Jonathan Haynes and a Trip Cut Short

On February 22, 1698, Jonathan Haynes and Samuel Ladd were returning home from a day collecting cut hay when they were surrounded by a party of Abenaki warriors. Hopelessly outnumbered, they asked for quarter but none would be given for the older men. Both would be killed that day, and one each of their sons captured. One of Haynes’ other sons escaped on a horse. This all happened in what is now Haverhill, Massachusetts near the West Gate Market Plaza.  Today there’s very little evidence of the events of that day, save for a mention on a monument erected by descendants two hundred years later. Those descendants, happily alive at the time, are long gone now too.

Jonathan Haynes lived a short walk from where Hannah Duston was kidnapped less than a year before.  In fact, Jonathan Haynes had been kidnapped two years before along with four of his children.  Two came back to Haverhill with their father, two lived out their lives in Canada.  This time Jonathan paid the price for living on the edge of the frontier.  The warriors who killed Haynes and Ladd had come from a raid in Andover (likely present-day North Andover) where they had killed five settlers, including Pasco Chubb, his wife and daughter.  Chubb is a story for another day, but it seems that the Abenaki were out for revenge and went to his home in winter to kill him.  Haynes and Ladd were simply unlucky to be on the path that the Abenaki warriors were taking back to what is now Concord.

There’s a rich history in this region, full of stories like this one that are largely lost to the past. The relentless terror for people living with the threat of raids must have been unbearable at times.  Today there are only whispers.  Evidence of the once powerful Abenaki is almost impossible to find.  But sometimes you find clues to the lives of the original settlers if you simply pay attention.  The Duston Garrison still stands less than two miles away.  And thousands of people drive by the small burial ground where Haynes and his descendants are buried.  Most of the oldest gravestones are illegible as time wears away the engravings on the stone.  The burial ground, like the garrison, is one of the few places in this corner of Haverhill that hasn’t changed all that much in 320 years.  It still marks time as it has since that day so long ago when a trip home was unexpectedly and tragically cut short.

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