(CN) – Oliver Cromwell's forces scattered the Scottish army at the Battle of Dunbar in a decisive victory that helped establish the Commonwealth of England – and created one small ripple in the sea of immigration that is integral to the American Story.
The Scottish army, loyal to recently proclaimed King of Scots Charles II, had laid waste to the south of Scotland in an attempt to slow down the English parliamentarian leader's advance on the capital of Edinburgh.
Cromwell's battle-hardened army, sick and demoralized by a lack of success in the present campaign, had to get most of its supplies from England through the Port of Dunbar, to which it began to withdraw in September 1650.
David Leslie, leader of the Scots largely conscript army, took a gamble under pressure from church ministers and approached the town of Dunbar, hoping to secure a strategic road before attacking the English. Cromwell, seeing an advantage, moved a large number of troops opposite the Scottish right flank and launched a surprise attack on the front. Though the Scots at first held the English at bay, the overwhelming numbers of English on the right flank pushed back until it began to disintegrate. Cromwell's horses then scattered the Scottish cavalry, causing the rest of the Scottish army to break ranks and flee.
Leslie retreated to Stirling with the few thousand troops he had left.
The English killed some of the Scots they captured, freed others that were sick or wounded and force-marched the rest – approximately 5,000 – over 100 miles south to Durham Castle in the north of England. More than 3,500 died
on the march or while imprisoned at the castle, where they reportedly wreaked havoc. They beheaded and otherwise defiled the church statuary and burned most of the wood for fires, except for one section that bore the design of a thistle, symbol and national flower of Scotland.
The majority of the remaining 1,500 hardy survivors were tried for treason in England for opposing Lord Protector Cromwell and then transported as indentured servants to the English colonies in New England, Virginia and the Caribbean.
One of these men, Lt. William Furbush from Aberdeenshire, was sent to the northern reaches of New England, bound to serve seven years at a sawmill near Berwick, in what today is the state of Maine.
Furbush was not my first ancestor to arrive on American shores. That was William Bradford, who arrived with the Puritans at Plymouth in 1620 and was the first governor of the Plymouth Colony.
But Furbush was the first that we know of who made it to what would become Maine.
During his long life, he moved back and forth between the Kittery area and New Hampshire. He reportedly filed a petition for direct government and was later fined for criticizing the government of England.
He and his wife were also fined for abusing a constable. Furbush supposedly brandished a weapon and said he would die before his goods were carried away. At one point, he was also prosecuted for getting Native Americans drunk. The records don’t indicate any of these events were related.
Furbush died in his 60s in Kittery, Maine, after siring eight children with two different woman – the youngest and oldest born 35 years apart.
One of those children was Daniel Furbush. He married Dorothy Pray, who begat Daniel Furbush II, who married Anne Lord, who begat Abraham Furbush.
Wait, this isn't the Old Testament.