It is not intended in this chapter to deal specifically in regard to the Indian Wars, but only to recount that part that pertains to the early settlement of Goffstown.

The first Indian War that affected the people of New Hampshire or the ancestry of its inhabitants was known as King Philip's War.

In 1675 Philip, son of Massasoit and chief of a Rhode Island tribe of Indians, began a terrible war against the colonists. While his father, Massasoit, lived he maintained a peace with the Plymouth Colony more through fear than regard. Philip believed that a great struggle of the races was at hand and if the Indians did not exterminate the white man then the white man would certainly exterminate them. Philip, having secretly infused a jealousy into the neighboring Indians, soon had a large number ready for open hostilities, which he began by an attack upon the people of Swanzey, Mass., in June, 1675.

The first alarm of war made by Philip caused great consternation throughout New England, and the whole country for two hundred miles in extent was in terror. The Indians made attacks in New Hampshire in September at the present towns of Durham, Exeter and Hampton. All the towns on the Pascataqua and the settlements in Maine were in a state of suspense and confusion. They next appeared at Portsmouth, but very fortunately they were frightened away by the firing of a cannon. They were next found at Dover, Lamprey River and Exeter where they filled the inhabitants with terror and alarm. In the meantime Massachusetts towns were suffering terrible desolation from Philip and his allies.

At length, after two years of fighting, Philip was killed at Mount Hope in Rhode Island, August 12,1676, by one of his own men whom he had offended and who had deserted to the English.

The following year scattered parties were burning, robbing and murdering within the vicinity of Cocheco and Portsmouth. The war terminated in 1678 and during the three years it lasted six hundred inhabitants of New England were killed, thirteen towns destroyed and six hundred buildings consumed by fire. It is estimated that one man in eleven capable of bearing arms was killed, and every eleventh family burned out.

With the death of Philip the Indians in that section became discouraged and their power was broken. The people were greatly exasperated, every person in the community mourning the loss of a relative or friend.

It was to the survivors of the Massachusetts militia in this war, that the town of Goffstown was originally granted, and the descendants of some of the Massachusetts militia afterwards became citizens of the town.


When King James II was expelled from England he made his escape to France, and as was naturally expected the King of France espoused his cause, which resulted in a war between England and France from 1689 to 1697.

The Indians, who for some time previously had shown signs of hostIlity toward the New England settlers, needed but a slight incentive to crystallize the sentiment among them to engage in open hostilities, and to satiate their thirst for revenge on account of some previous wrongs. One of the most prominent injuries which they sought to avenge, was the selling into slavery of some of the Penacook Indians taken at Cocheco, now Dover, thirteen years before.

It is proverbially true that an Indian returns good for good, but never returns good for evil; he returns bad for bad and generally with accumulated interest. The inhabitants of New Hampshire were in a state of intense anxiety during the whole nine years of the war, realizing that the Indians held this hostile feeling toward them, and this anxiety was further increased by the fact that the French took a very active part in urging the Indians to captivate or even exterminate the English colonies. The Indians took their captives to Canada, and the French rewarded them with a small sum of money per head, and charged the poor colonists a heavy ransom for their relatives and friends, and in this way managed to pay quite a portion of the expense of the war.

On the 27th of June, 1689, Major Waldron of Dover, who had long been a special mark for their revenge, was brutally murdered, and twenty-three others killed and twenty-nine captured. The captives were mostly taken to Canada and sold to the French, and this is supposed to be the first instance of taking prisoners to Canada. It is presumed that the Indians had been seduced to the French interest of Papish emissaries, who had begun to fascinate them with their religious and national prejudices.1

A few days after this attack eighteen persons were killed or captured at Oyster River, now Durham, and the following May, 1690, an attack was inade upon~Salrnon Falls and Berwick where between eighty and one hundred were killed or taken prisoners. In the summer of 1691 they fell upon the town of Rye killing most of the defenseless women and children. The people began to devise some means of defense. Scouting parties were organized who ranged from one frontier post to another.

In September, 1691, the Indians fell upon a settlement at Salmon Brook in the town of Dunstable and killed quite a few, which so terrified the inhabitants that most of them fled the town. In 1695 an attack was made upon Portsmouth where quite a number were killed. In March, 1697, Mrs. Hannah Dustin of Haverhill, Mass., with a boy and a nurse, were taken prisoners and marched to an island in the Merrimack River about six miles above the city of Concord, where in the night they scalped ten Indians and made their escape back to Haverhill. A monument in commemoration of this event has been erected upon the island and another at Haverhill, Mass. Peace was declared in 1698 between the French and the English, and the Indians ceased their depredations. During this contest as many as sixty attacks had been made on New England settlements by the French and Indians, and between five and six hundred had been slain, not taking into consideration those captured and taken to Canada.


When Queen Anne ascended the throne in England in 1702, one of her first acts was to declare war against France. This proved a long and costly struggle, and great loss of life. As a natural consequence the colonies were involved in this strife.

The inhabitants of New Hampshire after four years of peace, or rather four years of cessation of hostilities, were again compelled to take up arms. The Indians fought for the French. A congress of chiefs met Governor Dudley at Casco and pledged their fidelity to the colonists.2 Yet six weeks had not elapsed before their pledge was broken, and a prowling Indian lurked in the vicinity of almost every household. The shocking atrocities of a few years before were repeated. The husbandman in the field and the housewife at home were in constant danger. In their imagination by day and dreams by night the fire brand and the scalping knife were before them.

It was one long protracted season of agony, alarm, terror and suffering. Attacks were made upon Hampton Village, Oyster River, Durham, Dover and Exeter. Judge Smith says: "I have drawn a circle around the village of Exeter twenty-five miles in diameter and the number of killed and captives within this circle during a period of forty years exceeds seven hundred."

In July, 1706, an attack was made upon Dunstable which resulted quite seriously. The Indians fell upon the garrison which was guarded by twenty troopers, who had neglected to set a watch, and half the number were killed, also a family by the name of Blanchard.

During the year 1710 the English and the colonies decided to make an attack upon Acadia. In six days they reached Port Royal, which immediately surrendered. This place has been rendered immortal by the poet Longfellow. The success at Port Royal encouraged the English to make an attack upon Quebec. This was an extensive expedition and composed of over seventy ships of war and transports, and New England had six thousand five hundred men in the expedition. No previous expedition so well manned ever sailed from Boston. The expedition was a failure on account of part of the ships being wrecked in the St. Lawrence August 23, 1711, and nearly a thousand men drowned. Very fortunately all from New Hampshire were saved.

The fleet returned to Cape Breton Island where they rendezvoused for a time and then returned to England, and the New Hampshire troops to their homes. The failure of this expedition encouraged the Indians to again make attacks upon the frontier, and in the early part of 1712 greatly harassed the inhabitants of Exeter, Oyster River, Kingston, Dover, etc.

A scouting party went up the Merrimack River and surprised a company of Indians and killed eight without the loss of a man, recovering considerable quantity of plunder.

On the 29th of October, 1712, the suspension of arms was proclaimed on account of the news of the Peace of Utrecht, and the Indians were prompt to make peace as soon as the French ceased to aid them. By this treaty England received from France Nova-Scotia and Newfoundland and ceded to her the barren island of Cape Breton, located northwest of Nova Scotia, and separated therefrom by the narrow channel of Canso.

As soon as the news of peace was received a vessel was dispatched to Quebec to bring home the captives, and when she returned multitudes thronged to the landing to witness the return and extend a greeting to their long absent relatives and friends, many of whom had been gone so long that it was almost impossible to identify them and some had forgotten their native language.


During the year 1718, six years after the Peace of Utrecht, the Indians began attacks upon the settlements in Maine, and they claimed that wrongs had been inflicted upon them by the whites, and they also laid particular stress of continual encroachments upon their hunting grounds by the settlers, which caused a scarcity of game, and the building of dams upon the rivers ruined their fisheries.

The Indians kept no records and claimed the deeds they had given were for no consideration, or that they signed them when intoxicated. When they consented to the settlement of the whites, they were in utter ignorance as to their modes of farming, or the erection of mills and dams, and they knew not that their hunting grounds and fisheries would be depleted by civilization. When they realized this, they resolved upon the extermination of the settlers. The French encouraged this hostility and supplied them with munitions of war.

Another incentive to war upon the settlers was the feeling of the Indians toward the English and French. It must be borne in mind that the English regarded the soil as theirs by discovery, and the inhabitants as subject to their King. In other words they were required to acknowledge allegience to the British Crown.

The French treated them as allies and equals. The Jesuit priests lived among them, and acted as their spiritual guides. They even did more, they encouraged their love of vengence upon the whites, and stimulated them to warfare. One of the Jesuit priests by the name of Sebastian Rasle established a mission and built a church at Norridgewock, on the Kennebec River, in the southern part of Somerset County, Me. By his influence over the Indians he had them under his control. This Jesuit priest was closely allied to the Governor of Canada, and he kept him informed of all transactions, consequently the Indians received every encouragement to rob and commit depredations upon the settlers.

The English settlers, realizing the Indians were kept in constant ferment by the Governor of Canada through Rasle, at length summoned them to a conference, when they appeared open and insolent saying the land was theirs, they had previously fought for it and would again. The English told them there was no other alternative but perfect peace or open war, and they consented to live in peace.

These proceedings displeased the Governor of Canada, and he advised them to keep up a quarrel, promising to secretly aid them, although as England and France were at peace he could not openly assist them.

Rasle was regarded as the principal instigator of the Indians, and it was thought if he could be removed they would be quiet. It was proposed to send the sheriff of York County with sufficient force to sieze him, and bring him to Boston, but this proposition was not endorsed.

In the summer of 1721, about six months after his proposed arrest, he informed the English that "if they did not remove in three weeks they would kill them and destroy their settlements."

The following winter another attempt was made to seize him, but he made his escape to the woods before his house could be surrounded. His strong box in which were his private papers they took, and his letters received from the Governor of Canada showed conclusively that he was implicated in exciting the Indians to deeds of violence.

As would necessarily be expected this attempt to secure Rasle could not go unrevenged, and the Indians commenced their murderous warfare. Their attacks caused the government to declare war against them on the 25th of July, 1722, which was formerly announced at Portsmouth.

In 1723 they made an attack upon Dover and Lamprey River, and in the spring of 1724, upon the settlement at Oyster River and subsequently at Kingston. In June, 1724, they entered the house of one John Hanson at Dover, a Quaker, killed two of his children and took his wife and family captives and carried them to Canada, where they were sold as slaves to the French. The stricken father converted all his effects into gold, and started for Canada to ransom his family, which he did with the exception of his eldest daughter who refused to go. He returned a second time for her but broken-hearted, weary and exhausted he lay down and died in a strange land.

The fall of 1724 Nathan Cross and Thomas Blanchard were taken prisoners at Dunstable, now Nashua, and the following day a party consisting of ten men under Lieut. Ebenezer French started in pursuit. They followed up the Merrimack River to a brook near Thornton's Ferry where the Indians lay in ambush, and firing upon the party only one, Josiah Farwell, escaped and he after being vigorously pursued by two Indians.3

This attack produced the greatest excitement in Dunstable. A company from the neighborhood immediately proceeded to the fated spot and found the bodies of their friends and townsmen whom they gave an honorable and respectful burial in one capacious grave. About the spot a monument was erected with the following inscription:

Here lies the body of Mr. Thomas Lund
who departed this life Sept. 5th, 1724,
in the 42d year of his age
This man with seven more that lies in this grave
was slew all in a day by the Indians4

On account of such insolencies as these the government resolved to destroy their settlement at Norridgewock on the Kennebec River, before mentioned, and a detachment of one hundred men surprised the village, killed the Jesuit priest and eighty Indians, recovered three captives, destroyed the place and returned home.

At this time the government offered a bounty of one hundred pounds for Indian scalps, which with the success of the expedition to the Kennebec River encouraged volunteer enlistments, with a view of extermination of other Indian villages. One of these volunteer companies was commanded by John Lovewell of Dunstable. Captain Lovewell, with a company of thirty men, marched to Winnipesaukee Lake they encountered an Indian and a boy on the trip, and returned with the Indian's scalp, and the boy alive. His company was now increased to seventy, and in 1725 he again marched to Winnipesaukee and from thence to Ossipee where they encountered a company of ten Indians marching from Canada, well supplied with new guns, ammunition and blankets. They kllled the whole company at a pond in the town of Wakefield, which has since borne the name of Lovewell's Pond. Encouraged by his former success Captain Lovewell set forth a third time with a company of forty-six men. When they arrived at Ossipee, the surgeon and a sick man and eight of the company were left for a guard at a rudely constructed fort; the remainder pursued their march about twenty-two miles to a pond near Pequawket at the present town of Frysburg, Me., where they encamped for the night.

In their explorations they were discovered by the Indians, who ascertained the strength of Lovewell's company from their packs which they had left without a guard. They were soon engaged with the Indians, and Captain Lovewell and eight of his men fell at the first fire. They declined to surrender, and fought on until the going down of the sun. The Indians greatly weakened, and Paugus their chief slain, retired at night, carrying their dead and wounded with them.

Only nine of Lovewell's men were unhurt, and eleven of the wounded able to march. At the rising of the moon they retraced their journey toward the fort leaving their dying companions sad and melancholy; and upon their arrival, to their great surprise, they found it deserted. They soon started upon their straggling march for home, which, with the exception of Lieutenant Farwell, the chaplain and one other, after enduring severe hardships they eventually reached.

Colonel Tyng of Dunstable with a detachment of men marched for the place of action, and he encamped with his company on the 17th of May at Amoskeag, where he remained over the 18th on account of rain, and the following morning pursued his journey.

Upon their arrival at the battlefield, they found and buried twelve men, including Captain Lovewell. They also found three of the Indian graves which they opened and one contained the remains of Paugus, who had so terrorized the inhabitants of Dunstable.

"With footsteps slow shall travellers go,
Where Lovewell's pond shines clear and bright,
And mark the place where those are laid
Who fell in Lovewell's bloody fight."

It is worthy of mention that Ensign Seth Wyman of Woburn, who shot the first Indian in the fight and upon whom the command of the company devolved, was the ancestor of the Wymans of Goffstown; and the two Richardsons mentioned in the list were supposed to be brothers of Jonathan Richardson of Woburn, the ancestor of Matthew Richardson of Goffstown.

This encounter broke up the Indian encampment at Pequawket.

Soon after this Theodore Atkinson was appointed a commissioner from New Hampshire to visit Canada. The object of his visit was to secure the liberation of the captives who had been carried to Canada, and to remonstrate with the French Governor on account of the injustice and breach of friendship against the New England colonies in encouraging the Indians in their hostilities, all of which he denied. Mr. Atkinson then produced letters previously written to the Jesuit Father, Rasle, by the French Governor, which confirmed all the charges and caused him to assume a different attitude.

The Indians made a subsequent attack upon the citizens of Dover with the intention of recovering the redeemed Hanson family, where they killed one man and wounded another. This was the last effort of the enemy in New Hampshire and peace was finally concluded in December, 1725, and New Hampshire and Massachusetts bore the entire expense of the war.

In the settlement no charge was brought against the whites by the Indians except they belong to a hated race.


1Belknap's History of New Hampahire, p.129. Return
2Sanborn's History of New Hampshire, p.98. Return
3Foxe's History of Dunstable. Return
4History of Hudson, p.54. Return


ALHN Hillsborough County

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History of Goffstown
Hillsborough County
ALHN-New Hampshire
Created October 16, 2000
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