Thomas Duston/Dustin

Historical note: Thomas Duston b.1652 served in King Phillip's War in Lt. Benjamin Sweet's company Aug 24 1767 (N.E. Reg. 43 p.98 & 275). Freeman at Haverhill Nov 28 1677 (N.E. Reg Vol 6 p.203). On the York county (Maine) Probate records June 8 1703 (N.E. Reg. Vol 31p.221)"Administration granted to Thomas Duston of Haverhill on the estate of his father Thomas Duston of Kittery deceased intestate."

Thomas was a brick maker and he had a saw mill. He built a new brick house and it became a garrison house which was, under his command, to be repaired and guarded by five men. This garrison house has been maintained and is periodically open for tourists.

The problem he faced when the Abnaike Indians descended on Haverhill is described by Jane James, p. 21: "On the morning of March 15, 1697 about 20 Abinake Indians in war dress descended on the outlying homes of Haverhill. Thomas Dustin, constable of Haverhill at the time, was working outdoors and saw them approaching. He hurried to warn his family. He sent their seven children aged 17 to 2 to the nearest garrisoned house (probably Onisephorus Marsh's) telling them to run as quickly as possible. He then urged his wife Hannah to come with him on the one horse. But six days earlier Hannah had given birth to their 12th child, Martha. Although they certainly would have taken the baby with them there was a neighbor who had been nursing Hannah, Mary (Corliss) Neff, a widow, to consider. One can imagine the awful confusion of those few moments with the Indians approaching. Hannah urged Thomas to go with the children and protect them and he did. He was resolved to save at least one of the fleeing children--"the dearest one" according to [Cotton] Mather who later personally interviewed Hannah. He intended to swing that one on the horse with him and ride on. However, he could not make such a painful choice and so, dismounting and keeping the horse between the fleeing band and the two or three Indians who followed, they all arrived at the place of safety. He had a musket and Chase debates as to whether he fired at the pursuers as some accounts suggest."