Item of the Day: Boston Two Hundred Years Ago (1831)

Full Title: Boston Two Hundred Years Ago. Or the Romantic Story of Miss Ann Carter, Daughter of one of the first settlers, and the Celebrated Indian Chief, Thundersquall; with Many Humorous Reminiscences and Events of Olden Time. 1831.

 

BOSTON IN 1630.

Whate’er in life may be my varied lot.

Boston, dear Boston, n’er shall be forgot.   R.T.P

 

The very spot on which Boston now stands, was once the abiding place of the lords of the forest. Here, where a populous and great city appears to our view, the Indians, in other times, were wont to assemble and offer up thair [sic] prayers to the great Spirit, for a blessing on those of their giant race who should follow after them.

It is our intention in the following pages to give some account of the extraordinary story of Miss Carter, (daughter of one of the first settlers,) and Thundersquall, a celebrated Indian Chief. We shall also relate many new and interesting reminiscences which occurred anterior to this period, the authenticity of which, we rely on. A valuable old manuscript, written more than one hundred and twenty-five years since, by a gentleman who came to this country in 1680, is before us and from which we derive most of the information contained in these pages. We shall commence with the strange history of Miss Carter, the particulars of which have never before been laid before the public. This young lady came to our country from England with her parents in 1695, and settled near where Charlestown now stands. Her father was one of the persecuted members of the reformed Church of Scotland, and by those who kniew him, esteemed a pious and good man. Miss Carter was about seventeen years of age when her parents first emigrated to this country. She was even at this early period celebratefd for her uncommon beauty, and many are the stories told of her conquests over the sterner sex. It is said her refusal of the proffered hand of a man high in authority in England, was the principal cause of her father’s prosecutions, and which finally compelled him to seek refuge from oppression, by flying to another and distant land. At the time the Carter family arrived here, New England, and indeed the whole country, was in the undisturbed possession of the Indians. A numerous tribe of these savages headed by their noted chief, Thundersquall, had long infested these parts and were daily committing some new depredation on the inoffensive settlers. History informs us that Thundersquall was a warrior of undoubted courage, and once a determined and implacable foe to the whites. He was moreover celebrated for the unbounded influence he possessed over his tribe, and for his youth and fine personal appearance. In looking over the Indian wars, we find it stated that Thundersquall was born in 1673, which makes him at the time of which we are writing, about twenty-three years of age. As the little band of settlars [sic] increased in numbers, Thundersquall divested himself of much of his former prejudice towards “the pale face,” and began to look upon them as brothers sent by the great Spirit to make his people happy. A few years only elapsed from the time of the first settlement of Mr. Carter, ere he had by his numerous acts of kindness toward the Indians, gained their entire confidence and esteem. Thundersquall would about once a month visit his little dwelling, and bring skins and other emblems of the chase as a present to his “father,” as he always reverently called Mr. Carter, and was never suffered to return without some trifling present being given him by a member of the family.

One afternoon in the autum [sic] of 1696 Thundersquall came to Mr. Carter’s house during the absence of the family and desired admittance. On being told by a domestic there was no one at home but himself, he left the house, and giving a war shout, darted instantly for the woods and was seen no more. Late in the afternoon the next day he again appeared, and was kindly welcomed by Miss Carter, to whom he had always shewn the utmost deference. Miss Carter had for two or three years past endeavoured to instill into his mind, whenever a fit opportunity presented itself, the precepts of the Christian religion. She would also tell him of the fond hopes entertained by her father of seeing him at no distant day a civilized and Christian being, and how much happier he would be, than he now was. Thudnersquall listened attentively, and then starting upon his fee exclaimed with great agitiation, “never will I leave the peaceful home of my fathers, or the spot which the great Spirit has given me to lay my bones upon when he shall call me to the mansions of the happy. Maiden of the lilly skin,” continued Thundersquall, “meet me near where yonder rivers winds its way to the great ocean, tomorrow, on the going down of the sun. I would speak with thee of things which dost concern thy family. I cannot talk now, for I am sad, and the power of dreams is upon me. The great Spirit has spoken to me in his wrath, and I am unhappy and humble, even as a little child. Hark! I hear the shrill battle cry of my warriors near the dwelling, and I must be with them in the shout and the dance.” Saying this, he rose and darted instantly from the house. Miss Carter, out of mere idle curiosity, had consented to meet Thundersquall at the time and place appointed. Accordingly the next evening she wrapped herself in her cloak and proceeded towards the river. Thundersquall was there seated upon a rock, apparently in deep meditation. He rose on her appearance and desired her to be seated. After some little conversation had passed between the, Miss Carter desired him to favour her with an account of his life and adventures. He consented, and thus began: . . .

 

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Filed under Culture, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

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