Harper's Young People, August 17, 1880 An Illustrated Weekly

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Excerpt JOHN KERZAR, HANNAH DUSTIN, AND THE INDIANS. It was in August, 1692. John Kerzar, who lived on the banks of the Merrimac, a few miles from the sea, went out into his meadow with his scythe to cut grass. He took his gun along with him to shoot a bear if he saw one in his corn, or an Indian if one made his appearance. He leaned his gun against a tree, and went on with his mowing, not knowing that an Indian was crawling through the tall grass toward him. The Indian reached the tree, seized the gun, and cocked it. "Me kill you now," said the Indian. John Kerzar was brave. He was quick to think. He could yell louder than any Indian. No use for him to run; that would be certain death. With a yell like the blast of a trumpet, and uplifted scythe, he rushed upon the Indian, who, instead of firing, dropped the gun and took to his heels. Kerzar was upon him in an instant, swinging his scythe, and making such a fearful gash that the Indian fell dead at his feet. Kerzar lived in Haverhill. It was a frontier settlement, and the Indians either had a spite against it, or else it was more convenient for them to attack than other settlements, for they made many attempts to destroy the place. Thomas Dustin was at work in his field one day, when he saw a large number of Indians coming toward him from the woods. He had eight children, the youngest a week old. The mother was in bed with the infant, tended by her nurse Mary Neff. "Run for the garrison," he shouted. The children started, the oldest boys and girls carrying the youngest. Mr. Dustin rushed to the stable and bridled his horse, intending to take Mrs. Dustin; but the Indians were so close upon him that he could not. He leaped upon the horse with his gun, and galloped away, the bullets flying around him, leaving his wife, baby, and Mary Neff. The Indians entered the house, dragged Mrs. Dustin from the bed, and seized the nurse. One caught up the infant by the legs, and dashed its head against a rock. Mr. Dustin overtook his children. It would be impossible, he thought, to save them all; which should he leave? All were equally dear. How could he make a selection? He would not; he would die in defending them, and do what he could to save all. "Run!" he shouted, urging them on; then leaped from his horse, and fired, sprung upon the animal, again loaded his gun while upon the gallop, overtook his children, dismounted, fired again, and so, keeping the Indians at bay, brought all his children in safety to the garrison. Not so fortunate his neighbors. In a few minutes the Indians massacred twenty-seven men, women, and children, set several houses on fire, and with a number of captives started for Canada. It was the middle of March. The rivers and streams were swollen. There was snow on the ground. Mrs. Dustin had but one shoe; the other foot was bare; it was torn by the stones, chilled by the cold. Every step was marked with blood. Her fellow-captives fainted and fell one by one, and the tomahawk and scalping-knife finished them. All except Mrs. Dustin and Mary Neff were killed....
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