Captive! The Story of David Ogden and the Iroquois

Captive! The Story of David Ogden and the Iroquois

Captive! The Story of David Ogden and the Iroquois

Captive! The Story of David Ogden and the Iroquois

Synopsis

This book recounts the amazing life story of a 16-year-old American Revolutionary-era soldier, including his captivity, adoption, and eventual flight to freedom from the Iroquois Six-Nation Indian tribes. The story is retold with historical accuracy and an even-handed treatment of the conflicting interests of the loyalists, Iroquois, and Patriots.

• Includes portraits of Iroquois chief Joseph Brant and Sir William Johnson, photos of tools, equipment, and personal belongings of the book's two primary protagonists, Ogden and Brant, and images of prominent buildings featured in the story

• Maps of Ogden's escape route and the New York frontier clarify the 18th-century world for modern readers

• Bibliography includes 20 sources for original manuscripts, diaries, collected papers, and official government documents, 18th, 19th, and 20th century scholarly studies, and many original Indian captivity-narrative books

• Extensive endnotes give further historical information

• Josiah Priest's original 1840 narrative of David Ogden's story, A True Narrative of the Capture of David Ogden among the Indians in the Time of the Revolution, and of the Slavery and Sufferings He Endured, with an Account of his Almost Miraculous Escape after Several Years' Bondage, is also provided

Excerpt

In 1840, in the small western New York town of Lansingburgh, W. B. Harkness hunched over his hand-operated, single-sheet, flatbed press and watched a small booklet take shape. His customer, Albany writer Josiah Priest, stood nearby and watched as his latest literary work materialized. Once the large sheets were folded, slitted, and stitched, the result was a 32-page booklet entitled A True Narrative of the Capture of David Ogden, Among the Indians, in the Time of the Revolution, and of the Slavery and Sufferings He Endured, with an Account of His Almost Miraculous Escape After Several Years Bondage, priced at 18 ¾ cents.

Josiah Priest was a vainglorious man; he loved to see his name in print. Like any author, he was still thrilled to see the first copy of one of his books come off the press. Priest was a saddle and harness maker by trade, with little formal education. But he traveled extensively, and he was a voracious reader. His first published work had been a small booklet, “The Wonders of Nature and Providence, Displayed …,” which was printed in 1824.

His most celebrated book—and his most condemned—was a 400-page tome published in 1833 entitled American Antiquities, and Discoveries in the West. In this work, the result of personal travels, Bible studies, and readings from antiquarian journals, Priest postulated that earthworks and mounds he visited in Ohio and New York were actually remains of an ancient lost race of “moundbuilders” who were exterminated during the arrival of the Indians.

That book became popular as it tapped into the widely accepted view of those times that Native Americans were merely bloodthirsty savages, bent on the destruction of all but their own race. It was inconceivable to Priest and like-minded men that a race so lazy and inept could conceive and build such huge, elaborate structures. Thus, they reasoned, the mounds must have been . . .

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