Archive for the Memorial Day Category

Some Memorial Day Thoughts

Posted in CULTURE & POLITICS, HOLIDAYS/ FESTIVALS/ MEMORIALS/ PARADES, ME, Memorial Day, My Family History with tags , on May 30, 2016 by travsd


Today the nation observes Memorial Day, an official federal holiday since 1971, an unofficial one since the days following the Civil War, when there were 620,000 war dead to mourn (nearly half of all Americans who’ve fallen in battle). In my hometown, it was the day of our one annual parade.  This gave it a certain weight and importance in my life, and yet its meaning remained somewhat vague and abstract. Which is a blessing — because for it to have been concrete would mean to have lost someone I knew, or knew something about, in battle.

In recent months though I have been filling out the picture of my family’s history, and have found several ancestors and other relatives who’ve perished fighting every American war through World War Two, going all the way back to to the 1600s. I’ll latch onto these men in particular now in my annual contemplation on Memorial Day, not because they were more important than anyone else who gave their lives, but because it helps to know what’s been lost when you can measure the cost: the widows, the orphans, the dashed dreams of parents. A farm without a farmer. A town without a blacksmith. They were people with names and identities and ties to the people around them, part of the fabric of their society, torn out with great suddenness in the course of protecting the people and the country they loved.  And some continue to make the sacrifice even as we speak.

You can quibble (or even take great issue), as we all do, with the actions of politicians and bureaucrats and generals, but you can’t argue with the reality of grief and sorrow and loss which is the point of this day. Humans have been honoring their dead for tens of thousands of years. To stop doing that, ever, would be to become a cold people indeed.


The Governor’s Island Explorer’s Guide

Posted in BOOKS & AUTHORS, CRITICISM/ REVIEWS, HOLIDAYS/ FESTIVALS/ MEMORIALS/ PARADES, Memorial Day, PLUGS, Travel/ Tourism with tags , , , , on May 27, 2016 by travsd


A thought occurred to me the other day: New York is such a large, complex and amazing city that events that would be earth-shaking elsewhere can go relatively unnoticed here. Case in point: over the past decade or so, New York has seen the creation of a public park/ tourist destination every bit as eye opening, rewarding and enjoyable as Central Park, Prospect Park, or Ellis Island. I try to get over to Governor’s Island at least once a summer because it offers several things I really love all in one fell swoop: history education, natural beauty, arts and New York craziness (there’s always something going on there), recreation (hiking and biking mostly), a fun boat ride, and above all, it’s a CHEAP day trip.

And now my buddy Kevin Fitzpatrick has come out with THE tourist guide for Governor’s Island. Honestly, I wouldn’t go out there again without this tome in my grubby paw. You may have noticed that I listed “history” first in my litany of things that make me enjoy Governor’s Island. Fitzpatrick’s book is especially good at giving you the run-down on the island’s many incarnations over the centuries (defensive forts, military bases, hospital complexes and the like). He even gives you a breakdown on the history of the fascinating but mysterious-looking buildings that grace the island. When I’m out there, I always go, “”I wonder what that was?” This book tells it. And Kev is a former Marine. He knows whereof he speaks. We don’t usually think of NYC as a military town (apart from Fleet Week), but it certainly has a military past, and Governor’s Island played a major part in it.

The timing of this post isn’t accidental. We’re entering Memorial Day Weekend. To observe the occasion, Kevin Fitzpatrick is having a signing of his great new book at Governor’s Island on Saturday and Sunday. Get all the details here. 

30 % Off Our Books!

Posted in BOOKS & AUTHORS, Broadway, Comedians, Comedy, Comedy Teams, Hollywood (History), Indie Theatre, Marx Brothers, ME, Memorial Day, PLUGS, Silent Film with tags , , , , , , , on May 27, 2016 by travsd


This just in — and don’t be caught snoozin’! Bear Manor Media has announced a Memorial Day Sale, staring tomorrow May 28, 2016 and running through the end of the month. 30% of all paperback titles! This can’t be beat! Just go to their website ( starting tomorrow and use the discount code MDthirty. It’s just that simple!

Now, whenever I go through their catalog, I find I want to own every single book they carry. (e.g.., a new one about Ed Wynn by Garry Berman caught my eye this morning. ). But here’s three in particular I’d like to flog for obvious reasons:

chain of fools cvr front only-500x500

Yes, I know I hustle my book about silent comedy Chain of Fools every day, but here’s your chance to get it at a whopping discount! Order it here. 


Gimme a Thrill, Noah Diamond’s excellent new book about the Odyssey of realizing his dream of getting I’ll Say She Is on the boards. I’m in it, too! Buy it here. 

This is the book that convinced me Bear Manor was A-OK. Steve Stoliar’s amazing testimony about Groucho Marx‘s final days, written by a guy who had front row seats at the car wreck. It’s currently being made into a movie directed by Rob Zombie! To get your copy of Raised Eyebrows, go here.

For these three and much more go to Bear Manor Media, but wait until tomorrow (if you can, that is) because that is when the sale starts, you see.

For Fleet Week: Several Slapsticks With Sailors & Sailing

Posted in Comedians, Comedy, Memorial Day with tags , , , , , , , on May 25, 2016 by travsd

It’s Fleet Week in New York as of this morning — and this reminded me that there’s many a classic comedy involving ships, sailors and sailing. And so here’s a selection. For the sake of my sanity, I’ve left pleasure cruises out of the equation, for they stray from the theme. This leaves out some mighty tempting Keaton films, but a navy is nothing without discipline. And no musicals either. That’s another blogpost.


Shanghaied (1915)

In this funny Esssanay comedy, Charlie Chaplin  plays a poor shlub who loves the daughter (Edna Purviance) of a shipowner (Wesley Ruggles). He is hired to help a ship’s mate shanghai sailors for a voyage.  His job is to hide in a barrel and strike his victims on the head with a mallet when the other guy entices them with the promise of a drink of liquor. After several guys are thrown on board the captain and his accomplice turn the tables on Charlie and clonk him as well. The men wake up some time later and and are put to work.

One obvious technical flaw in the film that audiences of 1915 probably didn’t mind so much: scenes that ought to be taking place out at sea are obviously shot in a busy, populated harbor, probably in a boat that’s still docked. At any rate we get to see in embryo form business that Chaplin will resurrect later, such as the “rocking boat” effect he would revive for The Immigrant. Lots of slapstick stuff follows, involving the serving and eating of dinner, and moving cargo (and, accidentally, men) with grappling hooks. The film takes a turn for the excellent when we get a plot twist: Edna has stowed away in board, dressed as a man. This puts her in danger. Her father comes to a Griffith-esque rescue in a speedboat. He is about to remove her from the clutches of Charlie when…


A Submarine Pirate (1915)

A major hit in its day and still one of the the best known comedies of its star Syd Chaplin  (Charlie’s brother) who made it for Mack Sennett shortly after Charlie himself had gone over to Esssanay. It was Sennett’s biggest hot of the year. Very topical stuff in its day (the World War One era). Syd’s a waiter who overhears an inventor’s plan to use a submarine to get to an undersea treasure. He disguises himself as an admiral and worms his way into the expedition.


Luke Joins the Navy (1916)

This short dates from the time when Harold Lloyd was still performing as “Lonesome Luke”, before he began doing his more famous “glasses” character.

In the film store clerk Luke (Lloyd) is bested out of his girl (Bebe Daniels) by a sailor, who leaves an even better impression by decking a lowlife on the sidewalk as he leaves. Luke and his buddy (Snub Pollard) decide to join the navy. Some slapstick gags ensue on the deck of a navy vessel before Luke’s parents come to bail him out. Shot on a real navy ship with real sailors.


Oh, You Kidds!

Captain Kidd’s Kids (1919)

Another Harold Lloyd comedy, this time rockin’ the glasses. Around this period, many of Lloyd’s films seem very much influenced by Douglas Fairbanks, and this one is a good example. In this one, Harold plays a young man who wakes up hungover from the wild bachelor party (his own) the night before. His butler (Snub Pollard) locates him sleeping in a bureau drawer and attempts to wake Haolrd with an alarm clock, which Harold keeps mistaking for a phone. After several more sordid mishaps, his mother-in-law-to-be (Helen Gilmore) calls off the wedding and decides to take her daughter (Bebe Danielson a cruise to the Canary Islands.

Harold and Snub get on the same ship. Harold falls asleep on deck and wakens to learn that the ship has been taken over by pirates. Later, an all-girl pirate ship arrives and rescues Harold and Snub only to force them to work in the galley. (Look for future Lloyd director Fred Newmeyer as the cook Ah Ling). Of course, in the end, it all proves to have been a dream — the fact that Harold went to sleep was the tip-off. That’s always the tip-off!


A Sailor Made Man (1921)

At four reels, it was Harold Lloyd’s longest comedy to date. In its day it was considered Lloyd’s first feature, nowadays many consider it his last short, though a long one. (And it was initially conceived as a short; Lloyd’s writers simply came up with too much material for two reels).

Harold plays an idle, very entitled rich boy. He seems to think he owns the world and everybody in it. For some reason we don’t hate him as we should. There’s something very innocent about him. He just doesn’t know any better. Certainly he makes people who have to deal with him angry, but the audience doesn’t dislike him.  As an example of his character’s lack of boundary when we first meet his character, he seems to be painting. The camera pulls back and then we see that he is only closely studying a painters work as he paints. This is an example of how he doesn’t have any sense of boundary.

He decides he wants to marry his very popular girlfriend (Mildred Davis) and makes the mistake of announcing that he wants to do so to her father. The father is outraged and replies that he can do so once he actually has some purpose, and has done some work in the world.  So Harold joins the navy. Funny—now Harold is the other Harold, the Harold we know from most of his movies. He’s lost the entitlement, he’s just a little fellow. Lots of gags aboard ship as Harold first runs afoul of his big bunkmate and his superiors. But the big guy becomes his friend when Harold takes the blame for something he himself actually did. Later it looks like Harold has knocked out the navy boxing champ, which further makes him okay in the big guy’s book.

Meanwhile Mildred and party go on a worldwide cruise on a yacht with her father. What do you want to bet they’ll wind up in the same place as Harold? They do, six months later. The fictional port they stop at looks like India or the Middle East.  When Mildred is stolen by a very sinister looking Rajah or Sheik of some sort for his harem, Harold must affect a rescue in this enormous fairy tale-looking palace. Which he does. When Harold proposes to the girl ship-to-ship via semaphore flags, the father now acquiesces.

Annex - Keaton, Buster (Love Nest, The)_01

The Love Nest (1923)

Buster Keaton ‘s last silent comedy short (thereafter he moved on to features). The title of the film is misleading. The Love Nest is not a place for heavy petting, it is the name of a  ship. Thus it is a precursor to The Navigator and The General in being a vehicle named after…a vehicle. I think this is  breath-takingly perfect movie. Keaton’s character has been thrown over by a girl (Virginia Fox), so he sets out for adventure on a small boat. He wakes up few days later with greasepaint 5 oclock shadow and gets shanghaied by a whaling ship with a cruel captain (Joe Roberts) who throws all his sailors overboard for small infractions. Through happenstance Keaton keeps avoiding this fate. He eventually escapes by making a hole in the bottom of the ship and sitting in his dingy until it is afloat. Later, he winds up on a naval practice target. When the cannon shoots him, he flies way up into the sky and land back in his boat. But it has all been a dream. He is still moored to the dock.


The Misfit (1924)

Clyde Cook as a henpecked husband who joins the Marines to escape his shrewish wife, and ends up driving his drill sergeant  crazy. In the end he manages to get both the sergeant and his wife to fall into the ocean, solving all of his problems. Directed by Albert Austin.


A Deep Sea Panic (1924) 

A James Parrott short, directed by Roy Del Ruth. Parrott and pals are cooks on a ship. The boat looks like a yacht, but the crew are all roughnecks as though it were a merchant vessel. No one ever does any work. Just a bunch of galley gags at first. The captain is a really mean guy, and objects keep accidentally getting cooked and passed onto his plate…a welcome mat, a doorknob, a wallet. For some reason a girl is on board. The captain wants to impress her. Goes for a shave, but hot tar (spilled by a monkey) keeps falling on his face. Just as he is chasing the hapless hero, a navy vessel shows up. To escape the captain, the hero runs up a pirate flag. The navy vessel shoots at the ship until its quite blown up, leaving only our 3 heroes on a scrap of floating detritus.


Why Girls Love Sailors (1927)

Though this film features both Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in prominent parts, they are not teamed together as Laurel and Hardy, nor do they play their familiar characters. This is particularly interesting because in the film Duck Soup, released four months earlier, they had played something like a team and their characters were markedly like Stan and Ollie. But Duck Soup was kind of a fluke. For several months they went back to playing the sort of parts they had traditionally played. This is one of those anomalous films. As you will discover, this doesn’t stop unprincipled distributors from marketing it as one of their team comedies,

In Why Girls Love Sailors Laurel plays a “periwinkle fisherman”; Viola Richard plays his girl, whom he has sworn to marry. Unfortunately, a rough tough sea captain (Malcolm Waite) has plans of his own for the girl. Learning of their plans, he throws Laurel down into a fishing net, and kidnaps the girl. Laurel sneaks onto the boat with a stocking on his head, scaring a drunken watchmen who thinks he is a headless ghost. He then finds –-for some reason we won’t ponder too deeply — a trunk belonging to a female impersonator. The bulk of the rest of the movie concerns Laurel in drag, luring sailors, bonking them on the head, then posing them with their noses thumbed at first mate Oliver Hardy who gets enraged and throws them all into the sea. There is a final confrontation with the captain. To the rescue comes the captain’s furious wife (the immortal Anita Garvin) who knows of his philandering and proceeds to shoot the captain with a gun while Laurel and his girl wriggle to safety.



Note Ollie’s bell bottoms

 Two Tars (1928)

In this hysterical short, Laurel and Hardy are two sailors on dates with a couple of girls in a rented car. The meat of the film occurs on the road to the beach where they and their dates get stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and a general fight breaks out where fender benders lead to every driver purposely destroying (tearing apart) the vehicles around him. The level of destruction is appalling. Finally a cop comes to break it all up.  A long line of maimed cars files by. Laurel and Hardy make their getaway but not before destroying one last car. A truck runs over the cop’s motorcycle so he cant follow. All the cars drive into a train tunnel. Train comes. Most of the cars manage to back out, but where are Laurel and Hardy? I’ll make you watch the film for the priceless sight gag.


Men O’War (1929) 

In this, one of Laurel and Hardy’s first sound shorts, the boys are a couple of sailors on shore leave, walking in a park. Some lost gloves create the opportunity for them to start up a conversation with a pair of cute girls and they go on a date to the soda fountain. (The soda jerk is played by James Finlayson in his first talkie, and boy does he ever make a lot of faces during his brief turn). The boys discover they only have 15 cents, enough for three drinks. Hardy’s solution is that Laurel should refuse a drink, but Stan keeps fouling things up, partially because he’s dumb, but also undoubtedly because he would really like a soda.

To Ollie’s shock, the tab turns out to be 30 cents, so he leaves Stan to deal with it. We fear disaster when Stan uses a nickel to play the slot machine, but he saves the day by winning. They can pay their tab, buy the girls several gifts and then take them out on the lake for a rowboat ride. Laurel rows first, botching the job so they keep going around in circles. Then Hardy gets involved and they continue going around in circles despite the fact that they try several rowing configurations. Then the boy set off a rash of capsizings and battles with seat cushions until eventually all is chaos…


Trouble with a Fountain Pen

Any Old Port (1932)

In this Laurel and Hardy comedy, the boys are a couple of salts just off a whaling vessel. They check into sailors’ boarding house run by a character named Mugsy one of the most hilariously heinous heavies in comedies, played by Walter Long. They gallantly rescue Mugsy’s washerwoman from a forced marriage to Mugsy, but then are stranded without a dollar (Stan left their purse in the room). To make some dough, Ollie volunteers Stan for a boxing match. The opponent turns out to be – Mugsy! But that’s okay, because Stan has accidentally put on Mugsy’s boxing glove, which has a horseshoe in it. He wins the bout, which isn’t so great after all. Ollie has bet all their money against him.


Son of a Sailor (1933)

Here, Joe E. Brown (as he often did) plays a young man living in the shadow of a more distinguished father, in this case, a swab-o. The climax (later exhumed by Laurel and Hardy for Great Guns) has the lad accidentally being used for target practice. In the end, he foils a spy ring! The comedy also features Thelma Todd. 


Tars and Stripes (1935)

Buster Keaton talkie short for educational, with Vernon Dent as foil. Essentially Buster just keeps getting out of the brig and accidentally causing more havoc for the officer played by Dent. He never gets to go in to dinner. Dent keeps falling into the water. Also Keaton keeps antagonizing the guy by seeming to flirt with his girlfriend. In the end, he rescues an officer (whom he had also accidentally knocked in the water) and gets a medal. He still winds up in the brig — but this time the girl sneaks in with him.


Our Relations (1936)

While farcical this feature has one of Laurel and Hardy’s more sophisticated plots – – essentially The Comedy of Errors. In the film, the comedians each play a pair of brothers: a couple of henpecked husbands, and their twins, a pair of less domesticated, trouble-prone sailors. The domestic Laurel and Hardy are under the impression that their no-good brothers were hanged, leaving them all the more nonplussed when the brothers arrive in their town and start causing confusion. It is a most enjoyable ride. Long time Laurel and Hardy fans will appreciate the presence of Jimmy Finlayson and Daphne Pollard in the cast. Movie buffs will also recognize Alan Hale (senior) and Sidney Toler. 


In the Navy (1941)

What saves this Abbot and Costello service comedy being from being a mere retread of their previous hit Buck Privates is the presence of Dick Powell, Dick Foran and the Condos Brothers in the cast. Otherwise: it’s Buck Privates on a boat.


Let’s Go Navy (1951)

The idea of the Bowery Boys in the Navy unavoidably has me thinking of the dive bar in Last Exit to Brooklyn. How about a little realism, for chrissake? This has the usual Bowery Boys plot — the boys raise some money for a charity, then it is stolen by a couple of sailors. So naturally they enlist so they can do some sleuthing so they can retrieve the money. Ya know, like ya do. I often say this and I mean it — one of the main points of superiority of Bowery Boys vehicles like this over those of Abbot and Costello is that they only an hour long. Just when you can stand no more, it is over.


Sailor Beware (1952)

This Martin and Lewis picture is one of my brother’s favorite comedies and he will do his imitation of Jerry Lewis attempting to bale out a sinking dingy at the slightest provocation: (nasal shriek) “Get the water out of the boat! Get….get the…get the wah-ahah!” My brother is a former sailor; it must add to the appeal. The Martin and Lewis service comedies remind me so much of the Abbot and Costello service comedies in terms of plot I have a great deal of difficulty sorting them out. But that’s okay. I can live with that.

Poster - A Girl in Every Port (1952)_02


A Girl in Every Port (1952)

Groucho Marx’s last starring comedy. In the film he and The Life of Riley’s William Bendix play a couple of swabbies on shore leave who buy a racehorse, precipitating “hilarity”. At the time, Groucho was 62 years old. Ya know what? If we’re ever that hard up for ordinary seamen I’ll enlist. The love interest for both of these old salts is My Friend Irma’s Marie Wilson. This is essentially the same “three way” formula as Double Dynamite, although with lesser co-stars. After this I don’t know what the plan would have been. Perhaps Groucho with Kukla and Fran. But as we say, this was his last movie with top billing. A consolation prize was that one of the cast members of A Girl in Every Port was Dee Hartford, whose sister Eden Groucho married in 1954 (divorced 1969).

For more on silent and slapstick comedy don’t my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Mediaalso available from etc etc etc






In Which My Family Founds New England #5: King Philip’s War

Posted in CULTURE & POLITICS, ME, Memorial Day, My Family History, Native American Interest with tags , , , , , , , on May 25, 2015 by travsd


This is part five of a five-part series. For Part One (Pilgrims) go here; and Part Two (Puritans) go here, for Part Three (Dissenters) go here, and for Part Four (where they all come together), go here. 

I saved this post for today (Memorial Day) because it concerns a war. It would appall the people who lived through it (as it must appall anyone today who learns about it) to know that King Philip’s War would one day be almost completely forgotten, as it has been today. For it is one of America’s most significant wars, for so many reasons:

1. It was, proportionally the costliest and bloodiest war in American history

2. It was one the few wars, perhaps the only one, in which American Indians not only enjoyed significant victories, but came close to defeating the English settlers

3. It set the tone for Indian-White relations for the next two centuries

4. It effectively finished the Native Americans of New England as a power to be reckoned with in the colonies

The circumstances were these:

By 1675, the English had maintained colonies in the New England area for 55 years. There were 80,000 colonists living in 110 towns between New Haven and Maine. By then, the Native Americans living in the area had been reduced to about 10,000 in number (largely due to diseases brought by European sailors prior to the arrival of the Pilgrims). Further, this number was divided amongst several tribes: the Wampanoag, Nipmuck, Narragansett, Mohegan, Pequot, and others.

Tension was building. Whereas the Wampanoag chief Massasoit had maintained friendly relations with the Plymouth colonists, his successor and son Metacomet (a.k.a. King Philip) was in a far different position. For starters, the real successor had been Metacom’s older brother Alexander, who was widely suspected of having been poisoned by the English. And unlike the earliest settlers of Plymouth, and those of Rhode Island (who made a point of establishing respectful and equitable relations with the Indians) the large influx of Massachusetts colonists had no qualms about just taking what they wanted. The clock seemed to be ticking. King Philip saw that things were only going to get worse, and this was perhaps his last and only chance to get rid of the European interlopers, who already outnumbered the Indians 8 to 1 (and not all of the tribes were aligned with King Philip).

Nevertheless, in 1675 hostilities broke out. All of the New England colonies were drawn in, as were all of the local Indian tribes (though some were allies of the English). The English had 16,000 men under arms, the Indians more like 2,000. Still the Indians did enormous damage to the colonies, especially during the first year. A large proportion of the fledgling towns were completely wiped out, all of the others were converted into fortresses. And while in the end the tribes were fatally reduced in number, they hit the colonists hard enough that it took them a couple of generations to recover as well.


At any rate, the war affected everyone we have written about thus far, and these are some other of my ancestors and other relations who were touched by the events:


Colonel Benjamin Church — Church was Governor Josiah Winslow’s principal aide and main military leader during King Philip’s War, and also the later Indian battles King William’s War and Queen Anne’s War. He is considered the father of the U.S. army rangers and a pioneer in Indian fighting tactics (which largely emulated those of the native Americans themselves). His influential book on the topic was called  Entertaining Passages relating to Philip’s War. I am distantly related to him through our common ancestor the Pilgrim Richard Warren.

Captain Isaac Johnson was my (8th) great grandfather. He arrived in Massachusetts with his father and family with John Winthrop’s fleet in 1630. He joined the artillery in 1645 and was made a Captain in 1653. He died in the Great Swamp Fight, which was catastrophic for the Narragansetts,  in my hometown in 1675.


Mary Rowlandson — Rowlandson, the wife of Rev. Joseph Rowlandson of Lancaster, Massachusetts was captured by Indians in 1675. Her hair-raising account of the experience was published a few years later as  The Sovereignty and Goodness of God: Being a Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson I am distantly related to her by marriage.

Lt. Henry Adams, my (8th) great grandfather, son of the John Adams ancestor I mentioned in this post, was shot and killed by Indians in Braintree in 1676. His wife Elizabeth Paine, my (8th) great grandmother was killed by the accidental discharge of a soldier’s gun a week later.

Lt. William Bartholomew was my (7th) great grandfather. He was made Lieutenant during the Indian raid on Hadley Massachusetts in 1677. His daughter Abigail and 13 others were kidnapped by Indians and taken to Canada. They were later ransomed and returned.

John Woods, my (9th) great grandfather, a founder of Marlborough, Mass was a Sergeant in the war and took charge of garrisoning houses in his area

John Babcock, brother of my (9th) great grandmother Margaret Leland (and son of Westerly founder James Badcock: see this post) served with the Stonington militia and fought in the Great Swamp Fight

James Hadlock, my (9th) great grandfather served under Capt. Samuel Wadsworth and Capt. John Holbrook in 1676.


James Bell, my (9th) great grandfather, killed with 6 other men while working in a field in Taunton in 1676.

Sampson Mason, my (9th) great grandfather, one of the founders of Swansea and Attleborough was killed by Indians in Rehoboth in 1676 and his home ravaged. Not sure if he was a civilian in the context of this war; he had earlier fought with Cromwell back in England. I am descended from Mason along no less than three separate lines, each from a different one of his children.

Nathaniel Woodcock, son of my (9th) great grandfather John and brother of my (8th) great grandmother Sarah was slain by Indians while working in a cornfield in Attleborough in 1676


At any rate, as I mentioned in the previous post, Woodstock, CT, somewhat in the interior was not founded until 1682. I find the timing interesting. I imagine a lot of new settlement began around this time on what were previously Indian lands.

Though King Philip’s War was pivotal, conflicts with local Native Americans were not over by any means, although it tended now to be on what was now the frontier (Northern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine).

In 1689, over a decade after King Philip’s War, my (8th) great grandfather Daniel Bradley was killed by Indians in Haverhill, Massachusetts at the age of 76. There were subsequent attacks on the Bradley family in 1697, 1704, 1706 and 1708. There is an excellent, vivid account of the attacks here, along with a terrific photo of a real garrison house from the time. Essentially, the house is of brick, with fortified doors and windows, like an armory.

On February 22, 1698, my (7th) great grandfather Samuel Ladd, along with his 20 year old son Daniel and two friends left the safety of their village (also Haverhill) to bring in hay. Indians attacked. Samuel was murdered and Daniel was kidnapped and brought back to the Indian compound in what is now New Hampshire. Daniel escaped soon after but what was caught and tied to a tree for two weeks. A gash was cut into his face and filled with gun powder. He finally escaped for good a few years later, recovered his father’s property and was ever after nicknamed the “Marked Man” for the permanent black tattoo given to him by the natives.

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