An American Family History

Sarah Waters Skeath

Lancaster was first settled as "Nashaway" in 1643. It was officially incorporated as "Lancaster on the Nashua" in 1653. It originally included many current towns in central Massachusetts. It was the home of Mary Rowlandson. During King Philip's War the town suffered several massacres. It was abandoned in 1680 and resettled several years later.

Sarah Waters Skeath was born on December 7, 1636 in Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Her parents were Lawrence Waters and Ann Linton.

She married John Skeath (Skait, Scate, Scale, Sheafe, Sheath). John was born in 1639 in Boston.

John and Sarah both died in the massacre of September 11, 1697 in Lancaster. Their son was captured by indigenous warriors.

Upon ye 11th instant a party of Indians to ye number of about Forty as was judged, about twelve o clock the same day, Surprized and kild about 26 persons at Lancaster, of which the minister of the Town was one, burnt two Garrison houses and two Barnes, the Garrisons being left open and ye Inhabitants surprized in their Fields: there is a party of men out in pursuit of ye Enemy.
A List Of Casualties September n, 1697. Killed. [included]
John Scale, Skait or Skeath.
Mrs. Scale, wife of John (from The Early Records of Lancaster, Massachusetts. 1643-1725 by Henry Stedman Nourse, 1844.

Old Style Calendar
Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.
Children of Lawrence Waters
and Anna Linton
  • Lawrence Waters
  • Sarah Waters Skeath
  • Mary Waters Davis
  • Rebecca Waters
  • Daniel Waters
  • Stephen Waters
  • Rebecca Waters Whitcomb
  • Adam Waters
  • Joseph Waters
  • Jacob Waters
  • Rachel Waters
  • Samuel Waters
  • Joanna Waters
  • Ephraim Waters
  • ye is an archaic spelling of "the."
    A blockhouse or garrison house is a small, isolated fort. The typical blockhouse was two stories with the second story overhanging the first. It had small openings to allow residents to shoot attackers without being exposed.


    During the Indian wars, some colonists were taken captive. They were killed, ransomed, or adopted into the tribe.

    from History of the Town of Lancaster, Massachusetts by Abijah Perkins Marvin

    In September, 1697, one of the greatest calamities that ever befel the town, was experienced. And the event seems doubly sad because peace had already been declared between the great belligerent parties in Europe. Before dawn, on the eleventh of September, the treaty had been signed. But in those days of slow communication, war, like a wounded serpent, though killed in the head, could continue to strike with its far-reaching extremities. The good news of peace was many weeks in coming to our shores.

    On the twenty-second of September, eleven days after the signature of the treaty, and eight days after London had hailed the event with bonfires, bell-ringings and general rejoicings, the Indians entered Lancaster under five leaders, but one chief. They had been lurking in the woods for some time, sending in scouts by night to observe the posture of the town.

    "Having done this, they determined to begin the attack on Mr. Thomas Sawyer's garrison." This was near the barn of John A. Rice, in South Lancaster. The firing there was to be a signal to all the other divisions "to fall on in their respective stations" When the inhabitants, on the morning of the twenty-second, "suspicious of no enemy," says Harrington, from whom we often quote, "were gone out to their labor, they came in several companies into the town, and were very near surprising said Sawyer's garrison, both the gates being left open; but that Mr. Jabez Fairbank, who was at his own house half a mile's distance, and designing to bring his little son from said garrison, mounted his horse which came running to him in a fright, and rode full speed into the gate, but yet nothing suspicious of an enemy."The Indians, who were just ready to rush through the open gates into the garrison, supposing they were discovered, desisted from their design upon Sawyer's garrison, but in their retreat, fired upon the people working in the fields.

    Detached parties seem to have made havoc in different parts of the town, to such an extent, that at no time, according to Willard,

    excepting when the town was destroyed, was ever so much injury perpetrated, or so many lives lost." The Rev. John Whiting was met at a distance from his garrison, B, by the enemy, who surprised and killed him. He was offered quarter, but chose rather to "fight to the last than resign himself to those whose tender mercies are cruelty.

    At the same time, twenty others were killed; two were wounded, but not mortally, and six were carried away as captives, of whom five returned. Here follow the names of those who were killed. Rev. Mr. Whiting, Daniel Hudson, his wife and two daughters; Ephraim Roper, wife and daughter; John Skait and wife; Joseph Rugg, his wife and three children; the widow Rugg; Jonathan Fairbank and two children.

    The captured were the wife of Jonathan Fairbank, widow Wheeler, Mary Glasier, and a son each of Ephraim Roper, John Skait and Joseph Rugg. The names indicate that the larger part of those killed and captured belonged to South Lancaster. At the same time two garrison houses and two barns were burned. "On this sorrowful occasion," says Mr. Harrington, "the town set apart a day for prayer and fasting." There was mourning in many households, and sympathy in all; and doubtless as the people crowded their house of worship, on that day, and joined with some neighboring minister who stood in their beloved pastor's place, leading them in their devotions, their tears fell fast. Their only comfort was unfaltering faith in God.

    European and indiginous American fought fierce battles as the Europeans expanded their territory.
    Colonial Maryland
    Colonial New England
    Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
    Quakers & Mennonites
    New Jersey Baptists
    German Lutherans
    Watauga Settlement
    Pennsylvania Pioneers
    Midwest Pioneers
    Jewish Immigrants

    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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