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.
Not for the faint of heart or stomach, this is a graphically descriptive recounting of the captivity of Peter Williamson, who was taken by the Delaware Indians, at his own house near the forks of the Delaware in Pennsylvania. Of all the sufferings reported by captives, this particular account appears to go above and beyond the usual descriptions, almost to the point of unbelievability – because in this case, he doesn’t simply report the acts of cruelty, but vividly describes them in the most horrid fashion, even to claim the Delaware committed cannibalism on one of their captives, and then explaining how they did it.