The Green RiverHigh above, the sun’s rays bombarded the earth with malevolent force. I tried with determination to ignore the heat and concentrate on catching a trout or two, but the beads of sweat streaming down my face served as a grim reminder that today would have been better spent in the confines of our air-conditioned home.

Evidently, the trout had the same idea, as they were unwilling to move from the river’s depths to chase our offerings. Oh, how clear and cool the water looked, but I realized the consequences outweighed the benefits of staying put. Instead I opted to escape the blistering heat under the sheltering limbs and leaves of the woods directly behind us.

The New MarkerFrustrated and beginning to sunburn from the searing heat, I seized a polystyrene cup someone had carelessly discarded on the river bank and walked into the soothing embrace of the wood. After a moment’s appreciation for the shade, I went to the task of turning over laid down timber, hoping to find earthworms for bait. My efforts were rewarded rather quickly, but at the last log I was to raid, a flash of color the size of an adult crossed my view.

I stood up quickly, dropping my container, and scanned the woods in all directions. My heart felt as if it would leap out of my chest. I focused upon the direction in which I thought the the blur had moved, and a short distance away, amongst the trees protruding from the soft soil, stood a stone marker. My eyes flickered in each direction to reassure myself that I was alone, and then, with cautious steps, I proceeded forward.

As I closed the distance, I thought the stone’s shape was indicative of a grave marker. That was, until I reached the front of the stone, and read the epitaph deeply engraved into it: “At this very spot in the year 1704, the cruel and blood thirsty savage who took her slew her with his hatchet at one stroke. Rev . John Williams ‘The Redeemed Captive.'”

I repeatedly read the words on the stone, trying to think where I had seen them before, until I realized that a marker we had passed at the road side, on our way to the river, also contained those words. Though I had no idea who this woman was at the age of 12, I came to the realization that where I was standing marked the actual location of her brutal demise. For a moment, a sense of sorrow crept into me. And as I walked out of the woods and told my father what I had found, he then told me the story of how this woman came to die there, so far from her home.

In the early morning hours of February 29, 1704 the settlement of Deerfield, MA, was taken by a surprise raid. The raiding force consisted of two hundred and ninety-seven men. The majority were Native Americans and the rest French militants. In short order they took the town, killing fifty-six men, women and children and capturing one hundred and nine hostages to be ransomed or sold as slaves. During the three hundred mile long trek that took a month’s time, twenty-one Deerfield residents lost their lives.

The Eunice Williams Covered BridgeThe stone marker I happened across that sweltering summer day is for one of those lost souls – Mrs. Eunice Williams. While marching on the second day, Eunice, exhausted from child birth only a couple of weeks earlier, fell and was unable to get up. She was then killed by a Native American raider in front of her husband, Rev. John Williams. Rev. Williams never forgot the exact spot where his wife had been taken from him. He was released from captivity over a year later and upon his return, ordered a stone placed in that very spot.

The area where this marker sits, along the banks of the Green River in Greenfield, is not only of interest because of the historical events that took place there, but also because of what occurs there now. Locals reports have it that a woman – presumed to be Eunice Williams – appears without warning standing upon a small dam just upstream from the covered bridge. Others claim she is seen, face buried in her hands, weeping, and at other times standing affixed looking off into the woods across the small river. Those who have witnessed this woman say that she vanishes suddenly without warning.

But the dam is not the only place where this feminine ghost chooses to make an unexpected visit. Hikers and fishermen have described a startling glimpse of this woman while walking across the covered bridge. According to some accounts, witnesses were shocked to observe a woman, achromatic in appearance, walk toward them and then dematerialize before their eyes.

Could this apparition be that of Eunice Williams trapped between two worlds? Or is this just another urban myth fabricated by a creative mind? At this time the answer is unknown. But if you care to visit here again in the near future, there just may be a more definitive conclusion.

The Restless Captive
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6 thoughts on “The Restless Captive

  • Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Wow! That is very interesting! Thanks for sharing that story!!!

  • Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I just read this article.I find this interesting.I was just at this bridge last week and have been there a few times as I have family living there.
    I have taken pictures over the past few years of this same place . I have taken a picture of the covered bridge a few times in the last few years but this year was different and what seems to be an orb in it?…with what looks like an eye inside the orb.

  • Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 11:01 am

    I’m a little disturbed by how evil this place has been made out to be. And how bad the natives are made to look. This is a really a peaceful and beautiful place. Just follow the river upstream from the bridge on the side as the monument/stone. There is a Quartz ridge not far up that is just amazing. Sit on it, the energy just radiates. I have done a lot of meditating there. I advise people to understand that this is not a creepy or haunted place unless you make it one in your mind. I grew up here and it is far from haunted. And yes I have been there at night many times, no spooks.

  • Saturday, February 13, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Emily, thank you for stopping in. In my personal opinion the location is not evil. However I have been on a few different investigations at the bridge and have not been swayed to discount or validate claims of the site being haunted.

    As a boy I have hunted and fished up and down the river and agree it is beautiful. There is so much to see if one explores a bit.

    The one point I disagree with is the actions of the natives during the raid and journey to Canada. Many different sources of the incidents concerning the events of the raid are very clear-the actions of the raiders were, shall we say a bit barbaric even by the standards of the day. Let us be a bit honest on this point. Taking young children-instead of leaving them behind-then slaughtering them because they can not keep up is a bit monstrous. Out of so many conflicts I have read concerning Native Americans (or Native Canadians) this one is, upsetting.

  • Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    you must be white. By the way this is occupied America.

  • Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 9:45 am

    emily how natives are put out to be believed is complete bullshit and lies. i know people will think of them like that but i just figured why not say the truth. my father has native american and so do i.also like chris said. this place is not evil it is just holding a disturbing past.

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