Date of this Version
Lion Gardener (1599-1663) was an English military engineer, formerly in the service of the prince of Orange, who was hired by members of the Connecticut Company in 1635 to oversee construction of fortifications for their new colony. On arriving in Connecticut in early 1636, his first assignment was to finish and garrison Saybrook Fort, at the mouth of the Connecticut River. In August 1636, the area was visited by a punitive military expedition from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, led by John Endicott, intent upon intimidating the Pequot and Niantic tribes and demanding delivery of the killers of a group of Indian traders (John Stone, Walter Norton, and six crewmen), who had been killed late in 1633. Endicott’s force plundered and burned crops and villages and returned to Boston, touching off the Pequot War that lasted until the fall of 1637. Gardener’s command of Saybrook Fort placed him in the center of the action, and his military background made him an astute observer and critic.
Gardener’s Relation of the Pequot Warres was written in 1660, and it remained in manuscript in various Connecticut record collections until rediscovered in 1809 and printed in the Massachusetts Historical Society Collections in 1833 (3rd Series, III, pp. 131–160). The version presented here was republished from the surviving manuscript by the Acorn Club of Connecticut in 1901, and is said to be a more faithful rendering of Gardener’s original. The 33-page Relation is preceded by a 29-page introduction that gives a brief sketch of Gardener’s life and a longer description of the history and provenance of the manuscript.
Gardener’s Relation is one of four contemporary English accounts of the Pequot War; the others are by John Underhill, John Mason, and Philip Vincent, the last derived from an unidentified informant.