Indian Captivities

AccessGenealogy.com. Indian Captivity Narratives. A collection of first hand Indian captivity narratives from a variety of sources. For a list of sources, please see title page.

Narrative of Mrs. Clendenin – Indian Captivities

Narrative of the Destruction of the Settlement of Green-Brier, Virginia, together with the capture and surprising conduct of Mrs. Clendenin, who was among those Who Escaped the Tomahawk of the Indians at that Massacre. After peace was confirmed between England and France in the year 1761, the Indians commenced hostilities in 1763,  when all the …

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Narrative of Marie Le Roy and Barbara Leininger

The Narrative of Mary le Roy and Barbara Leininger. Who for four and a half years were captive among the Indians, and on the 6th May 1759 arrived happy in this city. From her own lips never written and promoted to the Press. This manuscript gives an account of the captivity and escape of these two girls, whose families lived on Penn’s Creek, in the present Union County, Pennsylvania. It also provides a lengthy list of names of other prisoners met by the two ladies in their captivity.

Life and travels of Colonel James Smith – Indian Captivities

James Smith, pioneer, was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, in 1737. When he was eighteen years of age he was captured by the Indians, was adopted into one of their tribes, and lived with them as one of themselves until his escape in 1759. He became a lieutenant under General Bouquet during the expedition against the Ohio Indians in 1764, and was captain of a company of rangers in Lord Dunmore’s War. In 1775 he was promoted to major of militia. He served in the Pennsylvania convention in 1776, and in the assembly in 1776-77. In the latter year he was commissioned colonel in command on the frontiers, and performed distinguished services. Smith moved to Kentucky in 1788. He was a member of the Danville convention, and represented Bourbon county for many years in the legislature. He died in Washington county, Kentucky, in 1812. The following narrative of his experience as member of an Indian tribe is from his own book entitled “Remarkable Adventures in the Life and Travels of Colonel James Smith,” printed at Lexington, Kentucky, in 1799. It affords a striking contrast to the terrible experiences of the other captives whose stories are republished in this book; for he was well treated, and stayed so long with his red captors that he acquired expert knowledge of their arts and customs, and deep insight into their character.

John Gyles Captivity Narrative – Indian Captivities

John Gyles captivity narrative provides a stunning display of Abenaki culture and lifestyle, as it was in the 1690’s. John was 10 years old when he was taken captive in the attack on Pemaquid (Bristol Maine) and his narrative provides an accounting of his harrowing treatment by his Indian captors, as well as the three years exile with his French owners at Jemseg New Bruswick. His faith in Christ remains central in the well-being of his mind throughout his ordeal.

Indian Captivity Narratives

This collection contains entire narratives of Indian captivity; that is to say, we have provided the reader the originals without the slightest abridgement. Some of these captivities provide little in way of customs and manners, except to display examples of the clandestine warfare Native Americans used to accomplish their means. In almost every case, there was a tug of war going on between principle government powers, French, American, British, and Spanish, and these powers used the natural prowess of the Indians to assist them in causing warfare upon American and Canadian settlers. There were definitely thousands of captivities, likely tens of thousands, as the active period of these Indian captivity narratives covers 150 years. Unfortunately, few have ever been put under a pen by the original captive, and as such, we have little first-hand details on their captivity. These you will find here, are only those with which were written by the captive or narrated to another who could write for them; you shall find in a later collection, a database of known captives, by name, location, and dates, and a narrative about their captivity along with factual sources. But that is for another time.

Captivity of John Fitch – Indian Captivities

Particulars Relating to the Captivity of John Fitch, of Ashby, Mass. Related by Mr. Enos Jones, of Ashburnham. The town of Lunenburg, in Massachusetts, was incorporated August 1, 1728, and received its name in compliment to George II., who, the preceding year, came to the British throne, and was styled Duke of Lunenburg, having in …

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Captivity of Elizabeth Hanson – Indian Captivities

God’s Mercy Surmounting Man’s Cruelty, Exemplified in the Captivity and Surprising Deliverance of Elizabeth Hanson, Wife of John Hanson, of Knoxmarsh, at Kecheachy, in Dover Township, who was Taken Captive with her Children and Maid-Servant, by the Indians in New England, in the Year 1724. – The substance of which was taken from her own …

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Captivity and Redemption of Mrs. Jemima Howe – Indian Captivities

A particular account of the captivity and redemption of Mrs. Jemima Howe, who was taken prisoner by the Indians at Hinsdale, New Hampshire, on the twenty-seventh of July, 1765, as communicated to Dr. Belknap by the Rev. Bunker Gay. As Messrs. Caleb Howe, Hilkiah Grout, and Benjamin Gaffield, who had been hoeing corn in the …

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An Account of the Sufferings of Mercy Harbison – Indian Captivities

On the 4th of November, 1791, a force of Americans under General Arthur St. Clair was attacked, near the present Ohio-Indiana boundary line, by about the same number of Indians led by Blue Jacket, Little Turtle, and the white renegade Simon Girty. Their defeat was the most disastrous that ever has been suffered by our arms when engaged against a savage foe on anything like even terms. Out of 86 officers and about 1400 regular and militia soldiers, St. Clair lost 70 officers killed or wounded, and 845 men killed, wounded, or missing. The survivors fled in panic, throwing away their weapons and accoutrements. Such was “St. Clair’s defeat.”

The utter incompetency of the officers commanding this expedition may be judged from the single fact that a great number of women were allowed to accompany the troops into a wilderness known to be infested with the worst kind of savages. There were about 250 of these women with the “army” on the day of the battle. Of these, 56 were killed on the spot, many being pinned to the earth by stakes driven through their bodies. Few of the others escaped captivity.

After this unprecedented victory, the Indians became more troublesome than ever along the frontier. No settler’s home was safe, and many were destroyed in the year of terror that followed. The awful fate of one of those households is told in the following touching narrative of Mercy Harbison, wife of one of the survivors of St. Clair’s defeat. How two of her little children were slaughtered before her eyes, how she was dragged through the wilderness with a babe at her breast, how cruelly maltreated, and how she finally escaped, barefooted and carrying her infant through days and nights of almost superhuman exertion, she has left record in a deposition before the magistrates at Pittsburgh and in the statement here reprinted.

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