Why a page on a non Vibert I hear you ask. Well please hear me out I feel that this is a story worth telling which I hope you will agree, graphically illustrates the hardships of our ancestors and the perils they faced in the 16th century.
James Bibber was originally thought to have been born on the Isle of Jersey, in July, 1706; and died on Bustin’s Island, Near Harpswell, Maine, USA in1773.Further research that in fact he may well have been born in St Mary, Jersey in 1711 and baptized Jacques Vibert ( Jacques being french for James, and Vibert being the original source of the derivative spelling of Bibber. He is head of the Bibber Tree within this site
He came to America in 1724, or 1725, to learn to weave with Elisabeth Hanson, a Quaker Lady. She was carried away to Canada by the Indians while he was with her. The early history of New England says that she was taken captive in 1725. After her captivity James Bibber went back to his old house on the Isle of Jersey, and returned to America when he was about 22 years old. When he left home for the second tine his mother gave him a great bottle filled with castor bitters, saying, ‘here, James, you may be sick on the way—take this.’ His ancestors in the USA still have this bottle.”
It seems likely that the early American home of James Bibber was at Dover, New Hampshire, for he married Abigail Drew who died at Harpswell, Maine in 1783. She was the daughter of John Drew, and was a member of one of the sturdiest old New England families. Soon after his marrying, James Bibber and his wife removed to Harpswell, Maine, where he was always a sturdy and helpful citizen. His wife was a woman of truly sterling character.
So, that sets the scene. The text that follows is a transcription of a diary she wrote which was subsquently published and reproduced here with the kind permission of the Candian Heritage Commission. My thanks to Paula Bibber for her hard work in typing all of the following up for me.
THE CAPTIVITY OF ELIZABETH HANSON.
On the 27th of the Sixth Month, called August, 1725, my husband and all our men-servants being abroad, eleven Indians, armed with tomahawks and guns, who had some time before been skulking about the fields, and watching an opportunity of our mens absence, came furiously into the house, no sooner were they entered, than they murdered one of my children upon the spot; intending no doubt, by this act of cruelty, to strike the greater degree of terror into the minds of us who survived. After they had thus done, their captain came towards me, with all the appearance of rage and fury it is possible to imagine: nevertheless, upon my earnest request for quarter, I prevailed with him to grant it.
I had with me a servant-maid and six children; but two of my little-ones were at that time playing in the orchard. My youngest child was but fourteen days old; and myself, of consequence, in a poor weak condition, and very unfit to endure the hardships I afterwards met with, as by the sequel will appear.
The next step they took was to rifle the house; which they did with much hurry and precipitation; being apprehensive in all probability of a surprise. And as it was late in the afternoon, they pack’d up what linen, woolen, and other things they liked, and forthwith turned us out of the house.
Being now at the door, my two children who had been playing in the orchard (the one six, the other four years of age) came in sight; and being terrified at the appearance of the naked Indians, they cried aloud. On which one of the Indians ran up to them; and taking one under each arm, brought them to us. My maid prevailed with the biggest to be still; but the other would not be pacified by any means, but continued shrieking and crying very much, Wherefore, to ease themselves of the noise, and prevent the danger of a discovery that might arise from it, they made no more to do, but knock’d out its brains before my face.
I bore this as well as the nature of so mournful a circumstance would permit; not daring to discover much of my uneasiness, left it should provoke them to commit the like outrage upon the rest: but could have been glad they kept out of sight till we had been gone from the house.
The Indians having now killed two of my children, the next thing they did was to scalp them; a practice common with them whenever they kill any English people. This they do by cutting off the skin from the crown of the head; which they take with them as an evidence of the number they have slain. And it has been currently reported, that the French, in their wars with the English, have given the Indians a pecuniary reward for every scalp they brought to them.
This being done, they prepared to leave the house in great haste, without committing any other violence than taking what they had packed up, together with myself and little babe fourteen days old, my little boy of six years, one daughter about sixteen, another abut fourteen, and my maid-servant.
It was now, as I said before, but fourteen days since my lying-in; and being very tender and weakly, and turned out from a warm room, with every thing suitable to my circumstances, it increased the severity of the hardships I underwent exceedingly. Nevertheless I found the case was such, that I must either go or die; for I could make no resistance, neither would any persuasions avail.
Accordingly we began our journey, each having some of the plunder to carry, and I my infant: the other three were able to travel alone. But my new master, the Indian captain, was sometimes humane enough to carry my babe in his arms; which I looked upon as a singular favour, because he had besides a very heavy burden, and considerably more than he could take up without the help of his men.
We passed through several swamps and brooks; carefully avoiding all beaten paths, and every track that looked like a road, left we should be surprised by our footsteps.
We travelled that night I suppose near ten miles in a direct line, and then we halted. The Indians kindled a fire, and we took up our quarters by it. They took it in turn to rest themselves, while a party of them kept watch, in order to prevent a surprise. For my part, I was very wet, as well as weary; and having no other lodging but the cold ground in the open woods, could get but little rest. Nevertheless, when day-light appeared, we set forward again, and travelled very hard all that day, passing through several swamps, rivers, and brooks, and still avoiding all beaten paths, for the reason already mentioned.
When night came on, I found myself again very wet, and heartily tired, having the same lodging, the cold ground and open woods. —Thus did we travel for twenty-six days successively, and in general very hard; though sometimes we were helped a little by water, over lakes and ponds.—We climbed up abundance of high mountains; some of which were so steep, that I was sain to crawl up there on my hands and knees: But when I was under these difficulties, my Indian master would for the most part carry my infant: and this I esteemed as a favour from the Almighty, in that his heart was so tenderly inclined to assist me. Nay, he would sometimes take my very blanket; so that, having no incumbrance, I was enabled to give some assistance to my little boy, and now-and-then carry him in my arms.
When we came to any difficult place, my master would lend me his hand: or if it were steep, he frequently used to push me up before him. In all which he discovered more civility and humanity than I could have expected; and for which I was thankful to God, as the moving cause.
We had now some very great runs of water and brooks to pass; in wading through which we sometimes met with great difficulty, being frequently up to our middles, and some of the children to their shoulders and chins. But the Indians carried my babe (that is, my little boy) through them on their shoulders.
At the side of one of these rivers, the Indians would have had my eldest daughter sing them a song. Whereupon a passage in the cxxxviith Psalm was brought to her remembrance; to wit, By the rivers of Babylon there we sat down. Yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps on the willows in the midst thereof. For they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they that wasted us, required of us mirth.
When my poor child had given me this account, it affected me greatly, and my heart was filled with sorrow. Yet on her account I rejoiced that she had so good an inclination; which she still further manifested, by wishing for a Bible, that we might have the comfort of reading the Holy Text at leisure times, for our spiritual consolation under the afflictions we then suffered.
Next to the difficulty of crossing the rivers, were the prodigious swamps and thickets, which were very hard to pass through. But here also my master would sometimes lend me his hand; and as they passed through quickly one after the other, it became pretty tolerable for the hindmost. But the greatest difficulty of all, and which deserves first to be named, was our want of proper sustenance: for we were now reduced to very great extremity; having often nothing to eat but pieces of old beaver-skin match-coats, which the Indians, in their journey to our settlement, had concealed (for they came to us naked, as I said before), but now, in their return, took along with them. They were used more for food than raiment, being cut out in long narrow straps, of which they gave us some little pieces. These, after their example, we laid upon the fire till the furr was sindged off, and then ate them as dainty morsels; experimentally knowing, that to the hungry every bitter thing is sweet.
Of this diet, mean as it was, we had but a scanty allowance. And what still further increased my affliction, was the complaints and moans of my poor children. Sometimes indeed the Indians caught a squirrel, or a beaver; and others, we met with nuts, berries, and roots; and sometimes we ate the bark of trees; but had no corn for a long while; till a party of the younger Indians went back and brought some from the English inhabitants, of which they gave us a very short allowance. But when they killed a beaver, we lived high while it lasted; as their custom was to allow me the guts and garbage for myself and children; but they would by no means suffer us to wash and cleanse them; which occasioned this kind of diet to be very loathsome; and indeed nothing but pining hunger would have made it in the least degree tolerable.
My distresses did not all center here. I had yet another affliction no less severe than the former; and this was it. By daily travel and hard living, my milk was almost dried up; and how to preserve my poor babe’s life, was a matter of no little concern to me; having many times no other sustenance for it than cold water; which I took into my mouth, and dropped on my breast for it to suck in when I gave it the teat, with what little milk it could draw from thence. At other times, when I could procure any broth of beaver’s guts, I fed it with that: by which means, and keeping it as warm as I could its life was preserved till I came to Canada, where I met with better food.
When we were pretty far advanced in our journey, the Indians divided; and, to our great sorrow, divided us amongst them. My eldest daughter was taken away first, and carried to another part of the country, far distant from us. And we had not travelled far, before they parted again, and took from me my second daughter and my servant-maid; so that I had now only the babe at my breast, and my little boy of six years old. We three remained with the captain; but my daughter and servant underwent very great sufferings after they were taken from us; travelling very hard for three days together, without any sustenance but cold water; and on the third day the servant fell down in a swoon as dead; at which the Indians seemed surprised, and began to show some signs of tenderness; not being willing to lose any of their captives by death, after they had brought them so near their own home; hoping, no doubt in case they lived, to obtain a considerable price for their ransom. Accordingly, in a few days after this, they drew near their journey’s end, where they found greater plenty of corn and other food; but flesh often fell very short, as they had no other way of procuring it but hunting.
It was not long before my daughter and servant were parted also; and my daughter’s master falling sick, he was thereon disabled from hunting. All their corn was likewise spent; and so great were their distresses, that they were compelled to feed on the bark of trees for a whole week, being almost famished to death.
In this sore extremity it was providentially ordered, that some other Indians, hearing of their misery, came to visit them (for they are very kind and helpful one to another) and brought with them the guts and liver of a beaver; which, as they were but four in number (viz. The Indian and his wife and daughter, and my daughter) afforded them a good repast.
By this time my master and our company got to their journey’s end; where we met with better entertainment, having corn, venison, wild fowl, and whatever else the Indians took in hunting. But my master’s family being fifteen in number, it sometimes occasioned us to have very short commons, especially when game was scarce.
Our lodging was still on the cold ground, in a poor little wigwam, which is a kind of small shelter, made with rinds of trees and matts for its covering, after the manner of a tent. These are so easily set up and taken down, that they often remove them from place to place. Our shoes, stockings, and other clothes being worn out in this long journey through bushes and swamps, and the season coming on very sharp and cold, we were poorly defended from the injuries of the weather; which now grew so severe, that one of my own feet, one of my babe’s and both my little boy’s, were frozen with the cold. But although this brought no small exercise upon me, yet through mercy we all did well.
Notwithstanding we were now come to the end of our journey, the Indians abode not long in one place; but often removed from one spot to another, carrying their wigwams, which were not a little troublesome, whithersoever they went.—-These frequent removals were made for the sake of hunting; but were attended with great inconvenience, by reason of the dampness of the ground whereon the wigwams were pitched; which rendered our lodging much more unpleasant and unwholesome than if we had continued in one place.
At length we arrived at the Indian fort, where many of the people came to visit my master and his family, and congratulate him on his safe return, and the success of his expedition. Publick rejoicings were made upon it (which in their way perhaps were a kind of thanksgiving); and these were attended with dancing, firing of guns, beating on hollow trees instead of drums, shouting, drinking, and feasting for several days together with much excess.
But while the Indians were in their mirth and jollity, my mind was earnestly exercised towards the Lord, that I, with my dear children, who were now separated from me, might be preserved from repining against God under our present affliction. But that, on the other hand, we might have our dependance upon him, who rules in the hearts of men, and can do what he pleases in the kingdoms of the earth; knowing that his care is over those who put their trust in him.—But I found it very difficult to keep my mind under that patient resignation, so necessary to be found in such sore trials and afflictions as then fell to my lot: Being under various fears and doubts concerning my daughters, who were separated from me, which greatly increased my troubles: so that I can say my afflictions were not to be set forth by words to the full extent of them.
We had not long been arrived, before my master went abroad to hunt for provisions for the family, and was absent about a week. Before he set out, he ordered me to procure wood, and gather nuts: in doing which I was very diligent, during the time of his absence, cutting the wood, and putting it up in order. But no sooner was he returned, than I quickly perceived he was very much displeased; for he had met with no success in his hunting expedition; and so strongly did his disappointment work upon him, that he began to revenge it on us his captives. He allowed me, however, a little boiled corn for myself and child; but looking upon us with a very angry countenance, he threw a stick at me with so much violence, as plainly demonstrated that he grudged us the food we had received from him.
Hereupon his squaw and daughter broke forth in a violent fit of crying; which occasioned me to fear that some mischief was intended against us; and in consequence of this I instantly withdrew from his presence into another wigwam. He soon followed me; and in great fury tore my blanket from my back; then taking my little boy from me, he knocked him down as he went along before him. But the poor child, not being hurt, but only frightened with the fall, started up, and ran away without crying.
My Master then left us; but his wife’s mother came and sat down by me, telling me I must sleep there that night. After this she went out for a while, and then returned with a small skin to cover my feet; giving me to understand withal, that my master was now determined to kill us.
I was very desirous to know the cause of this determination; urging to her that I had been very diligent, during this absence, to do as he had ordered me; and in the best manner I was able endeavoured to make her sensible how unreasonable he was; although we had no other means of making ourselves intelligible to each other by signs. She still continued to make signs to me that I must die; advising me (by pointing upwards) to pray to God; and endeavouring, by other signs, and tears intermixed, to instruct me in that which was most needful, to prepare for death, which now appeared to be nigh at hand from my bloody master; who had conceived evil against me without any just cause; but his ill success in hunting, and the scarcity of provisions, had made him quite outrageous.
The poor old squaw, his mother-in-law, was very kind and tender to me; and all that night would not leave me; but came and laid herself down at my feet, signifying her intention to use her endeavours to appease his wrath.—For my own part, I got but little rest that night; though my babe slept sweetly by my side: but I dreaded the tragical design of my master, and looked every hour when he would enter the wigwam to execute his bloody purpose.—But here again kind providence interposed. For being weary with hunting, and having toiled in the woods without success, he went to rest, and forgot to put in practice the horrid purpose he had formed.
The morning being come, he went forth again to hunt. I dreaded his return empty-handed; and prayed in my heart that he might take something to satisfy his hunger, and quell his ill humour. And before he had been long gone, he returned with booty; having shot some wild ducks. He now appeared in a better temper, and ordered the fowls to be dressed speedily. For these Indians, whenever they are in possession of plenty, spend it as freely as they take it: often consuming in the space of two days, through gluttony and drunkenness, as much as with prudent management might serve a week. And thus they live, for the most part, either in riot and excess; or undergo very great hardships for want of necessaries.
As this was a time of plenty, I felt the comfort of it, together with the rest of the family; having a part sent to me and my children; which was very acceptable.—I was now ready to think the bitterness of death was past for this time, and my spirit grew a little easier; yet this lasted not long before my master threatened my life again. But of this I took notice, that whenever this ill temper predominated, he was always pinched with hunger; and that when success attended his hunting, he was much better-humoured; though indeed he was naturally hot and passionate, and often threw sticks and stones at me, or whatever else lay in his way, by reason whereof my life was continually in danger; but that God whose providence is over all his works, so preserved me, that I never received any great damage from this Indian; for which mercy I ever desire to be thankful to my Creator.
When flesh was scarce, we were only allowed the guts and garbage; but were not permitted to cleanse them any other way than just by emptying the dung out of them, and afterwards boiling them together with the broth of fowls; which would have been extremely nauseous, had not hunger compelled us to eat; but in time this kind of food, which often fell to our lot, became pretty tolerable to a keen appetite; though at another time I could by no means have dispensed with it. And this led me to consider that none are able to say what hardships they can suffer till the trial comes upon them. For that which in time past I had thought not fit for food in my own family, I should now have esteemed a sweet morsel, and a dainty dish.
By this time I was reduced to follow, through fatigue of spirits, hard labour, mean diet, and the frequent want of natural rest, that my milk was intirely dried up again, and my helpless babe very poor and weak, appearing to be little more than skin and bones; for I could perceive every joint of it, from one end of its back to the other; and how to procure any thing that might suit its weak appetite, I was at a very great loss. Whereupon one of the Indian squaws, perceiving my uneasiness, began some discourse with me, and withal advised me to take the kernels of walnuts, and after I had cleansed them, to beat them up with a little water; which accordingly I did, and the water looked like milk. Then she bid me add to this water a little of the finest Indian corn meal, and just boil it up together. I did so; and found it very palatable, and soon perceived that it nourished my babe, for it quickly began to thrive and look well; which gave me great comfort.—I afterwards understood, that with this kind of diet the Indian children were often fed.
But the comfort I received on my dear child’s recovery from the brink of death, was soon mixed with bitterness and trouble. For my master observing its thriving condition, used often to look upon it, and say, that when it was fat enough, he’d have it killed and eaten. Pursuant to this threat, he obliged me to fetch a stick, which he said he had prepared to roast my babe upon. And as soon as I had brought it, he made me sit down by him, and undress the infant. The child now being naked, he began to feel its arms, legs, and thighs; and having passed this examination upon it, he informed me, that as it was not yet fat enough, I must dress it again, till it was in better case.—But notwithstanding he thus acted, I could not persuade myself he was in earnest, but that he did it with a view to afflict and aggravate me: neither could I think but that our lives would be preserved from his barbarous hands, by the over-ruling power of Him, in whose Providence I put my trust both night and day.
A little while after this, my master fell sick; and during his illness, as he lay in his wigwam, he ordered his own son to beat mine. But the old Squaw, the Indian boy’s grandmother, would not suffer him to do it. Whereupon the father was so much provoked, that he seized hold on a stick, very sharp at one end, and threw it at my little boy with such violence, that it struck him so severe a blow on the breast, as made his countenance change as pale as death, through pain.—I intreated him not to cry; and though he was but six years old, and his breast very much bruised, he bore it with wonderful patience, not so much as once complaining. So that the patience of the child restrained his barbarity; which it is hardly to be doubted would have transported him further in his resentment, had he cried; for complaining always aggravated his passion greatly, and his anger grew hotter upon it.
A short time after on the same day, he got upon his feet; but was much out of order. But notwithstanding he was sick, his wife and daughter let me know that he still purposed to kill us; which made me now very fearful, unless Providence interposed, in what manner it would end.—I therefore laid down my child; and going out of his presence, went to cut wood for the fire, as I used to do, hoping this would in part abate his passion; but I still feared that before I returned to the wigwam, my two children would be killed.
In the situation I had not way left but to cast my care upon God, who had hitherto helped and protected me and mine.—But while my master remained in the feud, the old squaw (his mother-in-law) left him; but my mistress and her daughter still remained with him in the wigwam.
As soon as I returned with my wood, the daughter came to me. I asked her if her father had killed my children? She answered me by a sign that he had not; and seemed to be pleased that he had forborn it. For instead of venting his fury on me and mine, the Lord, in whom I had put my trust, interposed in the needful time, and mercifully delivered us from the cruel purpose he had threatened to put in execution. Nor was he himself without some sense of the same, and that the hand of God was concerned therein, as he afterwards confessed to those who were about him. For a little time after he had got upon his feet he was struck with violent pains, and such a grievous sickness, that he uttered his complaints in a very doleful and hideous manner. Which when I understood (not having yet seen him) I went to another squaw, who was come to visit hi, and could speak English, and asked her if my mistress (for so I used to call the Indian’s wife) thought my master would die? She answered, it was very likely he would; for he grew worse and worse. I then told her he had struck my little boy a dreadful blow, without any provocation; and had threatened, in his fury, to kill us all. The squaw confessed that the abuse he had offered to my child, and the mischief he had done him, was the cause why God afflicted him with that sickness and pain; and told me that he had promised never to abuse us in such sort again.
After this he recovered; but I do not remember that from thenceforward he either struck me or my children so as to hurt, or with that mischievous intent as he before used to do; nor was he so passionate afterwards as he had been accustomed to be.—All which I looked upon as the Lord’s doing, and marvelous it was in my eyes.
A few weeks after this, my master made another remove; which was the largest he had ever made, being two days journey, and mostly over the ice. The first day the ice was bare; but some snow falling on the second, it made it very difficult to travel over. I received much hurt by frequent falls: having, besides, the care of my infant, which increased my trouble not a little. It was night when we arrived at our camp; and I was ordered to go and fetch water; but having sat a while on the cold ground, I could neither stand nor go, by reason that my limbs were so benumbed with cold. Yet I dated not refuse; and therefore attempted it by crawling on my hands and knees; but a young Indian squaw, belonging to another family, being come to see our people, she in compassion took the kettle; and knowing where to go, which I did not, fetched the water for me; which I took as a great favour, in that her heart was inclined to do me this service.
I now saw the design of this journey. My master, as I suppose, being weary of keeping us, was willing to make what ransom he could for us; and therefore went farther towards the French settlements, leaving his family as this place; where they had a great dance, several other Indians coming to our people. This held some time; and while they were employed in it, I got out of their way as far as I could into a corner of the wigwam. But every time they came by me in their dancing, they would bow my head towards the ground, and frequently kick me with great fury. Divers of them were barefooted, and the rest had only mocksans on. The dance lasted some time; and they made, in their manner, great rejoicing and noise.
It was not many days before my master returned from the French; but in such an ill humour, that he would not suffer me to abide in his presence. I had a little shelter made with boughs; having first digged through the snow, which was then pretty deep, quite to the ground. In this hole I and my poor children were put to lodge; and as the weather was then very sharp, and the frosts hard (it being then the month called January) our lodging was extremely bad. But our stay was not long in this wretched place, before my master took me and my children to the French, in order to get a chapman for us. When we came among them, I was exposed to sale, and the price my master put upon me was 800 livres. But nobody appearing disposed to comply with his demands, and a Frenchman offering no more that 600 livres, it threw him into such a rage, that he said in his passion, if he could not have his price, he would burn me and the babe in the view of the city of Port-Royal. The Frenchman bade him make the fire; and added, “I will help you, if you think that will do you more good than 600 livres;” calling him fool, and roughly bidding him begone: but at the same time he was very civil to me; and for my encouragement bade me be o good cheer, for I should be redeemed, and not go back with the Indian again.—I was obliged, however, to retire with my master that night; but the next morning I was redeemed for 600 livres.
In driving the bargain with my master, the Frenchman asked him why he demanded so much for the little babe’s ransom? Urging, that when it came to have its belly-full it would die; having already lived twenty-six days on nothing but water; and that he believed it was a devil. The Frenchman said, No; but the child is ordered for longer life; and it hath pleased God to preserve it to admiration. My master answered, No; that was not the case; but it was a devil; and he believed it would not die, unless they took a hatchet, and knocked out its brains.
This ended their discourse; and I was redeemed as aforesaid, with my little babe, for 600 livres. My little boy was likewise redeemed for an additional sum. And by this means we exchanged our lodging and diet much for the better, the French being kind and civil to me beyond what I could expect or desire.
The day after I was redeemed a Romish priest took my babe from me; and according to their custom they baptized it; urging that if is died before, it would be damned; and accordingly they gave it the name of Mary Ann Trossways; telling it, that if it dies then, it would be saved, being baptized. And my landlord also, speaking to the priest who performed the ceremony, said, it would be well if Trossways were to die then, being in a state of salvation. But the priest replied, that the child having been miraculously preserved through so many hardships, it might be designed for some great work, and, by its life being continued, might glorify God much more than if it were to die then. A very seasonable remark; and I wish it may prove true.
I had then been about five months among the Indians, and one month with the French, when my dear husband, to my unspeakable joy and comfort, came to me. He was much concerned for the redemption of his children; two of our daughters, and the servant-maid, being still in the hands of the Indians; and only myself and the two little-ones redeemed.
Accordingly, after much difficulty and trouble, he recovered our younger daughter and the maid; but we could by no means obtain our eldest from them. For the squaw to whom she was given had a son; and she intended a match between my daughter and him, hoping in time to prevail upon her to comply: for the Indians are seldom guilty of any indecent carriage towards their captive women, unless much overtaken in liquor.—The affection they had for my daughter made them refuse all offers and terms of ransom. So that after my husband had waited, and used his utmost endeavours to obtain our child, we were at last obliged to depart homewards, and leave our daughter, to our great grief, amongst the Indians.
We accordingly set forward over the lake, with three of our children and servant, in company with sundry others; and, by the Kindness of Providence, got well home on the1st of the Seventh Month, called September, in the year 1726. From which it appears, that I had been from home amongst the Indians and French, and on my journey, twelve months and twenty-six days. In which series of time, the many deliverances and wonderful providences of God to us, have been, and I hope will remain to be, a continued obligation ever to live in fear, love, and obedience to God Almighty; hoping, by the assistance of his grace, with meekness and wisdom to approve myself in holiness of life, and godliness of conversation, to the praise of him who has called me; who is God, blessed for ever.
But my dear husband could not enjoy himself with satisfaction, because of the absence of our dear daughter Sarah, who, as I said before, was left behind. For which reason, not being willing to omit any thing which lay in his power for procuring her redemption, he concluded to make a second attempt. In order to this he began his journey about the 19th of the Second Month, 1727, in company with a kinsman and his wife, who went to redeem some of their children, and were successful enough to obtain their desire. But my dear husband was take sick by the way, and grew worse and worse. And as he was very sensible he should not get over it, he told my kinsman, that if it were the Lord’s will he should die in the wilderness, he was freely given up to it. And at length, under a good composure of mind, and sensible to his last moments, he dies, as near as they could guess, at the distance of about half-way between Albany and Canada, in my kinsman’s arms; and is, I doubt not, at rest in the Lord. And although mine and my childrens loss is very great, yet his gain I hope is much greater. I therefore desire and pray that the Lord will enable me patiently to submit to his will in all things;—earnestly beseeching the God and Father of all our mercies to be a father to my fatherless children, and give them that blessing which makes truly rich, and adds no sorrow with it; that as they grow in years, they may grow in grace, and experience the joy of his salvation, which is come by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
After the death of my dear husband, my kinsman proceeded on his journey; and when he arrived at Canada, he used all possible means to obtain my daughter’s freedom, but all his endeavours proved ineffectual; she being still in the hands of the same old squaw, who designed at any rate to oblige my daughter to marry her son, and for that reason utterly rejected any proposal for her redemption. But herein she missed of her aim’ for whilst she was endeavouring to bring my daughter to consent, a Frenchman, who had taken a great liking to her, interposed. He spared no pains by persuasion to gain her consent; setting before her the immediate privilege she would obtain by becoming his wife, to wit, her freedom from captivity among the Indians; for in such a case it seems they have no pretence to detain their captives any longer after marrying a Frenchman; but the woman then becomes the sole property of her husband. These remonstrances and persuasions, added to the improbability of her being redeemed from the Indians by any other means, at last prevailed; and accordingly she was married to the Frenchman, and settled amongst that people.
Thus, as well as I was able by the help of memory (not having been in a condition to keep a journal) I have given a short but true account of some of the remarkable trials, and wonderful deliverances that have befallen me and mine. Which I never intended to publish, but that I hoped the merciful kindness and goodness of God might thereby be manifested; and the reader stirred up with more care and fear to righteousness and humility; and then will my purpose be answered.
N.B. The substance of the foregoing account was taken from her own mouth by Samuel Bownas. And in the Seventh Month, called September, 1741, Samuel Hopwood was with her, and received the relation much to the same purpose; at which time he saw the child (then grown a young woman) who was sucking at her breast when she was carried into captivity.