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American Massacres Before The Civil War (US History)

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Some of the massacres that happened prior to 1800 in The US. This list is non exclusive, and in no particular order.

Conquistadors arriving to the New World.


Napituca Massacre- 1539. The first massacre to take place on American soil involving Europeans; De Soto and his men defeated Timucuan warriors, killing 200 Natives in present day Florida.

Mabila Massacre- 1540. Retaliation from a band of Choctaw Indians for the deaths of 2500 warriors, who had been hidden in the village of Mabila when De Soto burned it to the ground. The Indians killed the livestock and 200 of De Soto’s men.

Jamestown Massacre- 1622. The Powhatan tried to drive the English out of the area, they killed one third of the population…347 people.

Pequot Massacre- May 26, 1637. Puritans and Mohegan Natives attacked a Pequot village in Connecticut; over 500 villagers were burned or slaughtered.

Deerfield Massacre- 1704. About 250 French soldiers and their Native allies attacked an English settlement in Massachusetts. 50 died, and the remaining English were forced to walk to Canada.

Paoli Massacre- September 20, 1777. Redcoats in Pennsylvania, led by General Charles Grey, attacked an unsuspecting group of Patriots as they were sleeping. 5000 soldiers were ordered to quietly murder the Americans, muskets weren’t allowed to be fired.

Baylor Massacre- September 1778. The Virginia militia was attacked in New Jersey as they were sleeping. The same General Grey from the Paoli Massacre led this assault too, once again ordering his men to kill without shooting. 15 died, even those attempting to surrender.

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Waxhaw Massacre- 1780. In South Carolina, a regiment under Colonel Abraham Buford is overtaken by the British. Nobody survived except for the 115 wounded and the 53 taken as prisoners of war. (More certainly perished afterwards due to injuries).

Killough Massacre- October 1838. In Texas, a group of Cherokee, Caddo, Mexicans, and several slaves came together to murder the Killough family and their traveling partners. They were ambushed near their settlement, and eventually the attack led to their home itself. Several of the men were killed a and 8 women with children were taken into the woods, never to be heard from again.

Haun's Mill Massacre- 1838. A settlement of Mormons in Missouri was annihilated by the militia. 18 people were murdered, including a 78 year old man who was shot then chopped up; as well as a 10 year old boy who was found hiding and had his head blown off, sad story here.

Dawson Massacre- 1842. 36 Texas militiamen were slain by Mexican soldiers near San Antonio. 15 men were captured and 2 escaped.

Bloody Island Massacre- 1850. In California, US soldiers surrounded a place named “Indian Island”, and killed all the inhabitants. Somewhere between 300 and 800 Pomo Natives lived there, and the death count was never mentioned afterwards. This was done in retaliation for killing 2 white men.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Bri Smith

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