Monday, July 7, 2014

Benjamin Brooks 1671-1755 (52 Ancestors, #24)

Benjamin Brooks > William Brooks > Lemuel Brooks > Aurel Brooks > Almira Allen > Emma Sanderson > Elmira Lyons > Lillian Emma Ransom

Benjamin Brooks was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on July 25, 1671 to William and Mary (Burt) Brooks. He married Mary Barnard around 1692 and the couple had 12 children together. 
Benjamin Brooks Son of William & Mary Brooks born July 25, 1671
Springfield, Massachusetts Vital Records
Benjamin was a soldier in Father Rasle's War. Father Sebastien Rasle (or Rale) was a French Jesuit missionary to the Native Americans. Father Rasle worked with the Abenaki people, located in Maine, where he preached Christ to the Indians. The English, on the other hand, were certain that Rasle was instigating the Indians against the English and even had a price on the Father's head. On August 23, 1724, a force of 208 soldiers attacked the Abenaki village of Norridgewock were 26 natives were killed along with Father Rasle. The English claimed it a victory and the Indians looked upon their fallen leader as a martyr. Benjamin's brother Joseph, and nephew Nathaniel (son of brother Nathaniel) was also in the war.

While the attacks of the Father Rasle's War were to the extreme, any fear and dislike the Brooks family may have felt towards the French and Indian forces wasn’t without reason. Nathaniel Brooks, Benjamin’s brother, was living with his family in Deerfield, Mass, in 1704 when French and Indian soldiers raided the village. Nathaniel, along with his pregnant wife Mary and their two children were forced to march north to Canada. Along the way, Mary fell on some ice which resulted in a miscarriage. Mary was unable to continue on the march. She told the Rev. John Williams, who later told of the groups trials, that she would "not be able to travel far, and I know they will kill me to-day; but God has by his spirit, with his word, strengthened me to my last encounter with death. I am not afraid of death. I can, through the grace of God, cheerfully submit to the will of God. Pray for me that God would take me to himself." Mary was indeed killed and the fate of the two children is unknown. Nathaniel was able to return from Canada in 1707. Another of Nathaniel’s children, also named Nathaniel, faced a similar fate. He was capture by Indians in 1756 and brought to Canada where he was last heard from in 1758.

In the Springfield town meeting held on March 9, 1702/3 Benjamin was one of six men to see to the “law about swine” and the “ringing & yoking them.” Apparently the town’s swine were a common topic of discussion including where they should be penned, when they were allowed at certain places and what to do if there was a wondering pig. 

Benjamin is also in the town records as having received various land grants. There are also a number of records of him receiving money for the hiring of his bull in which he was paid anywhere from 15s to £2 a year. 

Benjamin died in Springfield, Massachusetts on May 3, 1775.

Benjamin Brooks of Springfield Died May 3. anno: Dom: 1755
Springfield, Massachusetts Vital Records

Sources: Massachusetts, Springfield Vital Records, 1638-1887 from; William Brooks of Springfield, Mass., and Some of His Descendants by Joel Nelson Eno, from the NEHGS Register, Vol. 72, Google Books; The First Century of the History of Springfield, The Official Records from 1636 to 1736 from Google Books; history about Father Rasle’s War from Wikipedia

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