The Unredeemed Captive

Essay by Kirby WilliamsCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

download word file, 3 pages 4.4

The primary character is Eunice Williams, a young girl taken captive by the Mohawk indians. Her father is Reverend John Williams, a prominent Puritan leader in the town of Deerfield. Throughout the book the captives from both the the British and French side are returned to their homes. Eunice chooses to not go home to Puritan society, but to live with the indians. Many cannot understand her reasoning to choose the "indian savage" way of life over good wholesome Puritan life.

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An important work of history about life in Colonial America. Early in 1704, a band of Indians and Frenchmen attacked a Massachusetts village, killing 50 and capturing 100--including Puritan minister John Williams and his five children. When at last they were released, Williams' young daughter Eunice refused to leave her Indian captors.

Early on the morning of February 29, 1704, before the settlers of Deerfield, Massachusetts, had stirred from their beds, a French and Indian war party opened fire, wielding hatchets and torches, on the lightly fortified town.

What would otherwise have been a fairly commonplace episode of "Queen Anne's War" (as the War of the Spanish Succession was known in the colonies) achieved considerable notoriety in America and abroad. The reason: the Indians had managed to capture, among others, the eminent minister John Williams, his wife, Eunice Mather Williams, and their five children. This Puritan family par excellence, and more than a hundred of their good neighbors, were now at the mercy of "savages" - and the fact that these "savages" were French-speaking converts to Catholicism made the reversal of the rightful order of things no less shocking. In The Unredeemed Captive, John Demos, Yale historian and winner of the Bancroft Prize for his book Entertaining Satan, tells the...