Attack of 1689/90 by William Vaughan and Richard Martyn
Account of attack by French and Native Americans on English settlement at Salmon Falls and today's South Berwick, Maine. Likely sites include Quamphegan, present location of the Counting House Museum, and the homestead of Humphrey Chadbourne.
Portsm 18th March 1689/90
Much Hon Sirs
Yesterdy we gave accot of ye dreadful destruction of Salmon ffalls the perticulers whereof please take as followeth;
The enemy made their onset between break of the day & sun-rise—when most were a bed & no watch kept neither in fort nor house they presently took possession of ye fort to prevent any of ours doing it & so carried all before them by a surprize, none of our men being able to get together into a body to oppose them, so that in the place were kild & taken between fourscore & 100 persons, of wch between twenty & Thirty able men, the fort & upards of twenty houses burnt, most of the Cattle burnt in the houses or otherwise kil'd which were very considerable from thence the Enemy proceeded to Quamphegon where lived onely Thomas Homes who upon the Alarm retired from his house to a small Garrison built near his saw mill wheither also some of Salmon falls yt made their Escape fled, about 30 of the Enemies surrounded Homes house, but met with noe opposition there till fourteen men of ours came up from ye lower parts of ye Town, & undescryed by ye Enemy, made a shot upon ye party of Indians at Holmes house, Sundry of ym standing before the door, at wch shot they say three of the Enemy fell, ye rest run into the house & broke through ye backside thereof, & being more numerous than ours forced our men to retire, nine of them got safe home & five Escaped to Holmes Garrison, only one of ours wounded in the Encounter, then the Enemy burnt Holmes house & proceeded about a mile lower down & burnt the ministrs house with two more & Assaulted Spencers Garrison but were repel'd and so retir'd. James Plaisted who was taken at Salmon falls was sent by Hope Hood (Commandr in chief of the Indians) wth a flag of Truce to Thom. Holmes for ye surrendr of his Garrison—
promising liberty to depart upon his soe doing, but Plaisted returned not nor was ye Garrison surrendered.
The sd Plaisted who was in ye Enemies hands many houres Informed yt he saw of ye Enemy one hundred & fifty men well accoutred & Guesses them to be about one half ffrench; upon their taking possession he saith that ten of them french & Indians made A dance wch Hope hood told him were all officers, he also told him that his Brother Gooden who liv'd in Loves house was going to be try'd for his life by A Councill of Warr; for yt in their takeing Loves house the said Gooden had kil'd one ffrench man & mortally wounded another & further that there was Eight french ships design'd for Pascataque River to destroy ye same.
The Alarm being given to all adjacent Towns in order to their reliefe we sent about thirty men from this Town, as many went from Dover, & a part from Yorke together wth wt could be got from their own town, but before they could unite their force it was neare night & then they marcht wth about 100 men under Comand of Capt Jo. Hamond Comandr of ye uper part of Kittery, the scouts yt went before just as they came within sight of Salmon falls discovered one of ye Enemy who was binding up his pack & staying behinde his Company fell into our hands wch proved to be a frenchman whose examination in short we herewth send to you & to morrow morning intend to send the persons towards you by land, none by Water being just ready to goe; our fforces proceeded in pursuit of ye Enemy & about 2 mile above ye ffort of Salmon falls at the farther house up in the woods there discovered them about ye setting of ye sunn, our men presently fell upon them & they as resolutely oppos'd them, in short the fight lasted as long as they could see friends from Enemies, in wch we lost two men, one of York another of Cochecho kil'd upon ye place & 6 or 7 wounded some is feared mortally; wt damage we did the Enemy we can't at present say. This is all ye accot we can at present Give; to morrow intend you shall hear againe from us; we Intrem Subscribe ourselves
Hon Srs yor humble servts;
(Found in the Collection of the Maine Historical Society, Vol. V, pp. 51-59, quoted in Everett Stackpole's Old Kittery and Her Families, pp. 163-164)