James Warren, Sr.

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James Warren, Sr.

Birthplace: Berwick, , , Scotland
Death: December 24, 1702 (81-82)
Berwick, York, Maine, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of James Cavalier Warren and Elizabeth Warren
Husband of Margaret Warren
Father of Gilbert Warren; James Warren, Jr.; Margaret Stackpole; Grizel Robitaille and Jane Stockbridge Grant

Occupation: EMIGRATED < 1656
Covenanter: Scottish POW @battle of Dunbar 09/03/1650
Indentured: sold toLynn Iron Works, MA, later to sawmill in Berwick (ME)
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About James Warren, Sr.

An authority states that: "When Cromwell gained a victory over the royal troops at Dunbar in the North, and not knowing how to dispose better of his prisoners, he banished them from the realm of England and sent them to America. From Boston they were dispatched down the coast to find fellowship in the more conservative royalist colony planted by Gorges, and were given lands in what is still known as Scotland parish, in the upper part of York."

Tradition has it that one of these prisoners was James Warren. He settled in that part of Kittery now South Berwick. Cowcove, the name of an inlet to the Great Works river, is so named, says tradition, from the first cows brought to Maine and New Hampshire, being landed there, and Cow cove was the river front of the farm of James Warren in 1656.

James Warren first had a grant of land on the hill which was very poor land. He had other grants near Warren's pond. He was a man of substance and influence in the town, and held among other offices that of selectman for several years. He died in 1702, leaving a will made December 9, 1700, which was probated December 24, 1702.

He gave to his son Gilbert forty acres of land bought of John Davis, and to son James all other lands in Kittery or elsewhere, including the homestead at Cowcove, which was granted to him July 15, 1656. His wife's Christian name was Margaret, and she was a native of Ireland. She survived her husband and took property under his will. Her will was made December 13, 1712, and probated October 15, 1713.



James was one of the (Scots) Royalist soldiers who was captured at the Battle of Dunbar, (near Berwick, Scotland) March 9 1650 during the English Civil War.

Having defeated the Royalists in England and beheaded the king in 1649, Oliver Cromwell proceeded to invade Scotland, the last kingdom remaining loyal to the Crown and, reaching Edinburgh after some skirmishes he marched his army to Dunbar, a town on the east coast of Scotland. General David Leslie in command of the Scottish troops had more troops than Cromwell, but his army was no longer formed of the battle-hardened veterans of the Thirty Years' War as many of them had perished during the Civil War and the 1648 invasion of England. Some had left active service or returned to Swedish or French service again.

James was part of this new army that had to be raised and trained by the remaining veterans. They were raw recruits unused to war in its technical aspects, and the Scottish general Leslie was reluctant to give open battle hoping to starve out Cromwell then hemmed in on the narrow peninsula of Dunbar. The Scots were well armed, but they were poorly trained compared with their English counterparts, all of whom had served with Oliver Cromwell for years.

Meanwhile the young King Charles II had arrived from Holland and joined this motley military organization to the great joy of the clansmen and made himself popular by sharing their rough camp life.

Leslie's army was routed and Cromwell's cavalry pursued the disorganized Covenanters with great slaughter. The only resistance to this onslaught was made by a regiment of Highlanders who fought with great desperation as they had learned from his conquest of Ireland the tales that Cromwell would put all men to the sword and thrust hot irons through women's breasts. Cromwell claimed that 3,000 Scots were killed and 10,000 were taken prisoner. On the other hand, Sir James Balfour, a senior officer with the Scottish army, noted in his journal that there were "8 or 900 killed," and the English Royalist leader, Sir Edward Walker put the number at 6,000 captured, of which 1,000 sick and wounded men were quickly released.

James was one of the the 5,000 able-bodied prisoners that marched down to Durham cathedral in order to prevent any attempt to rescue them. The conditions on the march were so appalling that as many as 2,000 died of starvation, illness or exhaustion during this eight-day, 118 mile forced march.

Many had not eaten for four days prior to the Battle of Dunbar and in Cromwell's letter of the 4th September, he wrote he had to dismiss prisoners because they were sick, injured or starving.

The remaining 3,000 survived the march and a diet of raw cabbage which killed with the "flux". The cathedral had been converted into a prison where these unfortunate Highlanders were destined to spend an indefinite period as captives of war.

Although the Cathedral offered a degree of shelter, the English failed to provide their prisoners with adequate food or fuel for heating. Records indicate that the Scots died at an average of 30 a day between 11th September and 31st October and it seems this reached over 100 a day with virtually no food, clean water or heat and the linked spread of disease and infection.

For a time, the prisoners kept warm by burning all of the woodwork in the Cathedral with the notable exception of Prior Castell's Clock in the South Transept. It is thought that they left the clock alone because it carries a thistle, the emblem of Scotland, on it.

Sir Arthur Haselrigge, Member of the English Parliament for Leicester, The military leader appointed by Cromwell to take charge of the prisoners, later claimed in a letter to the Parliament that adequate food, water, bedding and fuel for heating had been provided.

There is a possibility that the prisoners were experiencing what we now call "refeeding syndrome." This is a metabolic disturbances that occur as a result of reinstitution of food to patients who are starved or severely malnourished. Blood sugar and electrolytes are out of balance leading to heart rhythm irregularties, coma and convulsions and cardiac failure. This can happen to people who are anorexic and then begin eating.

If a person has not eaten for five days in these modern times, they are in danger from refeeding syndrome. If they haven't eaten for ten days, then they are in critical danger. That is with modern hospital care. This syndrome was documented on the Allied Prisoners of the Japanese. The Japanese managed to kill 40 percent of their prisoners over the course of three years.

Attempts were made to feed the prisoners, all of which were detrimental. Bread, Broth, meat were fed to people whose systems had shut down. It was only when they tried boiled milk with water, followed by the same with added beanflour that they began to save people. Even then, Heslerig reported that men who were seeming well were falling down dead. His letters make more sense if you add refeeding syndrome to it and if you look at what happened to the Japanese POW's and the concentration camp survivors.

There was an order in Cromwell's council passed to deliver 900 prisoners for transportation to Virginia and 150 for New England. Another 500 were forced the following spring to serve in the French army, and were still fighting seven years later against the Spanish, side by side with a contingent of English soldiers sent over by Cromwell.

By the end of October, the cold, malnutrition and disease had resulted in the deaths of another 1,600 of the Scottish soldiers, the Dunbar Martyrs. The bodies of many of those who had died were simply thrown into a mass grave in the form of a trench running northwards from the Cathedral. The location of their remains was then forgotten for almost three centuries until rediscovered by workmen in 1946.


Selected as "well and sound and free of wound," James Warren was one of the 150 men who were transported from London to Boston, on the Unity, in November, 1650. James was initially sold (going price was 15 -30 pounds per man) into a number of years of indentured servitude, possibly spending some time at Hammersmith working at the Lynn/Saugus Ironworks near Boston or more likely was sold and taken to Kittery, ME where men were needed for the Great Works sawmill.

The prisoners were distributed throughout numerous towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire in a kind of modified slavery or compulsory service which was to terminate in seven years. John Cotton had his qualms about this camouflaged slavery. In a letter to Cromwell dated Boston 28 July 1651 he said: "The Scots whom God delivered into your hands at Dunbarre and whereof sundry were sent hither, we have been desirous (as we could) to make their yoke easy. Such as were sick of the scurvey or other diseases have not wanted Physick and chyrugery. They have not been sold for slaves to perpetual servitude. But for 6 or 7 or 8 yeares as we do our own."


In Newichawannock between Thompson's Brook (Shorey's) and the Great Works River James was granted land 15 Aug. 1656. He received 50 acres with 48 poles (660') fronting Cow Cove where the "Pied Cow" dropped anchor in 1634, now part of the South Berwick Vaughn Woods Memorial.

James was the Commissioner for Kittery 5 July 1664. He was on the grand jury 28 Dec. 1665 and also 12 June 1666. He was again on jury duty 19 Aug. 1668. In 1670 Margaret and other Scots were admonished for using profane language and in 1674 James was bound to good behavior and was disciplined for abetting Richard Gibson.

On 6 Oct. 1662 James bought of John Davis a parcel of land "near the bridge" granted by the town of York in 1652 containing about 40 acres, but it is doubtful that he occupied this purchase. He may have cultivated it and harvested whatever crops he planted. James retained this property for 40 years until it was bequeathed to his eldest son Gilbert.

He signed a Kittery petition as a selectman 13 Apr. 1697. He signed a Berwick petition again as a selectman 4 Sept. 1697 and another 20 May 1698 requesting £20 for the maintenance of the ministry: "whereas the circumstance of the parish of Barwick continues as bad as, or rather more grievous than hitherto by reason of the not ceasing of the wars & the extreme deadness in trading." They were granted £15 for the maintenance of the ministry for the year beginning Sept. 1698 on 2 Dec. 1698. James then signed a Berwick petition for a township as a Berwick selectman 26 July 1700.

From The Highlander Magazine, Nov/Dec 2004. "Scottish Slaves in Colonial America" Part II by Diane Rapaport, p. 17.

"After his servitude ended, James Warren married an Irish woman and settled near the Great Works sawmill in Kittery, Maine. His friends Daniel Ferguson, John Taylor, Peter Grant and other former war prisoners from the ship Unity acquired farms nearby. Not surprisingly this area became known as 'the Parrish of Unity' and later Berwick, reputedly in honor of Warren's Scottish birthplace.

Warren seems to have been a natural leader in the Scottish community serving as a constable and selectman, but his outspoken ways sometimes offended Puritan sensibilities. In 1669 the Court admonished Warren, his wife and other Scotsmen "for using profane speeches in their common talk." He was punished in 1674 for "abetting a friend who made insolent remarks to the local militia commander" and in 1685 for "Contempt of Authority and abuse of the Constable" when Warren resisted seizure of "a small beast" for delinquent taxes.

Near the end of Warren's life the Indian wars had reduced Berwick to a state of poverty. Attacks destroyed homes, barns and mills; corn crops failed; families crowded into garrisons and survived only by charity and determination. Still, Warren owned land and he dreamed of a better life for his children when he signed his will with a shaky mark, leaving "all my lands to my sons and their Heirs forever."

Kittery which was in southern York Co. of Massachusetts Province, now Maine, an area which quickly became known as "Little Scotland". Berwick Parish was named after the old country town of Berwick, reputedly in honor of the birthplace of James warren, and probably of some of his neighbors. Berwick, Scotland is not far from the site of the Battle of Dunbar.

In Kittery, ME there was a Unity Parish, named for or by the prisoners, who were sent there to work in the sawmills. About fifteen Scotchmen worked there and many were friends and neighbors; their children intermarrying. They are:

Niven Agnew; James Barry; Alexander Cooper; William Furbush; Daniel Ferguson; Peter Grant; George Gray; William Gowen; David Hamilton; Thomas Holme; John Key; Alexander Maxwell; John Neal; John Ross; John Taylor; William Thomson; and JAMES WARREN


James' will is recorded in Berwick, Massachusetts Province, (now Berwick, York Co. Maine), proved December 24, 1702. In it he names heirs, sons Gilbert, and James and daughters, Margaret, GRIZEL, and granddaughter, Jane Grant and grandson James Stagpole, wife Margaret and son James, Jr., executors.

"In the name of god Amen: James Warren Snr of the parish of Barwick in the town of Kittrey... Do make & ordain this my last will & testement as foloweth being sick & week of bodey but in good & perfect memory Viz...

1- I do give unto my son Gilbert Warren all yt tract of land which I bought of John Davis living in ye town ship of York to him & to his haires forever

2- I do give unto my son James warren all my other Lands marshes medoes buldings of all sorts Liing in ye town shep of Kettrey or elce whare to him & his haires for ever

3- I do Give to my Daughter Margrat Stagpole five Shiling

4- I do Give to by Daughter Grizel five Shilings-

5- I do Give to my Granddaughter Jane Grant five Shilings

6- I do Give to my Grandson James Stacpole- one hefer & one Ewe & a young fold-

7- I do Give unto Margrat waren my loveing wife all ye rest of my of my Estate it being moveabels for her Comfertabel mantainance and no legusi before mentioned to be demanded til her decse

8- I do Constitute & Appoint My liveing wife Margrat & my son James Waren to bee Executrix and Executor to this my will & testement made this ninth day of December one thousand seven hundred as wittness my hand-

James X Waren

his mark-

witnesses Robert: X : Gray his mark James: A : Stacpole his mark Nicolas Gowen An Invatary of the Estate of James Warren Late of Kittrey


Imp: to his waring Cloathes...... 03-00-00 to two Cows & two Hiffers of three years......12-00-00 to fourteen Sheep........... 04-04-00 to Six Swine and Six piggs......05-08-00 to the Dwelling house and the barn: and ye home Lot of Land...........80-00-00 to hundred Acres of Land and ten Acres of Marsh Lying at whits Marsh.... 40-00-00 to two barrels & one hogshead....... to one half bushel.....00-01-00 to two Brast Chaines and Apees and one Cleaver.. 00-16-00 to tooles and old Iron......... 01-07-00 to Brass But Saw.....00-07-00 to one barrel Sider..00-10-00 to Indian Corn..... 02-05-00 to A grind Stone.....00-05-00 ( ) from Richard ( ).... 05-10-00 to two ( ) and two pichfork tynes......00-03-00 to Linning yarn and wooling Cotton wool and Sheep wool:..... 04-10-00 to beding: and one feather bed bolster and pillowes. 08-00-00 to four sheets:..... 03-00-00 to new Cloath: Linning and woling......... 02-10-00 to one brass Kittel.... 02-00-00 to Hachet..... 00-01-08 to forty Acres of Land by york bridg..... 30-00-00 to puter:.... 01-06-00 to Spoones: woodin Trayes A ( )........ 03-00 to one Iron Kittel one pott one fryen pan one skillet one tramel A pare of pot Hoks...... 01-01-00 to one Hamer one trowel pare of fire tongs: and som old Iron and A pare of pincers..... 00-06-00 to A Chamber pot and: eight pounds flax....00-05-06 to four bushels pase:six bushels barley and A Cooler 02-01-00 to A barel and: half of beef.....02-10-00 to A ( )....00-08-00 to money:....11-16-04 to one bushel mault: one bushel Sault.... 00-06-00 to two Chests... 00-04-00 Aprised December:ye:15:1702

his Peter O Grant


William Goodin"(12)


History of York, Maine- Banks, Vol.I, pp.206-9.

York Co. Court Records- Vol.II, p.205; Vol.III, p.42,p.54; Vol.IV, p.61.

Genealogical Dictionary of Maine & New Hampshire- p.721 York Deeds- Vol.4, p.159.

Mass. Archives- Vol.3, pp.385-6; Vol.11, pp.125-125a, p.127a; Vol.3, p.394a.

York Co. Probate- I, 85; II, 66.

History and Genealogy of the Stackpole Family- pp.61-2.

Adriel Warren of Berwick, ME: His Forebears and Descendants- Vanetta Hosford Warren, Boston, 1969.

Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society- Vol.LXI, pp.16-29.

Another Scots 1650 Battle of Dunbar POW indentured to the colonies for 7 years:


JAMES WARREN, was born possibly in North Berwick, Scotland about 1621 and died at Kittery, York, Maine in 1702. He married, at Kittery, York County, Maine by 1654, MARGARET (_____). Margaret was born in Ireland.

Children of James and Margaret (_____) Warren: 2. i. GILBERT WARREN*, b. about 1656; d. 1733; m. at Kittery by 1698, SARAH (EMERY) THOMPSON*. 2. ii. MARGARET WARREN*, m., JAMES STACPOLE*. (Later Stackpole) 2. iii. JANE WARREN*, m. on 4 Aug 1690, WILLIAM GRANT*. 2. iv. JAMES WARREN*, b. about 1667; m. at Kittery about 1692, MARY FOST*. 2. v. GRIZEL WARREN*, b. 6 Mar 1662*; m., RICHARD OTIS*.

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James Warren, Sr.'s Timeline

Berwick, , , Scotland
Kittery, York County, Maine, United States
June 8, 1658
Kittery, York, Maine, USA
Kittery, York, Maine, United States
February 24, 1662
Berwick, York County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Kittery, ME, United States
December 24, 1702
Age 82
Berwick, York, Maine, United States