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.
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.
A Narrative of the captivity of Nehemiah How, who was taken by the Indians at the Great Meadow Fort above Fort Dummer, where he was an inhabitant, October 11th, 1745. Giving an account of what he met with in his traveling to Canada, and while he was in prison there. Together with an account of Mr. How’s death at Canada. Exceedingly valuable for the many items of exact intelligence therein recorded, relative to so many of the present inhabitants of New England, through those friends who endured the hardships of captivity in the mountain deserts and the damps of loathsome prisons. Had the author lived to have returned, and published his narrative himself, he doubtless would have made it far more valuable, but he was cut off while a prisoner, by the prison fever, in the fifty-fifth year of his age, after a captivity of one year, seven months, and fifteen days. He died May 25th, 1747, in the hospital at Quebec, after a sickness of about ten days. He was a husband and father, and greatly beloved by all who knew him.
This page provides an extensive list of Alabama court records that have been transcribed and placed online.