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1640— Ye Olden Days on Ye Oyster River— 1776 



An Out-door Drama Presented by the 

People of the Town and of 

New Hampshire 


In Celebration of the Toi'o Hundredth Anniversary of 
the fotwdiufl of the Durham Congregational Chureh. 

An Outline of the Story 

The First Episode The Pioneers of Oyster River 

The period of these scenes lies between 1640 and 1680 when the settlers of 
the Fisciuataqua region had made their way to the falls of the Shankhassick 
river, as the Indians called the stream, and were clearing land in the town of 
Durham. This company of bold and pious men and their families are portra/ed y 
as building a little settlement on tide water before pushing back into the wilder- 
ness to select land for their farms. Their leader is Parson John Buss who was 
the first minister to build a church on the river. 

A band of Indians of the Shankhassick tribe has made camp on the opposite 
bank of the river while on a hunting trip. Their cheif, Millikomett, is peaceably 
disposed toward the white settlers but his braves and squaws are of a more 
hostile mind, led by his daughter, the Princess Owaisco. They resent the 
invasion of their hunting grounds and begin a dance which arouses the fighting 
spirit. Parson John Buss crossed the river, accompanied by Ensign Benjamin 
Wentworth and Captain Francis Mathes, to offer gifts to the Chief and prottst 
his intention of dwelling on friendly terms. 

Chief Millikomett accepts the gifts and explains that he has not wished to 
attack these white men but that his followers are very difficult to restrain" 
They are hot headed young men and yet their grievance is just. It has been 
reported by runners that a flotilla of boats containing another party of settlers 
is on the way up the river from Dover Neck, and that this means more forests 
cleared and the game driven from its haunts. 

During the conference the young Indians resumed their dancing and began 
to threaten Parson Bu^s and his companions who retreat towards their boat. 
The men of the settlement attempt to reinforce them and they are jostled and 
insulted as they make their escape from the Indian camp. 

The pioneers become uneasy and alarmed and decide to put their wives and 
children inside the log shelters'which are loop-holed for defense. Chief Milliko- 
mett is persuaded to lead his band in an attack after all his endeavors to calm 
them have been futile. The braves are determined to wipe out this little 
outpost before the arrival of the boats with reinforcements. Several Indians 
steal along shore to cross in canoes and flank the settlers from a wooded pomt. 
A second party plans to follow and atjtempt another ambuscade. The main 
attack is made directly across the river where the Indians gain a foothold but 
are repulsed. 

The flotilla of boats appears from behind a low headland as these other 
pioneers advance up the river. Alarmed by the war-whoops and the noise of 
firing, they perceive that their friends of the Oyster Kiver Village are in danger 
of extermination. They pull desperately at the oars and open fire with their 
flint-lock muskets, at the Indians crossing in canoes and at the Indian camp. 
Chief Millikomett realizes that his forces are outnumbered and he gives the 
order to fall back and abandon the camp. Carrying their wounded, the Indians 
withdraw along the winding road by the river and are seen no more. 

The flotilla makes a landing and the people disembark There are reunions 
and rejoicing. Parson John Buss commands silence and the whole company 
kneels while he raises his voice in thanksgiving to God for the safe deliverance. 

The Second Episode — The Founding of a Church 

The people of the settlement of Oyster River assemble in the wooded lane 
at the summoning beat of the drum, led by Parson Buss and his four deacons, 
The historic fact is that the first meeting house was built on the bank of the 
river. A later church, in the pastorate of Rev. Hugh Adams, was established 
in 1718 on the green, in front of the house of Major-General John Sullivan where 
stone markers at present indicate the outline of the foundations. This is the 
building from which the present church organization traces its history of two 
hundred years. The earlier meeting house of Parson Buss was no more than a 

The Congregational Church of Durham. 

rude log hut and the records concerning it are vague. In one of the cruel 
Indian raids which devasted the Oyster River settlement the dwelling of Parson 
Buss was destroyed. 

The procession of men, women and children winds down the lane to the 
shore where a space of green sward has been left vacant for the site of their 
meeting house. They sing a hymn as they advance and group themselves for 
the simple but dignified ceremonial. Instructed by Parson Buss, the four 
deacons measure off the site for the walls of the humble edifice and drive in the 
stakes. The people follow the parson in a prayer of consecration and the 
procession marches, again singing, to the edge of their village and turn into 
the road. 

The f'raycr of P.iP'.on Hii^s at the (»-ithcrinii of the (Church at Oyster River 
"AlrniKhtie (i(x], Thou who art Suvereijin Ruler &. Disposer of All things, 
we most Humbly Supplicate Thee to withold Thy Divine Displeasure & Look 
with Singular i-'avor upon us m )st miserable Offenders. We desire to Approve 
Ourselves faithful unto ye Lord Jesus & unto His Kingdom & Interest, but 
Satan has beguiled us & we fear the most horrible Pitt. Forgive us Wicked 
Servants & lett not Thy Awful Wrath fall upon us but restore us to our Intimate 
Conversation with Heaven. Through bitter Toyle and Adversities we have 
come to the sett Time to gather a Church in the Decency and Order of ye 
Gospel of Jesus Christ. Bless the Labours of our Hands & give us the Assist- 
ance of Divine Grace & Wisdom in Ordering the Affairs of Thy House. May 
we meete with the Conversion and Salvation of Souls. Grant us Piety, Strength 
Health & Serviceableness & Preserve us from Destraction in our Duties. 

"Good Lord Deliver us from Hostyle Savages & Save the Town, Church & 
Province from secrete Enemies & False Doctrynes & defend the Puritie of 
Publick Worship. Oh Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy Name be All the Glory 
due. Amen." 

At the conclusion of tiie episode of The Founding uf ihc Church, the 
out-door stuiic will he cleared for the scenes of the War of the Revolution. 
During this brief delay the Indian youths and maidens will cn^a^e in canoe 
races and other water sports over a course which will finish just hclow the 

The Third and Final Episode- 
Durham in the War of the Revolution 

This scene occurs in 1774. A King's Messenger advances to the green 
beside the river while his drummer beats the summons to the people of the 
town. Two soldiers guard him. His intention is to read a royal proclamation 
signed by His E.xcellency, Governor John Wentvvorth, at Portsmouth, command- 
ing that all gun powder and other munitions of war be delivered into the custody 
of his ofTicers. The men and women of Durham flock to the green from the 
houses nearby. They are in no mood to suffer the presence and the mandates 
of this red-coated minion of King George. They display their patriotic senti- 
ments in no uncertain terms. The King's Messenger attempts to read to them 
his proclamali jn which runs as follows: 

"Oyez, Oycz, Oyez ! ! Hear, Attend and Listen ! 

"Order's from His Kxcellency ! Whereas, His Majesty, the King in Council, 
hath forbidden the shipment of gunpowder and other military stores to His Col- 
onies in America, and whereas it haih come to our Knowledge that the Colonists 
of Durham have concealed and stored away gunpowder and military stores in 
open defiance of His Majesty's Command and in direct Oppugnation of His Ma- 
jesty's Government and in most atrocious contempt of his Crown and Dignity :— 

"I therefore do issue this Proclamation, by advice and consent of His 
Majesty's Council, ordering and requiring in His Majesty's name all Magistrates 
and other Ofhcers, whether Civil or Military, as they regard their Duty to the 
King and the tenor of their Oaths, to exert themselves in detecting the places 
where said gunpowder and military stores are concealed, and to seize the same 
and the persons of the offenders and to secure said offenders in His Majesty's 
gaols in this Province in order that they may be brought unto condign Punish- 

"Andfrom motives of duty'to the King and'with due regard for the wel- 
fare of the people of this Province, I do in the most solemn manner exhort and 
enjoin all His Majesty's subjects to give up and surrender said gunpowder and 
military stores and to offer up their persons to Justice. I lay this injunction 
upon you as you value your faith and allegiance to His Most Sacred and 
Puissant Majesty, George, the Third." 

The luckless King's Messenger is finally compelled to take to his heels to 
escape bodily violence. John Sullivan, at this time a captain of the Colonial 
Militia, comes from his own house and surveys this lively scene with amused 
approval but takes no active part in it. With him are his friends and fellow 
officers of Durham, Captain Alexander Scammell and Major Steels. They stand 
in consultation and are interrupted by the sensational arrival of Paul Revere, 
who had made a detour from Portsmouth to bring the tidings that Governor 
Wentworth is about to seize the powder and munitions stored in Fort William 
and Mary. Captain John Sullivan returns to his house, having decided to take 
swift action. 

Between this and the next scene a brief interval of time is presumed to 
elapse. A sentry by the river announces that the party of Durham men is about 
to arrive in a barge with the powder, lead and guns which they went down to 
get at Fort William and Mary. The people of the town flock to the landing. 
The drums sound the assembly. The barge appears from the cove where it has 
delayed in hiding, in command of Captain Sullivan. The crowd shouts a wel- 
come and hastens to help unload the cargo and conceal it. 

The scene following this is supposed to happen after the outbreak of the 
War of Independence. John Sullivan is now a Major-General of the Continental 
army, and is about to depait for the front. A company of his own troops has 

The Home of Major General John Sullivan, now owned by Captain Lynde Sullivan of the 

same family. 

been ordered to escort him. They march down to the river where he inspects 
them at drill. The people gather to bid him farewell. He calls for recruits in 
these spirited words: 
"Townsmen and Fricndii: 

Events are stronger than our wills. In spite of yourselves ye are driven on 
and yet would ye have it otherwise? Ye must choose. Stand by the King and 
ye be slaves. Cast your lot with the Colonies and ye be free men. Think ye, 
Chesley, and Thompson, Ffrost, Fdgerly, Watson, that the part you took on 
the raid down the river is unknown? Nay, we are all tarred with the same 
brush. You were willing enough to bestir yourselves to seize the powder or to 
protect your wives and children against being scalped and tortured by the 

I\iv. \'.iiu:!in Dabncy, I'.istnrof the r)urham Church. 

"Already the King's Judge in the Province of Quebec has written word to 
me that I and my family will be the first to suffer. Will ye men suffer less under 
the Crown if defeat comes to us? You have already taken the measure of the 
King's hirelings at Boston Towne. There they are penned in and there they 
will remain, by God's will and your assistance. But Massachusetts and Vir- 
ginia cannot fight alone and they shall not fight without the valiant help of this 
Province, nay, this Commonwealth of New Hampshire. 

"Will ye be driven to the wall to pay taxation to that fat-witted King George 
that he may wage war against the French ? What care ye for that ? Our own 
forefathers won this land and redeemed it. It is ours to own and govern and 
improve, and not the Crown's. The cause needs recruits for the army around 
Boston. Will ye men of Durham hang back? Are you anxious lest your families 
suffer? I i)le(lge you my word that they will be cared for. Leave I not five 
children behind and a most lovely wife? Will ye be more backward than 

Massachusetts? Will ye have those valiant men call you cowards? Join now 
for Freedom, Independence and Equal Rights. Come forward, Chesley. Come 
on, Ffrost. Join the ranks and march with me." 

Recruits rushforward, others volunteer more deliberately. They muster in an 
awkward squad. Their wives bid them goodbye. General Sullivan says farewell 
to his own dear wife and children. The column forms and files off to the music 
of fife and drums. 

This scene concludes the episode and niatks the finish cf the Durham Pageant. 


A dance will be given at the College Gymnasium this evening to which 
the town and college and our visitors are invited. An admission fee will 
be charged by way of helping to meet the cost of the Pageant. Some of the 
people >vill come in costume. 

The Names of Those Who Take Part in The Pageant. 

Parson John Buss - - - - - C. E. Hewitt 

The Constable ...... Joshua Pinkham 

{ C. H. Pettee 

The Deacons - - I O. L. EcKMAN 

ine Deacons 1 J. H. Marceau 

I Dr. a. E. Grant 

The School Mistress ..... Miss Sarah Ladd 

The Indian Chief ...... Ralph D. Paine 

His Daughter, Owaisca .... Miss Helen B. Bartlett 

Major General John Sullivan - - Captain Lynde Sullivan 

Mrs. John Sullivan .... Mrs. Lynde Sullivan 

Captain Alexander Scammell .... M. O'K. McKay 

Major Steele - - - - - - E. P. Robinson 

Paul Pevere ....... Wm. Phair 

The King's Messenger - - - - - - F. W. Taylor 

The Women of The Settlement 

Mrs. Guy Smart, Mrs. Frank Morrison, Miss Poily Bailey, Mrs. Albert 
Littlehale, Mrs. M. O'K. McKay, Mrs. David Fogg, Mrs. Edward Griffiths, Mrs. 
Gertrude Emerson, Mrs. F. W. Taylor, Mrs. Wm. Phair, Miss Avis Adams, Mrs. 
Adrian O. Morse, Mrs. Charles Langley, Miss Elizabeth Chesley, Mrs. John 
Page, Mrs. Thomas Massingham, Miss Delia Langley, Miss Ada Langley, Miss 
Doris Burnham, Mrs. Charles Berry, Mrs. E. P. Robinson, Mrs. O. V. Henderson, 
Mrs. Lester Langley, Mrs. Charles Wentworth, Mrs. Harold H. Scuddtr, Mrs. 
Fred Daniels, Mrs. George Stevens, Miss Mary Hoitt, Miss Ellen Hoitt, Mrs. 
Edward Langley, Mrs. Edward Fairchild, Mrs. Walter S. Edgerley, Mrs. 
Dunovan, Mrs. Melvin E. Smith. 

The Women of the Flotilla 

Miss Helen Barton, Miss Ivy Belle Chesley, Mrs. Anna Rand Cook, Miss 
Gadriella Chesley, Miss Margaret Langley, Mrs. Thomas Massingham, Miss 
Ada Langley, Mrs. John Page, Miss Vivien Hewitt, Miss Sadie Marion Griffiths, 
Mrs. C. E. Hewitt, Mrs. Lewis Ellison. 

The Men of the Settlement and Flotilla 

Charles lierry, Stej lu n Cht s-ley, Wilbert Chesley, George Langmaid, Will 
Burrows, Samuel Craig, I'lnur Hand, Mdl Grouse, Walter S. Edgerlv, James 
Macfarlane, L. J. Hatclulder. Kdwatd Cheslty, Walter Davis, Earl I'. Kohinson, 
Fred I'hilbrick, J. M. Fuller, A. E. Kichards. E. T. HuddJeston. Melvin E. Smith. 
David Fogg, Paul Evans, (). V. Htnderson. Fred E. Jenkins, Frank Morrison, 
Earl Watson, Albert Watson, C. J. Fawcett, F. C. Werkenthin, Harry Kand, Eloi 
Adams, Mark E. Willey, Arthur Teeri, E. Adams, Chester Lane, Kaym&nd 
Brown. Wallace Burrows, Chester Htwitf, Rushtcn Maiticn, Fajrrcrd Jtrkir.s, 

E. G. Ritzman, George Stevens, M. G. East ir an, Charles Langley, Vaughn Dabney, 

The Squans nnd Maidens of the Indian Camp 

Mrs. C. F. Jackson, Mrs. Karl W. Wo(c!ward, Mrs. George L?.nf maid, Mrs. 
Anna Bennett, Miss Lucie Jones, Miss Frances Kling, Mis^s Fauline McDonaugh, 
Miss Margarie McGoff, Miss Annie McWeerey, Miss Edith Morrill, Miss Fannie 
Spinney, Miss Edith Kingley, Miss Esther Yourg, Miss Kathrjn Aldridge, Miss 
Esther Brown, Miss Jemima Dore, Miss Eva Edgerly, Miss Dorothy Flarders, 
Miss Crystal (joudwin. Miss Grace Hanscom, Mrs. Maik Willey, Miss Caroline 

The Indian Braves 

J. H. Kendall, W. C. O'Kane, H. II. Scudder. J. H. Gourley, Charles Scott, H. 

F. Depew, Rodney Hill, Walter Stanley, Arthur F. Davis, Byron Chamberlain, 
Irving Doolittle, Noiman Burse, George Worcester, Hrmiltf n Fimwell. Ruseell 
Foster. Walter Rogers, Geo. H. Batchelder, O. C. Waid, L. M. Dickinson, Burgess 
Nightingale, N. C. Osgood, C. F. Jackson. 

The Conipiiny of Continental Soldiers 

Perley E. Aver. Win. P. Batchelder. Fred W. Bennett, R. F. Carpenter, J. E- 
Goold, Ernest W. Hewitt, Paul J. Lyster, Ray E. McDonald, G. W. MacLatchy. 
Clifton C Morrison, R. L. Northey, George J. Kcwe, C.J. Silver, C. A.Sw^in, 
Donald T. Thompson, Laurence M. True. 


Prof. A. E. Richards, chairman, Miss Helen Bartlett. Miss Ruth Richardson, 
Rev. Vaughn Dabney. Lester L. Langley, N. C. Osgood, W^. C. O'Ksne, O. V. Hen- 
derson, Mrs. Guy Smart, Mrs. Melvin E. Smith, Major Harvard M. Halls, C. H. 
Pettee. Jas. S. Chamberlain, J. C. Kendall, C. E. Hewitt, Ralph D. Paine, Maik 
E. Willey, J. M. Fuller. 


Mrs. John C. Kendall, chairman. Mrs. Elizabeth P. DeMerritt, Miss Ruth 
Barker, Miss Alice Kemp, Miss Marjorie Saxfon, Miss Doris Elkins. Miss Mclba 
Shuttleworth. Miss Frances Remick, Miss Sarah Greenfield, Miss Anna Meserve, 
Miss ICvelyn Ilutton, Miss Margaret Baker, Miss Dorothy Chase. Miss Doris 
Brinks. Miss Hortense Cavis. Miss Mary Cressy, Miss Grace Wallace. Miss 
.'Xniber Arey. Miss Morelle Cornell. Mrs. Annie Morgan. Mrs. Roberta Butler, 
Mrs Katherine Riihards, Mrs. Lois Ritzman, Mrs. Mary Moran, Mrs. Anne 
Curry. Mrs. Mildred (Jenung. Miss Ruth Richardson. Miss Katherine Morrison, 
Miss Miry Webster. Miss Elsie Hitchcork, Mrs. Mabel Smith. Miss Ruth Mc- 
Questen, Miss Abbie Herlihy, Miss Elizabeth McNulty, Mrs. Charlotte Wolff. 



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