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The Wyoming Valley Massacre of 1757


Thomas Pattison

Chapter Eight

(The sisters are released from captivity; their remarkable reunion with members of their family)


After a lapse of about twelve months, the prisoners were brought to Niagara, a exchange of prisoners having been agreed upon between France and England.  In this, Sir William Johnson had a direct agency.  This took place in September of 1758, at which place the two sisters Sarah and Johanna Utter were informed by a young man (a British soldier) of the death of their brothers Moses and Abraham, whose narrow escape from the massacre in Pennsylvania was noticed in a previous chapter.

Moses, the elder brother, had died soon after the massacre, and Abraham was buried at Niagara just four days previous to the arrival of the prisoners.  He died of what was then called camp dysentery.  After the destruction of their homes and massacres of their friends he began to reap vengeance, joined the army, and met the fate above mentioned.  Abraham was a Lieutenant in the British service, who during his last illness was attended by the young man above-mentioned, who received as compensation all that remained of him.

The young man accompanied them to the grave of their brother and also showed his uniform, sword, watch, and various other articles that remained to him.  He expressed a kind wish to divide the remains, that they might be possessed with some relic of memorial and memento of their brother - which if it could have been preserved until more mature age - would have been a choice relic of inestimable value.

However willing or disposed, he doubted of being of any avail to the children, who were to be transported to New York before meeting their relatives.  Collectively, there were about ninety released captives, mostly children, and on the last of September they set out for New York, where they arrived October 10, 1758.  Once in New York, the Mayor caused them to parade the streets daily, that they might be recognized by friends.  When so recognized, the Mayor would allow them to depart.

They had remained there but a few days, when Mr. Joseph Adams, brother-in-law to Sarah and Johanna Utter, seeing their names in the newspaper, immediately started for New York.  When he met the train in the streets, he passed Sarah, the elder of the sisters, without the recognition of either.  On passing the younger, Johanna, she hastened to him, exclaiming, "Good Lord, here's our Joe!"  Upon which exclamation the train stopped, and Sarah approached and instantly recognized him.

The Mayor, being satisfied by this interview, gave leave of departure.  Mr. Adams took them home to Dutchess County, State of New York - the sisters having been absent from their friends about thirteen months.  When brought to New York, as above-noted, they were clothed in Indian costume, they had partially forgotten their vernacular tongue, but had retained sufficient knowledge to speak and understand tolerably well.  They had acquired many of the Indian traits and habits, which at this time was very familiar with them, which however was soon effaced from different associations and care of friends.

Chapter Nine

(The fate of the two sisters after their captivity, a description of Sarah's continuing fear of Indians)


Sarah and Johanna Utter continued to reside with brothers-in-law Joseph Adams and Titus Husted.  Sarah married at the age of twenty-four. Her husband's name was Sunderland Pattison, who was a tanner by trade, which he established in Armenia, N. Y., which he pursued for a number of years, later turning his attention to farming.

These were the parents of six children of whom Sarah Pattison was third, (portrait of Sarah Pattison) who married Elisha Watson Gardner, Sr. (portrait of Elisha W. Gardner) in 1801.  Sunderland and Sarah (Utter) Pattison purchased a tract of wild land in Rennsalaerville, Albany County, New York, where their family was born.  At this time they had four children: Sunderland, Thomas, Sarah, and Margaret.  The country was new and just beginning to settle at that time.  The next year the Dutch settlers formed a greater part of the settlement, and in celebrating their Harvest Home, fired guns throughout the day, at different times the fire continuing through the evening.

I mention this to show you how lasting impressions are made in early life.  My mother became frightened and terrified, to the degree the family were unable to persuade her to tarry in the house, and she insisted the Indians were destroying the settlement, trying to persuade all to leave.  Finding she could not prevail, she retired to an unfrequented spot where she could watch as sentinel, and where she continued through the night.  The family were able to visit her at intervals by turns until morning.  As the settlement advanced, she became more reconciled to her home, and her fears in a measure abated; yet the hate, dread, and fear of Indians continued during her life.

Sarah died in Rennselaerville at the age of fifty years, having six living children - two, Lydia and Harriet were born in Rennsalaerville, N. Y.  Her husband died in Elba, N. Y. at the age of eighty-four years.

Johanna married at the age of twenty-six years; her husband's name was Martin Shultzer, a German by birth.  They settled in the town of Providence, Saratoga County, N. Y., where both died.  He at the age of 97 and she at the age of 92.

This is the closing scene of the two sisters whose early sufferings has not been adequately portrayed in the preceding part of this history.  I would here state that David Harris, of whom mention is made in a previous chapter, who was a fellow prisoner of the two sisters, whose eventful lives are our principal subject, in after years lived in Rennselaerville, a neighbor to Mr. Pattison some twelve years, from whom - with my Mother and others the Author has directly derived his knowledge of the facts herein set forth, and hopes the charitable reader will overlook and excuse any incoherence.  He has sought to set forth the facts in as clear a light as possible, treating this grave subject with the deference it justly merits, hoping it may be pursued with interest and close appreciation, eliciting the facts herein set forth to the youth who may desire knowledge of their Ancestors and what happened and befell them in their day, and the amount of toil and suffering they endured to establish the happiest Government ever happened any people on Earth, under the auspices of which to this day their posterity have flourished.

The above History is taken from an Ancient Manuscript written by Thomas Pattison in his eightieth year, who was born in Rennselaerville, Albany County, N. Y. on February 13, 1782. He was a son of Sarah (Utter) Pattison.

The End

The Utter Family Tree

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