« AnteriorContinuar »
extreme difficulties, yet I saw much of God's goodness. And may the most powerful and beneficent Being accept of this public testimony of it, and bless my experiences to excite others to confide in his all. sufficiency, through the infinite merits of Jesus Christ.
NARRATIVES OF EXCESSIVE DISTRESS OF PERSONS TAKEN AT THE DESTRUCTION OF SALMON FALLS, IN THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, ON THE TWENTY-SEVENTH OF MARCH, 1690.
When the news of the destruction of Schenectady reached New England, it spread great alarm over the whole country. The wise men gave particular caution to all the frontier posts, urging them to keep strict watch, and to make strong their fortifications; but the people in the east did not their duty, and Salmon Falls, a fine settlement upon a branch of Piscataqua river, fell into the hands of an infuriated and cruel enemy; the particulars whereof are at large set forth in the work entitled The Book of the Indians.
But, as has been observed, notwithstanding these warnings, the people dreamed that while the deep snow of the winter continued, they were sıfe enough, which proved as vain as a dream of a dry
Near thirty persons were slain, and more than fifty were led into what the reader will by and by call the worst captivity in the world. It would be a long story to tell what a particular share in this calamity fell to the lot of the family of one Clement Short. This honest man with his pious wife and three children were killed, and six or seven others of their children were made prisoners. The most of these arrived sale at Canada, through a thousand hardships, and the most of these were with more than a thousand mercies afterwards redeemed from Canada, and returned unto their English friends again. But as we cannot take notice of all the individuals, we will pass to the notice of those mentioned at the commencement of this narrative.
Among the prisoners was one Robert Rogers, with whom as the Indians journeyed they came to a hill, u bere this man, (being through his corpulency called Robin Pork) being under such an intolerable and unsupportable burden of Indian luogage, was not so able to travel as the rest; he therefore, watching for an opportunity, made his escape. The wretches, missing him, iminediately went in pursuit of him, and it was not long before ihey found his burden cast in the way, and the tracks of his feet going out of the way. This they followed, and found him hid in a hollow tree. They dragged him out, stripped him, beat and pricked him, pushed him forward with the points of their swords, until they got back to the hill from whence he had escaped. It being almost night, they fastened him to a tree, with his hands behind him, then made thems
a supper, singing and dancing around him, roaring, and uttering great and many signs of
joy, but with joy little enough to the poor creature who foresaw what all this tended to.
The Indians next cut a parcel of wood, and bringing it into a plain place, they cut off the top of a small red-oak tree, leaving the trunk for a stake, whereunto they bound their sacrifice. They first made a great fire near this tree of death, and bringing Rogers unto it, bid him take his leave of his friends, which he did in a doleful manner, such as no pen, though made of a harpy's quill, were able to describe the dolor of it. They then allowed him a little time to make his prayers unto heaven, which he did with an extreme fervency and agony; whereupon they bound him to the stake, and brought the rest of the prisoners, with their arms tied each to the other, and seated them round the fire. This being done, they went behind the fire, and thrust it forwards upon the man with much laughter and shouting; and when the fire had burnt some time upon him, even till he was almost suffocated, they pulled it away from him, to prolong his existence. They now resumed their dancing around him, and at every turn they did with their knives cut collops of his flesh out of his naked limbs, and throw them with his blood into his face. In this manner was their work continued until he expired.
Being now dead, they set his body down upon the glowing coals of fire, and thus left him tied with his back to the stake, where he was found by some English forces soon after, who were in pursuit of these Indians.
MEHETABLE Goodwin, another of the captives of this band of Indians, who, it will be proper to notice, were led by the renowned Indian chief Hopehood, had a child with her about five months old. This, through hunger and hardship, she being unable to nourish from her breast, occasioned it to make grievous and distressing ejaculations. Her Indian master told her that is the child were not quiet he would soon dispose of it, which caused her to use all possible means that his Netopship might not be offended; and sometimes she would carry it from the fire out of his hearing, when she would sit down up to her waist in the snow, for several hours together, until it was exhausted and lulled to sleep. She thus for several days preserved the life of her babe, until he saw cause to travel with his own cubs farther afield; and then, lest he should be retarded in his travel, he violently snatched the babe out of its mother's arms, and before her face knocked out its brains; and having stripped it of its fow rags it had hitherto enjoyed, ordered the mother to go and wash them of the blood wherewith they were stained! Returning from this sad and melancholy task, she found the infant hanging by the neck in a forked bough of a tree. She requested liberty to lay it in the earth, but the savage said, “ It is better as it is, for now the wild beasts cannot come at it;" (I am sure they had been at it ;) “ and you may have the comfort of seeing it again, if ever you come that way.”
The journey now before them was like to be very long, as far as Canada, where Mrs. Goodwin's master's purpose was to make mer
chandise of her, and glad was she to hear such happy tidings. But the desperate length of the way, and want of food, and grief of mind, wherewith she was now encountered, caused her within a few days to faint under her difficulties ; when, at length, she sat down for some repose, with many prayers and tears unto God for the salvation of her soul, she found herself unable to rise, until she saw her furious executioner coming towards her with fire in his eyes, the devil in his heart, and his hatchet in his hand, ready to bestow a mercy-stroke of death upon her. Then it was that this poor captive woman, in this extreme misery, got upon her knees, and with weeping and wailing and all expressions of agony and entreaty, prevailed on him to spare her life a little longer, and she did not question but God would enable her to walk a little faster. The merciless tyrant was prevailed with to spare her this time; nevertheless her former weakness quickly returning upon her, he was just going to murder her, when a couple of Indians, just at this moment coming in, called suddenly upon him to hold his hand. At this such a horror surprised his guilty soul, that he ran away from her; but hearing them call his name, he returned, and then permitted these his friends to ransom his prisoner.
After these events, as we were seated by the side of a river, we heard several guns go off on the opposite side, which the Indians concluded was occasioned by a party of Albany Indians, who were their enemies. Whereupon this bold blade (her old master) would needs go in a canoe to discover what they were. They fired upon and shot him through, together with several of his friends, before the discovery could be made. Some days after this, divers of his friends gathered a party to revenge his death on their supposed enemies. With these they soon joined battle, and after several hours' hard fighting were themselves put to rout. Among the captives which they left in their flight was this poor woman, who was overjoyed, supposing herself now at liberty; but her joy did not last long, for these Indians were of the same sort as the others, and had been by their own friends thus, through a strange mistake, set upon.
However, this crew proved more favorable to her than the former, and went away silently with their booty ; being loath to have any noise made of their foul mistake. And yet a few days after, such another mistake happened; for meeting with another party of Indians, which they imagined were in the English interest, they also furiously engaged each other, and many were killed and wounded on both sides ; but the conquerors proved to be a party of French Indians this time, who took this poor Mrs. Goodwin and presented her to the French captain of the party, by whom she was carried to Canada, where she continued five years. After which she was brought safely back to New England.
Thomas Toocoon's short narrative is introduced to relieve the reader from the contemplation of blood and misery. At the same time the other captives were taken, three Indians hotly pursued this man, and one of them overtook him, while the rest, perceiving it, staid behind the hill, having seen him quietly yield himself a prisoner. While the Indian was getting out his strings to bind his prisoner, he held his gun under his arm, which Toogood observing, suddenly sprang and wrested it from him; and momentarily presenting it at the Indian, protested he would shoot him down if he made the least noise. And so away he ran with it unto Quochecho. If my reader be now inclined to smile, when he thinks how simply poor Isgrim looked, returning to his mates behind the hill, without either gun or prey, or any thing but strings, to remind him of his own deserts, I am sure his brethren felt not less so, for they derided him with ridicule at his misadventure. The Indians are singularly excessive in the practice of sporting at the misfortunes of one another in any case they are outwitted, or have been guilty of committing any blunder.
MARY PLAISTED was another of the unfortunate captives at that time and place, but only a few particulars of extreme sufferings are related. She had been out of her bed of family sickness but three weeks when she was taken, and like others she was obliged to wade through swamps and snow, when at length she was relieved of the burthen of her infant son by her cruel master, who, after dashing out its brains, threw it into a river !
GOD'S MERCY SURMOUNTING MAN'S CRUELTY, EXEMPLIFIED IN THE CAP:
TIVITY AND SURPRISING DELIVERANCE OF ELIZABETH HANSON, WIFE OF JOHN HANSON, OF KNOXMARSH, AT KECHEACHY, IN DOVER TOWNSHIP, WHO WAS TAKEN CAPTIVE WITH HER CHILDREN AND MAID-SERVANT, BY THE INDIANS IN NEW ENGLAND, IN THE YEAR 1724.
Remarkable and many are the providences of God towards his people for their deliverance in a time of trouble, by which we may behold, as in lively characters, the truth of that saying, “ That he is a God near at hand, and always ready to help and assist those that fear him and put their confidence in him."
The sacred writings give us instances of the truth hereof in days of old, as in the cases of the Israelites, Job, David, Daniel, Paul, Silas, and many others. Besides which, our modern histories have plentifully abounded with instances of God's fatherly care over his people, in their sharpest trials, deepest distresses, and sorest exercises, by which we may know he is a God that changeth not, but is the same yesterday, to-day and forever.
Among the many modern instances, I think I have not met with a more singular one of the mercy and preserving hand of God, than in the case of Elizabeth Hanson, wife of John Hanson, of Knoxmarsh, in Kecheachy, (Cochecho) in Dover township, in New England, who was taken into captivity the twenty-seventh day of the sixth month, called June, 1724, and carried away (with four children and a servant) by the Indians; which relation, as it was taken from her own mouth, by a friend, is as follows:
As soon as the Indians discovered themselves, (having, as we afterwards understood, been skulking in the fields some days, watching their opportunity, when my dear husband, with the rest of our men, were gone out of the way,) two of them came in upon us, and then eleven more, all naked, with their guns and tomahawks, and in great fury killed one child immediately, as soon as they entered the door, thinking thereby to strike in us the greater terror, and to make us more fearful of them. After which, in like fury, the captain came up to me; but at my request he gave me quarter. There were with me our servant and six of our children; two of the little ones being at play about the orchard, and my youngest child, but fourteen days old, whether in cradle or arms, I now remember not. Being in this condition, I was very unfit for the hardships I aster met with, which I shall endeavor briefly to relate.
They went to rifling the house in a great hurry, (fearing, as I suppose, a surprise from our people, it being late in the afternoon,) and packed up some linen, woollen, and what other things pleased them best, and when they had done what they would, they turned out of the house immediately; and while they were at the door two of my younger children, one six, and the other four years old, came in sight, and being under a great surprise, cried aloud, upon which one of the Indians, running to them, took them under the arms, and brought them to us. My maid prevailed with the biggest to be quiet and still; but the other could by no means be prevailed with, but continued shrieking and crying very much, and the Indians, to ease themselves of the noise, and to prevent the danger of a discovery that might arise from it, immediately, before my face, knocked his brains out. I bore this as well as I could, not daring to appear disturbed or to show much uneasiness, lest they should do the same to the others; but should have been exceeding glad if they had kept out of sight until we had gone from the house.
Now having killed two of my children, they scalped them, (a practice common with these people, which is, whenever they kill any enemies, they cut the skin off from the crown of their heads, and carry it with them for a testimony and evidence that they have killed so many, receiving sometimes a reward for every scalp,) and then put forward to leave the house in great haste, without doing any other spoil than taking what they had packed together, with myself and little babe, fourteen days old, the boy six years, and two daughters, the one about fourteen and the other about sixteen years, with my servant girl.
It must be considered, that I having lain in but fourteen days, and being but very tender and weakly, and removed now out of a good room well accommodated with fire, bedding, and other things suiting a person
in my condition, it made these hardships to me greater than if I had been in a strong and healthy frame; yet, for all this, I must go or die. There was no resistance.