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the field to commence his spring work. The season was early, and the plow and shovel had already begun to turn over the rich, black soil. The industrious farmer had but just harnessed his horse, when the animal began to sniff the air, and, turning his eyes toward some bushes, Mr. Dustin discovered two painted faces, with heads adorned by feathers.
At the same moment, a rattling crash of firearms and the terrible war-whoop announced the attack on Haverhill. He unharnessed his horse, seized his gun, which he always kept near at hand, and galloped away like the wind toward the house, pursued by arrows of the Indians.
Reaching the house before the Indians, he cried to his family to fly, and he would cover their retreat.
“Mrs. Neff, take Mrs. Dustin and fly for your lives," he cried.
Mrs. Dustin had an infant, but a few days old, and was confined to her bed. Mrs. Neff was her
The husband made an attempt to remove his wife; but it was too late. The Indians, like ravenous wolves, were rushing on the house. Mrs. Dustin turned to her husband and said:
“Go, Thomas, you cannot save me, go and save the children.”
Moved by her urgent appeal, he leaped on his
horse and, with his gun in his hand, galloped away after the children, seven in number, who were already running down the road.
The first thought of the father was to seize one, place it on the horse before him, and escape; but he was unable to select one from the others. All were alike dear to him, and he resolved to defend all or perish in the effort. They had reached a point below the town, where the road ran between two hills in a narrow pass.
A party of Indians, eleven in number, had seen the children and were running after them. Mr. Dustin spurred his horse between the children and the savage foe, and shouting to his darlings to fly, and bidding the oldest carry the youngest, he drew rein at the pass and cocked his gun. Thomas Dustin was a dead shot, and his rifle was the best made at that day.
Facing the savages, he fired and shot the leader dead in his tracks. His followers were appalled at the fate of their brawny chieftain, and for a moment hesitated. Mr. Dustin hesitated not a single instant, but proceeded, without a moments delay, to reload his gun. Five of the Indians fired at the resolute father, as he rode away after his flying children.
“Run! run! run for your lives!” he shouted.
The Indians, with a whoop of vengeance followed the father. He had four balls in his gun,
and, wheeling his horse about, he fired this terrible charge at them. Though none were killed instantly at this shot, three were wounded, two so severely that they died next day. The Indians abandoned the pursuit of the resolute father, who continued to fight as he retreated, and turned their attention to less dangerous victories, so Mr. Dustin escaped with his children.
Mrs. Neff, the nurse in attendance on Mrs. Dustin, heroically resolved to share the fate of her patient, even when she could have escaped. The Indians entered the house, and, having made the sick woman rise and sit quietly in the corner of the fire-place, they pillaged the dwelling, and set it on fire, taking the occupants out of it. At the approch of night, Mrs. Dustin was forced to march into the wilderness and seek repose on the hard, cold ground. Mrs. Neff attempted to escape with the baby, but was intercepted. The infant had its brains beaten out against a tree, and the body was thrown into the bushes. The captives of Haverhill, when collected, were thirteen miserable, wretched people. That same day they were marched twelve miles before camping, although it was nearly night before they set out. Succeeding this, for several days they were compelled to keep up with the savage captors, over an extent of country of not less than one hundred and forty or fifty