“. . . a rich, thorough, and riveting retelling of David Ogden’s harrowing capture by the feared and fascinating Iroquois chief, Joseph Brant, during the
Revolutionary War . . . will keep you on the edge of your seat.”
Dean King author of Skeletons of the Zahara and Unbound
The Story of
and the Iroquois
by Praeger Publishing,
Santa Barbara, California
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The story of capture, detention and escape from the Iroquois by sixteen year-old Patriot soldier David Ogden during the American Revolution was first published in 1840. The young man's courageous struggle for his freedom, which ended in a harrowing 126-mile race across Northern New York's bleak wilderness, resonated with readers. The original was re-issued in five editions, and re-published by a number of other writers over the next century; and today, it stands as one of the favorite stories of our country's first literary genre, the Indian captivity narrative.
The New York frontier was a powder keg when one American patriot family, Daniel and Eleanor Ogden and their young son David, settled in the Susquehanna River valley in the mid 1770s. Colonial settlers, ignoring British laws, homesteaded on the traditional home and hunting grounds of the Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy. Tensions were high between Indians and white colonials, and between individual groups of colonists who favored or opposed the dominion of the British Government in North America.
When violence eventually erupted on the frontier, the Ogdens were forced to abandon their new home and flee to safety. After a harrowing escape from the infamous Cherry Valley Massacre, Daniel and his son David joined the Continental Army. From a posting at Fort Stanwix, 16-year old Private David Ogden was captured by an Iroquois war party, led by the notorious Mohawk chief Joseph Brant. After a brutal ten-day march across the state in the middle of winter, Ogden was given to a Iroquois squaw to replace a son she had lost in the war. Thus began his two-year ordeal in captivity.
Ogden eventually escaped, and was reunited with his family. However, more than three decades later, he enlisted again to fight the British in the War of 1812, and was once again taken captive. This time he was soon released, and lived out the remainder of his life on his grudging farm near the original frontier family homestead.
Co-authors Jack Harpster and Ken Stalter have taken David Ogden's 1840 short story and filled it with all the rich detail that the original lacked. Through meticulous historical research, they have turned the barebones tale into an exciting, nuanced, true-life adventure story for the ages.