Folk Figure. Born Hannah Emerson, she married Thomas Duston and with him had ten children. Toward the end of King William's War, on March 15, 1697, less than a week after the birth of their ninth child, Martha, the family farmstead was raided by Abnaki who captured Hannah, her aunt, Mary Neff, and the infant girl while the rest of the family fled to the nearby garrison and safety. The Abnaki captors smashed the infant to death against a tree before marching the two women for fifteen days to the north where they were parceled out to another Abnaki group consisting of about half a dozen adults and several children including an adolescent captive boy, Samuel Leonardson, who had been taken from Worcester some eighteen months previously. The band set up camp on an island at the conjunction of the Merrimack and Contoocook rivers. On or about the night of March 31, Hannah was reputed to have led a captive rebellion, she and the other captives tomahawked some ten Abnaki to death as they slept, only one woman and one boy escaped. The former captives packed one canoe with supplies, holed the others, and before departing the camp, took enemy scalps. Traveling down the river only at night, the trio returned home after several days. After some weeks of recovery, the former captives traveled to Boston, where they petitioned the General Court for bounty money on the scalps they had taken. Hannah became a minor celebrity, her story was recorded by Cotton Mather in his "Magnalia Christi Americana." The governor of Maryland sent her a pewter tankard to congratulate her on her escape. Her story has been retold in "History of Haverhill," in "Notable American Women," in Thoreau's "A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers," and most recently in Laurel Ulrich's "Goodwives." Her name has also been recorded as Duston, Dustan, and Durstan.
Bio by: Iola
1652–1732 (m. 1677)