The name Nathaniel goes a long way back in my family. The youngest son of George Abbot(t), original settler of Andover, Massachusetts, was the first of many Nathaniel Abbot(t)s in my paternal line, right down to my grandfather Nat Abbott (1911-1994). But ours is not the only branch of the family to retain this name. We descend from Joseph Abbot(t), the second son of that first Nathaniel, but the elder brother was named for his father. This Nathaniel Abbot(t) (1696-1770) has interested me ever since I read about him in Abiel Abbot's Genealogical Register (1847) which includes the following entry:
"Nathaniel, Capt., an original proprietor in the town of Concord, N.H.; honest, respected, and beloved, and resolute in protecting the town, and defending the rights of his country. In 1746, he commanded a company in defense of the town against the Indians. He was a Lieutenant in the provincial service, in the expedition against Crown Point. Moore, in his Annals of Concord, says, 'At the commencement of the French war, in 1744, he entered the service and joined the Rangers under Maj. Rogers. He was at the capture of Cape Breton, in 1745; was subsequently in many of the sanguinary conflicts on the northern frontiers; and endured almost incredible hardships. He held a commission in the corps of Rangers, and was in every station a brave and useful officer.'"
The problem with this glowing biography is that it has rather muddles Nathaniel Abbot(t)'s service history, confusing the chronology of events in King George's War (1744-1748) with those that took place during the French and Indian War (1754-1763). Abbot(t) apparently served in both conflicts, but the commission in Roger's Rangers dates from 1756 when he was a remarkable 60 years of age and properly belongs later in the narrative than it appears above.
Nathaniel Abbot(t) (1696-1770) was an early settler in Rumford, New Hampshire (modern Concord). His father Nathaniel (1671-1749) had previously helped to lay out a road from Andover up the Merrimack into New Hampshire, and by 1735 the son had moved there permanently. In 1742 he was appointed to a committee to locate and build a school-house. During King George's War he served as a Lieutenant in a Rumford company in the campaign against the great fortress of Louisburg at Cape Breton (during which his cousin Isaac Abbot died of disease) and was there when it fell in June 1745.
Back at Rumford the following year, Abbot was a captain of a company of Rumford militia. His family were assigned shelter in Lt. Jeremiah Stickney's garrison house in the event of attack by Indians, a real threat on the New Hampshire frontier. A history of Concord recounts:
"In the stress of danger from an Indian attack, the persons 'stated' at the garrisons left their own houses, and repaired thither. Men labored in the field, in companies, whenever practical, with guns at hand, and not infrequently with a mounted guard. Three alarm guns from a fort announced approaching mischief, and put the settlement on the alert. Every sabbath the men went armed and equipped to the log meeting-house, itself a fort, and stacking their muskets around the center post, sat down to worship 'with powder-horn and bullet pouch slung across their shoulders' while Parson Walker officiated, with his gun - the best in the Parish - standing beside him in the Pulpit."
Attack came on August 11th, 1746, when a party of seven men were ambushed by a large force of Indians and five were slain. There were other alarms and attacks on individuals in the vicinity until the end of hostilities in 1748.
During the French and Indian War, New Hampshire sent 500 men under Colonel Joseph Blanchard to aid William Johnston in an expedition against the French at Crown Point. Among these were a company commanded by Captain Joseph Eastman in which Nathaniel Abbot(t) was a Lieutenant. They were in Johnson's camp at the Battle of Lake George (9/8/1755) and engaged in scouting for a month afterward until their term of service expired.
The following year, Captain Robert Roger's established the first of his famous companies of Rangers, and shortly thereafter a second company was raised under his brother Richard Rogers with Nathaniel Abbot(t) as 2nd Lieutenant. In 1757, this company was stationed at Fort William Henry on Lake George, where Captain Richard Rogers died of smallpox. Lt. Abbot(t) was there for the siege and surrender of the Fort to Montcalm's army and survived the subsequent massacre made famous by James Fenimore Cooper in The Last of the Mohicans. According to Fred Anderson's The Crucible of War, as many as 185 British and provincial soldiers and camp followers were killed after the surrender and between 300-500 were taken captive by the Indians. Ironically, those Indians who dug up Roger's corpse to scalp it, however, unwittingly brought the scourge of smallpox back to their western villages along with their trophy.
It is an extraordinary record: one that stretches credulity were it not so widely attested. Nowhere do I find evidence that his son, Nathaniel Abbot(t) (1727-1800) - described simply as "a respectable Farmer, Concord, N.H." - might have been the Lieutenant of the Rangers instead of his elderly father, but still I wonder. After all, Nathaniel Abbot(t) is a popular name in our family, and it would be a simple enough thing to confuse one with the other. For now, though, that's his story and I'm sticking with it.
Lt. Nathaniel Abbot(t) (1696-1770) was my 7th Great-Uncle.