Their population decimated by conflict, and by European diseases to which they had no natural immunity, the Native Americans fought to defend their land and people. It’s estimated their numbers fell by an astonishing 90 percent during the 1600s. For their part, of course, the colonists were fighting for a new way of life that they had traveled such a long way to find.
Then, in 1688, Europe’s Nine Years’ War reached American shores. As the French and English fought each other across the ocean, New France and New England each allied themselves with Native Americans and battled for control of the colonies. The conflict lasted for 11 years, and became known as King William’s War.
Towards the end of the war, many of Haverhill’s residents had taken refuge inside a fortified garrison. However, Hannah, who by that point had married Thomas Duston and had a family of her own, remained outside the walls. By all accounts Thomas hated the confines of the garrison, preferring to trust in the Lord to protect them.