The night my family was attacked,1704 Deerfield, Massachusetts
Part of the reason that I have found so much information on my family in Colonial America has to do with a famous attack on Deerfield, Massachusetts on February 29, 1704. It's also been called a "Raid" and a "Massacre". The book The Redeemed Captive, Returning to Zion, was something of a bestseller in the 1700s, and it's still in print.
All of this has to do with the war between France and England. It went on for quite some time, and is often referred to as "The French and Indian War". And that means that the Native Americans sided with the French, against the British Colonists.
In 1704 the Connecticut River in Massachusetts was "way out west" in America. It was a howling wilderness, and my family was there. And that area, including what is now Canada, was a war zone between the British (my family) and the French. Of course, we know that the British ultimately won (which is why the area is called New England, not New France) and even Canada became mostly British, although there are strong French roots in places like Quebec.
If you've read about the raid, you know that it was a slaughter. But not everyone was killed, of course (which why I'm here, and you if you're a descendant along the same lines as me). And from what I've read, the ones who died were the lucky ones, as the surviving prisoners were forced to march up to what is now Canada, in the snow and bitter cold, and in addition to the suffering this caused, many died on the march.
My family did make it back to Deerfield, and Greenfield. They called this returning being "redeemed". Many people chose to stay with the Indians, especially many women and children. Those people were mourned as lost. Those relatives of mine I haven't tracked, but they went on to have children with Indians and, (gasp!) the French.
Deerfield, Massachusetts is one of the most perfectly preserved towns of Colonial America. Tourists visit there all of the time, but I haven't been there yet. It's a place I'd like to be, just to stand there, where my family was back on that day. The door, pictured above, has the marks from the tomahawks of that night in 1704. I'd like to see it, and touch it, and I would like like to reassure my family that in spite of the horror of that night, everything turned out OK, and the family would survive.
Posted by Brad Hall