Vol. 13



c. 1645;1 in Delaware Bay, off the coast of Bowers, Delaware, USA

As the wind brushed against my face and the frigid blue water seeped between my toes, I was filled with joy. This wasn’t the first time I was sailing on my father’s ship, but every second on that ship had been enjoyable. Unlike other voyages, this one would change my life forever.

This morning, in September of 1645, my father and I were getting ready to set sail to the Delaware Bay. My father was always very well prepared for anything that could happen, such as an unexpected storm or anything else that could endanger our safety, but this time there was nothing that could prepare us for what was ahead.

On this trip, we would be trading with the Indians — a small boat for beaver skins. Father was being cautious of the boat and also was making sure this would be an easy trade.

We set sail early that morning; the journey was long, taking most of the day. In the afternoon I went and helped my father on the main deck of the ship. There were five crewmen, not counting my father and me (Samuel Luther), on board.

After a long time on the ship, but without a lot of difficulty, we finally arrived. We didn’t get off the ship and stayed 100 yards away from shore. The Indians wanted to meet us on the water. We sat there for a good hour and a half until the Indians finally came. They had long hair and coats that were made with furs of all kinds. Father started talking to them through the interpreter about how they should trade and the details of the trade. I was only nine years old, and being so young, my mind couldn’t focus on what they were saying.

The next thing I knew, the Indians took out hatchets from beneath their coats. Like a galloping horse, my heart started to race. I screamed and told my father that they had weapons, but it was too late. They threw one of the hatchets at my father and killed him instantly. Then they killed the other four crewmen. They didn’t kill me or our interpreter, because he was in league with them.

I was so confused. Before I could comprehend, they started wrapping me up with rough ropes, which rubbed my skin sore. We stayed on the boat for five days. Then we were moved to shore and stayed there for five weeks. In those weeks, I grew very ill and bone skinny, because they gave me barely any food or water.

Finally my mother, Elizabeth Turner, had the ransom money the Indians had demanded. The amount was equivalent to all of our money. The day I saw my mother, I was so ecstatic, because I had almost lost hope.

Now I honor my father as I sail his ship and remember the strong, honest man he was. I am so glad that I was saved so that my family’s name can continue on.

Mariah Dent, twelfth-great-granddaughter of Samuel Luther; Idaho, USA


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