Ancestral Anecdotes: Jonathan Wells





Hatfield Seal

He has been called the 'boy hero' of Hatfield. When Deerfield was attacked in 1704, he was the military commander. His home was not destroyed because it was fortified and not attacked. The morning after the raid, he led a party of volunteers from Hatfield and Hadley. They ran the French and Indians out of the area, but did not pursue them, perhaps because of heavy snow cover and fear of ambush. If the reason was the latter, Jonathan had good reason not to pursue.

He had a particularly harrowing experience during King Philip's war, when he was just 17 years old. He was with Capt. Turner at Turner's Falls, on May 19, 1676. The incredible story of his escape from danger and his journey home is recorded in one of the appendices of Redeemed Captive. The story is as follows:

After Captain Turner had defeated the enemy, Jonathan found himself a member of a party that was sent after the Indians in order to recover some stolen horses. Indians shot at Jonathan, and he was shot at three times; the first ball grazed his hair, the second wounded his horse, and the third entered his thigh right at the spot where it had been formerly broken by a cart wheel running over it. The musket ball re-fractured bone that was weak and had not properly healed the first time it was broken. Jonathan turned and fled, the shock of his wound impeding his progress. The enemy pursued him, but Jonathan managed to get clear of them and rejoin his fellow soldiers.

Back at camp, the army broke into small, unorganized scouting parties. Jonathan joined up with one group, but he saw they were heading for a swampy area that he felt certain contained a group of Indians. Jonathan left that group and joined another, and that is a good thing for you if you are his descendant, for that first group were ambushed and the entire party killed.


Jonathan rode a while with the second group, but soon his horse could not keep up on account of the wound it had received earlier that day. Jonathan himself was debilitated from his own wound, and soon he and another wounded man--identified only as Jones--fell behind and were left by the rest of their squad.  Jonathan and Jones were challenged by the location and the terrain: dark, pathless forest, with no guide to tell them which way to go. Soon, Jonathan and Jones lost each other.

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