Frontier Wars 1675 - 1759 : King William's War
King Williamís War
While local grievances still plagued the relations between colonial
Anglos and Native Americans in Maine, King Williamís War grew largely
out of the Glorious Revolution in England and the subsequent conflicts
between England and France.
In Maine, there are overlapping claims to land between the Kennebec
and St. Johnís Rivers which intensifies the French and English
conflicts. In April 1688, Gov. Edmond Andros (who had been
appointed by King Charles II, a notorious adversary to the Massachusetts
Bay Colony) raided the French/Penobscot establishment at present-day
Castine. Andros intended to force Castine himself, a Frenchman, to
acknowledge and submit to English authority in the region. As a result,
Castine, who had been neutral, began to oppose the English.
In the meantime, a number of Saco-area Indians killed English cattle
that had been allowed to graze on and destroy their crops. At this
point, an Englishman from Saco named Blackman seized approximately
twenty local Natives and sent them as hostages to Boston which only
served to heighten tensions.
When Andros returned to Maine in the fall, he tried unsuccessfully to
defuse the situation. Fearing more problems, Andros set up a series of
forts and fortified garrisons from Pemaqiud to Wells to defend English
In the Spring of 1689, Massachusetts leaders got word that King
Charles II, had been replaced by King William. They seized Gov.
Andros and sent him back to England. The defense system that Andros had established collapsed as many of the officers were seized or
dismissed and soldiers left en masse for Massachusetts.
Maineís English settlers suddenly faced combined French and Indian
forces intent on sweeping them out of the region. In 1689, the Pemaquid
Fort fell and though Falmouthís Ft. Loyal survived a serious assault,
there were no longer any English communities to the east of Falmouth.
In1690, Ft. Loyal was captured and destroyed, rolling settlements back
to Wells. Then, in February 1692, York was decimated in a major raid.
Soon afterward, Wells faced a similar attackóbut managed to hold on.
That event and the rebuilding of the fort at Pemaquid (even though it
was to be captured again in 1696) seemed to stem the tide of violence.
The war degenerated into a long series of local Tribal and English
raids into the largely deserted areas beyond Wells. The bloodiest of all
the wars, King Williamís War was also the most devastating for the
Naives who suffered severe losses and displacement from which they would
never wholly recover.
Links and Sources:
SALEM WITCH TRIALS - 1692 | FRONTIER WARS 1675 TO 1759 |
WABANAKI WOMEN | BIOS OF INTERVIEWEES | TRANSCRIPT