J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

“New England Captives” Tour, July 2016

Historian Donald Friary and the New England Historic Genealogical Society are offering what looks like an unusual tour of New England and Canada next summer. The theme is “New England Captives Carried to Canada.” The description:
Between King Philip’s War in 1675-76 and the fall of Quebec in 1759 almost 1,000 captives—soldiers and civilians, men, women, and children—were taken by Natives and French from New England frontier settlements to Canada. Some died on the journey, many were redeemed and returned to their homes and families, but others remained, as their descendants still do, in Native villages and French seigneuries along the St. Lawrence River.

From July 16-24, 2016, the New England Historic Genealogical Society will offer a tour to the places where the captives lived as Mohawks, Abenakis, Hurons, and naturalized French subjects—Montreal and Quebec, Chambly, Boucherville, Trois-Rivieres, Ile d’Orleans, Kahnawake, Kanesetake, Odanak, Wendake—to learn of the struggle among the French, English, and several Native groups for control of the borderlands that both separated and united them.
Friary is an experienced tour leader who also spent years as Executive Director of Historic Deerfield, in a town with a well remembered raid of 1704.

The tour will depart from Boston by bus on Saturday, 16 July 2016. Its itinerary includes “4 nights each in the best Montreal and Quebec hotels, walking tours of both cities, 5 Native sites, and a dinner cruise on the St. Lawrence.” The bus returns the following Sunday.

The base cost is $4,995.00 for double occupancy, registration before 1 Feb 2016. The cost goes up for registration after that date, for single rooms, and for people who are not already members of the N.E.H.G.S. Check this webpage for more information.

The picture above shows Mother Superior Marie-Joseph de l’Enfant-Jésus, née Esther Wheelwright (1696-1780). She was born in Wells, Maine, and taken prisoner by Abenakis in 1703. Her family arranged for those Abenakis to release her to a French priest in exchange for a captured Native child. (There could presumably be an equivalent tour of where the English sent their Native captives from these wars, though that might involve Caribbean travel.) After spending the next couple of years in Québec, however, Esther became a Catholic nun and chose never to return to New England. I believe this portrait is on display at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

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