Captured by Indians

In April 1791, Andrew Davidson traveled to Smithfield (Draper’s Meadows) on business, leaving his pregnant wife, Rebecca (Burke), their three small children (two girls and a boy) and two bound children, orphans, at home.  A few days after Mr. Davidson’s departure, Rebecca was gathering sugar water from sugar maple trees close to the house, when several Indians appeared and insisted that she go with them to their towns beyond the Ohio.  They took as much plunder as they could carry and set fire to the house.

On the way, Rebecca went into labor and gave birth to her child.  She was allowed to rest for two hours, but then had to resume the march.  The Indians drowned the infant the following day.

On arriving at the Indian town, Rebecca’s daughters were tied to trees and shot to death before her eyes.  Her son was given to an old squaw, “who in crossing a river with him upset the canoe and the boy was drowned.”  The fate of the two bound children was never discovered.

Rebecca was in captivity from April 1791 until sometime after August 1794.   Andrew Davidson made two trips in search of his wife.   Before his second trip, he “received information through an old Indian which led him across the Canadian border.”  Rebecca had been sold as a servant to a Canadian French farmer; Andrew stopped at the farm house to obtain a meal, and found his wife by chance.  He didn’t recognize her, as her hair had turned white, but she knew him.

Abstracted from:

A History of Middle New River Settlements and Contiguous Territory, Johnston, David E, (Huntington, W. Va: Standard Ptg. & Pub. Co, 1908; digital images, Google Book Search. 30 Nov. 2007. http://books.google.com/books), 100-102, accessed 10 Jan 2008.

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