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Campbell, John (fl. 1747) [John Campbell's declaration regarding the Damariscotta River settlement]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.10411 Author/Creator: Campbell, John (fl. 1747) Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts Type: Manuscript document signed Date: 26 February 1747 Pagination: 2 p. ; 37.4 x 23 cm.

Summary of Content: Attests that he took up land in an area under the charge of Colonel [David] Dunbar. Dunbar was replaced by Colonel Samuel Waldo, and some families left the area while others remained. The greatest concentration of settlers dwelled in the township of Walpole, Massachusetts, where Campbell asserts "...they built houses and made some considerable Improvements in Farming and Lumbering, which all those who remained there and others that were added to the settlement of the remove aforementioned continued to do till the beginning of the Spanish War..." When war between Britain and France broke out in Europe, settlers anticipated increased vulnerability to Native American attacks, and many moved to more secure settlements, such as Boston. Waldo garrisoned two houses at Damariscotta River, but when settlers heard of Native American attacks in July 1745 at St. George's and [Medomak] River, others left for Boston. In May [1746], "the Indians ambushed five men belonging to me of the the Garrison aforesaid killed one of them and wounded another, and on or about the 22nd July [1746] ambushed nine other persons within about fifteen or twenty rodd of their Garrison and killed and scalped eight of them ... three Men two Women and three Children ... " After this, the remaining settlers evacuated, leaving the Damariscotta River settlement "in generall laid Waste..." Only ten families remain, in two garrisons, and they will soon have to evacuate because they can not "make Improvements or follow any Business." Asserts that before their evacuation, inhabitants built four saw mills and a corn mill. Signed 26 February 1746/7 by Jacob Wendell, Justice of the Peace. Wendell attests to the veracity of Campbell's declaration.

Background Information: Dated 1746/7, 1747 reflecting the present-day calendar. All dates are listed as noted within this document, except for those in brackets, which reflect the present-day calendar.

Full Transcript: John Campbell of Damerescotta [sic] [inserted: River] (Westward about eight Miles of Madomock River and about Eighteen Miles from St Georges Fort) in the County of York Gentle, Declareth and ...saith that in the Year 1730 he took up and built and Improved upon a Tract of Lands in sd. River under Collo Dunbar, who that year Settled about Sixty Familys [sic] on said River, That after Collo Dunbars Removall [sic] by His Majestys order obtained by Collo Waldo who [inserted: with others] claimed the Lands aforesaid agreat [sic] part of the said Sixty Familys quitted their Settlements, some of whom went to New Settlements on St Georges River, and others to Boston and parts Adjacent, and twenty other Familys came & Settled att [sic] Said Damerascotta River, the greatest part of the aforementioned Eighty Familys, were Settled within the tract or intended Township called by Collo Dunbar Walpole where they Built Houses and made some Considerable Improvements in Farming and Lumbering, which all those who remained there and others That were added to the Settlement after the remove aforementioned continued to do till the begining [sic] of the Spanish War, when from the apprehentions [sic] of a Sudden War with France and of Consequence as they imagined with the Indians, many removed from the River aforesaid to Boston and other places, as did others on the Declaration of the present French War. -
That in the Winter of the Year 1743 Collo Waldo with some other Gentlen agreeable to a Vote of the Genl Court of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, and by order of Govo Shirley came to Damerascotta River where they directed to the Garrisoning of two Houses att the Charge of the Province aforesaid, and gave out two Severall [sic] Sums of the Province money (as this Declarant understood) to the said Householders for effecting the said Garrisons they being unable or Discouraged from carrying on the same att their own particular Cost which by application of said moneye [sic] was accordingly perfected, and on the Declaration of a French Warr [sic], Eighteen Soldiers in the pay of the Province aforesaid were posted there under proper officers which gave great encouragement to the Settlers on said River, But as the Settlers were few in number being then Reduced to 25 or 26 Familys and not able to withstand an Indian Warr or while in Garrison to Support themselves by the Improvements of their Farms, or by Lumberg, other Familys also Removed to Boston and places of Security that upon the Eastern Indians Breaking the Peace in the Month of July 1745 and the Inhabitants aforesaid hearing of the People of St Georges & Madomock Rivers being Killed and of the frequent appearence [sic] of the Indians in that Neighborhood some others also Removed towards Boston, and those who Remained were necessitated [2] to be in Close Garrison where they were unable to follow any Buisness [sic] That on the 25th of May last the Indians ambushed five Men belonging to one of the Garrisons aforesaid killed one of them and wounded another, and on or about the 22 July last ambushed Nine other persons within about fifteen or Twenty Rodd of their Garrison and killed and scalped eight of them Viz. three Men two Women and three children and [inserted: killed] some Cattle soon after which the said Garrison was evacuated hereby the few Remaining Inhabitants were yett [sic] more Discouraged & some of them Removed to places of greater Security
And the Declarant further saith that the aforesaid Settlements and Improvements on Damerascotta River are in generall [sic] laid Waste, and that there now Remains Ten Familys only in that River, which are contained in two Garrisons being the only Inhabited houses in said River, and the said ten Familys haveing [sic] to this Declarent Certain Knowledge near exhausted their whole Substance and are not able to make Improvements or follow any Buisness there for their Support must necessarily very soon Remove from thence as this declarent and this Family has very lately been obliged to do
And the Declarant also further saith that in Addition to other considerable Improvements made by the Inhabitants upon Damerascotta River Four Saw Mills & a Corn Mill were built at the Head of said River by Capt. William Vaughan since Deceased which were of great Benefit both to the Province & the Inhabitants which Mills are now Standing there but by Reason of the present Indian War are unimproved.
John Campbell

[strikeout] [inserted: Province] of Massachusetts Bay: Ss:


Boston February 26th: 1746/7
Leut. John Campbell made Oath to the foregoeing declaration
Signed by him after it was red unto him
before me Jacob Wendell Just. Pea:
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People: Campbell, John, fl. 1747
Wendell, Jacob, fl. 1747
Waldo, Samuel, 1695-1759

Historical Era: Colonization and Settlement, 1585-1763

Subjects: Waldo PatentImmigration and MigrationBuilding ConstructionAgriculture and Animal HusbandryIndustryMillForestryGlobal History and CivicsForeign AffairsMilitary HistoryFranceAmerican Indian HistoryRefugeesFortificationDeathInjury or WoundAtrocityChildren and FamilyWomen's HistoryWartime Pillaging and Destruction

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