J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Henries Vomhavi and Two Captured Horses

On 3 July 1775, the Massachusetts Committee of Safety considered a special request from a provincial soldier:

Henries Vomhavi, an Indian, having represented to this committee, that he had taken two horses at Noddle’s island, one a little horse, which he is desirous of retaining as some recompense for his fatigue and risk in that action, in which, it is said he behaved with great bravery; it is the opinion of this committee, that said Indian should be gratified in his request, which will be an encouragement to others in the service, provided, the honorable Congress should approve thereof.
I quoted a couple of reports on the fighting on Noddle’s Island back in May 2007. The major purpose of the provincial raid was to seize cattle and sheep, depriving the besieged garrison of meat. Those two horses were a bonus.

The Provincial Congress records for the afternoon of 4 July say:
A recommendation of the committee of safety relative to an Indian’s having a horse, was read, and committed to Doct. [John] Taylor, Mr. [George] Partridge, and Mr. [John] Glover. . . .

The Committee upon the Letter relative to the Indian’s having a Horse, reported. The Report was accepted, and is as follows, viz:

Resolved, That a small Horse, taken by Henries Vomhavi from Noddle’s Island, be granted to the said Henries for his own use, to encourage his further brave conduct and good behaviour in camp.
What about the bigger horse that Vomhavi had secured? The Congress had already put that to use on 13 June, resolving “That Mr. [James] Sullivan have liberty to use the horse in Mr. Fowle’s pasture in this town which was taken lately from Noddle’s island for his journey to Ticonderoga.” The legislature was then meeting in Edmund Fowle’s house in Watertown, now home to that town’s historical society. Evidently the horse was kept as provincial property nearby.

I’d love to know more about Henries Vomhavi, but as far as I can tell this is the only record of him.


Bill Doughty said...

Your blog is amazing! Great detail, well-researched and very enlightening. I mentioned/linked to Boston 1775, with great respect, on my latest Navy Reads blog posting -- a review of David McCullough's 1776...


I hope you have a chance to read my blog, and I welcome any comments from you and your readers. By the way, here in Hawaii I'm a regular listener to Tom Ashbrook's show (as a podcast) on WBUR Boston, in your neck of the woods. Aloha and thanks!

J. L. Bell said...

Thanks for the kind words, and the link to your book review.