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 William’s War (1689–1698)

[King William III (William of Orange) portrait]King William’s War was the American phase of the War of the League of Augsburg in Europe, the first of a series of Europen conflicts that echoed across the distant American frontier for the better part of a century. The Dutch king, William of Orange, and Mary, the daughter of King James II of England, both of them Protestants, assumed the throne of England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1689 as King William III and Queen Mary II. War with Louis XIV and Catholic France soon followed, in which William formed a Protestant alliance with the Dutch and with several German states. The conflict spread to North America where English and French competition for the fur trade in the Saint Lawrence Valley and Hudson’s Bay led to the outbreak of hostilities. Count Frontenac, the French governor, ordered French forces and their Kanawake and Abenaki allies to raid English border settlements in New York and New England, establishing a pattern that would be repeated many times for the next seventy-five years. In response to the French raids, New England forces were sent north to capture or harrass French settlements. The Treaty of Ryswick (1697) restored all captured territories. Peckham’s The Colonial Wars: 1689–1762 is an excellent survey of King William’s War and all the subsequent “French and Indian Wars.”


Green, Samuel Abbott. 1883. Groton During the Indian Wars. Groton, Massachusetts: Published by the author.
Mather, Cotton. 1702. Magnalia Christi Americana. London.
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.

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