In the late 1600s, Deerfield, in the Connecticut River Valley, was a distant outpost of the colonies. The English had driven out the Pocumtuck nation when settling Deerfield, but the colonists were vulnerable to attacks. My ninth great-grandmother Elizabeth Foote Belden was killed, along with several of her fourteen children, when Native Americans launched a raid on Deerfield in 1696. From the Hatfield Town Records: “Sept. 16, 1696. The Indians came along from up Green River to the town, and assaulted Mr. Daniel Belden’s house; took Mr. Belden, his son Nathaniel and daughter Esther captive, killed his wife and three children, and wounded Samuel and Abigail, but they recovered, altho’ Samuel had a hatchet stuck in his head, and some of his brains came out at his wound. Samuel was born Apr. 10, 1687.”
Her husband, my ninth great grandfather, Daniel Belden (1648-1732), was captured and marched to Canada, where he was kept prisoner along with a daughter. In July, Belden was sold to the French and became a servant for French Jesuits at a seminary in Canada. His brother John paid a debt for his and his daughter’s return. Back in Deerfield, Belden was a carpenter and town selectman. He married his second wife Hebzibah Buell Wells, a widow who had already lost several children to raids. On February 29, 1704, during the famous Raid on Deerfield by French and their Mohawk and Huron allies, she was captured and killed. Another daughter was also killed. At the museum in Deerfield, there is a memorial to Daniel Belden, though not to his two wives.
Here is a copy of his will. One of his heirs was Mary (1677-1737) my eighth great grandmother, who survived it all and married a deacon.