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Re: Capt. John Rowden
Posted by: Sharon Rowden (ID *****7602) Date: December 02, 2005 at 03:36:44
In Reply to: Capt. John Rowden by Sharon Rowden of 278

Owen, Henry Wilson,
Bath, Me.: Times Co., 1936, 641pgs.

Page 501

Under the Colony of New York, Capt. John Rowden of Brick Point, Woolwich, commanded the Sagadahock militia, then numbering 62, and was personally in command at the fort on the east shore of Merrymeeting Bay when the fort was taken and the garrison captured in 1688.

Page 48 Early Indian Wars

This war, so called from a chief of the Narragansetts, began in the more southerly part of New England. There were outbreaks in Maine, coming as near to Sagadahock as Pejepscot, in 1675. The house of Thomas Purchase at Pejepscot was plundered. But the Kennebec Indians, who had ever been the most friendly of all the tribes, were not at that time committed to the assault of the settlements, and there was a gathering of their representatives at the Clarke & Lake establishment on Arrowsic in 1675 at which they made an agreement to keep the peace, on which occasion the old chief, Robinhood, who had been the friend of the settlers for some 35 years, "with great applause from the rest, made a dance and sang a song," confirming the engagements; and the treaty was further celebrated by the consumption of generous quantities of rum and tobacco distributed to the company by Capt. Lake. The Sagadahock settlements continued undisturbed until past the middle of the following year, and then in one night were suddenly and completely snuffed out.
A trader named Richard Hammond possessed a fortified house at the point on the Woolwich shore just at the Narrows, at the head of Long Reach. From the fact that Hammond married this property, so that his ownership was never formally recorded, the location of his house was for many yers in doubt and was placed by tradition and conjecture at many points as widely separated as Potter's Mills and Spring Cove in Arrowsic, and Winslow.
The farm and the house were originally the property of James Smith, one of those who met at Ashley's house in 1654, who died, leaving a widow, Elizabeth, and a large family of children. Hammond married the widow, and thereafter lived on her property. The establishment was a considerable one, the land extending along the river from Winslow's Rocks to Merrymeeting Bay, and eastward to Nequasset. The plant included mills, at the latter point, and a smith shop. The family, including servants and employees, numbered sixteen persons. The point on which the house was located was known successively as Smith's, Hammond's and Rowden's Point.
On the evening of August 13, 1676, some Indians from up the river made their appearance at this house and were admitted. A girl who was a member of the household, a daughter probably but perhaps a servant, took alarm, perhaps understanding some bit of conversation of the Indians, and slipped out. Calmed and brought back by the wiley intruders, she again became suspicious and frightened and escaped to the cornfield where she comcealed herself. After a time she heard scuffling and loud voices from the house, and other sounds of commotion, followed by shots and in terror she fled across country to Sheepscot to spread the alarm.
Later it transpired that Hammond and his step-son, Samuel Smith, had been killed while in flight from the house, and that all of the other inmates were made captive.
Leaving these captives there for the present under guard of some of their number, the party of Indians then crossed over to Arrowsic Island and stealthily approached the Clarke & Lake fort, where the shots at Hammond's had been heard but their significance not comprehended. There was apparently no expectation of attack, and an Indian woman was readily admitted to the stockade on some pretext or other advanced for her visit. Late at night, the woman within threw open the gates and the Indians rushed in and set upon the inmates, all of whom were either killed or made captive.
Captain Thomas Lake, with Sylvanus Davis and two others, managed to escape from the fort, and seizing a canoe as the sun hung low in the east, made for Parker's Island with a party of Indians in pursuit. The Indians fired on them as they sped over the water and Davis was wounded. The fugitives succeeded in reaching the island, and all but Capt. Lake made good their escape. Davis, although wounded, and unable to run. managed by the aid od the sun shining in the eyes of the Indians, to conceal himself near the bank so that they passed him by. The other two men attained the other end of the island, but Capt. Lake was unable to keep up, was overtaken and slain.

Page 53 Early Indian Wars

An ill considered measure of the authorities brought down the hostile savages to Sagadahock. In 1688, there being evidence of restlessness among the Indians and fear of an hostile outbreak, Justice Blackman of Saco had some 20 of the chief Indians seized for examination and for detention until the true situation could be ascerained. In retaliation, a party of Indians came down the Kennebec about September 1, seized and plundered a blockhouse at Merrymeeting Bay and captured its small garrison commanded by Capt. John Rowden, the third husband of Elizabeth, the widow of Richard Hammond. Rowden was the commander of the Sagadahock militia. Thence they proceeded to Rowden's house, the same where Richard Hammond was killed in the previous outbreak, and thence to John Bisbee's, who lived on Tuessic Neck, opposite Bath. Thomas Stevens, of the upper New Meadows, arriving by canoe to wisit Bisbee, was greeted by five Indians who rushed from the house and informed him that he was a prisoner, as Bisbee was also found to be, In addition to Capt. Rowden and his soldiers, they had previously captured Mrs. Rowden, The former Mrs. Hammond, and Jon Hornibroke and his wife, and the children of both families, who were being hald at Rowdens house. Thither the new captives were taken to the Bay. Mrs. Rowden was told to stay where she was, and that the Indians would send down a letter which she was to take to the English authorities.
At the Bay, the Indians were joined by a party from the Androscoggin, and there was a great celebration over the taking of the prisoners, who had been seized as a reprisal for the detention of the Indians at Blackman's orders and for the purpose of effecting an exchange.
Capt. Rowden, at the dictation of the Indian leaders, wrote the letter to the English authorities, and when the messenger sent with it to the Rowden house reported that its mistress had fled, Thomas Stevens ws selected to carry the message to the officials. He was 80 and was selected, as he was told, because he could neither help nor harm. He esstimated the number of savages assembled at 50, all well armed, among them the chiefs Hopegood and Egeremet.
The latter sent word by Stevens to the English of Sagadahock, that they would now have time to secure their cattle and corn, as there would be no more stir until the Indians heard from Boston, which was certainly rather decent. Stevens departed on his errand and the Indians with their captives moved up the Kennebec. Rowden never returned, although Hornibroke did, and no doubt others.

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