The Deerfield Raid

Religion in Family History

Here is another post that has been wandering around in my thoughts for the last month or so. I still have much research to do on this topic.

Tonight I will only touch on a few main points.

One of the things that is often overlooked in High School History books are the raids that Indians made on settlers in early Colonial America.

You may learn about the troubles with the Indians in Jamestown, but most of the information about Indians in New England focuses on how they cooperated with the settlers.

The Adventure of the American People - High School American History Text Book - History - Graff and Krout

I actually have a copy of the textbook that we used in my American History class in High School. Are you surprised?

I looked through the different sections of the book to see what I learned, and sure enough here is what was covered.

In the sections about Colonial America they covered hostile Indians in Virginia and helpful Indians in Massachusetts. The section on the French and Indian War did not even mention Indians except for the name of the war. The textbook did cover problems with Indians in the West after the Civil War.

The Unredeemed Captive - A Family Story from Early America - John Demos - John Williams - Eunice Williams - Deerfield Massacre - Deerfield Raid

I recently read a very good book (The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America by John Demos) about the the Deerfield Raid that took place in 1704 during Queen Anne’s War. What, you don’t remember covering Queen Anne’s War either?

Queen Anne’s War lasted from 1702 to 1713 and was the second in a series of four French and Indian Wars.

The first war was King William’s War from 1688 – 1697. Deerfield was also attacked during this war.

The third war (1739 – 1748) had two names; King George’s War or the War of Jenkin’s Ear. There is an interesting story here 🙂

The fourth war is the one that is usually covered in basic History books. The fourth was simply known as The French and Indian War and was fought from 1754 to 1763. The repayment for war costs from this one was one of the triggers for the Revolutionary War.

One of the big factors in all of the French and Indian Wars was religion: Catholic vs. Protestant

Calico Captive - Elizabeth George Speare - Indian Captive - French and Indian War

Another book that I have on my reading list is Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare. This novel takes place during The French and Indian War.

Northkill Massacre - Northkill, PA - Amish Massacre - Leni Lenape Indians - French and Indian War  - Hochstetler Massacre

Last year I also read The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter which is also set at the end of the French and Indian War. I shared my thoughts about this book in a post titled: The Light in the Forest

I also shared information about the Northkill Massacre that took place in 1757 and involved some of my Amish ancestors. Northkill was the First Amish Settlement in the colonies.

I have strayed from my original intent of this post. I wanted to talk more about the Deerfield Raid. Now, I will only add a few basic facts.

The French and Indians from Canada killed 56 villagers and carried away 109 captives.

Many of the inhabitants of Deerfield, Massachusetts were close family members of my ancestors. The closest being siblings, nieces, nephews and close cousins.

The book above focused on Eunice Williams who was the daughter of John Williams who was a Puritan minister. Both her and her father were among those who were carried away to Canada. John was redeemed, but Eunice spent the rest of her life in Canada and married one of her captors. John Williams was related to several of my ancestors. The closest ones being a first and a second cousin. I have distant cousins among the First Nations people of Canada.

Other captives that were close relations had surnames of Pomeroy, Stebbins, Sheldon and French.

I am doing more research on this subject and have some more books on the way to me 🙂

Look for another post in the future.


This post is part of a series on Religion in Family History. See also:

Religion in Family History

Amish in California?

The Light in the Forest

Stephen Jenks – Singing Master

Amish in Oregon

Amish Origins

Gallup Poll Connection I – Amish

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

Pilgrim Ancestry

First Amish Settlements

Irish Heritage

Amish in Oklahoma

The Harper Mansion

This entry was posted in Books, Canada, Culture, Family History, Genealogy, History and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Deerfield Raid

  1. Ooh! You caught me with the subtitle “Religion in Family History”. Two of my favorite topics, and in my family’s case, inseparable. No, I am not surprised you have your High School history text. And yes, who wouldn’t want to read a book with a cover like Calico Captive? I KNOW I would have read it if I had seen it before this.

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