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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.

—Francis Parkman

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.

The French and Indian War (1754–1763)

What is commonly called the French and Indian War was the last and largest of a series of French and Indian wars that pitted Catholic France and her Indian allies against Protestant Great Britain and her American colonies. Known in Europe as the Seven Years’ War, this last French and Indian War was a training ground for many of the soldiers who would later rise to prominence in the American Revolution. Hostilities began in America when an Anglo-American party under the command of George Washington encountered and defeated a French and Indian scouting party near what is now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The usual pattern of cross-border skirmishes and invasions began, but this time the victories went more often to the Anglo-American forces. The fortress at Louisbourg, captured by the English in King George’s War but returned to the French, was recaptured and razed by Lord Jeffrey Amherst. Fort Ticonderoga was abandoned and blown up by the retreating French in 1759, and Quebec fell later the same year. In the end the Anglo-American forces triumphed, and the war concluded with the Treaty of Paris in 1763, under the terms of which France ceded all of Canada to the English and Spain ceded Florida [Peckham]. The heavy taxes Britain levied to pay for the war alienated many of the American colonists, and set the stage for the American Revolution twelve years later. Fred Anderson’s A People’s Army: Massachusetts Soldiers and Society in the Seven Years’ War is an excellent account of the lives of colonial soldiers during the French and Indian War.

References

Anderson
Anderson, Fred. 1984. A People’s Army: Massachusetts Soldiers and Society in the Seven Years’ War. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press.
Butler
Butler, Caleb. 1848. History of the Town of Groton, Including Pepperell and Shirley, from the First Grant of Groton Plantation in 1655. Boston: T.R. Marvin.
Fitch
Stearns, Ezra S. 1901–1902. The descendants of Dea. Zachary Fitch of Reading. New England Historical and Genealogical Register 55: 288–294, 400–407; 56: 41–47.
Green
Green, Samuel Abbott. 1883. Groton During the Indian Wars. Groton, Massachusetts: Published by the Author.
Longfellow
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Evangeline.
Peckham
Peckham, Howard H. 1964. The Colonial Wars: 1689–1762. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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