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Kennebunk, Kennebunkport,
Arundel, & Cape Porpus,

Last Updated Dec-2008

Sources: The History of Kennebunkport - Bradbury
History of Cape Porpoise - Melville Freeman 1955
Pioneers On Maine Rivers - Wilbur D. Spencer
Ancient History of Kennebunk - Edward Bourne 1831
New England Captives Carried To Canada [1]

Wabanaki Family Names Known Here

Wabanaki Events That Occurred Here

Cape Porpus Indian Raids & Captives

The Phillip Durrell Family


  • [Indians] carried off Mrs. Durrill, her two daughters, Susan and Rachel, and two sons, one of whom, Philip, was an infant. Mr Durrill himself was not at home. The Indians carried their prisoners as far as Peywacket or Fryeburg, when Mrs. Durrill persuaded them to let her return with her infant. One of the Indians carried her child for her to the stone fort at Saco, from which place she returned home. Her daughters married Frenchmen, and refused to return after the war was over. The son was accidentally drowned in Saco river.
  • In August, 1703, the Indians came up the river in his absence and carried off his wife and their children, Rachel, Susan, Benjamin and the baby Philip. At Pigwacket Mrs. Durell persuaded her captors to allow her to return with her baby, and an Indian kindly carried the child as far as Fort Mary in Saco.
  • Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - There is evidence this first Mrs. Durrell was an Indian woman - which would explain why the Indians gave her up so easily.
  • The other family members reached Canada and are on the list of 1710/11 prisoners as "Benjamin Dudy, Rachel Dudy, Sarah Dudy".
  • Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - The History of Kennebunkport says that the girls married Frenchmen and refused to return when the war was ended. Coleman [2] found no record of them in Canada. Sarah appears to have returned and married John Baxter, for she is taken captive again in 1726. Benjamin returned from captivity about 1711.


  • Mrs. Durrell having been kindly treated in 1703 feared nothing during this disturbed period, but Mrs. Baxter was apprehensive and had that day begged her husband not to go to the river's mouth with her father. They tried to reassure her, but no sooner had the men gone than the Indians rushed in.
  • Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - We have good reason to believe this Mrs. Durrell is of the Purrington family and is NOT the same woman taken in 1703.
  • Mrs. Durell was again taken and with her, her son John, daughter Sarah (married to John Baxter) and Sarah's little child.
  • Philip Durell of Kennebunk went from his house with one of his sons to work, the sun being about two hours high, leaving at home his wife, a son twelve years old and a married daughter with a child twenty months old. A little before sunset Philip returned to find all his family gone, his house set on fire, chests split open and clothing gone; he searched the woods and found no one killed.
  • When Durell came back at the end of the day he was first alarmed because his boy did not run to meet him; his fears were strengthened by seeing feathers - from the bed sacks - flying all about, and in the empty house he found chairs piled within and around the fireplace. He raised an alarm and in quick pursuit the Indians were followed.
  • Mrs. Durell was lame; Mrs. Baxter's condition made it impossible for her to keep up; the baby was in the way; the two women they cruelly and brutally murdered, the child was dashed against a tree trunk. This was near Duck Brook.
  • The day after the tragedy Col. John Wheelwright sent a letter to Boston, ... he says that three suspected Indians had been seized and secured in Fort Mary and it was decided "to send 'em round to Boston for further examination." There they were shut up at the Castle and closely examined, whereupon they presented a Memorial proposing that one be allowed to return on his Parole that he might try to discover the author of the mischief and to have the captives restored. Two Indians were permitted to go on their promise to make "Restitution for ye Creatures they killed" and a reward was promised if they succeeded. ... A young son of one was kept as hostage ... The Two Indians ... Ogickfando, who had left the hostage boy, and Quinoise. The first had wounded his leg, which with other things had hindered their errand. One said "I heard When the Indians took that family, the English pursued them very quick, and the Indians were afraid of being Discovered and so they kill'd three of the English and the Boy they carried away."
  • [the next April] We hear from the Eastward that the poor people who were taken from Kennebunk last fall were all killed except the boy, and that there were nine from St. Francois did it and pretend they would not have killed them had not our English followed them so closely.
  • John aged twelve was exchanged in about two years. His father prayed for some Consideration "on the Account of his Son John Dorrels being carried away Captive by the St Francois Indians, who at the same time carried away his Wife, Daughter & her Child, & destroyed much of his Substance, his Son being now returned from Captivity almost naked." In answer on June 5, 1729, ten Pounds was allowed for Cloathing the Petitioner's Son.
  • It is said that John "ever after appeared more like an Indian than a white man."

The Stephen Harding Family

  • Mr. Harding was a pilot (guide) during Dummers War "having hunted many yrs. from the Saco to the Winnipesaukee Ponds."
  • Harding was a very athletic man, but remarkably good natured. He always treated the Indians kindly in times of peace; and his life was frequently spared by them, when they had an opportunity to shoot him. He was fond of hunting, and would frequently be gone from home a fortnight on a hunting expedition; and wander as far as the White Hills. So much had he become accustomed to the Indian mode of warfare, that he was a match for them, in their own peculiar method of fighting.
  • [1703] The Indians, when discovering Mr. Harding had made his escape, and having pulled up all his corn in order to find him, said it was no use to extend their hunt for him, as he was as good an Indian as themselves. ... but did not injure his house; leaving that standing, as they afterwards told him, for a trap to catch him in at some future time. Their object was to take him alive, and carry him to their settlements in Canada, where his services as a blacksmith were much needed.
  • ... it was supposed that Tabitha Littlefield of Wells, a child, was killed [in a 1703 raid]. Some years afterwards, when Mrs. Harding, who was a relative of hers, was trading with the Indians at her own house, a young squaw, who was standing near her, asked her if she did not remember Tabitha Littlefield, and immediately darted from the house. Search was made for her and every inducement offered the Indians to influence them to give her up, but without success.

Bits & Pieces from Books, news-clippings, etc.

  • A 1666 deed describes a local feature as "an old Wigwame that once Goody Trot did make and liue in"
  • A 1681 deed mentions "at the upper falls, near the Indian planting ground."
  • An Indian squaw named Dinah was "an occasional visitor, tolerated by the community and in no way dangerous". She was murdured by an inhabitant. [date unknown]
  • [perhaps c1724] A squaw called Dinah, in endeavoring to escape from her pursuers, got the edge of her snow shoe in the crevice of a rock, and was unable to extricate it before she was taken. She cried for quarter, but the whites with as little mercy as the savages, put her to death. The rock, near the house of George Bickford, still bears the name of Dinah's rock.
  • [1724] Lieut. Prescott, ... In crossing Harding's ferry, about the middle of April on his return home; he was recognized by some Indians commanded by Capt. Nathaniel, who were lying in ambush. ... inhabitants of the town, and a friendly Indian, offered to escort him to Cape Porpoise. ... His escort, when they were assailed, leaped from their horses, and returning the whoop of the Indians, stood upon the defensive. Those in ambuscade, fearing there might be Indians in the neighborhood friendly to the whites, did not repeat their fire. Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - Even in time of war, there are friendly Indians at Cape Porpus.
  • A noted chief, named Capt. Nathaniel, who was extremely troublesome to this town, was supposed to be an English child, stolen by the Indians in his infancy. One dark night, wishing to know if there was a watch, kept at Huff's garrison, he flashed his gun to see if it would cause any alarm. Mr. Huff himself was on guard, and discharged his musket in the direction of the light. His ball went so near one of Nathaniel's eyes as to destroy its sight.
  • [abt 1722 Samuel Sayer] with Ebenezer Lewis, John Felt and William Wormwood, while rafting timber upon Gooch Creek, were surprised and killed by a party of savages led by Tom Wawa, a Pequaket chieftain.
  • Wahwa (or Sunrise) was brought up in an English family, but was induced to join the French and Indians, by the offer of the command of a company. He was well known in this town, having visited it frequently, both in times of war and peace.
  • Wawa dwelt for a portion of the time on Great Hill, in this vicinity. During the fifth Indian war (1745) Wawa was wounded by a shot from Larrabee's fort. Larrabee, who was extraordinarily watchful, noticed something strange about a cart which had been left near the fort, and tried the effect of a charge of buckshot among the shadows. Retreating footsteps were heard, and in the morning marks of blood were discerned. Wawa after the war confessed to having been the person wounded. He asserted that nothing but Larrabee's watchfulness had saved the garrison on several occasions.
  • After peace was firmly established, Wahwa used unfeelingly to describe to Mr. Baxter, the inhuman manner in which his wife was killed, and boast of his agency in her murder. Mr. Baxter's friends advised him to roll the savage into a well, as he was lying intoxicated near its brink, but he refused to do it.
  • [c1728] ... Wedding party included a chief's daughter in gay native costume as one of the brides maids, and her father, who brought a deer as his contribution to the feast. Other Indians were undoubted present, but the chief and the princess were the conspicious guests.
    Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - This ceremony was by Mr. Eveleth the 1st pastor - does anyone know who the happy couple might be?

... At the time when the last war with the natives commenced [c1754], the principal places of their residence in this town, were the tract of land on the upper side of Gooch's creek, near where it enters the Kennebunk river and Great hill and Grandfathers neck. At the former place, were about twenty wigwams; at the latter, six or seven. There were also three, about twenty rods below the house of John Freeze on the Mousam river. ... The whole number, who lived in this town was about one hundred and sixty. They were not all of the same tribe. The king of one part of them lived on Great Hill. His name was Tom Wawa. The chief personage of the others, of what rank I do not know, was Captain Jo, who lived in one of the wigwams on Mousam river.

... they subsisted for the most part upon clams ... found here in great abundance, and could readily be obtained when they had been unsuccessful in the pursuit of game. Though living by the sea, and having numerous canoes, they were not in the habit of taking fish beyond the mouths of the rivers. During the spring, they obtained large quantities at the falls, when they were ascending the stream. Immense quantities of clam shells are still to be found under the ground about the places where their wigwams were located.

... during the colder part of the season, the indians retired to the interiour of the country. A portion of them spent the winter at Pigwacket; some of them at Norridgewock - others went as far back as Canada.

They [Indians] were as well known to our ancestors who lived in their vicinity, as any of their more civilized neighbours. Those who have survived untill within a few years, could recount the names of all the Indians who lived within their neighbourhood, with as much familiarity and certainty, as those of their own kinsmen or friends. They were perhaps as intimate with the savages, as with others, who lived about them.

... But it was their invariable rule, and they were never known to depart from it, to give notice, when the white people should regard them as their enemies. This notice was given in the following way. Whenever they returned, or came in, from their expeditions, they erected near their wigwams a pile of stones, in a conical form, two or three feet high. So long as the pile remained, they were at peace with the whites. But whenever war was to be resumed, the pile was thrown down. ... the pile of stones would be again raised, and the Indians soon at the houses of their old friends with apparently as good feelings as if nothing had happened in the interval. ... Almost the first thing which they seemed to think of was, music and dancing with those, with whom they had just been at war ...

Amberuse, living in one of the wigwams near Mr. Larrabees settlement, ... was never known to engage in the war against the whites. ... Whenever his companions deserted their wigwams to engage in their savage barbarities, he remained at home, continueing on friendly terms with our people, and associating with them in the same manner, while the pile of stones was prostrated, as during peace.

(Sullivan writes about the history of So. Berwick) [c1752] There came to that town, "an Indian named Amberuse, with his wife. He said that he hated war, and only wanted to live where he could make his brooms and his baskets and live in peace." He remained there for several years and then removed to the Kennebec.

Agawamum ... lived just below the house of John Freeze" ... He had for a long time been observed to watch the serjeant [Stephen Larrabee], keeping his eye upon him whenever he went abroad from the garrison. ... It would not do for the serjeant always to be thus harrassed. ... Agawamum was in the habit of going ... early in the morning, to his traps ... carrying with him his gun. ... and when he was stooping down to take a beaver from his trap, [Larrabee] fired and killed him dead on the spot. But as it was a time of peace, and therefore he might be subjected to the penalties of the law, before he returned he burried the indian with his gun, at the bottom of the gully.

Wawa was a distinguished warrior, ... driven ... to acts of the most relentless cruelty, yet occasionally he was known to manifest more of the feelings of civilized man, than was exhibited by his companions.

Source: Ancient History of Kennebunk
Edward E. Bourne, 1831


From the Story of John W. Johnson we learn about the following items

General Items of Interest to Researchers