Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pratt/Woodruff History-Pequot War II

Here is a personal impression of our ancestral families gained over decades of research and reading. The Bartram ancestors tended to be fancy-shmancy establishment types in comparison to the Pratts who tended be outsiders or even hillbillies. If the Bartram ancestor was a Colonel, the Pratt ancestor would be a private. If the Bartram ancestor was a Lt. Governor, the Pratt ancestor would more likely be a blacksmith. Bartram ancestors usually lived in nice houses in towns near the ocean. Pratt ancestors often lived in hillside cabins out in the boondocks...

The Woodruff ancestors were mostly kind of common folk in the middle but a couple were very heavy-duty religious leaders. The Cannons were kind of a cranky bunch of late comers who were against booze and were opposed to instrumental music in church. Grandmother Lizzie Cannon Woodruff probably would have objected to Allen courting Genevieve if she had known my mother's Bartram progenitors made their living in the rum trade.

But I digress. Today's subject is supposed to be our ancestors who were participants in the Pequot War.

John Talcott (III) was a Bartram ancestor through the Gould (Gold) and Jennings line. He came over from England with the Rev. Thomas Hooker's company in 1632 on the ship "Lion". He first settled in Newtown, (now Cambridge), near Boston, and then joined the migration "... led by the Rev. Mr. Hooker (a Woodruff ancestor), and went on foot, through the wilderness, to the Connecticut River where they founded the present City of Hartford; here he took an active part in the affairs of the town, was a member of the General Court for many years and was styled 'The Worshipful Mr. John Talcott'; he was one of the committee appointed May 1, 1637, to take into consideration the propriety of a war with the Pequot Indians, and upon whose reccomendation a war was accordingly declared."

Andrew Ward was a Bartram ancestor through the Burr line (he was also a Woodruff ancestor through the Shermans). He was an immigrant from Sufolkshire in England who settled in Watertown, Massachusetts Bay Colony, about 1630."He was a member of hte upper house of the General Court when war was declared on the Pequot Indians, May 1, 1637, and served twice in the lower house, 1637-38. He was an early settler at Wethersfield, Connecticut, and member of the General Assembly in 1639 and often in later years. He removed to Stamford, where he was town constable in 1642...From 1645 until his death in 1659 he resided in Fairfield, Connecticut." (Connecticut Family Histories").

Here is a contemporary description about the preparations for war:

"In May, when the 9th Session of court was held at Hartford, an offensive war was declared on the Pequoitt. Ninety men were levied out of the three plantations. Wethersfield giving 18, and the remainder coming from Windsor and Hartford.

Equipped with twenty Armour and 180 bushels of corn, half baked into biscuits, and half into meal. A hogshead of beer, for the Captain and those who were sick was also packed. Hartford provided suet, butter, oatmeal, pease, salt, and 500 fish. Windsor sent pork, rice and cheese. All Wethersfield could provide was a bushel of Indian Beanes. Every soldier carried one pound of powder, four of shot, and twenty bullets."

They didn't have to carry all this stuff. It was an amphibious operation. They traveled on boats down the river and along the coast, then made landings and marched inland to fight. It occurs to me that they were going to run out of beer before they ran out of corn or fish, though at 54 gallons a hogshead is a pretty good supply of beer.

That reminds me of a geology field trip I once ran on Lake Erie. I chartered two boats and put a keg of beer on each boat and had the boats manuevered right up close to the formations.

NEXT: Two Woodruff ancestor soldiers..

Emailed Nov. 16

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