In the Classroom > Unit Overview > Lesson 7

Lesson 7 - Readings for the Williams Family

Eunice Williams

From New England Captives Carried to Canada, Vol. II, Emma L. Coleman, pgs. 54-62

Eunice, b. [born] 17 Sept., 1696.

"Many little girls were left behind; some to marry Indians, more to marry Frenchmen and a few to become nuns; but no other captive-child caused so much trouble to the two Governments as little Eunice, and the name of no other is so well known to later generations.

Her father wrote: 'My youngest daughter, aged seven years was carried all the journey and looked after with a great deal of tenderness.'

She was taken to the Sault saint-Louis. The Jesuit [priest] at the Mission would not allow her father to go there because the Macquas [Mohawk] 'would as soon part with their hearts as the child,' but Governor de Vaudreuil, angry and insistent, went 'in his own person' to the fort with Mr. Williams and the child was brought into her father's presence. She repeated to him her Catechism, for she had already learned to read, he says, and she complained that the Indians 'profaned God's Sabbath' [worked on Sundays] and that she was forced 'to say some prayers in Latin,' but she did not 'understand one word of them' and hoped it did her no harm.

The Governor labored much for her redemption [rescue]; at last he had the promise of it, in case he would procure [if he would get] for them an Indian girl in her stead.' When, however, the Indian girl was offered she was refused. So was 'An hundred pieces of eight.' [a form of money].

'His lady [governor's wife] went over, to have begged her from them, but all in vain; she is there still and has forgotten to speak English.' So wrote her father immediately after his own return to Boston.

'...She is in good health, but seemed unwilling to returne, and the Indian not very willing to part with her, she being, as he says, a pretty girl but perhaps he may Exchange her if he can gett a very pretty Indian...' [written by Colonel John Schuyler of Albany]

"Eunice had said 'only that she would goe & see her Father as soon as peace should be proclaimed,' but it was not until after another war and another peace that she came- in 1740. then her father was dead and a strange mother with two or three strange half-brothers and sisters were in the Deerfield home, so she did not go there.

...She seems to have been both Marguerite and Maria; both 8aongote (written also Gon'aongote, Aongote and 8aon'got), which may be translated: 'They took her and placed her as a member of their tribe,' and Gannenstenhawi, 'She brings in corn.'

We know that Eunice had three children; John, who died childless in 1758 at Lake George, and two daughters, Catharine (Flying Leg) and Marie (New Fish).

Eunice came four times to New England. In 1740 the friendly Schuylers persuaded her to come to Albany, and sent a letter to her brother Stephen early in August bidding him to come and meet her. With him went his brother Eliezer...and Esther's this 'joyfull Sorrowful meeting of or [our] poor Sister yt [that] we had been separated from for above 36 years.'

With great difficulty they persuaded her and her husband to go to Longmeadow...Joseph Kellogg was summoned as interpreter [as to interpret]. 'Ye [the] whole place seemed to be greatly moved.' Even Jonathan Edwards [a famous minister] came down from Northampton, hoping perhaps to bring Eunice back to the fold. Indeed, so many came that Stephen described one day as 'Clutterd & full of care & company, joy & sorrow, hope & fear.' He says: 'or [our] Sister & Family Din'd [dined] in ye room wth [with] ye Company Sister M [Esther] & I sat at ye table wth ym [with them].' So 'the table' was probably an unusual trial for the Caugnawaga people.

Twenty years later Stephen writes:
'1761 June 30 This day my Sister Eunice, her Husband her daughter Katharine and others come thither from Canada...We have no interpreter and So can't say what her intentions and pretensions [plans and claims] are.'...They encamped in the orchard behind the parsonage [minister's house- Stephen's home] and as before 'Great numbers' of people came to see them. Stephen fears 'it may not be agreeable to be gazed upon.' Perhaps that was why they stayed only ten days."

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