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On the last of February 1703/4 the French and indians came & surprised our fort & took it, and after they had broken into our house & took us prisoners, they Barbariously murdered a Brother & Sister of mine, as they did Several of our neighbours. They rifled our house & then marched away with us that were Captives, and set our house1 & barn afire, as they did ye greatest part of ye town, When ye greatest part of ye enemy were gone out of town there come some English from ye next town2 yt drove those indians yt re- mained in ye town away, but they were quickly driven back again by the rest of ye Armey, 9 of ym were slain as they retreated. Then they marched a little further & stoped for they had sev- eral wounded men that hindered them. There they tould us yt if the English persued ym they would kill us, but if otherwyse they would not, but they quickly proved ymselves lyars for before they departed from yt place yy barbariously murdered a child of about two years old.

There my master took away my English shoes and gave me in- dian ones in ye room of ym wch I think were better to travail in. Then we marched 5 or 6 miles further were we took up our Lodging. Then one English man run back to Deerf: which pro- voked ym much: They told us if any more ran away they would burn ye rest. There they slew our negro man. They next morning we travailed about 2 or 3 miles & then they murdered my ever honor- ed mother who having gone over a smal river which water runing very swift flung her down She being wet was not able to travail any further.3 We travailed 8 or 9 mile further & Lodged yt night. There some of us were Distributed for some had five or six Captives & others none. Then they called ye Captives together to make a more Equal Distribution, but I remained wth my former master. Here they searched me And took away my silver buttons & buckels wch I had on my shirt. Before we came to a small river named ye westriver about thirty miles above Deerf: they murdered 3 or 4 more persons. Wn they came to ye west river4 where they had slays & Dogs wth which they drew there wounded men they travailed

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Stephen Williams (1693-1782) was just a young boy when a group of French and Native Americans raided the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts, in 1704. The attackers captured Stephen's entire family except for those killed in the initial attack and the one member of the family who was not in Deerfield at the time. Stephen endured a grueling ordeal over the next year and a half, including a forced winter march to northern Vermont and frequent deprivation. Unlike his sister, Eunice, who chose to stay with the Indian family that adopted her, Stephen Williams returned to New England. He wrote this account shortly after his return.


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"What Befell Stephen Williams in his Captivity"

publisher   Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association
author   Stephen Williams (1693-1782)
date   1889
location   Deerfield, Massachusetts
height   9.25"
width   6.0"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Books/Booklet
accession #   #L98.030

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See Also...

Reverend Stephen Williams (1693-1782)

"The Boy Captive of Old Deerfield" excerpts

"Little Captives of 1704"

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