Maj. Gen. Humphrey Atherton

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Humphrey Atherton

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Preston, Lancashire, England
Death: Died in Dorchester (within present Boston), Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Place of Burial: North Cemetery, Dorchester (Boston), Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Edmund Atherton and Mary Atherton
Husband of Mary Wales and Mary Atherton
Father of Jonathan (John) Atherton; Elizabeth Mathis; Isabel Wales; Mary Billings; Margaret Trowbridge and 9 others
Brother of Mary Atherton; NN Atherton; Henrie Atherton; Elizabeth Atherton; James Atherton and 1 other

Occupation: Major-General, Major General; em. arriving on August 8, 1635 on the James
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Maj. Gen. Humphrey Atherton

Maj. Gen. HUMPHREY ATHERTON was prominent in Massachusetts Bay Colony politics and military affairs, and a principal of Atherton Land Company in the Naragansett area of Rhode Island.

He came to America with his brother, James, on the ship James from Bristol, England, in 1635, and was Deputy of the Provincial Assembly for many years after 1638, and its Speaker in 1653. He was the Govenor's assistant from 1654 to 1661, the year of his death. He rose to position of Captain, from 1650 to 1658, of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston, and commanded the expedition against the Narragansetts in 1656. In 1661, he became Major General of the military forces of Massachusetts.

HUMPHREY died Sep 17, 1661, from an accident while riding a horse. Both he and MARY are buried at the North Burying Ground in Dorchester, Suffolk, MA. The following inscription can be found there:

Hear lyes our Captaine, & MAJOR of Suffolk was withall, A godley Magistrate was he, and MAJOR GENERALL Two Troops of Hors with him here Came, Such worth his love did Crave; Ten Companyes of Foot also Mourning Marcht to his grave. Let all that read be sure to keep the faith as he has don, With Christ he lives now crown'd, His name was HUMPHREY ATHERTON He dyed the 16 of September 1661.

The parents of MARY WALES are not known. Some think that her father is Nathaniel Wales, born Feb. 26, 1586/87. Others think her father is John Wales, father of Nathaniel Wales. Nathaniel is the father of Nathaniel Jr, who married MARY's daughter Isabel. If the first premise were true, it would mean that Isabel married her uncle. If the second premise were correct, it would mean that MARY and Nathaniel are siblings and Nathaniel Jr. and Isabel are cousins. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Major General Humphrey Atherton

Ivy Olahadded this on 3 Feb 2010
riemann_sumoriginally submitted this to Thayer Family Tree on 18 Nov 2009

Major General Humphrey Atherton


Humphrey Atherton Family, Genealogical Column1. Atherton. M. P. NcN., Oct. 20, 1915. The correspondent asks for ancestry of Major General Humphrey Atherton, who died in Boston in 1661. John C. Brown of Boston gives this from ;Atherton Family in England,; page 72, found in the library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston: Rev. Richard Mather in his journal mentions one hundred passengers, but gives the names of few, among them Nathaniel Wales, Senior, shipwright, whose will was witnessed by Humphrey Atherton who was also mentioned in it as loving brother-in-law.; Rev. Richard Mather came in 1635. Major General Humphrey Atherton was born in Preston, Lancashire, Eng., before 1610. He died Sept. 7, 1661. Married Mary Wales, daughter of John Wales of Idle, Yorkshire. Major General Atherton came to America in 1635, in the ship James from Bristol, Eng. Roberts Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of which he was a member gives many facts in regard to his life in America. Charles H. Atherton, one of his descendants, states that Humphrey Atherton was married between fourteen and fifteen years of age, his wife being thirteen or fourteen. John C. J. Brown in the New England Genealogical Register for 1881 gives many facts about the Atherton residence in England. The Public Records Society of Lancashire, Eng., contain the following: Edmund Atherton died April 10, 1613. Humphrey Atherton, his son and heir, is aged at the time of taking this inquisition four years and three months, thereaboutsNew England Historical and Genealogical Register, vols. 32 and 35, and Putnam Historical Magazine for March, 1899, contain other facts. The Athertons are a very ancient family, descending from Robert of Atherton, shrieve or sheriff of Lancashire, in the time of King John (1199-1226). No published list I have found of the children of Humphrey Atherton contain a Catherine, but they do contain an Elizabeth, baptized at Winwick, Eng., Sept. 28, 1628, who married Timothy Mather in this country in 1650. She is evidently one of his older children. I have no record of the place of marriage, presumably Boston. There was another man (Humphrey Atherton) of the same name about the same time in Massachusetts. One was of Stoughton, Mass. E. A. M. W. Note 2991. Part 1. The former note concerning the family of James Atherton of Lancaster has prompted several correspondents to ask about the English ancestry and relationship of the two principal Atherton emigrants to New England in the seventeenth century. As regards the relationship between James and Humphrey Atherton, they were undoubtedly cousins, since they came from the same small town in Lancashire. The ancestry of Humphrey is as follows:. Humphrey Atherton, of Winstanley in Wigan, Lancashire, England, married Alice; he had a dispute with Edward Winstanley, 1593-1596, concerning lands in that parish.. Edmund Atherton, son of Humphrey and Alice Atherton, of Winstanley in Wigan, was a freeholder in that parish, 1600; he died at Wigan, April 10, 1613. He was the father of Major General Humphrey Atherton. First Generation in America. Major General Humphrey Atherton, Esquire, son of Edmund Atherton of Winstanley in Wigan, was born at Preston, Lancashire, Eng., 1609, and died at Dorchester, Mass., Sept. 17, 1661. He married at Preston, Mary (possibly the daughter of John Wales, of Idle, Yorkshire, though this has been disputed of late), and she died at Dorchester, 1672. Mr. Atherton and his family came to Dorchester in 1635. They came from Winwick, Lancashire, where he had formerly resided and where several of his children were born and baptized, and where his friend, the Rev. Richard Mather of the Dorchester church, had been born. Mr. Atherton joined the Dorchester church before Aug. 23, 1636, and was admitted freeman, May 2, 1638. He proved to be one of the most valuable men in the colony, and his premature death by accident was a great loss both to Dorchester and to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was deputy, 1638 and eight years thereafter; in 1653, being Speaker of the House. He was selectman of Dorchester for twelve years between 1638 and 1660, and was town treasurer; from 1645 to 1661, he was assistant or councillor; as magistrte his valued services are indicated by the wide range of public duties which fell to his lot. But he is perhaps best known for his military service and his work with the Indians. In swift succession he was lieutenant, 1645; member of the Council of War, 1645; captain, 1646; captain of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, 1650-58; major of the Massachusetts forces, 1652; commanded the expedition against the Narragansetts, 1650; and major general, 1661, the highest military office in the colony. In 1653 he was appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs. At Dorchester he was one of the first members of a school committee in America. He was killed by a fall from his Horse at ye So end of Boston as he was coming homewards (in ye evening) his Horse either Running over, or starting at a Cow that lay down in ye way. His tomb in the North Burying Ground, Dorchester, bears the following inscription: Here lies our Captain, Majr. of Svffolk was withall; A Godly Magestrate was he Major Generall. Two Troops of Horses with him here came, such worth his loue did crave; Ten Companies of foot also mourning march to his Graue. Let all that Read be sure to keep ye Faith as he had done. With Christ he liues now Crown , his name was Humphrey Atherton. He Died ye 16th of Sepr. 1661

-------------------- Maj. Gen. HUMPHREY ATHERTON was prominent in Massachusetts Bay Colony politics and military affairs, and a principal of Atherton Land Company in the Naragansett area of Rhode Island.

He came to America with his brother, James, on the ship James from Bristol, England, in 1635, and was Deputy of the Provincial Assembly for many years after 1638, and its Speaker in 1653. He was the Govenor's assistant from 1654 to 1661, the year of his death. He rose to position of Captain, from 1650 to 1658, of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston, and commanded the expedition against the Narragansetts in 1656. In 1661, he became Major General of the military forces of Massachusetts.

HUMPHREY died Sep 17, 1661, from an accident while riding a horse. Both he and MARY are buried at the North Burying Ground in Dorchester, Suffolk, MA. The following inscription can be found there:

Hear lyes our Captaine, & MAJOR of Suffolk was withall, A godley Magistrate was he, and MAJOR GENERALL Two Troops of Hors with him here Came, Such worth his love did Crave; Ten Companyes of Foot also Mourning Marcht to his grave. Let all that read be sure to keep the faith as he has don, With Christ he lives now crown'd, His name was HUMPHREY ATHERTON He dyed the 16 of September 1661.

The parents of MARY WALES are not known. Some think that her father is Nathaniel Wales, born Feb. 26, 1586/87. Others think her father is John Wales, father of Nathaniel Wales. Nathaniel is the father of Nathaniel Jr, who married MARY's daughter Isabel. If the first premise were true, it would mean that Isabel married her uncle. If the second premise were correct, it would mean that MARY and Nathaniel are siblings and Nathaniel Jr. and Isabel are cousins. -------------------- Epitaph says Here Lyes Our Captaine and Major of Suffolk Was Withall A Godly Messenger Vas He and Major General Two Troups of Hors with Hime Here Came Such Worth His Love Did Crave Ten Companyes of Foot Also Mourning Marcht To His Grave Let All That Head Be Sure To Keep the Faith As He Hath Don with Christ He Lives Now Crownd His Name Was Humpry Atherton He Dyed the 16th of Sept. 1771 (A Drawn sword is placed over the top of the inscription of Maj. Atherton's tomb) "He was killed by a fall from his horse at ye So end of Boston as he was coming homewards (I think in ye Evening) his Horse either Running over, or starting at a Cow that lay down in ye way."

-------------------- Epitaph says

Here Lyes Our Captaine and Major of Suffolk Was Withall A Godly Messenger Vas He and Major General Two Troups of Hors with Hime Here Came Such Worth His Love Did Crave Ten Companyes of Foot Also Mourning Marcht To His Grave Let All That Head Be Sure To Keep the Faith As He Hath Don with Christ He Lives Now Crownd His Name Was Humpry Atherton He Dyed the 16th of Sept. 1771

(A Drawn sword is placed over the top of the inscription of Maj. Atherton's tomb)

"He was killed by a fall from his horse at ye So end of Boston as he was coming homewards (I think in ye Evening) his Horse either Running over, or starting at a Cow that lay down in ye way." -------------------- Major-General -------------------- Major Gen. Humphrey Atherton was born in 1609 in Winwick Parish, Lancashire, England. He was the son of Edmund Atherton.Humphrey married Mary Wales, daughter of John Wales.Major Gen. Humphrey Atherton and Mary Wales immigrated in 1635 to Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, on board the James out of Bristol, England.He became a member of the Ancient and Honorable artillery Company in 1638.1 Major Gen. Humphrey Atherton became a freeman on 2 May 1638 in Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1645, Captain in 1652, Major in 1652 and Major General in 1661. He served in 1653 as the Speaker of the House.He served in 1656 as the commander of the military forces of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, succeeding General Robert Sedgwick.He died on Saturday, 17 September 1661 in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, at age 52 years He was killed by a fall from his horse on Boston Common, when on his return from a military review on the Common at about 1 o'clock in the morning.Humphrey's gravestone inscription reads:

HEARE LYES OVR CAPTAINE AND MAIOR OF SVFFOLK WAS WITHALL A GODLY MAGISTRATE VAS HE AND MAIOR GENERALL TWO TROVPS OF HORS WITH HIME HERE CAME SVCH WORTH HIS LOVE DID CRAVE TEN COMPANYES OF FOOT ALSO MOVRNING MARCHT TO HIS GRAV LET ALL THAT READ BE SVRE TO KEEP THE FAITH AS HE HATH DON WITH CHRIST HE LIVS NOW CROWND HI SNAME WAS HVMPRY ATHERTON HE DYED THE 16 OF SEPTEMBER 1661

-------------------- Thrown from a horse -------------------- ID: I5250 Name: Humphrey ATHERTON Sex: M Birth: 28 SEP 1608 in Preston, Lancester, Minwick, England _RIN: 550 _APPLIES_TO: DATE_AND_PLACE 1 Christening: 16 FEB 1617 Wigan, Winstanley, Lancashire, England _RIN: 550 _APPLIES_TO: DATE_AND_PLACE 1 Death: 16 SEP 1661 in Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts _RIN: 550 _APPLIES_TO: DATE_AND_PLACE 1 _UID: B7DCF66C6465EE4E9E418D9EAC0374325943 Note: This man's first mentioned in Massachusetts on March 18, when he became a freeman. He was at various times a deputy, deputy governor, Active in the affairs of the United Colonies, Major General. He left an extensive estate.

He is mentioned in the Weeks book as the father of Elizabeth. The LDS File says he was born in Preston, Lancaster, England.

James Savage has: Freeman May 2, 1638, Captain in 1650, often selectman and representative for nine years from 1638. Cause of death - thrown from his horse on return from military revue on Boston common by riding over a cow. _RIN: 550 1 Change Date: 24 OCT 2006 at 16:19:41

Father: Edmund ATHERTON Mother: Mary RUDD

Marriage 1 Mary WALES b: 30 APR 1613 in Winwick, Lancashire, England Married: 1627/1628 in Preston, Lancester, Minwick, England 1 Children

Elizabeth ATHERTON b: 28 SEP 1628 in Winwick, Lancashire, England

Sources: Title: FamilySearch Pedigree Resource File Abbrev: FamilySearch Note: Weeks - Atherton - Carpenter

-------------------- WWW.FINDAGRAVE.COM

Came with his wife (Mary Wales) and their t young children, in the ship, James, from Bristol, England, in 1635, to Dorchester, in New England. ... At about the time when Humphrey Atherton arrived with his young family in Dorchester, the larger part of the Dorchester Church, with its pastor, removed to Windsor, Connecticut, and Humphrey Atherton, with his brother-in-law, Nathaniel Wales, assisted Richard Mather, (Rev) (who came in the same ship with them) in nurturing the Dorchester Church back into thrifty life again. As the years went on, Humphrey Atherton became more and more a prominent in the town and the colony, ...

In 1644 there were "wardens" appointed to take care of and manage the affairs of the first public school in Dorcheser. Blake in his Annals says that "they were to see that both the master and the scholar performed their duty, and to judge of, and end, any difference that might arise, between master and scholar, or their Parents, according to sundry rules and directions there set down." Humphrey Atherton was one of the first wardens, who were chosen for life. Thus was inaugurated the public school, which had no precedent in America.

In 1645, £250 was raised to build a new meeting house, to replace the earlier one (which was a rude building, thatched with straw, with a stairway on the outside), and Humphrey Atherton was one of those chosen to attend to this matter.

He had decided taste for military affairs, organized the first training band in Dorchester in 1664, was early a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, was its captain 1650 to 1658, commanded the Suffolk regiment with title of major general, was chief military officer in New England, many years Selectman and Town Treasurer, deputy to General Courts 1638–1641, in 1659 was Speaker, and had great experience and skill in treatment of the Indians.

Capt. Johnson in his "Wonder-working Providence" speaks of Humphrey Atherton as a "lively courageous man," and says:— "Altho he be slow of speech, yet he is down right for the business, one of cheerful spirit, and entire for the country."

In 1645 the commissioners of the United Colonies appointed a council of war, placed Capt. Miles Standish at its head, with Humphrey Atherton as one of his colleagues. He is said to have been "a man of courage and presence of mind," for when he was sent with 20 men to Pessacus, an Indian sachem [chief] to demand the arrears to the colony of 300 fathom of wampum, Pessacus put him off for some time with dilatory answers, not suffering him even to come into his presence. Atherton finally led his men to the door of the wigwam, entered himself with pistol in hand, leaving his men without, and, seizing Pessacus by the hair of his head, drew him forth from the midst of a great number of his attendants, threatening, if any of them interfered, that he would despatch them. Pessacus paid waht was demanded, and the English returned in safety.

Gen. Humphrey Atherton had a grant of 500 acres at Nonotucke, beyond Springfield, Mary 26, 1658 — given to him by the General Court in recognition of his public service, Nonotucke being the Indian name for the region about Hadley and Hatfield. This grant interfered with other grants previously made, and so, in Nov. 1659, the Court granted an additional 200 acres (700 in all) which were relocated at Waranoke, now Westfield. The estate of Gen. Humphrey Atherton after his death, included in the inventory a "Farme of seven hundred acres at Waronoco."

The death of Major General Humphrey Atherton, by accident, in 1661, deprived the colony of one of its principal men.

"While returning home in the dark after reviewing his troops on Boston Common his horse was struck by a stray cow. In the collision he was thrown and killed. Sept. 16, 1661."

Link to Wikipedia article about Maj. Gen. Atherton:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humphrey_Atherton

-------------------- Major-General Humphrey Atherton, ( ca.1608 – September 16, 1661) an early settler of Dorchester, Massachusetts, held the highest military rank in colonial New England.[1][2] He first appeared in the records of Dorchester on March 18, 1637 and made freeman May 2, 1638.[2] He became deputy governor, a representative in the General Court, in 1638 and 1639–41. In 1653, he was Speaker of the House, representing Springfield, Massachusetts. He was chosen assistant governor,[1] a member of the lower house of the General Court who also served as magistrate in the judiciary of colonial government,[3] in 1654, and remained as such until his death."[4] He was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts and held the ranks of lieutenant and captain for several years before rising to the rank of major-general. He also organized the first militia in Massachusetts.[1][2]

It is unclear where and when Atherton was born. It is presumed he came from Lancashire, England.[5] He was active in the governance of the colony, taking part in the acquisition of Native American lands,[2] the persecution of Quakers,[6] and the apprehension and convictions of heretics.[7] His accidental death was seen by the Quakers as a punishment from God for his persecution of them,[8] an idea repeated in a play by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He was one of the most successful land speculators in the New England colonies.[9] He and his wife, Mary, had a number of children and several New England families have traced their ancestry to them. He is interred at Dorchester North Burying Ground, one of the oldest cemeteries in New England

Origin and emigrationHumphrey Atherton's date and place of birth are uncertain. It has been presumed that he was born in Lancashire, England, because the name Atherton is prominent there.[5] The date of 1608 is sometimes given as his date of birth because Edmund Atherton of Wigan Lancashire, England died in 1612 leaving, as his heir, a four-year-old son named Humphrey. However, Duane Hamilton Hurd, in History of Norfolk County, Massachusetts stated that Atherton was 36 years old when he died in 1661.[11] On the other hand, Charles Samuel Hall in Hall Ancestry, pointed out that when Atherton was made freeman and was granted property in 1638, "he must at that time reached his majority."[4]

A descendant of his, Charles H. Atherton, said that Humphrey Atherton, his wife and three young children arrived at the colony in the ship James, August 7, 1635,[12] but there is no record of this.[5] His descendant further said that Atherton and his wife were each about 15 years old when they were married.[12]

There is a record of Nathaniel Wales having voyaged on the James. Wales referred to Humphrey Atherton as his "brother-in-law" in his will, so it has been assumed that Atherton's wife, Mary, was Wales' sister. However, the term may have been used because Atherton's daughter, Isabel, was married to Nathaniel Wales, Jr.[13] The identity of his wife is unknown.[5]

[edit] Political and military lifeAtherton had a very active public life having power and taking part in the law making, enforcing and interpreting affairs of the colony. Subsequent to his acceptance as a freeman, in 1638, he was frequently selectman or treasurer,[2] and for several years a member of the Court of Assistants which gave him a say in the appointment of governors as well as judicial power in criminal and civil matters.[3] In 1638 and 1639–41 he was deputy governor in the General Court, and in 1653, he was Speaker of the House,[1] leader of the Court of Deputies, which was the lower house of the General Court, representing Springfield, Massachusetts. He was also "long a justice of the peace, and solemnized many marriages".[2] One of the marriages over which he officiated was that of Myles Standish, Jr. and Sarah Winslow.[14]

Atherton was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery and he organized the first trained band (militia) in Dorchester. As Major-General in the Suffolk Regiment, he was the senior military officer in New England.[7] which included the responsibilities of subduing and controlling Native Americans[2] and apprehending criminals, such as those accused of heresy.[7]

In 1644 he [Atherton] was sent, with Captains Johnson and Cook, to Narragansett to arrest and try Samuel Gorton for heresy. It is hoped that Gorton's complaint of his treatment was exaggerated, for he said, in passing through Dorchester. 'A large concourse of persons assembled with several ministers to witness the passage of the troops, and the prisoners were stationed apart and volleys of musketry fired over their heads in token of victory

Harlow Elliot Woodword, in Epitaphs from the Old Burying Ground in Dorchester, said that Atherton had believed in witches and "felt it to be a duty which he owed to God and to his Country to mete out to the poor creatures, against whom accusations were brought, the punishment, which, in his opinion, they so richly merited." [5] Woodward said that, in his capacity as assistant, Atherton had been instrumental in bringing about the execution of Mrs. Ann Hibbins,[5] a wealthy widow, who was executed for witchcraft on June 19, 1656.[15] Hibbins was later fictionalized in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. In that book she was depicted as the sister of Governor Bellingham.[16][17]

Atherton was involved in the persecution of Quakers[6] and there are two incidents in particular that the Quakers wrote about in relationship to Atherton. First, the case of Mary Dyer, a Quaker who was executed in 1660 after returning to Boston despite banishment. Atherton was assistant governor at the time, and at her hanging he was said to have remarked, "She hangs there like a flag."[18] The Quakers understood this comment to be an insulting boast.[19]

Secondly, there was the case of Wenlock Christison, a Quaker who had repeatedly returned to Massachusetts despite banishment, whose trial in May, 1661 put an end to the execution of Quakers. He was sentenced to death, but the law was changed soon after, and he was not executed. He was the last Quaker to be sentenced to death in Massachusetts. The Quakers believed that during an altercation between the accused and Atherton at the trial, Christison prophesied the outcome of his trial as well as the circumstances of Atherton's untimely death. Quaker writer George Bishop wrote, "Yea, Wenlock Christison, though they did not put him to death, yet they sentenced him to die, so that their cruel purposes were nevertheless. I cannot forbear to mention what he spoke, being so prophetical, not only as to the judgment of God coming on Major-general Adderton, but as to their putting any more Quakers to death after they had passed sentence on him."[8] Henry Wadsworth Longfellow recreated the Christison trial in his play John Endicott which included the damnation of Atherton by the accused

Ebenezer Clapp, in The History of Dorchester said of Atherton, "He had great experience and skill in the treatment of the Indians, with whom his public duties brought him in frequent contact. He manifested much humanity and sympathy for their ignorant and degraded condition, but exercised great energy and decision of character when necessary."[12] In 1637 the colonists had sided with the Mohegans in the Pequot War, which wiped out most of the Pequot people. By the early 1640s tensions were building between the Mohegans and the Narragansetts. "In 1645, the New England Colonies met by representatives to consult upon the Indian problem, and appointed a Council of War; Capt. Miles Standish, of Plymouth, was chairman. Mason of Connecticut, Leverett and Atherton of Massachusetts, were the other councilors".[2]

The New England colonies, with the exception of Rhode Island, formed a confederation called "The Four United Colonies of New England". Rhode Island, according to The Proceedings of the Rhode Island Historical Society, 1881–1882, was excluded, not for reasons of religious differences, but because its founder, Roger Williams, had been banished from Massachusetts "for denying the right of the magistrates to take the lands of the Indians with out compensating the owners".[21] The United Colonies obtained Narragansett lands within the boundaries of Rhode Island by putting in motion a series of events that began with their promise of aid to the Mohegan Sachem, Uncas, whom they had supported during the Pequot War, if he declared war against the Narragansett Sachem, Miantinomo. During the ensuing war, Miantinomo was captured and brought to the commissioners of the Four United Colonies at Hartford. "After obtaining him as a captive, they could find no excuse for putting him to death; and, to avoid the responsibility, they referred his case for decision to a convention of ministers in Boston; [sic] Winthrop states, 'Miantinomo was killed near Hartford by a blow on the back of his head with a hatchet

The Connecticut settlers demanded land from Uncas in return for their assistance to him. "Trumbull states, 'Mr. Leffingwell obtained nearly the whole township of Norwich for his services.'"[21] Miantinomo's successor, Pessicus, declared war against Uncas and the colonies fined him 2000 fathoms of wampum for causing the hostilities, which he was unable to pay."[21]

"Humphrey Atherton was sent by the commissioners of the Four Colonies, with twenty armed men, to enforce the payment. As stated in Arnold's history of Rhode Island (vol. i., p. 199), 'Atherton forced his way, pistol in hand, into the wigwam, and, seizing the Sachem by the hair, dragged him out, threatening instant death if any resistance was offered.' The debt was settled by Pessicus giving a mortgage of all his lands to the commissioners of the Four Colonies."[21]

In 1658, Atherton came into contact with Native Americans again when he was appointed by the General Court to the post of Superintendent of Indian Affairs, overseeing the praying Indians; Nipmuck Indians who had been converted to Christianity by John Eliot.[22] He held that position until his death. "Though a terror to warlike Indians, yet he was the trusted friend of all who were well disposed, helping on their education and Christianizing, and guarding their rights, so that he had immense personal influence with them, and was a successful treaty-maker".[2]

[edit] Land speculationHumphrey Atherton was a successful land speculator. The land he owned in Dorchester included a large portion of South Boston. He also owned a share in what became Milton, Massachusetts. The General Court awarded 500 acres (2.0 km2) to him for his public service, but because some of it impeded the town on Hadley, Massachusetts, he was given a new grant that had an additional 200 acres (0.81 km2). Since he had represented Springfield in the General Court, he probably owned land in Springfield as well. When he died, his estate was worth 900 pounds, not including much of his land.[23]

Atherton "played a key role in fighting and removing Indians from land he later owned." [24] In 1659, he and some friends, including Connecticut Governor, John Winthrop, Jr., made some illegal purchases of land from Native Americans in Rhode Island. The group, referred to as the Atherton Company, circumvented the law by making the purchases appear to be gifts.[23]

In 1660, commissioners of the Four Colonies, of whom John Winthrop, Jr. was one, transferred ownership of the mortgage of Pessicus's land to the Atherton Company for 735 fathoms of wampum. The Company then foreclosed on the mortgage. The land included the Narragansett property within the bounds of Rhode Island. Rhode Island found this transference of land to be illegal and prevented the sale of the land for several years. The company, which changed its name to "Proprietors of the Narragansett Country," eventually did sell 5,000 acres (20 km2) of the land to Huguenot immigrants who began a colony there called Frenchtown. The Huguenots lost the land when, in 1688, a Royal Commission determined the Atherton claim to be illegal.[21]

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Maj. Gen. Humphrey Atherton's Timeline

1575
1575
Prob, Winstanley, , England
1607
February 16, 1607
Wigan, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
1607
Preston, Lancashire, England
1617
February 16, 1617
Age 10
Wigan, Winstanley, Lancashire, England
February 16, 1617
Age 10
Wigan,Winstanley,Lancashire,England
February 16, 1617
Age 10
Wigan,Winstanley,Lancashire,England
1627
December 26, 1627
Age 20
Winwick, Lancashire, England
1627
Age 20
Preston, Lancashire, England
1628
September 28, 1628
Age 21
Winwick, Lancashire, England
1630
1630
Age 23
England