Sunday, March 13, 2016

Fearless Females: Moment of Strength

As I learn more about the period of early English settlement in Massachusetts, I realize how little we have been taught about 150 years between the 1620s to the events preceding the Revolutionary War. That leaves us to research details of those times with our own passion for personal history.

We had many ancestors in Massachusetts during that time.  When I think of the strength of the women who worked to make out existence possible, it is with a sense of awe.

Tryphena Powers was one such woman.  I did not marry at 16, nor did I give birth to eleven children.  Our lives were very different. We did share one experience, however.  Her oldest son, Jonathan Lawrence, served in the local militia.  When my son went to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army, he was 23. For the year he was away I worried and tried not to listen to bad news in the media. Jonathan was not quite 20 in 1748 when he and seven others were taken by the natives who were allied with the French in Canada, near Fort Dummer. They had been on the New Hampshire side of the Connecticut River, seventy miles from home, fighting for the safety of their own families.  They were marched north to Crown Point, NY and on to Canada. One of the group may have been a first cousin, Ephriam Powers.

I can feel on a visceral level what a mother goes through when she fears for her child, whatever his age.  If there was any communication regarding Jonathan's condition, it didn't come instantly by email. She had recently given birth to her ninth child when he was captured. That summer must have been full of uncertainty and anguish, mental and physical strain.  And hard work, because life goes on for those remaining behind.

This event came near the end of what was known as King George's War, part of an extended period of battle fueled by the war between France and England.  A treaty was signed in October and the captives were released. The relative peace was temporary, with fighting continuing in earnest in 1754. Tryphena died in 1752, apparently from complications of child birth.

"Trypheuny Lawrance" buried in Littleton Common, Littleton, MA

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