This article is based on a chapter of the same name in the work "The Town and City of Waterbury, Connecticut", by Joseph Anderson. That three volume work was published in 1896. A copy is in the possession of Gary Warner.

London Plantation to The Pequot War

1628 - 1637

In 1628, Mr. John Endicott was commissioned to begin a colony at Massachusettes Bay. In 1629, his group was joined by 300 men, 80 women, and 26 children, sailing for London's Plantation in the "George Bonaventure", the "Talbot", and the "Lion's Whelp". These passengers, paying 5 pounds apiece for passage, were joined by 140 head of cattle and 40 sheep.

Among the possessions they brought were mill stones, stones for peaches, plums, filberts, and cherries; "kernells" of pear, apple, quince and pomegranates; seeds of liquorice, woad, hemp, flax and madder; roots of potatoes and hops; utensils of pewter, brass, copper, and leather; hogsheads of wheat, rye, barley, oats, beans, peas, and "bieffe"; thousands of bread; hundreds of cheese, and codfish; gallons of olive oil, and Spanish wine; tons of water and beer; thousands of billets of wood, besides chalk, brick, and "chauldrens of sea coales" to be used as ballast.

Weaponry included halberts, muskets, fowling pieces, full muskets, bandaleeres with bullet bags, horn flasks for powder, "cosletts", pikes and half pikes, barrels of powder and shot, eight pieces of land ordnance for the fort, whole culverings, demiculverings, sackers and drakes, great shot, drums, and a sword and belt for each of the three hundred men.

Scores of other ships soon followed, most notably, the Winthrop Fleet.

In May of 1635, Watertown petitioned the Massachusettes Bay Company for leave to remove itself from their current arrangement and become part of Connecticut. They argued that there was insufficient land in Massachussettes Bay Colony for their livestock, and that their friends from England did not have room to join them. They also gave the convincing and deciding argument, that the land in Connecticut, must be settled by Englishmen, or it would become Dutch land. The General Court agreed that the residents of Watertown could remove themselves from their present locale, so long as they remained within the jurisdiction of the Court.

In truth, many of the laws being imposed by the colony were intolerable to the free spirits of our Ancestors. Any who had taken the Freeman's Oath, were required to remain six months within the colony, or risk imprisonment. Furthermore, no man was allowed to take a bushel of corn, without consent of the governor, further than the jurisdiction of the court. (An eight shilling penalty would be applied). The Court also ordered that the churches should agree upon one interpretation of the Scriptures and remain as one "for the preservation of uniformity." This law actually forbade citizenship of anyone who was the member of a church which was founded without the blessing and approval of its neighboring churches.

Certain members of Watertown joined with new arrivals from England, and pledged to the "Lords of Connecticut" that they would plant a new settlement, in an area gathered together as "NewTowne" in Connecticut, soon renamed "Hartford Towne" in 1636. The first law they passed forbade the trading of any firearms to the Indians. The town they vacated became known as Wethersfield shortly thereafter.

In 1636, the boat of John Oldham, an Indian trader, active in the area since 1633, was found by John Gallop, who immediately attacked the 14 Indians in the boat, and managed to capture the boat. Two that he took as prisoners implicated the "Narragansetts" as the murderers of Oldham. The colony vowed revenge, and in less than five weeks, ninety men under four commanders, generalled by Endicott, set forth for war. Their commission bade them "put to death the men of Block Island, make of the women and children prisoners; and thence to go to the Pequots on the river Thames and demand the murderers of Captain Stone. (Whose death was practically overlooked two years earlier, when Indians assured them the killers had died of smallpox.)

The Indians of Block Island hid in the woods, while our Ancestors destroyed sixty wigwams, two hundred acres of corn, and seven canoes in two Indian settlements. In Connecticut, twenty more of our Ancestors joined the expedition. They sailed the Thames river, and burned wigwams destroyed corn, killed fourteen Indians, wounded forty and departed unharmed.

The English considered themselves avenged of the death of their Captain Stone two years earlier. However, they had just started a fight that was bigger than they could control. Before May of 1637, the Pequots gained Wethersfield, killing six men, three women, and taking captive two young girls. The target of Wethersfield was supposedly selected because, after buying the land from an Indian man on the condition that he could remain there, they expelled the Indian from the area.

In May, when the 9th Session of court was held at Hartford, an offensive war was declared on teh "Pequoitt". Ninety men were levied out of the three plantations. Wethersfield giving 18, and the remainder coming from Windsor (formerly Dorchester) and Hartford (formerly NewTowne).

Equipped with twenty "Armour" and 180 bushels of corn, half baked into biscuits, and half in meal. A hogshead of beer, for the Captain and those who were sick was also packed. Hartford provided suet, butter, oatmeal, pease, salt, and 500 fish. Windsor sent pork, rice, and cheese. All Wethersfield could provide was a bushel of "Indian Beanes". Every soldier carried one pound of powder, four of shot, and twenty bullets.

They sailed out past the fort at the mouth of the river, where the heads of seven slain Pequot Indians hung on the wall.

John Warner, John Bronson, and Thomas Barnes, the father of Benjamin Barnes, were all granted land in Soldier's Field in Hartford as a result of serving in this so-called "Pequot War". By this point, Hartford was compelled to exterminate the nearby Indians for their own protection, after the overaction of Governor Endicott.

As a result of Endicott's foolish "retribution", the Connecticut colony was placed at a state of war. Every male over the age of sixteen was to keep his firearm at hand. Each man was continually to have in his house "half a pound of good powder, two pounds of bullets, and a pound of match." Each man was to be trained ten days a year in the art of war, by Captain John Mason. As a result of the utter destruction of the Pequot War, Connecticut now received tribute from the Indians of all nearby settlements.

Thanks for visiting! To learn more about Waterbury Connecticut, you might want to visit CT-Waterbury-L, a discussion list about the History and Genealogy of Waterbury. For more information about the author's genealogy, see Gar's Genealogy Page.