Imagine a wet, drizzly day. It’s September 24th so it’s probably a bit chilly, too. You’re 21. Just another normal day. You set out with a friend to go to work in a nearby forest with a gun, ammunition and some lunch because you expect to be gone most of the day. You cross the river, meet up with other men, find your work area and a hollowed-out log where you’ll keep your stuff dry while you work.
A year later the stuff is still in the log, safely hidden. The only evidence that could prove it was you who was there is concealed as worried friends and townspeople start the search for you and your friend.
It’s 1724. There are always concerns about Indians and being captured and scalped. Those were the days. Turns out Nathan Cross and Thomas Blanchard, and the rest of the work party were missed after a while when they didn’t come home for supper. I’ve had those awful feelings when my children don’t show up when they’re scheduled, or aren’t where they said they’d be. Times may have changed, but I’m learning that danger just changes faces.
|Merrimack River, New Hampshire|
It took a while, but by following clues along the shores of the Merrimack river the search party found the group being held captive by a group of Mohawk Indians from Canada. They had a skirmish when confronted, rescuing all but Nathan and Thomas who were carried up into Canada where they’d spend a year until they found a way (I can’t imagine what that was) to pay their ransom.
The guns and provisions that were secreted away were found exactly where they’d left them in the log in the woods. Nathan’s musket can be seen in a museum in Nashua.
We’re still in Hudson, New Hampshire, but the country is slowly waking up and changing. By 1777 John is married with 7 children, ages 1 to 18. His wife Elizabeth is 42. Grandpa Nathan has been dead for 11 years. But I’m sure John kept his dad’s memory and story alive for the 4 children who never met him.
I can hear Grandpa Nathan saying, “Sure! Who wants to sit on my lap?” when begged for the umpteenth time to tell his story of the famous kidnapping by the Indians. Was that the only story he had? I have to wonder.
|Fort Ticonderoga, New York