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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.

The Narrative of Francesco Giuseppe Bressani – Indian Captivities

The Italian Jesuit missionary Father Bressani was born in Rome, 6 May, 1612. At the age of fourteen he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. Becoming zealous to serve as missionary among the American Indians, he went to Quebec in the summer of 1642, and the following year he was sent among the Algonquins at Three Rivers. In April, 1644, while on his way to the Huron country, where a mission had been established, he was captured by the Iroquois, who at that time were an exceedingly fierce and even cannibal nation, perpetually at war with nearly the whole known continent. By them he was subjected to tortures, but finally was made over to an old squaw to take the place of a deceased relative. From her he was ransomed by the Dutch at Fort Orange (the modern Albany), and by them he was sent to France, where he arrived in November, 1644. Despite his terrible experiences among the savages, and his maimed condition, the indomitable missionary returned to Canada the next spring, and labored with the Hurons until their mission was destroyed by the Iroquois four years later. In November, 1650, Bressani, in broken health, went back to his native land. Here he spent many years as a preacher and home missionary. He died at Florence, 9 September, 1672. The following account of Father Bressani’s sufferings among the Indians is translated from two of his own letters in his book Breve Relatione d’alcune Missioni nella Nuova Francia, published at Macerata in 1653.

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.

Narrative of the captivity of Alexander Henry, Esq – Indian Captivities

Narrative of the captivity of Alexander Henry, Esq., who, in the time of Pontiac’s War, fell into the hands of the Huron Indians. Detailing a faithful account of the capture of the Garrison of Michilimacki-Nac, and the massacre of about ninety people. Written by himself.1 When I reached Michilimackinac I found several other traders, who had arrived before me, from different parts of the country, and who, in general, declared the dispositions of the Indians to be hostile to the English, and even apprehended some attack. M. Laurent Ducharme distinctly informed Major Etherington that a plan was absolutely conceived for destroying him, his garrison and all the English in the upper country; but the commandant believing this and other reports to be without foundation, proceeding only from idle or ill-disposed persons, and of a tendency to do mischief, expressed much displeasure against M. Ducharme, and threatened to send the next person who should bring a story of the same kind, a prisoner, to Detroit. The garrison, at this time, consisted of ninety privates, two subalterns and the commandant; and the English merchants at the fort were four in number. Thus strong, few entertained anxiety concerning the Indians, who had no weapons but small arms. Meanwhile, the Indians, from every quarter, were daily assembling, in unusual numbers, but with every appearance of friendship, frequenting the fort, and disposing of their peltries, in such a manner as to dissipate almost every one’s fears. For myself, on one occasion, I took the liberty of observing to Major Etherington that, in my judgment, no confidence ought to be placed in them, and that...

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.1 After peace was confirmed between England and France in the year 1761, the Indians commenced hostilities in 1763,2 when all the inhabitants in Greenbrier were totally cut off by a party of Indians, headed by the chief warrior Cornstalk.3 The principal settlements were on Muddy Creek. These Indians, in number about sixty, introduced themselves into the people’s houses under the mask of friendship, where every civility was offered them by the people, providing them with victuals and other accommodations for their entertainment, when, on a sudden, they fall upon and kill the men, and make prisoners of the women and children. From thence they passed over into the Levels, where some families were collected at the house of Archibald Clendenin, where the Honorable Balard Smith now lives. There were between fifty and one hundred persons, men, women and children. There the Indians were entertained, as at Muddy Creek, in the most hospitable manner. Mr. Clendenin had just arrived from a hunt, with three fat elks, upon which they were feasted in a bountiful manner. In the mean time an old woman, with a sore leg, was showing her distress to an Indian, and inquiring if he could administer to her any relief. He said he thought he could, and drawing his tomahawk, instantly killed her, and all the men, almost, that were in the house. One, named Conrad Yolkom, only escaped. He, being at some distance from the...

Narrative of the Captivity of Maria and Christina Manheim – Indian Captivities

Frederick Manheim, an industrious German, with his family, consisting of his wife, a daughter of eighteen years of age, and Maria and Christina, his youngest children, (twins,) about sixteen, resided near the river Mohawk, eight miles west of Johnston. On the 19th of October, 1779, the father being at work at some distance from his habitation, and the mother and eldest daughter on a visit at a neighbor’s, two hostile Canasadaga Indians rushed in and captured the twin sisters. The party to which these savages belonged consisted of fifty warriors, who, after securing twenty-three of the inhabitants of that neighborhood, (among whom was the unfortunate Frederick Manheim) and firing their houses, retired for four days with the utmost precipitancy, till they were quite safe from pursuit. The place where they halted on the evening of the day of rest was a thick pine swamp, which rendered the darkness of an uncommonly gloomy night still more dreadful. The Indians kindled a fire, which they had not done before, and ordered their prisoners, whom they kept together, to refresh themselves with such provisions as they had. The Indians eat by themselves. After supper the appalled captives observed their enemies, instead of retiring to rest, busied in operations which boded nothing good. Two saplings were pruned clear of branches up to the very top, and all the brush cleared away for several rods around them. While this was doing, others were splitting pitch-pine billets into small splinters about five inches in length, and as small as one’s little finger, sharpening one end, and dipping the other in melted turpentine. At length, with...

Experience Bozarth’s Heroic Stand – Indian Captivities

Signal Prowess of a Woman, In a Combat with Some Indians. In a Letter to a Lady of Philadelphia Westmoreland, April 26, 1779. Madam, I have written an account of a very particular affair between a white man and two Indians.1 I am now to give you a relation in which you will see how a person of your sex acquitted herself in defense of her own life, and that of her husband and children. The lady who is the burthen of this story is named Experience Bozarth. She lives on a creek called Dunkard creek, in the southwest corner of this county. About the middle of March last, two or three families, who were afraid to stay at home, gathered to her house and there stayed; looking on themselves to be safer than when all scattered about at their own houses. On a certain day some of the children thus collected came running in from play in great haste, saying there were ugly red men. One of the men in the house stepped to the door, where he received a ball in the side of his breast, which caused him to fall back into the house. The Indian was immediately in over him, and engaged with another man who was in the house. The man tossed the Indian on a bed, and called for a knife to kill him. (Observe these were all the men that were in the house.) Now Mrs. Bozarth appears the only defense, who, not finding a knife at hand, took up an axe that lay by, and with one blow cut out the brains...

Rev. John Corbly’s Narrative – Indian Captivities

If, after perusing the annexed melancholy narrative, you deem it worthy a place in your publication, it is at your service. Such communications, founded on fact, have a tendency on one hand to make us feel for the persons afflicted, and on the other to impress our hearts with gratitude to the Sovereign Disposer of all events for that emancipation which the United States have experienced from the haughty claims of Britain a power, at that time, so lost to every human affection, that, rather than not subdue and make us slaves, they basely chose to encourage, patronize and reward, as their most faithful and beloved allies, the savages of the wilderness; who, without discrimination, barbarously massacred the industrious husband man, the supplicating female, the prattling child and tender infant, vainly sheltered within the encircling arms of maternal fondness. Such transactions, as they come to our knowledge well authenticated, ought to be recorded, that our posterity may not be ignorant of what their ancestors underwent at the trying period of our national exertions for American independence. The following account was, at my request, drawn up by the unfortunate sufferer. Respecting the author, suffice it to say, that he is an ordained minister of the Baptist faith and order, and held in high estimation by all our associated churches. I am, sir, yours, &c., William Rogers Muddy Creek, Washington County, July 8, 1785. Dear Sir, The following is a just and true account of the tragical scene of my family’s falling by the savages, which I related when at your house in Philadelphia, and you requested me to forward in...

Narrative of the Captivity of of Mrs. Francis Scott – Indian Captivities

A True and Wonderful Narrative of the Surprising Captivity and remarkable deliverance of Mrs. Francis Scott, an inhabitant of Washington County, Virginia, who was taken by the Indians on the evening of the 29th of June, 1785. On Wednesday, the 29th day of June, 1785, late in the evening, a large company of armed men passed the house on their way to Kentucky, some part of whom encamped within two miles. Mr. Scott’s living on a frontier part generally made the family watchful; but on this calamitous day, after so large a body of men had passed; he lay down in his bed, and imprudently left one of the doors of his house open; the children were also in bed and asleep. Mrs. Scott was nearly undressed, when, to her unutterable astonishment and horror, she saw rushing in through the door, that was left open, painted savages, with their arms presented at the same time, raising a hideous shriek. Mr. Scott, being awake, instantly jumped from his bed, and was immediately fired at. He forced his way through the midst of the enemy, and got out of the house, but fell a few paces from the door. An Indian seized Mrs. Scott, and ordered her to a particular place, charging her not to move. Others stabbed and cut the throats of the three youngest children in their bed, and afterwards lifted them up, and dashed them on the floor near their mother. The eldest, a beautiful girl, eight years of age, awoke, and jumping out of bed, ran to her mother, and with the most plaintive accent? cried, “mamma!...
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