NameDarby Field
Birthabt 1610, Boston, Lincolnshire, England
Death1649, Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire
FatherJohn Field (1579-)
Misc. Notes

DARBY FIELD (John, John, WIlliam, WIlliam, Thomas, Thomas, John, Thomas, Roger), b. Boston, Lincoinshire, England, about 1610; m. Darby Field, called by Winthrop an "Irishman" (but born in England), is the son of John Fielde and Elen Hochinson (Hutchinson) Field, who were married in Boston, Lincolnshire, England, Aug. 13, 1609. In 1636 he came to Boston, driven by religious and political persecution, and for a short time was with his brother Robert. He removed to Exeter, N. H., in 1638, to Dover, N. H., in 1648, here he died in 1649. Tradition goes to show him to have been the brother of Robert Field, who was the son of John. Darby Field was the first Europcan who ascended the White Mountains, which he did in 1642, in company with two Indians. The ascent occupying sighteen days, when he saw "more marvelous things than ever any one has seen since." He was one of the earliest signers of the "Exeter Combination," a compact made by a voluntary association, for governmental purposes, drawn up by their pastor and signed by thirty-five adult males of the settlement of Oyster river, bearing date July 4, 1639.
--Source: Field Genealogy, Page 949

That Darby Field was above the average, not only in courage and daring, but in intelligence and quickness to resent what he considered impertinence, may be seen from the following story: A famous Puritan Divine from Massachusetts was addressing the people of Dover, and reproving them for departing from the good habits of the Puritans, when Mr. Field arose and corrected the minister, saying: "We are a different race from them. Instead of coming here for religious purposes. the object of our ancestors was to lumber, fish and trade, and instead of departing from their good example, we have improved on them." This anecdote is given in "New Hampshire Churches," by Hayes, p. 12, in nearly the same words, but instead of giving Mr. Field's name he is called an intelligent citizen. That he possessed more than ordinary intelligence, is shown in his account of his discovery of the "White Mountains," in 1642. (See account given by Winthrop; also History of Newcastle, p. 19.) He was living at Oyster river (Durham, N. H.) in 1644, where he was licensed to sell wine. This was no doubt at Durham Point. It is recorded that "Darby Field, of Oyster river, in the river of Piscataqua, county of Norfolk, planter, sold to John Bickford, his dwelling house at Oyster river, then in the tenure of said Bickford, with a lot of five or six acres adjoining, and all the land to the creek on the road toward Little Bay, except the breadth on said creek, in possession of Thomas Willey. Upon the land sold to Bickford, stood later the Bickford garrison, where soldiers were stationed in 1694. The garrison, long since disappeared, the land where it stood (the Darby Field land), with Little Bay on one side and Oyster river on the other, directly in front the Piscataqua with its verdant isles, swiftly coursing seaward between Newington on the right and Back river district on the left, within a few years passed into the possession of Hon. Jeremiah Langley, who still owns it. On the Dover rate list, Oct. 19, 1648. Darby Field rated at œ81, and to pay œ16s. He had a case in court in 1649, and by most writers is supposed to have died that year. Ambrose Gibbons was appointed to administer on his estate at the court holden in Dover, Aug. 1, 1651. His widow was taxed at Oyster river in 1650.

"The whites knew that far away in the north there was a cluster of very high mountains, for they had often seen them. Moreover, much mystery attached to them. The Indians said that their god dwelt high up among those lofty peaks, and told marvellons stories about great shining stones that glittered on the cliffs through the darkness of night. Now and then they would show a piece of crystal, which they said came from the greatest mountain. So the whites at first called it the Crystal Hill. "But," said the Indians to the whites, "nobody can go to the top of Aglochook to get these glittering stones, because it is the abode of the great god of storms, famine and pestilence. Once, indeed, some foolish Indians had attempted to do so, but they had never come back, for the spirit that guarded the gems from mortal hands had raised great mists, through which the hunters wandered on like blind men until the spirit led them to the edge of some dredful gulf, into which he cast them shrieking. There was one bold settler who was determined to go in search of the precious stones, cost what it might. His name was Darby Field. So in June, 1642, Field started to go to the Crystal Hill. When he came to the neighborhood of the present town of Fryeburg he found an Indian village there. It was the village of the Pigwackets, or as it is sometimes written, Pequawketts. (See note 1.) Here Field took some Indian guides, who led him to within a few miles of the summit, when, for fear of the evil spirit, all but two refused to go farther. So Field went on with these two. They clambered resolutely over rocks and among scrubby ravines, no higher than a man's knee, to a sort of stony plain, where there were two ponds. Above this plain, rose the great peak of shattered rocks that overlooks New England. This too they climbed. Field has said that the sight of the great wilderness land, stretched out all around him, the mountains falling away beneath his feet into dark gulfs, was "daunting terrible." It is so to-day. Field stood upon the great watershed of New England. Finding the day spent he began searching for the precious stones he had come so far to seek. He found a few crystals, which he brought away, thinking them to be diamonds. He also found a deal of "Muscovy glass," or isinglass, adhering to the rocks. Some of this he also took with him. With his treasures Field then came down the mountains to the place where he had left the Indians, whom he found drying themselves by a fire, for while he was above the clonds, a sudden storm had swept over them. As they had given up the adventurons pale face for lost, their wonder at seeing him return safe and sound was very great. All then went back to the Indian village." ["The Making of New England," by Samuel Adams Drake, page 224; B 861. Chicago Public Library.]

(*)Pequawketta were driven from their ancient seat, after Lovewell's bloody fight in 1785.
--Source: Field Genealogy, Page 949-950
FatherWilliam Roberts (-1685)
ChildrenMary (~1636-1698)
Last Modified 28 Aug 2007Created 4 Sep 2012 using Reunion for Macintosh