Hannah Duston (Dustin, Dustan, and Durstan) (born Hannah Emerson, December 23, 1657 – March 6, 1736, 1737 or 1738) was a colonial Massachusetts Puritan mother of nine who was taken captive by Abenaki people from Québec during King William's War, with her newborn daughter, during the Raid on Haverhill in 1697, in which 27 colonists were killed. While detained on an island in the Merrimack River in present-day Boscawen, New Hampshire, she killed and scalped ten of the Native American family members holding them hostage, with the assistance of two other captives. She claimed the Abenaki had killed her baby during the journey to the island.
Duston's captivity narrative became famous more than 100 years after she died. During the 19th century, she was referred to as "a folk hero" and the "mother of the American tradition of scalp-hunting." Some scholars assert Duston's story only became legend in the 19th century because the United States used her story to defend its violence against Native Americans as innocent, defensive, and virtuous. Duston is believed to be the first American woman honored with a statue.
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