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This diary contains the story of a pioneer ancestry who had a son in unusual conditions on this date, April 12, in 1770, two hundred and forty-three years ago. April 12 also is the birthday of my beloved grandmother, who died in 2007. She would be 95 today.

Despite being a northeasterner through and through, I have on occasion read accounts of nineteenth-century pioneers heeding the exhortation to “Go West.” Although I applaud their bravery, I’ve got an ancestor who was at least their equal. This is the story of that ancestor, my 5x-great-grandfather Nathan Caswell Jr.

Long before they started to “go west” in large numbers, there was a trend to “go north” from Massachusetts and Connecticut. To be sure, in the early days going north was a very risky business. North of Massachusetts lay cold, mountainous, mostly uninhabited terrain and, beyond that, the French. After the French and Indian War ended in 1763 with a British victory, the French no longer were a problem. The only obstacles to English settlement in northern New England were the harshness of the terrain and climate, and the Native Americans who still roamed the woods. Those were, however, serious obstacles. Despite them, Nathan went north, and north, and north, and north.

Little in Nathan Caswell Jr.’s background suggests he would be eager to take on such challenges. The earliest Caswell in America was Thomas, an early settler of Taunton, Massachusetts in the 1640s. Caswells remained in the Taunton area for many generations, so there is a Caswell Street and a Caswell Cemetery there. Nathan Jr.’s father, Thomas’s great-grandson Nathan Caswell Sr. was born in neighboring Middleborough, Massachusetts. Nathan Sr. moved as a young man to Norwich, Connecticut, where the younger Nathan Caswell was born in 1740. This was the first move in my line of Caswells since Thomas fled England a century before.

Caswell St., Taunton, Mass.
Caswell Street runs past the original Caswell land on the east side of Taunton, Massachusetts, where Thomas Caswell first settled in 1643
Norwichtown Common, Norwich, Connecticut
Norwichtown Common in Norwich, Connecticut. These homes were there when Nathan Caswell, Jr., was a young man in the 1750s.
The family was reasonably prosperous, and Nathan Jr. appears to have been well-educated in Norwich. In 1761 he married Hannah Bingham, who descended from two founders of Norwich. They had two sons right away, but Nathan Caswell Jr. was restless.
Leffingwell Inn, Norwich, Connecticut
The Leffingwell Inn in Norwich, Connecticut. Built by my ancestor Stephen Backus and bought in 1701 by my ancestor Thomas Leffingwell, both founders of Norwich, this was the main tavern in town during Nathan Jr.'s youth.
In 1765 Col. Israel Morey (whose son Samuel would be a steam engine pioneer) persuaded Nathan to move his young family to a brand new settlement at Orford, New Hampshire on the Connecticut River. This truly was the frontier: fifty miles north of Charlestown. Charlestown, which for decades had been the fourth and northernmost English fort on the Connecticut River, was called “No. 4.” Orford, on the other hand, was “No. 7.” It was even farther north than Hanover (where Dartmouth would be founded in 1769), which received its first English settlers the same year.
Connecticut River between Orford, NH and Fairlee, VT
The Connecticut River at Orford, New Hampshire and Fairlee, Vermont. Orford is on the left.
In time Orford would become a beautiful town; in 1832 Washington Irving proclaimed it one of the loveliest he had ever seen. But Nathan Caswell Jr. didn’t stay long enough to see that, for not even Orford was remote enough for him. Within five years of arriving, despite having two more sons in Orford, Nathan was convinced by Col. Morey to join another new settlement 40 miles farther upriver. This new town was to be called Apthorp, in honor of its key financial backer, wealthy Boston merchant George Apthorp.
The Ridge, Orford, New Hampshire
The Ridge in Orford, New Hampshire, a town Nathan Jr. helped found in 1765. These homes came after he moved further north.
In the fall of 1769, a few English colonial explorers visited the area and built a rude log cabin. The following April, as soon as the ice melted enough to travel, Nathan Caswell moved north with his very pregnant wife and four young sons to move into that cabin. They reached the new land on April 11, making them the very first settlers there. To Nathan Jr.’s dismay it was clear that Native Americans had recently been in the log cabin, but it was too dark to return home and too dangerous to make a fire. He directed the boys to sleep in the tall grass outside the cabin and Hannah went inside, huddling under hay for warmth.

The reason why the boys were told to stay outside soon became apparent. Within hours of their arrival, Hannah went into labor. With no help, she gave birth to a fifth baby boy that very night, shortly after midnight on April 12, 1770, while Nathan stood guard at the door with his musket. They named him Apthorp after their new “town.” He was, without question, the first English child born in Apthorp and the family was, following the tradition, granted a large tract of land in his honor.

The next day, suddenly realizing this was no place for a newborn, Nathan Jr. found a fallen pine trunk that, once hollowed, could serve as a canoe. They then paddled amid ice drifts down the Ammonoosuc River, which flowed east toward the White Mountains. Six miles later they came across a fort with several families who took them in. Fortunately for me the baby survived: I descend from Nathan Jr. through Apthorp.

Ammonoosuc River in Littleton, New Hampshire
The Ammonoosuc River, down which Nathan Jr. paddled his family six miles in a hollowed tree trunk just hours after the baby Apthorp was born.
Ammonoosuc River in Littleton, New Hampshire
Another look at the Ammonoosuc River in Littleton. It begins on the west slope of Mount Washington.
Nathan returned to Apthorp three days after the birth, to find the Natives had burned the log cabin to the ground. He took his family back to Orford but that summer he and his family journeyed once again to Apthorp, building a new log cabin to live in until he could erect a larger house near the Connecticut River. A few more families joined the Caswells, and the community held religious services in Nathan’s house until a church was built, which did not happen for more than a decade. In the early years, the town sent frequent scouting parties into the woods to seek any indication of imminent Native American attack. If the scouts sounded the alarm, the women and children ran for safety in the fort while the men all grabbed their muskets.

When the Revolution broke out in the mid-1770s, the townspeople abandoned Apthorp for a while. Hannah and the children, whose number had continued to grow in the new town, sought refuge in the well-protected Northumberland fort twenty miles further upriver. Nathan joined the army (more on that next week). Nathan survived the American Revolution intact, and the town of Apthorp continued to grow. In 1784 George Apthorp’s syndicate sold its land holdings there to Col. Moses Little of Newburyport, Massachusetts and the town was renamed Littleton, the name it holds today. Nathan Caswell, the ultimate town father, was involved in establishing the first church and active in town government.

Main Street in Littleton, New Hampshire
Littleton, New Hampshire, the town where on this date in 1770 Nathan Jr. was the first settler and his son Apthorp the first English child born, as it appears today.
Cannon Mountain east of Littleton, not far from where Nathan Jr. sought sanctuary with his wife, sons, and new baby in 1770. Today the area is known for skiing, something Nathan Jr. never did.
Most people, in that situation, would have stayed put. But Nathan Jr. couldn’t stay put for long. By 1792 he had moved across the river to Concord, Vermont. Ironically, this man who fought on the American side in the Revolution was to end his days as a British subject. In 1800 the now-aging Nathan Jr. and Hannah followed several of their children (including Apthorp) north of the border to the Eastern Townships area of Québec, an area originally settled by many Anglophone Protestants from New England. He died there, on his son’s farm at the age of 84, in June 1824. His wife Hannah, who had bravely followed him on all his forays deeper into the wilderness, died just a few weeks later.
Eaton, Quebec, Canada in winter
My wintry trip to Eaton, Québec, where Apthorp ultimately settled
Musee du comte de Compton, Eaton, Quebec
The Compton County Historical Museum in Eaton, Québec. This building - which looks pretty New England to me - was originally the Congregationalist church founded by Apthorp Caswell and others.
The Caswells weren’t done moving about. Apthorp, a few short years after arriving in Québec, set out on a long journey in the American Midwest (particularly Ohio, then the newest state and the edge of the settled universe), in search of land to which he might relocate his family. When he returned to Québec three years later with a new locale in mind, he discovered that his sons had managed the land so well in his absence it hardly paid to leave. He stayed where he was, dying in Eaton, Québec at the age of 88 in 1858. His son Apthorp Jr., however, married a daughter of another family who had moved to that area from New Hampshire, and they settled back in the U.S.A., in Vermont. Their son, in turn, moved from northwestern Vermont to eastern Vermont, and his children from eastern Vermont to Boston and New York. Subsequent generations have made the move Apthorp Sr. did not make, relocating to Ohio, and a couple have moved on from there as well.
Grave of Apthorp and Amarilla Caswell, Eaton, Quebec
The grave of Apthorp and his wife Amarilla in Eaton, Québec. The snow was two feet deep. From his rugged beginnings, Apthorp lived a long life; he died two months shy of 88.
Now, I give full credit to those pioneers in the 1800s who moved west. But in all the reading about the wagon trains I haven’t come across anyone who went on foot, alone with a very pregnant wife and four small boys, into territory with no other Anglo settlers. Nathan Caswell Jr. was either the bravest man around, or a damn fool. Either way, I’m glad they all (and especially the baby Apthorp) made it through safely.
Grave of Nathan Caswell I, Milton, Vermont
The grave of Nathan Jr.'s father, Nathan Sr., in Milton, Vermont. He too moved north in later years, following his son Solomon.
So how about it: any crazy pioneer ancestors in your family?

Next week: Some Revolutionary War ancestors

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

    by fenway49 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 09:00:17 AM PDT

  •  Look at the beautiful old homes. (8+ / 0-)

    And in such pristine condition.  I'd give my eye teeth to own one of them.

    I'm sure the upkeep of something that old would cost a minor fortune, though.

    I have to wonder what Hannah was thinking through all that.  I remember well the complete misery I was in during the labor (22 hours - thanks Stephanie!) and birth of my first child (the second child was c-section), and I was in a hospital with attendants.  She was one tough lady!

    Fascinating diary.  I can't comprehend how they did it.

    •  I can't either (9+ / 0-)

      I guess they had lived their whole lives with no modern comforts, but this was extreme even for their times.

      It seems pretty clear to me the 30-mile walk with four small boys, constantly on the lookout for hostile people or animals, probably had a lot to do with bringing on labor.  

      We have a lot of beautiful old homes around here. Some things are hard to maintain but a lot of people find it worth the trouble. We're just used to old stuff here. My house is from 1900 and it's the newest on the block by decades.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 09:51:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Old homes are (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      edwardssl, Jim H, RiveroftheWest

      my favorites. Often go looking at them online and indulge my fantasy of owning one.

       I cannot imagine how women like Hannah carried on so bravely. Even if that was 'how' life was, it must have very difficult to be quite alone at such a time. I would have failed as an early settler wife!

      I voted for President Obama twice. I think he's a nice man, a smart man, a good husband and Daddy to his girls. But I was looking for an effective President - not a nice guy. Every day, I wake up and hope it's the day he'll take the bull by the horns.

      by brook on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 02:03:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's nice to read about your New England pioneers. (10+ / 0-)

    Their journeys and wandering souls seem to me very like my own ancestors although they started moving on from the SE Atlantic coast in the Revolutionary era following and sometimes pushing ahead of the wilderness west and north. Oddly enough, none of them felt any need to continue much further west than the Mississippi River to Iowa and that was only a handful  of branches out of all of them -- my own. Maybe they finally figured enough was enough.

    The urge to move was very strong in those early people. Their storehouses of hope and optimism were overflowing! We could use a little of that today.

    Thanks for the lovely story and the photos. We always love the photos.

    Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

    by figbash on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 10:16:58 AM PDT

    •  Funny thing (8+ / 0-)

      is that my branch, at least, did really no further moving.

      My Irish ancestors, in New York and Boston, basically got off the boat and settled near the water, stayed 50 or 60 years, moved a few miles away and stayed another 100 years. Most of my extended Irish family still lives in the urban neighborhoods they settled in during the 1920s.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 10:40:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Same case here. (8+ / 0-)

        My Irish didn't venture far afield. The Tuppers did by going to Nova Scotia, but even then, my 2ndgreat grandfather returned to Massachusetts, settling in Cambridge in the 1800's.

        I voted for President Obama twice. I think he's a nice man, a smart man, a good husband and Daddy to his girls. But I was looking for an effective President - not a nice guy. Every day, I wake up and hope it's the day he'll take the bull by the horns.

        by brook on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 02:15:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well.... "my Irish" first came to these shores (7+ / 0-)

          in 1634. They came from County Cavan and landed in Rappahannock VA. Stayed for a century and a half then the wanderlust caught up to them and it was onward!!!

          Time of arrival makes a big difference as to the many trails our ancestors trod, far and wide, or near.

          Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

          by figbash on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 04:14:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The main Irish line o' mine (5+ / 0-)

            came in 1852. Pretty sure that their crafts kept them in New York City as much as anything else. Piano and billiard table makers they were.

            And with all the misery of the famine they may have been dispersed over their own country to some degree or other and decided to stay put for a bit.

            I voted for President Obama twice. I think he's a nice man, a smart man, a good husband and Daddy to his girls. But I was looking for an effective President - not a nice guy. Every day, I wake up and hope it's the day he'll take the bull by the horns.

            by brook on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 05:41:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  just popping in to say hi (8+ / 0-)

    And exclaim over the photos! My nook connection is a little slow, so i will do more extensive comments later ... but  i'd  have to agree that most of my ancestors made their moves in an extended family group, so even the pregnant women had other women to help.

    On another note, just got in touch with the 15 yr old g-grandson of one of my much older and decades deceased  cousins ... abudding genealogist who is also anxious to learn what  it was like living way back in the 20th century. Yikes! Now where is my cane...i need to go out and yell at the kids to get off my lawn or i'll make them shovel the slop off my driveway!;)

    "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

    by klompendanser on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 10:32:05 AM PDT

    •  Great to hear from you! (8+ / 0-)

      Hope you're well.

      Sounds like fun sharing the passion for family history with this young cousin. I've been telling my cousins (ages 19-23) about my grandfather, whom they never knew. In the process I've also had to tell them about life before cell phones, internet, cable (at least in my house), ATMs, and all that fun stuff. It took half an hour to explain carbon copies for credit cards before the days of instant network connections.

      And I'm only 37!

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 10:42:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  it is amazing (7+ / 0-)

        I'm 37 too, and yet I remember such antiquated things like rotary (and CORDED) phones and t.v.'s with channels 2-13 that you switched with a knob. Heck, we even had a black and white t.v.

        It really wasn't that long ago.

        •  Yes! (7+ / 0-)

          We had a rotary phone, no cordless until I was 13 or so. We didn't get a word processor until I was 17. I typed school papers on my mom's Smith-Corona typewriter that was missing a "Q" key.

          Only after I turned 8 did we have two TV's, one color and one b & w., with no remotes and only channels 2-13 and 38, which was a big local channel. The Red Sox games were on free TV every night.

          Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

          by fenway49 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 11:07:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  well, it's no secret I'm a bit older than you and (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GrumpyOldGeek, fenway49, Jim H, brook

          fenway, so I have stories about playing with really old toys that were pretty old even when I was playing with them :)

          I'm the kid in the pedal car c 1959. The older, tallest girl in this pic is the grandmother of the kid who is currently picking my brain. Kinda fun, even if I do feel ancient!

          "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

          by klompendanser on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 05:16:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Don't you love it (8+ / 0-)

      when one of the youngsters in the family take an interest in this?

      My own kids have a passing interest, but don't really want too much of the details.

      Hell, it's the details that make this so much damn fun!

      •  Amen (8+ / 0-)
        Hell, it's the details that make this so much damn fun!
        I have literally NOBODY in my family who is interested in the details. They can't even be bothered reading these posts.

        Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

        by fenway49 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 10:57:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that might be (6+ / 0-)

          one of the ties that bind us all. We love the chase and the details are like the best prize n the universe after all the nothings we must trudge through!

          I got NO REACTION at all when I informed my brother and cousins that our great-great grandfather was a man we'd never heard of.And don't get me started on family members who have actually been to Ireland, Scotland and Canada with nary a thought of their pasts.

          I voted for President Obama twice. I think he's a nice man, a smart man, a good husband and Daddy to his girls. But I was looking for an effective President - not a nice guy. Every day, I wake up and hope it's the day he'll take the bull by the horns.

          by brook on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 02:33:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  true to this whole thread, (5+ / 0-)

            even most of those with more than a passing interest in the details don't care how those details were got, much less think about getting them on their own. It passes all understanding with me.

            "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

            by klompendanser on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 05:19:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  True, that. I know there's still plenty of nuggets (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jim H, klompendanser, fenway49, brook

              to uncover about my husband's family history, and I've posted/published in various places what I think they are and where they might be found.  My problem is getting to the source because I'm in the Chicago area, and those sources are primarily on the East Coast where we travel to only every few years.  And since I don't know EXACTLY where it is, a little bit of digging for information or clues may be involved.

              So, why is everyone waiting for me to do it?  Isn't anyone else curious? Doesn't anyone else want to join in on the sheer joy of discovery?  My gawd, that "EUREKA!" moment when I've discovered something that was "lost" 100 years ago is truly exhilarating.

              One thing for sure, we could have been much farther along in the process of uncovering and reconstructing this family's rich past if more people WHO LIVE THERE would get involved.

    •  I echo the 'nice to see you'... (6+ / 0-)

      and delighted to hear you have a youngster who is interested
      in genealogy!  My experience when mentioning the family tree hereabouts is an abundance of ennui.

      I voted for President Obama twice. I think he's a nice man, a smart man, a good husband and Daddy to his girls. But I was looking for an effective President - not a nice guy. Every day, I wake up and hope it's the day he'll take the bull by the horns.

      by brook on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 02:24:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  pioneers (7+ / 0-)

    well, obviously my German-Russian ancestors. They went EAST when everyone else was going west. Then 150 years later went from Russia straight to the American West.

    But to give a modern example... my mom grew up in Akron, Ohio, but moved to rural Montana in 1962 by herself at the age of 21. She was supposed to be accompanied by a friend, but her friend's father faked a heart attack to guilt her into staying. Having to go on her own didn't deter Mom though. To my grandparents, even in 1962 this was crazy and dangerous - it might as well have been 1862.

    Part of me is amazed that these people made treacherous moves with pregnant wives so much. But then I realize that the women were ALWAYS pregnant. If they didn't travel while pregnant, they'd never go anywhere.

  •  Another great post. Thanks! (8+ / 0-)

    p.s. I lived in the Eastern Townships for awhile back in the '70s, and there is still a strong New England flavor thereabouts, even though the past century has seen that area go almost totally French-Canadian. The architecture and town planning belie the Anglo roots.

    I enjoyed reading the diary very much. :-)

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 12:46:29 PM PDT

    •  Thanks! (8+ / 0-)

      Knowing the history I was curious to see how French it would be. And sure enough it's about 90 percent French-speaking today. Apparently has been since the 1800s. They still have Bishop's University just down the road from where the Caswells lived.

      I had other ancestors who moved over the line from N.H. to the Eastern Townships during the same period. They came from the same town as Apthorp's wife, and their daughter married Apthorp's son Apthorp Jr. and back to the U.S. they moved. Which is why I don't have single payer healthcare today.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 01:24:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, I don't know where my head was. VOLUNTEERS! (5+ / 0-)

    We need VOLUNTEERS to host a Friday GFHC Open Thread.

    I should have posted this hours ago, but I apparently was otherwise preoccupied.

    Or something.

    Here's our current schedule

    Apr 19  Land of Enchantment
    Apr 26  klompendanser
    May 3   Ole Texan
    May 10 open for adoption
    May 17 open for adoption

    Hopefully some of our usual stragglers will mosey on through, see the volunteer list and raise their hand for a date.

    Right?  Am I right?

    Then prove me right!  Volunteers?

    •  Oh, Jeez! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fenway49, Jim H

      I'm next week. Glad I remembered to check in, even if late, so I got the reminder.

      I've been working through a big project. Last summer, I visited several old cemeteries in New England in conjunction with the Netroots Nation trip. I have finally started to process it all. I've found things to add to my tree, back to 6th or 7th great grandparents.

      But, also, I just zoomed through the cemeteries taking a whole bunch of pictures. Any names I recognized (potentially related), anything quirky, plus things disintegrating - before the info is lost forever. Over a thousand all told.

      So now, I'm working through findagrave, uploading it all. I've had to create a few hundred memorials already, people who weren't previously listed. And I'm adding pictures to many others. Big job, which is mostly keeping me busy at the moment. Now and again, I find unexpected tie-ins to my own tree, too. It feels good to finally be getting it done, coming up on a year later. I'll be glad when it's totally done!!

      Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

      by Land of Enchantment on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 05:59:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I plumb forgot (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim H, navajo

    ... to check in yesterday. So a day late, I'm afraid I can't let this pass:

    North of Massachusetts lay cold, mountainous, mostly uninhabited terrain
    Well, no. The reason the Indians were doing stuff like burning down cabins is because they WERE there. And they didn't much like the efforts to push them out.

    Not just in this country: Settler cultures are usually pushing someone else out, and conflict naturally is the result. (Iceland being the one fairly recently settled place where that wasn't the case.)

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 05:25:11 PM PDT

    •  I stand by it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim H

      There were Indians, but not that many. I didn't say "mostly uninhabited" because there were few Europeans, I said it because there were few people, period.

      It's estimated the Abenaki population in New Hampshire at the time of the American Revolution was only about 1,000. There was some Iroquois presence but their numbers were not large in Vermont and New Hampshire by this time.

      These tribes were caught between the English and the French. The Abenakis in the area had mostly died of disease or in war by 1760, and many joined the French speakers near the St. Lawrence (with whom they had fought) after the English victory of 1759.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 06:23:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Of course (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim H

      There were some, as the burning of the cabin shows. But the populations in the north of New Hampshire at this particular point in history were small and the remaining Native Americans moved around the land a lot rather than being settled in more permanent villages.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 06:56:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They moved around, right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim H, navajo

        That doesn't mean they weren't there. It means they moved around. The population wasn't so dense, but they were there. They got driven out. That's the history of America, and you're doing a real disservice to pretend there were uninhabited areas any of the settlers moved into.

        In a related vein: There's been some bizarre definitions regarding endangered species. If there's a forest area where Bald Eagles nest, for example, you can't disturb their nests. So you can't go cutting down the tree a nest is in. But only during nesting season. Cut down a whole section of forest, eliminating the nesting area entirely, has been known to occur. But they cut it down in the fall. "I don't see any eagles around here. Do you?" They make future nesting impossible, but they don't disturb any nests.

        Analogous situation.

        Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

        by Land of Enchantment on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 07:39:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't agree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim H

          I'm reporting numerical facts, not "pretending" anything, and I'm somewhat offended by the implication. You say "they were there." 1,000 people were there. 1,000 people in the entire northern 1/2 of New Hampshire is, in my book, "mostly uninhabited." I did not mean to suggest that there were zero Native Americans, nor to minimize the impact of their losing their land.

          My point is that, in this particular area, they lost their land before large numbers of English moved north into it, for various reasons. The large growth in English settlement in the late 1700s didn't help them come back, but in the 1760s there were not many there.

          Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

          by fenway49 on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 07:52:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I stand corrected (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jim H

            They didn't all get driven off. Many got killed off, too, so then the area BECAME "uninhabited." A distinction without a difference to my thinking.

            If you said that the area was depopulated, that would be one thing. I could go along with that. To say it was uninhabited is an entirely different matter, sweeping the truth of the matter under the rug.

            Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

            by Land of Enchantment on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 06:07:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not trying to tell (0+ / 0-)

              the whole story of everything that happened to the Abenaki. I'm trying to tell the story of a guy in my family who moved north in 1765, in a genealogy forum.

              After the French and Indian War ended, a lot of people moved from Massachusetts and Connecticut up into New Hampshire and Vermont. At the time they did so, there were not many people living there. A couple of thousand Native Americans living in an area of 18,000 square miles or so. I'm not saying anything about how it got that way, and I'm not saying this Nathan Caswell (whom I obviously never met) is a pure good guy in the story.

              If you want me to say depopulated instead of "mostly uninhabited," fine, I'll edit it. But I'm not trying to sweep anything under any rug. There were Native Americans all over New England, the rest of the U.S., and Canada. Europeans came and pushed them off the land, taking more and more until there was nothing left but isolated reservations. I get that.

              Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

              by fenway49 on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 12:58:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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