Sarah Strong, daughter of Elder John Strong and Abigail Ford, was born in 1656 at Windsor, CT. In today’s world, Sarah would have been called “Lady of the Year.” She must have been stylish and well dressed for she was fined 10 shillings and costs (2 shillings and 6 pence) in 1673 for wearing silk, contrary to law.
In 1675 at 18 years of age, Sarah married Joseph Barnard, son of Francis and Hannah (Merrill/Muriel) Barnard, early Puritan settlers of Hartford, CT. Joseph was well educated and well trained for one of his time. Joseph and Sarah moved from Northampton, MA, and were one the group of first settlers of Deerfield, MA, where Joseph was mortally wounded by Indians in 1695. Sarah was left with 9 children living at home and one child was born in March of 1696, six months after Joseph’s death.
In 1698 Sarah married a second time to Captain Jonathan Wells, hero in King William’s War (1689–1697). Sarah was buried in the “Old Burial Ground,” Deerfield, MA. Her marker still stands near her second husband’s marker and a few feet from her first husband’s marker. From Strong Family History Update Volume III p. 439.
Joseph’s gravestone is inscribed:
BURED Ye BODY
45 YEARS DEC
Photograph by Walther M. Barnard, 15 August 2001, from “The Descendants of Francis Barnard, Part A,” permission for use granted to the Strong Family Association of America.
According to Sheldon, A History of Deerfield, MA, II, p. 65, Joseph Barnard was a tailor, surveyor, and farmer. He was one of the foremost in the permanent settlement of the town of Deerfield, MA. He was Recorder for the Proprietors, the first Town Clerk, and Clerk of the Writs in 1690. His gravestone bears the oldest date of any in the old burying yard.
Sylvester Judd, 1905, History of Hadley, p. 91, explains the bit about silk clothing in more detail:
Law regarding dress.—Sumptuary laws restraining excess of apparel in some classes, were common in England and other nations for centuries. Massachusetts enacted such a law in 1651, ordering that persons whose estates did not exceed 200 pounds, and those dependent on them, should not wear gold or silver lace, gold or silver buttons, bone lace above 2s. per yard, or silk hoods or scarfs, upon penalty of 10s. for each offense.
The first attempt to have this law observed in Hampshire [County], was made in 1673. At the March court, 25 wives and 5 maids, belonging to Springfield, Northampton, Hadley, Hatfield and Westfield, were presented by the jury, as persons of small estate, who “use to wear silk contrary to law.”
Six of these belonged to Hadley, viz.,
Wife of John Westcarr [Hannah Barnard]—was acquitted.
Wife of Joseph Barnard—was fined 10s. and cost, 2s. 6d.
Wife of Thomas Wells, Jr.—was admonished.
Wife of Edward Grannis—was admonished.
Wife of Joseph Kellogg—was acquitted.
Maid, Mary Broughton—was admonished.
At the March court, 1676 the jury presented 68 persons, from five towns, viz., 38 wives and maids, and 30 young men, “some for wearing silk and that in a flaunting manner, and others for long hair and other extravagancies.” There were ten from Hadley, viz. Joseph Barnard and his wife Sarah, and his sister Sarah.
The Indian ambush that resulted in Joseph’s death is related by Judd (1905, p. 254):
“On the 18th of August, 1695, five Deerfield men set out for the mill, on horses with bags of grain, and when they had gone about a mile southward, they were fired upon by seven or eight Indians who were concealed near the road, and Joseph Barnard was sorely wounded and fell from his horse. The others set him upon his horse with one to hold him on, when another shot killed his horse. They then put him upon one of their horses, when a gun was fired and he was again hit; yet they all reached the garrison, unharmed, except Joseph Barnard, who died on the 6th of September. The Indians were pursued but not overtaken.”
“Major Pynchon wrote that Joseph Barnard was ‘a very useful and helpful man in that place, so much under discouragement, and they will the more find and feel the want of him.’ He was a son of Francis Barnard of Hadley. Hannah Beaman of Deerfield, the school dame, was his sister.”