Tag Archives: Indian Wars

Killed in Indian Wars: Sarah Howe Joslin

In 1692, Elizabeth Howe Keyes, grand daughter of the pioneering John Howe, and daughter of his son John Jr., decided to leave her home in Marlborough and visit her sister Sarah Howe Joslin, who lived in Lancaster, Massachusetts with her husband and children.

As the sisters visited, Sarah’s four children playing around the cabin, the family story says that Elizabeth was singing. Sarah’s husband would have been working in the fields. The women were interrupted, apparently without warning, by a war party of Indians.  Imagine the chaos and terror as the warriors killed Sarah and three of her children on the spot. Then they disappeared back into the woods, taking one of the children and Elizabeth Howe Keyes with them.

The child was killed soon after, but as the story goes, the Indians were charmed by Elizabeth’s singing, and they kept her with them as they fled to Canada.  She was held captive for three years, but finally released.  Her husband had become a recluse when Elizabeth was captured, and swore never to marry.  When she returned to him, the family moved to a new town, but he said that she never fully recovered from the trauma. So she was a different kind of victim of the Indian Wars.

The struggles between early settlers in the United States and the indigenous people is difficult to discuss calmly, even today. An estimate in 1894 by the census bureau estimated that 19,000 “white” people died and 30,000 Indians in the various Indian Wars.  Of course even before the most deadly battles, Indians had died in another war–attacked by viruses they were unable to fight off. Some think at least 80% died of smallpox caught from the newcomers to the continent.  So they were greatly reduced in numbers by the time the European population increase incited conflict over land.

I have great sympathy with the indigenous people. However, I also sympathize with the Puritan settlers. To understand historic events, it is essential to look at events of the past through the lens of their own time–not imposing our own different points of view. Our culture and mores are as different from the Puritans of New England as the Puritans were from the people they called savages. And I dare say that people of Native American heritage today are also far removed from the worldview of their ancestors, even though they may be working to keep their culture and religion alive.

Indian Wars Monument

Marker in honor of settlers and veterans of Indian Wars, Sudbury Cemetery

Indian Wars Monument

Inscription on Indian Wars Monument in Sudbury, MA

Glance through diaries and histories written in the 18th and 19th centuries, and you get a one-sided view–all anti-Indian. Look at the lives of the settlers and you may begin to realize why they held the views they did.

When you visit the graveyards of Puritan New England you will see many people who died at the hands of Indians. Some of those were militia members who set out to chase the native tribes from the lands wanted by the settlers.  But many were women and children, like Sarah Howe Joslin and her children, victims of terror raids staged by hostile bands who believed they could frighten the interlopers into returning to Europe.

The Howe family suffered an extraordinary number of losses, both in lives and property, in battles and in surprise raids on families.

The following is not an exhaustive list of Howe family members affected, and other ancestors in other lines also died or lost property.

In addition to the 1692 death of Sarah Howe Joslin and capture of Elizabeth:

April 20, 1676 saw the most vicious fight of the King Phillip War–an attack on Sudbury by 1000 Indian fighters and a day-long battle leaving hundreds dead and houses and barns burned to the ground.

  • John Howe, Jr., a member of the militia, killed at thirty-six years old and his house destroyed in the battle of Sudbury.
  • Samuel Howe, a member of the militia, his house and other property burned in the battle of Sudbury.
  • The people of Sudbury were so destitute that they wrote to the Irish Charities for donations to help people who had lost their homes and livelihoods.

Nehemiah Howe, a son of Samuel Howe, was captured by Indians in 1747 and held in Canada, where he wrote a journal before he died in captivity in Canada*–never returning home.

[UPDATE May 2018] Nehemiah’s son Caleb How married a widow, Jemima Phips.  In a 1755 raid by Indians, Jemima How was captured and in June of that year scalped and killed.

Israel Howe, a member of the militia, killed in a raid on the town of Rutland at thirty-six years old in 1748. Israel Howe was my 5th great-grandfather and the son of Samuel Howe.

Other relatives in Rutland, MA, some other Howes, some Stones, some Hubbards, were also in harms way during the Indian Wars and a memorial in the old Cemetery in Rutland commemorates them.

Indian Wars

Memorial to first settlers and veterans of the French-Indian and Revolutionary Wars, Rutland MA Old Cemetery.

How I am Related

  • My maternal grandmother, Vera Stout (Anderson), was the daughter of
  • Hattie Morgan (Stout), the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett (Morgan),the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Stone (Bassett) the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Howe (Stone), the daughter of
  • Israel Howe, the son of
  • David How, the son of
  • Samuel How, and John Jr. (My 7th Great Grand Uncle), the son of
  • John How
  • Sarah How (Joslin) and Elizabeth How (Keyes), daughters of John Howe, Jr. (My first cousins, 8 x removed.)

Notes on Research

As Ancient Is This Hostelry: The Story of the Wayside Inn, by Curtis F. Garfield and Alison R. Ridley(1988)
A History of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn by Brian E. Plumb (2011)
Howe Genealogies by Daniel Wait Howe (1929), Massachusetts Historical and Genealogical Society. This is said to be the best of the several genealogies of the family. Although I do not have a copy of the entire book, portions of it are available on the Internet.
Middlesex County records found on Ancestry.com. Birth, death and marriage.
Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County Massachusetts Vol. 1, ed by Ellery Bicknell Crane (1907) Available as a Google Books e-book.

*A Narrative of the Captivity of Nehemiah How. Republished in 1904 and available on Archive.or

FindaGrave.com and personal visits to cemeteries of Sudbury and Rutland.


More Than an Asterisk: Israel Howe Update

NOTE: If the latest news I uncovered is correct, I owe Israel How an apology. I wrote earlier that his life was an asterisk. But if this bit of news is correct, his life was anything but dull. According to As Ancient is This Hostelry: The Story of the Wayside Inn, Israel How was killed by Indians in a raid on Rutland, Massachusetts. I am trying to verify that this was the cause of his death, and that the father of four children and his wife pregnant with their fifth, was indeed an Indian fighter. Stay Tuned.

Surviving on the Frontier: Israel Stone

Israel Stone 1749-1808

Although I would not usually relate the story of as distant a relative as a remote cousin, but Israel Stone and his two wives are just too interesting to ignore. According to Ancestry.com he is my 7th cousin 3x removed.  But he is also my 1st cousin 8x removed, if that’s better.]

Israel was born on April 15, 1749 in Rutland, Massachusetts. His parents were cousins. Deacon John Stone was the son of Nathaniel Stone  (whose parents I haven’t worked out yet) and Elizabeth Stone (Stone) who  was the daughter of Capt. Samuel Stone and sister to Nathan Stone, my 5th great grandfather.

  [ADDED May 2016] The lines go like this:

Israel Stone → Deacon John Stone (1702) →Nathaniel Stone (1660)→ John Stone (1618) →Gregory Stone (1592) and his 1st wife. (Note: My line is descended from Gregory Stone’s 2nd wife)

Israel Stone→Elizabeth Stone Stone (1713)→Capt. Samuel Stone (1684)→Samuel Stone, Jr. (1656)→Samuel Stone (1630)→Gregory Stone (1592) and his 2nd wife.

Modern view of Buckley Island in the Ohio River near Marietta, Ohio.

  Modern view of Buckley Island in the Ohio River near Marietta, Ohio. The settlers were forced to try to pasture animals on islands to keep them safe from Indians. But then wolves got them.

Israel and Lydia Barrett

The couple married in 1767 in Rutland, MA and had ten children in Massachusetts. They are an interesting bunch, especially Sardine Stone, who became an Ohio Senator. One of the younger brothers, Benjamin Franklin Stone (1782-1873) became a teacher. In his eighties (finishing at 91) he wrote an autobiography, which gives wonderful details of life in early Ohio territory.

Israel was a militiaman, and when he had been married only 8 years, The record shows:

  • On April 19, 1775, Israel marched to the alarm at Lexington and fought at Cambridge (probably was at Bunker Hill), a duty that lasted 12 days. He served under Cpt. Thomas Eustis.
  • Later, still a private, he served in the company of Cpt. David Bent, Col. Nathan Sparhawk’s Regiment and marched from Rutland to Bennington,8-20-1777, serving for eleven days. In these two companies, he was with his cousin Jeduthan Stone, the Minuteman I wrote about earlier.
  • In 1777, now a Corporal, he served for three months with Capt. Samuel Hubbard’s company, Col. Job Cushing’s Regiment. He entered September 5, 1777 and was discharged 29 November 1777.

Israel’s son, Benjamin Franklin Stone, who was ten when they moved to Ohio, remembered from the Massachusetts days when his father would drive a wagon to Boston (presumably with farm produce.) They lived on the “old Stone farm” until 1786 when he sold that farm and moved to another one. After the Revolution, currency became so devalued that he was having a hard time getting by. This spurred his move to Ohio with the Ohio Company.

Israel was one of the men of Rutland who followed General Rufus Putnam to Marietta, Ohio. In 1789, according to Benjamin Franklin Stone (whom I will call B. F.), Israel set off for Ohio with another man to survey the prospects. His son Jasper (1774-1830) followed a year later. Two daughters stayed with their mother in Rutland, but all the other children were scattered to live with other families in Massachusetts.

In September 1790 a group of 26 people, including Lydia and most of her children — Sardine, Matilda, daughter Lydia, son Israel, Augustus, Christopher Columbus, Polly Buckley and Benjamin Franklin — set out in a train of 3 ox carts with General Putnam’s family. I cannot believe that Lydia was happy to have to make this journey with her huge family.

B.F. says that his brother Israel kept a detailed journal of the trip, but it was unfortunately lost.

Mother Lydia took a cow and Putnams had three cattle.  They traveled through Massachusetts into New York and across Pennsylvania. When they reached the Ohio River, they took a barge to Marietta. The journey took a total of 8 weeks. When they arrived, they were met by their father Israel, whom they had not seen for a year and a half, brother Jasper and sister Betsy who had traveled ahead with another family.

A tragedy of sorts befell them along the way when 100 pairs of socks were lost.  Knowing they would not have sheep for a while, hard-working Lydia and her daughter had knitted the socks to supply the company for a year or two. They were left with only two pair of socks each.

LATE BREAKING: A contributor to the Ohio History & Genealogy Board on Facebook, brought to my attention a site focused on Marietta History.  A search for the Stone name brings up an article called “First Settlement of Rainbow” in the September 7, 1876 issue of the Marietta Register with additional information about Israel’s family.

Bigger tragedies lay ahead with a five-year war against hostile Indians, the death of the young son Israel by drowning in the Ohio River and the death of the mother Lydia.

Picketed Point, reminder of the Indian Wars along the Ohio River 1791-1796 Photo by Photo by Richie Diesterheft, Flickr.

Picketed Point, reminder of the Indian Wars along the Ohio River 1791-1796 Photo by Photo by Richie Diesterheft, Flickr.

The Indian raids made going into the fields or woods dangerous. There was a massacre of several of their group in 1790, and they were disheartened by the defeat of General St. Clair in November 1791 in a battle with 1000 Ohio Miami, Shawnees and Lenape with Potawatamis from Michigan. The Indian forces were known as the American Indian Confederacy. Only 48 of about 1000 American troops escaped death.

I will return to talk about the Ohio Indian wars later, but the underlying problem was that the treaty ending the American Revolution with Britain treated the American Indians as part of the defeated, and although they were not part of the treaty talks, their lands were given to the American government. Understandably, they disagreed.

But life went on among the settlers and on February 27, 1792, little Harriet Hubbard Stone was born, Israel and Lydia’s eleventh child. Lydia died when her baby was only eight months old.  B.F. says that his mother had told him “her constitution was much impaired by excessive hard work even before she was married.”

In March of 1794 Israel was granted a patent of 100 acres of land out of the 1000 that the government had given to Putnam and his company. After living in blockhouses within a fort at Marietta, Israel Stone and a few others moved in 1795 upriver to build another garrison which was known as Farmer’s Castle in the settlement of Rainbow.

Israel and Mary Broadbent Corner

Meanwhile, in England, Mary Broadbent, who was born in Cheshire England in 1764, had married William Corner in 1783.  In 1795 William and Mary Corner and their children — William, George, Sarah and Mary — sailed to America and joined a group that started the Westward trek.  However, unlucky William died of a fever in the mountains of Pennsylvania  and was buried there.

Mary, who must have been an intrepid soul, buried William in Pennsylvania and continued west with the children.  Wherever she had intended to go, she stopped in Marietta. Although the Ohio Company was offering free land to settlers, as a woman whose oldest child was still under twelve, she did not qualify.  But she met Israel Stone and they married in August 1796.

So Israel Stone added three step-children to his family, and he and Mary had one more.

Israel, who is sometimes referred to as Capt. Stone, died July 3, 1808 and is buried in Rainbow. How poetic to pass away in Rainbow! And how peaceful it sounds compared to the life of Israel Stone with his wives Lydia and Mary.

Mary lived with her son George after Israel died at Corner’s Mills, later Cornerville.

 How they are related to me

  •  Vera Marie (Badertscher) is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson (Kaser), the daughter of
  • Vera Stout (Anderson), the daughter of
  • Hattie Morgan (Stout), the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett (Morgan), the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Stone (Basset), the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Howe (Stone), the wife of
  • Jeduthan Stone, the son of
  • Nathan Stone, the brother of
  • Elizabeth Stone (Stone), the mother of
  • Israel Stone

Additionally, Lydia Barrett is the step-sister of Jeduthan Stone’s wife Elizabeth Howe (Stone).

Research Notes

  • Israel Howe’s Revolutionary War service record is from a compilation found on ancestry.com sourced from the Massachusetts State Archives and Revolutionary War Rolls.
  • Most information about the family comes from Benjamin Franklin Stone’s autobiography. An excerpt appears in “From Rutland to Marietta: Leaves from the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Stone”, New England Magazine, New Series Vol 16 (1897) p. 210 ff. Both the entire book (1873) and magazine available for search at Google Books. [NOTE: It does not seem to be available for search at Google books any longer. Check WorldCat.org for a library near you.]
  • Information on St. Clair’s defeat in WIkipedia.
  • History of Marietta and Washington County, Ohio and Representative Citizens, Edited and compiled by Martin R. Andrews, M.A., Biographical Publishing Co. (1902) Available free on line