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 the first 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 Pequot War (1637–1638)

[Portrait of Pequot sachem Sassacus]The Pequot War was the first major conflict between the English colonists in New England and the native population. The Pequots, who lived in coastal Connecticut, had angered the English by offering sanctuary to Indians who had killed a disreputable English trader. Their neighbors, the Narragansetts, had often been in conflict with the Pequots as well. In response to these and other disputes, an English force, along with Narragansett allies, brutally destroyed an entire Pequot village near modern Mystic, Connecticut, on 26 May 1637, killing more than 400 men, women, and children. For several months following, the remaining Pequots were hunted down by English and Indian forces and were either killed or reassigned to other tribes. The Treaty of Hartford (21 September 1638) ended the war, not so much by ceasing hostilities as by dissolving the Pequot tribe. Cave’s The Pequot War is a helpful survey of the conflict.


Cave, Alfred A. 1996. The Pequot War. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.
Lechford, Thomas. 1988. Note-book kept by Thomas Lechford, Esq., Lawyer, in Boston, Massachusetts Bay, from June 27, 1638, to July 29, 1641. Camden, Maine: Picton Press. [Reprinted with a new introduction and index from the 1885 edition published by John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, and edited by Edward Everett Hale, Jr.]
Underhill, John. 1638. Newes from America; or, New and Experimentall Discoverie of New England. [Not seen; quoted in Cave.]

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