Friday, August 11, 2017

Gravestone of the Reverend Gershom Bulkeley, Wethersfield, Connecticut.

Gravestone of the Reverend Gershom Bulkeley (1636-1713)

My ancestral grandfather, the Reverend Gershom Bulkeley, was the son of the Reverend Peter and Grace (Chetwood) Bulkeley. He was minister at New London and Wethersfield, Connecticut, and during King Philip's War, he was on the Council of War, and served as a Surgeon to the Connecticut troops, where during a battle near Wachusett Mountain, Massachusetts, he was wounded in the thigh by an Indian arrow. He was also the author of the famous, "Will and Doom."

The Rev. Gershom Bulkeley was married to Sarah Chauncy, the daughter of the Reverend Charles Chauncy (Minister at Scituate and Plymouth, Massachusetts, and second president of Harvard College) and his wife Catherine Eyre. Gershom was the grandfather of Sarah (Bulkeley) Trumble Welles, the wife of Joseph Trumble, Jr., and the great grandfather of their two daughters; Sarah (Trumble) Johnson Watrous and Catherine (Trumble) Burnham.

A Connecticut soldier during King Philip's War (1675-1676) 
Photo: CTSSAR From Puritan to Patriot: Connecticut's Military from its Puritan Foundation to the American Revolution, State of Connecticut 375th Anniversary Event (1635-2010), War Office, Lebanon, Connecticut, September 11, 2010.

King Philip's War (1675-1676)

There are numerous references to the Rev. Gershom Bulkeley in the Colonial Records of Connecticut.
At a General Court held at Hartford, Connecticut, October 14, 1675, "20. This court did order Mr. Buckly* to be improued in this present expedition, to be chyrurgion to our army; and allso the said Mr. Buckly and Mr. Chancy were ordered and impowered to be of the Councill of War."[1] The footnotes states, "* Rev. Gershom Bulkeley, of Wethersfield."[2]

"December 1st. The Councill did farther commissionat Major Treat to take the conduct of our army, and to take speciall care of the Reverend Mr. Buckly and Mr. Noyse; and they allso commanded all the captaines and Lieutenants of the army to be tender and carefull of Major Treat that he be not exposed to too much hazard, and that they alott him a sufficient guard to attend his person at all times; with an aduice that they avoyd whateuer may be provokeing to God; . . ."[3]

Wachusett Mountain, Massachusetts

"They were dispatched away the beginning of March, and appointed to meet with such as should be sent from Connecticut colony, which they did about Quabaog, and so intended to march directly up to those Indian towns about Watchuset Hill, to the northwest; but the Indians were gone, and our forces in the pursuit of them taking the wrong path, missed of them, yet ranging through those woods, they were at one time suddenly assaulted by a small party of Indians firing upon them, wounded Mr. Gershom Bulkly, by a shot in his thigh, and killing one of their soldiers: after which as they marched along, they accidentally fell upon another small party of the enemy, of whom they slew some and took others to the number of sixteen, yet could not meet with the main body of the enemy, . . ."[4]

Gravestone of the Reverend Gershom Bulkeley, Old Cemetery, Wethersfield, Connecticut

"He was honorable in his descent, of
rare abilities, excellent in learning,
master of many languages, exquisite in his skill,
in divinity, physic and law, and of a most
exemplary and Christian life."[5]

1. The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, from 1665 to 1678; with the Journal of the Council of War, 1675 to 1678; . . . ., J. Hammond Trumbull, A. M., Hartford, F. A. Brown, 1852, pg. 271.
2. Ibid. 
3. Ibid, pg. 388.
4. A Narrative of the Indian Wars in New-England, from the First Planting thereof in the year 1607, to the year 1677: containing a Relation of the Occasion, Rise and Progress of the War with the Indians, in the Southern, Western, Eastern and Northern parts of said Country., William Hubbard,  A. M., Printed Stockbridge, MA by Heman Willard, May ... 1803, Pages 186-187
5. The Reverend Gershom Bulkeley, of Connecticut, an Eminent Clerical Physician, Walter R. Steiner, M.D., The Johns Hopkins Hospital Bulletin, Vol. XVII, No. 179, February, 1906, pg. 13.

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