In the Classroom > Unit Overview > Lesson 4

Lesson 4 - Readings for Studying the Bloody Brook Massacre
Excerpts from

The Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion
by John Williams, 1706, pgs. 99-101 event occurred which clothed the country in sackcloth [clothing worn to mourn someone's death] and ashes,- "the blackest day ever noticed in the annals [records] of New England."

A large quantity of grain, probably wheat, had been harvested and stacked at Deerfield. Captain Lathrop, and a company of eighty men, besides a number of teamsters with their teams, were sent by Major Treat from his place to thrash out the grain [beat it to remove the seeds] and carry it to Hadley.

Captain Lathrop and his men... loaded the carts, and commenced [began] their return to Hadley on the morning of the 18th, feeling themselves in perfect security. Unfortunately he was not so well versed in modern warfare as to know the necessity of flank [rear] guards, or he was totally unapprehensive [not worried] of the danger which threatened him. After they had proceeded about four miles and a half through the country, which was then covered with woods, and had just passed the little stream now called Bloody-Brook,... they were attacked, probably by King Philip himself and seven or eight hundred ferocious Indians, howling for vengeance [punishment], brandishing the deadly tomahawk and murderous scalping-knife.

More than one account states that many of the soldiers had attacked or laid down their guns, and, in conscious security, were regaling themselves upon [enjoying] the delicious grapes which were found there in great abundance.

In a moment the guns of the whole body of Indians, who were lying in wait for their victims, poured destruction upon their ranks, accompanied by the terrific yells of the savage war-whoop.

Of nearly one hundred men who entered that field of death on that fatal morning, in the bloom of health, of youth, of manly beauty, only seven or eight remained to tell the melancholy [sad] tale. All the rest were inhumanly butchered...

These young men have always been considered "the flower of the county of Essex," and descended from the most respectable families there.


Rev. John Williams--Deerfield's minister at the time of the 1704 attack. Two of his children were killed during the attack, and his wife was killed during the march north. He was captured along with five of his children. One child, Eunice would never return.


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