Frontier Wars 1675 - 1759 : Abenaki War
Abenaki War (Dummer's or Lovewell's War) 1721-1725
At the end of Queen Anne’s War in 1713, it was clear that tribal
people had suffered severely during the years of conflict. Also, for the
time being, France and England were no longer officially at war, so
Anglo fears of new fighting had diminished. Settlers began returning to
their previously deserted homes like North Yarmouth and Arrowsic
(present-day Georgetown), some of which had been abandoned since 1690.
At the same time, the community of Brunswick was established to serve
as a buffer between the Natives and English settlers and proprietors.
Some Brunswick settlers held ancient deeds and began moving inland and
to the east. They also established forts in Richmond on the Kennebec
River and on the lower St. Georges River (present-day Thomaston) and
promoted, with limited success, new settlements along the mid-coast of
The Native Americans were alarmed by the settlers’ expansions into
their territory. With the support of Jesuit Father Sebastian Rasle,
tribal people of the Kennebec region complained angrily and threatened
retaliation if the English did not leave.
Rasle’s influence was seen as dangerous and, in November 1721, an
English expedition was sent to Norridgewock (on the Upper Kennebec
River) to capture Rasle. Although the expedition failed, it did succeed
in deeply antagonizing the Native people.
In July 1722, the Native warriors wiped out the new settlement in
Brunswick and made what was to be the first of many attacks on the St.
George Fort in an effort to drive the English back. That fall, they
struck Arrowsic and Fort St. George but had limited impact. The next
February, English forces traveled to Indian villages on the Kennebec and
Penobscot Rivers. They didn’t find any Natives, but did burn the
Penobscot site to the ground.
The next two summers saw fairly extensive guerrilla-style Native
warfare throughout the region. While actual destruction was relatively
light, the constant threat of violence took a heavy psychological toll.
Still, few English communities were deserted as defensive systems
For Maine’s Indians, two events dramatically undermined their
situation. In August 1724, an English expeditionary force caught the
Native village at Norridgwock by surprise and decimated the community.
Between 50 and 100 Indians and their Jesuit supporter, Father Rasle,
were killed. The next April, after two relatively successful bounty
expeditions into the Maine frontier, Capt. John Lovewell and his
compatriots meet a Native force at Fryeburg Pond. A brutal day-long
battle ensued, in which Lovewell was killed and his force decimated;
however, the Indians, too, suffered significantly and by nightfall both
groups were content to leave the scene. While the events at Norridgewock
and Fryeburg didn’t end the Native presence in the region, together
they seemed to have dampened desires for further actions. Despite
admonitions from French officials Maine’s Indians, along with the
English, had seen enough fighting and on December15, 1725 a treaty of
peace was signed.
ALSO WITH PROGRAM 10:
SALEM WITCH TRIALS - 1692 | FRONTIER WARS 1675 TO 1759 |
WABANAKI WOMEN | BIOS OF INTERVIEWEES | TRANSCRIPT