Thursday, February 8, 2018

"Snow On Cemetery Stones"

A Brief Reflection


     It has been several months since I have written: holidays, a short bought with illness, lack of motivation?  Today, I wandered over to the Grand Trunk Cemetery to take some winter shots of the cemetery after yesterday's storm.  As I trudged across the soccer field,  I thought 'I need to visit this place for inspiration; to remember why I started this blog in the first place.'   While I have been accumulating lots of pieces of research, I'm not quite ready to share.  So, for today, I'll share this little poem I found  written by a teenager, and some pictures of the cemetery in the snow.


 I watch as nature masks herself in
flakes of snow that leap, from heights.
 They fall in endless tandem
Hiding her veiled cruelty.

In winter's months when all is bare,
No flowers to distract the eyes,
We see the gravestones wearing away
And the remainder of unfinished good-
byes.

We see Natures's curse and her destruction
In the words once legible.
"Will" who preferred 'William'
Is now 'Wil' with one 'L' left alive.

And what of the rest of us
Who walk the world still.
Will she shroud our names in
supposed beauty,
And leave all that we are
To become all that we once were.

by_swoopingpigeons









     The cemetery is a lovely place to visit for a walk or just  for quiet reflection, especially on a brisk, and sunny winter morning.

Monday, October 23, 2017

For the Record

     Our sixth annual Daffodil Planting Party was a success of course,  because of the hard work of the participants. Despite the small number of crew who opted to spend their Sunday afternoon digging in the dirt at the Grand Trunk Cemetery, several hundred bulbs were planted in four locations within the cemetery. We were fortunate to receive a large number of donated bulbs from the City's Cemetery Division, as well as from Skillin's Greenhouse, Jean Koster, and each participant.

  I still have many bulbs left, so I am hoping that if Girl Scout Troops who may be looking for an outside activity during their Troop meetings, or for a fun service project, have only to contact me,  and I'd be happy to provide the bulbs and tools and the support. 

 A heartful "thanks" to Janet and Eric Christopher, Stacia Hanscom and her Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 1547: Nora Hansom and Hadleigh McPartian, Karen McPartian, Hadleigh's Mom, Ann Rich, from Skillins' Greenhouse, who has volunteered for the last two years, and has brought along donated bulbs, compliment of Terry Skillin,   Kitty Chadbourne, representing the Elizabeth Wadsworth Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and our indomitable Sawyers, descendants of Isaac Sawyer, Sr., Isaac Sawyer, Jr.  and Anthony Sawyer, all who are interred here at the GTC. We are always happy to see Benjamin L. Sawyer,III and his wife Norma, and Robert Sawyer. Robert celebrated his 91st birthday this past August.  He is amazing.  He walks every morning from his home in South Portland to the Bug Light and back!


  .
Janet and Eric Christopher raked leaves on Saturday.


Stickers I prepared to give participants.

As promised, donuts and cider for the workers!

Donated bulbs ready for planting.

Tools ready!


Nora Hansom and Hadleigh McPartian, Junior Girl Scout, Troop 1547 hard at work.

Stacia Hansom and Karen McPartian share a moment.

Ben, Norma and Robert Sawyer

Anthony Sawyer's descendants.

 
 
Kitty Chadbourne, representing the Elizabth Wadsworth Chapter of the
Daughters of the American Revolution.

A very special "Thanks" to all for the care you have given to this little piece of Portland history, and by your service, the honor
you have paid to the souls interred here



Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Grand Trunk Cemetery Update - October 2017




 
     For the last seven years,  since Samantha (Allshouse) Lopez and Kayla Theriault initiated their project, "Unearthing the Roots of the Back Cove and East Deering Communities", a project to recover the East Deering/Grand Trunk Cemetery, we have attempted to map out the graves of the early settlers by placing steel numbered pins where we have found evidence of the burial sites. By evidence, I mean the partial remnants of monuments made of slate or field stones, most with no engravings.
 
 









 
     To date, we have marked 121 graves.  However, scattered bits of slate and field stones have been located throughout the cemetery. These are the remains of headstones, some, probably worn-out by age and weather, most were destroyed by vandals who smashed them  with glass bottles; a sad testament to the drinking parties that took place in the 70's and 80's.   Never-the-less, we do what we can to preserve the little that remains.
 

      The  1936 WPA survey listed 197 marked graves.  Unfortunately, the 347 grave forms which could provide vital information as to who was interred  and the actual locations of the graves are still missing.  Now that the city has hired an expert archivist and re-activated a committee to investigate old records and artifacts in the vaults at City Hall,  I am hopeful that these grave forms will be found in the future.

     One of the mysteries of the ancient graveyard has been the area on the little berm where four 12x12 inch granite corner stones are located.  The 1936 chart indicated that there was once an ornamental iron fence with a gate which opened on the side which measured 60 inches.  This was a prominent enclosure for two graves.


The square on the left shows the ornamental enclosure and the two graves.
      Who is buried here is a mystery.  We might imagine that the two souls  may have been husband and wife, probably with some degree of wealth and prominence for that area.  I couldn't help wonder if this might be the final resting place for Joseph Lunt and his wife Jane?  Apparently, Joseph was a highly respected and regarded gentleman, whose death at a relatively young age, devastated his wife Jane (Noyes) Lunt.  The only record that still exists indicated they were buried in section I of the cemetery; wherever that may be is unknown.


Two examples of Victorian Enclosures

      For those of you who might visit the cemetery,  or participate this Sunday in our annual Daffodil Planting Party, you'll notice that the Cemetery Crew has moved the kiosk, which houses the extant names of those interred and a graphic depiction of the cemetery.  Until recently, the kiosk was positioned on this berm.  It's now located at the front of the entrance to the cemetery from the soccer field. 

     Once the kiosk was removed, Joel and I did probe the gravesite hopeful of finding remnants of a monument. No such luck!  What we did find, at about two feet down, were the corner pieces of a rather good sized granite base.  Each piece has tooled markings  where there were probably iron bolts which attached to the actual headstone.  There were a few slate spacers and an oval stone with a drilled out circle; probably to hold another iron pin.  Beneath these, were broken, smaller pieces of the base and an elongated slab.  A small hole of about 3 inches opened up revealing a deep chamber.  Not wishing to disturb what is inevitably the burial chamber, we filled in what we had uncovered, leaving only the larger corner pieces.  The mystery prevails.

The tooled corner pieces. 
 Two steel numbered plates have been placed to indicate the two burials.


     
     Sunday, October 22nd is our sixth annual Daffodil Planting Party.  It promises to be a lovely, warm October day.  The three small gardens have been turned over and are ready for planting.





     There will be cider and donuts for the workers.  It is always fun, and the company is delightful.  I hope those of you who live in the Portland area will join us in our effort to continue to beautify this sacred and unique historic space.
 
 
 
















Friday, September 29, 2017

Rev. and Major Samuel Moody: Leader of the Resettlement


Portrait in Oils by Joseph Badger
Museum of Art
New Britain, Connecticut
     After the de-commissioning and demolishing of Fort Casco, Major Samuel Moody petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts to settle in the abandoned town formerly Casco and to bring with him some of his disbanded soldiers, their wives and children.  On July 20, 1716, the Order was passed as follows:
A memorial presented by Captain Samuel Moody, late Commander of his Majesty's fort, at Casco Bay, praying that he might have liberty to build a small fortification, with stockades, at the town of Falmouth, commonly called Old Casco, about his own house, upon his own land in the said town, and that he may furnish the same with arms and ammunitions at his own charges for himself and the inhabitants there, being in number fifteen men, beside women and children.  Ordered that the prayer of said petition be granted.
THE HISTORY OF PORTLAND, FROM 1632-1864: William Willis, pg. 321

     Thus began the arduous, complicated, albeit exciting, re-birth of the colony that would, in time become Portland, Maine.  The following is a list of some of the men whose names survived and  accompanied Maj. Moody.  All would become new proprietors in time.  They are:
James Doughty     John Gustin     Mark Rounds     Matthew Scales
          William Scales     Ebenezer Hall     Thomas Thomes     John Wass    
         
           James Mills     Joseph Bean     John Barbour     James Barbour

      William Willis in his chapter called the 'Character of First Settlers' makes an interesting observation and records a rather harsh opinion of the Rev. Thomas Smith, who would be become the first settled pastor of the town, and who was actively recruited and supported by these new proprietors.

The persons who revived the settlement of Falmouth, came from different parts of the country; they were actuated by no common principle, and held together by no common bond, except that of self-preservation.  It was a frontier post, and few persons who were able to live in more secure places, or unless moved by an uncommon spirit of enterprise, would venture their persons and property in so exposed a situation.  The first settlers were consequently poor; many of them were soldiers, "the cankers of a calm world", whom the peace, of 1713, had thrown upon society, and who found a resting place here.

     Willis goes on to request some indulgence of the venerable, and usually sympathetic pastor, whose prejudice against the "early settlers who thronged here to the exclusion of the ancient proprietors, whose cause he seems to have warmly espoused."  One of the major complexities for the rebirth of the settlement was the return of relatives of those people who had previously owned granted land, before the destruction of the town.  How these claims would be reconciled with the designs and rights of the new settlers would be disputed many times causing unrest and hard feelings.  This issue would finally be settled to the satisfaction of both parties, but not until 1732.

     When Major Moody and his band of soldiers arrived, they found that Elisha Ingersoll from Kittery, was already living in his old family homestead near the Fore River.  Apparently, he drowned soon after.  Sometime in 1715, Benjamin Skillings and Zachariah Brackett returned to their fathers' claims on Back Cove and were working on refurbishing the old homesteads.

    The focus of re-building would take place primarily on 'The Neck' because it was more defensible, and closer to the potential sources for industry and commerce.  Major Moody settled at the foot of King Street (India St.), fronting the beach at a spot on the corner of our present Fore and Hancock Streets.  Others in the effort to re-build also settled near Maj. Moody.


     I was particularly interested in the Proprietors map shown above, and outlined a few names of persons who will be discussed as they relate to the East Deering area and my continued research on the East Deering/ Grand Trunk Cemetery.  

     Before continuing further, I want to pass on a fuller picture of Samuel Moody, who some, perhaps rightly, refer to as the 'second founder' of Portland. There is no question, he was the leader and promoter of Portland's revival, and deserves our recognition.

     The following is from the 'Biographical Sketches of the Moody Family by Charles C.P. Moody, published in Boston in 1817:




 
    
 
 
 
     As we have done since the beginning of the project:  "Unearthing the Roots of the Back Cove and East Deering Community", a project to recover the East Deering/Grand Trunk Cemetery, we will hold our annual Daffodil Planting Party at the cemetery in October.  Readers and followers of this blog are most welcome, if they live in the area, to join our Portland Girl Scouts and Friends of the Grand Trunk Cemetery in continuing to beautify this little historic cemetery behind the Presumpscot School at 69 Presumpscot Street.




Thursday, July 13, 2017

Portland Part II- From Siege of Fort Loyal - Fort New Casco

    
This plaque is all that remains to memorialize the events at Fort Loyall.
It is attached to the brick building once part of the Grand Trunk Railroad,
 now a bank at the foot of India Street
     The fort was rebuilt and renamed Fort Falmouth in 1742, located at the foot of India Street.  An earthwork was built in 1755, called Lower Battery and re-armed for the French and Indian War.   In 1776, Upper Battery was constructed at the upper end of Free Street, and Magazine Battery was built at Monument Square during the Revolutionary War.  Nothing remains of any of these structures today.

     The siege of Fort Loyall and the massacre of the two hundred souls who sought refuge there,  caused the evacuation of people living in other settlements in Falmouth, and the abandonment of the garrisons in Scarborough, Spurwink and Purpoodock.  Most people went south; some to Portsmouth, Salem and even Boston.  Apparently temporary admission as citizens of these settlements was granted to these refugees, acknowledging the  constant and unrelenting threat to their lives and well being that they had suffered.  Some brave souls would attempt to return after a measure of peace was attained after 1699.

     The historical record holds very few names of those who perished in the attack on Fort Loyall :

     John Parker and his son James Parker   Thomas Cloice     Edward Crocker

     George Bogwell     Joseph Ramsdell  Seth Brackett ( son of Anthony Brackett
 Sr. who was killed on his farm in the battle of 1689.) 

     Lieut. Thaddeus Clarke, along with thirteen young men who went to secure the garrison near Munjoy Hill,

     Capt. Robert Lawrence who was mortally wounded during the siege and died shortly after.

    Here is an account of the Prisoners taken captive:

     Lieut. Anthony Brackett, Jr.     James Ross     Peter Morrell       James Alexander

     Joshua Swanton (a boy)     Samuel Souter      Thomas Baker (a boy)    George Gray 

     Sarah Davis ( a girl, and daughter of Lieut. Clark)  and her sister, and

     Capt. Silvanus (Sylvanus) Davis.

     Two years later, in 1692, Col. Benjamin Church on his way to an expedition with Sir William Pitt, stopped at the site of Fort Loyall and found the remains of those victims of the massacre lying as they had been left; only bones bleached by the elements and ravished by birds.  Some say, the soldiers, with Col. Church buried them somewhere on the site of the old fort.  John T. Hull intimated that they may have taken them to the  Old Burial Ground at Eastern Cemetery.  We don't know.  The large cannon was removed and taken to Boston.

     Capt. Sylvanus Davis was released after four months in exchange for a French captive taken by the English.  Upon his return from captivity, he wrote a detailed and emotional account:  "Declaration of Sylvanus Davis inhabitant of the town of Falmouth, in the Province of Maine, in New England, concerning the cruel, treacherous and barbarous management of a war against the English in the eastern parts of New England by the cruel Indians...."  Mass. Hist. Soc. Col., 3rd ser., I(1825) 101 -12.  For those who might want to read this, you can access it as an e book online.

     Silvanus (Sylvanus) Davis was born c. 1635 and died on April 19, 1703 in Hull (Nantasket), Massachusetts.  From 1659 on he owned land in Eastern Maine and on Casco Bay where he engaged in trade with the Indians and settlers, and also with the French. 

     In the early 1680's he moved from the Kennebec to Falmouth.  He was an accomplished businessman and landowner, operator of both a sawmill and a grist-mill and a store while he carried on coastal trade  He became a justice of the peace in 1686, and after his return from captivity, he was named a representative from Maine to the General Council.  Later in the 1690's he moved to Massachusetts where he settled in Hull, still retaining some of his interests in Maine.  He died there in 1703.

     The 1690's were devastating for the English settlers throughout the Province of Maine, raids continued and those that could, left the vicinity in droves seeking safety wherever they could find it.  The French and Indian allies had the upper-hand.  While the Indians seemed like victors, according to William David Barry,
"their numbers were soon depleted in the epidemics that struck in 1695 and 1698."

Most settlements were totally destroyed, and thousands of refugees streamed into the Bay Colony.  In 1694-1695, the General Council was so alarmed by the loss of its frontier buffer zone that it passed :An Act to Prevent the Deserting of the Frontiers."

     Barry goes on to say:
While they might shed patriotic tears over conditions in Maine, they were not about to spend much to protect the inhabitants, and expected them to remain loyal defenders.

In 1697, a European peace treaty was signed, but it failed to establish an eastern border for Maine, and it was not until 1699 that local English and Indians came to peace terms.  By then, fewer than 1,000 English were left in the district. 

     As a term of good faith, the Abenaki asked for a suitable place to trade and repair tools.  Fort New Casco was erected and improved by 1700 by Col. William Wolfgang Romer. It's location was on a farm located on today's Route 88 across from the Pine Grove Cemetery.


     Col. Romer was a military engineer who was engaged in drawing maps and designing plans of fortifications in New York and New England.  He received his military training as a military engineer in the Dutch Army before becoming a member of the English Royal Engineers

     Here is a description compiled by Pete Payette- @2014 American Forts Network

Fort New Casco:  (1698 - 1716) Falmouth Foreside
         A large 70 - foot square earthwork and palisade fort, also known as Casco Fort, with an Officers' quarters, storehouse, and guardhouse,  It was attacked by the French in 1703, rebuilt and enlarged in 1705 as an oblong square 250 feet long and 190 feet wide, with a supporting blockhouse at the shoreline.  It was demolished by the Massachusetts government due to budget cuts.  Some earthworks may still exist on private property (on Old Powderhouse Road?) 

    
This is a modern rendering of the 1705 cross - section of Fort Casco
by Sisu458 - Own work, Created July 2014
 
     The peace lasted about three years until war broke out again between the French and the English.  In 1702, Massachusetts became apprehensive that the Eastern Indians would resume hostilities.  Governor Joseph Dudley visited the coast as far as Pemaquid, and in an effort to persuade the Indians to stay neutral or better, support the English, he held a conference with the Indian Chiefs.

    On June 20, Governor Dudley convened a grand Council at Fort New Casco where the chiefs of the Norridgewock, Penobscot, Penacook, Ameriscogginaa and Pequakett tribes assembled.  Great ceremonious rituals were held and two stone pillars named the 'two brothers', were erected to give testimony to the pledge of peace promised on both sides.

     The frontier between New France and New England remained quiet until December.  Governor Louis-Hector de Calliere and Vaudreuil, soon to be his successor,  authorized the Abenaki to resume the border war.  Although Governor Dudley received a warning from the Abenaki Chief Moxus about the impending aggression, Dudley brushed the warning aside, not believing the Abenaki would go to war again.  Sadly, he was wrong.

     This time, Indians raided the settlements at Spurwink and Purpooduck where the Jordan family had returned along with others.  Twenty-two people were killed or captured at Spurwink ; the Jordan family. At Purpoodock, nine families were killed.  At the area we now call Spring Point, twenty-five were killed and eight taken prisoners.  Homes and garrisons were set on fire; the destruction of old Falmouth was almost complete.

    Fort New Casco was commanded by Maj. John March.  On August 10, 1703, the Indians under the leadership of Chief Moxus sent Major Church a message under the flag of truce that they had a very important communication to convey.  Since the Indian party appeared to be unarmed, March agreed to meet with them taking only a few of his men as guards.

     Major March was ambushed and two of his guards were killed.  A garrison of ten soldiers commanded by Sgt. Hook rescued March and the Wabanaki withdrew.  They skulked around the area setting fire to the surrounding houses.  The rest of the Indian battalion in 200 war canoes arrived to complete the destruction of the village and to attack the fort in the same manner they had destroyed Fort Loyall in 1690.  Fortunately, the "Province Galley",  under the command of Capt. Cyprian Southack arrived on August 19th and relieved the siege, dispersing the Abenaki and some 500 French with its guns.  The natives killed 25 English and took many others prisoner.

     On September 26, 1703, Governor Dudley ordered three hundred men to march toward the main Indian stronghold located in present day Fryburg (Pigwacket).  He also authorized bounties be paid for Indian scalps.

     Maj. John March leading the 300 New Englanders chased the Wabanaki back to Pigwacket.  March killed six and captured six.  These were the first of New England's reprisals of the war.

     In 1707, Major Samuel Moody became the Commander of Fort New Casco and remained so,  until after peace finally returned with the Treaty of Portsmouth in 1713, and the fort at New Casco was ordered to be demolished in 1716. Major Moody would become a key figure in the resettlement of Falmouth (Portland.)
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     I will resume the story in late August after visiting with our wonderful grandchildren.  Enjoy your summer!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Portland

Our local historian and friend, Herb Adams proclaims
the Declaration of Independence at the Longfellow House
on July 4th, 2017

 
     We recently celebrated our 241st year as an independent Nation.  I think it's rather amazing, and, considering the tumultuous century that preceded; perhaps even miraculous.  This is certainly evident in Maine's early history,and for the purposes of this blog, the city of Portland.   I will not attempt to give a full account of this history, but highlight events that will lead to the re-settlement and the stories of those early settlers of the East Deering Village interred at the Grand Trunk Cemetery. 

     I'd like to cite a few resources that I found useful and hope that those of you who want to know more details, may find helpful:
 
William Willis's History of Portland is a prime resource and still insightful for a 21st century reader.  William David Barry's Maine: The Wilder Half of New England is well written and documented, as is the book Deering, which I have cited previously.  Maine History Online: 1668 - 1774 Settlement and Strive  gives an accurate and unbiased account of the period with honesty and clarity. 
 
 
     The first permanent settlement of the area that would ultimately become Portland was in 1633 when George Cleeves and his partner Richard Tucker set about to established a fishing and trading village.  At the time the area which included present day Portland, Falmouth, Westbrook, and Cape Elizabeth. was called Casco. The period was marked with disputes with the authorities over land grants, religious affiliations and governance of the province of Maine. 
 
     In 1658, the Massachusetts Bay Colony took possession of the area and re-named the town Falmouth. With this action came the development of a court system and town offices that added a measure of security to its citizens. which also included new arrivals from Scotland, Ireland , Wales, the Isle of Jersey and West Africa. Maine became a colony of a colony.
 
 
     The Indians who resided in the area of Casco Bay were called Aucocisco and were a relatively independent band of Abenaki who fished and planted corn.  In 1640, there were only seven families settled in the area:  three on the 'Neck' and four along Back Cove.  These new-comers were different from the fishermen and traders of the previous decade. It was a relatively peaceful period for the families who began to establish their family farms around Back Cove. 
 
     Local Indians maintained a friendly, though cautious relationship with the English, at times "signing deeds to land in return for yearly payments."  Deering, pg.33.  Tensions grew locally, as more and more settlers arrived and encroached on Indian cornfields by allowing livestock to roam freely, destroying crops.
 
      George Cleeves made conveyances of land principally at Back Cove to several people shown by deed to be living there about 1658:
 
     George Ingersoll, George Lewis, John Lewis and Nathaniel Wallis, Thomas Skillings( These will become important later in our story.)
 
     By 1670, more than a dozen closely related families had established farms along Back Cove to Martin's Point.  Some of the names that are known are:
  Anthony Brackett, George Lewis, John Lewis, Philip Lewis, Phineas Rider, James Ross, Thomas Skillings, Nathaniel Wallis, Thomas Wakely and Matthew Coe.  In total, by 1675 there were forty families spread out through Falmouth.
 
In the beginning of the year 1675, the prosperity of the town stood at a high point;  population had been steadily increasing in every part, and its various resources were rapidly developing.  Mills had been established at Capisic and on the lower falls of Presumpscot River, and the borders of both rivers were occupied by an active and enterprising people.  But their opening prospects were destined soon to be changed, and their hopes crushed.
William Willis:  The History of Portland, From 1632 - 1864

From 1675 - 1763, Maine became the killing ground in a series of brutal. debilitating wars between the English and the combined forces of France and the Indians.
William David Barry:  Maine: The Wilder Half of New England

     Barry reflects on the account of the  " attack on Pemiquid from  the words of John Gyles while working on his family farm,  and says this:
 
The attack on Pemiquid might stand for the hundreds of attacks and ambushes that occurred between 1675 and the Treaty of Paris in 1763.  It was a war of no quarter in which both sides killed old and young alike in a fury of racial hatred and struggle  for land.  All of this was set against the backdrop of Anglo- French rivalry on a world-wide scale.
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By the middle of the 17th century, the Abenaki were living in a nightmarish landscape shaped by conflict, disease, and alcohol and they turned to the (French) missionaries for help and reassurance. 
 
 By 1670, Indian frustration with trade abuses, land encroachments, rum dealing and free roaming English livestock in their cornfields was mounting.  Sensing these tensions, in the fall 1674, English officials banned trade of shot and powder to Indians.  The Abenaki suffered severe food shortages during the following winter, and some fled to Canada seeking French aid.

In summer 1675 war broke out in Southern New England between Pilgrims and Wampanoags led by King Philip, or Metacomet and strained relations through New England.  Relations between French "Papists" and Indian "heathens" fueled English fears that all Indians were conspirators of King Philip, and with war raging to the south, the General Court sent commissioners to Maine trading posts to enforce the ban on arms.  English scalp hunters were paid bounty to hunt Indians south of the Piscataqua, no doubt crossing over the river into Maine as well.

Maine History Online-1668 - 1774 Settlement & Strife
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       In 1676, Falmouth was attacked and the Wakley family killed with two children taken captive.  Raids continued on English villages  from Saco to Casco Bay.  Later,  settlers all through the region would look for escape on islands or further to Salem or New Hampshire.  The settlement at Falmouth would remain abandoned for two years.  When they returned, the English colonists erected Fort Loyall to defend against future attacks,
 
 
     Attempts were made by both the English and the Indians to negotiate peace but these were unsuccessful and conflict continued.  From 1689 until 1699, Comte de Frontenac, the governor of New France set out on a campaign to conquer all of North America.  Large forces of French and Indians drove the English from settlements east of Falmouth.
 
     In September 1689,  200 Norridgewock, Penobscot, and Canadian Indians landed on Peaks Island,  and on September 21st  attacked the Back Cove settlements.  Having gotten word of the potential attacks, Massachusetts sent Major Benjamin Church, noted Indian fighter along with several militia units to aid the locals. 
 

 
Near dawn on September 21, 1689, a flotilla of war canoes crossed Back Cove and attacked the Brackett Farm.  Anthony Brackett gave the alarm and sent his sons to the Neck for help.  Church and his force of 200, joined by the Casco militia, raced through the thickets toward Ware Creek.  A brutal, daylong pitched battle took place where now I-295 separates Deering Oaks from the University of Southern Maine.  Fought across the tidal stream and on a small bridge, probably near the corner of Congress and St. John's Streets, the battle raged until the Indians withdrew.  The sense of victory was short lived, however, for Church was obliged to return to Massachusetts.
Deering:  pg. 34


            Although the majority of settlers wanted to leave the village expecting reprisals in the spring, Benjamin Church convinced many to stay, promising to do all in his power to return or send necessary aid when he gave his report to the authorities in Massachusetts.  Unfortunately, his pleadings and those of Silvanus Davis who would become the Commander of Fort Loyall in 1690 laid on deaf ears until it was too late.  For those of you who want to read the full account of the siege of Fort Loyall and the Destruction of Falmouth, I recommend either the online version or in book form:
 



     It is an amazing story of bravery, brutality, shame, ruthlessness and stupidity that led to the abandonment of a young but potentially prosperous settlement for twenty-five years. It's a very long document, but I think some would find it interesting and quite a story. It was presented to the Maine Genealogical Society on June 2, 1885 by editor John T. Hull.
 
     I'm going to end this post with the account of the siege from the words of Capt. Silvanus Davis,  taken from William Willis recorded in the History of Portland.