Saturday, July 22, 2017

My 8th Great Grandfather: "Slayne by ye Indians"

In Abraham Perkins of Hampton, New Hampshire, I introduced you to Abraham and Mary's large family. One of his sons was Abraham, Jr., who was born in 1639 in Hampton. 

This Abraham married Elizabeth Sleeper in 1668. They had three daughters, and then the unthinkable happened: Abraham was killed by Indians. 

King Philip's War had been underway since 1675. Here is a brief explanation of what was happening: 

King Philip’s War of 1675-1676 (also known as Metacom’s Rebellion) marked the last major effort by the Indians of southern New England to drive out the English settlers. Led by Metacom, the Pokunoket chief called ‘King Philip’ by the English, the bands known today as Wampanoag Indians joined with the Nipmucks, Pocumtucks, and Narragansetts in a bloody uprising. It lasted fourteen months and destroyed twelve frontier towns. (1)

In southern New Hampshire, there had been attacks on settlers in Oyster River, Exeter, and Greenland. Then, in 1677 in Hampton (2):

Abraham: Death Record (6)

This was a tragedy for everyone involved on both sides of the conflict, leading both to greater enmity and expanded warfare. 

For Abraham's widow, Elizabeth, it had to have been a terrible loss. It must have been emotionally crushing and economically devastating as well. Elizabeth was 31, and her daughters Mercy, Mary, and Elizabeth were five, three, and one. The town was on edge, every household was to have loaded arms at the ready, men were standing guard against further attacks, there was an evacuation plan in place, and the local militia was training and marching.(2) 

Elizabeth had a farm to run and small children to raise. 

I am reminded of how carefully Abraham, Senior had provided for his wife, Mary Wise Perkins, in his will--making sure that she had a place to live, food to eat, firewood to keep her warm, and a means of income. It is doubtful if the younger Abraham, only 37, would have made a will. 

Apparently, the fathers of both Abraham, Jr. and Elizabeth stepped in to take guardianship of the little family. In this document, they set out a plan for the education and future of the children. (3) 

You will note that both Elizabeth and an Alexander Denham (or Dennum, spelling varies) make their mark on this document. After Abraham died in June, later that same year, on December 24, 1677,  Elizabeth Sleeper Perkins married Alexander Denham. At 57, he was much older than she. They had two daughters, Sarah and Abial.

Elizabeth Sleeper Perkins, now Denham, was widowed yet again and married for a third time. This time it was to Richard Smith. in 1685. Some family trees on show that Elizabeth lived until 1713, but I have yet to find any  documentation for a death date. I hope that her later years, at least, were peaceful ones. 


1. King Philip's War. The History Channel:

2. History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire, from its settlement in 1638 to the autumn of 1892, by Joseph Dow. Salem Press, 1893. Page 221:

3. Abraham Perkins, Jr.; Inventory of Estate, June 1677. New Hampshire Probate Files.

4. New Hampshire Marriage Records Index, 1637-1947.

5. Descendants of Isaac Perkins, Generation

6. New Hampshire, Death and Disinterment Records, 1754-1947.

How I am related to Abraham Perkins, Jr.:


  1. Curious - what do you suppose it means in the guardianship document re: Elizabeth "...being near her time of travail..."? Does this mean nearing the end of a pregnancy? If so, was this with her third daughter Elizabeth, or was there another child?

    1. Good eye! Elizabeth had married Alexander Denham in December 1677. When she was ordered to attend court in October 1678 she could not appear "being near her time of travail." Her daughter, Sarah Denham was born in 1678, so this must have been that pregnancy. However, all the records I've found so far for Sarah's birth are for August 1678, so now it really is a mystery.

      Elizabeth and Abraham's third daughter, Elizabeth, had been born in 1676, a year before her father's death.


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