Grandpa Jonathan

Having recently completed a graduate degree in history, I know it isn’t fashionable to side with the European settlers in New England against the various American Indians.  However, through my father I am descended from Scots whose ancestral lands in Scotland were taken from them by English overlords during the “removals” or “land clearances” in the eighteenth century. Transported and thrust into the “New World,” these reluctant immigrants carved a home from the wilderness and built the colony that today is the state of New Hampshire. Their encounters with the various tribes of indigenous people were sometimes hostile, and sometimes friendly, depending on the tribe involved.

In my opinion, blaming them for their survival is insane.

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Yesterday, I was working on my Dad’s mother’s family tree and I uncovered information about one of my fifth great grandfathers, Jonathan. Seems he served in the New Hampshire militia during some pretty difficult times.

During the ‘Seven Years War’, or ‘French and Indian Wars’, in 1757, part of Jonathan’s regiment (men from the New Hampshire militia) and British troops, were sent to reinforce Fort William Henry under Colonel Monroe. Under attack from the French and Indians, the fort capitulated on 3 August. Terms of the surrender, that the British and Americans who had surrendered were to be escorted to Fort Edward, were violated.  The French allowed their Indian allies to attack the column.  At the tail end of the column, the New Hampshire group (militia members, wounded and women), 80 of 200 people died.  Grandpa Jonathan survived and a few years later distinguished himself in the American Revolution.  My Dad told me from the time I was born about my hero ancestor, and am thrilled to have found the proof.

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The story is told in The Military History of New Hampshire by Chandler E. Potter, in James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans, and in the film of the same name.

The story of the massacre (Wiki version):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_William_Henry

Synopsis of the JFC book:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_of_the_Mohicans

Film clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJv86RpLsVQ

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5 thoughts on “Grandpa Jonathan

  1. How wonderful to find that your fifth great grandfather heroic stories were true. It doesn’t get any better than that when deliving into one’s geneology. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  2. When I was a kid, I loved to read fictitious tales about the American Indians and the early settlers. It must be awesome to connect your ancestors to that early period.

    Like

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