Inspirational stories of exemplary people.
"Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.” --- C. S. Lewis
January 22, 2013
George Felt Jr.'s Attempt at Heroism Cost Him His Life
George Felt Jr.’s Attempt at Heroism Cost Him His Life
By Melanie Jensen Johnson
This story might be titled, “Don’t Be a Hero!”I wonder if our hero’s wife said that very
thing.For George Felt Jr. died while
trying to retrieve food for his family and perhaps save his property from the
invading American Indians.
and Phillippa Felt lived under constant threat of attack in Casco Bay,
Maine.Although George traded with the
natives, there was a very fragile truce between the two peoples.George and the other settlers of Casco Bay
built their homes in such a way that they were within sight of each other, so
as to keep an eye out for one another.And they built fortified homes on each island in the area, as
places of refuge and trade.
Trading with the Native Americans and owning land were the keys
to wealth in the early settlements of the 1600’s in America.George learned both trades from his immigrant
father George Felch.Like him, George
Jr. prospered using this formula—farm a homestead and trade gun powder, liquor,
blankets and other commodities for valuable furs and fish.(Corey)
By 1875, George and Phillippa owned several parcels of land
and even some islands in Casco Bay, an amazing feat.Some of the land had been given to them by
Phillippa’s wealthy widowed mother; other parcels they had bought with the
proceeds of trading.Among the
properties the Felts owned were Lower Clapboard Island, Three Brothers Island, and
Little Chebeaque Island.They made their
home on the mainland in Mussel Cove, within view of these lovely islands.
Thanks to Google maps for images used to make this map
It must have been a happy life, living with their children
on a cliff overlooking these beautiful islands.THEIR islands.But it didn’t
In 1675, King Phillips war broke out.Native Americans attacked George’s neighbor’s
homes.Smoke rose from the burning
houses.George gathered his family into
a canoe and paddled around to their homes for a better view.When he saw neighbor’s belongings in the
water and scattered along the shore, he knew they needed to find refuge.
Paddling across to Cushing Island, George knew that there
was a fortified stone house on that island.Other families were huddled in the cellar of the home.In their haste, they hadn’t brought much
provision with them.One night, some of
the men sailed to their homes to retrieve some gun powder, to defend themselves
A military group stumbled onto the refugees, probably
looking for shelter themselves.The
leader, Captain William Hathorne, enlisted the men in the group and commandeered
their boats.But the civilians were all getting
hungry.And they were worrying about
their possessions.Some of the men had
left their wives and children at home, which also worried them.
George was among the group of seven men that asked Hathorne
for permission to go to nearby Peaks Island to round up some sheep for
food.Hathorne refused, asking them to
wait a bit longer.He hoped things would
settle down and allow the families to return to normal life soon.The men insisted, taking a small boat and
rowing to Peaks Island on Saturday, 23
The seven men quietly landed and went ashore.Native Americans saw them and attacked!The men scrambled to the fortified home on
that island.Or at least what was left
of it.The Palmer family had fled when
the Natives had burned the home to the ground sometime earlier.The ruins offered some shelter from the
attackers for a time, but eventually the gunshots and stones hurled at the
huddled men killed them all.An eyewitness said that the natives set fire
to what remained of the home to finish the job.
Had Phillippa begged her husband to ‘not be a hero?’Or had the howls of her hungry children
persuaded her to urge him on?We may
never know.But we know that the family
keenly felt the loss of their husband and father.With him gone, holding onto the property
became impossible.They all ended up living
in Salem where they rebuilt their lives.
written using currently available resources in good faith.Author is solely responsible for
Corey, Deloraine Pendre. The History of Malden,
Massachusetts, 1633-1785. Malden, Massachusetts: Self, 1899.
Jensen. "George Felt Jr. and Phillippa Andrews Felt." Saints, Witches and Murderers. 22 Jan 2013. 22 Jan 2013 .