Indian Captives

Tonight I will share a few books that are about people taken captive by Indians in Colonial America.

In this post I use the term Indian instead of Native American as it was the term that was used at the time of the events.

In the Amish branch of my family there has been a lot of interest in the Northkill Raid since the airing on TLC of the Who Do You Think You Are episode with Katey Sagal. See my post: Katey Sagal – Amish Ancestry

One of the experts that was featured on the show has published two historical fiction accounts based on the Northkill Raid and a third will be released later this year.

Jacob's Choice, Ervin Stutzman, Amish, Northkill Raid, Indian CaptivesJacob’s Choice by Ervin R. Stutzman is the first book of the Return to Northkill trilogy. This book follows the story from the perspective of Jacob Hochstetler. He is captured by the Indians during the raid but later escapes.

Jacob and two of his sons were captured by the Indians and his wife and two other children were killed. I descend from Jacob through his two older children who had already married and lived nearby.

The expanded edition that I am reading has a section with additional information that includes maps, genealogy charts and historical information about the Amish.

Joseph's Delima, Ervin Stutzman, Amish, Northkill Raid, Indian CaptivesJoseph’s Dilemma is the second book in the Return to Northkill series by Ervin Stutzman. This book follows the story from the perspective of Jacob’s son Joseph. The story begins shortly before Joseph and his brother Christian are separated from their father.

I know the basic facts of Joseph’s captivity, but am eager to read this book that is based on those facts. I do know that he was adopted by an Indian family and that he had a hard time returning to his family.

The third book in the series will be Christian’s Hope and is about the youngest son Christian. He lived among the Delaware Indians for seven years and had an even harder time assimilating back into the family upon his return.

The Light in the Forest, Conrad Richter, Indian CaptivesThe Light in the Forest by Pulitzer Prize winning author Conrad Richter tells a very similar story to that of the Hochstetler sons. John Butler is only fifteen when he is captured by the Lenni Lenape Indians. He is adopted by the Indians and is given the name of True Son.

His story is most similar to that of Christian as he is forcibly returned after the end of the French and Indian War.

I have more details from this book in my post The Light in the Forest.

Calico Captive - Elizabeth George Speare - Indian Captive - French and Indian WarAnother good historical fiction book about an Indian captive is Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare. This book is also from the French and Indian War time period.

The Unredeemed Captive, John Demos, Indian Captive, French and Indian Raids, DeerfieldThe Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America by John Demos is about Eunice Williams who was taken captive during The Deerfield Raid of 1704.

Eunice was taken to Canada and despite many attempts by here family was never redeemed. She eventually married an Indian and had a family of her own. She did eventually visit some of her family in Massachusetts, but never returned to live with them.

Eunice was taken during Queen Anne’s War which was one of four wars fought against the French and Indians. My post The Deerfield Raid has more details about the four wars.

I also have close family connections to captives who were taken in the Deerfield Raid.

New England Captives Carried to Canada, Emma Lewis Coleman, French and Indian WarAnother resource that I have is New England Captives Carried to Canada: Between 1677 and 1760 During the French and Indian Wars by Emma Lewis Coleman.

The book is in two volumes which have been combined in this printing. The books were published in 1925 and are full of details about different raids made by the French and Indians.

One interesting entry is about the wife of Stephen Willey who was captured at Oyster River (Maine) and taken to Canada. She never returned even though she was redeemed by her father. Stephen Willey was the nephew of my 10th great grandfather Isaac Willey who had immigrated to Connecticut.

Do you have ancestors who were captured by Indians?







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2 Responses to Indian Captives

  1. Pingback: Some Amish Posts | Braman's Wanderings

  2. Lake Lili says:

    You should read the book “Medicine Maid” by Elizabeth Hoople. Written by her descendant, and published in 1977, it is the story Mary Whitmore, one of the children captured in Jerseytown, Pa., by Delaware Indians, along with three brothers and a sister, during the Whitmore Massacre of 1779. During her nine years with an Indians, she was adopted by and trained up as the medicine woman. Her story is complicated by the American War of Independence, and the resulting famines, and by the fact that surviving members of her family were Loyalists. Great read.

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