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A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison
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A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  161 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Mary Jemison was one of the most famous white captives who, after being captured by Indians, chose to stay and live among her captors. In the midst of the Seven Years War(1758), at about age fifteen, Jemison was taken from her western Pennsylvania home by a Shawnee and French raiding party. Her family was killed, but Mary was traded to two Seneca sisters who adopted her to ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 15th 1995 by University of Oklahoma Press (first published 1842)
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Kathy Spada
I gave this narrative 5 stars because of the stark and profound experience that Mary Jemison had to endure. While in her eighties, she gave this account to a Dr. Seaver who wrote down her remembrances. To actually hear of what she endured, her family being massacred by the Seneca(the description of the Indians cleaning off her parents' scalps is heartbreaking...she was but 15 years of age). Life was exceedingly hard for Mary but somehow she adjusted to life with the Senecas, carrying heavy loads ...more
Andrea Stoeckel
I have lived in NY for over a decade, living in the area that claims Mrs. Mary Jemison as a daughter and who erected a statue of her near Letchworth State Park. This book is reported to be her own story in her own words, as she was iilliterate. However, her use of Biblical allagories may prove this account padded by her writer.

It is an important work as it is a first person account of the confederation of the Six Nations, and how they interacted with one another as much as with the white settle
...more
J. Ewbank
This book was interesting because it told the life story of Mrs. Jemison and the times she lived in as well as the trials and tribulations she had--and there were many. It is interesting that this woman preferred living with the Indians rather than her on people for various reasons. I enjoyed it.

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the Isms" "Wesley's Wars" and "To Whom It May Concern"
Nicholas Maulucci
interesting book. written by a white woman that was kidnapped by the Indians. a lot of very interesting inside info in book. the life of the author was mostly confined to Ohio and new york tribes. not only was the book biographical, but it also gave great insight to the sociological structure of the Indians. the last 20% of the book or so gave some biographical info about the Indians and their traditions, one of which was to sacrifice two dogs without blemish or spots. these dogs would take all ...more
Lauren Langford
An amazing first hand account of what it was like between Colonists and Indians in the late 1700s and early 1800s. There were unimaginable levels of violence but also moments of striking compassion as well. Mrs. Jemison's tenacity and ability to adapt and survive against the odds is a great and inspiring story.

Note of caution: Read this in a quiet room where you can focus easily. Syntax and vocabulary make this a difficult book to read.
Nancy
After reading Lois Lenski's children's book about Mary Jemison (Indian Captive: the Life of Mary Jemison), I decided I wanted to read more about Jemison's life. In her introduction to this volume, June Namais, who has studied all the various versions of this book that were published after the initial 1824 publication, concludes that while the 1824 publication is suspect as to the veracity of the story, the later versions contain editing, additions and amendments that skew the picture of Jemison' ...more
Sherri
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Justine
Seaver's excessive expository introductions and asides can be annoying (and long), but the bulk of the narrative that is that of Mary Jemison or at least very close to the stories Jemison told to Seaver offer a remarkable insight into late colonial and early independent America. Jemison's story illustrates the complexity of interaction, intermarriage, and ethnic identity among whites, Indians, and their relatives by blood and marriage.
Jemison seemed well able to distinguish between cultural prac
...more
Jesse I.
Very good "Captivity Narrative" story.
Holly
The text itself isn't the most interesting captivity narrative I've read so far but June Namias' introduction and criticism of Seaver's writing/appendices is well worth a read.
Ruth Harper
Very interesting from a historical perspective. However, I felt it was a bit drawn out, but that's probably because I have the attention span of a 21st century girl, not a 19th century person. I learned a lot about history, though. Also, I'm from upstate NY and a lot of places nearby (Rochester, Buffalo, etc.) are places I have been to or heard about. That element raised it a bit for me. I like reading about history of places where I've been. Great read for anyone interested in American history, ...more
Angel
Mary Jemison narrates, through a Physician by the surname of Seaver, her life after being taken captive by the Iroquois. She is called the "white woman of Genneesee County" by Seaver and in his side notes and filtering of her narrative, continues to remind the reader that she is white though she fully assimilated into the Iroquois tribe and even considers herself Iroquois. She lives out her days with her tribe,marrying and having children. A good read in the Captivity Narrative series.
Tara Lynn
When I was younger, I read Lois Lenski's "Indian Captive, the story of Molly Jemison," and I loved it so much that I must've re-read it a couple of dozen times. Molly Jemison is one of those completely inspirational historic figures for me. She lived a life of her own choice in a community that embraced her as their own. In one of those random office emails about which historical figures I'd like to be given the chance, I chose Mary Jemison.
Marjorie Geiser
These narratives, written in their actual time in history, are usually quite interesting. This was another good one that I would recommend for anyone interested in the early history of when White men and Native American's came into conflict.
Val Hanson
This book caught my attention as soon as I learned of it.
It's a story of a child captured and redeemed by Indians in 1755.

The book was written by James E Seaver using Mary's own words in 1823.

The story is fascinating as we learn of the brutality and family that Mary finds with the Indians.

Want to read something different? I give this book a high recommendation!
Kirei
I read this in conjuction with Lois Lenski's "Indian Captive." It is pretty interesting, although old-fashioned. It is also thankfully short.

The reason she refused to leave Indian life is different in the Lenski book than in real life. I guessed her real reason from the very outset. It just seemed obvious to me why she did not leave. Not giving away any spoilers!
Heather
This is the true story of a woman taken captive who lived among Indians in the 1700's. Her life story and what she shares of Seneca Indian culture is very interesting. The style of writing is old; the story is told to someone as Mrs. Jamison could not write, and she told the story of her life when she was in her eighties.
Jacki
Narration describing the abuse, yet acceptance of a white female into the Indian tribe during the Colonial years. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and have yet to find a more satisfying depiction of the capture of white females in the early American years.
Chelsea
I read this for my women's history class. It was very interesting, especially when compared to a text book. Mary Jemison was an Irish-American who was taken captive by Native Americans and lived with them throughout her life.
Linda C
At age 80, Mary Jemison, met with Dr. James Seaver to recount her life as a captive of the Indians. She was captured at 14, had 2 Indian husbands and 8 children. She lived from 1742 to 1833. Interesting memoir.
Beth
Excellent biography ( narrative as told to James Seaver by Mary Jemison near the end of her life) of white woman who lived as a native American in northeastern US in the 18th century.
Jin Mog
Too bad scholars will never know the true story of Mary Jemison due to the high filtration of editors and Seaver's superiority complex.
Aisha
I enjoyed it. far better than Mary Rowlandson and much more historical background and history too!
Teresa
This book was written about before and after the revolutionary. Very interesting
Jeffrey
If you're suffering from insomnia but do not want to get hooked on sleeping pills, try reading this... You'll be nodding out in no time.
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