Notes on Mary White Rowlandson, 1637(?)-1710/11



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Notes on Mary White Rowlandson, 1637(?)-1710/11
- Mary White born in England to parents who immigrated to Massachusetts in 1639.





  • Couple had 4 children, one of whom died in infancy.







  • Rev. Rowlandson was in Boston at the time of the raid. Children were aged 14, 10 and 6.




  • Mary and Sarah (6) were captured together. Joseph (14) and Mary (10) were taken to other encampments.




  • Joseph Rowlandson managed to ransom his wife 3 months after her capture for 20 English pounds. Returned to Massachusetts on May 2, 1676. Joseph and Mary were returned soon after. Sarah died in captivity.




  • Family relocated to Connecticut where Rev. Rowlandson began preaching sermons which used his wife’s narrative as a basis for the belief that the Puritans could be forsaken by God. He died suddenly.




  • Mary Rowlandson married Captain Samuel Talcott in 1679 and lived until 1710 or 11.




  • Narrative was published in 1682 and was widely popular in England.

King Phillip’s War – See www.pilgrimhall.org. Go to “The Pilgrim Story” and click on the Subject Heading for King Phillip’s War.


Captivity Narratives – The Genre


  • Narratives about white women who are captured by American Indians and survived over overwhelming odds.




  • The culture defined women’s roles, but the captivity narrative portrayed “good” women forced into unusual roles, seeing and doing things that were considered outside of normal behavior.




  • Narratives perpetuate stereotypes of Indians and settlers and encouraged the continued conflict between the two groups.




  • Usually refer to religious contrast between Christian (Puritan) captive and the pagan Indians.





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