Saturday, May 31, 2014

3) Researching the Life of a British Loyalist: Abner Wolcott, was his grandfather the captive?

A little more on John Wolcott, born circa 1695, proposed grandfather of Abner Wolcott & ancestor of the Mylotts of Whitehall, Hudson Falls and Waterford, NY AND the raid on Brookfield on October 13, 1708 that took John Wolcott captive. Excerpt is from ......

"History of North Brookfield, Massachusetts. Preceded by an account of old Quabaug, Indian and English occupation, 1647-1676; Brookfield records, 1686-1783"

1707 This was a year of quiet and general prosperity on our Hampshire county frontiers.  The newcomer at Brookfield this year was John Grosvenor, brother of the minister, who bought June 11, 1707,  the home-lots and lands, formerly belonging to John Ayres deceased.

1708 This year our authorities adopted the enemy's tactics, and sent ranging parties to the North, in search of Indians.  In February, Capt. Benj. Wright led a scout of picked men as far as Cowasset (Newbury, Vt.) where was the resort of an Indian clan. They went on snowshoes; but no Indians were found.

Strolling bands of savages would suddenly appear at different and unexpected points in our county, showing that they were always on the alert; and about a dozen persons were killed or captured.
Brookfield was once again to be the scene of bloodshed. I quote from Rev. Mr. Fiske's Historical Discourse: "Oct. 13, early in the morning, John Woolcott, a lad about 12 or 14 years old was riding insearch of the cows, when the Indians fired at him, killed his horse and took him prisoner.  The people at Jennings' garrison hearing the firing, and concluding the people at another garrison (Banister's) were beset, six men set out for their assistance, but were waylaid by the Indians. The English saw not their danger till they saw there was no escaping it. And therefore, knowing that an Indian could not look an Englishman in the face and take right aim, they stood their ground, presented their pieces wherever they saw an Indian without discharging them, excepting Abijah Bartlet, who turned to flee and was shot dead.

The Indians kept firing at the rest, and wounded three of them, Joseph Jennings in two places; one ball grazed the top of his head, by which he was struck blind for a moment; another ball passed through his shoulder, wounding his collar bone; yet by neither did he fall, nor was mortally wounded.  Benjamin Jennings was wounded in the leg, and John Green in the wrist.  They were preserved at last by the following stratagem.  A large dog hearing the firing came to our men; one of them, to encourage his brethren and intimidate the Indians, called out "Capt. Williams is come to our assistance, for here is his dog."  The Indians, seeing the dog, and knowing Williams to be a famous warrior, immediately fled, and our men escaped.  John Woolcott, the lad above mentioned, was carried to Canada, where he remained six or seven years during which time, by conversing wholly with Indians, he not only entirely lost his native language, but became so naturalized to the savages, as to be unwilling for a while to return to his native country. (He did return to Brookfield, married, and settled.)  Some years afterwards, viz. in March 1728, in a time of peace, he and another man having been on a hunting expedition, and coming down Connecticut River with a freight of skins and fur, they were hailed by some Indians; but not being willing to go to them, they steered (their canoe) for the other shore.  The Indians landed at a little distance form them; several shots were exchanged, at length Woolcott was killed."

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