free web hosting | website hosting | Business Hosting | Free Website Submission | shopping cart | php hosting

 

 

 

COLONIAL HISTORY OF SOUTHPORT SWAMP

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Swamp Fight

The Pequot War

1637

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continual conflicts between the newcomers and the Indians occurred from 1634 and 1636 erupting into the Pequot War.

 

The first official record of the relations of the colonists to the Indians took the form of a declaration of war. This was made by the General Court on May 1, 1637, acting under color of the Massachusetts Bay. The vote assigned no cause and read thus:

 

It is ordered that there shall be an offensive warr agt the Pequoitt, and that there shall be 90 men levied out of the 3 Plantations, Harteford, Wethersfield, & Windsor out of Harteford 42, Windsor 30, Wethersfield 18: under the Comande of Captaine Jo: Mason & in Case of death or sickness under the Command of Robert Seely Leift, & the oldest Sergeant or Military officer surviving, if both these miscarry.

 

On June 2, the Court passed this second order:

 

It is ordered yt there shall be sent forth 30 men out of the several plantations in this Pequoitt Country & River in place convenient to maynteine River of Connecticut to sett downe in the or right yt God by Conquest hath given to vs. & Leiftennt Seely shall have the Commande of them. The men are to be raised 14 out of Harteford, ten out of Windsor, out of Wethersfield.

 

The declaration of war of May 1, 1637, called forth the following vote of assistance by New-Plymouth:

 

It is concluded and enacted by the Court, that the Colony of New-Plymouth shall send forth and to assist them of Massachusetts-Bay and Conectacutt, in their wars against the Pequin Indians, in revenge of the innocent blood of the English which the said Pequins have barbarously shed and refuse to give satisfaction for.

 

 

The Pequot war ended with the Battle of the Great Swamp Fight located at Sasqua Swamp in Southport, Connecticut. Below is an excerpt of the Great Swamp fight from the writings of Capt. John Mason who led the search, attack and capture of the Pequot Indians

 

Connecticut Colony being informed hereof, sent forthwith forty men, Captain Mason being Chief commander; with some other Gent, to meet those of the Massachusetts, to consider what was necessary to be attended respecting the future.Who meeting with them of the Massachusetts in Pequot Harbor; after some time of consultation, concluded to pursue those Pequots that were fled toward Manhatance, and so forthwith Marched after them, discovering several Places where they rendezvoused and lodged not far distant from their several removes; making but little haste, by reason of their children, and want of provision, being forced to dig for clams, and to procure such other things as the wilderness afforded:Our Vessels sailing along by the shore.In about the space of three days we all arrived at New Haven Harbor, then called Quinnypiag.And seeing a great smoke in the woods not far distant, we supposing some of the Pequots our enemies might be there; we hastened ashore, but quickly discovered them to be Connecticut Indians. Then we returned aboard our vessels, where we stayed some short time, having sent a Pequot captive upon discovery, we named him Luz, who brought us tidings of the enemy, which proved true; so faithful was he to us, though against his own Nation. Such was the terror of the English upon them such was the terror of the English upon them, that a Mohegan Indian named Jack Eatow going ashore at that time, met with three Pequots, took two of them and brought them aboard.

 

We then hastened our march towards the place where the enemy was. And coming into a corn field, several of the English spied some Indians, who fled them: they pursued them; and coming to the top of a hill, saw several wigwams just opposite, only a swamp intervening, which was almost divided in two parts. Sergeant Palmer hastening with about twelve men who were under his command to surround the smaller part of the swamp, that so he might prevent the Indians flying; Ensign Danport, Sergeant Jeffries & c, entering the swamp, intended to go into the wigwams were there set upon by several Indians, who in all probability were deterred by Sergeant Palmer. In this skirmish the English slew but few.; two or three of themselves were wounded. The rest of the English coming up, the swamp was surrounded.

 

Our Council being called, and the question propounded. How should we proceed. Captain Patrick advised that we should cut down the swamp; there being many Indian hatchets taken, Captain Traske concurring with him; but was opposed by others: Then we must pallizado the swamp; which was also opposed: then they would have a hedge made like hose of Gotham; all which was judged by some almost impossible, and to no purpose, and that for several reasons, and therefore strongly opposed. But some others advised to force the swamp, having time enough, it being about three of the clock in the afternoon. But that being opposed, it was then propounded to draw up our men close to the swamp, which would have much lessened the circumference; and with all to fill up the open passages with bushes, that so we might them until morning, and then we might consider further about it. But neither of these would pass, so different were our apprehensions; which was very grievous o some of us, who concluded the Indians would make an escape in the night, as easily they might and did. We keeping at a great distance, what better could be expected Yet Captain Mason took order that the narrow in the swamp should be cut through which did much shorten our leaguer. It was resolutely performed by Sergeant Davis.

 

We being loth to destroy women and children, as also the Indians belonging to that place, whereupon Mr. Tho. Stanton a man well acquainted with Indian language and manners, offered his service to go into the swamp and treat with them. To which we were somewhat backward, by reason of some hazard and danger he might be exposed unto. But his importunity prevailed: who going to them, did in a short time return to us, with near two hundred old men, women and children; who delivered themselves to the mercy of the English. And so night drawing on, we beleaguered them as strongly as we could. About half an hour before day, the Indians that were in the swamp attempted to break through Captain Patricks quarters, but were beaten back several times, they making a great noise, as their manner is a such times, it sounded round about our leaguer: whereupon Captain Mason sent Sergeant Stares to inquire into the cause, and also to assist if need required; Capain Traske coming also in to their assistance: but the tumult growings to a very great heighth, we raised our siege, and marching up to the palace, at a turning of the swamp the Indians were forcing out upon us, but we sent them back by our small shot.

 

We waiting a little for a second attempt, the Indians in the mean time facing about pressed violently upon Captain Patrick, breaking through his quarters, and so escaped. They were about sixty or seventy as were informed. We afterwards searched the swamp, and found but few slain. The captives we took were about one hundred and eighty, whom we divided, intending to keep them as servants, but they could not endure that yoke; few of them continuing any considerable time with their masters.

 

 

Map of land owned by Osborns

 

 

    Richard Osborn sailed from London in the ship Hopewell, Capt. Thomas Wood master, bound for Barbados 17. Feb. 1634.in 1835, Richard Osborn was one of the company that met with the Rev. Peter Hobart, & drew for a home-lot in the settlement of Hingham, Mass. He was a brave soldier in the Pequot War.his name occurs among the free planters of New Haven in 1639, in which he signed the fundamental agreement, at the gathering of the church on the 4th of March; shared in the divisions of land in 1643; & took the oath of fidelity before Governor Eaton 1. July 1644.His pew in the church was No., in the other side of the door. N.H. Col. Rec. He is probably the same Richard Osborn who removed to F. between 1650 & 1653, & purchased of Thomas Pell a house and home lot lying, between John Cables & Thomas Shervington. He purchased other places, and finally a house and home lot lying adjoining that of Cornelius Hulls. he became one of the dividend land holders of the town. For his good services in the Pequot War, the General Ct. of Conn. Granted him 80 acres of land, to be taken up in Fairfield, where it did not interfere with other grants, which were set off to his heirs in 1707, by Capt. Nathan Gold & Judge Peter Burr, he removed to Westchester, & on the 17. of Nov. 1682, he deed to his son John Osborn & to his heirs, all his housing & home lots, orchards, wood & timber in the town of F., together with all his uplands and meadows, his privileged in the undivided commons, & all his right & title to lands in the Colony of Conn. Provided he paid all his debts and dues in F.

Richard owned a house and land in the center of Fairfield and it is thought that this was his original parcel of land. He received the 80 parcels located at Pequot Swamp and bought another 46 lots. In 1682 Richard moved to Westchester and deeded all of his land to his oldest son John.

Original site of John Osborn Jr. Home Kings- Highway West

 

 

The next generation of Osborns Stephen, Joseph and Jeremiah lived in the homes they were deeded. Jeremiah died in 1757. Joseph died in 1776 and left his land to his widow. They had no children and the land was deeded to Joseph's two nephews Daniel and Jeremiah. Joseph's widow married Jedadiah Hull with the land deeded to him.

Then land then fell in the possession of Daniel Osborn. In 1811, Daniel Jr. then sold 23 acres to Ebenezer Burr.

 

In 1778, Stephen married Grizzel Osborn. He died in 1822. His widow continued to live at 55 Oxford Rd. with daughters Charity and Betsy. When Charity died in 1879 the property passed to Stephen’s granddaughter Sara Ann Hawkins.

 

 

Charlotte Lacey Historical Story of Southport

 

The Pequot Swamp was responsible for the being of Southport and it is fitting to give it honorable mention in this story. It was described by one of the participators in the Great Swamp Fight as a hideous swamp! The fragments of which still exist show a rich black mire which unquestionably would be very productive under cultivation. Some of the settlers knew a good thing when they saw it.

I found the following on the Town Records.

 

May 15, 1684

 

Wee, the Town Committee appointed by the town to exchange lands, have granted unto Mr. John Burr and unto Samuel Ward the Great Swamp on Ye west side of Mill Hill, as it is already bounded, but the whole that we have granted to them is 25 acres, they to divide between them when they please, and it is bounded on all sides by the Common. In consideration of the premises, the said John Burr returns to ye town his building and his pasture lot hee had in ye woods.

 

These 25 acres have been drained and utilized so that now only a few fragments of the great swamp remain. Mrs. John Hawkins and Miss Emma Hawkins own a portion adjoining or including, the traditional knoll where the fight took place. Center street passes through this spot. Two monuments stand to mark the site of this historic encounter. One is of stone and was erected by the sons of the Colonial Wars. The other is the living monument, which marks the western end of the swamp and that is the Southport Park. This tract of woodland, comprising about 12 acres, has undoubtedly never been other than woodland.

 

In the distribution of the estate of James Dennie, who died in 1759, about twenty acres of woodland in Sasqua were divided between his two daughters, Sarah Dennie Sayre and Eunice Dennie Burr. The greater part of that woodland is now embraced in the Southport Park area.

 

 

 

COLONIAL HISTORY OF PEQUOT SWAMP

 

Charlotte Lacey Historical Story of Southport

 

The Pequot Swamp was responsible for the being of Southport and it is fitting to give it honorable mention in this story. It was described by one of the participators in the Great Swamp Fight as a hideous swamp! The fragments of which still exist show a rich black mire which unquestionably would be very productive under cultivation. Some of the settlers knew a good thing when they saw it.

I found the following on the Town Records.

 

May 15, 1684

 

Wee, the Town Committee appointed by the town to exchange lands, have granted unto Mr. John Burr and unto Samuel Ward the Great Swamp on Ye west side of Mill Hill, as it is already bounded, but the whole that we have granted to them is 25 acres, they to divide between them when they please, and it is bounded on all sides by the Common. In consideration of the premises, the said John Burr returns to ye town his building and his pasture lot hee had in ye woods.

 

These 25 acres have been drained and utilized so that now only a few fragments of the great swamp remain. Mrs. John Hawkins and Miss Emma Hawkins own a portion adjoining or including, the traditional knoll where the fight took place. Center street passes through this spot. Two monuments stand to mark the site of this historic encounter. One is of stone and was erected by the sons of the Colonial Wars. The other is the living monument, which marks the western end of the swamp and that is the Southport Park. This tract of woodland, comprising about 12 acres, has undoubtedly never been other than woodland.

 

In the distribution of the estate of James Dennie, who died in 1759, about twenty acres of woodland in Sasqua were divided between his two daughters Sarah Dennie Sayre and Eunice Dennie Burr. The greater part of that woodland is now embraced in the Southport Park area.

 

Pequot Swamp was until 1835 another natural curiosity of the town. It was so named from the famous swamp fight between the New Englanders and thePequots, which will eer make it remarkable in the annals of local history. The rise of ground in its center, which had the appearance of an artificial mound, was a natural hill. For a long time it was supposed to be the work of the Indians, and filled with their graves; but when Pequot Avenue was opened in 1835, it became necessary to make a passage through it. This was done by tunneling through the center, as the ground above was frozen hard. Most of the men of the place were sea captains, who employed their leisure hours in the winter in making this excavation. They found but one Indian skeleton, and to their surprise discovered, by the different strata of earth, that the supposed mound was a natural hill. The open hill for many ears formed walls on either side of the road, which are now leveled, so that only a faint vestige of the hill is to be seen. (History of Fairfield, Elizabeth Hubbell Schenck)

 

 

 

Indian Names of Fairfield, Cyrus Sherwood Bradley

Sasquaukit, where the last fight was (Roger Williams, Letter, 1637, Coll. Mass. His. Soc. 4th Ser. VI. 213). For from New Haven to Sashquaket we did pursue the Pequets (Thomas Stanton, Letter 1659 Stratford Records in Orcutt's History of Stratford and Bridgeport, 12). The Indians atSasquat 1656 Sasquat field, Ibid Ye land at ye Towne is built up on ye Creeke at ye Tide mill ofFairefield [stands upon] South Westward is called Sasqua, March 20, 1656-7.Sasqua Land, Ibid.Sasqua Indians, Ibid.Ye Sasqua Land, April 11, 1661 (2). Sasquanaugh, 1679

 

 

 

 

Homepage