Baptiste Smedley and King Philip’s War

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A friend has been researching her Medley line and I noticed that I have Smedley’s in my line. I decided to do a bit more research and see what I could find out.


Baptiste Smedley was born in 1607 in England. He would immigrate to the new world in 1639 along with his brother John and live in the Massachusetts area. The Native Americans and the English settlers were not always on the best of terms at that point in time. By 1675 relations between the two groups would erupt into a bloody war that would leave huge losses on both sides with 600 colonists and 3,000 Native Americans dead.


King Philip was Metacom, leader of the Pokanokets. Philip was the son of Massasoit, who had helped the Plymouth Pilgrims survive their first winter in the New World. Fifty-five years following the landing of the Pilgrims tension had increased.


On August 2, 1675 Samuel Smedley, son of Baptiste Smedley would die. Samuel was in Captain Wheeler’s army and a group of militia went to meet with the Indians of King Philips tribe to discuss how to resolve issues between the Indians and the settlers.  Instead of a peaceful meeting the settlers were attacked. Samuel and 7 others died in the attack. The survivors fled back to Brookfield Massachusetts.


The settlers retreated with the Indians in pursuit. As they arrived back in town they barricaded themselves in the largest, strongest house in the town and fortified themselves as best they could. The fighting continued, bullets flew and 20 of 21 houses were set on fire and burned to the ground. For two days 80 settlers huddled in one house until a large English force arrived on August 4. Baptiste Smedley would die 13 days after his son.


February 12, 1676 Abraham and Isaac Shepard, Baptiste Smedley’s son-in-law were threshing grain in their barn when killed by Indians. Their younger sister Mary was captured and carried off. In the still of the night, Mary slipped away from her captures, seized a horse, crossed the Nashua River and returned to her family.


After a year of war, Philip returned to his tribe on August 12, 1676 and was shot in the heart by one of his own men who had deserted to the English. Twelve or thirteen towns had been destroyed and about 600 houses.


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