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Portal:Indian Captivity Stories/Ann Walker Cowan

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ANN WALKER COWAN
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Perhaps the best known, and certainly the best documented and understood, of these stories is that relating to the capture of Ann Walker Cowan and her 11 year old nephew William Walker. Documentation for this story includes

  • Testimony by Mrs. Scott, an eyewitness to the events
  • Oral tradition in William Walkers Wyandot family, captured in Connelley, 1899
  • Oral tradition passed on by Thomas Carter (1814-?), a resident of Russell and Scot County, and grandson of Ann's sister Susannah
  • Oral tradition passed on by Andrew Finis Cowan, a descendant of William Cowan and Jane Walker (sister of Ann Walker)

The four versions of the story differ in certain particulars, and in some cases significant details. They are prsented and discussed elsewhere, and those interested in the finer points may wish to look at them more closely. However, its clear that they deal with the same essential elements (though in the case of the Thomas carter and especially the Finis Cowan version, the details have been greatly distorted).

  • In 1776 Samuel Cowan, an early settler of Castle's Woods, Washington Co, VA, was killed by Indians while attempting to warn a near by settlement at Houston's Fort of an impeding Indian raid
  • The following year his wife, Ann Cowan, daughter of John Walker III and Ann Houston, was captured in another raid in the same area
  • At the same time her 11-year old nephew William, son of John Walker IV, and grandson of John Walker III, was also captured by a separate party of Indians
  • Also at the same time as Ann's capture, Samuel Walker, her brother and uncle of William, was killed Indians, either while escorting Ann to Moore's Fort, or while plowing a field with William.
  • William and Ann were taken north into captivity, but were separated at the Ohio
  • Ann was released in 1780, and made her way back to her family, traveling by way of Crab Orchard in Kentucky, where she was seen by Mrs. Scott.
  • William was adopted into the Huron tribe, and later came to live with the Wyandot, near Upper Sandusky, Ohio. He grew to manhood, married, and raised a family who considered themselves Wyandot.

The above represents something of a "concensus view" based on the four stories. Each story contains elements that seem consistent with the others, and elements that are unique (and in some cases in disagreement with the others). Overall, I give the greatest weight to information in Mrs. Scott's version as her's is the only story that was taken from a contemporary who knew of the events first hand. Overall, these stories fit together to make a coherent whole. In addition, they are largely consistent with the known genealogical facts that surround the family.

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