Imágenes de páginas

The next day he carried me to that captain's house, and set me down. They gave me my victuals and wine, and being left there a while by the Indians, I showed the captain my fingers, which when he and his wife saw they ran away from the sight, and bid me lap it up again, and sent for the chirurgeon ; who, when he came, said he could cure me, and took it in hand, and dressed it. The Indians towards night came for me; I told them I could not go with them. They were displeased, called me rogue, and went away. That night I was full of pain; the French feared I would die; five men did watch with me, and strove to keep me cheerly, for I was sometimes ready to faint. Oftentimes they gave me a little brandy.

The next day the chirurgeon came again, and dressed me; and so he did all the while I was among the French. I came in at Christmas, and went thence May 2d.

Being thus in the captain's house, I was kept there till Benjamin Waite came; and now my Indian master, being in want of money, pawned me to the captain for fourteen beavers' skins, or the worth of them, at such a day; if he did not pay he must lose his påwn, or else sell me for twenty-one beavers; but he could not get beaver, and so I was sold. By being thus sold, adds Dr. Mather, he was in God's good time set at liberty, and returned to his friends in New England again.



Sarah Gerish, daughter of Captain John Gerish, of Quochecho or Cocheco, was a very beautiful and ingenious damsel, about seven years


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 have 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 savages quickly pulled her out, and made her dress for a march, but led her away 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.* 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

[ocr errors]

* These planes are in the present town of Rochester, N. H.

[ocr errors]

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, but he sold her to a fellow who was a more harsh and mad sort of a dragon. He carried her away to Canada.

A long and sad journey now ensued, through the midst of a hideous desert, in the depth of a dreadful winter ; and who can enumerate the frights she endured before the end of her journey? Once her master commanded her to loosen some of her upper garments, and stand against a tree while he charged his gun; whereat the poor child shrieked out, “ He is going to kill me!” God knows what he was going to do; but the villain having charged his gun, he called her from the tree and forbore doing her any damage. Upon another time her master ordered her to run along the shore with some Indian girls, while he paddled up the river in his canoe. As the girls were passing a precipice, a tawny wench violently pushed her headlong into the river, but so it fell out that in this very place of her fall the bushes from the shore hung over the water, so that she was enabled to get hold of them, and thus saved herself. The Indians asked her how she became so wet, but she did not dare to tell them, from fear of the resentment of her that had so nearly deprived her of life already. And here it may be remarked, that it is almost universally true, that young Indians, both male and female, are as much to be, dreaded by captives as those of maturer years, and in many cases much more so; for, unlike cultivated people, they have no restraints upon their mischievous and savage propensities, which they indulge in cruelties surpassing any examples here related. They often vie with each other in attempting excessive acts of torture.

Once, being spent with travelling all day, and lying down wet and exhausted at night, she fell into so profound a sleep that in the morning she waked not. Her barbarous captors decamped from the place of their night's rest, leaving this little captive girl asleep and covered with a snow that in the night had fallen; but, at length awaking, what agonies may you imagine she was in, on finding herself left a prey for bears and wolves, and without any sustenance, in a howling wilderness, many scores of leagues from any plantation ! In this dismal situation, however, she had fortitude sufficient to attempt to follow them. And here again, the snow which had been her covering upon the cold ground, to her great discomfort, was now her only hope, for she could just discern by it the track of the Indians! How long it was before she overtook them is not, told us, but she joined them and continued her captivity.

Now the young Indians began to terrify her by constantly reminding her that she was shortly to be roasted to death. One evening much fuel was prepared between two logs, which they told her was for her torture. A mighty fire being made, her master called her to him, and told her that she should be presently burnt alive. At first she stood amazed; then burst into tears; and then she hung about her tiger of a master, begging of him, with an inexpressible anguish, to save her from the fire. Hereupon the monster so far relented as to tell her, " that if she would be a good girl she should not be burnt.”


At last they arrived at Canada, and she was carried into the Lord Intendant's house, where many persons of quality took much notice of her. It was a week after this that she remained in the Indian's hands before the price of her ransom could be agreed upon. But then the lady intendant sent her to the nunnery, where she was comfortably provided for; and it was the design, as was said, to have brought her up in the Romish religion, and then to have married her unto the son of the Lord Intendant.

She was kindly used there until Sir William Phips, lying before Quebec, did, upon exchange of prisoners, obtain her liberty. After sixteen months' captivity she was restored unto her friends, who had the consolation of having this their desirable daughter again with them, returned as it were from the dead. But this dear child was not to cheer her parents' path for a long period; for on arriving at her sixteenth year, July, 1697, death carried her off by a malignant fever.




Mrs. Elizabeth Heard was a widow of good estate, a mother of many children, and a daughter of Mr. Hull, a reverend minister formerly living at Piscataqua, but at this time lived at Quochecho, the Indian name of Dover. Happening to be at Portsmouth on the day before Quochecho was cut off, she returned thither in the night with one daughter and three sons, all masters of families. When they came near Quochecho, they were astonished with a prodigious noise of Indians, howling, shooting, shouting, and roaring, according to their manner in making an assault,

Their distress for their families carried them still further up the river, till they secretly and silently passed by some numbers of the raging savages. They landed about an hundred rods from Major Waldron's garrison, and running up the hill, they saw many lights in the windows of the garrison, which they concluded the English within had set up for the direction of those who might seek a refuge there. Coming to the gate, they desired entrance, which not being readily granted, they called earnestly, bounced, knocked, and cried out to those within of their unkindness, that they would not open the gate to them in this extremity.

No answer being yet made, they began to doubt whether all was well. One of the young men then climbing up the wall, saw a hor. rible tawny savage in the entry, with a gun in his hand. A grievous

consternation seized now upon them, and Mrs. Heard, sitting down without the gate, through despair and faintness, was unable to stir any further; but had strength only to charge her children to shift for themselves, which she did in broken accents, adding, also, that she must unavoidably there end her days.

Her children, finding it impossible to carry her with them, with heavy hearts forsook her. Immediately after, however, she, beginning to recover from her fright, was able to fly, and hide herself in a bunch of barberry bushes in the garden; and then hastening from thence, because the daylight advanced, she sheltered herself, though seen by two of the Indians, in a thicket of bushes about thirty rods from the house. She had not been long here before an Indian came towards her with a pistol in his hand. The fellow came up to her and stared her in the face, but said nothing to her, nor she to him. He went a little way back, and came again and stared upon her as before, but said nothing; whereupon she asked him what he would have. still said nothing, but went away to the house, whooping, and returned unto her no more.

Being thus unaccountably preserved, she made several essays to pass the river, but found herself unable to do it, and finding all places on that side of the river filled with blood, and fire, and hideous out. cries, she thereupon returned to her old bush, and there poured out her ardent prayers to God for help in this distress.

She continued in this bush until the garrison was burnt and the enemy had gone, and then she stole along by the river side until she came to a boom, on which she passed over. Many sad effects of cruelty she saw left by the Indians in her way. She soon after safely arrived at Captain Gerish's garrison, where she found a refuge from the storm. Here she also had the satisfaction to understand that her own garrison, though one of the first assåulted, had been bravely defended, and successfully maintained against the adversary.

This gentlewoman's garrison was on the most extreme frontier of the province, and more obnoxious than any other, and therefore more incapable of being relieved. Nevertheless, by her presence and courage, it held out all the war, even for ten years together; and the persons in it have enjoyed very eminent preservations. It would have been deserted, if she had accepted offers that were made her by her triends to abandon it, and retire to Portsmouth among them, which would have been a damage to the town and land; but by her encouragement this post was thus kept up, and she is yet (1702) living in much esteern among her neighbors.




INTRODUCTION.—These private memoirs were collected from my minutes, at the earnest request of my second consort, for the use of our family, that we might have a memento ever ready at hand to excite in ourselves gratitude and thankfulness to God, and in our offspring a due sense of their dependence on the Sovereign of the universe, from the precariousness and vicissitudes of all sublunary enjoyments. In this state, and for this end, they have laid by me for some years. They at length falling into the hands of some for whose judgment I had a value, I was pressed for a copy for the public. Others, desiring of me to extract particulars from them, which the multiplicity and urgency of my affairs would not admit, I have now determined to suffer their publication. I have made scarcely any addition to this manual, except in the chapter of creatures, which I was urged to make larger. I might have greatly enlarged it, but I feared it would grow beyond its proportion. I have been likewise advised to give a particular account of my father, which I am not very fond of, having no dependence on the virtues or honors of my ancestors to recommend me to the favor of God or men; neverthe. less, because some think it is a respect due to the memory of my parents, whose name I was obliged to mention in the following story, and a satisfaction which their posterity might justly expect from me, I shall give some account of him, though as brief as possible.

The flourishing State of New England, before the unhappy eastern wars, drew my father hither, whose first settlement was on Kennebeck river, at a place called Merrymeeting bay, where he dwelt for some years ; until, on the death of my grand parents, he, with his family, returned to England to settle his affairs. This done, he came over with the design to have returned to his farm; but on his arrival at Boston, the eastern Indians had begun their hostilities. He there. fore began a settlement on Long Island. The air of that place not so well agreeing with his constitution, and the Indians having become peaceable, he again proposed to resettle his lands in Merrymeeting bay; but finding that place deserted, and that plantations were going on at Pemmaquid, he purchased several tracts of land of the inhabitants there. Upon his highness the Duke of York resuming a claim to those parts, my father took out patents under that claim; and when Pemmaquid was set off by the name of the County of Cornwall, in the province of New York, he was commissioned chief justice of the same by Gov. Duncan (Dongan.) lle was a strict sabbatarian, and met with considerable difficulty in the discharge of his office, from the immoralities of a people who had long lived lawless. He laid out no

« AnteriorContinuar »