Taverns and Drinking in Early America

Western Mass History and Resources

Deerfield: Old Pocumtuck Valley

The homeward march was delayed so long that Indians from neighboring camps began to appear. A released captive reported that Philip with a thousand warriors was at hand, and as the enemy swarmed on rear and flank, the retreat became almost a panic. The straggling and the wounded were cut off. Captain Turner was shot while crossing Green River, about a mile from the battle-field, and the party, under Captain Samuel Holyoke, reached Hatfield with the loss of forty-two men.

The warring Indians never recovered from the blow at Peskeompskut. Besides their slain, they lost their year’s stock of fish, and the hundreds of acres of Indian corn they had planted with the assurance of a permanent abode in that region. The broken, disheartened clans drifted aimlessly eastward. They quarrelled among themselves. Philip, with a few followers, skulked back to Pokanoket, where he fell, August 12, 1676. The war ended soon after.

In the spring of 1677, some of the old settlers came back and planted their deserted fields; preparations for building were well advanced by some of the more venturesome, when, September 19, they were surprised by Ashpelon with a party of Indians from Canada, and all were either killed or captured.

In 1679 the General Court passed an act regulating the resettlement of deserted towns, requiring the consent of certain authorities who should prescribe

“In what form, way & manner, such townes shallbe settled & erected, wherein they are required to haue a principal respect to neerness and conveniency of habitation for securitie against enemyes & more comfort for Xtian comunion & enjoyment of God’s worship & education of children in schools & civility.”

By virtue of this act a committee was appointed under whose direction a resettlement of the town began in the spring of 1682. Induced by grants of land, new settlers appeared, and the plantation progressed rapidly. In 1686, sixty Proprietors are named. This year, young John Williams appears on the scene as candidate for the ministry and, September 21, he received a “call.” He was married July 20, 1687, to Eunice, daughter of Rev. Eleazer Mather, of Northampton. October 18, 1688, he was ordained, and the First Church was organized.

The second meeting-house was built in 1684, the third in 1695, the fourth, a very elaborate one, in 1729, the fifth, the present brick structure, in 1824, and it is still occupied by the First Church. In all these, save the last, the worshippers were “seated” by authority.

Edited & adapted by Laurel O’Donnell.
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This page was last updated on 14 May 2006