JOSEPH KELLOGG HAD SOME SERIOUS EXPLAINING TO DO WHEN HE RETURNED TO New England in 1713. Ten years earlier, at the age of twelve, this son of English colonists had been captured during the Canadian-Indian raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts, and dragged, along with his family and 112 other English-American settlers, across the frozen mountains to Kahnawake. By that time, the mission at Sault St. Louis had been fully integrated into New France’s war machine. Men from Catherine’s village were in the vanguard of countless expeditions against the vulnerable settlements of New England and New York during the colonial conflicts sometimes known as Queen Anne’s War, King George’s War, and the French and Indian War. These strikes almost invariably concluded with a procession of frightened English captives stumbling into Kahnawake, where they faced not torture and death but the challenge of adapting to the bewilderingly unfamiliar ways of their captors until such time as they were ransomed and returned to New England or, alternatively, until they blended into the Christian Iroquois community.
Children tended to fit in more easily than their elders, as was the case for Joseph Kellogg. He picked up the Mohawk language, developed skill as a hunter, and accepted Catholicism, an essential feature of community membership. This religious conversion later seemed to him a momentous error when a prisoner repatriation brought him back to his childhood home; only after accounting for his failure to resist the pressures to renounce Protestant