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The Story of Frances Slocum

Frances Slocum was the daughter of Jonathan and Ruth Slocum of Wilkes-Barre, PA in the Wyoming Valley. She was taken from her families home in broad daylight in front of her mother on Nov 2, 1778 at the age of 5. She was never heard from again. Her two brothers always tried to search for her any time they heard of a white woman living with an Indian tribe, even offered rewards for her return.

More than sixty years had passed before she was found. She was found living on the banks of the Mississenawa River near Peru, Indiana. Then the widow of an Miami Indian Chief.

James Miller of Peru, Ind and Col. Ewing of Logansport, Ind who had interacted with the Miami Indians in the past went and talked with Frances. She being old and knowing she would die soon decided it time to talk about her history.

She remembered she lived on the Susquehanna River as a child, near a fort and told how she was taken by the Delaware Indians. She mentioned her father, a quaker, who wore a broad-brimmed hat with the last name of Slocum. She remembered how other children were taken as well but because they wouldn’t stop crying the Indians killed them. She told them about how she moved around from time to time from Niagara, down around Detroit, then onto Fort Wayne and finally ending up on the banks of the Mississenewa.

After hearing this tale Col. Ewing wanted to make an effort to relay the infomation to her family who he suspected may still be alive. Upon his return to Logansport he wrote down what he had been told and sent it to the Postmaster of Lancaster, PA to be published. The Postmaster thought it to be a prank and tossed it aside. After his death the postmasters wife had found the letter and sent it to the editor in Lancaster who published it in his newspaper. A copy of that paper was read by Joseph Slocum who was living in the Wyoming Valley, Joseph instantly knew this story to be of his sister.

Isaac Slocum, Frances’ other brother, who had moved near Sandusky, Oh traveled to Peru in May of 1838. Upon arriving he sent for Mr. Miller who ran a store there. Mr Miller, leaving two Indian girls to tend the store, went to meet this stranger who had summoned him. Upon arriving at the hotel Mr. Miller recognized the stranger as a brother to Frances due to a very strong family resemblance.

After 60 years Isaac was reunited with his sister. Joseph Slocum also traveled to visit his long lost sister.

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