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.

King Philip’s War (1675–1676)

King Philip’s War was a major New England war, touched off by the continuing expansion of colonists into Indian lands and by the execution of three Indians for killing one of the Plymouth colony’s Indian informants. The Wampanoag sachem, Metacom (given the name Philip by the English at his own request), along with allies from the Nipmuc and Narragansett tribes, attacked 52 of the 90 towns in New England in what was to be the Indians’ last full-scale attempt to reclaim their ancestral territories. Many English towns, including Groton, were so completely destroyed that they were abandoned and not reoccupied for several years. Although Philip’s forces made many initial gains, the war turned against them and finally came to an end on 12 August 1676 in Rhode Island when Philip was killed by the brother of an Indian he had executed for disloyalty. Schultz and Tougias have written an excellent modern history of the conflict, King Philip’s War: The History and Legacy of America’s Forgotten Conflict, filled with details and maps of many of the engagements.


Bodge, George Madison. 1906. Soldiers in King Philip’s War (third edition). Boston. [Facsimile edition published 1997 by the Clearfield Company, Baltimore.]
Bond, Henry. 1860. Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts (second edition). Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society.
Dodge, Joseph Thompson. [n.d.] Genealogy of the Dodge Family of Essex County, Mass., 1629–1894. Madison, Wisconsin: Democrat Publishing Company. [Facsimile edition published by the Dodge Family Association with new pagination.]
Hubbard, William. 1677. The History of the Indian Wars in New England from the First Settlement to the Termination of the War with King Philip in 1677. [Not seen.]
Savage, James. 1860–1862. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England. Boston. [Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1998.]
Kellogg, Dale C., and John B. Threlfall. 1972. Richard Sawtell of Watertown, Mass., and some of his descendants. New England Historical and Genealogical Register 126: 3–17, 129–140.
Schultz and Tougias
Schultz, Eric B., and Michael J. Tougias. 1999. King Philip’s War: The History and Legacy of America’s Forgotten Conflict. Woodstock, Vermont: The Countryman Press.
Shattuck, Lemuel. 1855. Memorials of the Descendants of William Shattuck. Boston: Dutton and Wentworth.

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