Tuesday, August 2, 2011


[Ancestral Link: Lura Minnie Parker (Stagge), daughter of Minnie May Elmer (Parker), daughter of Mark Alfred Elmer, son of Hannah Polina Child (Elmer), daughter of Alfred Bosworth Child, son of Hannah Benedict (Child), daughter of Hannah Carter (Benedict), John Carter, son of Ebenezer Carter, son of Samuel Carter.]

1704 Raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts
February 29, 1704, Deerfield, Massachusetts

Samuel Carter was born in London, England, around 1665. He was among the first to settle in Deerfield. On December 4, 1690, he married Mercy Brooks and they had six children before she died on January 22, 1700. He then married Hannah Weller on July 1, 1701, and by 1704 had added one more child to the family. Carter was absent during the 1704 attack on Deerfield. He returned to find his wife and three children killed and four children carried captive to Canada. In 1705, he moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, and in 1706, he married Lois Stenton. In 1708 his last child was born.
found on ancestry.com

Samuel Carter 1704 Deerfield
Samuel Carter was married twice in Deerfield. His first wife, married 1690, was Mercy Brook, daughter of William Brook, one of the early settlers. Their children were Samuel, born March 1, 1692; Mercy, born December 17, 1693; John, born September 22, 1665; Ebenezer, born September 9, 1697; Thomas, born October 6, 1699; Marah, born January 22, 1700. The mother died in 1700; and in 1701, Mr. Carter married his second wife, Hannah Weller, daughter of John Weller. Their children were Joseph, born May 1. 1702, (lived 6 days); Hannah, born July 25, 1703.

When Deerfield was taken and burned by the French and Indians, February 29, 1704, the greater part of the inhabitants were slaughtered or captured. Mr. Carter’s whole families were captured. He was himself absent from home at the time, at a settlement a few miles below; but with others hurried home as soon as they saw the flames and smoke from the burning town. They overtook the enemy on the meadows above the town, where a daring effort was made to rescue their friends from the terrible fate awaiting them. In this brave and desperate attempt, a mere handful of courageous men face the whole victorious and exultant crew, and nine of the heroic band were slain. Mr. Carter captured a blanket, which he took back with him to town, but as his entire family was in the enemy’s possession, he prudently abstained from boasting how he had obtained it.

After that engagement on the meadows, his son Thomas was killed; and on the march to Canada, his wife and his two little ones were killed. The four eldest children were taken to Canada. Ebenezer, the youngest of the four, was redeemed, but the eldest, with a considerable number of the other captives, were by some means induced to remain in Canada. Samuel Jr. was drowned in crossing a river, at the age of 22. Mercy married a Caghnawage Indian; John married a French woman; both had large families.

After recovering his son Ebenezer from captivity, Samuel Carter, in 1705, removed to Norwalk, Connecticut, where he married his third wife, Lois, daughter of Mark Sention, by whom he had on daughter, Lois. He died in September, 1728. In his will he made a equitable provision for Mercy and John, if they would come away from Canada to the colony of Connecticut and permanently reside there; and a nominal bequest only, in case they refused.

After their father’s death, Ebenezer corresponded with his brother John, and acquainted him with the inducements made to him and their sister Mercy to come to the colony of Connecticut and settle; and John visited Ebenezer there in 1736; but he returned again to Canada.
SOURCE: History and proceedings of the Pocumtuck Valley memorial ..., Volume 2
By Pocumtack Valley Memorial Association
found on ancestry.com

About the 1703 Letter from Samuel Partridge to John Winthrop
The newspaper accounts of the time would not have been so different from the kind we read today.

It was a night raid in late February. The attackers came silently through the snowy meadows. The village watchman had fallen asleep. The enemies penetrated the palisades and were already in before anyone discovered them. They broke open doors and windows with hatchets, killing 48 of the 300 residents. In the melee, nearly half of the people escaped; 111 others were taken hostage, mostly women and children. When dawn broke, the attackers set the houses and barns on fire and slaughtered the livestock. The captives were forced to march north in the snow, leaving with only the clothes on their backs.

Kosovo? No, Deerfield, Massachusetts, on February 29, 1704.

The 18th-century Deerfield village was two miles west of the Connecticut River and 20 miles south of what is now the Vermont border; it was the northernmost settlement on the British frontier. The massacre followed a surprise ambush by French colonists and American Indians on the British settlers.

At that time, the French and the English in Europe were fighting Queen Anne's War. The attack on Deerfield was a brutal example of how that conflict affected the colonies. The French did not want the English to settle northern New England; moving south from Quebec, they planned to occupy it themselves. A French company of 48 men teamed up with 200 Indians to mount the attack. After the raid, they marched their Deerfield captives to a French fort in Canada, and they were ransomed to the British.

All of this history is known.

But some unknown details surfaced at the auction Printed Books and Manuscripts at Christie's in New York on June 9. Lot 182 was a letter dated August 10, 1703, that anticipated the massacre by six months.

The letter, which was bought for $7,475 by Historic Deerfield, a museum of early American history at the colonial site, was written in haste by Col. Samuel Partridge to the Governor of Connecticut, John Winthrop. Partridge was the military commander of the Connecticut Valley, and wrote that he had learned that a company of some 300 Indians and French soldiers had left Quebec ''in order to come upon New England.'' He had not seen the enemy, he wrote, but feared the worst, ''there being Usually Litl or no tyme betwixt the discovery of the Enemy and their striking their blow.''

He requested 50 or 60 dragoons to protect the settlements, explaining that people were living in ''dayly and hourely fear of the Enemys approach especially at Derefd.''

Donald R. Friary, the executive director of Historic Deerfield, said the letter was ''certainly one of the most important documents in the history of Deerfield and of early New England.'' He explained, ''The French and Indian attack is the pivotal event in Deerfield's history, the one that put the infant settlement securely on the historical map of New England.''

He continued: ''We now know that six months before the great attack the valley settlements were on the alert that something dreadful was going to happen, and that the Indians were strategic enough to wait. It's easier to move over snow when the rivers are frozen. The natives were shrewd. They came through the meadows in spurts, so their movements sounded like wind. They climbed snowbanks to get over the stockade walls and were inside before anyone knew it.''

Richard I. Melvoin, the author of ''New England Outpost: War and Society in Colonial Deerfield,'' said: ''The letter is not the only evidence of trouble coming, but it's a valuable confirmation of what's to come. In fact, the massacre was not a complete shock. There were a series of attacks going on all over the frontier.''

John Demos, a professor of American history at Yale University, said: ''Normally Indian attacks didn't come in midwinter. The letter reaffirms that it was an enormously scary time for people in outposts like Deerfield.'' Mr. Demos is the author of ''The Unredeemed Captive'' (Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), a story that was nominated for a National Book Award. It is based on the life of Eunice Williams, a 7-year-old Deerfield girl who was taken hostage, survived the trek to Canada and chose to remain with the Mohawks -- one of three attacking Indian nations -- rather than rejoin the British. (The other nations were Hurons and Abenakis, said Suzanne Flynt, the granddaughter of the founders of Historic Deerfield and an expert on local tribes who is the curator of Deerfield's Memorial Hall Museum.)

The real Eunice Williams lived until 1785 as a Mohawk; indeed, she forgot her English and dressed as an Indian. On the night of the massacre, flames from the burning village were spotted by Colonel Partridge, Mr. Friary said. He and his troops rushed to the rescue, arriving in Deerfield at dawn. But he was too late. That day he wrote ''An Account of the Destruction of Deerfield,'' listing people killed on site and those who escaped or were captured. He inventoried the lost property. Nearly everything was destroyed.

Nonetheless, Deerfield was soon resettled. Eunice's father, Deerfield's minister, the Rev. John Williams, survived the attack and snowshoe march to Canada, though his wife, who had recently given birth, did not. In 1706, he was ransomed. In 1707, he was persuaded to return to Deerfield after being promised a huge new house. The Indians' side of the story is less documented, but a new book, ''North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment'' (Harry N. Abrams, $75), by Lois Sherr Dubin, describes how they might have looked. In the book, Ms. Dubin explains the sacredness of shell bits in wampum belts, the efficacy of carved necklace amulets and the use of seeds and berries for beads.

Her book neatly dovetails with written accounts in Deerfield's Memorial Hall Museum. In 1724, the Rev. Joseph Lafitau, a Jesuit priest at a mission in Canada, wrote, ''Young Iroquois men cut their hair on one side about an inch and let the other side grow full-length, grease and comb it, arranging the long hair into two or three topknots and braids.'' He continued: ''Ears are pierced in three places and decorated with beads hung from long ribbons. Paint covers face, hair and exposed body.''

He did not describe the war paint, but in his account of the attack, Reverend Williams recalled waking up as 20 screaming Indians were kicking in his door ''with painted faces and hideous acclamations and I asked God for mercy, expecting to die.'' But he survived, and Deerfield soon prospered. The town is a repository of great Connecticut River Valley antiques.

Mr. Friary said Historic Deerfield will display the new letter this fall at the Flynt Center of Early New England Life in Deerfield. The letter will also be part of an exhibition in 2004 commemorating the 300th anniversary of the attack.
cjw728added this on 14 January 2009
found on ancestry.com


  1. I am a descendant of Samuel Carter, through his son, John Carter, who was raised in Montréal as Jean Chartier. John's grandson Antoine Chartier fought in the American Revolution against the British, then settled in New York state at Anthony Carter.

    1. I'm also a descendant of Jean Chartier (John Carter), my Chartier family now resides in Manitoba.

    2. I'm also a descendant of Jean Chartier (John Carter), my Chartier family now resides in Manitoba.

  2. It's nice to meet my "family" I too am a descendant of Samuel Carter and John (Jean) I currently live in the Albany/Schenectady area but was born and raised in Dannemora