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Narrative of the Captivity and Sufferings of Miss Sarah Gerish – Indian Captivities

Miss Sarah Gerish, who was Taken at the Sacking of Dover, in the Year 1689, by the Indians; as Communicated to the Reverend Dr. Cotton Mather, by the Reverend John Pike, Minister of Dover. Sarah Gerish, daughter of Capt. John Gerish, of Quochecho or Cocheco, was a very beautiful and ingenious damsel, about seven years of age, and happened to be lodging at the garrison of Major Waldron, her affectionate grandfather, when the Indians brought that horrible destruction upon it, on the night of the 27th of June, 1689. She was always very fearful of the Indians; but fear may we think now surprised her, when they fiercely bid her go into a certain chamber and call the people out! She obeyed, but finding only a little child in bed in the room, she got into the bed with it, and hid herself in the clothes as well as she could. The fell Indians quickly pulled her out, and made her dress for a march, but led her way with no more than one stocking upon her, on a terrible march through the thick woods, and a thousand other miseries, till they came to the Norway Planes.1 From thence they made her go to the end of Winnipisiogee Lake, thence eastward, through horrid swamps, where sometimes they were obliged to scramble over huge trees fallen by storm or age, for a vast way together, and sometimes they must climb up long, steep, tiresome, and almost inaccessible mountains. Her first master was an Indian named Sebundowit, a dull sort of fellow, and not such a devil as many of them were,...

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.

War Between the Colonies and The Western Indians – From 1763 To 1765

A struggle began in 1760, in which the English had to contend with a more powerful Indian enemy than any they had yet encountered. Pontiac, a chief renowned both in America and Europe, as a brave and skillful warrior, and a far-sighted and active ruler, was at the head of all the Indian tribes on the great lakes. Among these were the Ottawas, Miamis, Chippewas, Wyandott, Pottawatomie, Winnebago, Shawanese, Ottagamie, and Mississagas. After the capture of Quebec, in 1760, Major Rodgers was sent into the country of Pontiac to drive the French from it. Apprised of his approach, Pontiac sent ambassadors to inform him that their chief was not far off, and desired him to halt until he could see him “with his own eyes.” When Pontiac met the English officer, he demanded to know the business which had brought him into his country, and how he dared to enter it without his permission. The major told him he had no designs against the Indians, but only wished to expel the French; and at the same time, he delivered him several belts of wampum. Pontiac replied, “I stand in the path you travel until tomorrow morning,” and gave the major a belt. This communication was understood to mean, that the intruder was not to march further without his leave. Next day, the English detachment was plentifully supplied with provisions by the Indians, and Pontiac giving the commander the pipe of peace, assured him that he might pass through his country unmolested, and that he would protect him and his party. As an earnest of his friendship, he sent one...

The French and Indian War from 1754 to 1759 – Beaver Wars

After the peace, concluded between France and England in 1748, the French, excluded from the Atlantic coast of North America, designed to take possession of the country further west, and for this purpose, commenced to build a chain of forts to connect the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi rivers. The English, to prevent this scheme from being carried into action, formed an Ohio company, to whom a considerable extent of country was granted by the English government. Upon hearing of this, the governor of Canada notified the governors of New York and Pennsylvania, that if the English traders came upon the western territory, they would be seized or killed. This menace did not divert the Ohio company from prosecuting its design of surveying the country as far as the falls in the Ohio river. While Mr. Gist was making that survey for the company, some French parties, with their Indians, seized three British traders, and carried them to Presque Isle, on Lake Erie, where a strong fort was then erecting. The British, alarmed at this capture, retired to the Indian towns for shelter; and the Twightwees, resenting the violence done to their allies, assembled, to the number of five hundred or six hundred, scoured the woods, and, finding three French traders, sent them to Pennsylvania. The French determined to persist; built a strong fort, about fifteen miles south of the former, on one of the branches of the Ohio; and another still, at the confluence of the Ohio and Wabache; and thus completed their long projected communication between the mouth of the Mississippi and the river St. Lawrence. Thus...

The Wars of the Five Nations – Indian Wars

Although the confederacy known as the Five Nations were the allies of the English in the war against the French, and joined them in many of their principal expeditions, their history deserves a separate notice, as they afford us a complete example of what the Indians of North America were capable of. Their great reputation as warriors, and their wisdom in council, have been so often alluded to by those interested in the history of the Indians, that we shall be pardoned for giving a somewhat extended description of their confederacy, and an account of their wars. The Five Nations, by their geographical position, formed a sort of barrier between the French possessions in the northwest, and the middle colonies of the English. The confederacy is said to have originated in remote antiquity; and, as the name implies, comprehended five Indian tribes, of which, the Mohawks were the most powerful, and the most celebrated. These tribes were united on terms of the strictest equality, in a perpetual league, offensive and defensive. The principles of their alliance and government display much more refinement than might have been expected of “savages.” Each nation had its own separate republican constitution, in which rank and authority were only attainable by the union of age and merit, and enjoyed during the public will. Each nation was divided into three tribes, distinguished by the names, the Tortoise, the Bear, and the Wolf. The confederacy had adopted the Roman policy of increasing their strength by absorbing the conquered tribes; and the effect was the same in both cases, though, in the latter, it was on a...

Queen Anne’s War – Indian Wars

War was declared against France by Queen Anne, of England, in May, 1702, and, of course, the contest was renewed in America. Villebon, the governor of Canada, immediately began to encroach upon the northern frontier of the British colonies, and to instigate the Indians to commence their destructive ravages. Dudley, the governor of Massachusetts, visited Casco, Maine, in June, 1703, and held a conference with a number of Indian chiefs, and concluded a treaty which the Indians promised to observe as long as the sun and moon should continue. Not withstanding these protestations, they made an attack a few weeks after upon all the settlements from Casco to Wells, killing and taking one hundred and thirty persons, and destroying all in their way. On the 17th of August, 1703, a party of Indians attacked Hampton village, killed five persons, and plundered two houses. This alarmed the neighboring country, and the Indians fled. In the fall, Colonel March, of Casco, attacked a party of the enemy, killing six and taking six prisoners. Hostilities were suspended during the winter. In the spring, Colonel Church, renowned as the conqueror of Metacomet, planned an expedition against the Indians in Maine, and sailed from Boston, with a number of small boats, in May. At Green Island, he took a number of prisoners, and at Penobscot, he took or killed every Indian or Frenchman who could be found. Among the captives was a daughter of Castein, whom they kindly treated, though her father had been such a bloody foe of New England. Thence they proceeded, and drove the French and Indians from Passamaquaddy. Sailing across...

King William’s War – Indian Wars

The war commonly called by the colonists, “King William’s War,” commenced in 1688 and ended in 1697. The object of the French was the expulsion of the English from the northern and middle provinces. The English directed their efforts against Canada. The French secured the services of the greater part of the Indians, and the united forces spread death and desolation in all directions.

The Migration of Voyageurs from Drummond Island to Penetanguishene in 1828

The story of the transfer of the British garrison from Drummond Island to Penetanguishene in 1828 and the migration of voyageurs connected with the post has never been told in print. In the following notes Mr. Osborne has endeavored to gather this story from the lips of the few survivors who migrated at that time. Descendants of French-Canadians largely predominated in this movement, but we also get glimpses of what a strange and heterogeneous people once gathered around Mackinaw and Drummond Island, especially about the time of the coalition of the two fur companies in 1821. The migrant voyageurs settled principally near Penetanguishene, in the township of Tiny, Simcoe County. Offshoots of the band settled at Old Fort Ste. Marie, at Fesserton and Coldwater, and another south of Lake Simcoe, near Pefferlaw, York County. These notes will form a useful supplement to Joseph Taase’s “Les Canadiens de l’Ouest.”

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