Friday, March 2, 2012

His Maid Fought Off an Indian – George Minot

B. 4 Aug 1594 in Saffron Walden, England
M. in (probably) Essex, England
Wife: Martha Stocke
D. 24 Dec 1671 in Dorchester, Massachusetts
Emigrated: before 1 Apr 1634

George Minot came from a family that traces back many generations in Essex, England. He was born August 4, 1594 in Saffron Walden. His father Thomas was said to have been secretary to the Abbott. George married Martha Stocke and they had five sons born between about 1624 and 1635.

Sometime between 1631 and 1634, George and his family migrated to America. They settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts, where George was admitted as Freeman on April 1, 1634. He quickly became a prominent man in town, and on October 28th of that year, he was chosen to be one of ten men to "order the affairs of Dorchester plantation." In the spring of 1636, he was one of the representatives to the General Court. He was also one of seven men who signed the Covenant of August 23, 1636. He became a ruling elder serving for over 30 years.

George owned a large house in Dorchester which stood until 1874, when it burned to the ground. There's a colorful story that supposedly took place when George and his family first lived there. The story was printed in several places as early as 1804, but there's no proof it actually happened:

"A party of Narraganset Indians, hunting on the borders of Neponset river, stopped at Elder Minot's house and demanded food and drink. On being refused they threatened vengeance, and the sachem, or chief of the party, left an Indian in ambush to watch an opportunity to effect it. Soon after, in the absence of all the family, except a young woman and two small children, the Indian attacked the house and fired at the young woman, but missed his mark. The girl placed the children under two brass kettles and bade them to be silent. She then loaded Mr. Minot's gun and shot the Indian in the shoulder. He again attacked the house, and in attempting to enter the window, the girl threw a shovel full of live coals into his face and lodged them in his blanket. On this the Indian fled. The next day he was found dead in the woods. The Indian's name was Chickataubut, but not the Narraganset sachem of that name. The government of Massachusetts bay presented this brave young woman with a silver wristband, on which her name was engraved, with this motto, 'She slew the Narrhaganset hunter.'"

George's wife Martha died in 1657 and George himself died December 24, 1671. It was written that, "His death was much lamented by the town, whose weal he sought and liberties defended." George's estate was valued at over £277. Someone wrote an epitaph for his grave in the "ancient burying-ground in Dorchester" (apparently he was buried along side another early settler):

Here lie the bodies of Unite Humphrey and Shining Minot.
Such names as these, they never die not.

1. George Minot – B. about 1624, Saffron Walden, England; D. May 1626, Saffron Walden, England

2. John Minot – B. about 1626, Saffron Walden, England; D. 12 Aug 1669, Dorchester, Massachusets; M. Lydia Butler (~1629-1667), 19 May 1647

3. James Minot – B. about 1629, Saffron Walden, England

4. Stephen Minot – B. about 1631, Saffron Walden, England

5. Samuel Minot – B. Dec 1635, Dorchester, Massachusetts

Genealogical and family history of the state of New Hampshire, Vol. 2, Lewis Publishing Company, 1908
"Minot Family," Lemuel Shattuck, Esq., The Pilgrims of Boston and their descendants, 1856
Travels in New-England and New-York, Timothy Dwight, 1822

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