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Capt William Turner

Capt William Turner

Birth
Dartmouth, South Hams District, Devon, England
Death 19 May 1676 (aged 52–53)
Greenfield, Franklin County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Greenfield, Franklin County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 37313358 · View Source
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William Turner was born about 1623 in England, and married three times, 1) Frances ____, by whom he had eight children; 2) Mary _____ Pratt, widow of John Pratt; and 3) Mary_____, widow of Key Alsop. He emigrated to America on the ship 'Fortitude' in 1642. Turner settled in Dorchester, MA, and was appointed bailiff there in 1661. Later he moved to Boston, where he was persecuted for his Baptist beliefs and jailed. With the outbreak of King Philip's War there was a shortage of officers and soldiers. The governor released Turner in return for his recruitment of a company of men to fight the Indians. Turner was made captain of the company. In March, 1676, Capt. Turner and his men helped repel the Indian attack on Northampton, MA. This was one of several Indian raids on colonial settlements in March. Indian forces at Peskeompsut held a number of colonial captives and were planning the new spring offensive.

On 19 May 1676 Capt. Turner led 50 garrison troops, supplemented by 100 untrained local volunteers, on a daring dawn attack on the main Indian camps at Peskeompsut. They killed Sancumachu, the Pocumtuck sachem, and about two hundred other Indians of all ages. They also destroyed food supplies and forges the Indians needed for repairing weapons.
During a disorganized retreat Turner and thirty-six of his men were killed by the Indians (click Gravesite below for names). Among the 100+ survivors of Falls Fight were: Samuel Ball, John Hitchcock, Luke Hitchcock, Thomas Reed, Benjamin Waite, William Arms, Hope Atherton, Timothy Baker, Robert Bardwell, Elnathan Beers, Samuel Boltwood, John Bradshaw, John Colby, Joseph Crowfoot, Nehemiah Dickinson, Benjamin Edwards, Eleazur Hawks, John King, John Lee, John Lyman, Philip Mattoon, Cornelius Merry, Peter Montague, James Munn, John Munn, Godfrey Nims, Medad Pomeroy, John Preston, Robert Price, Ephraim Roper, William Scott, Joseph Selden, William Smead, John Smith, Benoni Stebbins, Isaiah Tay, Benjamin Thomas, Eleazer Weller, Jonathan Wells, Thomas Wells, Nicholas Worthington, and James Wright. For additional survivors click 'Samuel Holyoke' below. A memorial plaque at Nash's Mill, Greenfield, Franklin Co, MA, memorializes the event as follows: "Captain William Turner of Boston a soldier in King Philip's War was mortally killed while crossing the Pukcommeacon (Green) River and fell on the west bank May 19, 1676 on the retreat after the 'Falls Fight' at Peskeompsut (Turner's Falls) Forty men of his command fell that day Captain Samuel Holyoke with the survivors fought their way back to Hatfield."
The Peskeompsut battle (Turner's Falls Fight) was a major battle that was a turning point in the war.
Turner's descendants included many distinguished medical doctors. A cenotaph was erected for Turner in the Common Burying Ground, Newport County, Rhode Island, near where his grandson, William Turner, son of Thomas, was buried.


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  • Created by: GWC
  • Added: 20 May 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 37313358
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Capt William Turner (1623–19 May 1676), Find A Grave Memorial no. 37313358, citing Falls Fight Gravesite, Greenfield, Franklin County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by GWC (contributor 46861802) .