Discover your family's story.

Enter a grandparent's name to get started.

Start Now

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 Mrs. Mary Rowlandson – Indian Captivities

Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, Wife of the Rev. Joseph Rowlandson, Who Was Taken Prisoner when Lancaster was Destroyed, in the Year 1676; Written by Herself. On the 10th of February, 1676, came the Indians with great numbers ((Fifteen hundred was the number, according to the best authorities. They were the Wamponoags, led by King Philip, accompanied by the Narrhagansett, his allies, and also by the Nipmucks and Nashaways whom his artful eloquence had persuaded to join with him.)) upon Lancaster: their first coming was about sun-rising. Hearing the noise of some guns, we looked out; several houses were burning, and the smoke ascending to heaven. There were five persons taken in one house; the father and mother, and a sucking child they knocked on the head, the other two they took and carried away alive. There were two others, who, being out of their garrison upon occasion, were set upon, one was knocked on the head, the other escaped. Another there was, who, running along, was shot and wounded, and fell down; he begged of them his life, promising them money, as they told me, but they would not hearken to him, but knocked him on the head, stripped him naked, and split open his bowels. Another, seeing many of the Indians about his barn, ventured and went out, but was quickly shot down. There were three others belonging to the same garrison who were killed; the Indians getting up upon the roof of the barn, had advantage to shoot down upon them over their fortification. Thus these murderous wretches went on burning and destroying all before them.1 At length they came...

Pin It on Pinterest