These are a compilation of notes from research that I have found on the internet from documented sources regarding the life and times of Maj. Charles Frost and his family.
Charles was a toddler, 19 months of age, when he sailed from England with his father Nicholas Frost, mother Bertha Cadwalla Frost and 8 month old brother John. They sailed from Tiverton, Devon, Englanad in April of 1634 on the Wulfrana, arriving in June of 1634. A year later his sister Anna was born, then Catherine, Elizabeth, and Nicholas Jr.
Perhaps the most important event in his life that launched his life-long career as a notorious Indian fighter and leader of the Maine Militia occurred when he was not yet 18 years of age. Whilst his father and he were away, his mother aged 40 and sister Anna aged 15 where taken captive by the Pennacook Indians. Upon their return an attempt was made to rescue them from the Indian camp at Sturgeon Creek, only to find them both slain and the Indians gone. This event occurred on July 4, 1650. With a mutual hatred, Frost and the Indians had quite a history and this is my attempt to put it together. Ironically, and perhaps with a hue of “poetic justice”, Frost was at last slain himself by the Indians some 47 years later, on July 4th while returning home from Sunday worship with his family.
The below information are notes and excerpts that I have gathered thus far and have not yet been edited.
Frost Family in England and America
Nicholas Frost, of Tiverton, Devonshire, England, with
his wife, Bertha Cadwalla, and two children, sailed in the
bhip Wulfrana, from Plimouth, Devon, Eng., April, 1634;
arrived America, June, 1634. He was the son of John
Frost, who was born near Carnbre Hill, Cornwall, Eng.,
Nov. 17, 1558. Nicholas had a brother John, born in
Tiverton, July 10, 1583. John lived contemporaneously
with John Frost, of Hartest, father of Edmund, but so far
as known they were in no way related. Nicholas Frost
settled in Kittery (Eliot), Maine. He was the father of
Maj. Charles Frost, whose courage and bravery as commander
of militia in repelling attacks of Indians is a matter
of abundant record. His wife Bertha, and daughter
Anna (aged 15 years), were killed by Indians on the night
of July 4, 1650, while he and his son Charles were away
from home. His son, Maj. Charles, met the same fate
many years later, being killed by Indians in ambush, while
returning from religious worship on Sabbath morning, July
4, 1697. The descendants of Nicholas Frost are numerous . . .
MEMOIR OF CHARLES FROST. [
By USHER FAXSOHS, M. D., of Providence, R. I., Member of the N. England Historic
Genealogical Society.] [
MR. EDITOR: The last two numbers of your journal contained copies
of ancient manuscripts relating to Richard Waldron, Charles Frost, and
others, who were among the first settlers about the Pascataqua. These I
Lave thought might serve to render a brief sketch of the life of Major Frost
interesting to your readers.]
CHARLES FROST was born in Tiverton, England, in 1632. He accompanied
his father to the Pascataqua river at the age of three or four years.
His father, Nicholas Frost, was also a native of Tiverton, and resided “
near Lemon Green, over against Bear-Garden.” He had one sister, who “
married Charles Brooks, a brazier in Crown Alley, London.” He was
born about the year 1595, and arrived at Pascataqua about 1635 or 1636,
and settled at the head of Sturgeon Creek, on the south side of Frost’s Hill,
where he died, July 20, 1 663, and was buried in the rear of his house. He
brought over a wife and two or three children. The wife is not mentioned
in his will, dated 1650, from which it is to be inferred that she died before
that time. This will was examined in court of probate, and, from some
cause now unknown, was deemed “invalid and of none effect.” The court
ordered that his estate be divided among his children equally, excepting that
Charles, the oldest, should ^have a double share, “for his care and former
trouble.” This amounted fo £211. Charles took the homestead, with five
hundred acres of land. To his second son, John, he gave three hundred
acres in York, with a marsh valued at £65, the rest in money. To William
Leighton, for his wife Catherine, personal property. To Elizabeth, when
she should arrive of age, personal estate. To Nicholas, a house and lot
adjoining Leigliton’s, and personal property ; he being a minor, was placed
under the guardianship of his brother Charles.
Catherine Leighton had a son and a daughter named John and Elizabeth.
The latter died young. The son married Oner Langdon, and was
the ancestor of a numerous race, among whom were a grandson, Major
Samuel Leighton of Elliot, and his son, General Samuel Leighton. who
died in Alfred, Sept , 1848. Catherine married again, to Joseph Hammond,
who was Register and Judge of Probate, and had children by him. She
died Aug. 1. 1715.
John settled in York and afterwards at the Isles of Shoals, where he
carried on fisheries. He died 1718, at Star Island, leaving a widow named
Sarah, and a son Samuel, who inherited the York estate, and two others,
named Samuel and Ithamer, and one daughter, who married William Fox,
and three grandsons, the sons of John, the eldest of whom was named John.
Elizabeth married William Smith.
Nicltolas followed the sea, was bound an apprentice as sailor to Thomas
Orchard. He commanded a ship that sailed betxyeen Maryland and Ireland.
He died at Limerick, Ireland, August, 1673, unmarried, and left his
estate to the children of his brother Charles and sister Catherine. Hammond
claimed of Leighton’s children H share of their uncle’s legacy for his
own children, and, after a lawsuit, obtained it.
Mr. Nicholas Frost was an uneducated farmer. His signature to papers
was with a mark. He was, however, esteemed a trustworthy, judicious
citizen, as appears from the fact of his appointment to responsible offices, as
constable and selectman.
CHARLES FROST, who succeeded to the homestead of his father Nicholas,
at the head of Sturgeon Creek, became a distinguished man, both in
civil and military life. In narrating the events of his life, it will be necessary
to connect them with a brief sketch of the political history of Pascata-
qua, comprising the present towns of Kittery, Elliot, and South Berwick.
They were designated by the first settlers by local names, as Kittery Point,
Spruice Creek, now Kittery, Sturgeon Creek, in Elliot, Newichewanniek,
extending from the mouth of the river at South Berwick to the mills at
Great Works, so called, Quampegan, still known as such, and Salmon Falls.
These names were applied to the villages or settlements near them, and
were all included under the plantation of Pascataqua, In 1G47 it was incorporated
under the name of Kittery, after a town of that name in England,
where several of the emigrants formerly resided. Berwick was separately
incorporated in 1723, being for some time previous designated as
Union Parish. Elliot was separated from Kittery in 1810, and South Berwick
from Berwick in 1824. In 1636 the number of inhabitants in all these
towns was two hundred, the population of Maine being one thousand four
hundred. The grand highway of the inhabitants of Pascataqua was on lie
river, to Portsmouth, Dover, and Exeter.
citizen, as appears from the fact of his appointment to responsible offices, as
constable and selectman.
Such were the calamities and distresses in the spring and summer of
1677, wheiran unexpected relief came, by the arrival of R force at Kenne-
beck, sent by Sir Edmond Andros, from New York, acting under a claim
to the territory from the Duke of York. Finding the Indians pacific, the
commander obtained the release of fifteen captives and som* vessels. During
the autumn and winter following, no further ravages were committed.
In the spring (April) a treaty was negotiated by Major Shapleigh, (who
succeeded Major Frost as commander,) at Portsmouth, in which it was
stipulated that all captives should be released without ransom ; former inhabitants
to return to their homes and live unmolested, but were to pay a
peck of corn yearly, each family. Thus ended King Phillip’s war in Maine ;
a war in which two hundred and sixty were killed or taken captive east of
the Pascataqua, a vast number of houses burnt, animals slaughtered, and
The next year, 1678, Charles Frost, with two others, represented Maine
in the general court, from which time he continued in the office and in attending
to his private affairs, until he was appointed by t!>« governor and
council of Massachusetts one of the eight members of the provincial council
of Maine, to act under Gorges’s charter, which Massachusetts had assumed.
The council consisted of Bryant Pendleton, Charles Frost, Francis Ilooke,
John Davis, Samuel Wheelwright, Edward Tyng, and Jol.n Wincoln.
The arrival of Dudley and Andros, in 1688, as Presidents of New England,
superseded the provincial government of Maine, which had lasted six
years. Danforth and his council were proscribed, and very little is heard
of Frost until Andros was overthrown, April 18th, 1689, after a reign of
one or two years. It was during the last year of this reign, 1689, that
another Indian war broke out. which went by the name of King William’s
war, and lasted ten years. No sooner was Andros depose;! than the provincial
government of Maine, consisting of Danforth, Frost,, and others, who
had been proscribed by Andros, were reinstated, and the times being perilous
as in the former war, led to the appointment of Charles Frost as commander
of the military forces in Maine.
The war of King William began in August, 1688, in North Yarmouth
and Kennebeck. In April following, Dover was taken by stratagem and
mostly destroyed. Major Waldron WHS inhumanly tortured in a savage
manner. Twenty-three persons were killed and twenty-nine carried into
captivity. The seizure of four hundred Indians in that place “more than
twelve years before was a transaction never to be forgotten, never to be
forgiven by savages.” Some of those sold in Boston as slaves and sent into
distant lands had probably returned, and were bent on revenge. It was
unfortunate for Major Frost that he was obliged to aid Walilron in the capture
of the four hundred, as it cost him his life ere the present war terminated.
tion of Maine being placed under the more immediate command of Dudley
Tyng. Major Swaine was sent, with six hundred militia, to the eastward,
accompanied by Colonel Church, who had signalized himself in King Phillip’s
war at the west. He was appointed by Andros to lead the forces
against the Indians at Brunswick and Kennebeck, and was continued in the
same sen-ice after Andros was deposed. But Church’s success in his five
eastern expeditions fell short of public expectation.
Major Frost’s presence was greatly needed at the western part of Maine.
Only a few days before the date of his commission, August, 1689, the Indians
entered at Salmon Falls, (Berwick) under the command of Hartel, a
Frenchman, with a force of Indians and French, killed thirty-four brave
men and carried away captive fifty-four persons, mostly women and children,
and plundered and burnt the houses and mills. In the following
spring they revisited Brunswick and Dover, killing and destroying what
was left, and extending their ravages to Sturgeon Creek, where Frost resided,
and to many places on the opposite shore of the Fascataqua.
When Colonel Church left Boston for Casco, with two hundred and fifty
men, to join Colonel Swaine, he took with him a mandatory letter to the
military commanders in Maine, from President Danforth, (then in Boston,
us president of the board of commissioners of the united colonies,) requiring
them to supply him with men and means, which Major Frost promptly
obeyed; and the following May, 1690, he received orders to detach one
hundred men for Port Royal, near Portland, to serve under Captain Wil-
lard, many of whom were drawn into an ambush and slain by savages. It
would seem, in fact, that Major Frost, residing as he did in the town nearest
to Boston, was employed as a sort of general agent, or secretary of war for
the province of Maine, all orders being transmitted through him. The following
is his commission as commander of the Maine forces, which he continued
to hold till his death.
The President of the Province of Mayne in New England.
To Major Charles Ftost.
Whcreaa you arc nppointed Sergt. Major of the military (forces in the Province. These
ire in their Majesties names to authorise and require you to take into your care and conduct
the sniil military forces, and diligently to intend that service as Scrgent Mnjor, by
Govtrnin3 and exercising the military forces of said Province as the Law dirccteth. Commanding
the Militia of said Province that they observe and obey all such orders and directions
a* from time to tirnc. you shall receive from the president or other superior authority.
In Testimony whereof I have hereunto put my hand and seal the 23d day of August in
the year 1689, Annoque R. R. et Rcgina \Villielmi et Maria; Angliea primo.
Thomas Danforth President.
Particular instructions accompanying the above are published in the
January number, pajre 24, paper No. IV.
By constant vigilance on the part of Major Frost, the east shore of the
P.wntaqua was preserved from savage incursions. His soldiers were constantly
on tin; alert, scouting about the borders of the towns. The enstern
towns were deserted. Some removed to Salem, others to the fort at Wells,
but a great many were butchered or carried into captivity, so that before
the wur ended, the number killed eastward of Pascataqiia amounted to
four hundred anil fifty, and two hundred and fifty were made captives. All
the towns and settlements except Wells and Pascntaqua were overrun, the
former commanded by Major Converse, and the latter by Miijor Frost.
In KillO the war raged with increased barbarity. Spies were usually
sent by tin; Indians to reconnoitre, before (he enemy approached places intended
for destruction, who lurked about the woods, and required a constant
wurcl and watch. The following letter to Lieutenant Hill gives an idea of tho
April: 2: 1693
Last night a Lille after sun sett Noah Emory was coming from Kittery to Stnrcion
Crekc £ by the waie sid herd som crackling of slickes : & herd a man whissell : upon. which
he stopt under a bush : and went an other waie : John Smith coming after him saw a man
nere Sturgion Creke bridge who ran a waie down the crekc: Smith being on horse back
came to my Garison — this morning I sent out som men who saw the Indian track at the
game place where Noah Emerey herd him whissell — Kepe out scouts about the borders
of the towne : I will send out from hence : all or souldiers at the banke are drawen of
those yt belong to you are sent up : dispose of them to such garisons at present as you
thinke fitt: I haye given two of them liberty to goe home for a few dayes :
In hast I Remaine yor : Lo : freind [
Superscribed] Charles Ffrost major
Ffor Leiut John Hill
Hast Post Hast
This Lieutenant Hill was soon after stationed at Fort Mary, in Saco, as
commander. The letter designated as No. X., on p. 164 of the April number,
was addressed to him while there, and was written soon after the cowardly
surrender of Fort Pemaquid, on the Kennebeck, and when the combined
force of French and Indians had devastated the whole province of Maine,
with the exception of Wells, York, and Pascataqua, and when it was feared
by the government in Boston that even these would be destroyed by a merciless
The fort at Saco was not surrendered by Hill, although all the inhabitants
of the town were driven away or killed, and many of Hill’s soldiers
were waylaid and murdered while venturing out of the fort.
In June following a party of Indians placed themselves near the town of
Exeter, and would have destroyed it but for the firing of a gun by some
one who wished to frighten some women and children who had gone out to
gather strawberries. It however alarmed and brought together the people,
with arms. The Indians, supposing they were discovered, after killing one
and taking another, made a hasty retreat and were seen no more until the
4th of July, when they waylaid Captain Frost.
It would require a volume to describe the many ambuscades, encounters,
murders, conflagrations, and captivities that occurred during the ten years*
war of King William, and it would exceed our limits even to name them in
the brief manner we have those in King Phillip’s war, which lasted only
three or four years. Major Frost was constantly and actively engaged in
military service till 1693, when he was chosen one of the governor’s council.
After this he was employed between sessions in guarding the forts and garrisons
about Kittery, and in ordering out scouts and in transmitting the orders
of government to the various military stations throughout the province.
But the hour was approaching when his own life was to be offered a sacrifice
to appease the long stifled and festering revenge of merciless savages,
for aiding in the Dover stratagem. He was always attentive to his duties
as a Christian professor, as well as those of the soldier and statesman, and
was constant in his attendance on public worship when other duties permitted.
On Sabbath morning, July 4, 1697, he expressed an unusually strong
desire to go with his family to his wonted place of worship at Newichewan-
nick, a distance of five miles. His wife and two sons, Charles and John,
with some friends, accompanied him. On their return homeward, and within
a mile of his dwelling, a volley of musketry was suddenly discharged at
them, which brought several of them to the ground. It was the work of a
party of Indians hid by the wayside under a large log, in which they had
stuck a row of green boughs. The sons had passed ahead and escaped.
Several versions are given by historians of this closing scene in Major
Frost’s life. One states that the Major, his wife, and two footmen were
killed ; another that nearly the whole party were killed ; and another that
three were killed and several wounded. A recent discovery of a letter
written by a relative, Lieutenant Storer, immediately after the funeral,
which he attended, gives a particular account of the whole tragedy, which
can be relied on. It was written to Major Frost’s son-in-law, Capt. Hill,
who commanded the fort at Saco, and was found in an old chest of papers
that had lain seventy years in a garret in South Berwick. It states that
tl.f Major, John Heard’s wife, and Danes Downing were killed, and John
Heard wounded, and they next day killed the messengers who were sent to
Such was the death of Major Charles Frost, after a career of distinguished
activity and usefulness, both civil and military. The incidents of
his life are gathered from scanty records, authentic traditions, and from
descriptions of scenes and events in history, in which he is casually mentioned
as having participated. To correct and arrange these materials in
chronological order, after a lapse of nearly two centuries, was a laborious
undertaking : and to present them free from errors, both of omission and
commission, is neither pretended nor practicable. We have done the best
our limited means would permit — to relate facts, in order to rescue from
oblivion the name of a prominent pioneer of the wilderness, whose memory
deserves the veneration of his numerous descendants.
It remains to speak of his family and descendants. He married, at the
ige of forty-four, Mary, daughter of Joseph Bolles of Wells, who survived
him seven years, and bore him three sons and six daughters. He followed
the example of his father in naming his sons Charles, John, and Nicholas.
Hi» daughters, named Sarah, Abigail, Mehitable, Lydia, Mary, and Elizabeth,
all settled and were prosperous in life.
Charles, the oldest son, married Sarah Wainwright, and had nine children.
By a second wife, who was Jane E. Pepperrell, widow of Sir William’s
brother Andrew, he had one child. He was deacon of a church,
Register and Judge of Probate, and commander of a regiment of militia.
He resided on the homestead of his father, Major Frost, whose remains
n> po.=e in the rear of his house, and the premises continue still in possession
of the name.
Hon. John Frost, second son of Major Charles, married Mary, sister of
Sir William Pepperrell, and had sixteen children. He died 1732. She
married again, the Rev. Dr. Colman of Boston, and afterwards Judge Pres-
cott of Danvers. Mr. Frost commanded a British ship of war, afterwards
became a merchant at Newcastle, and was in political life, being one of the
governor’s council. His son John was Register of Deeds for York county, (
Ale.) and the office continued in the family nearly fifty years. He was
commissary in the Revolutionary War, during which no less than four or
five of his family held offices on land and sea, among whom was his son
John, usually called Brigadier, who was a colonel in \\><- army, and who left
a numerous family, John Frost, LL. D , of Philadelphia, being a grandson.
Two other sons of Hon. John Frost (William and Joseph) were merchants
at New Castle. Thf ir descendants in Portsmouth and elsewhere are highly
respectable. Another son, named George, settled in Durham, and was a
judge and member of Congress. Another, named Charles, was a prominent
man in Portland ; died while a representative. One daughter, Sarah, mar-
ried Rev. John Blunt of New Castle, and after hia decease, Major John
Hill of South Berwick, a judge of the court and member of the governor’s
The descendants of the Rev. John Blunt are numerous ; many of them
reside in Portsmouth. One branch, consisting of Joseph and Nathaniel,
lawyers, and Edmond and George, merchants, resides in New York. A
daughter of Rev. John, named Abigail, married William Parsons, Esq., of
Alfred, whose youngest son prepared this account of the Frosts.
Nicholas Frost, the youngest son of Major Charles, died early in life and
left a widow, but no children.
Major Charles Frost left a large estate by will to his widow and children,
Silvanus Davis resided some time at Sheepscot, Maine.
He was an officer in the war of 1675, and received a wound
from the Indians, as related by Hubbard in his Account of
the Wars with the Eastern Indians in 1675, p. 41. Hutchinson (
ii. 21) says that he was ‘the commander of the fort at Casco,
where he was taken prisoner and carried to Canada.’ He was
nominated by Rev. Increase Mather as one of the counsellors
in the charter of William and Mary, granted in 1691, and his
name was inserted as one of the twenty-eight appointed.
There is an account written by him, of the management of
the war against the English in the Eastern parts of New
England by the Indians, in 3 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc., i.,
Belknap, History of New Hampshire, p. 78, note. [
advancing toward those who were to take part in
the conference, he charged them with a premeditated
purpose in this near-by concealment of their
weapons. Their artifice being discovered, they attempted
to take the spear from him; but he threatened
them with instant death if they did not desist,
at the same time waving his cap to the ship, as
a signal for help. While his soldiers were making
the shore with the utmost rapidity, with the aid of
his five men he gathered up the goods which were
to be used as a ransom, when the savages seized a
bundle of guns they had hidden and ran into the
woods. Captain Frost, who was one of the five
accompanying Waldron, secured one Indian before
he could get away, and Lieutenant Nutter got
him to the vessel.1 When the Indians had disappeared
Waldron began a search of the locality. He
found three guns, with which he at once armed his
escort. His soldiers from the ship, having reached
the shore, took up the pursuit of the savages; and
l”Capt. Charles Frost, of Kittery,
was with Waldron upon
that expedition, and, next to him, a principal actor in it; and,
like him, was killed by the Indians afterwards. Mr. Hubbard
gives this account of his taking a noted warrior as follows: — ‘
Capt. Frost seized an Indian called Megunneway, a notorious
rogue, that had been in arms at Connecticut last June, at the
falls, and saw that brave and resolute Capt. Turner, when he
was slain about Green River; and helped to kill Thomas
Brackett at Casco, August last, (1676.) And with the help of
Lieut. Nutter, according to the major’s order, carried him
aboard their vessel. By this time some of the soldiers were [
before the latter could come at their canoes they
shot several. Of those who reached their canoes
and had pushed off, they sank one canoe, with five
Indians, who were all drowned. On this occasion
four Indians were made prisoners, and Waldron
captured of their stores a thousand pounds of dried
beef, along with some other stuffs. The number
of savages in this party was twenty-five, who not
only found their treachery anticipated, but paid an
unexpectedly high price for their duplicity.
While Belknap is inclined on this occasion to
give these savages the benefit of the doubt, the immediate
presence of the muskets is sufficiently circumstantial
to warrant a verdict of guilty; and the
fact that Waldron’s men were able to use them on
the instant with effect is proof conclusive that the
muskets were loaded.
Waldron, returning up the Kennebec, found some
grain, some guns, anchors, and boards, which he
appropriated. On Arrowsic Island his party shot
got ashore, and instantly, according to their major’s command,
pursued the enemy towards their canoes. In the chase,
several of the enemy were slain, whose bodies these soldiers
found at their return, to the number of seven; amongst whom
was Mattahando, the sagamore, with an old powwow, to
whom the Devil had revealed, as sometimes he did to Saul,
that on the same day he should be with him; for he had a
little before told the Indians, that within two days the English
would come and kill them all, which was at the very
same time verified upon himself.’”
Drake’s Book of the Indians, vol. iii., pp. 109, 110. [
The first butcheries of 1689 are recorded in a
letter to Major Frost as early as January 23. The
descent was made on Saco, where several houses
were burned and eight or nine men were killed.1
1″‘Jan. 23, 1689. Major Frost. These
are to inform you
that Lieut. Fletcher came to Wells, and brought two wounded
men to Wells, and the Indians has killed yesterday eight or
nine men at Saco, who were looking for horses to go along
after the Indians, but now are disappointed and cut off, and
they judge there was sixty or seventy Indians that fought the
English, and they have burnt several houses and destroyed a
deal of their corn, and we judge now is the time to send some
of the army east to Saco. The people are not able to bury
their dead without help; and this day, just as they came away,
they heard several guns go off, and know not what mischief
is done. Pray give York notice forthwith. “‘
To Major Charles Frost, or the Chief Commander of
the Army. SAMUEL WHEELRIGHT.
JOHN WHEELRIGHT. ‘ ” [
The final tragedy of King William’s War was the
killing of Major Frost. . .
“Charles Frost, born in Tiverton, Eng., 1632;
came over years before, and now the reckoning was to be had
with Frost; for the Indian had a good memory.
At old Quampegan (South Berwick) was an
ancient church, where the first regular church service
in these parts was inaugurated; for it was John
Mason, the partner of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who
sent over with his colonists (1631) a communion-
set; also a “great Bible and twelve Service Books;”
and here at Quampegan (old Newichawannock)
was observed the Episcopal ritual. It was from this
old church, known in 1688 as the Parish of Unity,
that Major Frost, in company with Dennis Downing,
John Heard and his wife, Phoebe, was going to
his home after morning service.
with his father Nicholas about 1637; Deputy, 1658-61;
Counsellor, 1693; Captain and Major, commanding the
Yorkshire militia; was Judge of the Common Pleas when he
was shot by the Indians, 14 July, 1697, age 65.”
Savage’s Genealogical Dictionary, vol. ii., p. 210.
Williamson’s History of Maine, vol. i., p. 674.
New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. iii.,
pp. 249-262. “
He was the representative of Kittery in the General Court
of Massachusetts in the years 1658, 1660 and 1661, and was
long an active and useful officer in the Indian wars. He is
named by Hubbard in his Wars with the Eastern Indians,
p. 28. Under the charter of William and Mary, at the first
election of counsellors, in 1693, he was selected for one of
those to be chosen for Maine. He was probably related to the
Frosts of New Hampshire, where the name has continued
with reputation from an early period to the present time.”
Belknap, History of New Hampshire, p. 143, note. [