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Reverend John Williams

Reverend John Williams
Was the Deerfield raid really about capturing the minister?

History seems to think so. Indian raids on the towns of the New England Frontier were quite common. Their purpose was to keep the English from advancing on the western lands, taking captives for profit or revenge, and keeping the English off balance enough to prevent an invasion of Quebec. Even though he ministered at the ends of civilization, Reverend John Williams was somewhat renowned if for nothing more than his family. His wife, Eunice, was a niece of the Reverends Increase and Cotton Mather and John’s nephew was Jonathan Edwards.
During this period, both French and English used privateers, independent ship captains who would raid the other side’s ships and keep the military at bay. This was especially important for the French to protect access to the St. Lawrence River. The most famous and feared French Privateer was Pierre Maisonnat dit Baptiste. In 1704 he was held prisoner by the English on Castle Rock near Boston. The French needed him and his pirating skills desperately, and conceived the capture of this famous clergyman as a means of negotiating Baptiste’s release in an exchange. Read More 
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