The account below, of the abduction of our relatives, niece and nephews of one ancestor, and cousins of another, by the Caughnawaga Mohawks, is in a way the most readable because it was written for a popular magazine. I found it, as a reprint, in The Groton Historical Series, edited by Samuel Green, Vol. III, pp. 126-134, Groton, 1893.
For an absolutely excellent historical look at the French practice of encouraging Native Americans to kidnap English settlers, and the terrible cultural identity crises this would provoke among the captives themselves, see The Unredeemed Captive, by John Demos. The book is history that reads like a novel, and describes an actual abduction that took place in Deerfield, at roughly the same time the Tarbells were taken. It details the assimilation process many of the captives went through, as they became members of tribes, and their agonized choices of whether or not to later return to white society— as well as their white relatives’ anguish to have them back.
A brief note on language: The following is an account from the 19th century that draws on and quotes primary material written in the 18th century. There are multiple instances here of language that ranges from racially insensitive to downright repugnant, when read from a 21st century perspective. These passages are included – have been allowed to remain – because they are integral to the meaning and substance of the unique and irreplaceable historical documents being referenced, and not because I as an individual in any way agree with or endorse these characterizations.
from Samuel Green, The Groton Historical Series, Vol. III, pp. 126-134, Groton, 1893.
THE following story of a Groton family appeared originally in the “Boston Daily Traveller,” March 8, 1890. It was written by Mr. Stephen Olin Sherman, a well‑known journalist of Boston, who has been connected with that newspaper for nearly twenty years. Mr. Sherman is a son of the Reverend Dr. David and Catherine Bardwell (Moody) Sherman, and was born at Blandford in this State, on April 29, 1849. He entered Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, in 1868, but left college during his Sophomore year.
A FATED FAMILY
A True Story of Provincial Life in New England
The Indian troubles which are known in our early history as “Queen Anne’s War” broke out in I702, when England resumed hostilities with France and Spain, and continued up to the time of the Peace of Utrecht, which was signed in 17I3. For many years prior to that time the Indians all along the northern border of New England had been trading with the French settlers in Canada, and with the Dutch in northern New York, neither of whom were friendly to the little English colonies, and the savages in many instances acting under the direction of the French, and always with their active sympathy and co‑operation, made frequent incursions upon the frontier, where even the utmost vigilance did not always insure the lives and property of the inhabitants.