William Cahoon

William Cahoon

Birth
Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland
Death 24 Jun 1675 (aged 41–42)
Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 26080818 · View Source
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William Colquhoun ( Pronounced Ca-hoon ) was the first Cahoon to come to the colonies from Dunbartonshire, Scotland. There is some debate as to his actual birthplace but the accepted legend is that he was born in the homeland of Clan Colquhoun near Tullichewan and Luss Scotland.

His descendants are now in almost every American state. His descendants spell their name Cahoon, Cahoone, Cohoon, Colhoon, Colquhoun and sometimes Calhoun. Vice President / South Carolina Senator, John C. Calhoun and William have a common ancestor in Alexander Colquhoun of Luss Scotland.

Legend has it that seventeen year old William was one of 5,100 Scotsmen captured by Oliver Cromwell following the Battle of Dunbar, Scotland on September 3, 1650, during the Kirk's War. These prisoners were marched from Dunbar, 120 miles to Durham, Cathedral in Northern England. Their only food was what they were able to scavenge along the roadside. Some 1,500 prisoners died from starvation and sickness in route to the Cathedral. Another 1,400 died after reaching the ancient house of worship. Those who died at the cathedral were buried in a mass grave just outside of the church.

Most of the survivors were sent to staff labor starved English colonial ventures in the West Indies, Virginia, Massachusetts, Maine, and Ireland. William was among those purchased by Bex & CO. and sent aboard the Ship Unity across the wintry seas of the Atlantic Ocean. The Unity was built by Ben Gilliam of Boston in 1649 and skippered by Augustine Walker of Charlotstown, Mass. The Unity landed in Boston Mass. and William arrived at Saugus (Lynn) Iron works in early April 1651.

William's older brother John, was captured at Dunbar as well. John either died at sea aboard the English ship "John & Mary" or very shortly after arriving in the colonies. William worked in the colonies as an iron smith, brick maker, boat builder and other trades for many years, eventually earning enough money to buy his freedom. He married Deliverance Peck, daughter of Joseph Peck, in 1662 and fathered seven children.

William was a follower of Roger Williams and one of a group who fled the Puritanical rule of the colonies to become one of the first property owners on Block Island, which is just off the Atlantic shore of what is now Rhode Island. William eventually sold his property on the island and brought his young family to Swansea Mass. On Dec. 24, 1673 William contracted with the town of Swansea to make all the brick for the town and its residents. One of Williams bricks can be seen in Luther's Museum in Swansea, Mass.

In June of 1675, hostilities broke out between the Native Americans and the Colonist. As a group of settlers headed home from a "Solemn Day of Humiliation Before the Lord" ( A Day of Prayer ) at the Baptist Meeting House, they were attacked by Indians. Some were killed immediately and others were seriously wounded. They took refuge in Rev. John Myles' Garrison house, which was constructed with stone walls, hoping to treat their wounded and protect themselves from further harm. After a while it became apparent that others were going to die without the help of a physician. William, who was in the house with his wife Deliverance and their seven children; Samuel, Joseph, Mary, William, James, Nathaniel & John, volunteered to make the very dangerous journey from Swansea to Rehobeth Mass. to bring back a doctor.

William was ambushed by Indians very near Palmer River Cemetery. He was killed and mutilated. His body was discovered the next day by three men; Thomas Savage, James Oliver & Thomas Brattle, who were sent from Boston, in hopes of negotiating a peace with the Indians. William's remains were found at what is now the corner of Lake Street and Wheeler Street. Less than a mile from this cemetery. He was not brought home until two days after his death. There was never a formal Christian burial for his remains. It is, however, reasonable to assume that his remains could have been interred in this cemetery. There is also some supposition that his butchered body may have been buried near his home. This attack was the beginning of "The King Philip's War" which saw almost every building in Swansea burned to the ground.

The grounds of this cemetery contain many relatives of William's wife Deliverance Peck. Peck was a prolific name in Mass. during this period. Also buried here, in unmarked graves, are other men slain at the onset of The King Philip's War.

William was the first Cahoon to die in military conflict in the new world. His descendants have fought and died in every war our nation has been engaged in since that time. Cahoons fought bravely for the North and the South in The American Civil War. There were Cahoons imprisoned at Andersonville, a Confederate Prison and Point Lookout Maryland, a Union Prison Camp. Both prisons had horrible living conditions.

It can be said that William lived a tragic life, in that he came to this country as a result of conflict between his homeland of Scotland and England, and he died in a conflict between his adopted country and Native Americans. Violence brought him to the U.S. and violence took him to Heaven. However, It can also be said that as a result of this providence he fathered generations of family members who served their families, this country and their Heavenly Father with Honor, Bravery and Faithfulness.


Family Members


  • Created by: David Cahoon
  • Added: 16 Apr 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 26080818
  • Mark Bramlette
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Cahoon (1633–24 Jun 1675), Find a Grave Memorial no. 26080818, citing Palmer River Churchyard Cemetery, Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by David Cahoon (contributor 46964989) .