Thomas and Hannah Webster Emerson Dustin





THE MOTHER'S REVENGE"..... Woman's attributes are generally considered of a milder and purer character than those of man. The virtues of meek affection, of fervent piety, of winning sympathy and of that " charity which forgiveth often", are more peculiarly her own. Her sphere of action is generally limited to the endearments of the home- the quiet communion with her friends, and the angelic exercise of the kindly charities of existence. Yet there have been astonishing manifestations of female fortitude and power in the ruder and sterner trials of humanity; Manifestations of a courage rising almost to sublimity; the revelation of all those dark and terrible passions, which madden and distract the heart of manhood. The perils that surrounded the earliest settlers of New England were of the most terrible character. None but such a people as were our forefathers could have successfully sustained them. In the dangers and the hardihood of that perilous period, woman herself shared largely. It was not unfrequently her task to garrison the dwelling of her absent husband, and hold at bay the fierce savages in their hunt for blood. Many have left behind them a record of their sufferings and trials in the great wilderness, when in the bondage of the heathen, which are full of wonderful and romantic incidents, related however without ostentation, plainly and simply , as if the authors felt assured that they had only performed the task which Providence had set before them, and for which they could ask no tribute or admiration. In 1698 the Indians made an attack upon the English settlement at Haverhill (Mass.)- now a beautiful village on the left bank of the Merrimack. They surrounded the house of one Duston, which was a little removed from the main body of the settlement. The wife of Duston was at that time in bed with an infant child in her arms. Seven young children were around her. On the first alarm Duston (Thomas) bade his children fly towards the garrison house, and then turned to save his wife and infant. By the time the savages were presenting close upon them. The heroic women saw the utter impossibility of her escape- and she bade her husband fly to succor his children and leave her to her fate. It was a moment of terrible trial for the husband- he hesitated between his affection and his duty- but the entreaties of his wife fixed his determination. He turned away and followed his children. A part of the Indians pursued him, but he held them at a distance by the frequent discharge of his rifle. The children fled towards the garrison ,where their friends waited, with breathless anxiety, to receive them. More than once, during their flight , the savages gained upon them ; but a shot from the rifle of Duston, followed, as it was , by the fall of one of their number , effectually checked their progress. The garrison was reached, and Duston and his children, exhausted from fatigue and terror, were literally dragged into its enclosure by their anxious neighbors. Mrs. Duston , her servant girl ( Mary Neff her mid wive) and her infant were made prisoners by the Indians, and were compelled to proceed before them in their retreat towards their lurking place . The charge of her infant necessarily impeded her progress; and the savages brook delay when they knew the avenger of blood was following closely behind them. Finding that the wretched mother was unable to keep pace with her captors, the leader of the band approached her ,and wrested the infant from her arms. the savage held it before him for a moment, contemplating, with a smile of grim fierceness the terrors of its mother , and then dashed it from him with all of his powerful strength. Its head smote heavily on the trunk of an adjacent tree, and the dried leaves around were sprinkled with brains and blood. " Go on !" said the Indian. The wretched mother cast one look upon her dead infant, and another to Heaven, as she obeyed her savage conductor. She has often said , that at this moment , all was darkness and horror- that her very heart seemed to cease beating, and to lie cold and dead in her bosom, and that her limbs moved as only involuntary machinery. But when she gazed around her and saw the unfeeling savages ,grinning at her and mocking her and pointing to the mangled body of her infant with fiendish exultation, a new and terrible feeling came over her . It was the thirst of revenge; and from that moment her purpose was fixed. There was the thought of death at her heart-an insantiate longing for blood. An instantaneous change had been wrought in her very nature ; the angel had become a demon,-and she followed her captors with a stearn determination to embrace the earliest opportunity for blood retribution. The Indians followed the course of the Merrimack, until they had reached their canoes, a distance of seventy or eighty miles. They paddled to a small island ( now known as Duston Island, N.H.), a little above the upper falls of the river. Here they kindled a fire; and fatigued by their long marches and sleepless nights, stretched themselves around it, without dreaming of the escape of their captives. Their sleep was deep- deeper than any which the white man knows,- a sleep from which they were never to awaken. The two captives lay silent, until the hour of midnight; but the bereaved mother did not close her eyes. There was a gnawing of revenge at her heart, which precluded slumber. There was a spirit within her which defied the weakness of the body. She rose up and walked around the sleepers, in order to test the soundness of their slumber. They stirred not a limb or muscle. Placing a hatchet in the hands of her fellow captive, and bidding her stand ready to assist her, she grasped another in her own hands, and smote its ragged edge deeply into the skull of the nearest sleeper. A slight shudder and a feeble groan followed. The savage was dead. She passed on to the next. Blow followed blow, until ten out of twelve, the whole number of the savages, were stiffening in blood. One escaped with a dreadful wound. The last- a small boy-still slept amidst the scene of carnage. Mrs. Duston lifted her dripping hatchet above his head, but hesitated to strike the blow. "It is a poor," she said, mentally, "a poor child, and perhaps he has a mother!" The thought of her own children rushed upon her mind, and she spared him. She was in the act of leaving the bloody spot, when, suddenly reflecting that the people of her settlement would not credit her story, unsupported by any proof save her own assertion, she returned and deliberately scalped her ten victims. With this fearful evidence of her prowess, she loosed one of the Indian canoes, and floated down the river to the falls, from which place she traveled through the wilderness to the residence of her husband. Such is the simple and unvarnished story of a New England woman. The curious historian, who may hereafter search among the dim records of our "twilight time"- who may gather from the uncertain responses of tradition, the wonderful history of the past-will find much, of the similar character, to call forth by turns, admiration and horror. And the time is coming, when all these traditions shall be treasured up as a sacred legacy- when the tale of the Indian inroad and the perils of the hunter--of the sublime courage and the dark superstitions of our ancestors, will be listened to with an interest unknown to the present generation,- and those who are to fill our places will pause hereafter by the Indian's burial place, and on the site of the old battle-field, or the thrown-down garrison, with a feeling of awe and reverence, as if communing, face to face, with the spirits of that stern race, which has passed away forever. END 


More notes on Hannah Emerson Dustin\Duston, 

  
"On May 17, 1724, Hannah expressed her desire to be admitted to the church. While that of Thomas contains nothing unusual, we quote her as follows:"

" I desire to be thankful that I was born in the land of Light I was Baptized when I was young; and had a good education by my Father, Tho I took but little notice of it in the time of it:- I am Thankful for my Captivity, twas the Comfortablest time that I ever had; In my Affliction God made his Word Comfortable to me. I remembered 43d ps. ult- and those words came to my mind- ps. 118.17.....I have had a great Desire to come to the Ordinance of the Lords Supper a Great while but fearing I should give offence & fearing my own un worthiness has kept me back; reading a Book concerning +s Suffering Did much to awaken me. In the 55th of Isa. beg. we are all invited to come;- Hearing Mr. Moody preach out of ye 3d of Mal. 3 last verses it put me upon Consideration. Ye 11th of Matthew has been encouraging to me- I have been resolving to offer my Self from time to time ever since the Settlement of present Ministry: I was awakened by the first Sacram'I  Sermon (Luke 14.17) But delays and fears preveiled upon me:- But I desire to Delay no longer, being Sensible it is My Duty-.I desire the Church to receive me tho' it be at the Eleventh hour: & pray for me - that I may hon'r God and obtain the Salvation of the soul. Hannah Duston wife of Thomas AEtat 67" 

The letter above was found in the Church, in the early 1920's. 



Wonder Woman Comic Issue 89, 1957, Story: Fabulous Females including  Hannah Dustin, Amelia Earhart and Rosie "the Riveter" 

While this version of the Dustin story found in a 1957 Wonder Woman comic book is quite interesting, it is completely incorrect and glamourized to some degree.The right picture is the text of the story, the front and back covers are included as well.

                                                  

The Cheney Genealogy copy right 1897 Rev. Charles Henry Pope Also the author of the The Pioneers of Mass. and  The Pioneers of The Pioneers of Maine and New Hampshire.

The spelling of the name , it must be said, is given in a great many ways : Judge
Sewall, in his diary wrote in "Dunstan" which is the way the famous "St. Dunstan" 's name was spelled: another excellent authority spelled it Durstan: the attorney who wrote the wills of the good couple gave the style "Dustin", which was probably the way it was usually pronounced: but the best authorities, in 
the opinon of the writer, spell it as it is uniformly given in this volume,--Duston.

Hannah who became the wife of Daniel Cheney, was the oldest of the nine children who had been born to this couple before the dreadful day when the Indians swooped down on Haverhill. The youngest was a babe of but six days. Mr. Duston (Thomas) learned that the savages were close at hand and rushed first to the house to save the mother, still feeble and in bed. But she utterly refused to go or have him stay to attempt to defend her and the little one : she insisted on his making every effort to save the children: and his intrepid guardianship saved the whole fleeing band. But the poor woman and Mrs. Neff, her nurse, were cruelly captured and driven into the wilderness in spite of her weak condition, and the infant dashed in pieces. After sufferings of a dreadful sort, the women and a boy named Samuel Lennedson rose in the night, captured a gun and aL tomahawk, killed and scalped the ten Indians who then guarded them, and made their way back to Haverhill. The General Court paid them fifty pounds as a reward for their bravery: it was believed that so bold an act had a great effect on the Indians, making them feel that white people possessed the same qualities which they counted heroic: and Hannah Duston's name became a thrilling word in all the colonies. It was a terrible experience for the poor women: a horrible necessity laid on her: and we will believe she realized that the fate of many other mothers on the border would be affected by her action: may no descendant of hers ever reach so awful a crisis! But Thomas Duston deserves as high praise for that magnificent work of his, when he saved seven young lives by simply firing back towards his pursuers from his saddle, while he babe his beloved children run for their lives, until they reached a safe place. 

The daughter Hannah(Cheney) was eighteen years old when that terrible day, March 15,1697, and that thrilling 25th of April, the day of her mother's exploit and return, occurred. No doubt she was of great assistance to her father in the saving of the little ones, and a comfort to her mother in her after burdens. Naturally the mother reposed confidence in her, making her joint executrix of her Will. The Cheneys of this branch have always taken great interest in this strain of their ancestry.


They paved the way: History of New Hampshire Women by, Olive Tardiff 1980

Nearly every student in New Hampshire schools has heard of Hannah Duston (sometimes spelled Dustin). But, Hannah belonged to New Hampshire only by adoption. She was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and spent most of her life there. The city of Haverhill erected a statue in 1879 in a park near Main Street in her honor.

The brick house built by Thomas Duston for his family still stands on the bank of Little River. Visitors to the Haverhill Historical Society can see the large square of white linen in which Hannah wrapped the scalps of the ten Indians she killed after her capture on March 15, 1687.

On that fateful day, while Hannah was tending her one-week-old baby girl, Indians came to her home. Thomas Duston, her husband, sent the older children to safety in the woods, then tried to fight off the invaders. The Indians broke through his defense, entered the house and found Hannah with her baby in her arms, and her nurse, Mary Neff. The two women watched in horror as an Indian seized the baby and dashed it against a tree until dead. Then Hannah and Mary were dragged away to be taken along with a young captive, Samuel Leonardson, to Canada.

The party stopped for the night on what is now known as Duston Island near Penacook, N.H., and Hannah prepared a soup which may have contained an herb that would make the Indians sleep soundly. As soon as it was safe to do so, Hannah roused her companions. With their help she killed the Indians with hatchets, then the three prisoners escaped in a canoe.

They had apparently not gone far when Hannah thought of collecting the Indians' scalps as proof of her action. She stole back into the camp and removed the scalps, and wrapped them in cloth. Hannah and her companions then made their way down the river to safety, paddling the canoe as far as possible along the Merrimack, and walking the rest of the way to Haverhill.

When Hannah reached her home, she learned that the rest of the family was safe. Her story would have been considered unbelievable if she had not been able to produce the scalps as evidence. The following spring, the General Court of Massachusetts voted to pay a bounty of twenty-five pounds to Hannah, and twelve pounds, ten shillings each to Mary Neff and Samuel Leonardson. Hannah was the first woman in America to receive an award for bravery.

People throughout the Colonies sent gifts of money to Hannah. Curiosity-seekers came from miles around to view the hatchet, scalping-knife, and piece of cloth used in the killing. In recent years, Hannah Duston has been criticized for being unduly blood-thirsty. She could have reached home without taking the risk of going back to the Indian camp. She has been called mercenary for accepting payment for the scalps and for charging fees to sightseers.

It must be remembered that those were cruel times. Death was not stranger to the early settlers. It came in the form of starvation, exposure, disease, and massacre. A mother who saw her infant murdered would have been in a state of great shock and deep grief. The Old Testament concept of "an eye for an eye" still prevailed among religious people. Hannah must have felt justified in her action.

In collecting the scalps, Hannah Duston wanted to prove that she had avenged her child and that she had not gone willingly with her captors. With the only weapons at hand, she fought an enemy that she probably considered less than human. Her daring behavior may have saved other women alone in their frontier cabins from attack by raiding Indians who might not have been so casual again in seizing a woman captive. Her courage and resourcefulness have made her a true heroine in New Hampshire history.


 
Cotton Mather


Magnalia Christa Americana , the Ecclesiastical History of New England by Cotton Mather., Reproduced from the Edition of 1852 and Published in 1967 by Russell & Russell 

On March 15, 1697, the salvages made a descent upon the skirts of Haverhill, murdering and captivating about thirty-nine persons, and burning about half a dozen houses. In this broil, one Hannah Dustan, having lain in about a week, attended with her nurse, Mary Neff, a body of terrible Indians drew near unto the house where she lay, with designs to carry on their bloody devastations. Her husband hastened from his employments abroad unto the relief of his distressed family; and first bidding seven of his eight children (which were from two to seventeen years of age) to get away as fast as they could unto some garrison in the town, he went in to inform his wife of the horrible distress come upon them. Ere she could get up, the fierce Indians were got so near, that, utterly despairing to do her any service, he ran out after his children; resolving that on the horse which he had with him, he would ride away with that which he should in this extremity find his affections to pitch most upon, and leave the rest unto the care of the Divine Providence. He overtook his children, about forty rod from his door; but then such was the agony of his parental affections, that he found it impossible for him to distinguish any one of them from the rest; wherefore he took up a courageous resolution to live and die with them all. A party of Indians came up with him; and now, though they fired at him, and he fired at them, yet he manfully kept at the reer of his little army of unarmed children, while they marched off with the pace of a child of five years old; until, by the singular providence of God, he arrived safe with them all unto a place of safety about a mile or two from his house. But his house must in the mean time have more dismal tragedies acted at it. The nurse, trying to escape with the new-born infant, fell into the hands of the formidable salvages; and those furious tawnies coming into the house, bid poor Dustan to rise immediately. Full of astonishment, she did so; and sitting down in the chimney with an heart full of most fearful expectation, she saw the raging dragons rifle all that they could carry away, and set the house on fire. About nineteen or twenty Indians now led these away, with about half a score other English captives; but ere they had gone many steps, they dash'd out the brains of the infant against a tree; and several of the other captives, as they began to tire in the sad journey, were soon sent unto their long home; the salvages would presently bury their hatchets in their brains, and leave their carcases on the ground for birds and beasts to feed upon. However, Dustan (with her nurse) notwithstanding her present condition, traveled that night about a dozen miles, and then kept up with their new masters in a long travel of an hundred and fifty miles, more or less, within a few days ensuing, without any sensible damage in their health, from the hardships of their travel, their lodging, their diet, and their many other difficulties. 

These two poor women were now in the hands of those whose "tender mercies are cruelties;" but the good God, who hath all "hearts in his own hands," heard the sighs of these prisoners, and gave them to find unexpected favour from the master who hath laid claim unto them. That Indian family consisted of twelve persons; two stout men, three women, and seven children; and for the shame of many an English family, that has the character of prayerless upon it, I must now publish what these poor women assure me. 'Tis this: in obedience to the instructions which the French have given them, they would have prayers in their family no less than thrice every day; in the morning, at noon, and in the evening; nor would they ordinarily let their children eat or sleep, without first saying their prayers. Indeed, these idolaters were, like the rest of their whiter brethren, persecutors, and would not endure that these poor women should retire to their English prayers, if they could hinder them. Nevertheless, the poor women had nothing but fervent prayers to make their lives comfortable or tolerable; and by being daily sent out upon business, they had opportunities, together and asunder, to do like another Hannah, in "pouring out their souls before the Lord." Nor did their praying friends among our selves forbear to "pour out" supplications for them. Now, they could not observe it without some wonder, that their Indian master sometimes when he saw them dejected, would say unto them, "What need you trouble your self? If your God will have you delivered, you shall be so!" And it seems our God would have it so to be. This Indian family was now traveling with these two captive women, (and an English youth taken from Worcester, a year and a half before,) unto a rendezvous of salvages, which they call a town, some where beyond Penacook; and they still told these poor women that when they came to this town, they must be stript, and scourg'd, and run the gantlet through the whole army of Indians. They said this was the fashion when the captives first came to a town; and they derided some of the faint-hearted English, which, they said, fainted and swooned away under the torments of this discipline. But on April 30, while they were yet, it may be, about an hundred and fifty miles from the Indian town, a little before break of day, when the whole crew was in a dead sleep, (reader, see if it prove not so!) one of these women took up a resolution to imitate the action of Gael upon Siberia; and being where she had not her own life secured by any law unto her, she thought she was not forbidden by any law to take away the life of the murderers by whom her child had been butchered. She heartened the nurse and the youth to assist her in this enterprize; and all furnishing themselves with hatchets for the purpose, they struck such home blows upon the heads of their sleeping oppressors, that ere they could any of them struggle into any effectual resistance, "at the feet of these poor prisoners, they bow'd, they fell, they lay down; at their feet they bow'd, they fell; where they bow'd, there they fell down dead." Only one squaw escaped, sorely wounded, from them in the dark; and one boy, whom they reserved asleep, intending to bring him away with them, suddenly waked, and scuttled away from this desolation. But cutting off the scalps of the ten wretches, they came off, and received fifty pounds from the General Assembly of the province, as a recompense of their action; besides which, they received many "presents of congratulation" from their more private friends: but none gave 'em a greater taste of bounty than Colonel Nicholson, The Governor of Maryland, who, hearing of their action, sent 'em a very generous token of his favor. 

Herringshaw's Encyclopedia of American Biography of the Nineteenth Century. 

Dustin, Hannah, heroine of New England, was born about 1655. She was the mother of thirteen children. When the Indians attacked Haverhill, March 15, 1698, her husband, with the children, escaped, and she, with an infant and her nurse, was captured. After proceeding a short distance, the infant was killed. Mrs. Duston was taken to an island at the junction of the Merrimack and Contoocook rivers, being assigned to an Indian family of twelve persons. With the aid of a nurse and a boy, also a prisoner, she killed the Indians with a hatchet, all but a favorite boy and a wounded squaw, who escaped, and returned safely to Haverhill with their scalps. Her house, occupied by Thomas Dustin, a descendant, was standing in 1816.

Hodge Genealogy, by Orlando John Hodge 1900

March 15, 1697, about twenty Indians appeared at Haverhill, burned a number of buildings, and killed or made captive thirty-nine of the inhabitants. Among the captives were Mrs. Hannah Dustin and Mrs. Mary Neff, a widow, who was serving as a nurse in the Dustin family, a child having been born to Mrs. Dustin six days before. Mrs. Neff attempted to escape with the babe, but was overtaken, the child snatched from her arms and its brains knocked out against a tree. Mrs. Dustin was compelled to leave her bed and accompany the savages. Mr. Dustin hastened away with his children and with his rifle kept the Indians at bay until they escaped to a place of safety. Mrs. Dustin and Mrs. Neff, on the day of their capture, were obliged to travel some ten miles. They were ultimately taken to an island in the Merrimac river above Concord, N.H., one hundred and fifty miles north from Haverhill.

The Indian family that laid claim to them, and which had separated from others of the party, consisted of twelve persons--two full-grown men, three women, and seven younger persons.

The Indians had with them another captive, a young man about seventeen years of age, who had been with the Indians nearly a year, and had learned something of their language.

Mrs. Dustin learned, through this boy, that when they reached an Indian village she and Mrs. Neff would be stripped and made to run the gauntlet; that is, made to run between two files of Indians, while each Indian would have the privilege of striking them with some instrument of torture. On the 31st of March, just before the break of day, the three captives, having armed themselves with hatchets, attacked the Indians as they lay sleeping. Mrs. Dustin quickly dispatched the chief of the party, while the captive boy killed the other man, who a short time previous had instructed him just where to strike a person to kill him quickest. One of the women left for dead survived, and a small boy ran away to the woods. The other ten Indians were killed and scalped. It is said Mrs. Ruth Carter Rowell, of Bath, Vt., has the cloth in which Mrs. Dustin wrapped these scalps. All of the canoes but one were now scuttled and sunk. In the one canoe left, some provisions and the ten scalps were placed. In it the three captives made their escape down the river, and after much suffering and hardship finally reached Haverhill. A stone monument, consisting of a life-size statue of Mrs. Dustin, raised some eight feet, now marks the spot where the Dustin house was burned. Samuel Hodge, born Oct. 4, 1686 (No. 12), had for wife "Sarah," and a traditionary claim has been made that she was Sarah Dustin, born July 4, 1688, daughter of Hannah Dustin, but no record has been found to warrant such a conclusion. At a later date, however, the Dustin and Hodge families became allied by marriage. (See Hodge family, Nos. 108 and 207.)



  History of the United States by George Bancroft ,Volume 2

   Once, indeed, a mother achieved a startling revenge. In March 1697, the Indian prowlers raised their shouts near the house of Hannah Dustin, of Haverhill, seven days after her confinement. Her husband rode home from the field, but too late for her rescue. He must fly, if he would save even one of his seven children, who had hurried before him into the forest. But, from the cowering flock, how could a father make a choice? With gun in his hand, he now repels the assault, now cheers on the little ones, as they rustle through the dry leaves, till all reach a shelter. The Indians burned his home, dashed his new-born child against a tree; and, after weary marches, Hannah Dustin and her nurse, with a boy from Worcester, find themselves on an island in the Merrimack, just above Concord, in a wigwam occupied by two Indian families. The mother planned escape. "Where would you strike, to kill instantly?" asked the boy, Samuel Leonardson, of his master, and the Indian told him where and how to scalp. At night, while the household slumbers, the two women and the boy, each with a tomahawk, strike fleetly, and with wise division of labor; and, of the twelve sleepers, ten lie dead; of one squaw the wound was not mortal; one child was spared from design. Taking the gun and tomahawk of the murderer of her infant, and a bag heaped full with the scalps of the slain, the three, in a bark canoe, descended the Merrimack to the English settlements, filling the land with wonder at their deed.

History of the American Nation by William J. Jackman, Volume 2

Heroic deeds were performed by men and women. A small band of Indians attacked the house of a farmer named Dustin, near Haverhill. When in the fields he heard the war-whoop and the cry of distress. He hastened to the rescue, met his children, and threw himself between them and their pursuers, whom he held at bay by well-directed shots till the children were in a place of safety. His house was burned; a child only a few days old was dashed against a tree, and his wife, Hannah Dustin, and her nurse, were carried away captive. A toilsome march brought them to an island in the Merrimac, just above Concord, where their captors lived. There Mrs. Dustin, with the nurse and a boy, also a captive, planned an escape. She wished revenge, as well as to be secure from pursuit. The Indians, twelve in number, were asleep. She arose, assigned to each of her companions whom to strike; their hands were steady and their hearts firm; they struck for their lives. Ten Indians were killed, one woman was wounded, and a child was purposely saved. The heroic woman wished to preserve a trophy of the deed, and she scalped the dead. Then in a canoe the three floated down the Merrimac to Haverhill, much to the astonishment of their friends, who had given them up for lost. Such were the toils and sufferings and such the heroism of the mothers in those days.

 The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume III D Dutcher, Silas Belden

Duston, Hannah, pioneer, was born probably in 1660, and was married to Thomas Duston of Haverhill, Mass., Dec. 3, 1677. When Haverhill was captured by the Indians in 1697, Hannah Duston and Mary Neff, her nurse, were spared the tomahawk, which dealt death to her infant, scarcely a week old and to many of the inhabitants. The two women were made captive by the savages, and her husband with their seven elder children, at her earnest entreaty, fled to a place of safety. The captive mother was obliged to walk through the snow without shoes day after day until they reached the wigwam of the Indian chief on an island near the present site of Concord, N.H. Aided by Samuel Leonardson, a white lad, who had been captured at Worcester one year before, she planned escape. On an appointed night with the aid of her nurse and the lad she made an attack on the sleeping Indians. She herself scalped nine braves, Leonardson killed the chief, and only a squaw and a badly wounded Indian boy escaped. They then provisioned one canoe, sinking the remainder, and on reaching Haverhill she found her family safe. She had with her the Indians' scalps, tomahawks and guns, as trophies and she presented them to the governor of Massachusetts colony. The general court gave to Mrs. Duston and the Worcester lad each $250. The island, the scene of their prowess, was named Duston's island, and a granite monument was erected at Haverhill, by the states of New Hampshire and Massachusetts in 1874, on the tablets of which were inscribed the names of Hannah Duston, Mary Neff and Samuel Leonardson. Mrs. Duston died in Haverhill, Mass.

The Farwell Family Volume 1, by Jane Harter Abbott and Lillian M. Wilson
copyright 1927

HANNAH DUSTIN IN HISTORY.


According to Dr. N. Bouton's History of Concord, Mass., Thomas Dustin married Hannah, the oldest child of Michael and Hannah Emerson, Dec. 3, 1677. They had thirteen children. It was this Hannah (Emerson) Dustin who became famous.

During an incursion by the Indians upon Haverhill, Mass., on March 15, 1697, a party attacked the house of Thomas Dustin, captured Mrs. Dustin in bed with an infant seven days old, and her nurse, Mary Neff. They dashed out the brains of the infant against a tree, and set fire to the house. The captives were marched through the wilderness to the home of the Indians on a small island where the village of Penacook now is. In the night, when the Indians were asleep, the two captive women, with the assistance of a boy who had been captured in Worcester, Mass., some time before, killed ten of the Indians by striking them upon the head, and the three captives escaped and returned to Haverhill. On the 21st of the following April the three went to Boston, carrying with them the scalps of the Indians, and other evidences of the exploit. They received as a reward 50 from the General Court, and many valuable presents from other sources.

A few years ago a monument was erected to the memory of Hannah Dustin on this island, and to mark the spot where the tragedy occurred.

            From the "History of Claremont, Mass.," 
                                       by Otis F. R. Waite, 1895. 

    Rev. Raymond L. Cooper, Ariel, Pa., 1917. 
    Family records, from Rev. Cooper, 1917



The English Emersons, by : P.H. Emerson 1898

Finally, in America the descendants of Michael Emerson, of Haverhill, U.S.A., claim--Or out of the midst of a fesse sable, a lion rampant, naissant gules armed and languid (sic) azure. Motto, "I will or die." No crest. This coat is spurious like the above, no such coat ever having been granted to any Emerson or anybody else, to judge from the "heraldry," and is probably the work of John Coles, the infamous spurious heraldic painter of Boston, who lived during the last century. The descendants of Michael Emerson have no arms of any kind, and are possibly descended from Jo. Emerson, baker, who emigrated in the Abigail, 1635, Oct. 20th, for New England (vide Licences to pass beyond the seas). This Jo., as given in the original licence, was possibly a contraction for Jonathan, father of Michael Emerson, who settled at Haverhill, circa 1656, and left a large family, one of whom was the heroic and historic Hannah Dustin (ne Emerson) who avenged her family by scalping a number of Indians with her own hands--a well-known historical episode.

Professor B. K. Emerson, in his "Emersons in America

New England Families Genealogical and Memorial: Third Series, Volume III
 by William Richard Cutter 1915

(The Duston Line).

(I) Thomas Duston, the immigrant ancestor, was born in England and as early as 1640 was in Dover, New Hampshire. He owned land in Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1648. He was admitted a freeman at Kittery, Maine, in 1652. His name is variously spelled Dunston, Dustin, Dastin and Duston. Only one child seems to be known, Thomas, mentioned below.

(II) Thomas (2), son of Thomas (I) Duston, was born about 1650. He married, December 3, 1677, Hannah, daughter of Michael and Hannah (Webster) Emerson. Hannah Duston is one of the most famous women of American history. On March 15, 1697, the Indians attacked Thomas Duston's home. He managed to save his life with seven of the children by mounting his horse and covering their retreat with his gun. They all reached safety unharmed, though the Indians fired at them many times. Mrs. Duston was in bed attended by a midwife, named Mary Neff, with her infant daughter, Martha, one week old. She was ordered to accompany her captors, and but partly dressed, started on the dreadful journey northward. The savages dashed out the brains of her child against a tree in order to spare themselves the trouble of an infant in the party. After two weeks the Indians camped on an island at Pennacock, now Concord, New Hampshire, and while there, March 30, 1697, Mrs. Duston, with the aid of Samuel Leonardson, a seventeen year old boy, who had been captured in Worcester, she and Mary Neff each armed with a hatchet tomahawked ten of the twelve Indians while they were asleep. A squaw and one young Indian escaped. The three returned to Haverhill and later received rewards for their bravery. Children: Hannah, born August 22, 1678, married Daniel Cheney (see Cheney III); Elizabeth, Mary, Thomas, Nathaniel, John, Sarah, Abigail, Jonathan, Timothy, Mehitable, Martha, Lydia.



McCall-Tidwell and Allied Families, by Ettie Tidwell McCall, 1931

+THOMAS DUSTIN2 (Thomas1) married at Haverhill, December 3, 1676, Hannah Emerson, born at Haverhill, December 23, 1657, (dau. of Michael and Hannah (Webster) Emerson). He was a soldier in King Philip's War in 1675-6, sent to Marlboro as a Soldier from Haverhill. He was largely engaged in brick-making. The business was attended with no little danger on account of the Indians who were always lurking in the vicinity, watching for an opportunity for a successful attack. The clay pits were near the garrison and always guarded. After the assault on Haverhill, 1697, vigorous measures were taken to prevent, if possible, another similar bloody massacre. Guards were stationed in many of the houses, and the new brick home of Thomas Dustin, then partly finished, was ordered to be garrisoned. (Hannah Dustin had not yet returned from her captivity.)

The following order was given: "To Thomas Dustin upon the settlement of garrisons. You being appointed master of the Garrison at your house, you are hereby required in his Majesty's name to see that a good watch is kept at your garrison night and day, by those persons warned to be under your command, an inspection in building and repairing your garrison, and if any person refuse or neglect their duty, you are accordingly required to make return of the same under your hand to the Committee of Militia at Haverhill." He made his will, April, 1724, probated, November 17, 1732. Her will was probated March 6, 1737.

 

HEROIC EXPLOIT OF HANNAH DUSTIN.

(Hannah (Emerson) Dustin, wife of Thomas Dustin, was the great-great-grandmother of "Eliphalet Hale" of Newburyport, Massachusetts, the pioneer to Georgia, in 1817.)

Two monuments, one at Haverhill, Massachusetts, the other at Concord, New Hampshire, perpetuate the memory of one of the most heroic exploits narrated in the early annals of New England. They tell the story of Hannah Dustin (Duston) who, when seized and made captive, marched many miles through the wilderness, in her enfeebled state, finally made her escape after tomahawking and scalping the Indians. In March, 1856, the Duston Monument Association was incorporated by special act of the Massachusetts Legislature and on June 1, 1861, a handsome monument was erected on the site of her old home.

Reverend Cotton Mather heard the story direct from the lips of Hannah Dustin and published an account of the exploit in his "Magnolia", 1702, London edition.

The Indians made the attack on the settlement of Haverhill on March 15, 1697, and Hannah Dustin was captured. She was taken from her bed with an infant only six days old, and compelled to march with her captors accompanied by her nurse. The home of Thomas Dustin was the first attacked. The Indians murdered and captured about 39 persons of this little settlement and burned many homes. He was away from home at his clay-works, when word reached him; he hastened home to help his distressed family. He tried first to save his wife, but was unsuccessful, but managed to save eight of their children, but his wife and baby were carried away by the Indians. Hannah Dustin saw her six day old baby dashed to death against a tree by the Indians; was compelled to march many miles in her enfeebled condition through the ice and snow of a New England winter. Worn out with long marching and cruelties, after going with the Indians two weeks, she and her nurse, Mrs. Neff, and a boy, Samuel Lennerson, rose in the night, killed and scalped ten Indians and then found their way through intolerable hardships back to Haverhill. She carried the scalps of the Indians to Boston. Her deed was one of the chief means of checking the cruelties of the Indians, showing them that "weak women" would meet their atrocities in like manner. She was at no other time found lacking in one of the most peaceful and gentle of natures.

(From "Family Data" by Thomas Gamble, Jr., of Savannah, Georgia, and "The Duston Family of Haverhill in Essex Institute Massachusetts Records. Volume 46, page 350.)

Children of Thomas and Hannah (Emerson) Dustin.

        +1. HANNAH mar. Daniel Cheney (see later). 
         2. ELIZABETH b. May 7, 1680, mar. Stephen Emerson. 
         3. MARY b. Nov. 4, 1681, d. 1696. 
         4. THOMAS b. Jan. 5, 1683, mar. Mary Ingalls. 
         5. NATHANIAL b. May 16, 1685, mar. (1) Mary Ayers; (2) 
               Lydia Bond. 
         6. JOHN b. Feb. 2, 1687, d. 1689. 
          7. SARAH b. July 4, 1688, mar. John Watts. 
         8. ABIGAIL b. Oct. 1690, mar. Samuel Watts. 
         9. JONATHAN b. Jan. 1691, mar. (1) Elizabeth Watts; (2) 
               Sarah . . . . . 
        10. MEHETABLE (twin) b. Sept. 14, 1694. 
        11. TIMOTHY (twin) b. Sept. 14, 1694, mar. Sarah Johnson. 
        12. MARTHA b. Mar. 9, 1697, killed by the Indians, March 15, 
               1697. 

American Biographical Library
The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans

Volume 3, D Dutcher, Silas Belden page 352

Duston, Hannah, pioneer, was born probably in 1660, and was married to Thomas Duston of Haverhill, Mass., Dec. 3, 1677. When Haverhill was captured by the Indians in 1697, Hannah Duston and Mary Neff, her nurse, were spared the tomahawk, which dealt death to her infant, scarcely a week old and to many of the inhabitants. The two women were made captive by the savages, and her husband with their seven elder children, at her earnest entreaty, fled to a place of safety. The captive mother was obliged to walk through the snow without shoes day after day until they reached the wigwam of the Indian chief on an island near the present site of Concord, N.H. Aided by Samuel Leonardson, a white lad, who had been captured at Worcester one year before, she planned escape. On an appointed night with the aid of her nurse and the lad she made an attack on the sleeping Indians. She herself scalped nine braves, Leonardson killed the chief, and only a squaw and a badly wounded Indian boy escaped. They then provisioned one canoe, sinking the remainder, and on reaching Haverhill she found her family safe. She had with her the Indians' scalps, tomahawks and guns, as trophies and she presented them to the governor of Massachusetts colony. The general court gave to Mrs. Duston and the Worcester lad each $250. The island, the scene of their prowess, was named Duston's island, and a granite monument was erected at Haverhill, by the states of New Hampshire and Massachusetts in 1874, on the tablets of which were inscribed the names of Hannah Duston, Mary Neff and Samuel Leonardson. Mrs. Duston died in Haverhill, Mass.

"Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay" by: Thomas Franklin Waters, Ipswich Historical Society, Copyright 1905

"In March [15th]of that year [1697] a band of Indians attacked a Haverhill house and carried away Hannah Dustan, with her infant of a week old, and her nurse [Mary Neff, nee Corliss]. They soon dashed out the brains of the baby against a tree, and tomahawked the captives as soon as they lagged by the way. Mrs Dustan and her companion were able to keep up with their captors for a hundred and fifty miles through the wilderness. They were claimed by an Indian family, which consisted of two stout men, three women and seven children. As they approached Penacook (now Concord), the Indians told the women that when they reached the Indian camp in that neighborhood they would be stripped, scourged and compelled to run the gauntlet. Driven to frenzy, these women resolved to escape at any cost. On the morning of April 30, a little before daybreak, Mrs Dustan roused her nurse and an English lad, helpd captive with them. They armed themselves with the hatchets of the Indians, and killed them where they lay. Only one squaw escaped sorely wounded, and a boy, whom they had spared intending to take with them, awoke and ran away. They took the scalps of ten, and brought them with them on their long and perilous homeward journey. A bounty of fifty pounds was voted them for this bloody deed, and the statue of Hannah Dustan stands to-day in the public square of the City of Haverhill. Six of the Indians who were killed and scalped in their wigwams were children, and Mrs. Dustan was the mother of a large family. Her deed of blood, to which she was driven by fear and a natural desire for revenge, reveals the fierce hatred of the English toward the Indians, and the bitterness of life in those years of anguish."

"Historical Collections, Being a General Collection of Interesting Facts, Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, &c., Relating to the History and Antiquities of Every Town in Massachusetts, with Geographical Descriptions" by John Warner Barber, published 1839 by Dorr, Howland & Co.

On the 15th of March, 1697, a body of Indians made a descent on the westerly part of the town, and approached the house of Mr. Thomas Dustin. They came, as they were wont, arrayed with all the terrors of a savage war dress, with their muskets charged for the contest, their tomahawks drawn for the slaughter, and their scalping knives unsheathed and glittering in the sunbeams. Mr. Dustin at this time was engaged abroad in his daily labor. When the terrific shouts of the blood-hounds first fell on his ear, he seized his gun, mounted his horse, and hastened to his house, with the hope of escorting to a place of safety his family, which consisted of his wife, whom he tenderly and passionately loved, and who had been confined only seven days in childbed, her nurse, Mrs. Mary Neff, and eight young children. Immediately upon his arrival, he rushed into his house, and found it a scene of confusion - the women trembling for their safety, and the children weeping and calling on their mother for protection. He instantly ordered seven of his children to fly in an opposite direction from that in which the danger was approaching, and went himself to assist his wife. But he was too late - before she could arise from her bed, the enemy were upon them.

Mr. Dustin, seeing there was no hope of saving his wife from the clutches of the foe, flew from the house, mounted his horse, and rode full speed after his flying children. The agonized father supposed it impossible to save them all, and he determined to snatch from death the child which shared the most of his affections. He soon came up with the infant brood; he heard their glad voices and saw the cheerful looks that overspread their countenances, for they felt themselves safe while under his protection. He looked for the child of his love - where was it? He scanned the little group from the oldest to the youngest, but he could not find it. They all fondly loved him - they called him by the endearing title of father, were flesh of his flesh, and stretched out their little arms toward him for protection. He gazed upon them, and faltered in his resolution, for there was none whom he could leave behind; and, indeed, what parent could, in such a situation, select the child which shared the most of his affections? He could not do it, and therefore resolved to defend them from the murderers, or die at their side.

A small party of the Indians pursued Mr. Dustin as he fled from the house, and soon overtook him and his flying children. They did not, however, approach very near, for they saw his determination, and feared the vengeance of a father, but skulked behind the trees and fences, and fired upon him and his little company. Mr. Dustin dismounted from his horse, placed himself in the rear of his children, and returned the fire of the enemy often and with good suceess. In this manner he retreated for more than a mile, alternately encouraging his terrified charge, and loading and fireing his gun, until he lodged them safely in a forsaken house. The Indians, finding that they could not conquer him, returned to their companions, expecting, no doubt, that they should there find victims, on which they might exercise their savage cruelty.

The party which entered the house when Mr. Dustin left it, found Mrs. Dustin in bed, and the nurse attempting to fly with the infant in her arms. They ordered Mrs. Dustin to rise instantly, while one of them took the infant from the arms of the nurse, carried it out, and dashed out its brains against an apple-tree. After plundering the house they set it on fire, and commenced their retreat, though Mrs. Dustin had but partly dressed herself, and was without a shoe on one of her feet. Mercy was a stranger to the breasts of the conquerors, and the unhappy women expected to receive no kindnesses from their hands. The weather at the time was exceedingly cold, the the March-wind blew keen and piercing, and the earth was alternately covered with snow and deep mud.

They travelled twelve miles the first day, and continued their retreat, day by day, following a circuitous route, until they reached the home of the Indian who claimed them as his property, which was on a small island, now called Dustin's Island, at the mouth of the Contoocook river, about six miles above the state-house in Concord, New Hampshire. Notwithstanding their intense suffering for the death of the child - their anxiety for those whom they had left behind, and who they expected had been cruelly butchered - their sufferings from cold and hunger, and from sleeping on the damp earth, with nothing but an inclement sky for a covering - and their terror for themselves, lest the arm that, as they supposed, had slaughtered those whom they dearly loved, would soon be made red with their blood, - notwithstanding all this, they performed the journey without yielding, and arrived at their destination in comparative health.

The family of their Indian master consisted of two men, three women, and seven children; besides an English boy, named Samuel Lennardson, who was taken prisoner about a year previous, at Worcester. Their master, some years before, had lived in the family of Rev. Mr. Rowlandson, of Lancaster, and he told Mrs. Dustin that "when he prayed the English way he thought it was good, but now he found the French way better."

These unfortunate women had been but a few days with the Indians, when they were informed that they must soon start for a distant Indian settlement, and that, upon their arrival, they would be obliged to conform to the regulations always required of prisoners, whenever they entered the village, which was to be stripped, scourged, and run the gauntlet in a state of nudity. The gauntlet consisted of two files of Indians, of both sexes and of all ages, containing all that could be mustered in the village; and the unhappy prisoners were obliged to run between them, when they were scoffed at and beaten by each one as they passed, and were sometimes marks at which the younger Indians threw their hatchets. This cruel custom was often practised by many of the tribes, and not unfrequently the poor prisoner sunk beneath it. Soon as the two women were informed of this, they determined to escape as speedily as possible. They could not bear to be exposed to the scoffs and unrestrained gaze of their savage conquerors - death would be preferable. Mrs. Dustin soon planned a mode of escape, appointed the 31st inst. for its accomplishment, and prevailed upon her nurse and the boy to join her. The Indians kept no watch, for the boy had lived with them so long they considered him as one of their children, and they did not expect that the women, unadvised and unaided, would attempt to escape, when success, at the best, appeared so desperate.

On the day previous to the 31st, Mrs. Dustin wished to learn on what part of the body the Indians struck their victims when they would despatch them suddenly, and how they took off a scalp. With this view she instructed the boy to make inquiries of one of the men. Accordingly, at a convenient opportunity, he asked one of them where he would strike a man if he would kill him instantly, and how to take off a scalp. The man laid his finger on his temple - "Strike 'em there," said he; and then instructed him how to scalp. The boy then communicated his information to Mrs. Dustin. The night at length arrived, and the whole family retired to rest, little suspecting that the most of them would never behold another sun. Long before the break of day, Mrs. Dustin arose, and, having ascertained that they were all in a deep sleep, awoke her nurse and the boy, when they armed themselves with tomahawks, and despatched ten of the twelve. A favorite boy they designedly left; and one of the squaws, whom they left for dead, jumped up, and ran with him into the woods. Mrs. Dustin killed her master, and Samuel Lennardson despatched the very Indian who told him where to strike, and how to take off a scalp. The deed was accomplished before the day bagan to break, and, after securing what little provision the wigwam of their dead master afforded, they scuttled all the boats but one, to prevent pursuit, and with that started for their homes. Mrs. Dustin took with her a gun that belonged to her master, and the tomahawk with which she committed the tragical deed. They had not proceeded far, however, when Mrs. Dustin perceived that they had neglected to take their scalps, and feared that her neighbors, if they ever arrived at their homes, would not credit their story, and would ask them for some token or proof. She told her fears to her companions, and they immediately returned to the silent wigwam, took off the scalps of the fallen, and put them into a bag. They then started on their journey anew, with the gun, tomahawk, and the bleeding trophies, - palpable witnesses of their heroic and unparalleled deed.

A long and weary journey was before them, but they commenced it with cheerful hearts, each alternately rowing and steering their little bark. Though they had escaped from the clutches of their unfeeling master, still they were surrounded with dangers. They were thinly clad, the sky was still inclement, and they were liable to be re-captured by strolling bands of Indians, or by those who would undoubtedly pursue them so soon as the squaw and the boy had reported their departure, and the terrible vengeance they had taken; and were they again made prisoners, they well knew that a speedy death would follow. This array of danger, however, did not appall them for home was their beacon-light, and the thoughts of their firesides nerved their hearts. They continued to drop silently down the river, keeping a good lookout for strolling Indians; and in the night two of them only slept, while the third managed the boat. In this manner they pursued their journey, until they arrived safely, with their trophies, at their homes, totally unexpected by their mourning friends, who supposed that they had been butchered by their ruthless conquerors. It must truly have been an affecting meeting for Mrs. Dustin, who likewise supposed that all she loved, - all she held dear on earth - was laid in the silent tomb.

After recovering from the fatigue of the journey, they started for Boston, where they arrived on the 21st of April. They carried with them the gun and tomahawk, and their ten scalps - those witnesses that would not lie; and while there, the general court gave them fifty pounds, as a reward for their heroism. The report of their daring deed soon spread into every part of the country, and when Colonel Nicholson, governor of Maryland, heard of it, he sent them a very valuable present, and many presents were also made to them by their neighbors.


ORIGINAL ACCOUNTS FROM VARIOUS DIARIES (1697-1700)

Diary of Samuel Sewall, Diary, 1697

April 29 . . .Is signalized by the achievement of Hannah Dustun, Mary Neff, and Samuel Lennerson, who killed two men, their masters, and two women and six others, and have brought in ten scalps. . . .

May 12 . . . . Hannah Dustan came to see us; . . . She said her master, whom she kill'd did formerly live with Mr. Roulandson at Lancaster: He told her, that when he pray'd the English way, he thought that was good: but now he found the French way was better. The single man shewed the night before, to Saml Lenarson, how he used to knock Englishmen on the head and take off their Scalps; little thinking that the Captives would make some of their first experiment upon himself. Sam. Lenarson kill'd him.


Diary of John Marshall, April 1697

"At the latter end of this month two women and a young lad that had been taken captive from Haverhill in March before, watching their opportunity when the Indians were asleep, killed ten of them, scalped them all and came home to Boston. [They] brought a gun with them and some other things. The chief of these Indians took one of the women captive when she had lain in childbed but a few days, and knocked her child in [the] head before her eyes, which woman killed and scalped that very Indian. This was done just about the time the council of this province had concluded on a day of fasting and prayer through the province."

 
Magna Christi Americana, The Ecclesiastical History of New England by Cotton Mather 1702. (original Version of his interview)


On March 15, 1697, the salvages made a descent upon the skirts of Haverhill, murdering and captivating about thirty-nine persons, and burning about half a dozen houses. In this broil, one Hannah Dustan, having lain in about a week, attended with her nurse, Mary Neff, a body of terrible Indians drew near unto the house where she lay, with designs to carry on their bloody devastations. Her husband hastened from his employments abroad unto the relief of his distressed family; and first bidding seven of his eight children (which were from two to seventeen years of age) to get away as fast as they could unto some garrison in the town, he went in to inform his wife of the horrible distress come upon them. Ere she could get up, the fierce Indians were got so near, that, utterly desparing to do her any service, he ran out after his children; resolving that on the horse which he had with him, he would ride away with that which he should in this extremity find his affections to pitch most upon, and leave the rest unto the care of the Divine Providence. He overtook his children, about forty rod from his door; but then such was the agony of his parental affections, that he found it impossible for him to distinguish any one of them from the rest; wherefore he took up a courageous resolution to live and die with them all. A party of Indians came up with him; and now, though they fired at him, and he fired at them, yet he manfully kept at the reer of his little army of unarmed children, while they marched off with the pace of a child of five years old; until, by the singular providence of God, he arrived safe with them all unto a place of safety about a mile or two from his house. But his house must in the mean time have more dismal tragedies acted at it. The nurse, trying to escape with the new-born infant, fell into the hands of the formidable salvages; and those furious tawnies coming into the house, bid poor Dustan to rise immediately. Full of astonishment, she did so; and sitting down in the chimney with an heart full of most fearful expectation, she saw the raging dragons rifle all that they could carry away, and set the house on fire. About nineteen or twenty Indians now led these away, with about half a score other English captives; but ere they had gone many steps, they dash'd out the brains of the infant against a tree; and several of the other captives, as they began to tire in the sad journey, were soon sent unto their long home; the salvages would presently bury their hatchets in their brains, and leave their carcases on the ground for birds and beasts to feed upon. However, Dustan (with her nurse) notwithstanding her present condition, travelled that night about a dozen miles, and then kept up with their new masters in a long travel of an hundred and fifty miles, more or less, within a few days ensuing, without any sensible damage in their health, from the hardships of their travel, their lodging, their diet, and their many other difficulties.

These two poor women were now in the hands of those whose "tender mercies are cruelties;" but the good God, who hath all "hearts in his own hands," heard the sighs of these prisoners, and gave them to find unexpected favour from the master who hath laid claim unto them. That Indian family consisted of twelve persons; two stout men, three women, and seven children; and for the shame of many an English family, that has the character of prayerless upon it, I must now publish what these poor women assure me. 'Tis this: in obedience to the instructions which the French have given them, they would have prayers in their family no less than thrice every day; in the morning, at noon, and in the evening; nor would they ordinarily let their children eat or sleep, without first saying their prayers. Indeed, these idolaters were, like the rest of their whiter brethren, persecutors, and would not endure that these poor women should retire to their English prayers, if they could hinder them. Nevertheless, the poor women had nothing but fervent prayers to make their lives comfortable or tolerable; and by being daily sent out upon business, they had opportunities, together and asunder, to do like another Hannah, in "pouring out their souls before the Lord." Nor did their praying friends among our selves forbear to "pour out" supplications for them. Now, they could not observe it without some wonder, that their Indian master sometimes when he saw them dejected, would say unto them, "What need you trouble your self? If your God will have you delivered, you shall be so!" And it seems our God would have it so to be. This Indian family was now travelling with these two captive women, (and an English youth taken from Worcester, a year and a half before,) unto a rendezvous of salvages, which they call a town, some where beyond Penacook; and they still told these poor women that when they came to this town, they must be stript, and scourg'd, and run the gantlet through the whole army of Indians. They said this was the fashion when the captives first came to a town; and they derided some of the faint-hearted English, which, they said, fainted and swooned away under the torments of this discipline. But on April 30, while they were yet, it may be, about an hundred and fifty miles from the Indian town, a little before break of day, when the whole crew was in a dead sleep, (reader, see if it prove not so!) one of these women took up a resolution to imitate the action of Gael upon Siberia; and being where she had not her own life secured by any law unto her, she thought she was not forbidden by any law to take away the life of the murderers by whom her child had been butchered. She heartened the nurse and the youth to assist her in this enterprize; and all furnishing themselves with hatchets for the purpose, they struck such home blows upon the heads of their sleeping oppressors, that ere they could any of them struggle into any effectual resistance, "at the feet of these poor prisoners, they bow'd, they fell, they lay down; at their feet they bow'd, they fell; where they bow'd, there they fell down dead." Only one squaw escaped, sorely wounded, from them in the dark; and one boy, whom they reserved asleep, intending to bring him away with them, suddenly waked, and scuttled away from this desolation. But cutting off the scalps of the ten wretches, they came off, and received fifty pounds from the General Assembly of the province, as a recompence of their action; besides which, they received many "presents of congratulation" from their more private friends: but none gave 'em a greater taste of bounty than Colonel Nicholson, The Governour of Maryland, who, hearing of their action, sent 'em a very generous token of his favour.



History of Haverhill, Since Settlement, in 1640, Chapter XXXI 

Duston Monument Association, This Association, which originated in the West Parish, was organized in October, 1855, for the purpose of purchasing, enclosing, and improving the site of the house from which Hannah Duston was taken by the Indians in 1697, and erecting thereon a monument in her memory. Charles Corliss was chosen President, and George Coffin Secretary. A deed of the supposed site of the house was secured October 15, 1855, (Essex Reg. Book 420, page 287) Soon after, (January 22 and 23, 1856) a levee was held in the Town Hall, which was relized the handsome sum of $523.39 for the Association. Amoung the articles on exhibition at the levee, were, the gun which Mrs. Duston took from the Indians at the time of her escape; the scalping knife said to have been used on the occasion ; a tankard, presented to Mrs. Duston and Mrs. Neffe, by Governor Nicholson of Maryland ; a pair of tongs, and a platter, formerly belonging to Mrs. Duston ; and the pocket-book of Thomas Dustin.

In March, 1856, the Association was incorporated, by a special act of Legislature. On the first day of June 1861,  a handsome monument, of Italian Marble, five feet square and twenty-four feet high, resting on a base of granite was erected by the Association, at an expense of about $1200. The tablets contain the following inscriptions;-

"Hannah, dau of Michael and Hannah Emerson , wife of Thomas Dustin, born in the town Dec 23, 1657. Captured by the Indians March 15, 1697, (at which time her babe, then but six days old, was barborously murdered, by having its brains dashed out against a tree) and taken to an island in the Merrimack, at Pennacock, now Concord, N.H. On the night of April 29, 1697, assisted by Mary Neff, and Samuel Lennardson, she killed ten of the twelve savages in the wigwam, and taking their scalps and her captor's gun, all trophies of her remarkable exploit, she embarked on the waters of the Merrimack, and after much suffering arrived at her home in safety.

Thomas Dustin on the memorable 16th of March, 1697, when his house was attacked and burned , and his wife captured, by the savages, heroically defended his seven children and successfully covered their retreat to a garrison.

Thomas Dustin and Hannah Emerson , married Dec 3, 1677. Children: Hannah, born Aug 22, 1678; Elizabeth, born May 7, 1650; Mary, born Nov 4, 1781, died Oct 18, 1696; Thomas, born Jan 5, 1683; Nathaniel, born May 16, 1685; John, born Feb 2, 1686, died Jan 28, 1690; Sarah, born July 4, 1688; Abigail, born Oct-1690; Jonathan, born Jan 15, 1691-2; Timothy, born Sept 14, 1694; Mehetable, born Sept 14, 1694, died Dec 16, 1691, Martha, born March 9, 1696-7, died March 15, 1696-7, died March 15, 1696-7, Lydia, born Oct 1, 1698.

A Genealogical Register of the First Settlers of New England 1620-1675

Author: John Farmer

DUSTON, THOMAS, Haverhill, m. Hannah Duston, 3 Dec. 1677, by whom he had 13 children b. before 1699, one of whom Martha, was killed by the Indians, 15 March, 1697, at which time the mother was captured, and the 5 of April following, with Samuel Lennardson and Mary Neff, performed the exploit on Duston's island, in Contoocook River, above Concord, N. H. which has rendered her name so celebrated in the Magnalia, in Hutchinson, Dwight's Travels, and various other works. 


A History of the Town of Dunstable Author: Elias Nason Call Number: F74.D9N2, 1873

In April, 1697, the celebrated heroine, Mrs. Hannah Duston, on her way to Boston from Contocook, N. H., where she had, with Mary Neff and a boy, taken the scalps of ten Indians,  passed through the town in a canoe, and was kindly entertained by Col. Jonathan Tyng.

Memoirs of the Leonard, Thompson and Haskell Families, Caroline Goodenough 1928

In 1697 some Indians attacked the white settlers at Haverhill, Massachusetts, and took as captives two women. One, named Hannah Duston, was in bed following the birth of an infant, which was killed before his mother's eyes. The other woman was a neighbor, Mary Neff, who was caring for Hannah. The Indians compelled Hannah to rise and go with them, partially dressed and with only one shoe. They drove the two women before them seventy-five miles, to Contoocook Island, at the junction of the Merrimac and Contoocook Rivers. Here they found the fourteen-year-old boy, Samuel Leonardson, a captive, but sufficiently habituated to the Indian life so that he understood their talk. He thus learned that the Indians were planning to take them all to Canada, and make them "run the gauntlet" in which the victims were compelled to run, partially or wholly stripped, between two lines of their enemies, who struck at them with whips from both sides as they passed. Rather than suffer such horrors and indignities, the prisoners decided to attempt an escape, and as a preliminary step young Samuel induced an Indian to show him how they killed their prisoners. The boy was looked on as one of themselves, and the information was given. One night shortly after, when the Indians were in a drunken sleep, the two women and boy simultaneously each killed an Indian with a tomahawk, then attacked others, killing ten in all. They scuttled all the canoes but one, and then paddled away to Haverhill, where they arrived safely, to the great relief of all the white settlers. The Massachusetts Court gave all three a reward for their bravery, and a fine monument to commemorate this exploit has been erected in Haverhill. Young Samuel was taken by his father to Norwich, Connecticut and kept there in seclusion for fear of Indian revenge. Samuel, Sr. was a close friend of John Leonard of Springfield, his relative, but just what the relationship was, is unknown.



Ezekiel James Madison Hale
(1813-1881)
Mr Hale paid for most of the Hannah Dustin Monument in Haverhill Massachusetts after a failed attempt to raise the money for the statue by a group of Dustin descendants. E.J.M. Hale was one of the wealthiest men in the country during the mid 1800's. He owned several woolen mills throughout New England and invested in New York real estate. Mr. Hale was very generous to the town of Haverhill Massachusetts, his place of residence. Large sums of money were given by Mr. Hale for the Haverhill City Library and a local hospital to mention just a few of his gifts. I thought his mention would be quite appropriate here. I find it amazing how little can be found in general about Mr. Hale on the internet.


Other books on Hannah not quoted

Hannah Dustin
Library of American History by Edward S. Ellis, A.M. of Princeton

Duston,Hannah
1657-1736?
American National Biography. 24 volumes. Edited by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

The Encyclopedia of Amazons. Women warriors from antiquity to the modern era. First edition. By Jessica Amanda Salmonson. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

The Encyclopedia of Colonial and Revolutionary America. Edited by John Mack Faragher. New York: Facts on File, 1990.

Index to Women of the World from Ancient to Modern Times: A Supplement. By Norma Olin Ireland. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1988.

Liberty's Women. Edited by Robert McHenry. Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam Co., 1980.

Duston, Hannah 1657-1737
Dictionary of Literary Biography. Volume 200: "American Women Prose Writers to 1820." Edited by Carla Mulford, Angela Vietto, and Amy E. Winans. Detroit: Gale Research, 1999.

Duston, Hannah Emerson 1657-
Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 21: September, 1995-August, 1996. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1996.

Duston, Hannah Emerson 1657-1736?
Who Was Who in Native American History. Indians and non-Indians from early contacts through 1900. By Carl Waldman. New York: Facts on File, 1990.

 Library of American History by Edward S. Ellis, A.M. of Princeton University, copyright 1904, pages 217-220

  Novels about Hannah Dustin:
 
"Red Sunday" "The Saltonstalls The Dustons The Fighting Ayers" "Merrimack Valley History" by Francis W. Cronan Copyright, 1965 by Francis W. Cronan
Printed by The Record Publishing Company, Inc. Haverhill, Mass. 1965

"Gallant Warrior" "A Biographical Novel" by Helen R. Mann Copyright, 1954, by Helen R. Mann Library of Congress Number 54-12334 Reprinted 1989 by Parker River Researchers, Newburyport, MA.

There is also a story in the book: "Hero Tales From American Life" by Francis Trevelyan Miller Copyright 1909 by Louis Klopsch New York The Christian Herald Louis Klopsch, Proprietor Bible House


"The Mother's Love For The Sake of Her Children" page 54. story on Hannah Dustin, it is 7 pages. It starts:

"This is the tale of a mother who gave her life to the savages to save her beloved ones from danger, who passed through a "living death" to protect them from harm, but whose strong faith and hope conquered the world's greatest grief and rose triumphant in the hour of deepest darkness."

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