Captivity Narrative: William Barnett

William Barnett was taken in August 1757 at age nine during a Delaware Indian raid in Lancaster County, Pa. His father traveled with George Croghan to Fort Pitt to retrieve him. Below is an excerpt of their first meeting after the son was returned from captivity.

The account of the Barnett family can be found in The Pennsylvania-German in the French and Indian War: A Historical Sketch by Henry M.M. Richards here

Faithful to his promise, Col. Croghan used every endeavor to obtain him. At length, through the instrumentality of traders, he was successful. He was brought to Fort Pitt, and, for want of an opportunity to send him to his father, was retained under strict guard, so great was his inclination to return to savage life. On one occasion he sprang down the bank of the Allegheny River, jumped into a canoe, and was midway in the stream before he was observed. He was quickly pursued, but reached the opposite shore, raised the Indian whoop, and hid himself among the bushes. After several hours’ pursuit he was retaken and brought back to the fort. Soon after, an opportunity offering, he was sent to Carlisle. His father, having business at that place, arrived after dark on the same day, and, without knowing, took lodging at the same public house where his son was, and who had been some time in bed…The sleeping boy was awakened and told his father stood by his bed. He replied in broken English, ‘No my father.’ At this moment his father spoke, saying, ‘William, my son, look at me; I am your father!’ On hearing his voice and seeing his face he sprang from the bed, clasped him in his arms, and shouted, ‘My father! My father is still alive!’ All the spectators shed tears, the father wept like a child, while form his lips flowed thankful expressions of gratitude, to the Almighty disposer of all events, that his long-lost child was again restored.