The Haymakers

The six haymakers are buried at the Southwest corner of the Old Indian Cemetery, Cottage Street, West Brookfield.

Massacre of the Six Haymakers

Reverend Fiske wrote in his historical sermon in 1775 the following: “The last mischief which was done by the Savages in Brookfield was about the 20th of July 1710. Six men, Ebenezer Hayward, John White, Stephen and Benjamin Jennings, John Grosvenor, and Joseph Kellogg were making hay in the meadows, when the Indians, who had been watching for an opportunity to surprise them, sprang suddenly upon them, dispatched five of them, and took the other John White prisoner. White, spying a small company of our people at some distance, jump’d from the Indian that held him and ran to join his friends; but the Indian fired after him. And wounded him in the thigh, by which he fell; but soon recovering and running again, he was again fired at and received his death wound”.


Ebenezer Hayward was born May 22, 1679 at Concord, MA. He was the son of Joseph Hayward, of Concord and Elizabeth Treadway, daughter of Nathaniel Treadway and Sufferance Hayes, who were married on March 23, 1677. This was Joseph’s second marriage. The Haywards were one of the old families of Concord, MA. Joseph died at age 71 in October, 1714 at Concord. Ebenezer was 31 years of age when he was killed by Indians in a meadow at Brookfield.

John White was a resident of Concord. He was stationed at the Brookfield Garrison. On July 3, 1707, Sergeant John White was granted 40 acres of upland and 20 acres of meadow on condition that he live upon and improve the land for four years, after he is released from public service. The grant was signed by Thomas Parsons, Constable for Brookfield and approved by the Committee. Soon after, on November 26, 1707, he was married in Concord to Prudence Hayward. His grant was confirmed on March 8, 1709/10, while he was still in the service. He probably came to Brookfield soon after and built his home. The house was built in 1710, about 100 yards west of its present location. It was moved a few years later and formerly was used as an annex to the larger White homestead, now the Salem Cross Inn. In 1710, Sergeant White obtained several other land grants near his home. In addition he was one of a group allowed by the town: “liberty to build a sawmill for Brookfield in such a place as they and a good workman shall judge best, and they have liberty to cut all sots of timber for the use of the mill in any parts of the precinct, except upon persons property: and had 40 acres of land granted to be divided among them”. Sergeant John White and Prudence had two children, John, Jr. born July 3, 1708 and Cornelius, born January 29, 1710/11, who left a large progeny. Cornelius White died on November 8, 1800, and is buried in the Old Indian Cemetery in West Brookfield.

John Grosvenor, also killed in the above ambush, was the brother-in-law of Sergeant White, their wives were sisters. John had received a grant of 50 acres of land on the west shore of South Pond, extending up to the area between the ponds. The grant was recorded on May 25, 1710. He was the brother of Reverend William Grosvenor who came to Brookfield in 1706 and may have still been there at the time of his brother’s death. Their father was John Grosvenor, one of the proprietors of Pomfret, Connecticut. The Grosvenor’s came from a prominent English family. Joseph Kellogg, another victim of the massacre, was the son of Edward who had a grant in Brookfield in 1701. Joseph was born in Hadley, MA on October 29, 1692, and was a mere boy of 17 when killed by the Indians. In spite of his youth, he had been granted a tract of land on March 9, 1709/10. Since he died before being able to fulfill the usual requirement of four years residence, the Committee of Brookfield on March 7, 1717/18, granted the land to his father, Edward, for his use during his lifetime and then to his brother Ephraim. Edward Kellogg had substantial land holdings in the area now called East Brookfield and was influential in its development.

Benjamin Jennings, another of the casualties, was the same man who had been wounded at the ambush in 1708, and had been granted an allowance for his injury. On the morning of October 13, 1708, the people at Jennings Garrison heard the firing and set out to assist the people in peril, but were waylaid by the Indians. John Woolcot, a lad of twelve or fourteen, was being pursued by the Indians who finally killed his horse, took him prisoner, and carried him to Canada. Joseph Jennings was wounded in two places and Benjamin was wounded in the leg. The survivors of the ambush were later awarded compensation for their injuries. Benjamin was the son of Stephen and was born about 1690 at Hatfield.

Stephen Jennings came to Brookfield from Hatfield and was very influential in the development of the early history of Brookfield. Stephen was well known for his daring and fortitude. In 1677 he accompanied Benjamin Waite to Canada to redeem several captives who had been taken by the Indians. Among the captives, were his recent bride and her two children. Stephen married widow Hannah Gillett on May, 15, 1677, at Hadley.

Stephen was also an early and influential settler in the eastern portion of the township (now East Brookfield). His first recorded grant was dated November 15, 1701 and was located in the area now occupied by the southern end of Lake Lashaway. However, prior to this Stephen had purchased the former Prichard estate on present Foster Hill (West Brookfield) on April 14, 1693, from Hezekiah Dickenson and was licensed in September 1695, to maintain a tavern and sell liquor. He continued in the tavern business until 1707, when he sold it to his sons Stephen and Joseph and moved to the Woolcot neighborhood. He had many other grants of land, many of them in the eastern part of the township.

On the Biographies link, click Stephen Jennings for an extended biography.

Source: History of East Brookfield, Massachusetts 1686-1970 by Louis E. Roy, M.D.