Information on the Allis Family of Massachusetts
William Allis of Hatfield, Immigrant

Little is known of William Allis' english origins, except what is offered by Horatio Allis' Genealogy of William Allis of Hatfield, Mass. and Descendants, which states that he was born between 1613 and 1616, probably in Essex or London, England, and came to this country with Winthrop's Fleet in 1630. He further explains the three groups of immigrants in the Winthrop Fleet and their known ports of origin, and that William Allis was among those aboard the Mayflower (third voyage); its passengers being from Essex and London and which also included Thomas Graves, with whom William Allis was associated from at least the time of their arrival.

Fortunately, we know far more about William Allis after his arrival in New England. The first record of William Allis is of a 12-acre grant he received at Mount Wollaston (later Braintree), and shortly thereafter, he was made freeman.

He was a well-educated and capable individual, as well as an experienced surveyor. He and Thomas Graves, also a surveyor, had laid out the fort of Charlestown, the first regular settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He married Mary (surname unknown) in 1641, and all eight of their children were born in Braintree. In 1658, the family left an increasingly crowded Braintree and migrated to Wethersfield, Connecticut. Owing to disagreements between Wethersfield, Windsor, and Hartford settlements in regard to church and government ordinances, a committee was appointed around 1660 to travel up the Connecticut River to Northampton, Mass. for the purpose of seeking a suitable relocation, and, with a favorable report, about 60 men, 20 of whom were from Wethersfield, agreed to remove to this area. The Allis and Graves families were among those 20 families, and thus the town of Hadley came into existence. This land had previously been purchased by the English from the local Indians.

William Allis became a leading citizen in Hadley, later Hatfield (the southern portion of Hadley became Hatfield in 1670). He was a Lieut. under John Pynchon, held the offices of deacon, justice of the peace, and selectman, as well as serving on numerous government advisory committees.

During these years, there had been a peaceful coexistence between the settlers and Indians, but the advent of King Philip's War was about to change all of that.

On October 19, 1675, about 800 Indians attacked Hatfield, but, as word had reached Hatfield of their previous attacks on Northfield and Deerfield, the inhabitants of Hatfield were not taken by surprise, and the Indians were fought off with small loss to Hatfield. At this point, the Indians began using tactics of harrassment. As a result, the settlers decided to take the offensive, and on May 18, 1676, about 150 men from different towns came together and attacked the Indians at Great Falls (now Turner's Falls). Around 175 Indians were killed, with little loss to the settlers, but as they marched homeward, victory turned to defeat, as those remaining surviving Indians came up from behind and in the ensuing melee killed 38 of the settlers. William Allis was a captain in the fight at Great Falls. One of those settlers killed was 21-year-old William Allis, Jr.

The death of King Philip in August of 1676 had appeared to put an end to the war and nothing more was seen of the Indians until September 19, 1677, when a group of about 50, lead by their chief Ashpelon from Canada, took the inhabitants of Hatfield by total surprise. Most of the men were in the outlying fields harvesting corn, while the Indians set fire to many buildings, killed 12 persons and took another 17 settlers captive. The suddenness of the attack had left many of the settlers almost paralyzed with shock and unprepared to offer much resistance. One of the 12 persons killed was William Allis' wife, Mary. John Graves, son of the aforementioned Thomas Graves, was also among those killed. Less than a year later Lieut. William Allis and Mary, widow of John Graves, were married, but only for a brief period, as William Allis died three months later, September 6, 1678.

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