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John Williams Family Taken Captive in 1704

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John Williams Family Taken Captive in 1704

Posted: 5 Oct 2004 11:20PM GMT
Classification: Biography
Edited: 2 Mar 2006 9:50AM GMT
Surnames: Williams, Mather, Guyon
The Williams Family
Rev. John Williams, a Harvard graduate, was installed as minister in Deerfield in 1686. A year later he married Eunice Mather, a member of the widespread Puritan ecclesiastical family. He was a special target for captivity, as the Boston authorities held Jean-Baptiste Guyon whom the Canadians wanted returned. His memoir of the events is the famed The Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion, first printed in 1707 and reprinted continually thereafter.

Their two little children and a negro woman were killed in the assault. He, his wife, five children, and a negro man were taken. The eldest child alone was spared -- he was away at school. His wife, having had the baby but a few weeks before, was very weak. On the second day of the journey north they said their farewells, and were separated. She fell down while wading a small river and "was plunged over head and ears in the water; after which she travelled not far, for the cruel and bloodthirsty savage slew her with his hatchet." But what else could be done on a forced march through the winter snows?

His party took seven weeks to reach Fort Chambly. During his captivity he was constantly pressured to convert to catholicism, but ignored all blandishments. He encouraged his fellow captives as much as possible. He was redeemed, along with about 60 other captives, and arrived in Boston on 21 November 1706 with great joy.

Four of their children were redeemed and returned to New England, one continuing in the ministry. The one that remained was the subject of endless communications between New England, Albany, and Montreal. She was Eunice Williams, who lived in Caughnawaga. She received the Mohawk name A'ongote, which means "She (was) taken and placed (as a member of their tribe)." In early 1713 she married an Indian named Arosen. They had at least three children, two daughters and a son. Both daughters married Indian men, one of whom became the grand chief of the village, the other also a prominent figure. The fact that the daughters married so well indicates that Eunice was held in high esteem in her adoptive tribe.

A study of the known facts about Eunice has recently been published under the apposite title The Unredeemed Captive.

This information is taken from the following website:
"The French and Indian raid on Deerfield, Mass., 1704"
http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/gen/deerfild.html#unrdmc

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