Joshua and Ichabod


"For some time after the settlement of Sudbury,
there lay, to the south of that township,
a large tract of country,
known only, in ancient records,
as "Wilderness land."

Several of the men who at this date and a little later, became inhabitants of Framingham, were grantees of a new plantation at Quinsigamaug (Worcester), before 1674; but were turned from their purpose of building a town there by the Indian troubles. The particular location of these early settlers was largely influenced by the early bridle-paths and roads, which followed the Indian trails. The Old Connecticut path, which traversed our territory from N.E. to S.W., has been already described. And up to about 1690, the great majority of settlers built on or near this path. The next line of travel to be opened to our lands was a path which struck off from the Old Path in "Happy Hollow."

- from the History of Framingham

Joshua Hemenway came to Framingham from Roxbury in 1691 or 1692. He had been a member of John Eliot’s church and is listed as a merchant in Framingham. Deacon Joshua, his son, was an original member of the Church in Framingham and was prominent in religious affairs. His interest in the Great Awakening (1730s to 1770s) brought him into conflict with the Church, which discredited the spiritual revival. As a result, he left the Church in Framingham to worship in Hopkinton. He and others later formed the Second Congregational Church in Framingham. He served at various times as the Town Clerk, Justice of the Peace, and Representative to the General Court ( the provincial legislature ) and served as Selectman for 13 years. Ichabod served as Constable. The Hemenway family has long been associated with the history and educational system of Framingham. There exists in Framingham today a Hemenway Street, Hemenway School, and a Hemenway Hall on the local State College campus. It is believed that some Hemenways are descended from one of the women persecuted during the Witch Trials. Others descend from the Stone family.

Modern scientists theorize that the horrible convulsions and hallucinations the girls in Salem experienced were caused by food poisoning. Doctors of the day had no earthly explanation for the frightful and horrific symptoms. It could only have been the work of the devil and her conspirators, and the stage was then set to uncover them.


The Salem Witch Trials --
24 people died before it was done.

Rebecca Nurse - "Oh Lord help me! It is false. I am clear. For my life now lies in your hands..."

Mary Easty - "...if it be possible no more innocent blood is shed...I am clear of this sin."


This year is memorable, as the date of the outbreak of the celebrated Witchcraft delusion; in the course of which, the lives of many innocent persons were sacrificed to a "blind zeal and superstitious credulity." It is so far connected with our present history, as having caused the emigration, soon after, to this Plantation, from Salem village, now Danvers, of the families of Clayes and Nurse, who, with their descendants, still remaining in the town, have been useful and respected members of the community. They settled about a mile W. from the centre of the Plantation, and the neighborhood has since been known by the name of Salem End.

The melancholy delusion referred to, commenced in Essex County -- the chief seat of its violence - Feb. 1691-2, in the family of Mr. Parris, a minister of Salem Village, and soon spread into other parts of the Colony. It was communicated to this country from England, where several years before had been published Glanvil's Witch Stories, and the trials of the Suffolk Witches, books which circulated in New England, and with the added authority of so great a man as Sir Matthew Hale, who countenanced the superstition, made a deep impression upon the minds of the grave people who dwelt amidst the gloom of the wilderness, and were harassed by continual privation and danger.

Among the numerous families who suffered from this infatuation, were the two above named. March 1, 1692, Rebecca, wife of Francis Nurse, and Sarah, wife of Peter Clayes, of Salem Village, were committed with others to the prison in Boston, on the charge of witchcraft. The fate of the former was singularly unhappy. At her trial the jury could not agree in a verdict, and on the second return to the Court had not found her guilty. Persisting, however, in her refusal to answer certain questions, about an expression she had used, her silence was made constructive proof of guilt, and she was accordingly condemned to death. She was excommunicated July 3, from the old church of Salem, and on the 19th of the same month was hung. Many testimonials were given of her good character and domestic worth, without effect. The 31st of the following month, the wife of Mr. Clayes was removed to the Ipswich prison; but the fury of the delusion abating, she escaped with her life, having, as tradition says, been conveyed by night to Framingham. Mary Easty, a sister of Rebecca Nurse, (as was Sarah Clayes), also Abigail Williams, probably the sister or niece of Mr. Clayes, appear to have been implicated, in the course of events. It is painful to reflect, that this delusion was encouraged by men of high distinction in the Colony, both in the church and state. One of them (Judge Sewall) afterward bewailed his participation in it, and asked "pardon of God and man."

-from the History of Framingham

Judge Sewall

When the spring of 1701 rolled around, the second annual Town Meeting increased the number of Town offices from nineteen to thirty-six, adding among others: tythingmen, fence viewers, and swine drivers. Joseph Buckminster bowed out of Town office for the year, replaced on the Board of Selectmen by John Eames of Sherborn Row. It was a gesture of defiance toward Sherborn, where Jon Eames had been a selectman several years earlier. The most important business of 1701 was the establishment of an official church. Eighteen citizens drew up a covenant that was accepted by Town Meeting on October 8. David Rice and Joshua Hemenway were elected deacons. Other founders included eighty-five-year-old Henry Rice (head of Framingham's second family), Thomas Drury, and Peter Clayes with three others from Salem End. This church was simply known as The Framingham Church, and its denominational character was Puritan. All citizens, regardless of their personal religious inclinations, supported this church and its pastor with their taxes. As it would turn out, most of Framingham's internal political struggles in the eighteenth century concerned the minister, the church, and the doctrines preached from its pulpit. Church services were held in the meetinghouse. According to Judge Walter Adams, "In truth and in fact, the first meetinghouse in Framingham was nothing but a barn, and such a barn as would today be considered hardly fit for the housing of cattle. Yet in such a barrack through summer's heat and winter's cold - cold at times so intense that, as Mr. Swift records, 'Ye communion bread froze and rattled in ye plate,' John Swift's parishioners listened to his preaching, and John Swift, an able, learned, scholarly, charitable, godly man, expounded the Word and strove by his teaching to guide his flock into the way of salvation."

- from Framingham: An American Town by Stephen W. Herring

The covenant of said church was as follows:

We do under a soul-humbling and abasing sense of our utter unworthiness of so great and high a privilege as God is graciously putting into our hands, accept of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for our God in covenant with us; and do give up ourselves and our seed, according to the terms of the everlasting Covenant, to be His under most sacred and inviolable bonds; promising, by the help of His grace and strength, (without which we can do nothing) that we will walk together in a church state, as becomes saints, unto the government of the Lord Jesus Christ, as King of His church; and to the watch and discipline of this church -- managing ourselves towards God and man, all in civil and sacred authority, as those ought, who are under the teachings of God's Holy Word and Spirit; alike declaring it to be our resolution, that we will, in all things wherein we may fall short of duty, wait upon God for pardoning mercy and grace, in and through our dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To whom be glory forever. Amen.


 Within a hundred years of the Winthrop Fleet’s landing, the original vision of the Puritan forebears was beginning to wane. The third and fourth generation Puritan descendants were more interested in increasing wealth and loose morals than building a godly nation. As the spiritual plane lowered, churches began to admit nominal Christians into membership while church authority became more centralized and legalistic.

In 1727, Jonathan Edwards went to Northampton, Massachusetts to become assistant Minister, than Minister in its only church. Northampton was the county seat of Hampshire County in Western Massachusetts and its people prided themselves on their culture, energy, and independence of mind. Their church was probably the most influential outside of Boston. The church had experienced many periods of dormancy and revival in its time, but when Edwards began his ministry there he encountered spiritual deadness and a disconcerting lack of morality among the youth.

At about the same time a revival began in Pennsylvania and New Jersey among Dutch Reformed and Presbyterian churches. When Jonathan Edwards saw the situation in his new church, he set out to transform the congregation. He counseled people in their homes and began preaching articulately and emotionally. Soon his own home replaced Northampton’s tavern as the most popular gathering place in town.

Suddenly and inexplicably, late in 1735, many people began to have an unexpected and dramatic experience of God. Edwards wrote: “the Spirit of God began extraordinarily to set in. Revival grew, and souls did as it were come by floods to Christ.” Over a six month period, Edwards recorded three hundred conversions to his own church of about six hundred. Within a few years the revival spread throughout the Congregational churches of the Connecticut River Valley.

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Then in 1740 the preaching of a Reformed Anglican (Methodist) minister from England named George Whitefield (pronounced Whitfield) took the colonies by storm and a wave of religious fervor engulfed the entire eastern seaboard. Missionaries introduced the revival to the Southern colonies as well as to Africans, and Gospel music was born. The Great Awakening for the first time transcended boundaries separating church denominations, colonies, rich and poor, men and women, blacks and whites, and young and old. It brought people out of their private lives to hear and rejoice in a Gospel open to all, and experience a larger and closer community than they had known before. Mission work with the Indians increased and a fledgling anti-slavery movement appeared.  

                                                                                America's first national magazine

The first regularly published magazine in America, The Christian History, was founded to report the news of The Great Awakening throughout the colonies. Concern for higher education grew to prepare more young men for the ministry. Princeton, Dartmouth, Rutgers, and Brown Universities were established as a result of the Great Awakening.

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This powerful phenomenon transformed and democratized religious life and spilled over into the political and social life of the colonies. People became skeptical of dogma and authority. A sense of unity, independence, equality and nationhood grew. When the Church of England made several attempts to establish a Bishop in America, opposition to the Anglican Church, and the British monarchy at its head, became heated. In 1769, Congressional delegates meeting at Yale wrote: “We have so long tasted the sweets of civil and religious liberty that we cannot be easily prevailed upon to submit to a yoke of bondage, which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear.” The fear of oppression by institutional religion was also directed towards civil authority. After all, political power had been used against the Puritan fathers in England to crush their religious dissent. Gradually, concerns about religious liberty blended with those about political liberty.

The following papers were written by Joseph Galloway, friend of Benjamin Franklin and a Tory, who argued that the Revolution was essentially a religious conflict.

- Courtesy of the Library of Congress

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As time went on, the Great Awakening created in many people in America, a sense of a common destiny, and a belief that they were a part of a grand scheme, God’s plan, and that God had great things in store for the world and for America in particular. Indeed, both George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards (as well as many other ministers) believed that America had been selected by God to complete His divine mission. As political and economic conflicts with the Mother Country intensified, religion offered a moral sanction for opposition to the British and the assurance that revolution was justified in the sight of God.

Revolutionary Battle Flag
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Schools- The first mention in the Town Records of a public school, is under date of Sept. 3, 1706, when the town voted "that Deacon Joshua Hemenway should be our (first) school master the year ensuing, and that Benj. Bridges and Peter Clayes Jr. should agree with him what he should have for him for his pains." Previous to this, whatever instruction was given to the children was on private account. Probably the wife of Daniel Stone taught such as chose to come to her house, at Stone's End; Thomas Drury did the same for the children at Rice's End; Isaac Learned for Sherborn Row, and Joshua Hemenway for Salem End and the north side settlers. And when appointed public school-master, Deacon Hemenway received the scholars at his own house, as no school-house was built till ten years after this date. He continued to teach till 1714. In 1710, in addition to his duties as school master, he was chosen "to learn youth to write henceforward, and when he has amind to lay it down, he will give the town timely notice to provide another school master,"

- from the History of Framingham

"The Dark Days " of our town's life....Framingham lands were taken up by families and clusters of families, each with ties of its own, and with no previously formed and common associations to bind them together as a community. There were no less than six independent centres of interest and influence, to be drawn together and harmonized, in order that the new town might become, in the true and best sense, one body. The Stone families, influential from numbers, from large landed estates, and social position, as well as control of the principal waterpower, stood aloof from both civil and ecclesiastical affairs, as appears by the following vote on the town records: "Voted, in town meeting, that Joshua Hemenway and Thomas Mellen should go and entreat the Stones to join with us."

In 1752 the town voted to raise a tax to repair the meeting-house. The burden of double taxation was grievous to be borne. And the death, during the great sickness of 1754-55, of Edward Goddard and his wife, and Joshua Hemenway, father and son, and other leaders, crippled the enterprise.

- from the History of Framingham

Ichabod (Sr.), married in Roxbury, Margaret Brown, was Constable, 1720, and with wife was received to the church, Oct. 10, '25. He was held in esteem as an amiable man. He was of unusually large stature, and robust. Tradition relates that for a time he lived alone, and often on returning home, found food missing. He at one time encountered, on entering his house, a wolf devouring a pot of beans. He seized the animal, dragged him to the wood pile, and cut off his head with an axe.

- from a History of Framingham by Wm Barry



The French and Indian Wars were one part of the struggle between Britain and France for dominance in world trade and naval power, known as the Seven Years' War. English settlers wished to settle the land west of the Appalachians then controlled by France. The French were then allied with most Indian tribes with the notable exception of the powerful Iroquois Confederacy which was officially neutral but favored the British. Unlike the English and other European settlers who were made up mostly of middle-class families, the French population in America was quite different. Their Catholic culture was made up of soldiers and priests, noblemen and peasants who often intermarried and commingled with the Indians, thus forming stronger ties. To the settlers in America, the rivalry of the two world powers was of immediate concern. Not only would the fighting mean raids by the French and British, but also the horrors of tribal border warfare.

The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle proved to be little more than a truce. The Indians continued their depredations till June, 1749, and re-commenced hostilities in May, 1754. Assured that there could be no permanent peace to her American colonies so long as the French power was dominant on the northern frontiers, Great Britain determined to affect the conquest of Canada. The English government called on the Provinces to furnish their full quotas of men to these great expeditions, which were placed under command of British officers; and the intermediate frontiers were left in the main to look out for themselves.

In April , 1757, by requisition from the provincial authorities, returns were made of all the enrolled militia of the town, both active and retired or exempted men. Framingham was then divided into two military districts; one included the inhabitants dwelling east of Sudbury river and south of Stoney brook; the other took in all living west of the river and north of the brook.

- from a History of Framingham


Ichabod Hemenway is listed as a soldier in Col. Joseph Buckminster's company of colonial militia, April 26, 1757. Col. Buckminster's militia was called upon to assist at Crown Point and Fort William Henry, later made famous by James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans.

1757- " This was a year of disasters to the English and Americans, and was remembered and spoken of by our fathers for three generations, as the year of "The Great Alarm" about the taking of Fort William Henry."

"Framingham, July 18, 1757

May it please the Hon. his Majesty's Council:
In obedience to an order from your Honours of the 10th of May 1757, I have taken effectual care and caused every person, both upon the Alarm List and Trained band List, in the Regiment of Militia under my command, and also the respective Town stocks in said Regiment, to be furnished with Arms and Ammunition according to law, and am now ready with my whole Regiment, to meet and confront the French in any part of the Province, at a minute's warning, even with seven days' provisions.
I am your Honours most obt. serv. Jos. Buckminster"

While the main army was at the eastward , only 7,000 men -- 4,000 under Gen. Webb at Fort Edward, and 3,000 under Col. Munro at Fort William Henry -- were left for the defence of the northwestern frontiers. At this juncture, Gen. Montcalm gathered a French and Indian army of 11,000 men, and concentrated at Ticonderoga. Aug. 3, with 9,000 of his best troops, including 1,000 Indians, he invested Fort William Henry.

For six days Col. Munro, with an effective force of 2,372 men, held the great army at bay, constantly expecting aid from Gen. Webb, who was lying only fifteen miles distant with 4,000 men; but no help came, and on the ninth the fort was surrendered. The defence had been so gallant, that Col. Munro was admitted to an honorable capitulation, viz., that his troops should be allowed to march out with the honors of war, retaining their arms, baggage, and one field-piece.

The articles of the capitulation, however, were shamefully broken. The Indians attached to Montcalm's army, without hindrance from the French officers, commenced to plunder the more valuable baggage, and then to murder both officers and men in cold blood. The numbers thus massacred could never be known, but it fell little short of 300. This disaster spread consternation throughout Massachusetts. All the militia rushed to arms, and quickly were on the march. "for the relief of the army at Fort William Henry." Finding that the French general did not pursue his advantage, at the end of from seven to fourteen days the companies were ordered home. - from a History of Framingham



(After the surrender) Seventeen wounded men had been turned over to the French surgeon and a guard placed over them, but before dawn on the day the English were to march away the guards were withdrawn. The Indians immediately dashed in and finished off the wounded, in the presence of the British and in full sight of several Canadian officers and a French guard, but nothing was done to stop the slaughter. from The French and Indian Wars by Edward Hamilton

A missionary, Pere Roubaud wrote: " ( An Indian) carried in his hand a human head, from which trickled streams of blood, and which he displayed as the most splendid prize that he could have secured."

The escort of four hundred Frenchmen had now arrived, and the column started to leave the camp. The Indians demanded plunder, (which was how they were paid for their service) and the French officers advise that all baggage must be given them, or the consequences would be dire. This was done, but the Indians were not appeased. As the column moved out they burst into it, snatching guns and clothes and applying the tomahawk to all that resisted, including a number of women and children who had accompanied the troops. Then a Christian Abnaki of the Penobscot Mission shouted the war whoop, and the whole maddened pack, hitherto mainly interested in plunder, turned to butchery. Montcalm and other French officers dashed up and did their utmost to quiet the savages, but only after between fifty and a hundred British had been killed and hundreds carried off as prisoners. Many of the latter were recovered through the efforts of Montcalm, but about two hundred were taken north by the Indians. The remainder, many of them stripped of everything save their breeches, divided into two groups, one fleeing to the fort for protection by the French, the rest making the best of their way to Fort Edward, either by road or through the woods. The group collected at the fort were given protection at last and several days later sent to Fort Edward under a heavy escort.

Father Roubaud met a wild Huron Indian from the far west carrying a very young baby he had picked up somewhere, and he tried to secure the child. The Indian refused. Finally, after much dickering, the savage agreed to exchange the baby for a scalp, and the priest ran to one of the Abnaki and told him his need. The Christian Indian opened his war bag and told the Jesuit to take his pick. He took a scalp and, followed by a curious crowd of Frenchmen and Indians, he again found his Huron and made the exchange. A little later the good father had the great pleasure of returning the baby to its mother.

- from The French and Indian Wars by Edward Hamilton

Captain Francois Pouchot on another occasion described how a scalp was taken: "as soon as the man has fallen, they run to him, put their knee between his shoulders, take a lock of hair in one hand, and with their knife in the other give a blow separating the skin from the head, and tearing off a piece. This is a thing quickly done; then showing the scalp they utter a cry they call the death cry."

Ezekiel Stevens of Derryfield, New Hampshire, was scalped, tomahawked, and left for dead. His entire scalp was taken off, just above his ears. When he recovered his strength enough to rise, he was found and cared for by some French officers. Once his ghastly wounds healed he returned home. For want of hair, he wore a cap. He lived to be a good old age.

from Muzzleloader Magazine - George A. Bray III


The smallpox was very prevalent in Canada at this time, and many of the American soldiers took it.

"The petition of Ralph Hemenway of Framingham.
To his Excellency Fra. Bernand, humbly sheweth, that his son John Hemenway enlisted in 1761 under Capt. Brigham of Southborough, Col. Whitcomb's regiment, and continued in service till the army broke up; and in his return took the small-pox, and was taken down six days after his return home, and continued thirteen days, and died; by reason of which your petitioner was put to great trouble and cost: he had to move his family half a mile distant; and could not take them home in less than three months; and paid two nurses 3. 4. pounds besides about 16 shillings for necessaries. Prays the Court to allow him, as others are allowed in such cases."

The General Court allowed him 4.4 pounds
A treaty of peace was signed at Paris, Feb. 10, 1763

The cost of this last French and Indian war to Massachusetts, was about $4,000,000. Great Britain refunded one and one-half millions; the carrying of the balance by this province was a grievous burden. - from a History of Framingham