Stoddard, John, 1682 - 1748

John Stoddard was the son of the Rev. Solomon Stoddard and Esther Warham of Northampton, Massachusetts, and uncle of the Rev. Jonathan Edwards.   The Rev. John Williams of Deerfield was a brother-in-law.  After his graduation from Harvard College in 1701, Stoddard commanded Deerfield’s garrison during Queen Anne’s War and was one of the survivors of the Indian attack there in 1704.  He and Williams became the Province’s negotiators for the captives in Canada for at least a decade after the raid.  He became a lawyer, a member of the governor’s council, a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, chief justice of the Hampshire court of common pleas, and colonel in the colonial militia.  Stoddard became a leading figure in Indian affairs and a promoter of Indian missions.  Governor William Dummer appointed him to supervise the construction of a line of forts above Northfield, Massachusetts.  In 1723, 1724, and 1746 authorities commissioned him to treat with the Indians at several conferences renewing the Covenant Chain.  By then he had also become an influential land speculator.  In 1722, Stoddard was on a committee to lay out the settlements along the Housatonic River.  Two years later, Umpachenee, Konkapot, and several other River Indians sold him and his business associates land along the Housatonic River that would become the Stockbridge mission community.  During King George’s War, Stoddard commanded a company of rangers on the Massachusetts frontier and relayed intelligence on Indian movements.  George M. Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 14, 115.  Rachel Wheeler, To Live Upon Hope: Mohicans and Missionaries in the Eighteenth Century Northeast (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013), 22-25.  Brooks, The Common Pot, 30-31, 37, 41.  New York State Library, Calendar of Council Minutes, 1668-1783 (Albany: University of the State of New York, 1903), 290, 294, 345. 

Born: 
February 17, 1682
Died: 
June 19, 1748