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William Cahoon

Also Known As: "Colquhoun"
Birthdate: (42)
Birthplace: Tullichewan, Scotland
Death: June 22, 1675 (42)
Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts (Died in violent battle during King Phillips War)
Place of Burial: Swansea, Bristol County, Mass
Immediate Family:

Son of Alexander Colquhoun and Marian Stirling
Husband of Deliverance Lombard
Father of Samuel Cahoon; Joseph Cahoon; Archibald Cahoon; Mary Jones; Angus Cahoon and 4 others
Brother of John Cahoon and Jean Colquhoun

Occupation: Foundry & Brickmaker
Managed by: Wendy Boston
Last Updated:

About William Cahoon

William Colquhoun fought the English in the brutal battles of Dunbar and Worcester in Scotland, and was captured by the Army of Parliament. He was indentured to the iron mines in Braintree, Massachusetts. Upon achieving his freedom, he sailed on the "Shallop" to Rhode Island and bought a share of Block Island there. In 1664 he went to Swansea RI and successfully petitioned the General Assembly to make him a freeman with full rights as a citizen.

"William Cahoon in America soon about 1652 (possibly aboard the Unity). He worked for a number of years at Saugus (Lynn, Mass.). He spent six months at Taunton before assisting in the construction of a shallop at Braintree. In April of 1661, he was one of the fifteen men who sailed from Taunton to Cow Cove and became one of the first settlers of Block Island, Mass. (now Rhode Island).

His period of servidtude presumably espired before the end of 1662, and on 13 January 1662/63 William Cahoune bought 9 from Thomas Terry 40 acres on the 'hieway' that then divided Block Island. On 4 May 1664 he was a freeman at New Shoreham, in 1665 he served on a Newport grand jury, and on 20 February 1669/70 he became a freeman and permanent resident of Swansea, Mass.

On 13 November, 1670 William Cohoun sold his 38 acres on Block Island to Samuel Hagbourne. At the coming of King Philips War, William Cahoone was killed by the Indians near East Rehobeth on 22 June 1675 and was buried at Swansea two days later.

He probably married about 1663/64 Deliverance (last name unknown), who married Caleb Lambert of Barnstable after his Wiliam's death. In 1681 Joseph Kent and Caleb Lambert were appointed guardians of Joseph Cahoon (son of William & Deliverance).


1. Samuel Cahoone, b. 1665 (II)

2. William Cahoone, b. ca 1667, m. Elizabeth Nicerson. Issue

3. Joseph Cahoone, b. ca 1669, m. (1)Hannah Kent, (2) Elizabeth Scranton. He has descendants in Rhode Island.

4. James Cahoone, b. 15 Feb. 1670/71, m. Mary Davis. Issue.

5. John Cahoone, b. 9 March 1672/73, m. Cofort Peet. Issue.

6. Nathaniel Cahoone, b. 2 Feb 1674/75, m. Janet Jones. Issue"

The above information comes from research done by Hugh Buckner Johnston, B.A., M.A. (from Ladson Papers)

See also: Find A Grave Memorial# 26080818

William Cahoon1 was born in 1633 in Scotland. He died on 22 Jun 1675 at the age of 42 in Bristol, MA, USA. The William Cahoone (Colquhoun) Society Founded on the 325th anniversary of his death, June 24, 2000, by The Descendants Of William, The First American Cahoone.

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What does Block Island have to do with William Cahoone? LOTS!!!

In 1661, under the leadership of Dr. John Alcock of Boston, Mass. (one of the first graduates of Harvard), a group of men (some with their families), wishing to leave what they perceived as the "unfree" atmosphere of the Puritans, landed on Block Island. These free-thinkers defiantly believed that the State should have no power over people's religious conviction nor their right to vote. They held to their opinion that no onehad the right to tell them what to charge for their own goods and services rendered nor what clothes to wear. They even DARED to support the basic rights of Native Americans, including their being"paid" for their land, rather than having it just taken away from them "in God's name".

It was this group's goal to found a new settlement where they could "breathe the air of freedom". To this end, Wiliam Cahoone, along with a few other indentured Scotsmen, was returned from the Leonard Iron Works back to Quincy where he worked on the construction of a shallop (a 22+' 2-masted shipdesigned for transport of people and goods along the shallower waters near the coast). William and this boat were returned to the Leonard Iron Works, on what today is the Raynham/Taunton line. In April of 1661, these "new pilgrims", who included William Cahoone, then traveled down the Taunton River, the Warren River, out into Mt. Hope Bay, Narragansett Bay, and out to Block Island at Cow Cove.As the settlers' boat came close to the shore, an unforseen problem presented itself: -how to unload the cattle?!

After some deliberation, it was decided that the easiest way to accomplish this necessary task would be simply to push the cows overboard! The bewildered beasts were compelled to swim, much to the delight of the curious and excited Native Americans gathered there.

Even til today, this stretch of beach is still known as "Cow Cove". WILLIAM CAHOONE WAS FIRST LISTED AS A FREEMAN HERE ON MAY 4, 1664! In 1911, a lasting tribute to these stalwart souls was erected on Block Island in the form of "Settlers' Rock" on which a commemorative plaque lists the following settlers' names

Thomas Terry

Duncan M. Williamson
Samuel Deering 

John Rathbone

John Clark
William Judd
Simon Ray
Edward Vorse
William Rosh
Nicholas White 

Thormut Rose

William Billings
William Barker
Trustrum Dodge
David Kimball 

John Ackurs William Cahoone

Thomas Faxun 

Officially made Swansea's first town brickmaker, Dec. 24, 1673 William Cahoone finally met with "success" as a Freeman in Swansea, Massachusetts, when he was officially appointed as the sole brickmaker for that town. There is still in existence, in the Swansea Town Offices, the original bound volume entitled: "Proprietors Book of Grants and Meetings, 1668-1769". It includes the following entry: "At A Town Meeting of the Towns Men, December 24, 1673, It was Agreed upon by and Between the townsmen In the behalf of the town and William Cohoone (Cohoune/Cohowne?) brickmaker that for and In Consideration of a Lot and other Accommodations or Grantes And Given by him from the town unto him the said William Cohoun. It was therefore Agreed and Concluded upon by the Parties Above so that the saidWilliam Cohoon Shall Supply all the Inhabitants of the Town with Bricks at a Price not Exceeding Twenty Shillings a Thousand in Current Pay Putting between Man and Man."

NOTE: in each instance where William's name is written, his last name is spelled differently! This, to me, indicates that perhaps William Cahoone was illiterate, not that uncommon for his times and circumstances. Is it any wonder, therefore, that even today this name is spelled in so many different ways?

On June 24, 2000, William Cahoone's direct descendants donated a Commemorative Plaque to the Swansea Historical Society. It will be affixed to a rock and erected near the site of the Cahoone Brickworks, close to the location of the Myles Garrisoned House along the Palmer River in Swansea, Mass

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The Providence Journal newspaper sent a reporter to cover the William Cahoone Memorial Service on June 25, 2000. The following is the article which subsequently appeared on July 10, 2000. It was accompanied by four photographs

A settler's sacrifice. Descendants gather to honor a Swansea founder. by Meredith Goldstein REHOBOTH - Deborah Cahoon Didick knows the story by heart. It was June 24, 1675. Native Americans and settlers were about to begin fighting in what came to be known as King Philip's War, a bloody battle over land and identity. William Cahoone, a Scottish immigrant, gathered with a group of local residents at the Baptist Meeting House in Swansea for a day of prayer. They prayed for peace, hoping that the growing tension would subside. That night, however, as they left the church, the settlers were ambushed by Native Americans who had become vengeful for their stolen homeland. Some of the settlers were killed, others badly wounded. The survivors ran to the pastor's house to hide.

William Cahoone was a family man. He had come to the New Plymouth Colony as an indentured servant and became one of the first residents of Swansea (founded in 1668), where he and his wife raised seven children. He was the town's official brickmaker.

That night, as his companions lay injured and dying, Cahoone volunteered to travel through what he knew was hostile territory to get medical help. He set off through Swansea toward Rehoboth to get a doctor. Cahoone was never seen alive again. His remains were found in Rehoboth near Providence and Lake Streets, the original Native American footpaths. He was

never given a proper Baptist burial. Three-hundred twenty-five years and one day later, a group of about 30 of Cahoone's descendants gathered at the Lake Street Cemetery in Rehoboth to lay their patriarch to rest. They wore pink name tags which said how they are related to Cahoone (now spelled Cahoon), and laid fresh flowers in honor of the anniversary of his death. "You can cry", said Didick, an 11th -generation Cahoon who organized the memorial service. "You're family. You're my cousins." Didick spent the last year finding Cahoons in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and all around the country, some of whom did not know their ancestor's history in Rehoboth and Swansea. She invitedthem all to the area to meet one another and learn about "Grampa Will", the man who sacrificed his own life for those who needed medical attention. After more than three centuries, Didick wanted to gather with her family together to put Cahoone's spirit to rest. During a memorial weekend, they toured Cahoone's past. They stopped at the Leonard Iron Works in Raynham where Cahoone worked before moving to Block Island in 1661. They followed the Taunton River, the same route he would have traveled to get to the island, where he was first listed as a Freeman. They went to the Luther Museum in Swansea to see his brickmaking handiwork, and stopped at the site of the Myles Garrison House in Swansea where Cahoone was last seen alive by his friends and neighbors.

The group celebrated their heritage at a testimonial dinner where newly-acquainted family members spoke about their ever-present connection to Grampa Will. And on Sunday, June 25, they had a proper funeral. To the cries of bagpipes played by Charles Neil Cahoon, they placed flowers on a small gravesite. The Rev. Edgar Farley of the Hornbine Historic Baptist Church led the service. He thanked Cahoone for making a journey of mercy, and sacrificing his life to help other people. "It reminds me of someone else. Someone who lived 2,000 years ago. His name was Jesus." Farley told a crying Didick that Cahoone lives in one of God's mansions, and will be reunited with his family in

Heaven. "We did not know him," he said. "We believe as Christians that one day, we shall know him." CARRYING YOU HOME We carried you. We carried you. We carried you home. We carried you William! We carried you home.

We all laughed. We all cried. Some came in groups! And some came alone! We came from all around. We all came to carry you home!

Some came from near And some came from afar To present their hearts. Some danced And we all sang. We all sang, William, As we carried you home.

We brought our children. And we brought our parents. We came old We came young

To remember your soul. We all came William To carry you home.

Richard (Cahoon) Didick June 25th, 2000 Deliverance Peck and William Cahoon were married.

William Cahoon was captured by the English, along with his brother John, and they were sold as an indentured servants and sent to America. On 11 NOV 1650 William was taken to Liverpool and was transported from there to Boston, Massachusetts aboard the ship "Unity," commanded by Captain Augustine Walker of Charlestown, Massachusetts. Bex & Company, a London Merchant company, purchased several Scotch prisoners for indentured servants to exploit bog iron at Saugus, Braintree, and Taunton.

William's brother John was shipped from London aboard the ship "John & Sarah" on 11 NOV 1652, but he died either on the voyage or shortly after arriving in Massachusetts.

After working in Saugus, Massachusetts for several years, William worked in Taunton for 6 months. He then assisted in the construction of a shallop at Braintree, Massachusetts. He learned the brick making trade from James Leonard. (S5)

In 1660, with sixteen others, he purchased Block Island, Rhode Island,and became one of the first settlers there, and settled at Cow Cove on Block Island. {S5}. They sailed from Taunton to Cow Cove in 1661 and became the first settlers on Block Island {S11}. Apparently his term of servitude had ended by this time.

He married Deliverance PECK (about 1661-S11)(in 1662) at Block Island, Newport County, Rhode Island. {S5}.

On 13 JAN 1663 he purchased 40 acres from Thomas Terry, which were on the 'hiway' that divided Block Island. On 4 MAY 1664 he was a freeman in New Shoreham. In 1665 he served on a Newport Grand Jury. On 13 NOV 1670 he sold 38 acres on Block Island to Samuel Hogbourne.

William worked as a brickmaker in Braintree, Massachusetts, according to a contract dated 23 DEC 1673.

In "Hubbard's Narrative of Indian Wars" we find this record: "On the 24th of June, 1675, the alarm was sounded in Plymouth Colony, when eight or nine of the English were slain in and about Swansea, they being the first to fall in King Philip's War." William Cahoon was one of these nine. He was killed by Indians during the King Philips War, on 22 JUN 1675 near East Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts. He was buried two days later, on 24 JUN 1675, at Swansea, Massachusetts. We find in the records of this event the Americanized spelling of the name from Colquhoun to Cahoon. Note that even though Hubbard's Narrative says 24 June, the records consistently say he was killed on 22 June.

WIFE : [F2209]. Deliverance PECK. Born in (1635-S10)(1637-S11) on Block Island, Newport County, Rhode Island. She died (on Block Island, Rhode Island-S11)(she died in Rehoboth, MA-S10).

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William Cahoon's Timeline

Age 30
Block Island, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Age 32
Bristol, Plymouth Colony
Age 32
Age 34
Age 34
Block Island, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
April 30, 1669
Age 36
New Shoreham, Block Island, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
February 15, 1673
Age 40
Chatham, Cape Cod, Plymouth Colony
March 9, 1673
Age 40
Newport, Aquidneck Island, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations