'Captivity of Jonathan Alder' illustration   Save
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Description: This image is an illustration from the January 1864 issue of "Beadle's Dime Tales, Traditions and Romance of Border and Revolutionary Times," a series of dime novels published between 1863 and 1864. This issue included "The Captivity of Jonathan Alder," the story of a young boy living in Virginia who was taken captive by Indians during the 1780s and taken to the Ohio Country. This account is based on actual events in the life of Jonathan Alder (1773-1849). This illustration shows the young Alder with four Indian men as they walk through a wooded area. One of the men has a firm grasp on Alder's right wrist. Clearly distressed, the boy is looking back in the direction of his home. The illustrator's name (S.C. Roberts) appears in the lower left corner. A caption on the bottom edge reads: "Captivity of Johathon [sic] Alder.-- Page 15." Jonathan Alder was born in Gloucester, New Jersey. His family later settled in Virginia, where the young boy was captured by Shawnee Indians and taken to Chillicothe, a village of the Shawnee Indians in the Ohio Country. The Shawnees forced Alder to run the gauntlet. He exhibited such bravery that a Shawnee family agreed to adopt him. He came to love his new family very much. In 1783, when a trader offered to buy Alder so that he could return to his white mother, Alder refused to go. He enjoyed living as a Native American and eventually married an Indian woman. By the early 1800s, life was becoming increasingly difficult for the Indians in Ohio. In 1811, Alder decided to forsake Indian customs and adopt white ways. His wife could not turn her back on her people, and the two separated. Alder became a farmer in present-day Madison County, Ohio. He eventually remarried, and the couple had a dozen children together. Before his death in 1849, Alder told his life story to one of his sons, who wrote it down. Alder and his son provided a detailed account of native life during the late 1700s and the early 1800's in Ohio. View on Ohio Memory.
Image ID: AL04490
Subjects: Alder, Jonathan, 1773- ; Captivity narratives; Madison County (Ohio); Ohio History--Settlement and Early Statehood; American Indians
Places: Madison County (Ohio)