Susannah Willard Johnson


Narrative of the Captivity of Mrs. Johnson (Walpole: 1796).

Originally from Lunenburg, Susannah Willard Johnson (1729/30-1810) and her family were captured during an Abenaki Indian raid on Charlestown, New Hampshire in August 1754, just before the start of the French-Indian War. On the second day of her captivity, Johnson gave birth to a daughter. The family marched for weeks through the wilderness of New England and Canada before reaching the Abenaki village in Saint-François-du-Lac, Quebec. The Johnsons were held for ransom until they were sold into slavery to the French.

After her release in 1758, Johnson returned to her home in Charlestown but did not write about her time in captivity until 1796. Although hers was not the first work in the captivity narrative genre, Johnson’s story was one of the most widely-read of its time.


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Susannah Willard Johnson