Sarah Strong, the Barnard children, and the Raid on Deerfield

Sarah Strong (1656–1733), daugh­ter of Elder John Strong (abt. 1610–1699) and Abi­gail Ford (1619–1688), mar­ried a sec­ond time after her hus­band Joseph Barnard (1650–1695) was killed by Indi­ans. She mar­ried Cap­tain Jonathan Wells who, at age 16, had become known as the “boy hero” at the fight of Turner’s Falls.

Deer­field Raid 1704

Click on the image to see it full size.

The raid itself was not as well coor­di­nated as other raids of the time. A few men climbed up the snow drifts and were able to cross the pal­isade. They opened the north gate of the for­ti­fied town. The attack­ers swept through the north gate and worked from house to house.

Sarah and her fam­ily lived in a for­ti­fied house at the other end of town — and thus she and the Barnards survived.

Illustration by Howard Pyle showing the journey back to Canada

Illus­tra­tion by Howard Pyle show­ing the jour­ney back to Canada

Click on the image to see it full size.

For the 109 Eng­lish cap­tives, the raid was only the begin­ning of their trou­bles. The raiders intended to take them to Canada, a 300 miles (480 km) jour­ney, in the mid­dle of win­ter. Many of the cap­tives were ill-prepared for this, and the raiders were short on pro­vi­sions. The raiders con­se­quently engaged in a com­mon prac­tice: they killed those cap­tives when it was clear they were unable to keep up. Only 89 of the cap­tives sur­vived the ordeal; most of those who died of expo­sure or were slain en route were women and children.

The Rev­erend John Williams wrote a nar­ra­tive about his expe­ri­ence, pub­lished in 1707, still in print today. His book is the rea­son the Raid on Deer­field is so famous, far more so than the many other sim­i­lar raids of the time.

His­toric Deer­field” pre­serves a por­tion of the orig­i­nal vil­lage as a liv­ing his­tory museum. You can see the Barnard Tav­ern and homes of other early set­tlers. They have pre­served a door bear­ing tom­a­hawk marks from the 1704 raid. (If I recall cor­rectly, the door came from the Barnard Tav­ern — but I might not be cor­rect on that!)

Addi­tional read­ing — and quite interesting:

Posted in Ancestry Information and tagged , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge