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Monumental Dilemma

About ten miles north of Concord, New Hampshire, off of interstate 93 there’s a little island with a great, big monument on it. The monument depicts a woman, who is holding a hatchet in her right hand and bunch of scalps in her left hand. When it was erected in 1874, this was the first statue to honor a woman in the United States. But despite this historic status, the monument is controversial because of the woman it memorializes and what she did. The woman in the monument is Hannah Duston and in 1697 she was living in Haverhill, Massachusetts when she, her infant daughter and her nurse-maid, Mary Neff were kidnapped by a band of Abenaki Native Americans. The three were marched north and at some point Hannah’s infant daughter was killed by the Abenakis. They stopped for the night in Boscawen, New Hampshire (on the island above with the monument) and while the Abenaki families slept, Hannah and her companions killed ten of them – including six children – and then scalped each victim before making their escape back to Haverhill.

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