Ride to Piggwacket, 1768
What follows is Rev. Paul Coffin's account of a journey from his home in Narragansett No. 1 (now Buxton) to "Piggwacket" (now Fryeburg) in the fall of 1768. Annotations in square brackets are my own.
Source: Collections of the Maine Historical Society, 1st Series, Vol. 4. (Portland, Me., 1856).
Source: Collections of the Maine Historical Society, 1st Series, Vol. 4. (Portland, Me., 1856).
[p. 275]RIDE TO PIGGWACKET1For the annotations to this "Ride," we are indebted to the Hon. Joseph Howard, except those marked C.W., by Cyrus Woodman.Narrangansett, No. 1,2 Sept. 29, 1768.Thursday, 4 o'clock, P. M. Left home in company with Capt. Timothy Walker of Piggwackett, and Lieut. John Hopkinson of Narragansett, rode to the block house, crossed the 3River and lodged at a Capt. John Smith's.
Friday Sept. 30. Rose before the sun, (which did not give us hopes he would appear for the day) and sat off. Rode over 4Cook's brook about three miles, from thence to Deer Wander, about three more and took breakfast, as there was a camp. This is first Stage. On Deer Wan-
1"Piggwacket," the proper mode of spelling which is Pequawkett, was the original name of Fryeburg, Maine. In the old Delaware language the word Pequawkett means Pelican, or Swan. In Lovell's pond, and in waters in that vicinity, swans were found by the early settlers of Fryeburg, and the adjacent towns. Its frequenting those waters might have attracted the attention of the Indians, and suggested the name for that locality, as well as for the tribe that inhabited that section of country. Soon after Lovell's fight in 1725, the Pequawkett Tribe retired to the head waters of the Connecticut.*
2What was Narragansett No. 1, is now Buxton in the county of York.
4Enters Saco river, just below Salmon Falls.
—*A different definition is given of Pequawkett on a preceding page.—Ed [Elsewhere in this volume, "Pequawkett" is defined as "sandy land" (p. 109), and as "The Crooked Place," derived for the Abenaki words Pequawquis (crooked) and Auke (a place). C. E. Potter writes of the latter definition, "How appropriate, when the Saco flows some 30 miles in a town some six miles square!!" (p. 191)][p. 276]der 1meadow there were eight stacks of hay. This is a good meadow.
Eight and a half of the clock left Deer Wander meadow, rode three miles to 2Killock's meadow—poor grass—therefore called Warren's tavern from Wm. Warren of Berwick who keeps a poor tavern. From thence to little Ossipee river, eight miles from Deer Wander, then in about a mile we passed by Soldier meadow, so called because discovered by a body of Soldiers, scouting in past wars. Then rode about two miles to a good brook and there bated. Forty minutes past eleven o'clock, set out again and ride to great Ossipee river which is twelve miles from little Ossipee.
About seven miles before we came to Great Ossipee, we passed between two deep Vallies, on a sharp high ridge, about wide enough, when cut away and leveled, for a Cart. This ridge is called the Whale's Back.3 This goes into the account of our ride because it is a pretty thing to put a Whale's back into a man's pocket. We passed great Ossipee at two o'clock, then rode to Great Falls, four miles from great Ossipee, and rested till three and a half of the clock, P. M. Great Falls are a considerable falls, steep and white and long.4
Great Falls, three and a half of clock, mount our steeds, having sixteen miles to ride. We rode over a long rocky hill, about two or three miles from Great Falls, called Johny Macks or Mc's hill, because John McMullin did not like it when clearing it. Thence rode till we found ten mile
1In Hollis. C. W.
3In Limington, on the road from Steep Falls to Cornish.
4On Saco river in Hiram.[p. 277]Brook,1 so called because about ten miles from Piggwacket. From thence to burnt meadow Brook, eight miles from Piggwacket.
Arrived there five and a half of clock. From thence set off about six of clock and rode three miles through rocky and muddy travelling and then through pitch pine Plains five miles, and reached cousin Samuel Osgood's at seven and a half of the clock, at Piggwacket.
We accomplished this ride in thirteen and a half hours, having begun at six in the morning and finished it at seven and a half in the evening—We were on our horses eleven hours. The road in general was remarkably good for so new a one. We did not walk our horses above three or four miles, the whole journey. A great deal of the road was pitch pine land, like a house floor. The road from Capt. Smith's to Deer Wander is very good excepting about half a mile. Runnell's Brook2 is bad wading. This is about one and a half miles from Capt. Smith's. Three miles from Deer Wander is rocky. From thence to little Ossipee is good pine road. From little Ossipee two and a half miles heavy, wetish, clay road; then five miles pine road—pitch pine—then about three miles before we come to the great Ossipee, rocky and wet riding. From Great Ossipee to great Falls, pretty good riding—oak land and pitch pine. From great Falls to ten mile Brook something rough and bad riding. From ten mile Brook to burnt meadow Brook pretty good riding. From thence we pass through about two and a half miles bad riding. From thence to Piggwacket, fine pitch pine plain.
Saturday, October 1. Lowery weather—rained hard last night, having begun to rain about six minutes after we
2In Hollis.[p. 278]were well housed. Soon after the sun was up the weather proved fair and we took a view of the upper part of Fryeburg which is extremely pleasant. Nature has formed here the desirable rural retreat which poets describe as the most amiable situation in life.
Seven men own in equal shares this part of the town which in the interval contains three hundred and fifty acres. This lays in the form of a full moon, nearly. The upland which surrounds this Eden as it lays upon it or close to it, and on which their houses stand is perfectly level and smooth and dry. From these houses there is a pretty sudden declivity down to the interval of about three or four rods. The names of these seven owners is as follows: Capt. Timothy Walker, Samuel Osgood, David Page, Moses Ames, Nathaniel Merrill, John Evans, and David Evans.1
1The village of Fry[e]burg was often, and for a long time, called "the Seven lots." The seven owners removed from Pennacook, now Concord, N. H. to Fryeburg, in the fall of 1763. They had, the previous year, made some improvements. Four of them, Samuel Osgood, Nathaniel Merrill, David Page and John Evans, and probably others, had been in the French war, with Rogers and participated in the daring exploits of "Roger's Rangers.["] Evans was a sergeant in the heroic, and sad, though successful expedition of Rogers in 1759, against the St. Francis Indians. In the disastrous return where so many perished by hunger and cold, he barely escaped death by starvation. Merrill was wounded in the head by a musket ball in one of Rogers's lake fights, and Page was wounded in the leg; Osgood was in the expedition to Detroit, in 1760, under the command of Major Rogers, who received his orders from General Jeffrey Amherst, September 12, 1760, from his Camp, at Montreal. Osgood left but one son, familiarly known in Fryeburg as Lieut. James Osgood, who married Abigail, daughter of James Evans, and they had three sons and nine daughters—viz. Rev. Samuel Osgood, D. D. now residing in Springfield, Mass—James Osgood, Esq., and Col. Edward L. Osgood, of Fryeburg—Mehitable, m Gen. John McMillan, and after his decease m. Hon. Judah Dana—Mary, m Stephen Chase Esq.—Susan, m Henry Y. B. Osgood,—Jane, m Gilbert McMillan Esq.—Ann, m Col. Joshua B. [continued on next page][p. 279]Their improvements are surprisingly large considering they have done most of their work upon the land in three years. Capt. Walker had forty acres corn, grass and english grain, which all are rich. Two or three tuns of hay was cut on an acre, and corn and grain large and good.
In the afternoon Capt. H. Young Brown conducted us from Capt. Walker's over the river N. Westerly to his house. This Capt. H. Young Brown has a 1Town lying S. Westerly on Fryeburg. The line which divides the Town runs N. West and S. East. He has about twelve families in the Town. He has made a fine appearance, yet struck the first stroke in clearing land in May 1765. He treated us not only hospitably but genteelly; has an amiable and accomplished wife and a pretty daughter of about twelve years, their only child. He appears a sober, religious man; of a good judgment in religion, loving rational and intelligible christianity. We spent the after part of the day very agreeably with him having in our company also one Dr. ____ Emery from Hampton who was viewing the place with thoughts of settling there. He was a young man of about 25 years. This visit was the more agreeable as we were in Capt. Brown's high
[cont.] Osgood, of Portland, Abigail, m Gen. James W. Ripley,—Sally never married,—Hannah m Dr. Clement J. Adams,—and Elizabeth m. Henry C. Buswell Esq. Merrill was long known as "Esquire Merrill," he was a noted surveyor of land, outlived all the others and died in 1824, leaving very numerous descendants. Page was an acting magistrate for many yars. He was intelligent, but somewhat peculiar and original. In his Courts, Judge Dana, Hon. Jacob McGaw, and Hon. Samuel A. Bradley were prominent practitioners. Capt. John Page, mortally wounded at the battle of Palo Alto, Texas, was his grandson.
1Now Brownfield[p. 280]and clean room which had five glass1 windows, and was nearly half wainscotted. It struck me with pleasure at the entrance; as I doubt not it would any body else. Hence I called it Capt. Brown's Hall.2
Lord's Day Oct. 2. Pleasant morning. Rode over to Fryeburg and preached at Lieut. Caleb Swan's. This Swan was bred up at Harvard College[.] Preached from 1 Peter, 2:1-3, A. M., and from Rom. 1:14-15, P. M. We had a pretty assembly, good, healthy looking people and attentive.
1Glass windows were scarce in those days. Mr. Coffin had a few small panes of glass put into the room he occupied as a study when he first went to Buxton, and they I am told, were the first window glass used in that town. C. W.
2Henry Young Brown, had been a Captain in the "French war." He was born in Haverhill, Mass. Oct. 1730; died at Fryeburg Oct. 15, 1796—married Elizabeth Lovejoy, born in Andover Mass. May 1731, did April 21 1800. Their only child, that survived the age of infancy, was Elizabeth, b April 26, 1757,—died June 30, 1790.—married Col. Joshua B. Osgood, senior, b in Haverhill, Mas[s]. April 29, 1753, m May, 1780, died May 30, 1791. They left four children, Henry Young Brown Osgood, Joshua B. Osgood, Mary Sherburne, m Rev. Samuel Osgood, D. D. and Eliza L. m. James Osgood Esq. Captain Brown was a prominent man of his time. He was the original proprietor of Brownfield, from whom it took its name, under three Grants from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,—one of 4000 acres,—one of 8544 acres, and the other of 11000 acres. He was to settle in these grants 38 families by June 10, 1770, and in three years from that time to have a Protestant minister settled. He left a large estate, which was inherited by his four grand children, above named.
The "first settled minister" of Brownfield was the Rev. Jacob Rice, a graduate of Harvard College, in 1765. He was ordained in Brownfield in 1805,—had previously been settled in Henniker, N. H. in 1768. He was born in Northborough, Massachusetts, November 27, 1741, and died in Brownfield February 1, 1824—among his people and while in the performance of his valuable ministerial labors, much beloved. He suddenly became ill, while preaching, and ceased to breathe in a few hours.[p. 281]Baptized the following children, viz: Elizabeth, the daughter of Benjamin Osgood, and Miriam Jean, the daughter of James Osgood, and his wife Susannah, the daughter of Samuel Osgood and Jean. Mary, the daughter of Jeded. Spring and Elizabeth; Hannah, the daughter of Joseph A. Kelley and Deborah; Martha, the daughter of Timothy Walker and Rachel; Edmund, the son of David Page and Ruth his wife; David, son of David Evans and Catherine; John, son of Stephen Knight and Susannah; Samuel, son of Aaron Abbott and Lydia. (Tuesday,) Mary, daughter of Moses Day.
Monday, Oct. 3. Fair morning after a rainy evening. Came from Capt. Brown's and crossed the River and rode westerly about six miles in his town.1 Passed by Mr. Jeded. Spring's, Benjamin and James Osgood's, James Holt's[,] Nat. Hernman's, ____ Burbank's, Joseph Heath's, Jno. Dollar's and his son Jno., Antony Emery's, Joshua Kelley's, and Joshua, Joseph and Samuel Walker's. Saw Capt. Walker's
1This, unless explained, might lead most persons at the present day, who were perusing Doct. Coffin's Journal, to think that he made a mistake, by extending Capt. Brown's township between five and six miles into New Hampshire. But the journal is not at fault. Capt. Brown then resided on the westerly and northerly side of Saco river, on the left bank, near where the boundary of New Hampshire now crosses the river. He then, however claimed that the line between Maine and New Hampshire, was about six miles further west, than it has been since established, and that his grants extended westward of that line. He maintained a brisk controversy upon the question of the location of that line, for many years, and it remained unadjusted till about a year before his death, (about 1794). In 1768, when Doct. Coffin "rode westerly about six miles in his town," Capt. Brown assumed that they were riding within his grants, and his Rev. visitor had no reason to doubt the justice or extent of his claims.
"Capt. Walker's grist and saw mill," stood on the outlet of Walker's pond. Mills in that location have since been called Kimball's mills, Cutt's mills, and are now called Gould's mills. The place has been called "Sodom," and lies northerly of "Goshen."[p. 282]grist and saw mill, and a fine flock of Wood Ducks, tame eno', but we had no gun. Then came back to Osgood's, who married my German cousin, Ann Webster. Osgood told us he was at the Cataract of Niagara when a surveyor took the heighth of it and found it 183 feet. He went with Maj. Robert Rogers in 1760, in company with three hundred men to take possession of Detroit, which is three hundred and thirty miles from said Cataract, about south west. The French at Detroit had so large Settlements as to muster 7 companies of militia. From Detroit they marched to Fort Duquesne, three hundred and ninety miles. In their way they lived on wild turkeys, deer, raccoon, bear, &c.
The country in these travels was generally exceeding good. From Detroit to Duquesne1 was generally level, hardly a large mountain in the whole march. About six or seven acres at Detroit was stockaded, in which the houses (low) were almost as thick as they could stand one by another. From Duquesne they marched about seven hundred miles through the west parts of Pennsylvania and through New York government to Albany.2
From Osgood's we rode through Capt. Brown's West India Plantation,3 to his house passing the river S. westerly of his house. This Plantation is interval adjacent to Osgood's interval; all which abounds with the finest maples, lying on the S. westerly side of the river. Of these maples he makes sugar and molasses very good, and he mentioned by way of pleasantry a thought of distilling rum from the
1Afterwards called Fort Pitt and now Pittsburg.
2For an account of this expedition, see Rogers's Journal, commencing Sept. 24, 1755, and ending February 14th 1761.
3Probably so called from the sugar and molasses from the sugar maples with which it abounds.[p. 283]molasses. From Capt. Brown's went north easterly to Mr. David Page's and John Webster's. Drank a fine dish of tea well suited with wheat bread and pumpkin pye. Thence back Capt. Brown's, and he in the evening reckoned up the souls in his town and Fryeburg and found them, reckoning two families coming, 300.—100 fighting men.1 Captain Brown sows twenty bushels grain this fall.
1Brownfield was first organized as a Plantation. The first meeting for the choice of Plantation officers of which any evidence exists, was held March 29th 1797. The application for the meeting was signed by Henry Young Brown, Wilson Howard, James Osgood, Thomas Veasey, Samuel Howard, Joseph Howard, Supply Walker, Samuel Colby, and Daniel E. Cross, as "inhabitants of the Plantation of Brownfield." The warrant was signed by Joshua B. Osgood, as a justice of the peace for the county of York, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and directed to Samuel Howard. James Howard was moderator of the meeting; and Henry Young Brown was chosen Clerk; and William Howard, Collector. The plantation of Brownfield, embraced a portion of what is now Fryeburg, including the western portion of the village. The line between Brownfield and Fryeburg then, ran from the old South corner of Fryeburg, north 46 1-2º west, 1175 rods, "to a pine stump on the line of New Hampshire." It passed a few rods westerly of the mansion of the late Judge Dana, and Doctor Griswold, and accross [sic] the site of the "old Fryeburg Academy," and easterly of "Pine Hill." The old Academy building, the first constructed there, was understood to be partly in Brow[n]field and partly in Fryeburg. The spot is plainly marked where the edifice stood. It was there, in that building, that Daniel Webster "taught Fryeburg Academy" in 1801-2; while at the same time he was a student of law, in the office of the late Judge Dana, of Fryeburg.
In 1802, February 20, the plantation of Brownfield was incorporated into a town by the name of Brownfield. By the act of incorporation, all that part of the plantation of Brownfield bounded by lines—beginning at the South corner of Fryeburg, and running North 46 1-2º West 1175 rods by Fryeburg to New Hampshire line; thence South 6 1-2º West, 910 rods; thence North 76 1-2º East, 985 rods, to the bound first mentioned, was annexed to, and made a part of the town of Fryeburg.[p. 284]Tuesday, Oct. 4. Fair morning. We, Captain Young Brown and Mr. Hopkinson and myself, with Capt. Brown's little amiable daughter, Betsy, with her riding habit, and mounted on a single horse, set off for the lower end of the town and rode through most of the inhabitants on the South side of the River, would reach about 6 miles. Found good interval; but as almost every settler is by himself, we found no large view of cleared interval; no prospect so good as that of the Seven Lots before mentioned, which go by that name.
We took Colonel Joseph1 Frye in our way, who entertained us with his pleasant and instructive chat. He gave us a lively instance of the unhappy influence which the po-
1Joseph Frye, was one of the original proprietors of Fryeburg. He was a Colonel in the "French War," at the surrender of Fort William Henry, Lake Gerorge, in August, 1757. At that time he commanded a regiment of Massachusetts and Connecticut soldiers. He opposed the capitulation, and proposed to Col. Monroe, who then commanded the forces at the Fort, to go out and fight the enemy, with his single regiment rather than capitulate; but this was not permitted, and articles of capitulation were executed. In the cruel massacre that followed, Col. Frye was seized and stripped, as narrated to Dr. Coffin. Escaping from the Indians, he succeeded in reaching Fort Edward, greatly exhausted and insane, and continued in that state for some time. In December, 1775, he was appointed a Brigadier General,—commanded the forces raised in Massachusetts for the defense of Maine; and was stationed for a time at Falmouth, now Portland, Maine. After a year's service he resigned, and retired from the army. A silver tankard presented to him on that occasion, is now in the hands of his great grand son, Richard W. Frye, Esq., of Bethel, Maine. His eldest son, Joseph, was a captain, and his third son, Nathaniel, was a Lieutenant, in the Revolutionary war. The latter lost his hearing at the battle of Monmouth. General Frye was eccentric, but talented. He married Miss Poor of Andover, Mass., a sister of Gen. Poor of the Revolution, and died in Fryeburg, in 1794, aged 83. Simon Frye, of Fryeburg, Judge of the old Court of Common Pleas, was his nephew, and his descendants are numerous.[p. 285]pish clergy have over their hearers. When at Fort Cumberland, in the bottom of the Bay of Fundy, he killed a number of little Birds, brought them home and hove them on the hearth; upon which a Frenchman made a long speech which being interpreted in Q. D. "Sometime past these little Birds eat all our grain, and our Fathers with ye Priests made Prayers on that sad occasion, and the bills of these little Birds were twisted and bent so that they could not eat up de grain." Then the Colonel laughed at their stupid delusion and shewed the little bills as good as ever. He told us also that at the breach of the solemn capitulation at Fort William Henry, he tried his legs with others, but was overtaken by the savages and stripped to his shirt, breeches, stockings and shoes; then getting his liberty he took a course to the right, out of the way, to avoid the savages and strike Hudson's River, westerly, and from thence go to Fort Edward. Accordingly he executed the plan, but in the course and progress of his run, another Englishman found him and helped him up the hill. Then being too weary to trace the hill they ventured alongside some brook or most passable place, and the Colonel being foremost saw Indians coming right towards them. Then the case was ticklish, but Colonel step[p]ed aside and they both dropped, the Colonel expecting a tomahawk in his skull every moment, but the enemy not seeing them passed them by. Then Colonel and his fellow traveller rubbed dirt on his white shirt that it might look like the ground. Then they walked for the Fort and recovered it in about two and a half days from the beginning of their tedious and dangerous run and march, tired and faint enough.
We saw the gentle declivity where the Col. is about to[p. 286]raise his house, having timber already hewed. The house is to be 40 and 30.
Just at sunset we arrived back to Captain Brown's. I should have mentioned that we saw this day a boy and girl, by the name of Farrington, almost as big as a common man and woman. The boy aged 13, and the girl 11. In his sixth year this boy lifted his grandmother, who is now living and in good health. This lad's thighs are as big, Capt. Brown told us, as any man's in the place, which he could think of. He weighed 70 weight before he was two and a half years old.
Wednesday, Oct. 6. This morning was so fair after a stormy night, that we took a view of Capt. Brown's Farm. He planted near the center of 200 acres of interval, all his own. The River forms a semicircle before his door, which faces Southerly. A fence is begun and to be finished which will run East and West by his door, from bend of River to bend of River, and from his house another fence is to run South, till it strikes the River. The land on the left hand of this fence will be tilled, at the right it will be fed, and on this he will build a large corn house, mounted so as yt his sheep may run under it. His situation is extremely convenient. His pasture fields and woodland will all be handy.
From thence we went to Lovewell's pond and saw the place of the battle fought between said Lovewell and the Indians May 9th 1725,1 in which Lovewell was slain and most of his men. It is a fine pond about two and a half miles long and about half as wide. We rowed from the westerly side of ye pond to the north east end where ye battle was fought.
1The Battle was fought on May 8th 1725, old style. The one hundredth anniversary was celebrated, May 19th 1725, at Fryebuag [sic, obviously a mistake for "1825, at Fryeburg"].[p. 287]Names found as marked on the trees. 1T. F. and G. F. R. C. B.—H. W.—W. C. F.—I. F.—1W. E.—C. F.—H. K. or V. (or R.)—1I. I.—T. B.—W. D.—S. S.—1I. M.
Some said these are the names of the men who were shot under that tree on which these letters are found; others that all the killed had their names put on one tree by Col. Tyng, who went to this spot after the battle to bury the dead.
The twelve men whom Col. Tyng found dead, stand thus in Rev. Thomas Symmes' History of the battle:
Capt. John Lovewell, of Dunstable.
Ensign Jonathan Robbins, do.
Ensign John Harwood, do.
Mr. Robert Usher, do.
Mr. Jacob Fullam, Weston.
Mr. Jacob 2_____, Concord.
Mr. Josiah Davis, do.
Mr. Thomas Wood, Groton.
Mr. Daniel Woods, do.
Mr. John Jefts, do.
Mr. Ichabod Johnson, Woburn.
Mr. Jonathan Kittridge, Billerica.
Wounded or lost by the way.
Lieut. Josiah Farwell, of Dunstable.
Chapl. Mr. Jonathan Frie, of Andover.
Mr. Elias Barron, Groton.3
From Lovewell's Pond we went up Stark's hill, which lies S. westerly of Capt. Walker's. We rode up to the summit, which thing was never done before. My horse stood on the
1I am not quite sure whether these letters are I. J. or T. The two last look as much like T. as I. in the manuscript. C. W.
2I cannot make this name out from the manuscript. C. W.
3See, infra, Mr. Coffin's remarks upon the fight at Piggwacket.[p. 288]highest rock on the summit. Capt. Brown and I climbed up a pitch tree, on which I left my name. This tree has limbs almost to the bottom of it which renders it easy to be climbed. A great many names were marked on it. From this tree we have a fair prospect of that land of delight, which makes Fryeburg and Capt. Brown's town. We saw the long meadows at the east end of Fryeburg. There the people of Falmouth and Gorham cut hay in 1762, and the winter following they kept at one of the meadows, viz: the most easterly, 105 horned cattle and 11 horses, and the people of Fryeburg kept there also, the same winter, 70 black cattle,1 and the Gorham and Falmouth people kept the same winter at the other meadow two miles northerly, above 100 black cattle.
From Stark's hill, (which is so called in memory of Capt. Starks,2 who led Capt. Frye to the top of it to look at ye town when he first came to view it,) we went to Samuel Osgood's and dined. From thence to Lieut. Swan's, where I gave the people a discourse from Phil. 1:27. From thence we went home with Capt. Brown. Now it rained hard and we thought that there would be no riding next day.
Thursday, Oct. 6th—Fair morning after a very rainy night. Capt. Brown and kind consort furnished us with rich mate-
1There were then no settlements in Fryeburg; but some "clearings" and improvements had been made near the village, in 1762. In the winter of 1762-3, the stock which had been driven in was left in charge of Nathaniel Merrill, John Stevens, and Limbo, an African, until the settlers came in the next season. These three were the first settlers who wintered in Pequawket.
2This was William Stark, a brother of General John Stark, and one of the proprietors of Fryeburg. Both of them had experienced hard service in the French war as "Roger's Ranger's [sic]" and acquired the reputation of valiant officers. William became a loyalist during the Revolution, and was killed by a fall from a horse, on Long Island. John was a Major General in the Revolution.[p. 289]rials for our return home. We left his house and crossed the river to Samuel Osgood's. From thence we set out for home at eight of clock and rode over Shepherd's river1 and burnt meadow Brook and stopped at ten mile Brook at ten and a half of clock and bated. At eleven of clock sat off. From thence through fine riding we went to great Ossipee and forded easily. Just below ten mile Brook we passed on ye left hand, Pleasant Pond or Rattlesnake pond.2 Set off from thence at two of clock for this place—great Ossipee—We rode to horney pond Brook, leaving a pond on the right of the fine riding called horn pond, because the land runs into the pond in points.
It should be called horny, as it sometimes is, or notchy or branchy. From horny pond we rode to Soldier's meadow. There we camped finely. Our company, besides Mr. Hopkinson and myself, was James Osgood of Fryeburg, Dr. Emery,3 Osgood[']s sister Webster of Concord or Pennycook.
1In Brownfield, so called because it was a favorite resort of a hunter by the name of Shepherd.
2In Brownfield, southerly and easterly of Ten mile brook. The outlet of this pond was formerly at the north, leading into Ten mile brook, but about 1830, a new outlet was channelled by a rush of waters into Saco river, on the south easterly part of the pond, and reducing its level about 34 feet.
3Doctor Joseph Emery afterwards settled in Fryeburg as a physician. He married a sister of the Rev. William Fessenden, the "first settled minister" of Fryeburg. His daughter Sally married the Rev. Daniel Dana D. D. of Newburyport.—The Rev. William Fessenden was born in Cambridge Massachusetts, Nov. 11th 1748:—graduated at Harvard College 1768, and was settled in the ministry at Fryeburg in October 1774;—married Sarah Clement of Dunbarton, N. H. He was an able and faithful divine and continued to labor in the field where he was first settled until his death, May 5, 1805. His wife was a lady of superior talents, taste and refinement, and of rare worth. Of their nine children (three daughters and six sons) General Samuel Fessenden of Portland, Hon. Thomas Fessenden of New York City, and Rev. Joseph B. Fessenden of Bridgton, Maine, are now living.[p. 290]Friday, October 7. Left our lodgings about sunrise. Fine morning. Rode to the Block house. Crossed the river1 and rode to Mr. Hopkinson's and thence reached home about one o'clock.REMARKS UPON THE FIGHT AT PIGGWACKET.May 9, 1725. The Indian alone, whom Capt. Lovewell took for a decoy, Col. Frye told us, was with another Indian gunning, having with them an English captive. The other, said the Col., was gone a little way from that who was seen by Capt. Lovewell, and left his gun with the discovered Indian. That, said the Col., was the reason of his having two guns, refering to History. But Mr. Symmes' memoirs do not mention his having two guns. After the battle the other Indian came and told the English there had been a dreadful fight. How many killed said the English?
Indian. Almost all the English, two or three Indians. But his heart was so affected with the truth that he groaned again, O dreadful fight.
English. How many Indians killed?
Indian. Now me say true—forty Indians.
Col. Frye said there were sixty Indians in all. This agrees with the printed memoirs, which say about twenty of the enemy went off well. Col. Frye said the Indians had just returned from Black Point, and were weary and hungry when they saw Capt. Lovewell. Paugus had forty, and Nath. twenty. Paugus was for fight; Nat. said no; saying the English were stout fellows and well fed, but they were tired and could not fight, and even after they had taken our
1 Saco. C. W.[p. 291]men's packs for themselves, Nat. would say nothing of fight till Paugus begun the battle. Then Nat. and his twenty fell on, which, said the Col., was the recruit meant in History; but the printed memoirs say nothing of a recruit, but that the Indians rose on our men as they were returning from the Indian whom they had killed, toward their packs, which they had unhap[p]ily left,—and attacked them in front and rear. After about four rounds on both sides, our men retreated to the pond, say the Memoirs, and fought from 10 A. M. till towards night, and after sunset the enemy drew off.
Our people thus situated could not be surrounded by the enemy, as was attempted, but they were worse off than if they had run through the enemy and escaped every one for himself; for a point of rocks run down to the pond on the west of our people, where the enemy hid and fought and reached round an half moon. So our poor men, hiding behind trees from the enemy northerly were shot from the west and so vice versa; so that if they got behind a tree on the south the Indians from the point of rocks took them, and if on the east, they from the north took them. If our men had known of these rocks they might have had a fine retreat and I wondered when I saw the situation, that they had not run to the mouths of the Indians, and as a forlorn hope, drove them from their post or died in the attempt, since they could not die, for 'tis strange that the enemy let a man of them escape, for they stood fair marks for them all day. But the Indians did not like to face them, and so shot a great ways from the rocks, and they on the north kept their distance, I believe, pretty well. The trees from whence the enemy's balls are cut out are small even to this day, by which I infer the poor breastwork of the English. But, for[p. 292]the reasons before given, even large trees would have covered them but miserably. I think they were not politic to go after one lone Indian even when they looked upon him as a decoy and leaving their packs with none to guard them, seems hardly prudent, but their bravery is not to be disputed. Thirty-four against sixty, at home and well fed, a whole day, was resolute and martial.