GARFIELD FAMILIES NEWSLETTER
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Jimmy Fagerburg Dick Garfield
As you noticed I didn't get a newsletter out in June of this year. With schools being out for the summer and families taking their summer vacations not much is happening in the genealogy department. Have been working on a new Family Branch for the site, it is called Garfield/Chapin Family Data. It can be reached (www.GarfieldFamilies.com) from the main page by clicking on the button by the same name on the right row of buttons. A lot of work has gone into this family site over the past 4 or 5 months, getting it all together and uploaded on line. I also heard from James R. Garfield lll, a GGGrandson of Pres. Garfield and he has updated that branch of the Garfield Tree and added about 150 names that I didn't have. We have been very fortunate in being able to get a very large amout of research that has been done by Charlotte Holbrook of MA. She has been researching the Garfields in New England, New York and many other states for the past several years and has a mountian of information. Her idea of not wanting to give all her work to some historic society and having it sit in some boxes in a backroom I think was very wise. I hope to be able to get started digging into that project soon. There are listings of several cemeteries throughout New England and the midwest that she visited and listed the Garfields buried there. Also census, births, deaths and marriages from the early days of MA. and surrounding states. I want to get all this sorted and as much on line as I can for all of you to be able to use. I think I have my work cut out for me for quite a while to come. NOTE: I will not be doing a newsletter in Aug. or Sept. for sure and maybe Oct. depending on how active my e-mail is with new articles to publish. We are planning now of going north for the summer to get out of this Florida 90 degree heat for a spell. Have a great summer and see you this fall. Dick
This month is going to be short and sweet, no pictures or history but just one great story.
THIS MONTHS STORY
The following was sent to me by Janice Farnsworth
(thanks Janice it is great!!)
Subject: Captivity & Sufferings of Mrs. Jemima Howe
Source: Gathered Sketches from the Early History of N.H. & VT by Francis Chase, M.A., 1856, Claremont, N.H.
Mrs. Jemima Howe taken prisoner by the Indians at Bridgman's Fort, in the parent town of
Vernon, Vermont. Communicated to Dr. Belknap by the Rev. Bunker Gay.
As Messrs. Caleb Howe, Hilkiah Grout and Benjamin Gaffield, who had been hoeing corn in the meadow, west of the river, were returning home a little before sunset, to a place called Bridgman's Fort, they were fired upon by twelve Indians, who had ambushed their path.
Howe was on horseback with two young lads, his children, behind him. A ball, which broke his thigh, brought him to the ground. His horse ran a few rods and fell likewise, and
both lads were taken. The Indians in their savage manner, coming up to Howe, pierced his body with a spear, tore off his scalp, struck a hatchet in his head and left him in this
forlorn condition. He was found alive the morning after by a party of men from Fort
Hinsdale; and being asked by one of the party whether he knew them, he answered, "Yes, I know you all."
These were his last words, though he did not expire until after his friends had arrived
with him at Fort Hinsdale.
Grout was so fortunate as to escape unhurt; but Gaffield, in attempting to wade through
the river, at a certain place which was indeed fordable at that time, was unfortunately
drowned. Flushed with the success they had met with here, the savages went directly
to Bridgman's Fort. There was no man in it, and only three women and some children, viz., Mrs. Jemima Howe, Mrs. Submit Grout and Mrs. Eunice Gaffield.
Their husbands I need not mention again, and their feelings at this juncture, I will not
attempt to describe. They had heard the enemy's guns, but knew not what had happened to their friends. Extremely anxious for their safety, they stood longing to embrace them,
until at length, concluding from the noise they heard without, that some of them would
come, they unbarred the gate in a hurry to receive them; when lo! to their inexpressible
disappointment and surprise, instead of their husbands, in rushed a number of hideous
Indians, to whom they and their tender offspring became an easy prey, and from whom they had nothing to expect but either an immediate death or a long and doleful captivity.
The latter of these, by the favor of Providence, turned out to be the lot of these unhappy
women, and their still more unhappy (because more helpless) children. Mrs. Gaffield had
but one, Mrs. Grout had three, and Mrs. Howe seven. The eldest of Mrs. Howe's children
was eleven years old and the youngest but six months. The two eldest were daughters she had by her first husband, Mr. William Phipps, who was also slain by the Indians.
It was from the mouth of this woman that I lately received the foregoing account. She
also gave me, I doubt not, a true, though to be sure, a very brief and imperfect history
of her captivity, which I here insert for your perusal. It may perhaps afford you some
interest and can do no harm, if, after it has undergone your critical inspection, you
should not think it (or an abbreviation of it), worthy to be preserved among the records
you are about to publish. [To Dr. Belknap by the Rev. Bunker Gay.]
The Indians (she says) having plundered and put fire to the fort, we marched, as near as
I could judge, a mile and a half into the woods, where we encamped that night. When the morning came and we had advanced as much farther, six Indians were sent back to the place of our late abode, who collected a little more plunder, and destroyed some other effects that had been left behind; but they did not return until the day was so far spent that it was judged best to continue where we were through the night.
Early the next morning we set off for Canada, and continued our march eight days
successively, until we had reached the place where the Indians had left their canoes,
about fifteen miles from Crown Point. This was a long and tedious march; but the captives, by divine assistance, were enabled to endure it with less trouble and difficulty than they had reason to expect.
From such savage masters, in such indigent circumstances, we could not rationally hope
for kinder treatment than we received. Some of us, it is true, had a harder lot than
others; and among the children, I thought my son Squire had the hardest time of any.
He was then only four years old; and when we stopped to rest our weary limbs, and he sat down on his master's pack, the savage monster would often knock him off and sometimes too, with the handle of his hatchet. Several ugly marks, indented in his head by the cruel Indians, at that tender age, are still plainly to be seen.
At long length we arrived at Crown Point and took up our quarters there for the space of
near a week. In the mean-time some of the Indians went to Montreal and took several of the weary captives along with them, with a view of selling them to the French. They did not succeed, however, in finding a market for any of them.
They gave my youngest daughter, Submit Phipps, to the governor, De Vandreuil, then had a drunken frolic, and returned again to Crown Point with the rest of their prisoners. From hence we set off for St. John's in four or five canoes, just as night was coming on, and were soon surrounded with darkness. A heavy storm hung over us. The sound of the rolling thunder was very terrible upon the waters, which, at every flash of expansive lightning, seemed to be all in a blaze. Yet to this we were indebted for all the light we enjoyed. No object could we discern any longer than the flashes lasted. In this posture we sailed in our open, tottering canoes almost the whole of that dreary night.
The morning, indeed, had not yet begun to dawn, when we all went ashore; and having
collected a heap of sand and gravel for a pillow, I laid myself down, with my tender
infant by my side, not knowing where any of my children were, or what a miserable condition they might be in. The next day, however, under the wing of that ever-present and all powerful Providence which had preserved us through the darkness and imminent dangers of the preceding night, we all arrived in safety at St. John's.
Our next movement was to St. Francis, the metropolis, if I may so call it, to which the
Indians who led us captive, belonged. Soon after our arrival at their wretched capital,
a council, consisting of the chief sachem and some principal warriors of the St. Francis
tribe, was convened. And after the ceremonies usual on such occasions were over, I was
conducted and delivered to an old squaw, whom the Indians told me I must call my mother - my infant still continuing to be the property of its original Indian owners. I was
nevertheless permitted to keep it with me a while longer, for the sake of saving them the
trouble of looking after it, and of maintaining it with my milk.
When the weather began to grow cold, shuddering at the prospect of approaching winter,
I acquainted my new mother that I did not think it would be possible for me to endure
it if I must spend it with her and fare as the Indians did. Listening to my repeated
and earnest solicitations that I might be disposed of among some of the French inhabitants of Canada, she at length set off with me and my infant, attended by some male Indians, upon a journey to Montreal, in hopes of finding a market for me there.
But the attempt proved unsuccessful, and the journey tedious indeed. Our provisions
were so scanty, as well as insipid and unsavory, the weather so cold, and the travelling
so very bad, that it often seemed as if I must have perished on the way. The lips of
my poor child were sometimes so benumbed that when I put it to my breast, it could not
till it grew warm, imbibe the nourishment requisite for its support. While we were in
Montreal, we went into the house of a certain French gentleman, whose lady, being sent
for, and coming into the room where I was, to examine me, seeing I had an infant,
exclaimed suddenly in this manner: "Damn it, I will not buy a woman that has a child to look after."
There was a swill pail standing near me, in which I observed some crusts and crumbs of
bread swimming on the surface of the greasy liquor it contained. Sorely pinched with
hunger, I skimmed them off with my hands and ate them; and this was all the refreshment
which the house afforded me. Somewhere, in the course of this visit to Montreal, my
Indian mother was so unfortunate as to catch the smallpox, of which distemper she died
soon after our return, which was by water, to St. Francis.
And now came on the season when the Indians began to prepare for a winter's hunt. I was ordered to return my poor child to those of them who still claimed it as their property. This was a severe trial.
The baby clung to me with all its might; but I was obliged to pluck it thence, and
deliver it, screaming, enough to penetrate a heart of stone, into the hands of those
unfeeling wretches, whose tender mercies may be termed cruel.
It was soon carried off by a hunting party of those Indians to a place called Messiskow,
at the lower end of Lake Champlain, wither, in about a month after, it was my fortune
to follow them. I had preserved my milk, in hopes of seeing my beloved child again;
and here I found it, it is true, but in a condition that afforded me no great satisfaction
it being greatly emaciated and almost starved.
I took it in my arms, put its face to mine, and it instantly bit me with such violence
that it seemed as if I must have parted with a piece of my cheek. I was permitted
to lodge with it that and the two following nights; but every morning that intervened
the Indians, I suppose, on purpose to torment me, sent me away to another wigwam, which stood at a little distance, though not so far from the one in which my distressed
infant was confined but that I could plainly hear its incessant cries and heart rending
In this deplorable condition I was obliged to take my leave of it on the morning of the
third day after my arrival at the place. We moved down the lake several miles the same
day; and the night following was remarkable on account of the great earthquake (November 18, 1755), which terribly shook the howling wilderness.
Among the islands hereabout we spent the winter season, often shifting our quarters
and roving about from one place to another, our family consisting of three persons
only, besides myself, my late mother's daughter, whom, therefore, I called my sister,
and her sanhop (warrior husband), and a papoose. They once left me alone two dismal
nights; and when they returned to me again, perceiving them smile at each other, I
asked, "What is the matter?" They replied that two of my children were no more; one
of which, they said, died a natural death, and the other was knocked on the head.
I did not utter many words, but my heart was sorely pained within me, and my mind
exceedingly troubled with stange and awful ideas. I often imagined, for instance,
that I plainly saw the carcasses of my deceased children hanging upon the limbs
of the trees, as the Indians are wont to hang the raw hides of those beasts which
they take in hunting.
It was not long, however, before it was so ordered by kind Providence that I should be
relieved in a good measure from those horrid imaginings; for as I was walking one day
upon the ice, observing a smoke at some distance upon the land, it must proceed, thought I, from the fire of some Indian hut; and who knows but some one of my poor children may be there? My curiousity, thus excited, led me to the place and there I found my son Caleb, a little boy between two and three years old, whom I had imagined had been deprived of life, and perhaps also denied a decent grave.
I found him likewise in tolerable health and circumstances; under the protection of a
fond Indian mother; and, moreover, had the happiness of lodging with him in my arms
one joyful night. Again we shifted our quarters, and when we had travelled eight or
ten miles upon the snow and ice, came to a place where the Indians manufactured sugar,
which they extracted from the maple trees. Here an Indian came to visit us, whom I
knew, and could speak English. He asked me why I did not go to see my son Squire. I
replied that I had lately been informed that he was dead. He assured me that he was
yet alive, and but two or three miles off, on the opposite side of the lake.
At my request he gave me the best directions he could to the place of Squire's abode.
I resolved to embrace the first opportunity that offered of endeavoring to search it
out. While I was busy in contemplating this affair, the Indians obtained a little bread
of which they gave me a small share. I did not taste a morsel of it myself, but saved
it for my poor child, if I should be so lucky as to find him.
At length, having obtained from my keepers leave to be absent for one day, I set off
early in the morning and steering as well as I could, according to the direction which
the friendly Indian had given me, I quickly found the place which he had so accurately
marked out. I beheld, as I drew nigh, my little son without the camp; but he looked,
I thought, like a starved and mangy puppy that had been wallowing in the ashes. I took
him in my arms and he spoke to me these words, in the Indian tongue: "Mother, are you
come?" I took him into the wigwam with me and observing a number of Indian children in it, I distributed all the bread which I had reserved for my own child among them all,
otherwise I should have given great offence.
My little boy appeared to be very fond of his new mother, but kept as near me as possible
while I staid, and when I told him I must go, he fell as though he had been knocked down
with a club. But, having recommended him to the care of Him that made him, when the day was far spent, and the time would permit me to say no longer, I departed, you may well suppose with a heavy load at my heart. The tidings I had received of the death of my
youngest child had, a little before, been confirmed to me beyond a doubt; but I could not
mourn so heartily for the deceased as for the living child.
When winter broke up, we removed to St. John's; and through the ensuing summer our
principle residence was at no great distance from the fort at that place. In the mean-
time, however, my sister's husband, having been out with a scouting party to some of the
English settlements, had a drunken frolic at the fort when he returned. His wife had
often felt the ill effects of her husband's intemperance, fearing what the consequence
might prove if he should come home in a morose and turbulent humor, and to avoid his
insolence, proposed that we should both retire and keep out of the reach of it until the
storm abated. We absconded, accordingly; but it so happened that I returned and ventured into his presence before his wife had presumed to come near him.
I found him in his wigwam, and in a surly mood; and not being able to revenge upon his
wife, because she was not at home, he laid hold of me, and hurried me to the fort, and,
for a trifling consideration, sold me to a French gentleman whose name was Saccapee.
I had been with the Indians a year lacking fourteen days; and if not for my sister, yet
for me twas a lucky circumstance indeed which thus at last, in an unexpected moment,
snatched me out of their cruel hands, and placed me beyond reach of their insolent power.
After my Indian master had disposed of me in the manner related above, and the moment
of reflection had arrived, perceiving that the man who brought me had taken the advantage of him in an unguarded hours, his resentment began to kindle, and his indignation rose so high that he threatened to kill me if he should meet me alone, or, if he could not revenge himself thus, that he would set fire to the fort. I was therefore secreted in an upper chamber and the fort carefully guarded, until his wrath had time to cool. My service in the family to which I was not advanced was perfect freedom in comparison of what it had been among the barbarous Indians.
My new master and mistress were both as kind and generous towards me as I could any ways expect. I seldom asked a favor of either of them but it was readily granted; in con-
sequence of which I had it in my power in many instances to administer aid and refreshemt to the poor prisoners of my own nation who were brought into St. John's during my abode in the family of the above mentioned benevolent and hospitable Saccapee. Yet even in this family such trials awaited me as I had little reason to expect; but I stood in need of a large stock of prudence to enable me to enncounter them.
Must I tell you, then, that even the good old man himself, who considered me as his property, and likewise a warm and resolute son of him, at that same time, and under the
same roof, became both excessively fond of my company? So that between the two rivals
the father and the son - I found myself in a very critical situation indeed, and was
greatly embarrassed and perplexed, hardly knowing many times how to behave in such a manner as at once to secure my own virtue and the good esteem of the family in which I resided, and upon which I was wholly dependent for my daily support.
At length, however, through the tender compassion of a certain English gentleman, Col.
Peter Schuyler, then a prisoner, the governor, De Vandreuil, being made acquainted with
the condition I had fallen into, immediately ordered the young Saccapee, then an officer
in the French army, and at the same time, also wrote a letter to his father, enjoining
it upon him by no means to suffer me to be abused, but to make my situation and service
in his family as easy as possible.
I was, moreover under obligations to the governor upon another account. I had received
intelligence from my daughter Mary, the purport of which was, that there was a prospect
of her being shortly married to a young Indian of the St. Francis tribe (note Major Robert Rogers & his Rangers will wipe out entirely the St Francis tribe's village, some 2 years hence and when this file is complete I shall submit that report. (J.F.)
Which tribe she had continued from the beginning of her captivity. These were heavy
tidings, and added greatly to the poignancy of my other afflictions. However, not long
after I heard this melancholy news, an opportunity presented of acquainting that humane
and generous gentleman, the commander-in-chief, and my benefactor, with this affair also, who, in compassion for my sufferings and to mitigate my sorrows, issued his orders in good time, and had my daughter taken away from the Indians, and conveyed to the same nunnery where her sister was then lodged with his express injunction that they should both of them together be well looked after and carefully educated, as his adopted children. In this school they continued while the war in those days between France and Great Britain lasted; at the conclusion of which war the governor went home to France, took my oldest daughter along with him and married her to a French gentleman, whose name was Cron Louis. He was at Boston with the fleet under Count d'Estaing, 1778, as one of his clerks.
My other daughter still continuing in the nunnery, a considerable time had elapsed after
my return from captivity, when I made a journey to Canada, resolving to use my best
endeavors not to return without her. I arrived just in time to prevent her being sent to
France. She was to have gone in the next vessel that sailed for that place; and I found it extremely difficult to prevail with her to quit the nunnery and come home with me; yea
she absolutely refused; and all the persuasions and arguments I could use with her her were to no effect until after I had been to the governor and obtained a letter from him to
the superintendent of the nuns, in which he threatened, if my daughter should not be
immediately delivered into my hands, or could not be prevailed with to submit to my
maternal authority, that he would send a band of soldiers to assist me in bringing her
Upon hearing this, she made no further resistance; but so extremely bigoted was she to
the customs and religion of that place, that, after all, she left it with the greatest
reluctance and the most bitter lamentations, which she continued as we passed the streets and she wholly refused to be comforted. My good friend, Major Small, whom we met with on the way, tried all he could to console her and was so very kind and obiging as to bear us company, and carry my daughter behind him on horseback.
But I have run on a little before my story, for I have not yet informed you of the means
and manner of my own redemption, to the accomplishing of which, the recovery of my daughter, just mentioned, and the ransoming of some of my other children, several gentlemen of note contributed not a little; to whose goodness, therefore I am greatly indebted, and sincerely hope I shall never be so ungrateful as to forget.
Colonel Schuyler, in particular, was so kind and generous as to advance two thousand seven hundred livres to procure a ransom for myself and three of my children. He accompanied and conducted us from Montreal to Albany and entertained us in the most friendly and hospitable manner a considerable time at his own house and I believe entirely at his own expense.
Rev. Bunker Gay continues:
I have spun out the above narrative to a much greater length than I at first intended, and
shall conlude it with referring you for a more ample and brilliant account of the captive
heroine, who is the subject of it, to Colonel Humphrey's History of the Life of General
Israel Putnam, together with some remarks upon a few clauses in it.
I never indeed had the pleasure of perusing the whole of said history, but I remember to
have seen, some time ago, an extract from it in one of the Boston newspapers in which the Colonel has extolled the beauty and good sense and rare accomplishments of Mrs. Jemima Howe, the person whom he endeavors to paint in the most lively and engaging colors, and in a style that may appear to those who are acquainted with her to this day - romantic and extravagant; and the Colonel must needs have been misinformed with respect to some particulars that he has mentioned in her history. Indeed, when I read the extract from his history to Mrs. Tute, which name she has derived from her third marriage, whose widow she now remains, she seemed to be well pleased, and said at first it was all true, but soon after contradicted the circumstance of her lover's being so bereft of his senses when he saw her moving off in a boat at some distance from the shore, as to plunge into the water after her, in consequence of which he was seen no more. It is true, she said, that as she was returning from Montreal to Albany, she met with young Saccapee on the way; that she was in a boat with Colonel Schuyler; that the French officer came on board the boat, made her some handsome presents, took his final leave of her, and departed to outward appearance in tolerable good humor.
She moreover, says that when she went to Canada for her daughter, she met with him again, that he showed her a lock of her hair, and her name, likewise, printed with vermilion on his arm. As to her being chosen agent to go to Europe, in behalf of the people of Hinsdale, when Col. Howard obtained from the government of New York a patent of their lands on the west side of the Connecticut River, it was never once thought of by Hindsale people until the above-mentioned extract arrived among them, in which the author has inserted it as a matter of undoubted fact.
Transcribed by Janice Farnsworth