RJO’s Ancestors in American Colonial Wars, 1637–1763
On the obscure strife where men died by tens or by scores hung questions of as deep import for posterity as on those mighty contests of national adolescence where carnage is reckoned by thousands.
This is one of a series of genealogical pages on my ancestors who served in early American wars, including the Pequot War (1637–1638), King Philip’s War (1675–1676), King William’s War (1689–1698), Queen Anne’s War (1702–1713), Dummer’s War (1723–1726) and King George’s War (1744–1745), the French and Indian War (1754–1763), the American Revolution (1775–1781), and Shays’ Rebellion (1786–1787). Ancestors who belonged to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts (1637– ) are also noted, and an additonal page presents a special essay on Lexington and Concord and the Nineteenth of April.
Dummer’s War (1723–1726)
Dummer’s War, also known as Lovewell’s War, Lovewell’s Fight, and Lovell’s War, resulted from French and English territorial disputes in northern New England, and from the establishment by the English of Fort Dummer near what is now Brattleboro, Vermont. In response to Indian raids, the governments of New Hampshire and Massachusetts in 1724 offered a bounty of 100 pounds for each Indian scalp presented to the authorities. This led Captain John Lovewell of Dunstable to organize a company of 46 soldiers to travel north the next year on a bounty hunting expedition. Lovewell’s company was ambushed on 8 May 1725 at Pigwacket, on the shores of what is now Lovewell’s Pond in Fryeburg, Maine, and Lovewell himself was killed along with eight of his soldiers. Lovewell’s Fight was famous throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and Longfellow and others even commemorated it in verse. This single battle was the climax of the war, which was not so much an organized campaign as a collection of skirmishes over several years.
ISAAC LAKIN (11 Dec 1702–about 1759) — 6G Grandfather
“Isaac [Lakin] was one of the six companions of John Chamberlain, from Groton, in the Pigwacket Fight [on 8 May 1725], and was wounded on that occasion” [Shattuck 95]. Green  recounts the following additional story about Isaac Lakin, as told by a Mr. Charles Woolley, which may or may not have taken place during Dummer’s War: “Lakin lived in a log-house near the Nashua River, in the north part of the town. The house had no glass windows, but had shutters instead, and a door that swung on wooden hinges. One day an Indian was seen lurking about the house, and hiding behind the stumps, apparently bent on mischief. Lakin seized his gun, and, standing at a crack in the shutters, told his wife to swing the door so that it would creak on its hinges. Hearing the noise, and seeing the door open, the Indian sprang from behind a stump, and started for the house, when Lakin fired and shot him dead. Seeing no signs of other Indians, after dark he dug a hole and buried him.”
King George’s War (1744–1745)
King George’s War was the American phase of Europe’s War of Austrian Succesion (1740–1748), in which Protestant England and Prussia allied against Catholic France and Spain after the death of Emperor Charles VI and the invasion of Austrian-held Silesia by Frederick II of Prussia. In North America, in a pattern by now well-established, French and Indian parties from the north raided English settlements in New York and New England, and English forces attacked French settlements in turn, capturing the fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island after a major seige led by William Pepperell, for whom the town of Pepperell, Massachusetts, was later named. The war came to an end with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) which restored all conquered territories. The return of Louisburg, which had been captured with great effort, enraged the New England colonists [Peckham].
- Green, Samuel Abbott. 1883. Groton During the Indian Wars. Groton, Massachusetts: Published by the author.
- Peckham, Howard H. 1964. The Colonial Wars: 1689–1762. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Shattuck, Lemuel. 1855. Memorials of the Descendants of William Shattuck. Boston: Dutton and Wentworth.
© RJO 1995–2016