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Daniel Belding & Martin Smith, being new returned out of captivity, their heads, together wt Ratable estate was on there hands at ye date of ye present meeting, were freed from Town charges ye year 1688.

Among the prisoners sent home from Canada under the treaty was Martin Smith, who was taken in 1693. A sorrowful tragedy awaited him. His wife was in prison at Springfield, about to be tried for murder. Little is known of the Smiths, beyond what is found on the court records. Judd thinks they came from New Jersey. Martin received several grants of land here, among the first settlers. The first mention we find of his name is on the court record at Northampton: "May 31, 1674, Martin Smith, a resident of Pocumtuck, was fined 20 s for trying to kiss the wife of Jedediah Strong, on the street." Aug. 4th, 1694, Sarah Smith enters a complaint against John Evans of Deerfield, for "attempting to force an unclean act upon her." Two young soldiers of the night watch were witnesses to the act, which was at her house, "ten rods south of the south gate of the fort." I find no action under this complaint. In the assault of Feb. 29th, 1704, Martin Smith was "smothered in a seller," with the family of John Hawks, Jr. No children of Martin and Sarah are known. The crime and fate of Sarah appear in the following record:--

At a meeting of the Council in Boston, Aug. 8, 1698--Upon information given by His Majesty's Justices in the County of Hampshire, that one Sarah Smith lies in prison for murdering her bastard child. * * * Ordered and appointed that a Court of Assize and General Gaol Delivery be held and kept at Springfield within said county of Hampshire by the Justices, upon Thursday, the eighteenth of the present month of August for the trial of said Sarah Smith.

Pursuant to this order three justices, Wait Winthrop, Elisha Cooke, and Samuel Sewall, escorted by a guard of twenty-six troopers, went up to Springfield and held a court. Sarah Smith was indicted by a grand jury of sixteen men, John Holyoke, foreman, and charged that,--

on Tuesday the eleventh day of January in the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred and ninety-seven--8 betwixt the hours of one and five a clock afternoon of the same day at Deerfield * * * in the dwelling house of Daniel Wells * * * by the providence of God one female bastard child did bring forth alive * * * being led by the instigation of the devil, between the hours of one and seven o'clock afternoon of the same day, withholding her natural

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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"A History of Deerfield," written by George Sheldon (1818-1916) in the late 19th century, was one of many town histories published in New England in the wake of the celebration of the United States' centennial. In two volumes, the history of the town is told in 924 pages. Part II in the second volume contains 395 pages of genealogy information, invaluable to historians and researchers, of the early settlers of Deerfield and their descendants. Mr. Sheldon utilized town records, personal correspondence, diaries, and court records to create his history and the genealogies.


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"History of Deerfield"

publisher   Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association
author   George Sheldon (1818-1916)
date   1895
location   Deerfield, Massachusetts
height   9.25"
width   5.0"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Books/Book
accession #   #L98.042

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See Also...

"History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts"

"A Brief Sketch of the First Settlement of Deerfield, Mass."

George Sheldon (1818-1916)

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