Native American Captivity Term Paper

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Mary Rowlandson, Hannah Dustin, and Mary Jamison coped with captivity in their own way. The stories of their captivity revealed the great variety of customs among native American through the greatly different treatment afforded to the three women. Depending on the customs of the tribe that they encountered, or the specific political situation, each of the women was treated differently as either prisoners of war, slaves, or adopted as family members. Natives took captives in order to show their resistance to the settler's occupation of their land, as a custom to increase the members of their tribe, or even for monetary gain.

Mary White Rowlandson, wife of Puritan minister Joseph Rowlandson, was captured by native Americans in February of 1676. During this time, King Philip, the leader of the Wampanoag tribe of southern Massachusetts organized a rebellion against the incursion of white settlers on native land. In total 23 settlers were captured, and 13 people were killed, including Mary's brother-in-law, sister, nieces and nephews. Mary's six-year-old daughter died on the trip, and Mary and her other children were sold as a slaves to different masters. Mary made herself useful by sewing and mending clothes for her captors, and was eventually ransomed in May of 1676 for to English settlers for 20 pounds, and reunited with her husband (Lancaster Online; About.com).

Mary Jemison was the daughter of Thomas and Jane Erwin Jemison, who had moved from Ireland to the American frontier, where they marked out a farm. From their original small start near what became the
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town of Gettysburg, Larsen writes "they moved to larger fields, on one of which stood a good house and a log barn, and it was her now here Thomas had let them all fall to the hands of six Shawnee and four Frenchmen and where his mouth had suddenly been stopped of his stories, of his resonant Irish jests" (Larsen, 5).

Mary Jemison was captured in 1758, and the rest of her family were killed and scalped. Mary was purchased by a party of Senecas, and taken to Ohio where she was adopted into their culture, and given the name Dehgewanus. She learned the Seneca ways, and took Sheninjee (a Delaware) as a husband, and started a family. Her new husband died, and Mary continued to live among her husband's relatives. She married another native man, Hiokatoo, and lived out her life among the natives, hiding from the settlers. She played an important in arranging reservations for the Seneca to live on with the settlers, and paid a heavy price for her life among the Seneca: three of her sons were murdered by settlers. She died in 1833 (Cook).

Hanna Dustin's story began in March, 1697, when her family home was attacked by a party of native Americans. Her husband, Thomas Dustin escaped with seven of their children, but their newborn child was killed by the invaders. Hanna herself, weak from childbirth, was taken captive, and claimed by an Indian family. The family told Hanna and her companion that they would be forced to run the gauntlet, and resolved to escape. Hanna and a young English man scalped ten of…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

About.com. Mary White Rowlandson, Women's History. 12 April 2004. http://womenshistory.about.com/library/bio/blbio_mary_rowlandson.htm

Cook, Tom. Mary Jemison. Glimpses of the Past, People, Places, and Things in Letchworth Park History.

12 April 2004. http://www.letchworthparkhistory.com/jem.html

HannahDustin.com. The Story of Hanna Dustin/Duston of Haverhill, Massachusetts. 12 April 2004. http://www.hannahdustin.com/hannah_files.html

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