Anecdote, Family, Humor, Out of the Ordinary, Sarcasm

A Woman with a Tomahawk

I’m going to tell you a story. A story of a dazzling woman named Hannah Dustin. She is my 9th great-grandmother. Bad ass, strong, and a little scary. Come follow me on this terrifying journey through time and space.

Over the river and through the woods Hannah Dustin was born in 1657 and lived in Haverhill, Massachusetts, before the drug addicts with duct taped shoes roamed the graffiti covered streets in the dead of winter. Her reproduction capabilities were strong; she bore nine children with Thomas Dustin,  a farmer and killer brick-maker. During the King William’s War and Raid on Haverhill in 1697, Hannah was kidnapped by the Abenaki Native Americans, along with her newborn daughter, Martha, while her husband ran off with the eight other children in a fit of panic. One of the many thoughts circling Hannah’s mind was, I married that man? Some of you might think, “Well, he was trying to protect his children!” That’s one way to look at it. Although, another part of me thinks that in most cases, the wife would flee with her children to a safe place while the manly macho man helped the colonists defeat the enemy. Or maybe she was resting in bed after giving birth, and when the natives attacked, he simply forgot about her and his newborn daughter because he can’t keep track of all of his children. It’s like a disturbing version of Home Alone. Who knows what really happened. But what Thomas didn’t expect is that his wife was about to show off her Mama Bear instincts and make him look less like a man, and more like a skittish mouse.

After Thomas fled the scene, Hannah, her daughter, and nurse were forced to march into the wilderness along with the other captives. Her daughter, my great aunt Martha, was only six days old before the Native Americans killed her in a disturbing manner that I wish to not repeat. If you want more info, simply search on Wikipedia. Anyways, Hannah Dustin had given birth six days prior to this march towards New Hampshire. SIX DAYS. My generation of women have turned into little bitches. Six weeks will pass and we’re still all like, “Wahhhh, I’m still so sore.” I vow, in the name of my great-grandmother, to never do that.

Six weeks after the kidnapping, on an island in the Merrimack River, Hannah woke from the dead of night and decided to go rogue. With the help of her nurse, Mary, and a teenage boy, Hannah crept into their huts and, as Alanna from White Girls Be Like… described in her poetic words,

In a totally Tarantino-style rage, she tomahawked the shit out of those fools and rolled off into a canoe laughing like a maniac into the night sky with scalps in her bad ass yet ladylike hands. When she told the story to the people of her town, she was all, “Whatevs yo. Eye for an eye, and those bitches needed a haircut.” And she crossed her arms and lit a cig.

She killed approximately ten of the natives by scalping. If you pictured Inglorious Basterds, you are correct. She then pulled a Grand Theft Canoe, carrying the rest of the captives along with leftover scalp treatments of a few heads as proof that nobody messes with her. After several days, she finally made it home.

Hannah received a measly little 25 pounds for her courageous act of self-defense that nobody knew existed in a woman, and she still managed to live another 40 years.

She recited this event to Cotton Mather, which was then retold by writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau. She is believed to be the first American woman to have her own statue, and has been dubbed “the Mother of the American tradition of scalp hunting.” After all of that, she is still viewed as just a mom.

In my eyes, she is a beast. A beast of great womanly powers that I hope have been passed down to me.


Nana Dustin


16 thoughts on “A Woman with a Tomahawk

  1. “It’s like a disturbing version of Home Alone” hahaha makes the original movies sound normal. This was a cool story. I know nothing about my family history. I hope if you’re ever in disputes with people or are looking to cut to the front of long lines, that you just be like: “Do you know who I’m related to? Hannah F. Dustin. The F stands for Freakin’. Now move it.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is true that there is nothing normal about Home Alone. The sad part is that I lived in Haverhill for almost a year right after college and never made it to the historical museum where they have her hatchet. If and when I go, I’ll just quietly tuck the hatchet under my coat and if I’m caught, I’ll be like, “I’m keeping it in the fam! Back off or I’ll use it!”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Holy shit! Everyone was more badass back then, I guess. Having a baby was no excuse for laying around for 6 weeks, not when you had eight other kids to tend to, laundry to beat on a rock, and a huge dinner to cook over an open fire. Well written, Jess! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. says:

    Very Nicely Written. What an interesting way to write about your history. Your words and structure make it easy to follow and exciting – not your typical history story. Love history! Nice !

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lynette Barnes OGara says:

    I’m also direct grand daughter to Hannah Dustin, Believed to be my 6th great grandmother. family came to Massachusetts in the early 1600s, very interesting family history. Also direct relation to Daniel Webster.

    Liked by 1 person

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