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Excerpt from The Narrative of the Captivity and

Excerpt from The Narrative of the Captivity and

Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson by Mary Rowlandson

 

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The sovereignty and goodness of GOD, together with the faithfulness of his

promises displayed, being a narrative of the captivity and restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, commended by her, to all that desires to know the Lord’s

doings to, and dealings with her. Especially to her dear children and

relations. The second Addition [sic] Corrected and amended. Written by her own hand for her private use, and now made public at the earnest desire of

some friends, and for the benefit of the afflicted. Deut. 32.39. See now that I, even I am he, and there is no god with me, I kill and I make alive, I

wound and I heal, neither is there any can deliver out of my hand.

On the tenth of February 1675, came the Indians with great numbers upon Lancaster: their first coming was about sunrising; hearing the noise of some

guns, we looked out; several houses were burning, and the smoke ascending to heaven. There were five persons taken in one house; the father, and the

mother and a sucking child, they knocked on the head; the other two they

took and carried away alive. There were two others, who being out of their garrison upon some occasion were set upon; one was knocked on the head,

the other escaped; another there was who running along was shot and wounded, and fell down; he begged of them his life, promising them money

(as they told me) but they would not hearken to him but knocked him in head, and stripped him naked, and split open his bowels. Another, seeing

many of the Indians about his barn, ventured and went out, but was quickly shot down. There were three others belonging to the same garrison who

were killed; the Indians getting up upon the roof of the barn, had advantage to shoot down upon them over their fortification. Thus these murderous

wretches went on, burning, and destroying before them.

At length they came and beset our own house, and quickly it was the

dolefulest day that ever mine eyes saw. The house stood upon the edge of a hill; some of the Indians got behind the hill, others into the barn, and others

behind anything that could shelter them; from all which places they shot against the house, so that the bullets seemed to fly like hail; and quickly

they wounded one man among us, then another, and then a third. About two hours (according to my observation, in that amazing time) they had

been about the house before they prevailed to fire it (which they did with flax and hemp, which they brought out of the barn, and there being no

defense about the house, only two flankers at two opposite corners and one of them not finished); they fired it once and one ventured out and quenched

it, but they quickly fired it again, and that took. Now is the dreadful hour come, that I have often heard of (in time of war, as it was the case of

 

 

Excerpt from The Narrative of the Captivity and

Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson by Mary Rowlandson

 

 

others), but now mine eyes see it. Some in our house were fighting for their

lives, others wallowing in their blood, the house on fire over our heads, and the bloody heathen ready to knock us on the head, if we stirred out. Now

might we hear mothers and children crying out for themselves, and one

another, “Lord, what shall we do?” Then I took my children (and one of my sisters’, hers) to go forth and leave the house: but as soon as we came to

the door and appeared, the Indians shot so thick that the bullets rattled against the house, as if one had taken an handful of stones and threw them,

so that we were fain to give back. We had six stout dogs belonging to our garrison, but none of them would stir, though another time, if any Indian

had come to the door, they were ready to fly upon him and tear him down. The Lord hereby would make us the more acknowledge His hand, and to see

that our help is always in Him. But out we must go, the fire increasing, and coming along behind us, roaring, and the Indians gaping before us with their

guns, spears, and hatchets to devour us. No sooner were we out of the house, but my brother-in-law (being before wounded, in defending the

house, in or near the throat) fell down dead, whereat the Indians scornfully shouted, and hallowed, and were presently upon him, stripping off his

clothes, the bullets flying thick, one went through my side, and the same (as

would seem) through the bowels and hand of my dear child in my arms. One of my elder sisters’ children, named William, had then his leg broken, which

the Indians perceiving, they knocked him on [his] head. Thus were we butchered by those merciless heathen, standing amazed, with the blood

running down to our heels. My eldest sister being yet in the house, and seeing those woeful sights, the infidels hauling mothers one way, and

children another, and some wallowing in their blood: and her elder son telling her that her son William was dead, and myself was wounded, she

said, “And Lord, let me die with them,” which was no sooner said, but she was struck with a bullet, and fell down dead over the threshold. I hope she is

reaping the fruit of her good labors, being faithful to the service of God in her place. In her younger years she lay under much trouble upon spiritual

accounts, till it pleased God to make that precious scripture take hold of her heart, “And he said unto me, my Grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Corinthians

12.9). More than twenty years after, I have heard her tell how sweet and

comfortable that place was to her. But to return: the Indians laid hold of us, pulling me one way, and the children another, and said, “Come go along

with us”; I told them they would kill me: they answered, if I were willing to go along with them, they would not hurt me.

 

 

Excerpt from The Narrative of the Captivity and

Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson by Mary Rowlandson

 

 

Oh the doleful sight that now was to behold at this house! “Come, behold

the works of the Lord, what desolations he has made in the earth.” Of thirty- seven persons who were in this one house, none escaped either present

death, or a bitter captivity, save only one, who might say as he, “And I only

am escaped alone to tell the News” (Job 1.15). There were twelve killed, some shot, some stabbed with their spears, some knocked down with their

hatchets. When we are in prosperity, Oh the little that we think of such dreadful sights, and to see our dear friends, and relations lie bleeding out

their heart-blood upon the ground. There was one who was chopped into the head with a hatchet, and stripped naked, and yet was crawling up and down.

It is a solemn sight to see so many Christians lying in their blood, some here, and some there, like a company of sheep torn by wolves, all of them

stripped naked by a company of hell-hounds, roaring, singing, ranting, and insulting, as if they would have torn our very hearts out; yet the Lord by His

almighty power preserved a number of us from death, for there were twenty-four of us taken alive and carried captive.

I had often before this said that if the Indians should come, I should choose rather to be killed by them than taken alive, but when it came to the trial my

mind changed; their glittering weapons so daunted my spirit, that I chose rather to go along with those (as I may say) ravenous beasts, than that

moment to end my days; and that I may the better declare what happened to me during that grievous captivity, I shall particularly speak of the several

removes we had up and down the wilderness.

 

 

THE FIRST REMOVE

Now away we must go with those barbarous creatures, with our bodies

wounded and bleeding, and our hearts no less than our bodies. About a mile

we went that night, up upon a hill within sight of the town, where they intended to lodge. There was hard by a vacant house (deserted by the

English before, for fear of the Indians). I asked them whether I might not lodge in the house that night, to which they answered, “What, will you love

English men still?” This was the dolefulest night that ever my eyes saw. Oh the roaring, and singing and dancing, and yelling of those black creatures in

the night, which made the place a lively resemblance of hell. And as miserable was the waste that was there made of horses, cattle, sheep,

 

 

Excerpt from The Narrative of the Captivity and

Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson by Mary Rowlandson

 

 

swine, calves, lambs, roasting pigs, and fowl (which they had plundered in

the town), some roasting, some lying and burning, and some boiling to feed our merciless enemies; who were joyful enough, though we were

disconsolate. To add to the dolefulness of the former day, and the

dismalness of the present night, my thoughts ran upon my losses and sad bereaved condition. All was gone, my husband gone (at least separated from

me, he being in the Bay; and to add to my grief, the Indians told me they would kill him as he came homeward), my children gone, my relations and

friends gone, our house and home and all our comforts—within door and without—all was gone (except my life), and I knew not but the next moment

that might go too. There remained nothing to me but one poor wounded babe, and it seemed at present worse than death that it was in such a pitiful

condition, bespeaking compassion, and I had no refreshing for it, nor suitable things to revive it. Little do many think what is the savageness and

brutishness of this barbarous enemy, Ay, even those that seem to profess more than others among them, when the English have fallen into their

hands.

Those seven that were killed at Lancaster the summer before upon a

Sabbath day, and the one that was afterward killed upon a weekday, were slain and mangled in a barbarous manner, by one-eyed John, and

Marlborough’s Praying Indians, which Capt. Mosely brought to Boston, as the Indians told me.

 

THE SECOND REMOVE

But now, the next morning, I must turn my back upon the town, and travel with them into the vast and desolate wilderness, I knew not whither. It is not my tongue, or pen, can express the sorrows of my heart, and bitterness

of my spirit that I had at this departure: but God was with me in a wonderful manner, carrying me along, and bearing up my spirit, that it did not quite

fail. One of the Indians carried my poor wounded babe upon a horse; it went moaning all along, “I shall die, I shall die.” I went on foot after it, with

sorrow that cannot be expressed. At length I took it off the horse, and carried it in my arms till my strength failed, and I fell down with it. Then

they set me upon a horse with my wounded child in my lap, and there being

no furniture upon the horse’s back, as we were going down a steep hill we both fell over the horse’s head, at which they, like inhumane creatures,

laughed, and rejoiced to see it, though I thought we should there have ended our days, as overcome with so many difficulties. But the Lord

 

 

Excerpt from The Narrative of the Captivity and

Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson by Mary Rowlandson

 

 

renewed my strength still, and carried me along, that I might see more of

His power; yea, so much that I could never have thought of, had I not experienced it.

After this it quickly began to snow, and when night came on, they stopped, and now down I must sit in the snow, by a little fire, and a few boughs

behind me, with my sick child in my lap; and calling much for water, being now (through the wound) fallen into a violent fever. My own wound also

growing so stiff that I could scarce sit down or rise up; yet so it must be, that I must sit all this cold winter night upon the cold snowy ground, with

my sick child in my arms, looking that every hour would be the last of its life; and having no Christian friend near me, either to comfort or help me.

Oh, I may see the wonderful power of God, that my Spirit did not utterly sink under my affliction: still the Lord upheld me with His gracious and

merciful spirit, and we were both alive to see the light of the next morning.

THE THIRD REMOVE

The morning being come, they prepared to go on their way. One of the Indians got up upon a horse, and they set me up behind him, with my poor sick babe in my lap. A very wearisome and tedious day I had of it; what with

my own wound, and my child’s being so exceeding sick, and in a lamentable

condition with her wound. It may be easily judged what a poor feeble condition we were in, there being not the least crumb of refreshing that

came within either of our mouths from Wednesday night to Saturday night, except only a little cold water. This day in the afternoon, about an hour by

sun, we came to the place where they intended, viz. an Indian town, called Wenimesset, northward of Quabaug. When we were come, Oh the number of

pagans (now merciless enemies) that there came about me, that I may say as David, “I had fainted, unless I had believed, etc” (Psalm 27.13). The next

day was the Sabbath. I then remembered how careless I had been of God’s holy time; how many Sabbaths I had lost and misspent, and how evilly I had

walked in God’s sight; which lay so close unto my spirit, that it was easy for me to see how righteous it was with God to cut off the thread of my life and

cast me out of His presence forever. Yet the Lord still showed mercy to me, and upheld me; and as He wounded me with one hand, so he healed me

with the other. This day there came to me one Robert Pepper (a man

belonging to Roxbury) who was taken in Captain Beers’s fight, and had been now a considerable time with the Indians; and up with them almost as far as

Albany, to see King Philip, as he told me, and was now very lately come into these parts. Hearing, I say, that I was in this Indian town, he obtained leave

 

 

Excerpt from The Narrative of the Captivity and

Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson by Mary Rowlandson

 

 

to come and see me. He told me he himself was wounded in the leg at

Captain Beer’s fight; and was not able some time to go, but as they carried him, and as he took oaken leaves and laid to his wound, and through the

blessing of God he was able to travel again. Then I took oaken leaves and

laid to my side, and with the blessing of God it cured me also; yet before the cure was wrought, I may say, as it is in Psalm 38.5-6 “My wounds stink and

are corrupt, I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly, I go mourning all the day long.” I sat much alone with a poor wounded child in my lap, which

moaned night and day, having nothing to revive the body, or cheer the spirits of her, but instead of that, sometimes one Indian would come and tell

me one hour that “your master will knock your child in the head,” and then a second, and then a third, “your master will quickly knock your child in the

head.”

This was the comfort I had from them, miserable comforters are ye all, as he

said. Thus nine days I sat upon my knees, with my babe in my lap, till my flesh was raw again; my child being even ready to depart this sorrowful

world, they bade me carry it out to another wigwam (I suppose because they would not be troubled with such spectacles) whither I went with a very

heavy heart, and down I sat with the picture of death in my lap. About two hours in the night, my sweet babe like a lamb departed this life on Feb. 18,

1675. It being about six years, and five months old. It was nine days from the first wounding, in this miserable condition, without any refreshing of one

nature or other, except a little cold water. I cannot but take notice how at another time I could not bear to be in the room where any dead person was,

but now the case is changed; I must and could lie down by my dead babe, side by side all the night after. I have thought since of the wonderful

goodness of God to me in preserving me in the use of my reason and senses in that distressed time, that I did not use wicked and violent means to end

my own miserable life. In the morning, when they understood that my child

was dead they sent for me home to my master’s wigwam (by my master in this writing, must be understood Quinnapin, who was a Sagamore, and

married King Philip’s wife’s sister; not that he first took me, but I was sold to him by another Narragansett Indian, who took me when first I came out of

the garrison). I went to take up my dead child in my arms to carry it with me, but they bid me let it alone; there was no resisting, but go I must and

leave it. When I had been at my master’s wigwam, I took the first opportunity I could get to go look after my dead child. When I came I asked

them what they had done with it; then they told me it was upon the hill. Then they went and showed me where it was, where I saw the ground was

 

 

Excerpt from The Narrative of the Captivity and

Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson by Mary Rowlandson

 

 

newly digged, and there they told me they had buried it. There I left that

child in the wilderness, and must commit it, and myself also in this wilderness condition, to Him who is above all. God having taken away this

dear child, I went to see my daughter Mary, who was at this same Indian

town, at a wigwam not very far off, though we had little liberty or opportunity to see one another. She was about ten years old, and taken

from the door at first by a Praying Ind. and afterward sold for a gun. When I came in sight, she would fall aweeping; at which they were provoked, and

would not let me come near her, but bade me be gone; which was a heart- cutting word to me. I had one child dead, another in the wilderness, I knew

not where, the third they would not let me come near to: “Me (as he said) have ye bereaved of my Children, Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye

will take Benjamin also, all these things are against me.” I could not sit still in this condition, but kept walking from one place to another. And as I was

going along, my heart was even overwhelmed with the thoughts of my condition, and that I should have children, and a nation which I knew not,

ruled over them. Whereupon I earnestly entreated the Lord, that He would consider my low estate, and show me a token for good, and if it were His

blessed will, some sign and hope of some relief. And indeed quickly the Lord

answered, in some measure, my poor prayers; for as I was going up and down mourning and lamenting my condition, my son came to me, and asked

me how I did. I had not seen him before, since the destruction of the town, and I knew not where he was, till I was informed by himself, that he was

amongst a smaller parcel of Indians, whose place was about six miles off. With tears in his eyes, he asked me whether his sister Sarah was dead; and

told me he had seen his sister Mary; and prayed me, that I would not be troubled in reference to himself. The occasion of his coming to see me at this

time, was this: there was, as I said, about six miles from us, a small plantation of Indians, where it seems he had been during his captivity; and

at this time, there were some forces of the Ind. gathered out of our company, and some also from them (among whom was my son’s master) to

go to assault and burn Medfield. In this time of the absence of his master, his dame brought him to see me. I took this to be some gracious answer to

my earnest and unfeigned desire. The next day, viz. to this, the Indians

returned from Medfield, all the company, for those that belonged to the other small company, came through the town that now we were at. But

before they came to us, Oh! the outrageous roaring and hooping that there was. They began their din about a mile before they came to us. By their

noise and hooping they signified how many they had destroyed (which was at that time twenty-three). Those that were with us at home were gathered

 

 

Excerpt from The Narrative of the Captivity and

Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson by Mary Rowlandson

 

 

together as soon as they heard the hooping, and every time that the other

went over their number, these at home gave a shout, that the very earth rung again. And thus they continued till those that had been upon the

expedition were come up to the Sagamore’s wigwam; and then, Oh, the

hideous insulting and triumphing that there was over some Englishmen’s scalps that they had taken (as their manner is) and brought with them. I

cannot but take notice of the wonderful mercy of God to me in those afflictions, in sending me a Bible. One of the Indians that came from

Medfield fight, had brought some plunder, came to me, and asked me, if I would have a Bible, he had got one in his basket. I was glad of it, and asked

him, whether he thought the Indians would let me read? He answered, yes. So I took the Bible, and in that melancholy time, it came into my mind to

read first the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy, which I did, and when I had read it, my dark heart wrought on this manner: that there was no mercy for

me, that the blessings were gone, and the curses come in their room, and that I had lost my opportunity. But the Lord helped me still to go on reading

till I came to Chap. 30, the seven first verses, where I found, there was mercy promised again, if we would return to Him by repentance; and though

we were scattered from one end of the earth to the other, yet the Lord

would gather us together, and turn all those curses upon our enemies. I do not desire to live to forget this Scripture, and what comfort it was to me.

Now the Ind. began to talk of removing from this place, some one way, and

some another. There were now besides myself nine English captives in this place (all of them children, except one woman). I got an opportunity to go

and take my leave of them. They being to go one way, and I another, I asked them whether they were earnest with God for deliverance. They told

me they did as they were able, and it was some comfort to me, that the Lord stirred up children to look to Him. The woman, viz. goodwife Joslin, told me

she should never see me again, and that she could find in her heart to run

away. I wished her not to run away by any means, for we were near thirty miles from any English town, and she very big with child, and had but one

week to reckon, and another child in her arms, two years old, and bad rivers there were to go over, and we were feeble, with our poor and coarse

entertainment. I had my Bible with me, I pulled it out, and asked her whether she would read. We opened the Bible and lighted on Psalm 27, in

which Psalm we especially took notice of that, ver. ult., “Wait on the Lord, Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine Heart, wait I say on the

Lord.”

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