Hannah Duston: Monumental Dilemma

Post by Jessica Harper

Audio segment from Roman Mars’ radio show ‘99% Invisible’ Episode 113: Monumental Dilemma, detailing the controversial story and monument of Hannah Duston, Boscawen, New Hampshire, erected in 1874. Duston was kidnapped with her daughter and nursemaid in 1637 by a band of Abenaki Native Americans who murdered her daughter. Duston and her fellow captives killed 10 of their Abenaki captors in Boscawen, including 6 children, scalped each victim and escaped back to Haverhill, Massachusetts. The monument depicts Duston holding a tomahawk in one hand and a handful of scalps in the other. Her story is controversial: is she a heroine for escaping captivity or a villain for the brutality she wielded towards the Abenaki, and their children in particular, in her escape?