Friday, May 26, 2017

America's Dusty Files - May 26, 1637 - First Battle of Pequot At New Haven CT Kills 500 Indians

A Year of Colonial American Frontier History
A Year of Colonial American Frontier History
May 26, 1637 - First Battle of Pequot At New Haven CT Kills 500 Indians
A force of English and Amerindian warriors surrounds a palisaded village of Pequot Indians on the Mystic River. During the ensuing battle, the English massacred most of the inhabitants, breaking the power of the Pequot tribe.
The Pequots
The Pequot tribe in the 1600's occupied an area of about 250 square miles in southeastern Connecticut. The tribe at it greatest extent had about 8000 people scattered over several villages. Before the Europeans arrived tensions between the Pequot and neighboring tribes had been increasing. The Pequot wanted to increase their territory and influence at the expense of the other tribes. The arrival of the English in Massachusetts and the Dutch at New Amsterdam increased these tensions. Conflicts arose, as the tribes both feared the new arrivals and simultaneously became dependent on trading with them for the items that they offered in trade. As the English demands for more land grew, the tribes felt the pressure and in many instances fought back.
The Fur Trade
The Europeans wanted furs for clothing and fashion. The native tribes found that the things the Europeans offered in trade were irresistible. Iron axes, pots, pans and other tools made life easier, as before the natives had only flint and stone tools. The natives coveted the blankets, pot, pans and other goods that the Europeans offered for furs and wampum. As the fur trade increased in importance, the tribes jockeyed for position to take advantage of these new products. Previous conflicts and rivalries between the tribes amplified. The colonists brought new diseases that the natives had no resistance raged through the villages. Smallpox had decimated the Pequot, reducing their numbers to around 4000.
Rising Tension
During the 1630’s, minor conflicts occurred with increasing frequency. The colonist’s livestock damaged the native’s crops. The two groups competed for the same hunting grounds. The colonists and the natives disputed over tracts of land. And always the European settlements expanded, taking more land. Many of the traders were dishonest and cheated the Amerindians. Many sold them alcohol. The situation came to a head when some Pequot killed a dishonest trader named John Oldham in 1636. The colonists demanded retribution. Massachusetts Governor John Endicott responded by raising a militia. The conflicts had birthed a war.
The Pequot War
The militia formed by Endicott attacked a Pequot village on Block Island (in modern Rhode Island). They destroyed the village and crops. For several months, the war consisted of several minor skirmishes. By spring, the Pequot increased the numbers and ferocity of the raids. Alarmed, the colonists raised another militia consisting of ninety men under Captain John Mason. This militia marched to the Pequot stronghold at Fort Mystic. Arriving on May 25, 1636 with some Narragansett and Niantic allies, they awaited dawn with a combined force of about 400 men. On the 26th, they attacked at daybreak.  The Pequot sachem Sassacus had thought that the militia had returned to Boston. He had taken about 150 warriors to conduct a raid at Hartford, so most of the inhabitants of the fort were women and children. The combined force of natives and English surrounded the fort and set it afire. They shot any that tried to escape. The Narragansett, disgusted at the carnage, abandoned the battle. But this did not affect the outcome. Over five hundred died in the massacre. The English captured seven and others did manage to escape.
The Aftermath
The battle broke the power of the Pequot. Their native allies deserted them and many of their villages were in ruin. Many of the survivors gave themselves up to serve as slaves. Others were forced onto reservations. Many left the area. The war ended with the Treaty of Hartford. The English, Mohegan and Narragansett signed it on September 21, 1638. The terms officially disbursed the Pequot among the other tribes. It forbade them from living in their former territory. The English banned the name Pequot. They had attempted to erase them from history.

United States history begins many decades before July 4, 1776 when the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. The first foundations of the nation were laid with the voyages of Christopher Columbus and the settlement that came later. The American History A Day at A Time - 2015 series is in an easy to read "This Day in History," format and includes articles by the author from that series. The reader may read the articles as they appear, or purchase the book:
A Year of Colonial American Frontier History

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© Paul Wonning 2016

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

America's Dusty Files - May 24, 1610 - Sir Thomas Gates Institutes "Laws Divine Moral And Martiall

A Year of Colonial American Frontier History
A Year of Colonial American Frontier History
May 24, 1610 - Sir Thomas Gates Institutes "Laws Divine Moral And Martiall
Shipwrecked on his way to the Jamestown Colony, Governor Sir Thomas Gates arrived at Jamestown on May 24, 1610. He immediately instituted a harsh new civil code.
Sir Thomas Gates (?–1621)
Historians know little of Gates early life other than that he was born in Colyford in Colyton Parish, Devonshire. His parents are unknown as well as the date of his birth. By 1585, he served under Captain Christopher Carleill as lieutenant in Sir Francis Drake's American Armada. He published an account of that voyage, A summarie and true discourse of Sir Francis Drakes West Indian voyage. Gates also served with Sir Walter Raleigh when he sacked the Spanish port of Cadiz in 1596. He received a knighthood for his service in that campaign. He became a strong supporter of the English effort to plant a colony in the new land of Virginia. His efforts led to the King listing his name first on the royal charter for Virginia issued in 1606.
Not Among the First Colonists
He did not accompany the first colonists to go to Virginia in 1607. Residing in the Netherlands, he continued in his position there as captain of a company of infantry. By 1608 he requested, and received, a leave of absence. He went to England and helped prepare a fleet of new supplies and colonists. After months of preparation, the small fleet of ships was ready to depart.
Departure to Jamestown
The fleet of nine ships left England on June 2, 1609. This fleet, the "third supply" to Jamestown, had hundreds of new colonists, supplies and the first women. The Virginia Company's new flagship, Sea Venture, led the expedition with Gates aboard. He had a new charter from the king, issued on May 23, 1609, that transferred control from the king to the Company. The royal council had appointed Gates governor. They gave him explicit instructions on his priorities after his arrival in Jamestown. On July 24, 1609, the fleet encountered a fierce storm, separating the fleet.
Shipwreck in the Bermudas
Battered by the storm, the Sea Venture sprang a leak. Sir George Somers, who had taken the helm, drove the ship onto a reef to prevent it from sinking. Thus marooned, the crew and passengers took refuge on an island where they survived for the next few months. The other ships, thinking the Sea Vulture lost in the storm, continued on to Jamestown. Gates and the others at first attempted to repair the Sea Vulture. Unable to do this, they finally built two new boats, Deliverance and Patience. After completing these, they departed after ten months of survival on the island. They arrived in Jamestown on May 24, 1610.
Pitiful Circumstances
Upon arrival, Gates and the survivors found a colony in deep distress. Only about a tenth of the colonists survived the winter and these survivors huddled in the fort. This winter the colonists called the "starving time." Conflicts with the local tribes had kept them from hunting for food and most had died. George Percy, who had taken over the governorship from the injured John Smith, had provided inept leadership. Gates assumed command. To instill military discipline to the colony immediately issued his civil code. This code would later be amended and expanded as For the Colony in Virginea Brittania. Lawes Divine, Morall and Martiall, &c. Food.

United States history begins many decades before July 4, 1776 when the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. The first foundations of the nation were laid with the voyages of Christopher Columbus and the settlement that came later. The American History A Day at A Time - 2015 series is in an easy to read "This Day in History," format and includes articles by the author from that series. The reader may read the articles as they appear, or purchase the book:
A Year of Colonial American Frontier History

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© Paul Wonning 2016

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

America's Dusty Files - May 23, 1541 Cartier Departed Saint-Malo on His Third Voyage With Five Ships

A Year of Colonial American Frontier History
A Year of Colonial American Frontier History
May 23, 1541 Cartier Departed Saint-Malo on His Third Voyage With Five Ships
The results of the first two voyages of Jacques Cartier inspired King Francis I to plan an even bigger expedition to the lands to the west. Chief Donnacona tales of a fabled "Kingdom of Saguenay" to the south led to the belief of great riches there. This expedition would abandon the search for a passage and instead found a permanent colony to search for this kingdom.
The Expedition Forms
King Francis I initially appointed Cartier as captain general of the expedition. However, the king later supplanted him with his friend Jean-François de La Rocque de Roberval. He appointed Cartier as navigator. This expedition would consist of eight ships and eight hundred men. Delays in obtaining supplies led Roberval to give Cartier permission to leave and then await him in the New World. Cartier departed on May 23, 1541 with five ships. The ship's colonists included farmers, craftsmen, convicts, some livestock and other necessities.
The Settlement
Cartier returned to Stadacona and anchored. Not trusting the Iroquois response to his return, he decided to sail a few miles upriver. He reached the spot where Cap-Rouge, Quebec now stands and decided to plant the colony there. They landed some of the colonists, the livestock and some of the convicts. These men busied themselves planting crops, building structures and clearing land. The constructed two forts for protection and began searching the hills for treasure. This search produced gold colored nuggets and crystalline stones. The men found enough "gold" and "diamonds" to fill two barrels.
Cartier left the colony and sailed up river to search for the "Kingdom of Saguenay."  After his return, he found that relations with the Iroquois had deteriorated. The natives had attacked and killed several men. Thus, the colonists went into winter holed up in the forts, awaiting the arrival of Roberval in the spring.
Abandonment and Return
Cartier thought he had a fortune in gold and diamonds.  Exhausted by the long and difficult winter, Cartier decided to abandon the colony and head back to France. On the trip back, he stopped at New Foundland where Roberval had also stopped. The men conferred and Roberval ordered Cartier to return with him to the colony. However, during the night Cartier sailed off back to France to cash in his wealth in diamonds and gold. Upon arrival in France, he discovered that the "gold" was pyrite and the "diamonds" were quartz. He had returned with two barrels of worthless minerals. ;
Roberval's Colony
The French that went on to the settlement on the St. Lawrence River lasted through the winter. Discouraged, the expedition returned to France. The French would not attempt another settlement venture for half a century.

United States history begins many decades before July 4, 1776 when the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. The first foundations of the nation were laid with the voyages of Christopher Columbus and the settlement that came later. The American History A Day at A Time - 2015 series is in an easy to read "This Day in History," format and includes articles by the author from that series. The reader may read the articles as they appear, or purchase the book:
A Year of Colonial American Frontier History

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© Paul Wonning 2016

Monday, May 22, 2017

America's Dusty Files - May 22, 1775 - New Hampshire Provincial Congress Voted To Muster 2,000 Men

A Year of Colonial American Frontier History
A Year of Colonial American Frontier History
May 22, 1775 - New Hampshire Provincial Congress Voted To Muster 2,000 Men
The growing crises in Boston provoked responses in all the colonies. The New Hampshire Provincial Congress resolved to reactivate the New Hampshire Provincial Regiment. The Regiment would go to Boston to join the growing Patriot army there. The resolution authorized the mobilization of the New Hampshire Militia. Many of the men that volunteered had served in the New Hampshire Provincial Regiment during the French and Indian War.
New Hampshire Provincial Congress
Royal Governor John Wentworth had dissolved the Provincial Assembly in 1774. The colony's capital then moved from Portsmouth to Exeter to meet.  The First Provincial Congress of New Hampshire met the first time on July 21, 1774. They elected two delegates to represent them in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
New Hampshire Provincial Regiment
The New Hampshire Provincial Regiment was a regiment in the New Hampshire Militia. The Regiment was first organized in 1754 during the French and Indian War. It saw extensive duty during that lengthy conflict. Many of the officers from the French and Indian War volunteered for the muster. They went on to their first action, joining the forming Continental Army at Boston.
The Muster
The resolution authorized the mustering of 2000 men. The Congress organized the Regiment into three regiments of 648 men and officers each. The men had elected Roger's Rangers veteran John Stark as their colonel. The enlistment period ran until December 31, 1775.

United States history begins many decades before July 4, 1776 when the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. The first foundations of the nation were laid with the voyages of Christopher Columbus and the settlement that came later. The American History A Day at A Time - 2015 series is in an easy to read "This Day in History," format and includes articles by the author from that series. The reader may read the articles as they appear, or purchase the book:
A Year of Colonial American Frontier History

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© Paul Wonning 2016

Friday, May 19, 2017

America's Dusty Files - May 19, 1535 - Jacques Cartier Sets Sail For A Second Voyage

A Year of Colonial American Frontier History
A Year of Colonial American Frontier History
May 19, 1535 - Jacques Cartier Sets Sail For A Second Voyage
Pleased with Cartier's report on the first voyage, King Francis I approved a second voyage. Jacques Cartier and a crew of 110 men set sail on three ships, Grande Hermine (the Great Stoat), the Petite Hermine (the Lesser Stoat) and the Émérillon (the Merlin) on May 19, 1535. The two Amerindian boys they had kidnapped the year before, Dom Agaya and Taignoagny, accompanied them. The boys would serve as interpreters and guides on this voyage.
Settling in for the Winter
After a voyage of fifty days, the small fleet reached the St. Lawrence River on July 8, 1535. The boys guided them up the river to their village, Stadacona, the Iroquios capital. The Canadian city of Quebec now stands on the site. They established a post at the mouth of the St. Charles River and settled in after deciding to spend the winter in the new land. This spot provided a natural haven for the ships. High bluffs sheltered the ships from strong winds and the currents kept the ships from drifting downstream. They had only stocked provisions for a 115-day voyage. Cartier thus set men to the task of salting fish and stocking provisions for the winter. Cartier and some of the crew continued exploring upstream in the smallest ship, Émérillon. They had adapted it for shallower waters for river travel.
Further Explorations
Sailing upriver, the Émérillon reached the Amerindian village of Hochelaga on October 2. Montreal now occupies this site. The Jacques Cartier Bridge marks the spot that historians are confident is his landing place. This city was much bigger than Stadacona, and well over a thousand natives met his ships. These natives told him tantalizing stories about a sea that occupied the middle of the land further to the west. They also assured him that great riches of gold lay to the west, also. However, rapids blocked his forward progress. Convinced that this was the fabled Northwest Passage and that China lay just beyond those rapids, he named them the Lachine Rapids and the river the Lachine River.  Lachine is the French word for "China."
Harsh Winter
Since their settlement lay south of the latitude of Paris, the Frenchmen expected a mild winter. No Europeans since the Vikings 500 years earlier had experienced a North American winter. What they experienced shocked and almost killed them. From the beginning of November until May the river froze, locking their ships in a thick layer of ice. In addition to the cold and privation, scurvy soon afflicted both the Amerindians and the Europeans. The disease began killing Cartier's crew.
Scurvy
Insufficient supplies of Vitamin C cause scurvy. Early, the disease causes appetite loss, diarrhea, rapid breathing, fever, irritability, swelling, bleeding, and paralysis. Later stages include bleeding gums, loosened teeth, protruding eyes, anemia and finally, death. It is a long, painful death. The cure for the disease is simple. Just consume sources of Vitamin C. The disease at this time was well known. It was mostly associated with sailors who would go long periods with no fresh fruits or vegetables. No one at the time knew the cure.
Cure
The French noticed that the Amerindians also suffered from the disease, but would recover after a time. The French, not recovering, grew desperate for a cure. They implored the Amerindians for the cure. However, the natives were hesitant to share their medicine with outsiders. At length they told them that a tea made from the boiled bark from the white cedar tree would cure the disease. The French gathered some of the bark, prepared it and drank the tea. It provided almost immediate relief and in a few days, they had stripped the bark off one whole tree. But they lived.
Return
By May, the ice had thawed and the ships were free. With twenty-five less men than he started, Cartier sailed for France in mid-May

United States history begins many decades before July 4, 1776 when the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. The first foundations of the nation were laid with the voyages of Christopher Columbus and the settlement that came later. The American History A Day at A Time - 2015 series is in an easy to read "This Day in History," format and includes articles by the author from that series. The reader may read the articles as they appear, or purchase the book:
A Year of Colonial American Frontier History

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© Paul Wonning 2016

Thursday, May 18, 2017

America's Dusty Files - May 18, 1631-Massachusetts Bay Colony Grants Freemen Voting Rights

A Year of Colonial American Frontier History
A Year of Colonial American Frontier History
May 18, 1631-Massachusetts Bay Colony Grants Freemen Voting Rights
At a meeting on May 18, 1631, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay extended the right to vote to all freemen in the colony. The act enfranchised 118 men with voting rights.
Massachusetts Bay Colony
The Massachusetts Bay Colony received its royal charter in 1629. A group of Puritan merchants organized the Colony after gaining the charter. They chose the name of the colony from the Massachusetts tribe of natives that lived along the coastal regions of New England. The charter enabled the Colony to organize a government. That government could pass necessary laws as long as the laws did not conflict with the laws of England. The Colony leadership was answerable only to the King. The voting franchise at first existed only to stockholders of the Colony. They set up the General Court of Massachusetts Bay and chose its members. The Court chose John Winthrop as the first governor. The first group of colonists set sail in 1630 for the New World and established their colony later that year.
Extension of the Voting Rights Franchise
In England during this period, the right to vote was not considered universal. However, John Winthrop realized that men would accept leadership more readily if they chose it. Thus, the General Court extended the right to vote to all "freemen" at the May 18 meeting in 1631.
Freemen
The Court determined the definition of the term "freemen" to mean any member of the Puritan church. To become a member of the Church embodied more than simply going to church and being baptized. Membership entailed undertaking a long, arduous spiritual journey. At the conclusion of the journey, they had to make a public statement about that journey. After the statement, the congregation could either accept or reject the application for membership. The strict nature of the process limited membership, thus the franchise had strict limits also. These restrictions still opened the franchise to a higher percentage of the male population than England. These freemen elected the Assistants who held all the executive and judicial power. The Assistants, members of the General Court, elected the Governor and Deputy Governor.

United States history begins many decades before July 4, 1776 when the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. The first foundations of the nation were laid with the voyages of Christopher Columbus and the settlement that came later. The American History A Day at A Time - 2015 series is in an easy to read "This Day in History," format and includes articles by the author from that series. The reader may read the articles as they appear, or purchase the book:
A Year of Colonial American Frontier History

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© Paul Wonning 2016

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

America's Dusty Files - May 17, 1673 - Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette Begin Exploring Mississippi River

A Year of Colonial American Frontier History
A Year of Colonial American Frontier History
May 17, 1673 - Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette Begin Exploring Mississippi River
Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet depart from St. Ignace on the Michilimackinac Peninsula. On their journey, they would become the first Europeans to explore the Mississippi River.
Jacques Marquette (1637–1675)
The northern French city of Laon served as the birthplace of Jacques Marquette on June 1, 1637. When he turned seventeen, he joined the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). He served the Order for several years teaching in France. The Order moved him to Quebec in New France in 1666 to serve as a missionary to the local Amerindian tribes. While serving in Quebec he became adept at speaking the Huron language. Seeing value in this, the Order moved him to missions in the Great Lakes area in present day Michigan. During his time in this area, he founded missions in two of Michigan's oldest towns, Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace in 1668 and 1671 respectively. Once he had the missions established at Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace he moved on to begin work on a new mission at La Pointe. During his work among the native tribes there, he came into contact with the Illinois Tribe. This tribe lived in the area drained by the upper Mississippi River. The Illinois told him of a mighty river the natives called the Mississippi River. They also invited him to come and work among their people there.
Louis Joliet (1645 –1700?)
Wheelwright Jean Joliet and Marie d’Abancourt birthed a son, Louis, near Quebec in 1645. At ten years old, he entered the Jesuit College in Quebec and began studies to be a priest. During these years, he studied music, becoming a skilled harpsichordist and church organist. At twenty-three years old, in 1667, he decided on a change of vocations. He left the priesthood and became a coureur des bois, or fur trader. By 1673, he had become well known as a trader and explorer. He often visited La Pointe. It was there that he became acquainted with Jacques Marquette during his time at the missions he established in the area. At any rate, they became friends and collaborators in the first mission to explore the Mississippi River.
Rumors of the River
Rumors of a great river somewhere to the west or south had percolated through the French government in New France for years. French missionaries had seen portions of it and had provided sketchy descriptions of the river. By 1671, French authorities had approved an exploratory mission but they would not fund it. Since he was an experienced cartographer and geographer, they picked Louis Joliet to organize it. Because of his proficiency in native languages, they picked Jacques Marquette to accompany him. Joliet created a formed a commercial society to fund the expedition. He recruited six other coureur des bois to join it. By May 17, 1673, the expedition was ready to depart.

United States history begins many decades before July 4, 1776 when the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. The first foundations of the nation were laid with the voyages of Christopher Columbus and the settlement that came later. The American History A Day at A Time - 2015 series is in an easy to read "This Day in History," format and includes articles by the author from that series. The reader may read the articles as they appear, or purchase the book:
A Year of Colonial American Frontier History

Facebook
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@MossyFeetBooks
© Paul Wonning 2016