STOLEN BY THE INDIANS by Dorothy Heiderstadt


Email this review


Twelve young captives who lived to tell the tale, and at least half had no regrets. Esther Wheelwright, from a staunch Puritan family, responded to the warmth of her Indian mother and the kindness of a French priest and insisted on becoming an Ursuline nun; pastor's daughter Eunice Williams clung to her Mohawk husband and children; Mary Jemison, older when she was taken, nevertheless refused to return and see her offspring scorned as half-breeds; as an old woman, Fanny Slocum barely tolerated her white relations. Each of the foregoing lived at a time when, as the author points out, life among the Indians was not much harder than life among the pioneers; it was certainly less rigid and repressive, and these accounts suggest that when the captive was well-treated, she--sometimes he--was more than willing to remain. So was Cynthia Ann Parker, who was forcibly restrained by her respectable Texas family from rejoining the Comanches; this was in the 1860's. Also interesting: Horatio Jones, Seneca chief and go-between for the U.S. government; John Tanner, misfit in both worlds; John Brayton, slow to believe he was white. Assuming a taste for Indian captives that will survive some repetition, this is collective adventure with social overtones competently handled by the author of Indian Friends and Foes and other frontier Americana.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1968
Publisher: McKay