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Jemison, Mary (1743?–1833), captive, was born on a ship en route to colonial Pennsylvania from Ireland, the daughter of Thomas Jemison and Jane Erwin, a Protestant couple of Scotch-Irish background. The family settled on a farm in Franklin Township, Adams County, in south central Pennsylvania about ten miles northwest of present-day Gettysburg....

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Kelly, Fanny Wiggins (15 April 1845–15 November 1904), captivity narrativist, was born near Orillia, Ontario, the daughter of James Wiggins, a farmer, and Margaret Barry. Although the father died en route, the family migrated in 1857 to Geneva in the Neosho Valley of Kansas, where they experienced the ravages of drought, grasshoppers, and the border conflict of the Civil War. Late in 1863, Fanny married Josiah Shawahan Kelly, a farmer and discharged Union veteran who had spent several years in California. Attracted to the new mining districts of what was then Idaho and would soon become Montana Territory, they began the long overland journey. Traveling at that time was dangerous for several reasons: the upper plains Indians were increasingly agitated in reaction to white encroachment, the bloody Minnesota Sioux rebellion of 1862 had only recently been put down, and many army troops had been withdrawn to fight against the South....

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Mary White Rowlandson. Print of a wood engraving, 1857, depicting capture by American Indians. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113682).

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Rowlandson, Mary White (c. 1637/38–05 January 1710), author of the earliest full-length Indian captivity narrative, was born probably in England shortly before her parents, John White and Joan (maiden name unknown), landowners, immigrated to New England in 1639. Mary White was brought up in a comfortable household. When her father died in 1653, he was the wealthiest landowner in Lancaster, Massachusetts, with an estate valued at £389. Around 1656 she married Joseph Rowlandson, who was ordained in 1660 and became a prominent member of the Puritan clergy. They had three children (a fourth died in infancy)....

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Wakefield, Sarah F. Brown (29 September 1829–27 May 1899), white captive and writer, was born in Kingston (or Kingstown), Rhode Island, the daughter of William Brown and Sarah (maiden name unknown) of North Kingston, Rhode Island. She moved to Minnesota in the 1850s and in 1856 in Shakopee, twenty-two miles southwest of Minnesota, married Dr. John Luman Wakefield, formerly of Winstead, Connecticut, and a graduate of Yale University Medical School....

Article

Williams, John (10 December 1664–12 June 1729), minister and author, was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Williams, a shoemaker, and Theoda Park. Choosing a life path different from that of his father, he attended Harvard College and graduated in 1683. After two years of teaching school in Dorchester, he married Eunice Mather in 1688 and was ordained as the minister of Deerfield, Massachusetts, on 17 October of the same year. The couple had twelve children, ten of whom lived to maturity....