Analysis Of The Unredeemed Captive By John Putnam Demos

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The Unredeemed Captive (1995), a non-fiction book by American author and historian John Putnam Demos, is the true story of a kidnapping that shocked colonial Massachusetts. In February 1704, during the French and Indian War, a Native war party descended on the village of Deerfield and abducted Puritan minister John Williams and his family. Although Williams was eventually released, his daughter shocked the colonials by choosing to stay with her captors, eventually marrying into the Mohawk tribe. Exploring themes of colonial politics, the complex relationship between colonists and the native population, and the religious dynamics of colonial America, The Unredeemed Captive was widely praised for its extensively researched narrative. It won the…show more content…
England and France are at war over dueling claims to the Spanish throne, and the conflict has spread to the North American colonies where the Mohawk tribes have become aligned with the French. On February 29th, 1704, the war comes to the small New England town of Deerfield. The town is brutally attacked by a Mohawk raiding party and set on fire. Some of the residents are killed and scalped, some escaped, and others are captured and taken back to the territory of New France in what is now Canada. The target of the raid was Deerfield’s prominent reverend, John Williams, who was planned to be traded for the French captain Jean Baptiste Guyon, who was currently being held by the English. The Williams home was raided, and the two youngest children were scalped. Williams, his wife, and five other children ranging from fourteen to four were captured along with a hundred and twelve other Deerfield residents. The Williams children were scattered among the Indian tribes, and the captives were eventually sold to the French and traded in exchange for captives. Three years later, John Williams was able to make his way back and negotiate for the release of his children. He retrieved them all besides his now-nine-year-old daughter Eunice, who the Kahnawake Indians refused to negotiate…show more content…
During that time, she would become a grandmother, and settle even more into her life in Canada with the natives. The idea of her leaving her native family would become even more remote. However, eventually she and her brother would make contact again, via a letter sent and translated to Stephen shortly before her seventy-fifth birthday. She asked for news of his family and of his health, and stated that they would likely never meet face-to-face again, because she had become too old to travel extensively. They never met in person again, although Stephen lived to the age of ninety and Eunice lived to eighty-five. Despite their infrequent communications, they did form a bond that would outlive them, and their descendants kept in touch deep into the nineteenth century. Their communications became an invaluable resource for the author as he worked to recreate the story of the woman who became known as the unredeemed captive. John Putnam Demos is an American author and historian, best known for his work regarding colonial America. He is the descendant of John Putnam Senior, who was related to the Putnam family involved in the Salem witch trials. He has written two books on the trials, one of which - Entertaining Satan - Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England - won him the prestigious Bancroft Prize. He is the former Samuel Knight Professor of

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