A Brattleboro Words Trail Site

Jemima Sawtelle:

Vernon, VT

A depiction of Jemima Sawtelle being sold by her Abenaki captors to the French.

The “indomitable” Jemima Sawtelle (1723-1805) was a young woman in Putney, Vermont, when her misfortune began. First her husband was killed in a skirmish with the local Abenaki people, then the Abenaki kidnapped her younger brother and carried him off to Montréal; then the Abenaki killed her second husband and captured two of her sons, and then they captured her and the rest of her children—all seven of them—and marched them toward Canada to be sold to the French. Her the family was separated, Jemima’s children sold and scattered away. The story of how she recovered them and returned to Vermont to die peacefully of old age is told in full, dramatic detail in Margeurite Allis’ 1989 Not Without Peril, and on in the inscription on her gravestone in Vernon:



Jamima Tute,
Successively relict of Messrs. Wm. Phipps, Caleb Howe and
Amos Tute.
The two first were killed by the Indians:
Phipps, July 5, A. D. 1743;
Howe, June 27, 1755.
When Howe was killed she and her children,
Then seven in number,
Were carried into captivity.
The oldest daughter went to France,
And was married to a French Gentleman;
The youngest was torn from her Breast,
And perished with hunger.
By the aid of some benevolent Gentle’n,
And her own personal heroism,
She recovered the rest.
She had two by her last Husband,
Outlived both him and them,
And died March 7th, 1805, aged 82;
Having passed thro’ more vicissitudes,
And endured more hardships,
Than any of her cotemporaries.

“No more can Savage Foes annoy,
Nor aught her wide-spread Fame destroy.”

Site research in progress. Check back soon for more of the story.

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North Vernon Cemetery

North Vernon Cemetery

About the Research sites

The Brattleboro Words Project is working with the community to identify specific sites and themes significant to the study of words in Brattleboro and surrounding towns. Research Teams – classrooms/teachers, amateur historians, veterans, writers, artists and other community members — will produce audio segments and other work to be incorporated into audio walking, biking and driving tours tours.

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