Here is what they didn’t teach you about colonial America in school. (Part IV)

The revenge of Hannah Duston

Hannah Duston lived in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1697, and she had just given birth to a daughter when her little settlement was attacked by a group of Abenaki. Duston, her baby, and maid Mary Neff were taken and marched north. As history goes, when the baby slowed them down, she was smashed against a tree and killed. It's no wonder Duston had some serious rage, and when the raiding party and their captives stopped for an overnight rest in New Hampshire, she got her revenge. Duston, Neff, and a boy named Samuel killed the entire group as they slept, that included six children. Duston made it back home, and went on to tell her tale to the minister Cotton Mather. He ensured it was recorded for history, and it's been memorialised in weird ways. There's a nursing home named after her and a statue in Boscawen, New Hampshire. She is a strange kind of hero.

The dead teenager's unmarked grave

When archaeologists working in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, uncovered the skeleton of a teenage boy, they uncovered a murder case too. The details they have discovered – thanks in large part to forensic anthropology – paint a grim picture of colonial life. The boy was found buried with fireplace ash, animal bones, and a milk pan that was probably used to dig his grave. Only about 15 years old, his spine already showed serious damage from a life of hard labour, and his teeth were just as bad. His wrist was broken, likely warding off blows that ultimately killed him. He was likely one of the countless indentured servants who went to the New World hoping to find a better life but found the opposite. He was killed and buried between 1665 and 1675, and that was the same time laws were being passed forbidding private burials of servants just like him.