Scoouwa: James Smith's Indian Captivity Narrative
Scoouwa is the autobiographical account of the life of James Smith (1737-1813), a Pennsylvanian taken prisoner by Indians in 1755. At the time of his capture Smith was a teenager employed helping to cut the roadway for General Braddock’s ill-fated expedition to capture Fort Duquesne. Near Fort Bedford he was seized by a war party and later adopted by Mohawks. During the next four years James lived his life as an Indian in the Ohio Country, learning their language, manners and customs, including the art of Native warfare. In the fall of 1759 Smith escaped his captors and returned to his family home the following year.
Smith’s observations are some of the most insightful found in captivity narratives. Unlike most in his position, he kept a diary during his ordeal, which he was able to draw from years later in writing his memoir. Included in this account are his post captivity adventures as a frontier militiaman, explorer and Revolutionary War officer. Hollywood made use of this later part of Smith’s narrative when he was portrayed by John Wayne in the 1939 film Allegheny Uprising.
A bonus found in this addition are numerous annotated notes by historians William M. Darlington and John J. Barsotti.