Hannah Webster Dustin (Emerson) (1657 - 1737) MP

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Nicknames: "Duston (Dustin", "Dustan", "and Durstan"
Birthplace: Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts
Death: Died in Haverhill, Essex County, MA, USA
Occupation: Folk hero & indian killer, mom
Managed by: Judyth Christensen Perry
Last Updated:

About Hannah Webster Dustin (Emerson)

Hannah Webster Emerson (12/3/1657-3/6/1737) married Thomas Dustin (1652-11/17/1732) on Dec. 3, 1677.

Children were: Hannah (8/22/1678), Elizabeth (5/7/1680), Mary (11/4/1681-10/18/1696), Thomas (1/5/1683), Nathaniel (5/16/1685), John (2/2/1686-1/28/1690), Sarah (7/4/1688), Abigail (10/1690), Jonathan (1/15/1691/2), Timothy (9/14/1694; twin), Mehitable (9/14/1694; twin-12/16/1694), Martha (3/9/1697-3/15/1697 killed by Indians), and Lydia (10/4/1698).

The Duston / Dustin Family, Thomas and Elizabeth (Wheeler) Duston and their descendants. Compiled by the Duston - Dustin Family Association Genealogists

"On March 9, 1697, Hannah presented her husband with their twelfth child, Martha. Under the care of a neighbor, Mrs. Mary Neff (daughter of George Corliss and widow of William Neff), she was rapidly recovering, and the family must have retired on the eve of March 15, 1697, in a very peaceful frame of mind, while in the woods near by a roving band of Indians was preparing a rude interruption to all their plans.

Early the next morning, Thomas, at work near the house, suddenly spied the approaching Indians. Instantly seizing his gun he mounted his horse and raced for the house, shouting a warning which started the children towards the garrison, while he dashed into the house hoping to save his wife and the baby. Quickly seeing that he was too late, and doubtless urged by Hannah, he rode after the children, resolving to escape with at least one. On overtaking them, finding it impossible to choose between them, he resolved, if possible, to save them all. A few of the Indians pursued the little band of fugitives, firing at them from behind trees and boulders, but Thomas, dismounting and guarding the rear, held back the savages from behind his horse by threatening to shoot whenever one of them exposed himself. Had he discharged his gun they would have closed in at once, for reloading took considerable time. He was successful in his attempt, and all reached the garrison safely, the older children hurrying the younger along, probably carrying them at times. This was probably the garrison of Onesiphorus March on Pecker’s Hill.

Meanwhile a fearful scene was being enacted in the home. Mrs. Neff, trying to escape with the baby, was easily captured. Invading the house, the savages forced Hannah to rise and dress herself. Sitting despairingly in the chimney, she watched them rifle the house of all they could carry away, and was then dragged outside while they fired the house, in her haste forgetting one shoe. A few of the Indians then dragged Hannah and Mrs. Neff, who carried the baby, towards the woods, while the rest of the band, rejoined by those who had been pursing Thomas and the children, attacked other houses in the village, killing twenty-seven and capturing thirteen of the inhabitants.

Finding that carrying the baby was making it hard for Mrs. Neff to keep up, one of the Indians seized it from her, and before its mother’s horrified eyes dashed out its brains against an apple tree. The Indians, forcing the two women to their utmost pace, at last reached the woods and joined the squaws and children who had been left behind the night before. Here they were soon after joined by the rest of the redskins with their plunder and other captives.

Fearing a prompt pursuit, the Indians immediately set out for Canada with their booty. Some of the weaker captives were callously knocked on the head and scalped, but in spite of her condition, poorly clad and partly shod, Hannah, doubtless assisted by Mrs. Neff, managed to keep up, and by her own account marched that day “about a dozen miles”, truly a remarkable feat. During the next few days they traveled about a hundred miles through the unbroken wilderness, over rough trails, in places still covered with the winter’s snow, sometimes deep with mud, and across icy brooks, while rocks tore their half shod feet and their poorly clad bodies suffered from the cold – a terrible journey.

Near the junction of the Contoocook and Merrimack rivers, twelve of the Indians, two men, three women, and seven children, taking with them Hannah, Mrs. Neff and a boy of fourteen years, Samuel Lennardson (who had been taken prisoner near Worcester about eighteen months before), left the main party and proceeded toward what is now Dustin Island, situated where the two rivers unite, near the present town of Penacook, N.H. This island was the home of the Indian who claimed the women as his captives, and here it was planned to rest for a while before continuing on the long journey to Canada.

This Indian family, strange as it may seem, had been converted by the French priests at some time in the past, and was accustomed to have prayers three times a day, - in the morning, at noon and at evening, - and ordinarily would not let their children eat or sleep without first saying their prayers. Hannah’s master, who had lived in the family of Rev. Mr. Rowlandson of Lancaster some years before told her that “when he prayed the English way he thought that it was good, but now he found the French way better.” They tried, however, to prevent the two women from praying, but without success, for as they were engaged on the tasks set by their master, they often found opportunities. Their Indian master would sometimes say to them when he saw them dejected, “What need you trouble yourself? If your God will have you delivered, you shall be so!”

During the long journey Hannah was secretly planning to escape at the first opportunity, spurred by the tales with which the Indians had entertained the captives on the march, picturing how they would be treated after arriving in Canada, stripped and made to “run the gauntlet”; jeered at and beaten and made targets for the young Indians’ tomahawks; how many of the English prisoners had fainted under these tortures; and how they were often sold as slaves to the French. These stories, added to her desire for revenging the death of her baby and the cruel treatment of their captors while on the march, made this desire stronger. When she learned where they were going, a plan took definite shape in her mind, and was secretly communicated to Mrs. Neff and Samuel Lennardson.

Samuel, who was growing tired of living with the Indians, and in whom a longing for home had been stirred by the presence of the two women, the next day casually asked his master, Bampico, how he had killed the English. “Strike ‘em dere,” said Bampico, touching his temple, and then proceeded to show the boy how to take a scalp. This information was communicated to the women, and they quickly agreed on the details of the plan. They arrived at the island some time before March 30, 1697.

After reaching the island, the Indians grew careless. The river was in flood. Samuel was considered one of the family, and the two women were considered too worn out to attempt escape, so not watch was set that night and the Indians slept soundly. Hannah decided that the time had come.

Shortly after midnight she woke Mrs. Neff and Samuel. Each, armed with a tomahawk, crept silently to a position near the heads of the sleeping Indians – Samuel near Bampico and Hannah near her master. At a signal from Hannah the tomahawks fell, and so swiftly and surely did they perform their work of destruction that ten of the twelve Indians were killed outright, only two – a severely wounded squaw and a boy whom they had intended to take captive – escaped into the woods. According to a deposition of Hannah Bradley in 1739 (History of Haverhill, Chase, pp. 308-309), “above penny cook the Deponent was forced to travel farther than the rest of the captives, and the next night but one there came to us one Squaw who said that Hannah Dustan and the aforesaid Mary Neff assisted in killing the Indians of her wigwam except herself and a boy, herself escaping very narrowly, shewing to myself & others seven wounds as she said with a Hatched on her head which wounds were given her when the rest were killed.”

Hastily piling food and weapons into a canoe, including the gun of Hannah’s late master and the tomahawk with which she had killed him, they scuttled the rest of the canoes and set out down the Merrimack River. Suddenly realizing that without proof their story would seem incredible, Hannah ordered a return to the island, where they scalped their victims, wrapping the trophies in cloth which had been cut from Hannah’s loom at the time of the capture, and again set out down the river, each taking a turn at guiding the frail craft while the others slept.

            

Traveling by night and hiding by day, they finally reached the home of John Lovewell in old Dunstable, now a part of Nashua, N.H. Here they spent the night, and a monument was erected here in 1902, commemorating the event. The following morning the journey was resumed and the weary voyagers at last beached their canoe at Bradley’s Cove, where Creek Brook flows into the Merrimack. Continuing their journey on foot, they at last reached Haverhill in safety. Their reunion with loved ones who had given them up for lost can better be imagined than described. Doubtless Samuel was a hero of the younger generation for many days.

Thomas took his wife and the others to the new house which he had been building at the time of the massacre, and which was now completed. Here for some days they rested.

In 1694 a bounty of fifty pounds had been placed on Indian scalps, reduced to twenty-five pounds in 1695, and revoked completely on Dec. 16, 1696. Thomas Duston believed that the act of the two women and the boy had been of great value in destroying enemies of the colony, who had been murdering innocent women and children, and decided that the bounty should be claimed. So he took the two women and the boy to Boston, where they arrived with the trophies on April 21, 1697. Here he filed a petition to the Governor and Council, which was read on June 8, 1697 in the House (Mass. Archives Vol 70, p. 350), setting forth the above belief and claiming the reward, pleading that “ the merit of the Action remains the same” and claiming that “ your Petitioner having Lost his Estate in the Calamity wherein his wife was carried into her captivity rendrs him the fitter object for what consideracon the publick Bounty shall judge proper for what hath been herein done”, etc.

The same day the General Court voted payment of a bounty of twenty-five pounds “unto Thomas Dunston of Haverhill , on behalf of Hannah his wife”, and twelve pounds ten shillings each to Mary Neff and Samuel. This was approved on June 16, 1697, and the order in Council for the payment of the several allowances was passed Dec. 4, 1697. (Chapter 10, Province Laws, Mass. Archives.)

While in Boston Hannah told her story to Rev. Cotton Mather, whose morbid mind was stirred to its depths. He perceived her escape in the nature of a miracle, and his description of it in his “Magnalia Christi Americana” is extraordinary, though in the facts doubtless quite correct and corroborated by the evidence.

In Samuel Sewall’s Diary, Volume 1, pages 452 and 453, we find the following entry on May 12, 1697:

Fourth-day, May12….Hanah Dustin came to see us:….She saith her master, who 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.

This remarkable exploit of Hannah Duston, Mary Neff, and Samuel Lennardson was received with amazement throughout the colonies, and Governor Nicholson of Maryland sent her a suitably inscribed silver tankard.

Monuments have been erected on the island (1874) and in Monument Square, Haverhill (1861), commemorating the fame of a women, to be erected in the United States was one to Hannah Duston on June 1, 1861, in Haverhill.

Samuel Lennardson, on his return to Worcester, found that his father had removed to Preston, Conn., and there he grew to manhood, married Lydia____, and died May 11, 1718, leaving three sons and two daughters. Little is known of Hannah’s life or that of Mary Neff after this event.

And now, let us return to Thomas Duston after his escape with the children. The fear induced by the massacre caused Haverhill to at once establish several new garrison houses. One of these was the brick house which Thomas was building for his family at the time of the massacre. This was ordered completed, and though the clay pits were not far from the house, a guard of soldiers was placed over those who brought clay to the house. The order establishing Thomas Duston’s house as a garrison was dated April 5, 1697. He was appointed master of the garrison and assigned Josiah Heath, Sen., Josiah Heath, Jun., Joseph Bradley, John Heath, Joseph Kingsbury, and Thomas Kingsbury as a guard."

The Story of Hannah Duston, Published by the Duston-Dustin Family Association, H. D. Kilgore, Historian, Haverhill Tercentenary - June, 1940

                

On March 14, 1697, Thomas and Hannah Duston lived in a house on the west side of the Sawmill River in the town of Haverhill. This house was located near the great Duston Boulder and on the opposite side of Monument Street.

Their twenty years of married life had brought them material prosperity, and of the twelve children who had been born to them during this period, eight were living. Thomas, who was quite a remarkable man, - a bricklayer and farmer, who, according to tradition, even wrote his own almanacs, and wrote them on rainy days, - was beginning to have time to devote to town affairs, and had just completed a term as Constable for the "west end" of the town of Haverhill.

He was at this time engaged in the construction with bricks from his own brickyard of a new brick house about a half mile to the northwest of his home to provide for the needs of his still growing family, for Baby Martha had just made her appearance on March 9.

Under the care of Mrs. Mary Neff, both mother and child were doing well, the rest of the family were in good health, his material affairs were prospering, and it was undoubtedly with a rather contented feeling that Thomas, to say nothing of his family, retired to rest on the eve of that fateful March 15, 1697, little knowing what horrors the morrow was to bring.

Of course, there was always the fear of Indians. However, since the capture in August of the preceding year, of Jonathan Haynes and his four children while picking peas in a field at Bradley's Mills, near Haverhill, nothing had happened, and apprehensions of any further attacks were gradually being lulled. Besides, less than a mile on Pecker's Hill, was the garrison of Onesiphorus Marsh, one of six established by the town containing a small body of soldiers. It was believed that there was little ground for uneasiness.

But this was only a false security. Count Frontenac, the Colonial Governor of Canada, was using every means at his disposal to incite the Indians against the English as part of his campaign to win the New World for the French King. The latter, due to the need for troops in Europe, where the war known as King William's War was going on, was unable to send many to help Frontenac. So, with propaganda and gifts, the French Governor had allied the tribes to the French cause and bounties had been set on English scalps and prisoners. Every roving band of Indians was determined to get its share of these, and even now, such a band was in the woods near Haverhill, preparing for a lightning raid on the town with the first light of dawn. The squaws and children were left in the forest to guard their possessions, while the savage warriors moved stealthily towards the house of Thomas and Hannah Duston, the first attacked.

Thomas, like all good farmers, had risen and was at work near the house, attending to the morning chores, when he suddenly spied the approaching Indians. Instantly seizing his gun, he mounted his horse and raced for the house, shouting a warning which started the children toward the garrison, while he dashed into the house hoping to save his wife and baby. Quickly realizing that this was impossible, and urged by Hannah, he rode after the children, resolving to escape with at least one.

On overtaking them, and finding it impossible to choose between them, he determined, if possible, to save them all. A few of the Indians had pursued the little band of fugitives, firing at them from behind trees and boulders, but Thomas, dismounting, and guarding the rear from behind his horse, held back the savages by threatening to shoot whenever one of them exposed himself. Had he discharged his gun, they would have closed on him at once, for reloading took considerable time. He was successful in his attempt, and all reached the garrison safely, the older children hurrying the younger along, probably carrying them at times. This was probably the garrison of Onesiphorus Marsh on Pecker's Hill.

Meanwhile, a fearful scene was being enacted in the home. Mrs. Neff, trying to escape with the baby, was easily captured. Invading the house, the savages forced Hannah to rise and dress herself. Sitting despairingly in the chimney, she watched them rifle the house of all they could carry away, and was then dragged outside while they fired the house, in her haste forgetting one shoe. A few of the Indians then dragged Hannah and Mrs. Neff, who carried the baby, towards the woods, while the rest of the band, rejoined by those who had been in the village, killing twenty-seven and capturing thirteen of the inhabitants.

Finding that carrying the baby was making it hard for Mrs. Neff to keep up, one of the Indians siezed from her, and before its mother's horrified eyes dashed out its brains against an apple tree. The Indians, forcing the two women to their utmost pace, at last reached the woods and joined the squaws and children who had been left behind the night before. Here they were soon after joined by the rest of the redskins with their plunder and other captives.

Fearing a prompt pursuit, the Indians immediately set out for Canada with their booty. Some of the weaker captives were callously knocked on the head and scalped, but in spite of her condition, poorly clad, and partly shod, Hannah, doubtless assisted by Mrs. Neff, managed to keep up, and by her own account marched that day "about a dozen miles", truly a remarkable feat. During the next few days they traveled about a hundred miles through the unbroken wilderness, over rough trails, in places still covered with the winter's snow, sometimes deep with mud, and across icy brooks, while rocks tore their have shod feet and their poorly clad bodies suffered from the cold - a terrible journey.

Near the junction of the Contoocook and Merrimack rivers, twelve of the Indians, two men, three women, and seven children, taking with them Hannah, Mrs. Neff and a boy of fourteen years, Samuel Lennardson (who had been taken prisoner near Worcester about eighteen months before), left the main party and proceeded toward what is now Dustin Island, situated where the two rivers unite, near the present town of Penacook, N.H. This island was the home of the Indian who claimed the women as his captives, and here it was planned to rest for a while before continuing on the long journey to Canada.

This Indian family, strange as it may seem, had been converted by the French priests at some time in the past, and was accustomed to have prayers three times a day - in the morning, at noon, and at evening - and ordinarily would not let their children eat or sleep without first saying their prayers. Hannah's master, who had lived in the family of Rev. Mr. Rowlandson of Lancaster some years before, told her that "when he prayed the English way he thought that it was good, but now he found the French way better." They tried however, to prevent the two women from praying, but without success, for as they were engaged on the tasks set by their master, they often found opportunities. Their Indian master would sometimes say to them when he saw them dejected. "What need you trouble yourself? If your God will have you delivered, you shall be so!"

During the long journey Hannah was secretly planning to escape at the first opportunity, spurred on by the tales with which the Indians had entertained the captives on the march, picturing how they would be treated after arriving in Canada, stripped and made to "run the gauntlet;" jeered at and beaten and made targets for the young Indians' tomahawks; how many of the English prisoners had fainted under these tortures; and how they were often sold as slaves to the French. These stories, added to her desire for revenging the death of her baby and the cruel treatment of their captors while on the march, made this desire stronger. When she learned where they were going, a plan took definite shape in her mind, and was secretly communicated to Mrs. Neff and Samuel Lennardson.

Samuel, who was growing tired of living with the Indians, and in whom a longing for home had been stirred by the presence of the two women, the next day casually asked his master, Bampico, how he had killed the English. "Strike 'em dere," said Bampico, touching his temple, and then proceeded to show the boy how to take a scalp. This information was communicated to the women, and they quickly agreed on the details of the plan. They arrived at the island some time before March 30, 1697.

After reaching the island, the Indians grew careless. The river was in flood. Samuel was considered one of the family, and the two women were considered too worn out to attempt escape, so no watch was set that night and the Indians slept soundly. Hannah had decided that the time had come.

Shortly after midnight she woke Mrs. Neff and Samuel. Each, armed with a tomahawk, crept silently to a position near the heads of the the sleeping Indians - Samuel near Bampico and Hannah near her master. At a signal for Hannah the tomahawks fell, and so swiftly and surely did they perform their work of destruction that ten of the twelve Indians were killed outright, only town - a severely wounded squaw and a boy whom they had intended to take captive - escaping into the woods. According to a deposition of Hannah Bradley in 1739 (History of Haverhill, Chase pp.308-309), "above penny cook the Deponent was forced to travel farther than the rest of the captives, and the next night but one there came to use one Squaw who said that Hannah Dustin and the aforesaid Mary Neff assisted in killing the Indians of her wigwam except herself and a boy, herself escaping very narrowly, shewing to myself & others seven wounds as she said with a Hatched on her head which wounds were given her when the rest were killed."

Hastily piling food and weapons into a canoe, including the gun of Hannah's late master and the tomahawk with which she had killed him, they scuttled the rest of the canoes and set out down the Merrimack River. Suddenly realizing that without proof their story would seem incredible, Hannah ordered a return to the island, where they scalped their victims, wrapping the trophies in cloth which had been cut from Hannah's loom at the time of the capture, and again set out down the river each taking a turn at guiding the frail craft while the others slept.

Thus, traveling by night and hiding by day, they finally reached the home of John Lovewell in old Dunstable, now a part of Nashua, N.H. Here they spent the night, and a monument was erected here in 1902, commemorating the event. The following morning the journey was resumed and the weary voyagers at last beached their canoe at Bradley's Cove, where Creek Brook flows into the Merrimack. Continuing their journey on foot, they at last reached Haverhill in safety. Their reunion with loved ones who had given them up for lost can better be imagined than described. Doubtless Samuel was the hero of the younger generation for many days.

Thomas took his wife and the others to the new house which he had been building at the time of the massacre, and which was now completed. Here for some days they rested.

In 1694 a bounty of fifty pounds had been placed on Indian scalps, reduced to twenty-five pounds in 1695, and revoked completely on Dec. 16, 1696. Thomas Duston believed that the act of the two women and the boy had been of great value in destroying enemies of the colony, who had been murdering innocent women and children, and decided that the bounty should be claimed. So he took the two women and the boy to Boston, where they arrived with the trophies on April 21, 1697. Here he filed a petition to the Governor and Council, which was read on June 8, 1697 in the House (Mass. Archives, Vol. 70, p. 350), setting forth the above belief and claiming the reward, pleading that "the merit of the Action remains the same" and claiming that "your Petitioner having Lost his Estate in that Calamity wherein his wife was carried into her captivity renders him the fitter object for what consideration the public Bounty shall judge proper for what hath been herein done," etc.

The same day the General Court voted payment of a bounty of twenty-five pounds "unto Thomas Dunston of Haverhill, on behalf of Hannah his wife," and twelve pounds ten shillings each to Mary Neff and Samuel. This was approved on June 16, 1697, and the order in Council for the payment of the several allowances was passed Dec. 4, 1697. (Chapter 10, Province laws, Mass. Archives.

While in Boston Hannah told her story to Rev. Cotton Mather, whose morbid mind was stirred to its depths. He perceived her escape in the nature of a miracle, and his description of it in his "Magnalia Christi Americana" is extraordinary, though in the facts doubtless quite correct and corroborated by the evidence.

In Samuel Sewall's Diary, Volume 1, pages 452 and 453, we find the following entry on May 12, 1697:

"Fourth-day, 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."

This remarkable exploit of Hannah Duston, Mary Neff, and Samuel Lennardson was received with amazement throughout the colonies, and Governor Sir Francis Nicholson of Maryland, after reading Cotton Mather's account of her escape, had a silver tankard, suitably inscribed, made in London, and later presented it to Hannah Duston. Monuments have been erected on the island (1874) and in G. A. R. Park, Haverhill (1861), commemorating the exploit, and an enormous boulder marks the site of the house on Monument Street, Haverhill, where she died.

The first monument, commemorating the fame of a woman, to be erected in the United States was one to Hannah Duston on June 1, 1861, in Haverhill.

Samuel Lennardson, on his return to Worcester, found that his father had removed to Preston, Conn., and there he grew to manhood, married Lydia -----, and died May 11, 1718, leaving three sons and two daughters. Little is known of Hannah's life or that of Mary Neff after this event.

And now, let us return to Thomas Duston after his escape with the children. The fear induced by the massacre caused Haverhill to at once establish several new harrison houses. One of these was the brick house which Thomas was building for his family at the time of the massacre. This was ordered completed, and though the clay pits were not far from the home, a guard of soldiers was placed over those who brought clay to the house. The order establishing Thomas Duston's house as a garrison was dated April 5, 1697. He was appointed master of the garrison and assigned Josiah Heath, Sen., Josiah Heath Jun., Joseph Bradley, John Heath, Joseph Kingsbury, and Thomas Kingsbury as a guard.

It was about this time that Hannah returned home. After the return from Boston, Thomas remembered that while constable the preceding year he had advanced the sum of ten pounds, fourteen shillings, and eight pence to Col. Nathaniel Saltonstall for money due several men as soldiers under the latter for service in 1695, and received an order from the Province Treasurer as security, which order was destroyed in the fire. As his request, Colonel Saltonstall wrote to the Province Treasurer on May 31, 1697, acknowledging receipt of the money in return for the order which was burned in Thomas's house the preceding March, and the order for payment of this sum to Thomas Duston was approved by the Council on June 4, 1697. (Mass. Archives.)

The details of an adventure of such an extraordinary character as that just described soon became public property, but little is known of Hannah's life after she settled down again to her accustomed round of household duties on her return home.

In fact, except for the record of the birth of her thirteenth child, Lydia, on October 4 1698, and the knowledge that she died early in 1736, her will being proven in Ipswich on March 10 of that year and recorded in Salem Registry of Essex Probate, -nothing further was known until 1929, some two hundred and thitry-two years after her escape from captivity.

But in March, 1929, behind an old gallery pew in the Haverhill Center Congregational Church, the sexton, Marchus C. Jean, found several papers over two hundred years old. Among these was a letter from Hannah Duston to the elders of the church, applying for admission to the membership of the church. This letter is so unusual in character that it is presented here in full, as follows:

I Desire to be Thankful that I was born in a Land of Light & 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 ever I had; In my Affliction God made his Word Comfortable to me. I remembred 43d ps. ult and those words came to my mind--ps. 118.17. ... I ave had a great Desire to come to the Ordinance of the Lords Supper a Great while but Unworthiness has kept me aback; reading a Book concerning Suffering Did much awaken me. In the 55th of Isa. Beg. We are invited to come:-- Hearing Mr. Moody preach out of ye 3rd 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 me Self from time to time ever since the Settlement of the present Ministry: I was awakened by first Sacram'l Sermon (Luke 14.17) But Delays and fears prevailed 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 my Soul.

                   Hannah Duston wife of Thomas A.  '67.

And so ends the story of the escape from captivity of one of America's greatest heroines, Hannah Duston.

H. D. Kilgore, Historian Duston-Dustin Family Association

The Cheney Genealogy copyright 1897 Rev. Charles Henry Pope, 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 opinion 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.

The History of Haverhill, Ma. From Its First Settlement, in 1640, to the Year 1860, by George Wingate Chase. Hannah Duston was the daughter of Michael and Hannah (Webster) Emerson, and the eldest of fifteen children. She was born December 23, 1657, and was married to Thomas Duston December 3d, 1677, by whom she had thirteen children. The time of her death, and also that of her husband, is uncertain. There is a tradition, entitled to credit, that Mrs. Duston survived her husband some years, and after his death went' to reside with her son, Jonathan, who lived on the south west part of the original Thomas Duston farm. This tradition is repeated to us by Moses Merrill, Esq., now above eighty years of age, and a man of unquestioned veracity, who received it, when quite a lad, from the lips of the mother of Joseph Ayer, then about ninety years of age. Mrs. Ayer must have been born about the year 1700. She spoke of the fact, (not tradition) that Mrs. Duston resided with her son, after her husband's death, and was buried from that son's house. His house stood about twenty feet northwest of the present foundation of the " Dustin Monument" Thomas Duston was living in March, 1729, and also his son, Thomas, Jr. Mrs. Ayer must have been about thirty years of age when Duston himself died, and was certainly old enough to remember distinctly the circumstances she related to our informant.

The favorite saying of an esteemed friend,—that "'the true heroes are not always those who receive the most applause," — seems to us to be. especially applicable to the case of Thomas and Hannah Duston. In every version of the story which has met our eye, or ear, Thomas Duston

Dr. Dwight, in speaking of Thomas Duston, makes use of the following truthful language:

A finer succession of scenes for the pencil was hardly ever presented to the eye, than is furnished by the efforts of this gallant man, with their interesting appendages. The artist must be destitute indeed of talents who could not engross every heart, as well as every eye, by exhibitions of this husband and father, flying to rescue his wife, her infant, and her nurse, from the approaching horde of savages; attempting on his horse to select from his flying family the child, which he was least able to spare, and unable to make the selection ; facing, in their rear, the horde of hell hounds ; alternately, and sternly, retreating behind his inestimable charge, and fronting the enemy again ; receiving and returning their fire ; and presenting himself, equally, as a barrier against murderers, and a shelter to the flight of innocence and anguish. In the background of some or other of these pictures might be exhibited, with powerful impression, the kindled dwelling; the sickly mother; the terrified nurse, with the new born infant in her arms ; and the furious natives, surrounding them, driving them forward, and displaying the trophies of savage victory, and the insolence of savage triumph."

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 realized the handsome sum of $523.39 for the Association. Among 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; Mehitable, born Sept 14, 1694, died Dec 16, 1691, Martha, born March 9, 1696-7, died March 15, 1696-7, Lydia, born Oct 1, 1698.

"Legends of New England" by John Greenleaf Whittier copy right 1831, (The poet's first book):

"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 infrequently 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

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 published in a 1957 issue of the Wonder Woman comic book is quite interesting, it is incorrect and glamorized to some degree.

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."

Interesting History and Genealogy Links:

Steve Myer's "Dustin Cousins" website. Many listings of Dustin/Duston family descendants, submit your own if you have a moment. Filled with illustrations and interesting articles regarding Hannah Dustin/Duston.

Contact information for the Duston/Dustin Family Association of Haverhill Massachusetts.

http://www.hawthorneinsalem.com Hawthorne in Salem website operated by the North Shore Community College.

http://minerdescent.com/page/7/

Twenty-seven persons were slaughtered, (fifteen of them children) and thirteen captured. The following is a list of the killed:-John Keezar, his father, and son, George; John Kimball and his mother, Hannah ; Sarah Eastman [Daughter of Deborah Corliss and grand daughter of George CORLISS]; Thomas Eaton ; Thomas Emerson, his wife, Elizabeth, and two children, Timothy and Sarah ; Daniel BRADLEY’s son Daniel Bradley, his wife, Hannah (she was also Stephen DOW’s daughter), and two children, Mary and Hannah ; Martha Dow, daughter of Stephen DOW; Joseph, Martha, and Sarah Bradley, children of Joseph Bradley, another son of Daniel BRADLEY ; Thomas and Mehitable Kingsbury [Children of Deborah Corliss and grand daughter of George CORLISS]. ; Thomas Wood and his daughter, Susannah ; John Woodman and his daughter, Susannah; Zechariah White ; and Martha, the infant daughter of Mr. Duston.” Hannah Dustin’s nurse Mary Neff, daughter of our ancestor GEORGE CORLISS, was carried away and helped in the escape by hatcheting her captors. Another captive who later wrote about the adventure and was kidnapped a second time ten years later was Hannah Heath Bradley, wife of Daniel BRADLEY’s son Joseph, daughter of John Heath and Sarah Partridge, and grand daughter of our ancestor Bartholomew HEATH.


  

-------------------- Hannah Duston (Dustin, Dustan, and Durstan) (born Hannah Emerson, December 23, 1657 – c. 1736) was a 40-year-old colonial Massachusetts Puritan mother of eight during King William's War who was taken captive with her newborn daughter during the Raid on Haverhill (1697). On March 15, 1697, Hannah witnessed the brutal killing of her baby and several of her neighbors. Later in her captivity, while detained on an island in the Merrimack River in present-day Boscawen, New Hampshire, she acquired the assistance of two other English captives and scalped ten of the Indian family members holding them hostage.

Duston's captivity narrative became famous more than a hundred years after she died. Duston is the first woman honored in the United States with a statue. During the nineteenth century, she was referred to as "a folk hero" and the "mother of the American tradition of scalp hunting".[1] At the same time, scholars assert Duston's story only became legend in the nineteenth century because America used her story to define its violence against native Americans as innocent, defensive and virtuous

Sources:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search Dustin House U.S. National Register of Historic Places Dustin House is located in Massachusetts Location Haverhill, Massachusetts Coordinates 42°47′47″N 71°6′41″WCoordinates: 42°47′47″N 71°6′41″W Built 1697-8 Architect Unknown Architectural style Colonial, Other Governing body Private MPS First Period Buildings of Eastern Massachusetts TR NRHP Reference #

90000227 [1] Added to NRHP March 9, 1990

The Dustin House or Dustin Garrison House is a historic First Period house at 665 Hilldale Avenue in Haverhill, Massachusetts. It was under construction by farmer and brick-maker Thomas Duston at the time of the 1697 attack on Haverhill during King William's War.[2] It was during this raid that his wife, Hannah Duston, in bed at their existing home a half mile away, was captured by Native Americans. The house is one of a very small number of brick houses to survive from that time.

The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

-------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannah_Duston

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Hannah Dustin, Indian Fighter's Timeline

1657
December 23, 1657
Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts
1677
December 3, 1677
Age 19
Haverhill, Essex, Ma
1678
August 22, 1678
Age 20
Haverhill,Essex,MA
1680
May 7, 1680
Age 22
Haverhill, MA, USA
1681
November 14, 1681
Age 23
Haverhill, MA, USA
1683
January 5, 1683
Age 25
Haverhill, MA, USA
1683
Age 25
Haverhill, Essex County, MA, USA
1685
May 16, 1685
Age 27
Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts
1686
February 2, 1686
Age 28
Haverhill, Essex, Ma
1688
July 4, 1688
Age 30
Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts