Monday, August 1, 2011

Mary Rowlandson and Praying Towns

Mary Rowlandson and Praying Towns: In February 1675, Indians from the Narragansett, Nipmuc, and Wampanoag tribes attacked Lancaster, Massachusetts. As King Philip's War was underway, they took Mary Rowlandson and her three children captive, in addition to other local Puritan settlers. And since Lancaster was a frontier settlement in close contact with the Praying Town of Nashoba (Littleton), it had numerous missionaries working there. Puritan missionaries like John Eliot established Praying Towns across the Massachusetts Bay Colony to convert local Indians to Christianity. Rowlandson's husband, for example, was the town minister in Lancaster. Ultimately, however, she recounted the harrowing tale of her 11-month captivity in The Sovereignty and Goodness of God (1682). The historical marker pictured above signified the location where Rowlandson's captivity ended, which occurred near Mount Wachusett in Princeton, Massachusetts. Boston residents, particularly women, raised enough money to ransom Rowlandson away from the Indians' sacred grounds at Wachusett.

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