The Brookfield Massacre

 

Massacre of Ipswich settlers in Brookfield

In May 1660 a group of colonists moved from Ipswich to the Indian town Quaboag in Western Massachusetts, which they renamed named Brookfield. Daniel Hovey and his wife Abigail joined the new town in 1668 accompanied by their five younger children, Thomas aged 20, James 18, Joseph 15, Abigail 13, and Nathaniel 11. Their older children, Daniel Jr. and John remained in Ipswich. Daniel Hovey moved again to Hadley and returned to Ipswich after the massacre at Quabog in 1675 during “King Phillips War”

In the early moments of that siege, Daniel’s son James was overtaken and killed by the Indians somewhere near his house. His wife Priscilla, and their children took refuge in a tavern surrounded by hundreds of hostile Nipmucs, who tried unsuccessfully to  burn it. After three days Major Simon Willard arrived with 46 troops, and they chased off the attackers. James Hovey was buried with the eleven other victims, and the traumatized survivors returned to Ipswich or dispersed to other better-protected communities along the Massachusetts frontier.  After the attack on Brookfield, Priscilla took her three children to join James’ brother Daniel Hovey in Hadley. She left her eldest son also named Daniel in Hadley to be raised and educated by James’ other brother Thomas. The widow returned to Ipswich with her daughter Priscilla and the infant, James Jr. She filed an inventory of the estate in March 1676 and received a small stipend as a war widow from the General Court of Ipswich. James’ death was officially listed as a military casualty.

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