About John Sharp
- Killed in the Sudbury Battle of King Philip's War on April 21, 1676
- Bodge, George M. Soldiers in King Philip's War. Containing Lists of the Soldiers of Massachusetts Colony, Who Served in the Indian War of 1675-1677. With Sketches of the Principal Officers, and Copies of Ancient Documents and Records Relating to the War. Boston: Printed for the Author, 1891. Print.
Notes from a Descendent
I (Jim Howard) am speculating that John Sharp was killed in the battle of Sudbury. The dates were right, and he is recorded as being an officer. I have attached info below on that battle.
E. The "Sudbury Fight"
1. Late in the war on 21 April 1676 the original Town of Sudbury was attacked by hostile Native American forces who came from the west through the recently destroyed original Town of Marborough (which then included the present Town of Hudson).
o Attacks took place on both sides of the Sudbury River, but the major battles in the "Sudbury Fight" took place west of the river.
o Almost all deaths (English Colonial plus Native American) are thought to have taken place west of the river.
o The hostile Native Americans destroyed almost everything west of the river (i. e., in the area of the present Towns of Sudbury and Maynard).
o The destruction on the eastern side of the river (i. e., in the area covering much of the present Town of Wayland) was less severe.
2. The attacks on both sides of the river involved a very large force (estimates range from 700 to over 1500) of hostile Native American braves probably personally led by Metacom and under the military command of Muttawmp.
o The probable personal involvement of Metacom, the military command of Muttawmp, and the very large number of braves indicated that the attack on Sudbury might have been part of a larger war plan.
+ Metacom did not usually take part in attacks on English Colonial Towns.
+ Muttawmp was a Nipmuc sachem and was thought to be the finest hostile Native American military commander in this war.
+ If 1000 hostile braves were involved, they would have numbered about one-third of the adult male hostile Native American forces in all of New England.
+ A possible larger war plan would have been to attack and destroy all of Sudbury (on both sides of the river) and then use it as a base from which to attack a number of other Towns to acquire DESPERATELY NEEDED supplies of food, weapons, ammunition, and gunpowder.
3. As the alarm of the attack spread, most Sudbury English Colonial civilians WEST of the river were able to flee to specially fortified houses which had been stocked with stores of food, water, and weapons.
o Sudbury English Colonial civilians who were not able to flee to a fortified house were killed.
o These fortified "Garrison" houses were defended by the people in them plus a few members of the Sudbury militia.
+ These fortified houses remained under their control despite hours of intensive attacks and attempts to burn them down.
o The most intense attacks were on the Haynes Garrison House on Water Row Road just north of today's Old Sudbury Road (Route 27) near the Sudbury River.
+ The cellar hole and remnants of the foundations of the Haynes Garrison House remain; the house itself was torn down about a century ago.
+ The grounds of the former Haynes Garrison House are now protected as part of the King Philip Woods Conservation Land of the Town of Sudbury.
+ The location of the former House is shown on the Map of this Conservation Land on the Town web site.
o The people in the fortified houses were probably saved from certain death by the arrival of several groups of English Colonial soldiers from other Towns.
+ The Native American attackers had to divert their attention from attacking the fortified houses to engaging the groups of soldiers.
+ For example, twelve English Colonial soldiers from Concord attempted to render aid to those in the Haynes Garrison House, but ten of this group of soldiers were killed in an ambush near the House (the other two escaped to the House).
o However, the homes, barns, etc., of these English Colonial civilians were burned while they were huddled inside the fortified houses.
4. Many of the English Colonial civilians EAST of the river were able to reach a large protective stockade located near the river some distance south of the present Wayland Town Center where they were relatively safe from attack.
o The Sudbury River of that era was much more difficult to cross than today's placid river.
+ Today's river has been pacified by dams both upstream and downstream.
+ In 1676 the river had a well defined central channel that carried most of the water flow.
+ In 1676 there were not extensive wetlands surrounding the river such as exist today.
# In fact, maps of that era show that the best farming and grazing lands were located in the area of today's wetlands.
+ Both the flow rate and the water level in the river at this time of year were high due to spring flooding.
o In 1676 the only easy way to reach the eastern part of Sudbury from the west was over a single bridge called the "Town Bridge".
+ This bridge was located a short distance north of the present bridge carrying Old Sudbury Road (Route 27) over the Sudbury River.
+ The Native American attackers used this bridge to attack the east side of Sudbury (the present Town of Wayland).
o The more heavily populated eastern part of Sudbury was defended by the bulk of the eighty-man Sudbury militia.
+ The militia would have been active in protecting the fortified church/meeting house near the bridge since it was the principal Town storehouse for emergency supplies of guns, shot, and gunpowder, and it also served as a place of refuge for civilians at times of attack.
+ The militia was able to protect the east-side civilians and some of their property, but they did not have sufficient manpower to force the Native American attackers back across the bridge.
o The roughly 200 hostile Native Americans did not go long distances from the bridge during their destructive raids on the eastern side of the river, since they needed to be able to retreat quickly back to the western part of Town if major military assistance from other Towns arrived.
+ However, some structures in the far western part of what is now the Town of Weston were burned by the hostile Native Americans.
o A group of soldiers from Watertown did arrive in the middle of the day, and the combined force of these soldiers and the Sudbury militia was able to drive the hostile Native Americans back across the bridge into the western part of the Town.
+ This combined force was too small to advance west very far from the western end of the bridge over the river, since they were opposed by many hundreds of Native American warriors in the western part of Town.
o A number of homes, barns, etc., on the eastern side of the river were plundered and/or burned, but the scope of destruction was much less than on the western side of the river.
5. The largest battle of the "Sudbury Fight" took place when hundreds of Native American warriors ambushed a combined force of roughly fifty English Colonial soldiers from the Boston area under the command of Captain Samuel Wadsworth plus roughly twenty soldiers from the Marlborough garrison under the command of Captain Samuel Brocklebank in the valley between two hills now called Green Hill and Goodman's Hill.
o It is surprising that the combined force of Colonial soldiers would be easily ambushed, since both Captains were highly experienced and used to the ambush tactics of their enemy.
o The Colonial soldiers fought their way to a more defensible position at the top of Green Hill, but they remained completely surrounded by large numbers of Native American warriors.
o The Native American commanders dislodged the Colonial soldiers from their defensive position at the top of Green Hill by setting fire to a line of dry brush and trees upwind of them on the side of the hill.
o The wind-driven flames and smoke from this forest fire forced the Colonial soldiers into a hasty and uncoordinated retreat down the hill toward a mill building in what is now the Mill Village shopping center south-west of the top of Green Hill.
+ Captains Wadsworth and Brocklebank and most of their soldiers who had survived the earlier phase of the battle were killed during this hasty retreat; some of their bodies were later recovered on the western side of Green Hill.
+ A few soldiers were captured, tortured, and then killed by Native American warriors.
+ A few Colonial soldiers made it to the mill building and were rescued that night by other Colonial soldiers most of whom were with the Watertown Company.
+ It is surprising that the Native American forces did not attack the mill building and kill the Colonial soldiers huddled there.
# The mill building is thought to have had strong walls and probably provided some natural protection, but the Native American forces had complete control of the battlefield and could have easily burned the mill building and forced out and killed the Colonial soldiers who took shelter there.
+ Since the hostile Native American forces had burned or destroyed all other undefended structures in Sudbury west of the river, it is also surprising that they had not bothered to burn down the mill building earlier in the day.
o Green Hill was later given its present name on account of the dense forest of evergreen trees on it, and a similar forest of trees plus their accompanying undergrowth would have provided ample fuel for a major forest fire in 1676.
6. As residents of the present Town of Sudbury know (but some experts on this war do not - see * Note: below) the uplands of Green Hill are:
o SOUTH of the present location of Old Lancaster Road,
o East of today's Concord Road,
o West of today's Green Hill Road, and
o North of today's Boston Post Road (U. S. Route 20).
7. The top of Green Hill was developed in the past sixty years and is now an area of quiet streets and nice homes.
o Today, the summit of Green Hill can be found at the intersection of Pokonoket Avenue with Hillside Place.
+ Pokonoket Avenue is north of King Philip Road (both ends of which join the Boston Post Road just east of the Mill Village shopping center).
o The street name of Pokonoket is also quite appropriate, since it was the name of Metacom's tribal headquarters (also spelled Pokanoket), which is located in the eastern part of the present Town of Bristol, RI, near Mt. Hope Bay.
+ Other appropriate names of streets now on Green Hill include Metacomet Way, Massasoit Avenue, and Indian Ridge Road.
8. A large street map of the present Town of Sudbury on the Town web site makes it easy to locate these streets on Green Hill as well as Mill Village and Goodman's Hill.
o Use the next link below to see the street map which will first show up in compressed form.
+ Enlarge the street map by placing your mouse cursor over the compressed map, wait a bit, and click the square orange button when it appears.
o The streets on Green Hill are located in the south central part of the street map a short distance east-north-east of the blue circle labeled "Goodnow Library".
o The present Mill Village shopping center is located immediately south of the southern terminus of Concord Road (at Boston Post Road) and north of Hop Brook (below the blue circle labeled "Goodnow Library" on this street map).
o The summit of Goodman's Hill lies between Brewster Road and Puritan Lane on this street map.
+ The summit of Goodman's Hill is about three thousand feet north-north-east of the summit of Green Hill.
+ Old Lancaster and Goodman's Hill Roads run along the edges of the valley between the two hills on this street map.
o Click Street Map of the Present Town of Sudbury to see it.
9. The exact death toll of the "Sudbury Fight" is unknown, but it is known to have been very high on the English Colonial side (74 by the accounting of the Native American warriors) and may have been significant on the hostile Native American side.
o Most of the English Colonial soldiers killed were from other Towns (Watertown, Concord, Marlborough, Milton, Roxbury, Rowley, etc.) in the groups who had come to try to save Sudbury from destruction.
10. The remains of about thirty of the English Colonial soldiers killed in the battle on Green Hill are under a large white stone monument in the Wadsworth Cemetery on the west side of Green Hill not far from where they were killed.
o As you might guess, Wadsworth Cemetery was named after Captain Wadsworth.
o Wadsworth Cemetery is on the EAST side of Concord Road north of the Goodnow Library and south of Codjer Lane.
o Click Wadsworth Cemetery to see a picture of this monument on the Historic Sudbury Trail part of the Town web site.
o This monument is the image in the Official Seal of the present Town of Sudbury.
o The date on the monument (18 April 1676) is in error.
11. The bodies of five of the ten soldiers from the Concord Company killed on the WEST side of the river near the Haynes Garrison House were located the following morning by Watertown soldiers, who then transported the bodies by canoe and buried them in high ground on the east side of the river near the road then leading to the bridge over the river.
o The high ground on the east side of the river was the most convenient burial site, since the high water level of the river had flooded the marshes on the west side.
o A large stone marker titled "Old Town Bridge" near the east end of the old, unused, stone, four-arch bridge just north of Old Sudbury Road (Route 27) on the edge of the Wayland Gold Club in the Town of Wayland is thought to be near this burial site, and it also serves as a monument to all ten Concord soldiers killed on 21 April 1676.
12. Late in the day after the battle on Green Hill was over for unknown reasons the Native American warriors abruptly began a move back to their base of operations near Mount Wachusett, about twenty-five miles west-north-west of Sudbury, near or in the present Town of Princeton.
o After killing Captains Wadsworth and Brocklebank and most of their of roughly seventy Colonial soldiers on Green Hill, the hostile Native Americans were completely in control of the part of Sudbury west of the river (except for the fortified houses).
o It is surprising that the hostile Native American forces did not attempt to burn down the fortified houses west of the river and kill the roughly 125 inhabitants under the cover of darkness.
13. Although most of the members of two groups (the one led by Captains Wadsworth and Brocklebank and the one from Concord) of English Colonial soldiers were killed, there were several other groups of soldiers which had arrived from other Towns by late in the day and which remained largely intact.
o These other groups of English Colonial soldiers tried to come to the aid of Captains Wadsworth and Brocklebank and their men, but the very large number of hostile Native American forces surrounding the Colonial soldiers on Green Hill prevented the delivery of such aid.
o It is possible that the presence of these other groups of English Colonial soldiers may have caused the abrupt departure of the hostile Native Americans at the conclusion of the battle on Green Hill and thus prevented the killing of many more Sudbury civilians trapped in the fortified houses and the Colonial soldiers trapped in the mill building.
14. The hostile Native American forces were unsuccessful in acquiring much in the way of needed supplies from their attack on the original Town of Sudbury.
15. Even though the "Sudbury Fight" was yet another TACTICAL military victory for the hostile Native American forces, for unknown reasons they did not regroup and attack another frontier Town in the Boston area.
o If Metacom's forces had continued to attack frontier Towns, and if they had been successful in acquiring fresh supplies, then the course of the war would probably have been different.
16. One could speculate that after the "Sudbury Fight" the hostile Native American leaders and warriors were discouraged by their lack of STRATEGIC success in:
o Acquiring needed supplies,
o Destroying ALL of the original Town of Sudbury and killing or driving off ALL of its residents, and
o Being able to remain in and use Sudbury (especially the part east of the river) as a base for attacks on other Towns that were potentially richer sources of needed supplies,
even though they had applied most of their military assets in the area to try to reach these goals.
17. Such a speculation is reinforced by the report of a female captive, Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, who was in the Native American camp near Mt. Wachusett and was able to observe the braves on their return from the Sudbury Fight.
o Schultz and Tougias state on page 220 of their book (listed in section G. Sources below) that she reported in her memoir after the war that the braves:
"Came home without that rejoicing and triumphing over their victory which they were wont to show at other times, but rather like dogs (as they say) which have lost their ears."
o It is clear that the expectations of the braves involved in the Sudbury Fight had NOT been met.
18. In any case, after the "Sudbury Fight" there was a period of several weeks with no further organized attacks on English Colonial Towns.
o Schultz and Tougias state on page 220 of their book (listed in section G. Sources below) that:
"Shortly after the Sudbury Fight the native alliances would splinter, with Philip returning to his homeland and native warriors concentrating their efforts not so much on war, but on feeding their people."
o After the Sudbury Fight there were only four more Native American attacks on Colonial Towns in southern New England, the last of which was on the 12th of June 1676.
19. It is clear that SOMETHING happened about the time of the "Sudbury Fight" that reduced the resolve and/or capability of the hostile Native American forces in this war.
o The "Sudbury Fight" may have been a very important turning point in King Philip's War.
o Its importance will probably remain a mystery, since the main hostile Native American leaders were killed in the last weeks of the war, and no oral histories of this event by leaders who survived the war are known (Native Americans in this era did not tend to write histories or memoirs).
Click Top to return to the link area near the top of this "King Philip's War" page.
Martha, married Lieutenant John Sharp, of Brookline, who was killed by the Indians in the Sudbury Fight. -------------------- was in Source: "Robert Vose and His Descendants"
was in info-Charles Glass 1999
Lt. John Sharp's Timeline
March 12, 1648
Muddy River (Present Brookline), Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Dorchester (within present Boston), Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
May 4, 1667
Brookline, Norfilk, Massachusetts
August 20, 1671
Muddy River (Present Brookline), Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Pomfret, Windham, CT, USA
Ipswich, MA, USA
April 21, 1676
Sudbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
March 4, 1939
June 22, 1943