May 21, 1758 - On this day, a young colonial girl named Mary Campbell was kidnapped by a band of Delaware Indians. After her abduction she lived with her captors in a cave near present-day Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. This site is now a popular tourist attraction known as Mary Campbell Cave.
Legend has it that Mary was adopted into the family of the tribe's powerful chief known as Netawatwees. When the tribe migrated westward, Mary became the first white child to see the wilderness of northeastern Ohio, in what was then called the Western Reserve.
In 1764, at the end of the French and Indian War, a British Army officer named Colonel Henry Bouquet negotiated for the return of white captives from the Indians. A sixteen-year-old Mary Campbell was one of them. She had lived among the Indians for over six years, and according to many witnesses, she wasn't thrilled about leaving her new family.
Her father received word that she was alive and he immediately took out an ad in the Pennsylvania Gazette. Here's an excerpt:
Taken by the Indians from Cumberland County, May 21st, 1758, a certain Mary Campbell, then in her tenth year, red haired and much freckled. Her Father hearing that she is now at Albany, and being unable to go so far, begs that she may, by all good People, be helped on her way to him as he and her aged mother, are very desirous of seeing her.
Mary was eventually reunited with her family in Pennsylvania. A few years later she got married and went on to raise seven children. She died in 1801.