Monday, 23 April 2012

Story of the week from Neil Conn (Saints & Sinners guide)

‘Indian Peter’ is a story of abduction, war, revenge and courtroom drama that takes place in Scotland and the USA. It is an inspiring true story of courage fortitude and one man’s determination to survive against seemingly insurmountable odds and his fight to expose the vial Scottish trade of child abduction and white slavery.

This is the remarkable true story of Peter Williamson, a Scottish man, who in 1743 at the age of 13, was kidnapped from an Aberdeen quay side and transported to the American colonies to be sold into indentured servitude. He was one of the ‘surplus poor’ that fell into the hands of a group of unscrupulous magistrates, town clerks, merchants and ships masters. Peter adventures began when he was taken to America on a sailing vessel that foundered and was wrecked off the Delaware coast. Peter was saved and ended up in Philadelphia where he was sold as an indentured slave. Peter was fortunate to be bought by a humane Scottish man who left him money when he died. Peter later married the daughter of a landowner and was gifted a farm. 
In 1754, during the French-Indian wars, Peter’s farm was attacked and burned by Lenape Indians and his wife was brutally murdered. He was captured by the Indians who tortured him, and forced him to travel with them as a slave. After escaping he joined the British Army to fight the French and their savage Indian allies, and avenged the murder of his wife by killing the Lenape Indian Chief who had tortured him. At the later battle of Oswego, his regiment was forced to surrender to the French and he was taken to Canada as a prisoner of war. 
He was taken to England on a French ship and exchanged for French prisoners of war. After he was freed he made his way back to Scotland and tracked down the men who were responsible for his initial abduction. He took them to court in a landmark case accusing them publicly and exposed the scandal of child abduction and white Scottish slave trading. Peter settled in Edinburgh and became a publican, writer, publisher and entrepreneur. He developed Edinburgh’s first Penny Post system and launched a weekly magazine, and shamelessly exploited his fame as an American Indian fighter for profit.

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