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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 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...

Biography of Maj. John P. Clendenin

MAJ. JOHN P. CLENDENIN. This gentleman, the register of public lands at Harrison, Arkansas, is capable, efficient and trustworthy, and in the discharge of his official duties has shown that he is the ” right man in the right place.” The Major was born in Louisville, Kentucky, September 4, 1839, a son of James M. and Eliza (Peay) Clendenin, the former of whom was born in Harford County Md., in 1796, and was a son of John Clendenin who was also born in that State and who was a soldier of the Revolutionary War. The name is of Scotch origin, and the family has for many generations resided in this country. James M. Clendenin was a soldier of the War of 1812 and with Jackson in the famous battle of New Orleans. He became a resident of Kentucky when a young man, was married in Louisville, and in 1846 removed to St. Louis, Missouri, where he became a very prominent man and president of the first Board of Underwriters in that city. He was president of the United States Insurance Company from its inception up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1859. He and his wife reared a family of six children: Mrs. Courtenay, of Allegheny City, Pa.; William A., who is connected with the Boatmen’s Bank of St. Louis, and John P. Mr. Clendenin held to the principles of the old Whig party, and was a clear-headed and practical business man. The early literary education of Maj. Clendenin was obtained in the public schools of St. Louis and in St. Paul’s College of Marion County,...

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