|Birth: ||Jan. 7, 1671|
|Death: ||Aug. 14, 1759|
Daughter of Roger Chandler and Mary (Simonds) Chandler. Married Lieut. John Heald Dec. 18, 1690 in Concord MA.
(Massachusett Vital Records to 1850; Concord Births, Marriages, and Deaths; pages 16 & 34; American Marriages before 1699).
Concord deaths: Mary Heald Widow of Lieut. John Heald (Deceasd) Died August 14 1759 [in her 88th yr. G.S.].
"When John Heald came from Berwick-On-Tweed, Scotland, in 1635, it is understood that his oldest son John, was verging on manhood, yet he did not marry Sarah Deane till June 10, 1661, or twenty-six years after.
The name of their oldest child was also John, born in 1666, and he married Mary Chandler, of Chelmsford, Mass., and settled in that part of Carlisle, Mass., which was then a portion of Concord.
His residence about 1688 to 1695, was near the present Mansion House of Major Benjamin F. Heald, about one and one-half miles southerly of Carlisle Centre, near the westerly road to Concord.
Mary Chandler Heald seems to have been a woman of remarkable nerve, force and executive ability, and to have impressed upon her immediate posterity, her children and grandchildren, these characteristic elements in a large degree.
It is related by Major B. F. Heald, who had it from his grandfather, that in the year 1693, when her second son, Timothy, was an infant, sleeping in the cradle, and Mary was busy about her household duties, with no other than her infant children in the house with her, the balmy autumn morning wafting its breezes over her humble dwelling, a heavy distant sound caught her listening ear, and from her door she caught the echo of baying hounds from the distant highlands.
In that period of primitive isolation from other settlements, in the general silence of the wilderness, amid the apprehension of incursions of wild beasts and cruel Indians, in the lonesomeness and fear of the deep, dark forest, in the longings for sounds of human voices and wishes for human sympathy and neighborhood, to them even the baying of domestic hounds was a welcome sound, not often enjoyed and yet welcome, for it spoke of hunters near - welcome guests indeed, bringing news from the civilized world and cheer from distant friends and relatives.
What was the significance of this modulated echo which she heard? It caught her ear again, and by and by it became more pronounced and distinct. She had a double interest in it, for her husband, with the men of the region, had appointed that day and had started at dawn of that morning with their hounds, in a body and unitedly, to hunt down and destroy a savage and destructive wild beast that, prowling around, had been a devastation to their fields, herds, flocks, and growing crops, and a terror to the region. A father could not go out in the morning without the fear that his home - wife and little ones - might fall victims to the monster; a child could not go to the spring for water in safety. All attempts to run it down and destroy it , heretofore had failed. Its depredations continued unabated and constant. Its boldness and cunning seemed to increase from its many escapes from man and its victories over dogs. It was too powerful and savage for their hounds to conquer - they were crushed, torn, repulsed; too fleet for the hunters to overtake, and too cunning to fall into their ambuscades and traps. Cattle, sheep, swine, dogs, and grain fields were its victims, and human beings might be; and as it became more bold and aggressive, it came nearer to their home daily, until the people's fear and excitement were raised to
It was the antecedent and prototype of Putnam's wolf by fifty years. It was before Putnam was born. Putnam and his people only enacted over again what was done nearly two generations earlier, and what was more, done by a woman single handed and alone. Putnam, with his neighbors at hand, entered the den; this woman, alone, entered the glen. Putnam's act was bold, but the rope around his feet and the strong hands of his neighbors and friends outside the cave, gave assurance of safety from death, and within the narrow walls his sinewy arms, trenchant blade and resolute nerve made him more that a match for any wolf; but this woman had no rope, none near to help, no loving hand for rescue, not even a dog to aid. All - husband, his hounds and his trusty rifle - were on the distant hills in the chase. She had nothing but courage, skill, strong nerve, a correct eye, and her practiced rifle, upon which to rely.
The hunters had found the beast in his lair. His menace for a fight was met by many dogs and men, and he fled with dogs and hunters in full pursuit. The race had now begun in earnest. It was over hills and vales, through woods and swamps, anon on the summit then over the crest, down in the valley, undulating as the face of the country, and the deep, heavy bay, from the top of the hill, floating faintly through the forest trees, in at Mary's open door, was the signal for the race a mile away, that first caught her ear.
Accustomed to frontier life, a hunter herself, she at once understood, by the nature of the chase, revealed by its echoes, that it was no ordinary game that the hunters and their pack were pursuing. Stong voices came from the hilltops, muffled tones from the valleys, whence the sound struggled up through dense woods, soon to be clearer and nearer from a nearer eminence. Mary saw that the chase was drawing towards her home. Her heart began to beat with high excitement. She watched with eye and ear the progress of the chase, for she could see the distant wood-clad hills from whence the hoarse tones came, and knew the location of the valleys and swamps that lay in the path of the chase. As the leader of an orchestra, can interpret every sound from his performers, so Mary could interpret the music that came to her excited ear, and by it could read the condition and position of the game, hunters and hounds; whether the game was fleeing or at bay, was exhausted or fleet, was in sight of the dogs or hidden form their view; and an occasional human voice, shouting "To the right", "To the left", "Close up the centre", told that the hunters were on both flanks and in the centre of the chase - far behind, but eager and sure. Hounds indicate by their baying whether they are pursuing their game by sight or by scent, whether they are near their prey or far off. In fact, a moments reflection will show that the same tone and volume of baying will convey to a practiced hunter's ear, the position of the head of the hound, whether elevated in air as when pursuing by sight, its down-to- the-ground position to follow the trail by scent, as when pursuing the game by the sense of smelling. Again the increased or diminished excitability of the baying indicates whether the hounds are gaining of losing ground - are in the sight of the game or far behind; and the direction in which the game is fleeing is clearly shown by sound, and so also it is shown when the game is brought to bay. Your reader has often watched hounds chasing foxes on New Hampshire hills, and noticed with great interest the progress of the chase, both with eye and ear, and all hunters corroborate this statement fully.
This young, brave woman ere long detected, by the direction of the chase, that the beast was approaching the near swamp adjacent to the cleared land that surrounded her homestead, and whose dark and dense retreat seemed a fit hiding place for the fleeing game. Did she shut up and barricade her doors and windows with herself inside, retreat to the cellar or garrett, faint, scream, groan, give way to despair, or do some other timid thing? No; instead she resolutely determined to capture the game herself. She quickly shut all the doors and windows, seized her long rifle, picked the flint, left her infant Timothy in the cradle asleep, and sallied forth into the deep shades of that swampy forest to meet the monster, in the very spot which she believed it would pass. Soon the waving bushes, the rustling leaves, the heavy man-like tread, and the loud breathing, told her that the monster was rushing directly upon her, and now, full in sight, was charging upon her footsteps.With the rifle at her eye, her finger on the trigger, she received his oncoming without flinching, and when the beast rose with open mouth and terrific growl doubly enraged at the sight of this new enemy, striking with its huge arms right and left to clear its way, she pulled the trigger. The echo of her rifle, mingled with the roar of the beast, rolled over the region and told every hunter that a grand days work was done. Expecting to meet some other and unknown hunter and the captured game, the hunters rushed forward, and, amazed, saw the dying beast leaping vainly to regain its feet, with a bullet through its heart, roaring fearfully, and this woman, rifle in hand, looking calmly on surveying the work of her hands and giving welcome to the hounds and hunters gathering around. She had shot a huge and ferocious bear. The hunters, in amazement and admiration, gave cheer upon cheer, not only because the dreadful beast was dead, but because it was killed in the forest by a woman all alone.
An interesting question now arises, especially to young readers - To whom did this dead beast belong - to the woman or the hunters? It was valuable; worth, in our present currency, thirty or forty dollars. By the hunter's code Mary's bear would belong to the men hunters. It is altogether probable, however, that she would be allowed a portion equal to the share of any other party, and perhaps the hunters chivalry assigned to her and her husband a much larger portion. That the beast was dead was reason for great rejoicing.
Not far from this period, about 1703, during the French and Indian War, the hostile tribes of Indians gave cause for great alarm in the settlement of Concord, Carlisle, Chelmsford, and other towns. Numerous reports of savage murders were brought to the ears of these people, and their apprehension became extreme and painful. Although they had cleared their lands, erected houses and established homes, there was constant fear that the midnight whoop would sweep the valley of the Concord and penetrate to its sparsely settled borders, carrying desolation and death in its course. The capture and escape of Hannah Dustin, of Haverhill, Mass., was only five years before. There were but few inhabitants outside the settled villages; these were likely to become victims, and before help could arrive the work of destruction and death might be complete. Many of the people shut up their homes and moved to the villages for safety. The Carlisle settlements were some miles from Concord village and seemed much exposed.
When the movement to the village became active, Mary Chandler Heald called her remaining neighbors together for consultation. They came more willingly because SHE made the call; besides they greatly desired to remain, keep their houses and carry on their farms. They had great respect for her tact, skill and courage. She urged the POLICY and DUTY of holding and defending their homes - of helping one another. Some were hesitating and timid, and fears were having control of reasons, when Mary, with ardent and courageous zeal, declared,"YOU may all go, I shall stay - even every one of you, I SHALL STAY!" Her resolute declaration sent a thrill of courage into the hearts of the people, and they stood their ground by her side, and before the alarms faded away.
One cool, decided, resolute, firm spirit controlled and drove away the fears of all around it, and braced up courage to the fighting stand for life and homes. And so it is generally - Hannah Dustin and Mary Heald were much alike.
Thus it is seen, she was a competent, skillful hunter and pioneer. The times as well as her birth made her so. Necessity rather than choice, compelled her to do the work of the pioneer settler. The wilderness must be subdued, homes formed and defended, and want and hunger driven from the door.
Major B. F. Heald of Carlisle, by whom these accounts were given to the writer in 1886, has seen and stood under the spreading branches of a large apple tree from the shelter of which Mary Chandler Heald sent a ball from her trusty rifle which killed a deer, standing at a distance of twenty-eight rods. She could supply her table liberally with her rifle. She was also noted for great physical strength and agility. Trained to labor, her system became equal to the severest efforts, rivaling most men. Her husband, a strong man, tested his strength by lifting a heavy weight. She could lift the same weight with her husband sitting on it. She did not feel the nervous prostration that so affects women of the present day. A happy state. Is the present condition of society, with all its refinement and luxury and its afflictions incident thereto , any gain upon the past? The merry, cheerful spirit flowing from good health and a useful life, is worth more than the languid and gloomy heart of enervated luxury.
Mr. Heald says she signed her name by a cross, but yet was of great intelligence in the common affairs of life. Though so courageous and able, she was gentle, tender and kind. she was greatly respected and beloved by all who knew her. She was the most influential woman in the region, and died greatly mourned at the age of ninety years.
She had a son, born in 1711, named Ephraim, who was one of the first settlers of Townsend, Mass.,and who died in 1802, aged 91 years. He was a noted hunter.
His oldest son, named Ephraim, also, became in 1757, the first settler fo Temple, NH and owner of Heald Mountain, which he kept for his hunting ground and which is so conspicuously seen from the highlands surrounding Lowell on every side. In him the pioneer qualities of his grandmother, Mary Chandler Heald, seem to have been greatly multiplied, and the history of his life is as romantic as that of Daniel Boone."
SOURCE: A Chelmsford Girl of Two Hundred Years Ago, by Ephraim Brown Read Feb. 9, 1888 before the "Old Residents Historical Assoc" Lowell, Ma (Chapter IV; pages 34-42)
Roger Chandler (1637 - 1717)
John Heald (1666 - 1721)*
Mary Heald Parlin (1691 - 1754)*
John Heald (1693 - 1775)*
Timothy Heald (1696 - 1736)*
Amos Heald (1708 - 1775)*
Ephraim Heald (1711 - 1802)*
Eunice Heald Fellows (1717 - 1795)*
Mary Chandler Heald (1671 - 1759)
Samuel Chandler (1673 - 1743)*
Abigail Chandler Brown (1681 - 1766)*
Here Lies Buried
The Body of Mrs
Mary Heald Wife
of Lieut. John Heald
Who Died August
ye 14 1759
In ye 88 year
of Her Age.
Old Hill Burying Ground
Maintained by: Diane D
Originally Created by: Bill Boyington
Record added: Jan 30, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 24276721