James II Converse, Major (c.1645 - 1706) MP

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Nicknames: "James Convers"
Birthplace: Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Death: Died in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Occupation: Major, Town clerk, Speaker of the House, Military Major of Mass. forces in Maine
Managed by: Judith "Judi" Elaine (McKee) Burns
Last Updated:

About James II Converse, Major

Gravestone Inscription

Here Lyes buried ye body of Major James Convers, Esq., aged 61 years, who departed this life, July ye 8th, 1706.

Brief Biography

Major James Converse, Esquire, son of Lt. James and Ann Long Converse, the distinguished officer in the Indian war, mentioned by Mather, "Magnalia," Book VII, was born in Woburn, November 16, 1645, married January 1, 1668-9, Hannah, daughter of Capt. John and Elizabeth Carter, born Janua;ry 19, 1650-51, was freeman, 1671; selectman 1680-1688, etc.; town clerk, 1688 and following years; representative 1698-99, etc. He lived a little east of Winter Pond, in the present town of Winchester, in a house not now in existence. Major Converse is most celebrated for his resolute defense of Storer's garrison at Wells, in 1692. The characteristic and minute account of this "memorable action," by Dr. Cotton Mather, occupies pages 613-618 of the "Magnalia Christi Americana," Vol. II.

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~converse/cemetery/woburn_1.html

Major James CONVERS (son of Lieutenant James CONVERS), distinguished himself by his gallant defense of Storers' Garrison, at Wells [Rutland County created 1781, Vermont a state in 1791], during the war against the French and Eastern Indians, known as the Ten Years' War, and was promoted by Governor PHIPPS to the command of all the military forces of Massachusetts in Maine. From Major James CONVERS were descended Colonel Israel CONVERSE of Randolph [Orange County], Vermont, Governor Julius CONVERSE, Larkin G. MEAD, the sculptor, Mrs. Justin S. MORRILL, Mrs. William Dean HOWELLS, and Commodore George Albert CONVERSE. [The town of Woburn, Massachusetts was organized in 1642, and is in Middlesex County, created in 1643. Massachusetts became a state in 1788.]

http://www.rockvillemama.com/vermont/converse.htm

Beginning with King Philip's War in 1675, Native American attacks destroyed many incipient towns. New France resented encroachment by New England in territory it considered its own, and used the Abenaki inhabitants to impede English settlement. During King William's War, when Wells contained about 80 houses and log cabins strung along the Post Road, the town was attacked on June 9, 1691 by about 200 Native Americans commanded by the sachem Moxus. But Captain James Converse and his militia successfully defended Lieutenant Joseph Storer's garrison, which was surrounded by a gated palisade. Another sachem, Madockawando, threatened to return the next year "...and have the dog Converse out of his hole."

A year passed when cattle, frightened and some wounded, suddenly ran into the town from their pastures. It was a recognized sign that a Native American attack was imminent, so residents sought refuge. On June 10, 1692, a force of 400 Native Americans and some French troops commanded by La Brognerie marched into Wells, knowing that Converse would be in Storer's garrison. But with a 15 soldier militia and an approximate number of townsfolk, Converse resisted assaults during a 2-3 day siege. The attackers alternated between attacks on the village and the narrow harbor, where Captain Samuel Storer, James Gooch and 14 soldiers, sent as reinforcements, were aboard 2 sloops and a shallop. Native Americans shot flaming arrows onto the boats, but the crews extinguished the fires. The attackers fastened a wall of vertical planks to the back of a cart, then pushed it toward the vessels at low tide. La Brognerie and 26 French and Native Americans huddled behind the shield, but the cart got stuck in mudflats within 50 feet of the nearest boat. When La Brognerie struggled to lift the wheel, he was shot through the head. The remainder ran, some dropping in the hail of bullets. Next they towed downstream a raft of about 18-20 feet square and covered with combustible material, expecting the ebbing tide to carry it ablaze to the boats. But the wind shifted and the raft drifted to the opposite shore.

Running out of ammunition, the attackers retreated, although not before burning the church and a few empty houses, shooting all the cattle they could find, and torturing to death John Diamond, who had been captured at the outset trying to escape the boats for the fort. They left behind some of their dead, including La Brognerie. The victory of so few against so many brought Converse fame and advancement. A granite monument in Storer Park now marks the site of Lieutenant Storer's garrison.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wells,_Maine

(XX) Major James Converse, son of Lieutenant James Converse (19), was born at Woburn, Massachusetts, November 16, 1645. He was one of the most prominent men in the Massachusetts Bay colony. He served in the general court as deputy from 1679 to 1692 and was speaker three years, 1699, 1702-03. He was the commander at the famous defense of Storer's garrison at Wells, Maine, in 1691-92, and for his conduct there was promoted to the rank of major. He was placed in command of all the military force of French under Labocree and Indians under Moxus, Madocawando, Egeremet and others. The French leader was killed and the assault repelled. For his services in this campaign his heirs received a grant of land at Ashburnham, Massachusetts, "on condition that within five years after the date of the grant two families be settled on the premises, each with a house and at least four acres of land under cultivation. Major Converse lived in what is now Winchester east of Winter Pond. All of his descendants are eligible to the Society of the Colonial Wars. He married, January 1, 1668-69, Hannah Carter, born January 19, 1651-51, daughter of Captain John and Elizabeth Carter, of Woburn. His wife died August 10, 1691. Their children were: James, born September 5, 1670; John, see forward; Elizabeth, April 26, 1675, died July 27, 1694; Robert, December 29, 1677, died July 20, 1730; Hannah, June 12, 1680; Josiah, May 24, 1683, died young; Josiah, September 12, 1684; Patience, November 6, 1686, died July 23, 1707; Ebenezer, December 16, 1688, died young.

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~converse/bios/mor-bio.html

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When the bridge at Mystic, Massachusetts was in need of repair, the towns of Woburn and Medford were at odds over who should be responsible for the job. James Converse Jr., and another man were appointed to represent Woburn in settling the matter. Like his father, he was a leading m ember in the Woburn Church and was a great help to the new minister, Reverend Fox in finding a place for him to settle upon his arrival.

The following are dated excerpts pertaining to James Converse Jr.:

1671: James Converse Jr. took the oath of a freeman at Woburn.

1679: From this year to 1692, James served the General Court as a deputy.

1680: James was first appointed a selectman of Woburn, a position he served consecutively until 1688.

1688: He was first appointed town clerk this year-then for the years 16 91, 1693-1700. While a clerk, James kept a bound record book of the births and names of parents as the events happened in the town. Prior to t his, only loose paper leaves were kept, showing just the fathers' name. He also kept records of the deaths and marriages for the town during his term as clerk.

1699: Served his first term as Speaker of the House. He repeated this honored position several times.

The military service of James Converse was extensive, colorful and duly noted by historians. It first begins during the years 1677-87, a time when he served as a Sergeant in the Woburn Company. By 1689, he was promoted to an Ensign, and on August 23, 1689, he became Captain, charged with one of the seven companies mustered for the expedition against the eastern enemy. James saw active service from 1689-1692, 1699 and 1 704. In 1693, he was promoted to a Major, and in 1704, was commissioned by the Governors of Rhode Island and Connecticut to offer his assistance in the war of 1704. His promotion to Major came after his defense o f “Storer's Garrison,” located at Wells, Maine. The following i s an account of this conflict, as found in and copied from, “Sewall' s, History of Woburn” and Cotton Mathers, “History of the Ten Years W ar.”

“It seems that on November 29, 1690, six Indian Sachems had agreed at Sagadahock with Capt. John Alden upon a truce till the first day of May 1691, on which day they promised to bring all the English captives i n their hands into Lieut. Storer's house at Wells, and there conclude upon terms of a firm and lasting peace.”

“Accordingly, on the day appointed, Deputy Governor Danforth and certain other gentlemen came from Boston to Wells, suitably guarded, expecting the fulfillment of this engagement by the Indians. The Indians, being poor musicians for keeping time, Captain Converse went out and returned with some of them, who brought in six English captives in company and promised that in twenty days more, would bring in to Capt. Convers all the rest. After waiting for the Indians beyond the term agreed upon , Deputy Governor and Company withdrew; and Capt. Convers, suspecting treachery, made earnest application to the County of Essex for help to b e sent him as speedily as possible; and received from that quarter thirty five men. This providential reinforcement saved the place. For scarcely half an hour had lapsed from their entering Storere's house on June 9, 1691, before Moxus, a fierce Sachem, beset it, with two hundred Indians. But, receiving a brave repulse from garrison within, he became d iscouraged and drew off. This gave occasion to Madockawando, another noted Indian Sachem, and virulent foe to the English, to say, as was afterwards reported, “My brother Moxus has miss'd it now; but I will go m yself the next year, and have the Convers out of his hole.” The event p roved that this was no empty threat; that Madockawando ment as he said. For on June l0, just a year and a day from the time that Moxus commenced h is attack on the garrison of Wells the year before, the cattle of that p lace came suddenly home affrighted, and some of them wounded. Warned b y this infallible sign that the Indians were nigh, the inhabitants of the place fled for refuge to the garrison house; and the next morning an army of French and Indians, from 300 to 500 in number, commanded by Labo cree, a Frenchman, and under him, by Moxus, Madockawando, Egermet, and other Indian Sachems, was discovered lurking around. To defend himself against this host, Capt. Convers had only fifteen men in the garrison, and many more aboard of two sloops and a shallop in the river hard by, which had recently arrived from Boston with ammunition for the soldiers and a contribution of supplies for the impoverished inhabitants of the vicinity. So weak and contemptible did the Indians account these few opponents, and so sure were they of victory, that one of the first things they did after their arrival was to agree upon a division among themselves of the prisoners and of the spoils.”

“They than made a violent assault upon the garrison, but meeting the re a hot reception, and having no cannon, they were glad to leave it for the time, and try their efforts upon the sloops. So narrow was the river or inlet where these lay, that the enemy could approach them within twelve yards of the land; and from hence, behind a pile of plank, and a haystack fortified with posts and rails, they discharged their volleys upon them. By means too of fire arrows, they succeeded several times in setting the sloops on fire. But the sailors with a swab at the end of a r ope tied to a pole, and so dipt into the water, contrived to extinguish the spreading flames; and, encouraged by their resolute commander, Lieutenant Storer, they made such stout resistance that before night their assailants, disappointed, withdrew. But they soon returned, to try the effect of stratagem and threatening. In the coarse of the night, they inquired of the men on board the sloops, “Who were their commanders,” the Indians replied, “you lie, you have none but Convers, and we will have him to before morning.” But morning arrived and found Convers still a live and well within the wall of Storer's house. On that morning by daylight, the Indians commenced preparations for another assault upon the garrison. They began to march toward it in a body, with great display; and so terrific was their appearance, that one of the garrison ventured t o suggest the expediency of a surrender. But Captain Convers, rendered indignant by such a proposal, vehemently protested that he would lay the m an dead who should so much as mutter that base word any more. When the Indians had come within a short distance from the garrison, they raised a shout that caused the earth to ring; and crying out in English, “fire an d fall out brave boys,” they all being drawn into three ranks, fired in a body at once.”

“But violent as this onset was, the Captain was prepared to meet it. His men were ready, waiting for his commands; and the female inhabitants o f the town, who had fled to the garrison for protection at the approach o f the enemy, were not only active in handing ammunition to the men, but several armed themselves with muskets and discharged them. Capt. Convers had given orders to his men to refrain from firing till they could do it t o the best advantage; and when they came to discharge their artillery at his word, such was the execution done, that many of the enemy were swept down before them, and many others were constrained to flee. Baffle d in this their second attack upon the garrison, the enemy now renewed t heir attempts upon the sloops. They constructed a raft, eighteen or twenty foot square, which they loaded with combustible materials, and than towing it as near as they dared, set fire to it and left it for the tide to float it toward the sloops. And now the men on board, perceiving their imminent danger of perishing by fire, commended themselves to God for help. And suddenly it is recorded the wind shifted, and the raft was driven upon the opposite shore, and so much split as to let in water with which the fire was quenched. By this time, the enemy's ammunition was nearly exhausted, and numbers of them disheartened with their ill success, began to draw off. The rest after some consultation, thoug ht best to send a flag of truce toward the garrison advising them to surrender. But Capt. Convers sent them word, that he “wanted nothing but for men to come and fight him.” The Indians replied, “being you are so stout, why don't you come and fight in the open field, like a man and not in the garrison like a squaw.” The Captain replied, “what a fool! do you think thirty men a match for five hundred?, No: come with your thirty men upon the plain, and I'le meet you with my thirty as soon as you will.” upon this, answered, “Nay, mee own, English fashion is all one fool; you kill mee, mee kill you. No: betterly somewhere, man and he no see; that the best soldier!.”

“With this, the enemy, from daring Capt. Convers had recourse to coaxing and flattery. But finding him to wise to trust the promises of insidious foes, and all that all their devices to induce him to surrender , or draw from his stronghold, were ineffectual, they were thrown into a rage, and horrid imprecation declared, “We'll cut you as small as tobacco before to-morrow morning.” But the only reply the intrepid Captain made to this vaporing threat, was “to bid them come on, for he wanted wo rk.” The enemy themselves not withstanding their boast what they would do to him, came near him no more. Having now continued before the garrison and in its neighborhood forty eight hours and been disappointed in all their confident expectations, and defeated in all their efforts to get the “Dog Convers” (as they called him) and his men into their power they wreaked their vengeance upon all the cattle they could light upon, and cruelly tortured to death a poor unhappy captive they had taken on the morning they came to Wells, and then marched off, leaving some of their dead behind them, Labocree, there commander-in-chief, among the res t' thus giving cause and joy and thanksgiving unto God to the garrison, and to at large, for so wonderful deliverance.”

For his brave action, Captain James Convers was appointed to the rank of Major, by Governor Phipps and appointed to the command of all Massachusetts troops in the area of Maine. James shared in the honor of bringing this terrible conflict to an end. Late in 1698, James Converse , with Colonel John Phillips and Captain Cyprian Southhack, sailed from Boston for the Eastern country, entrusted by the government to enact a peace with the Indians. Meeting with the Indian leaders on January 7, 1699, they drew up a treaty that ended the war.

Recorded in 'The History of Woburn,' are copies of several letters James sent to Governor Joseph Dudley, in regards to the French and Indian wars. These letter show that James added an 'E' to the end o f his name making it as we find it used today-Converse. James may have died intestate, as I have no knowledge of any will.

_____

His residence in

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Woburn was a short distance east of Winter Pond in the present town of Winchester. He was made freeman in 1671. Selectman eight years, 1680-1688; and town clerk 1688, 1691, and 1693 to 1700. He was one of the two citizens of Woburn appointed to appear for the town in the controversy with the town of Medford regarding repairs of Mystick Bridge. He was one of the leading members of the Woburn Church, and one of the Church Committee for the settlement of Rev. Mr. Fox there. He was Deputy to the General Court five terms 1679-92, and elected Speaker of the House 1699, 1702 and 1703. He was noted for his gallant defence of Storer's Garrison at Wells, 1691-92. For efficiency in this service he was promoted to the rank of Major, and placed in command of all the military forces of Massachusetts in Maine.

6 July 1690. Two companies under the Captains Floyd and Wiswal were now scouting, and on the sixth day of July discovered an Indian track, which they pursued until they came up with the enemy at Wheelwright's Pond [in Lee], where a bloody engagement ensued for some hours, in which Wiswal, his lieutenant Flagg, and sergeant Walker, with twelve more, were killed and several wounded. It was not known how many of the enemy fell, as they always carried off their dead. Floyd maintained the fight after Wiswal's death, till his men, fatigued and wounded drew off, which obliged him to follow. The enemy retreated at the same time for when Captain Converse went to look after the wounded he found seven alive, whom he brought in by sunrise the next morning, and then returned to bury the dead." Belknap's History o f New Hampshire, Vol. I, p. 261.

10 June 1692. "On the tenth day of June, an army of French and Indians made a furious attack on Storer's garrison at Wells, where Captain Convers commanded; who, after a brave and resolute defense, was so happy as to drive them off." -Ibid., p. 264.

Sewall's History of Woburn describes Maj. James Convers' defence of Storer's Garrison as follows:

James Convers, Jr., the last of those worthies who subscribed the above Declaration of the Church of Woburn in 1703, and familiarly known in his day as Maj. James Convers, was the eldest son of James Convers, Senr., and was born in Woburn November 16, 1645. He was a gentleman that, for a succession of years, appears to have faithfully and acceptably discharged various civil trusts reposed in him by the town.

But he is most celebrated for his services to his country in the military line, and especially for his gallant defence of Storer's garrison at Wells, during the war against the French and Eastern Indians, which began in 1688, and has been called

Page 19 - The Converse Family

"The Ten Years War." That exploit of Major (then Captain) Convers is spoken of, both by Hutchinson and by Belknap in their respective Histories, in terms of commendation. Mather also, in his History of this War, entitled "Decennium Luctuosum," gives a minute and interesting account of this celebrated action, and as it is highly creditable to this distinguished son of Woburn, an abridgment of it may not improbably be gratifying to the citizens of Woburn at the present day.

It seems that on November 29, 1690, six Indian sachems had agreed at Sagadahock with Capt. John Alden upon a truce till the first day of May 1691, on which clay they promised to bring all the English captives in their hands into Lieut. Storer's house at Wells, and there conclude upon terms of a firm and lasting peace.

Accordingly, on the day appointed, Deputy Governor Danforth and certain other gentlemen came from Boston to Wells, suitably guarded, expecting the fulfilment of this engagement by the Indians. But, as Mather expresses it, "the Indians being poor musicians for keeping time," Captain Convers went out, and returned with some of them, who brought in six English captives in company, and promised "that in twenty days more they would bring in to Captain Convers all the rest." After waiting for the Indians beyond the term agreed upon, the Deputy Governor and company withdrew; and Captain Convers, suspecting treachery, made earnest application to the County of Essex for help to be sent him as speedily as possible; and received from that quarter thirty-five men. This providential re-enforcement saved the place. For scarcely half an hour had elapsed from their entering Storer's house on June 9, 1691, before Moxus, a fierce sachem, beset it, with two hundred Indians. But, receiving a brave repulse front the garrison within, he became discouraged and drew off. This gave occasion to Madockawando, another noted Indian sachem, and a virulent foe to the English, to say, as was afterwards reported, "My brother Moxus has miss'd it now; but I will go myself the next year, and have the dog Convers out of his hole." The event proved that this was no empty threat; that Madockawando meant as he said. For on June 10, 1692, just a year and a day from the time that Moxus commenced his attack on the garrison of Wells the year before, the cattle of that place came suddenly home from the woods affrighted, and some of them wounded. Warned by this infallible sign that the Indians were nigh, the inhabitants of the place fled for refuge to the garrison house; and the next morning an army of French and Indians, from 300 to 500 in number, commanded by Labocree, a Frenchman, and under him, by Moxus, Madockawando, Egeremet, and other Indian sachems, was discovered lurking around. To defend himself against this host, Captain Convers had only fifteen men in the garrison, and as many more aboard of two sloops and a shallop in the river hard by, which had recently arrived from Boston with ammununition for the soldiers, and a contribution of supplies for the impoverished inhabitants of that vicinity. So weak and contemptible did the Indians account these

Page 20 - The Converse Family

few opponents, and so sure were they of victory, that one of the first things they did after their arrival was to agree upon a division among themselves of the prisoners and of the spoils.

They then made a violent assault upon the garrison. But meeting there a hot reception, and having no cannon, they were glad to leave it for that time, and try their efforts upon the sloops. So narrow was the river or inlet where these lay, that the enerny could approach them within twelve yards of the land; and from hence, behind a pile of plank, and a haystack fortified with posts and rails, they discharged their volleys upon them. By means, too, of fire arrows, they succeeded several times in setting the sloops on fire. But the sailors, "with a swab at the end of a rope tied to a pole, and so dipt into the water," contrived to extinguish the spreading flames; and, encouraged by their resolute commander, Lieutenant Storer; they made such stout resistance that before night their assailants, disappointed, withdrew. But they soon returned, to try the effect of stratagem and threatening. In the course of the night, they inquired of the men on board the sloops, Who were their commanders? And being answered, "We have many commanders," the Indians replied, "You lie; you have none but Convers, and we will have him too before morning." But morning arrived, and found Convers still alive and well within the walls of Storer's house. On that morning by daylight, the Indians commenced preparations for another assault upon the garrison. They began to march towards it in a body, with great display; and so terrific was their appearance, that one of the garrison ventured to suggest the expediency of a surrender. But Captain Convers, rendered indignant by such a proposal, "vehemently protested that he would lay the man dead who should so much as mutter that base word any more." When the Indians had come within a short distance from the garrison they raised a shout that caused the earth to ring; and crying out in English, "Fire, and fall on, brave boys," they all, being drawn into three ranks, fired in a body at once.

But, violent as this onset was, Captain Convers was prepared to meet it. His men were all ready, waiting his commands and the female inhabitants of the town, who had fled to the garrison for protection at the approach of the enemy, were not only active in handling ammunition to the men, but several armed themselves with muskets, and discharged them. Captain Convers had given orders to his men to refrain from firing till they could do it to most advantage; and, when they cane to discharge their artillery at his word, such was the execution done, that many of the enemy were swept down before them, and many others were constrained to flee. Baffled in this, their second attack upon the garrison, the enemy now renewed their attempts upon the sloops. They constructed a raft, eighteen or twenty feet square, which they loaded with combustible materials, and then towing it as near as they dared, set fire to it, and left it for the tide to float it toward the sloops. And now the men on board, perceiving their imminent

Page 21 - The Converse Family

danger of perishing by fire, commended themselves to God for help. And suddenly it is recorded, the wind shifted, and the raft was driven upon the opposite shore, and so much split as to let in water, with which the fire was quenched. By this time, the enemy's ammunition was nearly exhausted, and numbers of them disheartened with their ill success, began to draw off. The rest, after some consultation, thought best to send a flag of truce towards the garrison advising them to surrender. But Captain Convers sent their word, that "he wanted nothing but for men to come and fight him." The Indians replied, "Being you are so stout, why don't you come and fight in the open field, like a man, and not fight in a garrison like a squaw?" The Captain rejoined, "What, a fool are you! do you think thirty men a match for five hundred? No: come with your thirty men upon the plain, and I'le meet you with my thirty as soon as you will." Upon this, the Indian answered' "Nay, mee own, English fashion is all one fool; you kill mee, mee kill you! No: better ly somewhere, and shoot a man and he no see; that the best soldier!"

With this, the Indian enemy, from daring Captain Convers, had recourse to coaxing and flattery. But, finding him too wise to trust the promises of insidious foes, and that all their devices to induce him to surrender, or to draw him from his stronghold, were ineffectual, they were thrown into a rage, and with a horrid imprecation declared, " We'll cut you as small as tobacco before tomorrow morning." But the. only reply which the intrepid captain made to this vaporing threat, was, "to bid them, come on; for he wanted work." The enemy themselves, notwithstanding their boast what they would do with him, came near him no more.. Having now continued before the garrison and in its neighborhood forty-eight hours 'and been disappointed in all their confident expectations, and defeated in all their efforts to get the dog Convers (as they called him) and his men into their power, they first wreaked their vengeance upon all the cattle they could light upon, and cruelly tortured to death a poor unhappy captive they had taken on the morning they came to Wells, and then marched off, leaving some of their dead behind them. Labocree, their commander-in-chief, among the rest; thus giving cause of joy and thanksgiving unto God to the garrison, and to the country at large, for so wonderful a deliverance.

For this, his brave and successful action, Captain Convers was promoted the following year, by Governor Phipps, to the rank of a Major, and appointed to the command of all the Massachusetts forces then in Maine. Here, and in the Legislature, he still continued to serve his country during the remainder of the war; and shared at last, in the honor of bringing it to an end. Towards the close of the year 1698, he and Colonel John Phillips, a member of the Council of the Province, with Captain Cyprian Southack, commander of the Province Galley, sailed from Boston for the Eastern country, intrusted by the Government with full powers for effecting a peace with the Indians. Proceeding to Casco Bay, they there met

Page 22 - The Converse Family

with the leading Indian sachems, and persuaded then, January 7, 1699, to accede to and solemnly subscribe a treaty, which was the same, in the main, with the one they had entered into at Peniaquid, but which they had broken, as they alleged, through the persuasion of the French. Peace had, previously to this, been made with the French by the treaty of Ryswick, 1697.

In 1699, the year in which peace with the Indians was concluded, and in the four preceding years, and again in 1701, and the four following years, Major Convers was sent a member for Woburn to the General Court; and in three of those years, viz : 1699, 1702, 1703, he was chosen Speaker of the House. In 1706, he was again returned to the lower branch of the Legislature, but did not live to finish the term for which he had been elected. Being seized, apparently, with some sudden, violent sickness, death put an end at once to his usefulness and his life, July 8, 1706, in the 61st year of his age.

Major Convers married, January 1, 1668-9, Hannah a daughter of Capt. John Carter. By her, he had nine children, six sons and three daughters. Four of these died in infancy or childhood or in youth unmarried. Two of his sons, Robert and Josiah, the second soil of the name, were men of influence and distinction in their day, and descendants of Josiah, of the third and fourth generations from his son, Josiah, Jr., still live in Woburn, and maintain a highly respectable position and character in society.

While this distinguished citizen of Woburn was town Clerk, he performed one piece of service, for which the town doth now, and ever will, owe him a grateful remembrance. After his accession to that office, observing that his predecessors had recorded the Births, Marriages and Deaths in Woburn upon sundry loose papers which were then in a shattered and perishing condition, he procured a blank folio volume, well bound, at his own expense, and transcribed those Records into it, adding, in his own records of births, the names of both the parents, instead of the father only, as had previously been the custom. By this, his laudable care, and by the subsequent purchase of the new volume by the town, at the recommendation of his successor in the Clerk's office, Lieut. Fowle, the valuable records of almost fifty years on the above mentioned topics, were preserved for posterity in a fair hand, and in a durable form, which otherwise had long since perished, or been scattered and lost.

There is also an account of Maj. James Convors' defence of Storer's garrison in Parkman's "Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV," pages 353 to 356. In the same volume (p. 360) Parkman says that the French failure at Pemaquid completed the discontent of the Abenaki Indians, " and despondency and terror seized them when, in the spring of 1693, Convers, the defender of Wells, ranged the frontier with a strong party of militia, and built another stone fort at the falls of the Saco."

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During the latter part of his life Major Convers added the final "e" to his name. His autograph taken from a page of his records while town clerk of Woburn is appended.

source: DEACON EDWARD CONVERS

1690-1692, Defense of Storer's garrison at Wells

from "The History of the Jacob Kimball Parish Family": Maj. James Converse Jr. lived in Woburn. He was Freeman in 1671; Select-man eight years, 1680-88; Town Clerk 1668-92; Speaker of the House 1699, 1702 and 1703. He was noted for his gallant defense of Storer's Garrison at Wells. For his service, he was promoted to the rank of Major and placed in command of all millitry forces in Massachusetts and Maine. For the story of Storer's Garrison, see Belknapp's "History of New Hampshire, Vol. 1, page 261; also Sewall's "History of Woburn". For further account of this famous Indian fighter, see Packman's "Frontenac andNew France under Louis XIV, pages 353 to 356."

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Major James Converse, Esquire's Timeline

1645
November 16, 1645
Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts
1669
January 1, 1669
Age 23
Woburn, Middlesex Co., MA
1670
September 5, 1670
Age 24
Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts
1673
August 22, 1673
Age 27
Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts
1674
April 23, 1674
Age 28
Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts
1677
November 29, 1677
Age 32
Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts
1677
Age 31
Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
1679
1679
Age 33
Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
1683
May 24, 1683
Age 37
Woburn, Massachusetts
1684
June 12, 1684
Age 38
Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States