The Seven Years’ War—known in North America as the French and Indian War—lasted from 1756 to 1763. The conflict was only one part of a world-wide struggle for imperial dominance between the two most powerful nations on earth at the time: England and France. During the conflict, the residents of Andover’s North Parish were British subjects, loyal to England. The cause of the French and Indian war was due to France’s repeated expansion into the Ohio River valley in the 1750s, which interfered with British claims on the region.
The North Parish was involved in two major British campaigns during this time period, the first being during 1745-46 when the militia men travelled to Louisbourg, the Northerly part of Nova Scotia (also known as Arcadia) and the second, which took place between 1755-58, when the militia men travelled to Crown Point, New York, near Lake George.
Prior to Britain’s formal declaration of war in 1756 and in response to the Massachusetts Legislature’s vote to raise 3,000 volunteers from all the British Colonies, the North Parish sent men as part of a New England colonial force to capture the fort at Louisbourg. In 1745, Louisbourg was the capital of the French province of Ile-Royale—now present day Cape Breton Island, the northerly part of Nova Scotia. This conflict was a part of the War of the Austrian Succession, known as King George’s War in the British Colonies. Andover town records from this period show that at least sixteen of the men, some as young as 16, who went to Louisbourg died there of illness.
In 1755, Massachusetts Governor William Shirley feared that the French settlers in Nova Scotia would side with France in a military confrontation. Shirley expelled hundreds of French Acadians to the British Colonies. The force under command of then Captain Joseph Frye from the North Parish was ordered to take an active part in the destruction of the Acadian Villages in Nova Scotia; of those Acadians sent to the Boston area, 5-6 families would be settled in the North and South parishes of Andover.
More: Historical Sketches of Andover on Google Books
In 1756 when war was officially declared, the North Parish once again sent members of their local militia to aid the British military in the conflict. While the French Acadians who were removed from their homes and resettled in Andover faced certain hardship, the English residents of the North Parish faced their own difficulties and deprivations caused by the conflict.
The loss of young men in the community due to death or capture was distressing not simply for the absence of their presence but also for the value of their labor on the homestead, workshops and on the many farms. Additional pressure was on the horizon, by the 1760s the Crown was bankrupt and sought to recoup some their losses by taxing the Colonists – those famous Acts known today, such as the Stamp Act and Townsend Act which became a tipping point to the American Revolution.
An example of the dwindling funds from England is found in the minutes of Journals of the House of Representatives:
A petition of Capt. Joseph Frye of Andover, setting forth that he had the command of a Company in the late War for the Defense of the Eastern Frontier, from the Month of March, 1748, to June, 1749: that for a considerable Part of the Time he was obliged to subsist himself and the said Company; for which he prays reimbursement.
Ultimately, Captain Frye received compensation from the Crown for services rendered.
The colonial militias throughout New England turned out for the Crown but British military officials were known to have a poor opinion of these provincial troops who were accustomed to serve on their own terms and with a great deal of autonomy. However, unlike the British, the colonial militias were familiar with the North American terrain, a benefit which many who served in the French and Indian War would then exploit during the Revolutionary War.
Andover Town Records
Records and Archives of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Division of Archives and Record Preservation, Suffolk County Courthouse, Three Pemberton Square, 16th Floor Boston, Massachusetts.
The Reader’s Companion to Military History. Edited by Robert Cowley and Geoffrey Parker. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 1996.
Historical Sketches of Andover. Sarah Loring Bailey, Houghton, Mifflin & Company, 1880.
Andover: Symbol of New England., The Evolution of a Town. Claude M. Feuss, The Andover Historical Society and the North Andover Historical Society, 1959.
Effective Use of Colonial Militia by J.L. Harrison, http://userpages.umbc.edu/~jamie/html/effective_use_of_colonial_mili.html (Accessed September 25, 2016).
French and Indian War/Seven Years’ War 1754-1763, Office of the Historian, United States Secretary of State https://history.state.gov/milestones/1750-1775/french-indian-war (Accessed September 25, 2016).
French and Indian War Veteran Biographies
Colonel James Frye (1710-1776)
Buried: Old Burial Ground
Colonel James Frye was born on January 24, 1710, in Andover, Massachusetts, the child of James Frye and Joanna Sprague. When James was 5 years old, his mother died. His father married again later that year, but was killed by Indians two years later. He lived with his step-mother Rachel in Bradford MA, she married again in 1722 when James was 12. At the age of 24 he married Elizabeth Osgood in Andover on November 28, 1734, with whom he had a large family. Elizabeth passed in 1756 and a year later, James married Sarah Robey; they also had a daughter together. Colonel James Frye was a veteran of the French & Indian War and served at Bunker Hill during the American Revolution. He is reputed to have taken his servant “Caesar” with him into battle (who died in 1811). He lived at 169 Chestnut Street where his house still stands. He died on January 8, 1776 at the age of 65.
Surgeon’s Mate Ward Noyes (1729 – 1808)
Buried: 2nd Burial Ground
Dr. Ward Noyes was born on December 21, 1729, in Andover, Massachusetts. At the time of his birth, his father, Dr. Nicholas Noyes, was 28 and his mother, Sarah Ward Noyes, was 26. He participated in the French & Indian War during the 1756 campaign along with his brothers Isaac and Nicholas. Ward left a record in the Massachusetts State Archives of his experience during the war, describing his gun being stolen from his tent when he was called to attend his patients (source page 256 ) He married Prudence Stevens on May 19, 1791 in Andover, Massachusetts when he was 62 and she was 40. They had two daughters, Sarah and Mary born in 1792 and 1794 respectively. Ward died on December 26, 1808 at the age of 79.
Captain Henry Ingalls (1719-1803)
Buried: Old Burial Ground
Captain Henry Ingalls was born on April 13, 1719, in Andover, Massachusetts. At that time his father Henry was 30 and his mother, Hannah Martin Ingalls, was 19. Captain Henry Ingalls married Sarah Putnam of Reading in 1742 when he was 23. He served in the 1756 campaign when he was 37 years old, leaving Sarah [Sarah died in April of 1756, not sure which campaign Henry was in, but some were in winter of 1756, in which case, after her death. Henry remarried as fast as he could to find a mother for his four kids aged 2 years to 8 years old] and their four children at home. After Sarah’s death, Henry married one of Sarah’s first cousins, widow Sarah Putnam Andrews in May 1757, and they had 4 children together. Three of Henry’s four sons would serve in the American Revolution, Putnam Ingalls was too young to go to war. The majority of Captain Henry’s children moved away, but Putnam remained in Andover, with his parents, both of whom lived into their 80s.
Private Amos Holt (1740-1820)
Buried: Wilton NH, Vale End Cemetery
Private Amos Holt was the second son of John Holt and Mary Lewis, born in Andover on May 9, 1740. He is listed on the Muster Roll of Col. Ichabod Plaisted’s Essex Regiment, “raised for the reduction of Canada, 1758”; at the time he joined the regiment, was 18 years old. He survived the military encounter and at the age of 22 he married Jemima Ingalls, daughter of Francis Ingalls. They were wed in 1762 by the Rev. William Symmes in the North Parish of Andover. Like many of the veterans of the “French Wars” he removed north with his family and is buried in Wilton NH.
Captain Abiel Frye (1703-1757)
Buried: Old Burial Ground
According to Andover town records, Abiel Frye was born in 1703, a fourth son to John Frye and Tabitha Farnum Frye. He married Abigail Emery on February 10, 1732 in Andover, and they had six children together, three boys and three girls. Abiel served during the campaign in 1755 and died shortly after in Andover on March 22, 1757. His sons Simon, Isaac and Abiel would go on to serve in the American Revolution with distinctions. [ie serving Washington and becoming officers]
Captain Ebenezer Frie (1714 – 1755)
Captain Ebenezer Frie was born on October 2, 1714, the son of Ebenezer Frie and Elizabeth Farnum Frie. He married Elizabeth Kimball on November 22, 1744 at the age of 30. They had five children together. He rose to the rank of Captain and served during an expedition to Crown Point in 1755; he died later at a camp at Lake George at the age of 41. Ten men appear in the Andover Vital Records as having died in battle or later in camp at Lake George – it’s possible their remains are still there. Ebenezer’s sons would go on to serve in the American Revolution.