My Dear Neice

I engaged to give you, & by you, your papa
& mamma some account of my peregrinations, with the reasons
[therefore?] -- The Cause is too well known, to need a word upon

I was very unquiet from the moment I was inform'd that
more troops were coming to Boston. 'Tis true that those who
had winter'd there, had not given us much molestation -- but,
an additional strength, I dreded, & determined if possible to git
out of their reach, & to take with me as much of my little interest
as I could.     Your unkle D. was very far from being of my
mind, from which has proceeded those difficulties which peculiarly
related to myself - but I now say not a word of this to him; we
are joint sufferers, & no doubt it is Gods will it should be so.

Many a time have I tho't that could I be out of Boston, toge-
ther with my family, & friends, I could be content with the meanest
fare, & slenderest accomodations. Out of Boston, out of Boston at
almost any rate --away as far as possible from the infection
of small pox, & the din of drums & martial Musick as its call'd, & hor-
rors of war -- but, my distress is not to be described -- I attemet
not to describe it.

On Saterday, ye 15th April [1775] P.M. I had a visit from Mr. Barron. I never
saw him with such a countenance. He affected a smiling countenance
when he came in. I was glad to see him as ever -- I pointed him
to a chair, & seated myself, he rose & took the next chair by
me, saying "permit me to set by you." I try'd to affect an ease
I did not feel, & I tho't, & still think, that he did the same.
Soon however, a gloom spread over his countenance, -- after a short
silence, he told me, (I have since recolected, somewhat officeously,)
that "all "the light Infantry, & all the Grenidier Companies were
drafted from all the & were ordered to be ready to attend what-

ever duty they might be called to at a minutes warning, & you
know I am one." And are you ready? Yes. After another short
silence, he proceeded, unasked, to tell me many things tho'
I have since tho't that he would have given direct answers to
any questions I might have ask'd, so far as he was let into
their secrets - but I ask'd no question of consequence. Several
times I saw him catch in his handkerchief the tears that fell
from his eyes. Sometimes, there was a silence of several minutes
together, both before & after Mr. Deming came in. It was evi-
dent, that his soul labor'd under some heavy pressure. Once
with very little introduction, he said, "I advise you as a friend
to stay in Boston - I think it will be the safest place." But
the small pox, I am afraid of the small pox -- he said some-
thing to that, that I could not well hear, as I now remember --
He tarried till after dark, & then went off with a start, & in a
hurrying manner. Ask me, if you have curiosity to know,
other perticulars of this visit, & my reflections after it. Upon the
whole, I judg'd & still judge that he found himself engag'd in a ser-
vice, or rather business, that his soul abhor'd.

The monday following, April 17th I was told that all the boats
belonging to the men of war were lauch'd on Saterday night, while
the town inhabitants were sleeping except some faithful watch-
men--     who gave the intelligence.     In the evening Mr. D.g
wrote to Mr. Withington of Dorchester to come over with his carts the very
first fair day, (The evening of this day promising rain on the next, wch
accordingly fell in plenty.) to carry off our best goods.

On tuesday eveng, 18 April we were inform'd that the companies above
mention'd were in motion, that the Men of War boats were row'd
round to Charlestown Ferry, Bartons Point & bottom of ye Common,
that the soldiers were run thro the streets on tip toe (the moon not
having arisen) in the dark of ye eveng that there were a number of

hand cuffs in one of the boats, which were taken in at the long
wharf, & that two days provision had been cook'd for 'em on board
one of ye transport ships lying in ye harbor. That whatever other
business they might have, the main was to take possession of the
bodies of Mesrs Adams & Handock, whom they & we knew where
were lodg'd. We had no doubt of the truth of all this. And, that
express's were sent forth both over the neck & Charlestown Ferry
to give our Friends timely notice that they might escape. N. B.
I did not git to bed this night till after 12 o'clock, nor to sleep
till long after that, & then my sleep was much broken, as it had
been for many nights before.     Early on    
Wednesday the fatal 19th April, before I had quited my chamber,
one after another came runing up to tell me that the kings troops
had fired upon & killed 8 of our neighbors at Lexington in
their way to Concord.     All the intelligence of this day was dread-
full. Almost every countenance expressing anxiety & distress. But
description fails here.     I went to bed about 12 this night hav-
ing taken but little food thro' the day; having resolv'd to quit
the town before the next setting sun, should life, & limbs be spar'd
to me. Towards morning, I fell into a sound sleep from which
I was waked by Mr. D.g between 6, & 7 o clock informing me that
I was Genl Gage's prisoner -- all egress, & regress being cut off be-
tween the town & country. Here again description fails. No
words can paint my distress -- I feel it at this instant (just 8 weeks
after) so sensibly, that I must pause before I can proceed.
This was Thursday 20th April.     About 9 o'clock A.M. I was told that
the way over the neck was open'd for foot passengers, but no carri-
age was permited to cross the lines. I then determined to try if my
feet would support me thro', tho' I trembled to such a degree, that
I could scarce keep my feet in my own chamber, had taken no sus-
tenance for the day, & very sick at my stomack. I tyed up a few
things in my handkerchief, put on my cloak, & was just seting out
upon my march, with Sally, & Lucinda, when I was told that carri-
ages were allow'd to pass. By this time I was so faint that I was oblig'd to sit down. Mr. Scollay, Mrs. Sweetser, & who else I remem-
ber not, advis'd me to stay where I was, reconing Boston the safest
place for me -- but I had no faith in their opinion. I had been
told that Boston would be an Aceldama as soon as the fresh
troops arriv'd, which Mr. Barron had told me were expected eve-
ry minute. I therefore besought Mr. Deming to git a carriage # [This added text appears at the bottom left of page and is written perpendicularly in the margin] # I had then heard that carriages were permitted to pass [Original text resumes here ] for
me, & carry me off together with my frighted girls; & set me down
anywhere out of Boston. He went forth, & over a while return'd
& told me there was not a carriage of one kind or an other to
be got for love or money --     ah! can any one that has
not felt it, know my sensation? Surely no. Mr. D.g thro him-
self into the easy chair, & said he had not strength to move
another step. I expected to see Sally fall into hysterick fitts every
minute, Lucinda holding herself up by any thing she could grasp.
I bid her however git us some elixer drops, & when we had taken
it in a little wine mix'd with water which happend to be boiling,
I pray'd Mr. D.g once more to let us try to get off on foot. He
said he would go presently & see me out, but positively he would
come back again. There is no describing my sensations. This mo-
ment, I thot the crisis, "the very crisis" -- . I had not walked out
at the top of ye court since last October; I went down, & out
to the edge of the street, where I saw, & spoke with several fri [ends]
near as unhappy as myself -- & in a few minutes light of a cha [ise],
which I engaged to take me off when it returned from Roxbury,
where it was going with women & children -- This somewhat
lightened me. Before this chaise return'd, Mr. D.g. engag'd another
& while we were waiting, I might have pack'd up many necessa-
ries, but nobody had any business that day -- there was a constant
coming & going; each hinder'd ye other; some new piece of soldiary
barbarity, that had been perpetrated the day before, was in quick
succession brought in. -- I was very ill -- but to cut short,
about 3 o'clock P.M. the Chaises return'd (for they both went to
Jamaca plain wth Mr. Waters's wife, children & maids he having first engag'd them, one of 'em being his brother Thomsons, which he Mr.
Thomson offer'd to Mr. D.g while it was out, & promis'd we should have
on its return). We set off immediately, Mr. D.g & I in one, Sally &
Lucinda, with Jemmy Church to drive in the other.    
We were stop'd & enquir'd of wether we had any arms etc. by the First
& Second centinals, but they treated us civilly, & did not search us.
The third & last centinals did not chalenge us. - so we got safe thro'
ye lines. We had not resolv'd where to go -- In that respect we
resembled Abraham - & I ardently wish'd for a portion of his faith.

We had got out of ye city of destruction; such I lookt upon Boston to
be, yet I could not but lift up my desires to God that he would have mer-
cy upon, & spare the many thousands of poor creatures I had left be-
hind. I did not however, look back after ye similitude of Lots wife.
I was far from being elated with my escape. I remember my sensations
but cannot describe 'em.

Which road will you take said Mr. Deming? Give the horse the rane;
was my answer. The horse took thro' Roxbury Street, ye way he had but a little be-
fore pass'd. When we were by the Gray-hown, a lad who came out of Boston
wth us, & who generally kept by our side, tho' sometimes before us, run
up to our chaise wth a most joyful countenance & cry'd, Sir, Sir; Ma'm,
here are the cannon -- Our cannon are coming -- just here upon the
road, heres a man told me so, who has seen 'em. The matter of his
joy was terror to me, I only said, to Lewis go home to your father, &
let our horse go, so we parted. On Roxbury hill we met little par-
ties, old, young, & middle aged, some with fife & drum, perhaps not
an hundred in ye whole, a kind of pleasant sedateness on all their
countenances. We met such parties all the way, which gave me the
Idea of sheep going to the slaughter. There began a gentle droping
before we got out of town, which was now increas'd to a heavy
rain; I was very sensible of the damp, & it added to my distress, for it became
difficult to breathe. On Jamaca plain we met Mr. Bacon, he stop'd just
so long as to say Mrs. Bacon is at Dedham -- & I advise you not to stop
short of that distance. -- But we could not on many accounts think
of giting so far that day. Mr. Deming ditermind to set me down on
Jamaca plain, return to Boston, & next day git out what he cou [ld]
of our goods, & take further care about me, but to town again [im-]
mediately as soon as he had set me down some where, he was re-
solv'd to go. I was best, I now believe.

When we came near opposite Mr. Gordon's house, he saw, knew, & sprung
out to us. Where are ye going my friends? I don't know Sir, was my
answer, I believe. Mr. D.g said at ye same time, to put this frighted wo-
man (I remember he said that) into some house, I think Mr. Weld's.
Come in, come in here, sd he, all things are in common now. I
have sent Mrs. Gordon to Dedham, am moving my goods as fast as
I can, but we have beds 'eno for us to night. Step out children, call'd
he to the other chaise. Come Mrs D.g I'll lift you out myself --
come in from the rain. I rejoice to see you safe out. The Lord preserve
the dear multitude that are left behind. Come in, God will appear
for us. Mr. D.g said, I must back again immediately -- I have borrow'd
Chaises, that are wanted by the owners, I have engag'd to return 'em--
they must come out again to night. Well, go, I will take the best care of my
ward, that I possibly can. Our little matters were out, Mr. D.g whipt
into the one chaise, Jemmy Church into the other, I would have held
one of 'em, & cryd' after him, I shall never see you more, but away
they drove, & were out of sight I verily believe in five or six minutes
from our coming to the house. Mr. Gorden, whom I had never been but
once in company with, (a little while at Col. Jacksons), behaved to me as to a
amiable friend of long acquaintance -- spoke comfortably to me, but the ag [o-]
ny of my soul, passes description -- I sat down, because I could not
stand -- Mrs. Waters came in with her mothers request, that I would com[e]
in there (she liv'd at ye next door, the meeing house between). The rain
was now over; Mr. Gordon busy in packing, & loading Waggons wth his [fur-]
niture etc. I went to Mrs. Whitwell's. Poor lady! She was just become
a desolate widow. I expected soon to be in the same situation, with this
difference, I having not a son to comfort or grieve me, & a very trifle
of this worlds goods. My small matter of plate, my few jewels, & a
little mony, with a few cloths being the whole interest that I could
call my own -- yet I believe I did not think hereof just then--
Mr. Deming had bid me engage a Providence Stage Coach & Waggon,
that I might happen to see. The latter I saw not at all. As I was
passing from Mrs. Gordens to Mrs. Whitwells a Coach came by, I stop'd
it, & engaged the whole room of it, for myself, girls, Mrs. Gorden & Miss
Sarah Mason, who that minute, came up to us in a Chaise with her
brother, & was set down upon the plain (Deacon Mason being bound
to Dedham after his daughters who were at Dr. Spragues, one of 'em
viz Mrs. Phillips, without one article of cloaths besides what she had

on.) The Coach proceed to Boston, [illegible] the man
having promised to call upon Mr. D. for a load of Trunks, wch. pro-
mise he could never fulfil, as the town was shut up, & he, with his
Coach shut in, within three hours after. So I saw 'em no more.

In the evening, Mr. Gorden told me, that he expected Genl Gage
would send out some parties of his Troops to drive off our men
who by this time were assembled in great numbers in Roxbury.
That it was probable they might plunder & burn as they came along.
That he had been threatened with death (which I knew) for his sermon
on Thanksgiving day -- they would of course therefore, come to his
house in search of him, & destroy all they could find. That he tho't
it his duty to provid for the safety of us all, as well as he could,
& intended on the first alarm, to take a small Trunk of mine that
Mr. D. had told him was valuable, & some other matters of vallue
belonging to himself, & some others of us, into his chaise, & as cari-
ages were not to be got, he had provided a careful man to take
us women under his convoy accross the fields, & some by roads wth
which he was acquainted, & conduct us to Dedham; where we might
all meet & consult farther for our common safety. Two men were
to sit up in his house, & two others were to be on horse back thro'
the night, to watch the enemy's motion, & bring intelligence. He said
we would commit ourselves & our cause to God, & take our rest
the fore part of the night, for we might depend upon it, the
Genl would not send out till the moon was up. I am not sure
I needed this peice of forecast to keep us waking thro' the whole
of the night. I saw the moon arise, & pursue her course.    
As soon as day light appear'd the drums began to beat; for
there had been upward of fiffty men lying upon their arms [illegible]
the meeting-house & school-house all the night. I arose with the
sun on    

Fryday 21 April. I had been but a few minutes below stair's
when M. Gorden came in, & told us that Boston straitly
shut up, & that Mr.Waters, who was expected out the night be-
fore, was shut in. So there were the women & children of two

miserable families of us, left to shift for ourselves. To tarry
upon the plain, we judg'd was by no means safe. Every family
there, that we knew any thing of, were mov'd, & moving.

Miss Sarah Mason & I took our stand in turns, & sometimes together,
at or without the door to try if we could get any conveyance to
Dedham, which was six miles farther from Boston. At last we
lit on a one horse Cart, & the driver was willing to take us all in, &
carry us to Ames's. We toss'd in our bundles, & one of us had clim'd
into the Cart, when Capt. Child of the Peacock came by, & told us
that Paddocks Coach was shut out of Boston, & he would engage
it for us, to carry us as far as we would -- that it was at but a
quarter of a mile distant from us, & we should be more comfor-
table in that than in a cart -- Out of which our things were
then taken, & we began to see & acknowledge a kind providence.
Mr. Gorden was abroad we knew not where -- but he was coming
for us. He knew we wish'd for nothing so much, in our deplora-
ble circumstances as to be gone from his hospitable house.

He had been to see, & comfort as well as he could, Mrs. Waters & her
children -- He had found Paddocks Coach drawn by only two
horses, & had agreed with his man to take us all in, together with
Mrs. Gorden whom he was to call for at Mrs. Havens, & carry us to
Providence for 12 Dollars. This agreement was made before Capt. Child
came up to the Coach-man. But the business was done just as he appeared
only Mr. Gorden had aded Mrs. Waters & her family to our company.
Well, he now came home, & told me what he had done, said that we
should stay dinner, & then he would let us depart. I wanted no dinner,
but would not deprive others; so, as it was by this time past 12 o'clock,
we concluded to tarry. Before we departed, we were told, that Enoch
Browns house on Boston neck was plunder'd by the soldiary, & that
they were pulling it down (which was not done till some days after, how-
ever). Mr. Waters had made his escape from Boston, & came up to us
a few minutes before we set off, told me that he had lodgd with
Mr. Deming at Mrs. Soleys the night before, that he was well, & he be-
liev'd would try to git out. This was all I could know of, or frm
him for some weeks. Mr. Waters was very thankful to Mr.Gorden for
the care he had taken of his family, gave Mrs. Waters a Letter to a
friend at Providence, praying that she, & hers might be provided for
till he, could follow 'em -- for he was oblig'd to go first to Wo-
burn, to look after his father & mother, who had escapd thither the day

before. I had no one to write a Letter for me. Neither had I a tho't of
casting myself upon any acquaintance I had there. Indeed I did not
know what to do. I was fleeing for my life -- & all before me was gloomy
uncertainty, as one says.

While we stop'd to refresh the horses at Dedham one told us that he
had been with others on a high hill & discernd in the line of Marshfield
the smoke wch they concluded was that town on fire. I had heard be-
fore I left ye plain that our people had taken Genl Gages men that
had been quarter'd there for the winter; & was therefore affraid there
might be truth in ye conjecture. There was no going, to see, or make in-
quiery. So we proceeded on our journey, having taken up Mrs. Gorden, &
were now 12 in number; drawn by two horses; viz 9 within the Coach,
consisting of Mrs. Gorden, Miss Mason, Mrs. Waters within two months of ly-
ing in (She is since delivered of a daughter) her three children, & fat maid,
Sally & myself - without a man on the box with ye driver, & Lucinda
behind. We all got safe to Walpole about sunset, & put up there for the
night. There was a light observ'd all the evening wch ye people said
was the town of Marshfield on fire, wch for obvious reasons I knew
could not be, tho' the people of the house where we put up said also,
that the light was in the line of Marshfield. I was affraid however
that the houses there might have been fired, & also the woods, wch might
possibly be the light'g continued so long. My brother liv'd in Genl Wins-
low's house - Genl Winslows son's were obnoxious to ye [pe ]ople -- Lord pre-
serve my brother & all his, was my constant prayer, tho' I spake only
in my heart. I slept very little this night, & was up soon after day on
Saterday morng 22d April. A very heavy rain came on, so that it
was judg'd inhumane to travel wth my girl on ye outside of ye Coach
so we agreed that part of our company should go forward to W
Wrentham, & tarry there till the Coach returnd & brought up our rere.
Myself & my Girls wth Mrs. Waters were of ye last part. When the Coach
returnd, the Coachman told us, that while he bailed his horses at
Wrentham, a man came in & reported, that Genl Gage & ye Admiral
in revenge as was believed, for their defeat at Concord, & seizing his sol-
diers at Marshfield, had sent the men of War boats in to Plymouth
while the towns men were absent & had burnt the whole town to ash-
es, wch was the light we had seen so many hours ye night before. This
to me, seemed probable, my imagination got ye mastery of my reason -
I instantly concluded, that a general masecre had also taken place

in Boston -- O this was too much. Could I have died of terror &
anguish, surely without a marvelous support from heaven, I should
then have died. I concluded that I had neither husband, brother, sister,
nephew, or niece save Sally upon the face of the earth. O this was a hor-
rible day --- but I had more horrible falsehoods yet to hear & be
afflicted with. I know not how I got into ye coach nor much that
pass'd upon the road -- when it stoped at Wrentham our two decons
Mason & Phillips came out of ye house & helped us out. They told me they
hoped ye Plymouth story was false, & gave their reasons. This something
heartened me; so that I took my breakfast near 4 o'clock P.M. a
bit of harshd veal & before we departed. Mrs. Whitsel (ye widow) &
soon after her Mrs. Gorden arriv'd, neither of 'em having heard a word
about Plymouth, & they both left ye plain that day -- this was an
intermiting of my distress, if I may so say -- deacon Mason took me aside
before we parted, & told me he was going to Norwich next week, & that
as matters were circumstanced he believed that I had better go there too.
He said he propos'd to see me at Providence on monday evening or tues-
day, & then we would consult. I saw him afterwards at Providence, but
not till another plan was form'd for me, in which I think I had ve-
ry little if any contrivance myself -

We got to Attlebourough about candle light, where we parted with
Mr. & Mrs. Gorden, he being to preach next day in a pulpet there. # [This added text appears at the bottom left of page and is written perpendicularly in the margin]
I had a visit from him on Monday at Providence; together wth President Maning & his lady. [Original text resumes here]
Lordsday April 23 being the 4th day of my pilgrimage, we were no
sooner up, after to me another almost sleepless night when several men
came in & [told] us, that our people had kill'd (mythinks they should
have sa [id ]slaughter'd) every soldier & every tory in the town of
Marshfield. I said, I hopd it was a false report. You hope so madm.
cryd one. Yes, indeed I do: for if it's true I do think it was very wicked;
for you say they made no resistence; & I am affraid if it be as you say
God will be highly offended with us, for in his account, I cannot see
it to be better than murder. There was more pass'd - but I parted from
'em, & we all took coach again, & were set down at Providence between
the ringing of ye bells for morng Worship. My sensations at entering
this town - so different from what they were the last summer --
my circumstances so very different, can now exist only in memory &
imagination. In the latter, no one can exceed, for I had a most keen
sense of my case, when the coach stoping at an inn (Richard Oneys)
numbers crowded about it. Among the rest, was a well dress'd well
looking gentleman, who look'd very particularly at me, & pushing thro'
the rest, laid his hand on ye coach door, & still looking me, said

let me take you out madam. Are you Capt. Collins of Newport
Sir? Are you my aunt Deming? ask'd he at the same time. It
was a comfort to me to see him. I gave him my hands. O madam, sd
he, I do rejoice to see you here. I will lead you in. I would send
you directly to your niece (Mr. Averys eldest daughter) at Newport,
but that I intend to move her with our children off the Island; &
he told me why. But, sd he, I will do all in my power for you -
He sd truely, I have no doubt. I had not been long in the inn
before Mr. Howell, Tutor of ye Colledge there, came in to enquire who
were come in the Coach. He married a young lady that had been
my boarder. Well, they invited me to their house, would take no de-
nial, had I been dispos'd to give it. Sally Hill, my old neighbor, at
the same time urging me to go to her brothers, who, I had met on the
road, & receivd the most friendly invitation from him - but we di-
vided -- Sally Winslow went with Sally Hill - & I with Lucinda, ac-
cepted Mr. & Mrs. Howell's invitation.

I was extremly fatigued, my eyes so swell'd I could scarce opn
'em, the left entirely blood shod as its call'd; I had taken a great
cold, & all my limbs seem out of joint.

But, the Plymouth & Marshfield new's was happily contradicted be-
fore night --- therefore, hoping still in God, I went to bed
that night with some degree of quiet, & really slept 'till the next
morning, which was,    
Monday 24th Apr, when I was waked about 6 o clock with ye informa-
tion, that young Squire Gray of Windham enquir'd for me. He
was on horse back, & could not stay, till I was dress'd, but left his
regards for me, & told Mrs. Howell that he would see me again in a
few days. He had been at Boston, & at our house the monday

Nothing very material respecting myself happend this day
till towards evening. I was visited & consoled by numbers of frds.
I saw Capt. Collins several times, & he was contriving for me. But
the Assembly were siting, & he was of the Counsel. A number of fa-
milies were preparing to move into the southern governments, &
4 did go the next day. All was bustle - but no shocking news
was brought us that day - Towards evening, Mr. & Mrs. Ba-
con, wth their daughter came into town. Mr. Bacon came to see
me. Enquir'd into my designs etc. I told him truely that I did
not know what to do. That I had thot of giting farther into the

country. Of trying to place Sally in some family where she
might earn her board. & to do something like it for Lucin [da][;]
or put her out upon wages. That, when I left the plain, I had
some faint hope that I might hear from Mr. Deming while
I continued at Providence, but that I had but little of that hope
remaining. That I determind to quit the present seat of confu-
sion, as soon as possible, but that my tho'ts were broken, & I could
not resolve. In short that I felt myself a wanderer; & did not
know what to do. Capt. Collins it was true was thinking for me
but that I knew, he had his head, heart & hands full of other
matters also, & I was unwilling to add to his care, & was desirous
of taking myself out of it as soon as possible. Mr. Bacon ad-
vis'd me to go into Connectticut; the very thing I was desirous
of, & I mentiond deacon Masons proposal, but the deacon was not
yet come to town.

Mr. Bacon sd that he would advise me for the present to go
to Canterbury, his native place. That he would give me a Letter
to his sister, who would receive me kindly & treat me tenderly,
& that he would follow me there in a few days. That all mine
should go with me, & if it pleas'd God to bring us all together
there, we would then consult what was farther to be done. But
that he knew I might have an hiding place there etc. be the
time longer or shorter. I acques'd in this. Indeed, it was the best
I could hope for. And now we had only to contrive the method of
our journey. Just then, neighbor Waters came in, & hearing
what we were upon, desired to be of ye party, said he was for
going into an inland town etc. & so we agreed to take a coach
at Providence next day & move forward.     On    
Tuesday April 25th we set forward, Mrs. Waters with her children
& maid, Sally, with Polly Bacon (a daughter her papa had by
a former mariage) and myself in the coach, & Lucinda as usual,
outside. We got to Vollintown in Conectticutt that night.
I might have said we left Providence at 1/2 past 10 o clock A.M.
The next day about 11 o'clock we all arriv'd safe at Canter-
bury, it being    
Wednesday April 26 the 7th day of my journeying.