• Christina Corsetti, H.S.

Hannah Duston Memorial

Updated: Oct 10, 2020


Just six days after Martha’s birth, on March 15th, Abenaki Indians from Quebec attacked Haverhill, killing 27 people, taking 13 captives, and burning six homes. Among those captured was 40-year-old Hannah, her 6-day-old baby, and her friend 51-year-old Mary Neff.

Thomas Dustin, who had been working in the fields during the attack, heard the shrieks of the raiding party and was able to save the other childAs the Indians marched their captives into the wilderness, Mary Neff was carrying baby Martha and having trouble keeping up with the rest of the party, one of the Indians took it from her and murdered the infant by smashing her head against a tree in front of her horrified mother, Hannah.ren but was too late to save his wife and baby. After the Indians captured the women and the baby, they set the house on fire.

As the Indians marched their captives into the wilderness, Mary Neff was carrying baby Martha and having trouble keeping up with the rest of the party, one of the Indians took it from her and murdered the infant by smashing her head against a tree in front of her horrified mother, Hannah.

In the camp, the Indians relaxed, seemingly unworried about their captives. However, some six weeks after they were captured, Hannah woke Mary Neff and Samuel Lennardson while the Indians were sleeping. Armed with tomahawks, they killed 10 of the 12 sleeping Indians, including two adult men, two adult women, and six children. Two of the Indians — an injured woman and a boy, were able to escape into the woods.

Hannah Duston was the first American woman honored with a statue in 1874. The Hannah Duston Memorial was the first publicly-funded statue in New Hampshire. It is located at 298 US Route 4 in Boscawen, New Hampshire. Another statue stands in her hometown of Haverhill, Massachusetts in Grand Army Park. It was erected in 1879. Also standing in Haverhill is the Dustin House, which was under construction during the Haverhill raid of 1697. After Hannah returned from captivity, Thomas Dustin completed the home which stood about a half a mile away from their previous house. One of a very small number of surviving period houses built out of brick in Massachusetts, it stands at 665 Hilldale Avenue.


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