10 August

Indians and French Attack New England

Recent stories about Indian atrocities can be topped by many more. It is important to remember that the Indians often had provocation, and were sometimes urged to do their worst by the French, English and Dutch. Furthermore, their atrocities were not unique. Heretics were being burned at the stake in Spain, and enemies of the Church and State were torn to pieces in France and hanged on gibbets all over the countryside of Britain. It was a cruel age.

Some of the worst atrocities took place in the New England States, as part of Governor Frontenac's campaign to impress the Indians that France was far from finished in North America. The French inflamed the Abenaki Indians to massacre many settlements, including Wells on August 10, 1703.

The pattern of attack was nearly always the same. The French and Indians would swoop into a settlement during the night, or early in the morning; kill most of the men, women and children; take some prisoners, and burn their homes.

Haverhill, in Massachusetts, produced an amazing story. A Mrs. Dunstan had just given birth to a baby. The Indians smashed the baby against a tree and forced Mrs. Dunstan, Mrs. Neff and a small boy to go back to Acadia with them. It was a walk of 250 miles, which Mrs. Dunstan was in no condition to undertake. Nevertheless she kept going for more than 100 miles. One night their party of two warriors, three squaws, and seven children were sleeping close to the fire, while Mrs. Dunstan, Mrs. Neff, and the boy were trying to keep warm as best they could away from the fire. The two women took up hatchets and quickly killed ten of the twelve Indians. The other two were helpless. They ate the Indians' food, scalped the bodies, and walked back to Haverhill with the bloody scalps swinging from their hands!

The attacks on Wells, Scarborough, and many other settlements produced similar stories. One woman scalded an attacking Indian to death by throwing boiling water on him. The other Indians thought so highly of her trick they took her prisoner instead of killing her. On the march to Acadia she gave birth to a baby. Its crying annoyed the Indians, so they dropped red-hot coals in its mouth.

The attacks on the New England settlements did not achieve any lasting benefit. On the contrary, they helped stir up the anger that led eventually to the capture of Louisburg, the expulsion of the Acadians. and finally the loss of France's North American possessions.


10 August

-1760    General Amherst sailed from Oswego, New York, to capture Montreal.

-1764    Governor Murray assumed office and established civil government.

-1838    Lord Durham's ordinance banishing rebels without trial was disallowed by the British Government.

-1850    Laws were passed to regulate currency.

              The Bytown and Prescott Railway was incorporated.

-1876    Alexander Graham Bell conducted the first long distance telephone conversation between Brantford and Paris, Ontario—a distance of eight miles.

-1943    Allied leaders including Churchill, Roosevelt, and Mackenzie King held a conference at Quebec.

-1953    The Liberals under Louis St. Laurent won the general election: Liberals 171, Conservatives 51, Co-operative Commonwealth Federation 23, Social Credit 15.

-1954    Ground was broken for the St. Lawrence Seaway Power Development at Cornwall, Ontario.