New France vs. New England
My family was living in New England, in the state of Massachusetts, in the late 17th and early 18th century, way out on the "frontier" at the time, along the Connecticut River, in Deerfield. Keep in mind that my family were subjects of The King of England, specifically, British colonists. And the war between France and England touched their lives, too.
The French were less interested in settling colonies as they were in getting the natural resources of the New World. And because they weren't big on building towns, they were more attractive to the native peoples living there. My family needed lots of land for their towns and farms, which put them in immediate conflict with the Indians. The French weren't doing this, so a natural partnership formed between the French and the Indians.
Yes, the English won, and chased the French and the Indians out of New England. It was, of course, a horrible time, of battles and bloodshed. Atrocities were committed by all parties involved. There is nothing to be proud of here, I am just telling it the way it was.
One common thing along the frontier was Indian raids. The Indians would come down from New France, destroy the frontier towns, kill as many people as they could, and bring the captives back, on foot, to New France. Many people died on these forced marches. Some who lived returned back to New England, which was called "being redeemed". Some stayed with the Indians, especially the children, for whom many found the Indian lifestyle more attractive than the Puritan life. Many New England women married Indian men. At the time, the greatest horror the Puritans had was that they would become Catholics. People who converted to Catholicism were considered "lost to the family".
The story of my family during the 1704 Indian attack on Deerfield, Massachusetts, is in The Redeemed Captive, Returning to Zion, written by the minister of that community, the Reverend John Williams, and published not long afterward. As the title of the book says, he was captured and later found his way back home. His wife died at the beginning of the forced march to Canada, on the outskirts of my family's farm in Deerfield, which is the "Zion" that the Reverend Williams was referring to. This book was a best-seller in its time, and is still in print today, if you care to read it.
Posted by Brad Hall