Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pratt/Woodruff History-The Pequot War

From The Pequot War.

"Tensions between English settlers and Pequot Indians, who inhabited southeastern New England and had made enemies among many other Indian tribes, developed by the early 1630's. These tensions escalated when Pequots killed English colonists and traders in 1633 and 1636. After the murder of an English captain on Block Island in 1636, both sides began to prepare for further hostilities. While English troops arrived to strengthen Saybrook Fort, located at the mouth of the Connecticut River, some Pequot Indians attacked Wethersfield further north, killing nine. This event led the General Court of the recently settled river towns--Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield--to declare war on the Pequot Indians in May 1637.

Under English and Mohegan command, white and Indian troops allied against the Pequot and courted support from rhe Narragansett Indians. After a two-day march the party surprised and and burned the Pequot fort near present-day Mystic. Only seven Indians escaped the slaughter. English forces attacked a second Pequot stonghold two miles away the same night.

In response hundreds of Pequot Indians decided to flee the area rather than stay and fight. The English and their allies pursued them and caught up with the group in Sasqua Swamp near present-day Fairfield, Conn. The ensuing battle resulted in the capture of about 180 Pequots. The Pequot's Indian enemies adopted many of the captives into their own tribes and killed many of those who initially escaped. The war decimated the Pequot tribe."

From another account: "The Indian forts were burned and about 500 men, women and children were killed. The survivors fled in small groups. One group, led by Sassacus, was caught near Faifield, Conn. on July 28, and nearly all were killed or captured. The captives were made slaves by the colonists or were sold in the West Indies. Sassacus and the few who escaped with him were put to death by Mohawk Indians. The few remaining were scattered among oher southern New England tribes."

Two Pratt ancestors, John Talcott and Andrew Ward, were members of the General Court that declared war on the Pequots. Two Woodruff ancestors, John Bronson and Zechariah Field, were soldiers at the massacre at the fort and at the fight in the swamp.

NEXT: About our ancestors.

Nov. 14

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