Welcome | New | Cemeteries | Query | Photos | Probate | Town Index | Links | Lookups | Search

The USGenWeb Project Fairfield County, Connecticut
Darien, Fairfield County, Connecticut


The verses below are excerpts taken from the poem Descent on Middlesex, a "Poetical Relation of the Capture of the Congregation at Middlesex...with an Account of their Sufferings & c. while in captivity." The author, Peter St. John of Norwalk, was in the church at the time of the raid and among those taken by the Tories.

By Peter St. John
Now to relate 'tis my intent,
A sad and tragical event.
On what I write you may rely
As I've the history lying by.

July the twenty-second day,
Where christians met to sing and pray,
In seventeen hundred and eighty-one
A horrid action was begun;

While to the Lord they sing and pray
The Tories who in ambush lay;
Beset the house with brazen face,
At Middlesex, it was the place.

A guard was plac'd the house before,
Likewise behind and at each door;
Then void of shame, those men of sin,
The sacred temple enter'd in.

The reverend Mather closed his book,
How did the congregation look?
The reverend priest, that man of God,
Severely felt the smarting rod,
Not by a whip do I pretend,
But by abuses from those friends.

How must he feel to see his sheep,
Thus worried whilst they silence keep.
Those demons plunder'd all they could,
Either in silver or in gold.

The silver buckles which we use,
Both at the knees and on the shoes,
These caitiffs took them in their rage,
Had no respect for sex or age.

And as they were searching round,
They several silver watches found;
While they who're plac'd as guards without,
Like raging devils rang'd about.

Took forty horses to the shore,
Not many either less or more;
With bridles, saddles, pillions on,
In a few minutes all was done.

The men which hence they took away,
Upon this awful sacred day;
Was forty-eight, besides two more,
They chanced to find upon the shore.

When to the shore they were convey'd
The orders given they obeyed.
On board the shipping they were sent,
But greatly feared the sad event.

As well they might because they knew,
Their captors were the devil's crew.
They hoisted sail, the sound they cross'd,
And near Lloyd's Neck they anchored first.

Then every man must tell his name,
A list they took and kept the same,
Now twenty four of fifty men,
Were ordered home again;
The twenty six who stayed behind,
Most cruelly they were confin'd.

On board the brig were ordered quick,
And were confined beneath the deck;
A nasty hole with filth besmear'd,
But 'twas no more than what they'd fear'd.

But to return whence I left off,
They at our misery make a scoff,
Like raving devils tore about,
Swearing that they'd tear out vitals out;
That they'd no quarter ever give,
Nor let a cursed rebel live;
But would their joints in pieces cut,
Then round the deck like devils strut.

Oh, human nature, how deprav'd!
Can any mortal e're be saved?
So void of good, and filled with evil,
And wholly bent to serve the devil.

July the fourth and twentieth day,
We all were sent to Oyster Bay.
To increase our pain and make it worse,
They iron'd just six pair of us.

We to the ferry came at last,
View'd by spectators as we passed:
The gazing rabble, Tory throng,
Would curse us as we passed along.

In boats the ferry soon we past,
And at New York arrives at last.
As thro' the streets we past along,
Ten thousand curses round us rung;

But some would laugh and some would snear,
And some would grin and some would lear.
A mixed mob, a motley crew,
I guess as e'er the devil knew.

To the provost we were then hal'd
Though we of war were prisoners call'd;
Our Irons were now ordered off,
The standers by would swear and scoff.

But O what company we found;
With great surprised we look'd around!
I must conclude that in this place,
We found the worst of Adam's race;

Theives, murderers and pick-pockets too,
And everything that's bad they do:
One of our men found to his cost,
Three pounds York money he had lost;
His pockets pick'd, I guess before
We had been there one single hour.

Full eighteen days or something more,
We fairly were exchang'd before,
Of the exchange they let us know,
Or from that place of bondage go,

That of the number twenty-five,
But just nineteen were left alive;
Four days before December's gone,
In seventeen hundred eighty-one.

If you have questions, comments or contributions to this collective effort,
please e-mail Karen Steel.
© Copyright 1996 to 2008. Created January 2004. Updated July 2008 .

Welcome | New | Cemeteries | Query | Photos | Probate | Town Index | Links | Lookups