PHINEAS STEVENS and three younger brothers were with their father in a meadow near Rutland, Massachusetts, when, the 14th of August, 1723, they were surprised by five Indians. The father escaped, two brothers were killed, Phineas and the other brother, Isaac, were taken prisoners. Phineas was a youth in his eighteenth year; Isaac, a child of four. The Indians resolved to kill the child, but Phineas saved his life by making them understand that he would carry him on his back. They were taken to Canada, but were soon ransomed. In 1740 Stevens removed to the frontier town Number Four (now Charlestown, New Hampshire) of which he was one of three principal founders, and here, in 1747, with a garrison of only thirty men he success fully defended a wooden fort against a war party of three hundred or more French and Indians under Boucher de Niverville. Throughout the third Intercolonial War he was frequently commissioned by Governor Shirley to command volunteers for the defense of the frontier.

Peace having been concluded, Shirley sent him to Canada in 1749 to recover whatever prisoners were held there either by the French or by the Indians, and in 1752 Acting Governor Phips sent him thither on a second mission for the same purpose. While on each of these missions he kept a journal. That kept on the first mission was published in 1837 in the Collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society, Vol. V. That kept on the second mission is the one here printed. It is especially valued for its record of the ransom of John Stark, the hero of Bennington, for "an Indian poney . . . for which we paid 515 livres." The original journal was found on one occasion "at the bottom of an old churn in a garret in Charlestown." It was subsequently removed to the State House at Montpelier, Vermont, but was there destroyed by fire in January, 1857. A copy of it, however, has been preserved in the Library of Congress.

Source: Travels in the American Colonies

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