Eunice Williams

Eunice Williams and her family were captured by Indians during the Deerfield Raid of 1704.  Unlike the rest of her family, Eunice remained with the Indians and never returned to New England to live.

Eunice, who was only 7 years old when she was abducted, was adopted by a Mohawk family at Kahnawake in Canada and became fully assimilated into the tribe.  Eunice converted from Congregationalism to Roman Catholicism and took the name Marguerite at her baptism.  She married François-Xavier Arosen, a Mohawk man, had a family with him, and chose to stay with the Mohawk for the rest of her life.

She refused all attempts at redemption by the Williams family.  Nevertheless, the family never ceased in their efforts to reclaim her from the Mohawk.  Rev. Stephen Williams frequently mentioned his concern for his “poor sister” in his diary.  Eventually, she reestablished communication with her family and returned to New England to visit them during the summers of 1740, 1741 and 1761.  She and her family visited Longmeadow each of these years.  By this time, Eunice spoke only Mohawk and French and she needed to use an interpreter to communicate with her family. 

Eunice survived all of her siblings and died in 1785. 

Eunice Williams’s story was told in The Captivation of Eunice Williams, an opera  created by Paula M. Kimper and Harley Erdman.

by Elizabeth Hoff

Longmeadow Historical Society

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