Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

their infants. This was no small comfort to me; but this comfort was soon mixed with bitterness and trouble, which thus happened: my master taking notice of my dear babe's thriving condition, would often look upon her, and say when she was fat enough she would be killed, and he would eat her; and, pursuant to his pretence, at a certain time he made me fetch him a stick that he had prepared for a spit to roast the child upon, as he said, which, when I had done, he made me sit down by him and undress the infant. When the child was naked he felt her arms, legs, and thighs, and told me she was not fat enough yet; I must dress her again until she was in better case.

Now, though he thus acted, I could not persuade myself that he intended to do as he pretended, but only to aggravate and afflict me; neither ever could I think but our lives would be preserved from his barbarous hands, by the overruling power of Him in whose providence I put my trust both day and night.

A little time after this, my master sell sick, and in his sickness, as he lay in his wigwam, he ordered his own son to beat my son; but the old squaw, the Indian boy's grandmother, would not suffer him to do it; then his father, being provoked, caught up a stick, very sharp at one end, and with great violence threw it from him at my son, and hit him on the breast, with which my child was very much bruised, and the pain, with the surprise, made him turn as pale as death; I entreating him not to cry, and the boy, though but six years old, bore it with wonderful patience, not so much as in the least complaining, so that the child's patience assuaged the barbarity of his heart; who, no doubt, would have carried his passion and resentment much higher had he cried, as always complaining did aggravate his passion, and his anger grew hotter upon it. Some little time after, on the same day, he got upon his feet, but far from being well. However, though he was sick, his wife and daughter let me know he intended to kill us, and I was under a fear, unless Providence now interposed, how it would end. I therefore put down my child, and going out of his presence, went to cut wood for the fire as I used to do, hoping that would in part allay his passion; but withal, ere I came to the wigwam again, I expected my child would be killed in this mad fit, having no other way but to cast my care upon God, who had hitherto helped and cared for me and mine.

Under this great fend, the old squaw, my master's mother-in-law, left him; but my mistress and her daughter abode in the wigwam with my master, and when I came with my wood, the daughter came to me, whom I asked if her father had killed my child, and she made me a sign, no, with a countenance that seemed pleased it was so; for instead of his further venting his passion on me and my children, the Lord in whom I trusted did seasonably interpose, and I took it as a merciful deliverance from him, and the Indian was under some sense of the same, as himself did confess to them about him atterwards..

Thus it was: a little after he got upon his feet, the Lord struck him with great sickness, and a violent pain, as appeared by the com

m

plaint he made in a doleful and hideous manner; which, when I understood, not having yet seen him, I went to another squaw that was come to see my master, which could both speak and understand English, and inquired of her if my mistress (for so I always called her, and him master,) thought that master would die. She answered yes, it was very likely he would, being worse and worse. Then I told her he struck my boy a dreadful blow without any provocation at all, and had threatened to kill us all in his fury and passion; upon which the squaw told me my master had confessed the above abuse he offered my child, and that the mischief he had done was the cause why God afflicted him with that sickness and pain, and he had promised never to abuse us in such sort more; and after this he soon recovered, but was not so passionate; nor do I remember he ever after struck either me or my children, so as to hurt us, or with that mischievous intent as before he used to do. This I took as the Lord's doing, and it was marvellous in my eyes.

Some few weeks after this, my master made another remove, having as before made several; but this was the longest ever he made, it being two days' journey, and mostly upon ice. The first days' journey the ice was bare, but the next day, some snow falling, made it very troublesome, tedious, and difficult travelling; and I took much damage in often falling, having the care of my babe, that added not a little to my uneasiness. And the last night when we came to encamp, it being in the night, I was ordered to fetch water; but having sat awhile on the cold ground, I could neither go nor stand; but, crawling on my hands and knces, a young Indian squaw came to see our people, being of another family, in compassion took the kettle, and knowing where to go, which I did not, fetched the water for me. This I took as a great kindness and favor, that her heart was inclined to do me this service.

I now saw the design of this journey. My master being, as I suppose, weary to keep us, was willing to make what he could of our ransom; therefore he went further towards the French, and left his family in this place, where they had a great dance, 'sundry other Indians coming to our people. This held some time, and while they were in it, I got out of their way in a corner of the wigwam as well (as) I could; but every time they came by me in their dancing, they would bow my head towards the ground, and frequently kick me with as great fury as they could bear, being sundry of them barefoot, and others having Indian moccasins. This dance held some time, and they made, in their manner, great rejoicings and noise.

It was not many days ere my master returned from the French; but he was in such a humor when he came back, he would not suffer me in his presence. Therefore I had a little shelter made with some boughs, they having digged through the snow to the ground, it being pretty deep. In this hole I and my poor children were put to lodge; the weather being very sharp, with hard frost, in the month called January, made it more tedious to me and my children, Our stay was - not long in this place before he took me to the French, in order for a chapman. When we came among them I was exposed for sale, and he asked for me eight hundred livres. But his chapman not comply. ing with his demand, put him in a great rage, offering him but six hundred; he said, in a great passion, if he could not have his demand, he would make a great fire and burn me and the babe in the view of the town, which was named Fort Royal. The Frenchman bid the Indian make the fire, “and I will,” says he, “ help you, if you think that will do you more good than six hundred livres;" calling my master a fool, and speaking roughly to him, bid him begone. But at the same time the Frenchman was civil to me; and, for my encouragement, bid me be of good cheer, for I should be redeemed, and not go back with them again.

Retiring now with my master for this night, the next day I was redeemed for six hundred livres; and in treating with my master, the Frenchman queried why he asked so much for the child's ransom, urging, when she had her belly full, she would die. My master said, “No, she would not die, having already lived twenty-six days on nothing but water, believing the child to be a devil.” The Frenchman told him, “No, the child is ordered for longer life; and it has pleased God to preserve her to admiration.” My master said no, she was a devil, and he believed she would not die, unless they took a hatchet ånd beat her brains out. Thus ended their discourse, and I was, as aforesaid, with my babe, ransomed for six hundred livres; my little boy, likewise, at the same time, for an additional sum of livres, was redeemed also.

I now having changed my landlord, my table and diet, as well as my lodging, the French were civil beyond what I could either desire or expect. But the next day after I was redeemed, the Romish priest took my babe from me, and according to their custom, they baptized her, urging if she died before that she would be damned, like some of our modern pretended reformed priests, and they gave her a name as pleased them best, which was Mary Ann Frossways, telling me my child, is she now died, would be saved, being baptized; and my landlord speaking to the priest that baptized her, said, “It would be well, now Frossways was baptized, for her to die, being now in a state to be saved;" but the priest said, “No, the child having been so miraculously preserved through so many hardships, she may be designed by God for some great work, and by her life being still continued, may much more glorify God than it she should now die.” A very sensible remark, and I wish it may prove true.

I having been about five months amongst the Indians, in about one month after I got amongst the French, my dear husband, to my unspeakable comfort and joy, came to me, who was now himself concerned to redeem his children, two of our daughters being still captives, and only myself and two little ones redeemed; and, through great difficulty and trouble, he recovered the younger daughter. But the eldest we could by no means obtain from their hands, for the squaw to whom she was given had a son whom she intended my daughter should in time be prevailed with to marry. The Indians

are very civil towards their captive women, not offering any incivility by any indecent carriage, (unless they be much overcome in liquor,) which is commendable in them so far.

However, the affections they had for my daughter made them refuse all offers and terms of ransom; so that, after my poor husband had waited, and made what attempts and endeavors he could to obtain his child, and all to no purpose, we were forced to make homeward, leaving our daughter, to our great grief, behind us, amongst the Indians, and set forward over the lake, with three of our children, and the servant maid, in company with sundry others, and by the kindness of Providence, we got well home on the 1st day of the 7th month, 1725. From which it appears I had been from home, amongst the Indians and French, about twelve months and six days.

In the series of which time, the many deliverances and wonderful providences of God unto us, and over us, hath been, and I hope will so remain to be, as a continued obligation on my mind, over to live in that fear, love, and obedience to God, duly regarding, by his grace, with meekness and wisdom, to approve myself by his spirit, in all holiness of life and godliness of conversation, to the praise vs him that hath called me, who is God blessed forever.

But my dear husband, poor man! could not enjoy hinisell in quiet with us, for want of his dear daughter Sarah, that was leit behind; and not willing to omit anything for her redemption which lay in his power, he could not be easy without making a second aliimpt: in order to which, he took his journey about the 19th day of the second month, 1727, in company with a kinsman and his wife who went to redeem some of their children, and were so happy as to obtain what they went about. But my dear husband being taken sick on the way, grew worse and worse, as we were informed, and was sensible he should not get over it; telling my kinsman that if it was the Lord's will he must die in the wilderness, he was freely given up to it. He was under a good composure of mind, and sensible to his first moment, and died, as near as we can judge, in about the half way between Albany and Canada, in my kinsman's arms, and is at rest, I hope, in

I the Ļord: and though my own children's loss is very great, yet I doubt not but his gain is much more; I therefore desire and pray, that the Lord will enable me patiently to submit to his will in all things he is pleased to suffer to be my lot while here, carnestly supplicating the God and father of all our mercies to be a father to my fatherless children, and give unto them that blessing 'which maketh truly rich, and adds no sorrow with it; that as they grow in years they may grow in grace, and experience the joy of salvation, which is come by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Now, though my husband died, by reason of which his labor was ended, yet my kinsman prosecuted the thing, and left no stone unturned, that he thought, or could be advised, was proper to the obtaining my daughter's freedom; but could by no means prevail ; for, as is before said, she being in another part of the country distant from where was, and given to an old squaw, who intended to marry her in time

a

a

to her son, using what persuasion she could to effect her end, sometimes by fair means, and sometimes by severe.

In the mean time a Frenchman interposed, and they by persuasions enticing my child to marry, in order to obtain her freedom, by reason that those captives married by the French are, by that marriage, made free among them, the Indians having then no pretence longer to keep them as captives; she therefore was prevailed upon, for the reasons afore assigned to marry, and she was accordingly married to the said Frenchman.

Thus, as well, and as near as I can from my memory, (not being capable of keeping a journal,) I have given a short but a true account of some of the remarkable trials and wondersul deliverances which I never purposed to expose; but that I hope thereby the merciful kindness and goodness of God may be magnified, and the reader hereof provoked with more care and fear to serve him in righteousness and humility, and then my designed end and purpose will be answered.

Ε. Η.

CHAPTER XIX.

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.

At the Great Meadow's fort, fourteen miles above Fort Dummer, October 11th, 1745, where I was an inhabitant, I went out from the fort about fifty rods to cut wood; and when I had done, I walked towards the fort, but in my way heard the crackling of fences behind me, and turning about, saw twelve or thirteen Indians, with red painted heads, running after me; on which I cried to God for help, and ran, and hallooed as I ran, to alarm the fort. But by the time I had run ten rods, the Indians came up with me and took hold of me. At the same time the men at the fort shot at the Indians, and killed one on the spot, wounded another, who died fourteen days after he got home, and likewise shot a bullet through the powder-horn of one that had hold of me. They then led me into the swamp and pinioned me. I then committed my case to God, and prayed that, since it was his will to deliver me into the hands of those cruel men, I might find favor. in their eyes; which request God in his infinite mercy was pleased to grant; for they were generally kind to me while I was with them. Some of the Indians at that time took charge of me; others ran into the field to kill catile. They led me about hall a mile, where we staid in open sight of the fort, till the Indians who were killing cattle came to us, laden with beef. Then they went a little further to a house, where they staid to cut the meat from the bones, and cut the helve off of my axe, and stuck it into the ground, pointing the way we went.

Then we travelled along the river side, and when we had got about

« AnteriorContinuar »