Tag Archives: Spotlight on Female Ancestors

Spotlight on Female Ancestors #4 ~ Sarah Allen ~ Taken Captive

Sarah Marie Allen, my maternal 1st cousin 8 times removed, was born on May 1, 1692, in Deerfield, Massachusetts Colony. She was the 4th of 9 children born to Edward Allen Jr (1663-1740) and Mercy Painter (1664-1740). The following is an account of the events of her life from 1704 to 1764.

In the pre-dawn hours of February 29, 1704, during Queen Anne’s War, joint French and Indian forces (including 47 Canadians and 200 Abenaki, along with some Mohawk, Wyandot, and a few Pocumtuck, all under the command of Jean-Baptiste Hertel de Rouville) attacked the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts in what became known as the Raid on Deerfield. They razed much of the settlement and killed 56 colonists, including 22 men, 9 women, and 25 children. The attackers took 112 captives, including women and children, and forced them on a months-long trek to Montreal, nearly 300 miles to the north. Many died along the way; others were killed because they could not keep up.

Among those taken prisoner was 11-year old Sarah. The prisoners were marched from Deerfield to Montreal. It took them until April 25th to reach Fort Chambly. From here Sarah was taken to a settlement on the other side of the St, Lawrence River. She was kept here for a while before being sold to Jean Quenet, a Montreal merchant. One of his properties was at Baie D’Urfe and that is where Sarah was placed as a domestic servant.

Under enormous pressure, many of the captives converted to Catholicism including Sarah. On May 30, 1705, she was baptised by the Jesuits and renamed Marie Madeleine Helene at St Anne du Bout de I’lle before her appointed godparents Pierre Lamoureux and Etiennette Hurtubise, the wife of Jean Quenet, Sarah’s master.

The town of Deerfield quickly reestablished itself and Edward Allen Jr, Sarah’s father, was named town clerk. During the following three years John Sheldon was hired to led three expeditions to Canada to rescue the captives. Edward was a member of the third expedition in 1707. He was in Montreal in August of 1707. A war broke out between France and England while they were there, and they were prevented from completing their mission. There is no record that Edward found where Sarah was or what the result was. Sarah was living and working at the home of Jean Quenet at the time which was 10 miles west of Montreal.

Sometime in early 1710, Sarah, now known as Marie, met Guillaume Lalonde (1684-1752) whose family owned a farm near the Quenets’. He was a son of an immigrant from the Normandy region of France. On April 10, 1710, she married Guillaume and in May of that same year she was granted citizenship of New France, choosing to make her life in Canada and effectively cutting off any contact with New England and her family. To become a citizen Sarah had to agree to these terms: “they could not leave the country without express and written permission, nor be employed as go-betweens with foreigners on pain of forfeiting their right to citizenship.”

Sarah and Guillaume had 13 children, 9 sons and 4 daughters. During their lifetime they lived in the towns of Baie D’Urfe, Point Claire, Ile Perrot and Les Cedres in Soulange, Guillaume died in 1752 and Sarah died in 1764 at the age of 72. They were buried in the Parish Cemetery of St. Joseph de Soulange.

I can’t imagine the trauma and fear that little 11-year old Sarah endured on her forced trip up to Canada in the winter. She saw many people killed on this trek, some for being slow, some for being sic, and some for trying to escape. One 5 year old girl was killed because the man who carried her could not carry her and supplies at the same time. She must have lived in constant fear! She lived in “survival” mode, having been sold as soon as she arrived in Montreal and at the age of 16 she was forced to change religions in order to fit in. She also had to give up her name and her country to be able to live in peace. I believe that once she married and starting having children, she was able to begin enjoying her life. She was a very strong woman!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

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Filed under Allen Family, Ancestry, Canada, Deerfield, Massachusetts Bay Colony, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Kidnapped, Sarah Allen, Spotlight on Female Ancestors, Strong Woman, Uncategorized

Spotlight on Female Ancestors #2 ~ Mary Brewster and Susanna White 2 of 4

Susanna Jackson, my maternal 10th Great Grandmother, was born in 1595 in Nottinghamshire, England. She and her father were English Separatists who fled religious persecution in England under King James I for their non-conformity to the dictates and practices of the Church of England. They came to Holland in 1608. There she married William White in 1612 in Leyden, Holland, and they had a son, Resolved. In 1620 William, Susanna, and Resolved boarded a ship that would take them back to England to join 101 other passengers embarking on a voyage to the New World aboard the Mayflower. Susanna was 25 years old and a little over 6 months pregnant when they began the trip on September 6, 1620..


Mary Brewster Statute

Mary, my paternal 11th Great Grandmother, whose maiden name has not been verified, was born in 1569 in Nottinghamshire, England. She married Elder William Brewster about 1593 in England, and she accompanied her husband and 3 young children to Leiden, Holland in 1608. Here they had at least 3 more children. William, Mary and their 2 youngest children also made the trip back to England to make the trip on the Mayflower. Mary was about 51 years old.

There were 3 pregnant women aboard the Mayflower and Susanna no doubt kept close company with matronly Mary Brewster, her family’s friend and neighbor from back in Scooby, England and in Holland. It must have been a great comfort to her. The ship arrived in Cape Cod Harbor on November 21, 1620. Because of the rough waters only the men were allowed to leave the ship, while the women and children were confined to their place on the middle deck of the Mayflower.


Peregrine White Cradle

On December 10, 1620, Susanna gave birth to a son aboard the Mayflower. They named him Peregrine, meaning a traveler or pilgrim. Peregrine White was the first Pilgrim child to be born in the New World. By the time all of the passengers made it to land, winter had blown in and made life miserable because of a lack of shelter. That first winter, death claimed 52 members of the group with the greatest loss being among the women with over three quarters of their number dying. The extremely high mortality rate among women is probably explainable by the fact the men were out in the fresh air, felling trees, building structures and drinking fresh New England water; while the women were confined to the damp, filthy and crowded quarters offered by the Mayflower, where disease would have spread much more quickly.

Susanna’s husband, William, died on February 21, 1621, along with the family’s two young man servants. Being left a widow with 2 young boys she remarried a few months later to fellow Mayflower passenger Edward Winslow, whose wife had also died had first winter, on May 12, 1621. Their marriage was the first marriage at Plymouth.


By the end of the summer of 1621, only four women, Eleanor Billington, Elizabeth Hopkins, Mary Brewster, and Susanna White, would remain alive to care for the Colony’s fifty surviving men and children. These four brave women faced some incredible hardships and heartbreak as they tried to make a new life in a new land. They had to be very strong, not just physically but also in their faith to withstand those first couple of years as the caregivers to so many people. I am proud that Mary and Susanna were two of the four.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Mayflower, Plymouth Massachusetts, Spotlight on Female Ancestors, Uncategorized