Indian attacks, Brunswick area, 1756

Contributed by Maine Historical Society

Description

An unidentified person wrote the accounts of attacks on John Given, Thomas Means's family, and the capture of Molly Phinney from the settler colonialist viewpoint.

Wabanaki people tried to control illegal settlements through diplomacy, and pushed back against encroachments into the interior, specifically after declaring that English forts were unwelcome during peace negotiations.

As a result, the homes of settlers, specifically Ulster Scots, were attacked by two parties of Wabanaki men in the Pejepscot Patent area. Thomas Means settled on Flying Point Road in Freeport. He and his infant son were killed and Molly Phinney was taken captive by one party. Another party went to Maquoit in West Brunswick and traveled across Middle Bay to the home of John Given, but "Seeing no one but children passed them unmolested." Later they encountered Abijah Young and John and Richard Starbird, and took Young prisoner.

Why was Brunswick targeted in 1756? A likely contributing factor was the increased bounties Massachusetts put on Native people—specifically on their scalps. Reverend Thomas Smith in Falmouth Neck (Portland), about 25 miles south of Brunswick noted in 1745 "People seem wonderfully spirited to go out after the Indians."

By June 1755, Massachusetts declared war against all "Eastern Indians," except the Penobscots. When the Penobscot diplomacy failed and they refused to fight alongside settlers, Massachusetts governor Phips issued a proclamation in November expanding the war to include the Penobscot Nation. By 1756, scalp bounty payouts for men, women and children approached 300 English pounds per person, equal to about $60,000 in 2021.

Wabanaki people were being hunted in their Homeland and retaliated.

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About This Item

  • Title: Indian attacks, Brunswick area, 1756
  • Creation Date: 1756
  • Subject Date: 1756
  • Town: Brunswick, Topsham
  • County: Cumberland, Sagadahoc
  • State: ME
  • Media: Ink on paper
  • Dimensions: 33.3 cm x 20 cm
  • Local Code: Coll. 61, Box 3/11, V5, p. 293
  • Collection: Proprietors of the Township of Brunswick Pejepscot Proprietors papers
  • Object Type: Text

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Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230
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