Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The Brackett Massacre, 1691 - Tombstone Tuesday
These fieldstones mark graves as headstones and footstones. None are engraved with any markings.
On 29 September 1691 about forty Indians came down the coast from York, Maine, bent on vengeance. Ten settlers were killed in the marsh whilst cutting hay, three killed when their homes were burned, and seven captured and taken to Canada, mostly from the Brackett and Rand families. Anthony Brackett, an original settler who arrived at Sandy Beach (now Rye, New Hampshire) in 1630 was killed, along with several of his children and grandchildren who were captured. His home was burned in the raid. He was 81 years old. Children too young to survive the trip to Canada as captives were “dashed [killed] against a large rock that stood on what is now Wallis Road, near Brackett Road”.
The Brackett Burial Ground is located on Bracket Road, Rye, New Hampshire. Look for the sign marking the path to the cemetery opposite house #605 Brackett Road. The area is known as Massacre Woods or Massacre Marsh, and has been cleared by the Boy Scouts and the Rye Conservation Commission. There is a hike around the marsh, with boardwalks. Beware, this area is marshy, and the mosquitoes are bloodthirsty.
In 1692, my ancestor, John Locke, was murdered by several Indians on the opposite side of this same marsh. There is a marker on Locke Road on Locke’s Point with historical information. I blogged about the story of John Locke in January 2010 at this post http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/01/indian-without-nose.html. Several distant cousins have married descendants of Anthony Brackett and John Rand from the 1691 massacre. Below, I have copied Anthony Brackett's will, which was witnessed by John Locke, his neighbor.
For more information:
Available at Google Books http://www.archive.org/stream/brackettgenealog01brac/brackettgenealog01brac_djvu.txt
Bracket Genealogy: Descendants of Anthony Bracket of Portsmouth and Captain Richard Bracket of Braintree, (Two Volumes) by Herbert Ierson Brackett, Washington DC, 1907
From the Rye Historical Society, “Rye Reflections” which used to post a new story once a month, but now you can click on “previous issues” to find the stories from June 2005 – September 2010. This story posted on March 2006 and includes stories of several massacres in Rye http://www.ryereflections.org/servlet/pluto?state=3030347061676530303757656250616765303032696430303431333338
From the Hampton, New Hampshire Lane Library website (a very good genealogy library and website, by the way), this excerpt from the book More New Hampshire Folk Tales collected by Mrs. Moody P. Gore and Mrs. Guy E. Speare, published by Mrs. Speare, Plymouth, NH, 1936 [from which I took the quote above, in the first paragraph of my post] http://www.hampton.lib.nh.us/hampton/history/military/brackettslanemassacre.htm
Anthony Brackett made his will only a short time before the massacre:
In the name of god amen y° 11th day of sep 1691
I Anthony Bracket sey being in perfict memory doe make this my Last will & testament,Comiting my soul into the hand of my redemer the Lord Jesus Christ, & my body to the earth
Itim I give & bequeath to my daughter Jane hains fouer acors, in part of marsh being more or Les, which shee formerly made use of & so upward to yº head of yº cove & to young oxsen Affter my desece
Itim I give & bequeath that three acers of marsh mor or Les being at black poynt to my daughter Ellener Johnson, which marsh I have a deed for, which deed doe assign over to my daughter Ellenor, & shee to take it into hur possestion Affter my deseac
Item: I give & bequeath unto my grand daughter kasia bracket three cows to be payed at age of Eightenn years or day of marridg
I give to my grand daughter Roose Johnson on heffer
I give to my grand son samuel bracket one heffer,all the Rest of my cattle & sheep I doe give equally devided amoung the Rest of my gran Children of what is lefft After my wiffs deseac, I doo here ordain & make my sonn John Bracket Executor of this my last will & testament, and him pay all Just debts & to gather all debts which is Justly dew unto mee, my housall good I Leve with my wiff for hur one use to this I set my hand.
Witness Anthony Bracket
Nathaniel drack X
by his mark
[Proved July 11, 1692]
[Rockingham County Deeds, vol. 5. p. 82]
Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo