Raid on Oyster River

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Raid on Oyster River
Part of King William's War
Raid on Oyster River
Date July 18, 1694
Location Oyster River (present-day Durham, New Hampshire)
Result New France and Abenaki victory
Massachusetts Bay Colony New France and Wabanaki Confederacy (Abenaki, Maliseet)
Commanders and leaders
Francis Drew, Thomas Pickford, John Woodman[1] Claude-Sébastien de Villieu; Louis-Pierre Thury Bomazeen, Captain Nathaniel[2]
unknown 250 Abenaki Indians
Casualties and losses
104 inhabitants were killed and 27 taken captive unknown

The Raid on Oyster River (also known as the Oyster River Massacre) happened during King William's War, on July 18, 1694, at present-day Durham, New Hampshire.

Historical context[edit]

Massachusetts responded to the Siege of Pemaquid (1689) by sending out 600 men to the border region. Led by Major Jeremiah Swaine of Reading, Massachusetts, the soldiers met on August 28, 1689, and then scoured the region. Despite Swaine's presence, the Natives attacked Oyster River (Durham, New Hampshire) and killed 21 people, taking several others captive.[3]

In 1693 the English at Boston had entered into peace and trade negotiations with the Abenaki tribes in eastern Massachusetts. The French at Quebec under Governor Frontenac wished to disrupt the negotiations and sent Claude-Sébastien de Villieu in the fall of 1693 into present-day Maine, with orders to "place himself at the head of the Acadian Indians and lead them against the English."[4] Villieu spent the winter at Fort Nashwaak. The Indian bands of the region were in general disagreement whether to attack the English or not, but after discussions by Villieu and the support of Father Louis-Pierre Thury and Father Vincent Bigot (at Pentagouet) they went on the offensive.


The English settlement of Oyster River was attacked by Villieu with about 250 Abenaki Indians, composed of two main groups from the Penobscot and Norridgewock under command of their sagamore Bomazeen (or Bomoseen). A number of Maliseet from Medoctec took part in the attack. The Indian force was divided into two groups to attack the settlement, which was laid out on both sides of the Oyster River. Villieu led the Pentagoet and the Meductic/Nashwaaks. The attack commenced at daybreak, with the small forts quickly falling to the attackers. In all, 104 inhabitants were killed and 27 taken captive,[5] with half the dwellings, including the garrisons, pillaged and burned to the ground. Crops were destroyed and livestock killed, causing famine and destitution for survivors.


After the successful raid on Oyster River, Claude-Sébastien de Villieu joined Acadian Governor de Villebon as the commander of Fort Nashwaak, capital of Acadia.

Also see[edit]



  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Drake p. 37-38
  4. ^ Webster, John Clarence. Acadia at the End of the Seventeenth Century. Saint John, NB, The New Brunswick Museum, 1979. p. 57.
  5. ^ Webster, John Clarence. Acadia at the End of the Seventeenth Century. Saint John, NB, The New Brunswick Museum, 1979. p. 65

Primary texts

External links[edit]