Monday, July 9, 2012

The Story of Edward Babbitt (Bobet, or Bobit)

There are times I just start typing away, transcribing pages from the books I find on Google books, not sure of what I'll find. Today, who knew I'd stumble upon an Indian Massacre. So I have to share.

Collections of the Old Colony Historical Society
Papers read before the Historical Society

Indian Massacres in Taunton, by Gen. Ebenezer W. Pierce
Read before the Old Colony Historical Society, Jan 9 1888

"....Edward Babbitt, or Bobit as Gen. Winslow wrote the surname, was enumerated among the inhabitants of Taunton who were able to bear arms in 1643, which fact shows that at that date, he was more than 16years old but under 60.
In 1668 he with John Hathway and Timothy Holloway purchased 400 acres track of land in what was then Taunton, but now Berkley. This tract had been the farm of Mr. William Hook and Mr. Nicholas Street.

Edward Bobit was juryman for Taunton in 1668. He appears to have been married in or near the year 1654. The names of his children:
Edward, July 1655, married Feb 1, 1683, Abigail Tisdale
Sarah, Mar 20, 1657, married Mar 25, 1680, Samuel Pitts
Hannah, Mar 9, 1660
Damaris, Sept 15 1663
Elkanah, Dec 5, 1665, married June 25, 1699, Elizabeth Briggs
Dorcas, June 20, 1667 died April 6, 1674, aged 6 years, 9 months, 20 days
Esther, april 15 1669, married August 23, 1693, Edward Paull. He died July 5, 1740; she died November 15, 1751
Ruth, Aug 7 1671
Deliverance, Dec 15, 1673

...At the commencement of the Indian hostilities in June 1675, Edward Babbitt and family were compelled to abandon their homes in what is now Berkley, and beat a hasty retreat to one fo the fortified houses not far from the Green in Taunton. There they remained nearly or quite a year when Edward ventured to visit his abandoned and desolate home; meeting no Indians on his way until he had reached his destination, made his examinations and was returning to the fortified house in Taunton, when he learned that he had been discovered by the Indians one or more of whom were following him.

When upon the high grounds a little easterly the site of Berkley and Dighton bridge, Babbitt despairing of escaping the foe by flight, sought to secrete himself in the top of a tree. He possibly would have succeeded but for his dog that altogether too faithfully persisted in keeping his master company by posting himself at the foot of the tree that he climbed, where by the foliage was hidden from view. Thus the dog betrayed his master's hiding place to his pursuers and he was shot and killed, and his dead body left at the foot of the tree, where the white people found it some time after, and buried it near by.

The precise spot where the remains of Babbitt were found and buried are still pointed out, and until quite recently has been marked by a slab of dark colored stone upon which was rudely carved:

JUNe 1676

A slight depression in the ground is pointed out as all that remains to show were Bobet was buried. I visited the spot June 17, 1878. The gravestone had been removed and was lying beside the wall several rods from the grave. It took considerable time and pains to decipher its inscription, that was rapidly becoming effaced. "