EPGS NEWS: Eastern Pennsylvania Gaming Society meets every third Saturday at the Best Western Inn at Fort Washington, Fort Washington, PA. Conveniently located at the intersection of PA route 309 & the PA turnpike, 1 exit form Interstate 476. Next meeting is 4/15/00 from 9:30 a.m. until midnight. website:EPGS.
MASSACRES, PART 2: The Deerfield Massacre occurred on Leap Day, February 29th, 1704. Deerfield is located in Western Massachusetts, just off US Route 5 and Massachusetts Route 10. The village was founded in 1669, and was originally called Pocumtuck, which was the name of a Native American tribe living in the area, and is still the name of a nearby mountain. The mile-long street, settled in 1669 now sits within the Old Deerfield National Historic Landmark.
The community was previously attacked in 1675 as part of "King Philip's War", and was abandoned shortly thereafter. the new settlers abandon the old name as well, calling it Deerfield. By 1704, the town has grown to over 250 people, but it is a remote frontier community. there are no English towns to its north, and no towns lie within 40 miles east or west.
In 1703, word was sent that French soldiers and allied Indians from Canada are heading for the Connecticut Valley. In October, a small Indian force strikes, capturing two men. Tensions heighten; the town strengthens its fortifications and receives soldiers to help protect it. Winter comes, and all seems peaceful.
Before dawn on February 29, 1704, the townspeople and soldiers are asleep inside the town's palisade. houses outside the palisade lie empty, and a night watchman is assigned to patrol. He shirks his duty, and the attack will not be noticed in time.
Two miles north of town, across the Deerfield River, a force of 200-300 French and Indians cross the river and traverse the farmland towards Deerfield. The snow is their ally, as it dampens sound, and drifts have piled against the walls of the fort, so that the attackers can scale the walls. The attack begins. At battle's end, the survivors grimly assess the town's losses. 56 English lie dead; another 109 have been captured. Almost half the houses have been burned. Deerfield is not abandoned this time around because the region's military commander will not allow it.
Today Deerfield is still a village, and much of historical interest can be found there. Additionally, it is a wonderful spot for seeing fall foliage, and is the home of a prestigious private school founded in the 1700's, Deerfield Academy.
The Deerfield Historic Site.
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