Indian Captivity Stories/Margaret Handley Pauley Erskine

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Margaret Handley Pauley Erskine
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Though relatively unknown to Walker and Cowan researchers, the Margaret Handley Story is perhaps the best documented of the stories here considered...If for no other reason than that it is the only one of these stories where we have a statement from a direct participant in the events described. (In the case of Mrs. Scott's testimony, she was not actually a participant; though she was in the area at the time she was a young child, and only knew what those around her related to her.)

Here is a summary of the essential elements of this story.

  • Margaret Handley was going to Kentucky in 1779 when her party was attacked by Indians near modern Bluefield, WV
  • Her husband, John Pauley and his brother James were killed, along with their young child
  • Margaret was taken captive along with her sisterinlaw
  • They were taken north to the Great Lakes country
  • Her sisterinlaw escaped alone
  • Margaret was eventually released after seven years of captivity (1785)

As outlined above, this story would seem to bear minimal similarity to the the stories of either Ann Walker Cowan, or Mary Walker Cowan. Nonetheless, within the above bare bones, there are some similarities with one or the other of the companion stories examined here.

ElementAnn Walker CowanMary Walker Cowan Margaret Handley Pauley
Husband Killed Previous yearDuring attackDuring attack
Husband NameSamuel JohnJohn
Others KilledBrother Samuel--Brotherinlaw James
Others CapturedNephew WilliamsonSisterinlaw
Others Escaped--Son JamesSisterinlaw