In the Classroom > Unit Overview > Lesson 7

Lesson 7 - Readings for the Sheldon Family

The Sheldon Family

From The History of Deerfield, Vol. II, George Sheldon, 1895, pgs. 293-295

John, s.[son] of Isaac, b.[born] 1658...came to Dfd.[Deerfield] at the permanent sett.[settlement] and at once took a leading part in the affairs of the plantation; was on the board of selectmen; ensign in first military company; capt.[captain] 1707; dea.[deacon] in the chh.[church]; he was the builder of the historic 'Old Indian House'...This house he was occupying [living in] at the desolation [destruction] of the town, Feb. 29, 1704...he died abt.[about] 1733...John Sheldon m.[married] Nov. 5, 1679, Hannah, dau.[daughter] [of] John Stebbins of Nhn.[Northampton] then 15 yrs.[years] and 4 mos.[months] old; she was k.[killed] by a shot through the 'Old Door', Feb. 29, 1704

Ch: John, [born] Sept. 19, 1681
Hannah, [born] Oct. 9, 1683; m.[married] June 26, 1701, Joseph Catlin, who was one of the brave nine who fell in the Meadow fight, 1704; she m. (2) [married her 2nd husband] Oct. 26, 1705, Nath'l[Nathaniel] Clark of Nhn.[Northampton]
Mary, [born] July 24, 1687; cap.[captured] 1704; m.[married] Mar. 19, 1708, Sam'l[Samuel] Clapp of Nhn.[Northampton]; (2) [2nd husband] in 1762, Jonathan Strong of Nhn.[Northampton]- her lover bef.[before] her captivity.
Abigail, [born] Nov. 21, 1689; d.[died] June 10, 1690.
Ebenezer, [born] Nov. 15, 1691
Remembrance, [born] Feb. 21, 1693
Mercy, [born] Aug. 25, 1701; k.[killed] Feb. 29,1704
Abigail, [born] Sept. 8, 1710
John, [born] Mar. 8, 1718

From New England Captives Carried to Canada, Vol. I, Emma L. Coleman, 1925, pg. 116

The Family of John Sheldon

Mary, 16; Ebenezer, 12; Remembrance, 11; and Hannah (Chapin), his daughter-in-law, 23.

Ensign- and deacon [church assistant]- John Sheldon was living in the house afterwards called the 'Old Indian House' where the attack was fiercest. Hacking and hewing the strong oaken door of his house, now treasured in Memorial Hall, the Indians made a hole through which they fired a shot that killed his wife, Hannah (Stebbins). Swarming into the house they killed Mercy, aged three, and captured Mary and the two boys. John, eldest of the family, had recently married Hannah Chapin. On the first alarm they jumped from their bedroom window. She sprained her ankle, but urged him to leave her to bring help, and binding his bare feet with strips of blanket he hurried down to Hatfield as did others….John Sheldon's [Jr.] young wife was carried away...

James Adams, a Wells captive, wrote to Mr. Sheldon from Montreal: 'I doe[do] in these few lins[lines] showe youe that god has shone yo [you] grat [great] kindness and marcy [mercy], In carrying youre Daighter [daughter] Hanna, and Mary in pertickeler [particular], through so grat [great] a iorney [journey], noing [knowing] how Lame she war [was]: the Rest of your children are with the Ind [Indians], Remembrance liues [lives] near cabect [Quebec], Hannah also Liues [lives] with the frenc [French], Jn [John] in the same house I doe [do].' In April Mr. Sheldon wrote to Deerfield from Quebec that he had seen none of his children but had heard that 'they are gone a honten [hunting].' Of the four, he brought back only his son's wife, who was left at her father's home in Springfield, whence [where] she wrote to her husband on June 16 that 'she should be very glad to see him.'

From Family and Landscape, Amelia Miller & Susan McGowan, 1996, pgs. 26, 27, 43

"On January 26, 1699 Sheldon purchased one and one-quarter acres from John and Benoni Stebbins…The house Sheldon built in 1699 stood within the stockade at the north end of the Common. It was one of only a few survivors within the stockade in the French and Indian attack of February 29, 1704. The Sheldon house, in addition to the Meeting House, was used to house prisoners after the attack.

It was reported that Ensign [a military rank] John Sheldon's wife, Hannah Stebbins Sheldon, and one child were killed in 1704, and that three of his children were taken captive. Of his family, only he remained alive and at home. His newly-married son, John Sheldon, Jr., who also occupied his father's house in 1704, ran south to Hatfield, about fourteen miles away, to give the alarm. His bride, Hannah Chapin Sheldon, was captured and carried to Canada.

In 1705, Ensign John Sheldon was sent by Governor Joseph Dudley of Massachusetts Bay on a mission to Canada, and returned in the spring with five of the Deerfield captives, one of whom was Hannah, his son's wife. The next winter, he was again sent to redeem [rescue] English captives in Canada, and was so successful that in May 1706, he sailed from Quebec with forty-four captives, leaving another fifty-seven waiting for transportation home. The Reverend John Williams of Deerfield came with the fifty-seven. In 1707 Sheldon was sent a third time and returned with 113 captives, seven from Deerfield and 106 from other parts of New England. Ensign John Sheldon moved to Hartford soon after 1707, where he eventually married."

top of page