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About John Allen
John Allen came from Scotland in 1636. He had been a soldier under Cromwell, and settled in Dedham in 1649. Afterward he was in Ipswich, removing with his family to Suffield in 1679. His wife was Mary Kimball. His son John married Esther Pritchet (afterward called Pritchard) 11 Feb., 1682, and their daughter married Thomas Granger, Jr. John's farm was next his father's on the river bank, but he and his wife afterward removed to Deerfield, Mass., where they were both killed by Indians 11 May, 1704.
THE DESTRUCTION OF DEERFIELD MASSACHUSETTS John and Edward Allen moved to Deerfield, Hampshire County, in the colony of Massachusetts from Suffield, Hartford County, then also part of the Massachusetts colony, during the year 1685 or shortly thereafter and erected their homes on the south side of town.
The town of Deerfield was a stockade-fortified town made up of 41 families of which 15 had homes inside the stockade fence that surrounded the town and 26 outside the stockade fence. Of those 26 families located outside, 12 of their homes were located on the north side of town and14 on the south side of town. The population of the town totaled 268 inhabitants plus 20 soldiers who were garrisoned there for the inhabitants’ protection.
On the morning of February 28, 1704, two hours before dawn, the settlement of Deerfield was attacked by an army made up of over 200 French soldiers and approximately 140 Indians that had marched for over a month all the way from Quebec, Canada, to this area of Connecticut. The attack had been planned by the French who had enlisted the Indians’ help. It was designed to show the Indians that the French were their friends and could be counted on. For no other reason was this attack planned.
The French and Indians were able to scale the stockade fence due to the deep drifts of snow piled against it and the fact that only a single guard had been posted that night who had fallen asleep at his post. Within several hours the Indians had taken over the town, captured or killed more than half of the population, and burnt most of the homes and barns both inside the stockade fencing and on the north side of the fortification.
Neighbors in nearby towns, such as Hatfield, seeing the light of the flames in the pre-dawn sky, assembled a party of 40 men who headed immediately for Deerfield. They arrived in time to set the Indians on the run and save those homes to the south including those of John and Edward Allen. The only casualty for the two Allen families of the attack was Edward Allen’s (12-16 years old) daughter Sarah, who was staying the night at someone else’s home and was taken captive.
When the attack was over, only 25 men, 25 women, and 75 children remained in the settlement. Of the 75 children, 43 of them were under 10 years of age. This was a devastated community. They had built the settlement and had struggled against inevitable hardships. They had fought frost, drought, pestilence and famine and now the Indians had taken their final toll. This sad despairing group gave up all hope and resolved to abandon the town of Deerfield.
Th ey were thwarted in their plans, however, by the governing body of the colony who forbade the abandonment of the settlement and, to enforce this edict, sent 60 soldiers to Deerfield to establish a military station. All able bodied men were impressed into the Queen’s military service. To leave the town was to leave the Queen’s service and this was something that no one wanted to be charged with. The reason for keeping the frontier town functioning was to protect the more central towns of the colony.
Slowly, the people of the town were able to start reassembling their lives. They came together at a town meeting to choose a constable, a town clerk, selectmen, and fence viewers, all necessary positions for operating their small community. Edward Allen was chosen the new town clerk. A small common field was set aside and the impressed Deerfield inhabitants, accompanied by soldiers for their protection, were allowed two days out of seven to go into the fields in turns to labor to produce crops to support themselves.
It is most likely that it was on one of these forays to the common field when John Allen and his wife Elizabeth were surprised on May 11, 1704, by a party of Indians that had been hiding in the woods nearby. John Allen was slain and his wife Elizabeth taken captive. John’s brother Edward Allen, the newly chosen town clerk of Deerfield, penned this statement in his own hand in the town record of that day: “Joh Allyn, ye head of this famyly, was slaine by ye Enemy May ye 11, 1704.” No notation was made of John’s wife Elizabeth Allen. Her body was discovered some days later in the woods about two miles away. She had been scalped and her body had become prey for the wild animals.
SOURCE: A History of Deerfield, Massachusetts, Vol I, by George Sheldon, Deerfield, Mass., 1895. books.google.com
ALLEN, JOHN, son of Edward, of Suffield, m. Elizabeth Pritchard, Feb. 22, 1681, and had Richard, b. Sept 17, 1685; John, b. Dec 21, 1682, and d. 1683; 2d John, b. Jan. 19, 1683, perhaps others.
Source: A Catalogue of the Names of the Early Puritan Settlers of the Colony of Connecticut. By Royal Ralph Hinma.
John Allen's Timeline
August 29, 1659
Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts
February 22, 1681
Suffield, Hampshire, Massachusetts
January 14, 1684
Suffield, Hartford County, CT, USA
Deerfield, Massachusetts, United States
May 11, 1704
Deerfield, Franklin, Massachusetts
Deerfield, Franklin, Massachusetts, United States