michigan both via Canada and via New York, Pennslvania and Ohio. I did some Googling to try and guess what railroad route they would have taken.
 
By the process of elimination I have concluded they would have taken the Michigan Central Railroad. For example; the Michigan Southern extended west from Buffalo along the south shore of Lake Erie and required no water crossings, but despite its name, it had no stations in Michigan. The Canada Southern's route across Ontario was rhe most direct but it wasn't finished until a year after the Bartrams migrated. The Grand Trunk Western had a good, straight route from the Niagara River to the St, Clair River and through Michigan on its way to Chicago, but the nearest station to Hagar Township was at Cassopolis. The Buffalo and Philidelphia, which would have been a good way to get to Buffalo from East Aurora, was not finished until four years after they left. The railroad bridge across the Niagara River at Buffalo had not yet been built. The Chicago and Michigan Lake Shore Railroad which went through New Buffalo, wasn't finished as far as St. Joseph until 1871 and didn't reach Riverside until later.
 
The Michigan Central Railroad which I am now convnced the Bartrams took in 1867 started in Ontario across the Niagara River from Buffalo and extended to the Detroit River. I don't know whether they would have boarded their train car on the American side or the Canadian side of the Niagara River. The Detroit River was crossed by disassembling the train and rolling the cars onto boats called car-floats. I don't know how many cars these floats could take at a time. Then the train was reassembled on the Michigan side and off across the state it goes to New Buffalo. The orignal terminus was supposed to be St. Joseph but they got ambitious and decided to extend it all the way to Chicago.
 
The Michigan Central had a sation at Niles so the Bartrams could have de-trained there and taken a steamboat down the St. Joseph River. They would have landed at Benton Harbor where they would have been met by Joseph and Hannah Dickinson with buggies and farm wagons and transported with their possessions the last few miles to the Dickinson's Maple Lane home. Remember that Freelove and her brood would be living in a small house on Maple Lane at the corner of the Dickinsons' property. I don't know whether or not it was built before they arrived. I 'm guessing that it was in existence and that it had been a tennant house.
 
That trip down the river seems to me an easier and more logical way to get to Hagar than by land from either Niles or New Buffalo.
 
NEXT: Now that I got everyone to Hagar it's up to them to do their romancing and to be fruitful and multiply. I want to go back to East Aurora to investigate that bridge-building accident.

Emailed Nov. 6