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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > American Age of Discovery, Colonization, Revolution, & Expansion > American Colonial Era

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American Colonial Era 1660-1763 The growth of North American colonies, often with a change in native & national control.

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  #1  
Old 25 Feb 11, 17:17
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Colonel Benjamin Church

Was Colonel Benjamin Church father of the American Rangers?


Colonel Church led the “friendly” Indian’s during King Philips war. He observed, noted, and adopted the tactics and skills of the Native American’s. Had his council been heeded at the “great swamp fight” the colonial losses may well have been reduced.
Some may ask was the father of the Rangers, not Robert Rogers? I would ask, was the father of the American Rangers not Uncas, or Miantonomo or their forefathers? For what was taught to Church and Rogers, without doubt, came from the Native Americans.

What do you think?
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  #2  
Old 04 Mar 11, 00:42
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Colonel Benjamin Church was born in Duxbury MA, in 1639. It was not his intention to be a military man. He had intended to be a farmer. It was while building his farm that he became aquatinted with, and respected by, the natives.
In the spring of 1675, amid rumors of war, Awashonks, squaw sachem of the Sogkonate Indians, requested his presents at a dance, Momentous decisions where made by this people through dance, he enlisted Charles Hazelton, the son of his tenant, who well knew the native language, to accompany him.
Upon his arrival he found Awashonks herself embroiled in dance. Covered with sweat from the effort of it. As soon as she was aware of Church’s arrival she broke off the dance and calling her nobles to her ordered Benjamin to her presents.
She conveyed to him the state of affairs, which was that King Philip had sent 6 of his warriors, along with two of her own that had been at Philips stronghold Mount hope, to persuade her to join with him in a war against the English.
She requested Church answer the charges of King Philip’s men, who said that the men of Plymouth where amassing an army to conduct war. Church stated that it was but a few days since he had been to Plymouth, that he had spoke with some of the leaders of that government and that he saw nor heard anything that would suggest such a thing, nor was he aware of any plans of that nature. He then asked her if she thought he would have brought his goods to settle in a place among so many Indians if he thought war would soon be upon him. She seemed to believe him and called to her the men from Mount hope. She spoke to these and told them what Mr. Church had said in regards to their charges. There followed a heated exchange. After sometime Awashonks told Church the warriors stated that King Philips message to her was that if she did not join with him he would send his warriors out to kill the English cattle, and burn their homes, the English would naturally blame this on her people and fall upon them. Church told her he was sorry to see her put in such a position.
Church then boldly faced the Mount hope warriors and having touched one of their pouches, and finding it full of shot, asked “What are all the bullets for?” The answer came back full of sarcasm “To shoot pigeons with”
Church then spoke to Awashonks “If King Philip is set on war; perhaps your best course would be to knock these Mounthopes on the head and seek the protection of the English.”

This is but a little of the story of Benjamin Church, but a glimpse of the mans courage. He spoke these words in the camp of hundreds of Indians. Indians, that had not yet made a choice for war or peace. Anything could have happened, relations between the colonist and the Indians had been strained for years, and King Philip would soon be at war.
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Old 05 Mar 11, 01:42
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My last post left Mr. Benjamin Church in a sort of Lurch. (Sorry could not help myself)
So I thought I would write a bit more.

At Benjamin’s words the men from Mount hope where dump struck, but the two of Awashonks men that had been at Mount hope argued hotly against any such action.
They where supported by Littleeyes, one of Awashonks counsel. He requested that Benjamin meet with him in the wood, but the rest of the Indians forbid it, knowing he meant no good.
The discussion was heated and Mr. Church told the Mount hopes that they where wrenches and lusted after the blood of their English neighbors. Who Church said, and may well have believed, had never done them any hurt.
He went on to say that he himself would like nothing more than peace, but if it was war they would have, he thought he would prove a sharp thorn in their side. And that those that where blood thirsty for war might not live to see it end, while those that where for peace, likely would.
Church then spoke to Awashonks, advising her to send someone to the governor of Plymouth, to shelter her people under his protection. She liked his advise and ask that he go for her, and this he agreed to do. Upon parting he further counseled her not to join the rebellion, as this would surly be the end of her. Again thanking him for his advice, she sent two men to guard him home.
When they arrived there they advised him to take care of his goods, but he refused because of how it might be perceived. He did tell them that should what they feared was to come to pass they should take them to a place in the wood, this they did with good faith.
He took his leave of his guard after telling them to tell their mistress that if she kept the faith with the English, and stayed within her own country, he would see her again soon.
He then hastened on his way to Pocasset. Where he met Peter Nunnuit, Husband of the Queen of the Pocasset just returning by canoe from Mounthope. Peter told him that there certainty would be war, as King Philip had been dancing for many weeks and had entertained many young men from the country. Peter told him that Philip expected to be sent for at Plymouth to answer about the death of Sassamon, who had been murdered at Assawmosett ponds, knowing himself, guilty. (This would most likely have been Peter Nunnuit’s opinion rather than words from Philip. It is a fact that Sassamon was murdered, and that three of King Philips men where hung for it, as to who did the deed, we can but speculate.)
Peter went on to tell him that he saw Mr. James Brown of Swanzy, and Mr. Samuel Gorton, an interpreter, along with two others that had brought a letter from the Governor of Plymouth to Philip. The young Indians where very eager to begin the war and would have killed them, had Philip not stopped it. Philip telling them that his Father had charged him to be kind to Mr. Brown. The end result of this was that Philip was forced to promise that on the next Lords day they would rifle the English homes, and from that point forward kill their cattle. (for those that do not know, King Philip’s father was Massassoit, the very Indian leader who had saved the Pilgrims from starvation, had taught them the skills to survive the New World.)

Perhaps more later.
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Old 06 Mar 11, 13:10
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Peter asks that Mr. Church go up the hill and see his wife. This he did, finding her with but few followers. She said she feared that war would soon be upon them. That her people had gone to dance against her wish and without her leave.
Mr. Church then advised her to go to the Island and secure the people with her, and to send to the governor of Plymouth whom she knew was a friend. Church himself then made with such hast as to reach the Governor by morning next . It is true that he was made wait while the Governor saw his ministers. But it came to pass that he spoke what he had heard, and observed. This but confirmed intelligence already known.

Good to his word Philip allowed his people to go out on the next Lords day, when the English where to church, and plunder their homes. No harm was yet put upon the People themselves; at least no one was killed. Could be that in the day it was held that he who started a war would in the end lose. It could also be that King Philip was not intent on this war, was forced by a people that felt wronged to take the action they clamored for. That he still longed for peace, but a fair and just treatment of his people must be obtained, at any cost.

The English where greatly alarmed by the aggression and numbers of the Indians abroad. Word reached the Governor and he immediately ordered town Captains to rendezvous at Taunton on Monday night. There to meet Major Bradford who was to dispatch them under Captain Cutworth to Scituaet. It was requested by the Governor that Mr. Church should accompany them, to help with the men of Rhoda Island. (It should be noted here that Rhode Island was not invited to join the United Colonies. That in fact they where held by some of that body to be enemies. The massing troops where not only invading Indian lands but Rhode Island as well. It was even held by some that King Philip’s war was punishment visited upon them by the all mighty for not annihilating the Quakers.)

It was Major Bradford’s wish that Mr. Church, with a commanded party of English and Indian act as forward guard. They where to stay far enough ahead as to not be able to see the army. This they did for they killed a deer, flayed and roasted and ate most of it before the main body reached them.
Upon reaching Sawnzey they where mostly posted at Major Brown’s and Mile’s garrisons. Here they where joined by the men from Massachusetts. The enemy who had started with plunder and destroying cattle soon moved on to killing, two men not far from Mile’s garrison, and then eight more who where brutally used both before and after death so that all that saw them where green with the horror of it.
Emboldened by success the enemy even took shots at the men guarding Mile’s garrison. This so enraged some of the men under Captain Prentice’s that requested to go out to the enemy. Quartermasters Gill and Belcher in command requested that Mr. Church join them, he again agreed to do so, and was provided with a horse and furnishings, his not being unavailable.
This group was but a few miles out and just across Mile’s bridge when the enemy struck from ambush, this assault was very effective given the weapons of the time. The Pilot, (this term is not familiar to me, as this is a land force, I would guess it to mean guild, should anyone be able to please enlighten me) was mortally wounded, Mr. Belcher was shot in the knee, his horse shot from under him, Mr. Gill took a musket ball to the side of his body, but was wearing a buff coat, with paper under, and it did not break skin.
The decimation of their leaders in this first assault, so confounded the troops that they wheeled and withdrew with little order. Mr. Church followed all the time chastising them that it was a shame to leave a wounded man on the field to the savage mercies of the barbarous enemy. Mr. Gill supported him and Mr. Church requested a stranger to accompany him to retrieve the pilot, who was still on his horse, but so dazed by the wound as to be unable to make his way to the rest. The stranger readily agreed, so the three went. But the pilot fainted and fell from his horse before they reached him. Mr. Church and the stranger dismounted and laid the man, now seen to be dead, across Mr. Gill’s horse. Church then said if they would get the man back he would go and fetch the horse, that animal having wondered off in the direction of the enemy across a causeway. But before he was across the causeway the enemy was seen, and the number was but about a dozen. He brought the horse back across the causeway and yelled for the army to come engage the enemy. The Indians now returning to their original positions, seeing the army had failed to advance to the aid of Mr. Church fired with a single clap at Mr. Church. Yet not a single shot hit him, though a man across the river was hit in the foot.
With no sign of advancement from across the river Mr. Church decided it time to retreat. Saying “The lord have mercy on us if such a handful of Indians shall thus dare such an army.”

To the best of my knowledge this was Mr. Church’s first engagement with the enemy as part of the Colonial forces, one can but imagine the effect the armies conduct to this point would have on the man.
I am afraid that this days work is not done for Mr. Church, but the same can not be said for me. I have pressing business to attend and must call a halt to this tale for a time.
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Old 08 Mar 11, 11:14
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Friendly fire at the wrong Savage, Fort Unnecessary.

In my last post Mr. Church had distinguished himself by going to the aid a wounded man after an ambush. While the rest of the United Colonel forces waited at a safe distance, he and two others braved the danger to bring the man off, as it turned out, he was already dead. Mr. Church then took it upon himself to retrieve the mans horse, it having wondered off in the direction of the enemy, while the other two, at Mr. Church’s direction, had taken the body back across the river to join the rest of the army.


I would note the Mr. Church seemed to be amazed by the fact that so small a band of Indians would brave an attack on a body as large as that before them. After giving it some thought this surprises me. The ambush was at a place where the English had just crossed a bridge, and before they crossed a causeway. Presumably this would have them bottled up between two choke points and bunched up even more than usual. The Indians firing from the woods edge would almost certainly believe they could melt into the forest and elude the English. This would seem to me, more like good strategy than reckless disregard for numerical odds.

At any rate, upon Mr. Church’s return to the other side of the river, orders to advance where immediately given. I can not say if this reversal of design was due to his example of brave conduct or the Intelligence as to the size of the force . The orders where to advance across the causeway and spread out to the left and the right. This was done but due to some of those in the center not paying attention, some of these mistook the right wing as the enemy, the result being a flesh wound to Ensign Savage.
From here they marched on until they came to the narrow of the neck and there took down the heads of the eight Englishman mentioned earlier, these had been mounted on pikes by the enemy. (For any who are acquainted with the incident known as “Nine Men’s Misery.” you might ask the question, why was a monument erected for the Nine who thus died, and little note of these eight souls who died in the same war and way. I can not answer this, surely the tragedy was well known at the time, I can but speculate that it was not politically prudent for those in power to memorialize these men . If anyone should know more about these men, who they where, the circumstances that brought them under the knife, please let me know. )
It became apparent that the enemy had crossed the river. Some taking this as the sign of a great victory. Mr. Church expressed his believe that they had crossed before any pursuit was mounted, that they did so to seek additional support from the tribes residing on that side of the river, and that the days work was far from stellar, the enemy far from defeated.

Council was held and it was decided to erect a fort to hold the first land captured from the Indians. Mr. Church seems to have been openly critical of this course. Stating that they should immediately set out across the river in pursuit to the enemy, for it was his belief that they where on a recruiting mission. This would prove to be true. A good deal of Mr. Church’s desire to move against the enemy was no doubt due to his promise to Awashonks, squaw sachem of the Sogkonate who’s invite had propelled him into his current circumstances.
It does not appear that Mr. Church was heeded on this. What the out come of such a course of action would have been will never be known. I think one should marvel at the mans courage, to pursue an enemy of unknown strength, into a battle field of their choosing, with nothing but this army and god to protect him. This is as good a time as any to bring up the point that Mr. Church was a man of great faith, and late in life often credited the almighty for bringing him through many dangerous situations. This was not an uncommon way of thought for these times, the hand of god was seen in everything, and Mr. Church’s courage may have been, in no small way, a result of his faith. It seems to have worked out well for him.

The council now moved from Mounthope to Rehoboth, about 10 miles away and 38 from Boston. Here one Mr. Treasurer Southworth retired as Commissary General. Provisions being hard to come by for an Army that lay covering the people from nobody, to build a fort for nothing. Somehow the power and troubles of that station now fell to Mr. Church.
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Old 11 Mar 11, 11:54
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Indians enough

The account I am relating comes from Mr. Church’s notes and memories as presented by his son Thomas Church, some two years before the elder Church’s death. I find parts of it confusing. It appears that Mr. Church continued to push for pursuit of the enemy, stating that killing King Philip would do much more to protect the land they had “taken” from the enemy than building a fort. In this a Captain Fuller agreed and orders came for him to take 6 files of men across the river and, if possible, speak with the Pocasset or Sogkonate Indians regarding the current state of things. The orders also conveyed a wish that Mr. Church should go as second, if he was agreeable. Mr. Church agreed stating that he would rather do anything than stay and build a fort. He also stated that he felt they should be granted more men, due to the hazards the venture would present. Captain Fuller seems to have had a change of heart, telling Mr. Church that due to his advanced age and weight he thought the travel would be too much for him. Mr. Church stated he would relive him of the travel if he could but go. Yet when the party was across the river it appears they divided into two parties, each to set up an ambush.
One of these groups is referred to as Captain Fuller’s so it would appear that the man did go.

It was decided that the group split up before light and lay in wait for the enemy to present an opportunity for an attack.
Some in Captain Fuller’s group where inflicted with habit of smoking tobacco, and to meet this need started a fire. Now lighting a fire in the dark of night, while laying in wait to ambush the enemy, seems to be a bad Ideal that this group only became aware of after they had lit the fire. Someone must have said “Perhaps, we should not have done that.” This group then decided that there ambush was ruined and withdrew before the break of day to the rendezvous point.
Mr. Church and his men maintained their post until the appointed time and the sun and heat made their position troublesome. They then withdrew to the appointed meeting area, where they learned of the outcome of the other ambush, and the cause of its failure.

It seems that Mr. Church had ordered breakfast brought over in the boat. But the man charged with bringing it was asleep when the boatmen called and in his haste left without it.
It happened that Mr. Church had some rush cakes in this pocket that had been put up for him by Madam Cranston, the wife of the Governor of Rhode island. (Thomas Church in a foot note apologized for not knowing such an esteemed person as the Governor of Rhode Island. But goes on to say that history does not report on a Governor Cranston.) These he divided between the company. Being the only previsions they had. (I have long thought that the war of 1812 reflected the very worst of American military campaigns. I may need to rethink that. To this point these men seem to have been completely unprepared to face an enemy, More in danger of starving for lack of planning or shooting themselves than inflicting any damage on the enemy.)
After their scant breakfast, Mr. Church suggested that he would take what men would go with him and seek the enemy. Captain Fuller agreed but with reservations as both parties, his retuning to the far side of the river and Mr. Church and his men going forward, lacked the men he felt the situation called for.
This work is full of foot notes; it seems that in research for this book Thomas Church had relied on not only his father’s notes and memory but also the earlier works on the subject by Hubbard and Trumbull. Thomas Church states that the important events of this mission are not much noted by either. This comes when he is attempting to fix a date for what he calls the Battle of Peasfield. This he sets at July 8th .I find it interesting there is but a note about the Attack on Captain Fuller’s group as they made the return trip. An attack, I would think the men involved in, would say was just as an important an event as those under gone by the Church unit.
The foot note describes the Captain Fuller events with a few lines. Fell in with a large number of Indians, was lucky to have the shore and an old house close by, where taken of by a vessel that discovered them, with only two wounded out of his 17 man unit. Weather this was the same vessel that extracted Mr. Church and his men I can not say.

When called upon to accompany Mr. Church to seek the enemy, the men of this party pointed out the, despite his talk on the other side of the river, he had yet to show them any Indians. In response Mr. Church said it they where to but accompany him, he would soon show them what he would dare say they would say was Indians enough.
The number to go with him drew off toward Sokgonate. Near a brook they came across fresh Indian track, the believed came from the great swamp. Mr. Church indicating that if they followed this track they would soon find Indians. The men expressed a willingness to do so and off they went.
They had not gone far when one of the men narrowly escaped getting bit by a rattlesnake. The swamp and woods they passed through was infested with them, and the men seemed more afraid of them than the enemy they where seeking. It was determined to alter course to a place where they felt they would find Indians. Here the author expressed the opinion that had they followed the track to the pine swamp, they would have been certain to encounter Indians, but it was not so certain that any would have returned to say how many. This snake incident seems to be one of those seemingly small things that change the course of the outcome of a venture. And given the considerable contributions to this and the upcoming French and Indian war, assigned to Mr. Church, perhaps history itself.

Soon the came across sign that Indians had passed this way but a short time prior. The narrative as written by Thomas Church states they then got privately and undiscovered to a fence at the edge of Captain Almy’s peas field. Here they again divided into two groups, the second under Lake, a foot note explains that this name is not mentioned elsewhere and the author can not say who he was. He seems to have been acquainted with the ground on the other side, I am assuming this to be the other side of the field making him a Rhode Island native. Two Natives where soon seen coming towards them through the pea field, Mr. Church command his men to lay flat on the ground to avoid discovery, but the men under Lake where not as careful and where discovered. The Indians them took to flight, Mr. Church telling them that he but wanted to talk but the kept running and he took up pursuit. After climbing a fence one of them tarried to discharge his peace, it having no effect on the English. One of the men returned fire and from the yelling it would seem wounded the man. The Indians made it to the thicket and where not seen after.
Making to open ground with thick wood behind Mr. Church gave the order to march at double distance, making the unit seem bigger that it was should they be discovered. They had not gone far when they where saluted with a volley of 50 or 60 guns some bullets coming surprisingly close to Mr. Church and so thick that he turned expecting to see his little unit with 50% casualties. Indians enough to satisfy all men present one would think.

I must again leave Mr. Church in a bad place, but will, as soon as able return to see him out again.
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Old 12 Mar 11, 14:48
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Battle of peas field, a powerful hunger.

Seeing his men miraculously unscathed and firing at the smoke from the enemy guns, that being all that could presently be seen. He barked an order not to discharge all the weapons at one time, least the enemy take advantage with a hatchet charge.
His next move was to the pea’s field, he had those that had not discharged their guns take Position at the wall, while he and the rest went into the field as if to charge. The hope being that the Indians would be taken unaware by those that held the wall.
But from the vantage point of the open field, Mr. Church came to know that the hill was alive with Indian’s. He saw them running as to surround him and his little band, this brought to mind the boats that where to attend him. He looked across the river to see them Island side, with a few horse and foot beside them, at the time he knew not why, but would later know they had been across that morning and fell into an ambush with several wounded.
Seeing the way of it, he encouraged his men and ordered some to run and take up position at a wall for shelter before the enemy gained it . He then ordered them to strip to their white shirts so they could be distinguished as Englishmen from some distance. Next he ordered three guns to be fired at even intervals so to draw the attention of the boat men.
As I said before, some of this narrative as presented by Thomas Church, I find confusing.
It seems that in these circumstances, out numbered, perhaps 10 to one or more, in real danger of being surrounded and cut of by an enemy from whom mercy could not be expected, the men who had been ordered to take the wall, stopped to pick peas.( I would have to be powerful hungry, to stop in this situation to pick peas. ) While engaged in this vegetable harvest, these men where fired on from behind. But soon all but one came tumbling for an old hedge to the bank, to join Mr. Church and the rest of the men.
It was here that the news all great leaders dread more than any other where spoken, the missing man was dead, for they had seen him fall, and to compound the misery the man was B Southworth, Mr. Church’s brother. (Brother in law, as explained in a footnote.)
No sooner had this bad news struck home than the dead man himself came tumbling over the hedge. It seems that by accident, courageous planning, or serendipitous circumstance, not by wound did he fall, there laying just long enough to rise and plant a ball in the forehead of a charging Indian, before scampering to cover with the rest, unharmed.
Now lack of powder became the units worst problem, as the Indians afforded themselves of every available cover and poured shot after shot at the meager cover of Mr. Church and his men. (another example of poor planning to equal the war of 1812.)
To compound the troubles, the enemy took up position in an abandon house, presenting a cross fire to Mr. Church and his men, so that they where exposed to some portion of the enemy force no matter how they positioned themselves behind available shelter. This forced them to pile rocks in front of them, all the while returning fire in valiant defense of an almost defenseless position.
After some time, one of the boats came, yet was so hotly welcomed by enemy fire that it stood well of shore, refusing to land. Now some of the men did yell to the boat that for gods sake they should come fetch them off for they were all but out of powder. Mr. Church silenced them sternly, as the English language was not foreign to all the enemy.
He then told the boat master to either come take them off or be gone, or he himself, would fire on them. I believe this was a calculated risk on the behalf of his men, one intended to challenge a mans braver to such an extent as to force the brave act that so desperately needed doing. In this Mr. Church was disappointed for off went the boat, leaving them again to fend for themselves.

I must again leave Mr. Church in a bad place, but will, as soon as able, return to see him out again.
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Old 14 Mar 11, 12:01
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My hat, My hat.

My last post left our brave Mr. Church and his men stuck with their backs to the river and in a heave crossfire from the enemy. With powder running low and their hope for rescue dashed by the removal of a boat they thought would save them.


At the departure of the boat the enemy, believing now that their pray would certainly fall, redoubled their efforts, firing hotter and faster then before. Some of the men, those fleetest of foot now began to talk of running for it. Mr. Church pointing out the folly of such an act, and telling them that god must indeed be with them to have seen them save to this point, and if they would but trust in the lord, conserve their powder, he was sure god would seem them off yet. Finally to a man they agreed to stick with Mr. Church, he then directed one of them to pitch a flat stone in front of him. As this man did so a bullet came and hit the stone full force. This upset the man to no end, until with confident voice Mr. Church said. See how god directs the bullets of the enemy, how when you lay in the same place not a shot hit you, yet when the stone was in that same place it was hit, god will see us through.

The brave band fought on with courage and determination. Despite the fact that it was near dark and when fully so their position would be untenable. One of the men now spied a sloop some five miles out, coming their way and made Mr. Church aware. Who then informed his men that rescue was on its way for he believed this to be Captain Golding, and if so the man would surly see them off, for he was a man for business. And so it was Captain Golding, he exchanged words with Mr. Church upon coming into range for such, Mr. Church requesting he lay to and send his canoe.
This request was complied with, but the canoe was so small that only two could be taken at a time, this was done and slowly the party went aboard the sloop. When it came Mr. Churches turn he said he had left his hat and cutlass at the well where he had stopped to drink on his way down. (perhaps when his men where picking peas?) He went on to state he would not leave them to the Indians to remember him by and would go fetch them. His men argued strongly against such and act but Mr. Church remained insistent. So he loaded the last of his powder into his gun, and a weak charge it was, and presenting the weapon to the enemy went to secure his hat and cutlass.

So it was the Mr. Church came away with his property, and when back at the shore, before entering the canoe, he fired his parting shot in way of farewell, the charge being so weak it did not reach halfway to the enemy. Two shots hit the canoe as he embarked, one grazed his hair, and another hit smack in the middle of a post that was just in front of his chest.

And so it was that Mr. Church and his “Army” went safely off on this day.
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Old 01 Apr 11, 11:11
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How a wartime officer is lost to history.

Colonel Benjamin Church at the time of King Philip’s War.

As stated earlier Mr. Benjamin Church has taken on the responsibility of procuring supplies for the United Colonial army. To this end he returned to the Island and there met an Indian of note. Alderman had just come from the squawk shaman’s camp (Weetamore) with his family, having deserted her.
He had intelligent of the whereabouts of all the Sagamore shaman’s. This information was taken by Mr. Church to the fort at Mounthope, where the Army was willing to take action on such important knowledge.
All available men where then equipped and sent out under an officer Who’s name seems to be lost to history. After a march of about 2 miles a halt was called by the Commander, he would have discussion before he went on. Mr. Church and the Pilot where called and questioned as to how they knew that King Philip with all his men had not by this time returned to join Weetamore at her camp. Or how they where to know that all of her own warriors had not returned to her. Mr. Church explained that they had shared all they currently knew, that he had seen no sign that should cause them pause, and so sure of the situation was he that he and his pilot would willing take the point and the brunt of what ever hazard they faced. The Commander then stated that the enemy’s numbers to great, that they know not how many more had joined them, and his force to small that an attack did not seem practical. He went on to say that if he knew he could kill all the Indians and loose only one man, he would still not undertake an attack.
To this Mr. Church said “Pray then sir, lead your men to yonder windmill on Rhodeisland, and there they will be out of danger of being killed by the enemy and we will have less trouble to supply them with provisions.”
But the commander was insistent and return to the fort they did, to await more strength and a sloop to transport them to an attack on Weetamore’s camp.
Apparently this was undertaken for we find Mr. Church’s offer to take the left wing accepted. With him one Baxter and Captain Hunter, an Indian. Out less than a ¼ mile they came upon three of the enemy and Captain Hunter wounded one. When they came up to the wounded man he was found to be a close kinsman of Captain Hunter. The man requested favor for his squaw, should she fall into their hands, but ask nothing for himself, save a whiff of tobacco, and while he partook of this, his kinsman Captain Hunter, sent him on his last journey with a single blow of his hatchet.
Preceding to Weetmore’s camp they where discovered my one of the enemy who ran in and gave the news. Upon hearing this one lusty fellow set aside his meat cooking on a spit, and stated he would kill an Englishman before he had his dinner. He failed to achieve this as he was shot down as soon as he came out.
The Indian camp was on the edge of a cedar swamp into this they disappeared with the Colonial force in hot pursuit. They where soon called back but not until they could plainly hear the wailing of the enemy woman and children. Thus ended the exposition, the sloop returning them to the fort.

Last edited by Forgottenwar; 01 Apr 11 at 11:21..
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Old 02 Apr 11, 15:01
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Surrender to slavery, or fight and die.

Colonel Benjamin Church at the time of King Philip’s War.


Here the Church’s make mention of the fact, in their eyes anyway, that the deeds in my prior post where of greater importance, and less recognized by contemporary historians, then the movements of the main army during that timeframe.
It seems that at about this time some Indian’s in the vicinity of Russell’s garrison at Ponaganset where persuaded to surrender by Captain Eles, and Ralph Earl, with the help of an Indian employed by Earl, under terms granted by these men. But despite the pledge of these men and over the protest of themselves and Colonel Benjamin Church, someone else with greater power, made the decision to take them to Plymouth, sell them as slaves and transport them out of country.
The name of the person or persons to make this call is not given. It was of some importance to the events to follow. What the motivation of this person or persons was, is to the best of my knowledge, lost to history. Still I think that men where not so different in 1675 then they are now. The Church’s go on to speculate that had the promises been kept that the Indians, at least those in that area, would most likely have followed these fellows and put down their arms, bring the war to an earlier close.
I say as it was, news that the word of the English was of no value. That to surrender your arms was to surrender to slavery, removal from all you had ever known to a foreign land, as the property of another, would, one would think, lead to a fight on or die, never surrender, attitude in the native population.
This would extent to area natives that had not yet taken up the tomahawk, such as the Narraganset. This dishonorable choice of an unknown, would lead to the almost compete destruction of an honorable and noble people, who’s only reasonable path, given the realities, was to join a fight they did not want, and fight on to the bitter, inevitable end.
The Church’s state plainly that Colonel Benjamin Church, Captain Eles, and Ralph Earl strongly and openly opposed this decision. They go on to say it cost Colonel Benjamin Church much in the way of reputation, favor, and loss of some who had been close friends.
It is my opinion that the decision to negate promises made to the surrendering enemy, could not have been made, by a reasonably intelligent person, without thought and consideration of the likely consequences. That these consequences where designed to lead the maker to the desired end, the elimination of the native population, and perhaps the subrogation of the other colonies.
My next post will concern the greatest battle of King Philip’s war, “The great swamp fight” December 19th, 1675. And the part played in it by Colonel Benjamin Church, father of the American Rangers.

Last edited by Forgottenwar; 03 Apr 11 at 10:16..
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Old 25 Apr 11, 09:23
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Forgotten War:

Church is a fascinating character. What sources do you recommend?
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Old 25 Apr 11, 11:27
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The best source on Church was written by his son Thomas Church, which can be read online here: http://www.archive.org/details/khist...lips00churrich

A good secondary source on King Philip's War including the actions of Church is Flintlock and Tomahawk: New England in King Philip's War by Douglas E. Leach.
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Old 27 Apr 11, 18:08
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A difficult read but rich in detail of each battle, King Philip's War by Eric B Schultz and Michael Tougias
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Old 27 Apr 11, 19:09
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A difficult read but rich in detail of each battle, King Philip's War by Eric B Schultz and Michael Tougias
The best part of that book is that it describes the modern locations of many of the battles and how to find them.
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Old 30 Apr 11, 01:10
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Originally Posted by Andy_S View Post
Forgotten War:

Church is a fascinating character. What sources do you recommend?
I would start with

The history of the great Indian war of 1675 and 1676: commonly called Philip's war : also the old French and Indian wars, from 1689 to 1704

Colonel Benjamin Church and his son worked on this together. The foot notes are very interesting and thought Provoking.
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