Esther Wheelwright: from survivor to mother superior

As Quebec celebrates its 400th anniversary, Julie Wheelwright tells the story of her ancestor Esther, who was abducted by the Wabanaki tribe, and later secured a unique place in the birth of Canada

The gardens of the Ursuline Convent, Quebec, Canada

This article was first published in the August 2008 edition of BBC History Magazine

On the morning of 3 August 1703, a party of American Indian warriors and French officers raided the fraught borderland between the North American colonies of France and England. Among the English captives taken by the Wabanakis, the Algonquin people of Northern Maine who had formed an alliance with the French colonists, was Esther Wheelwright, the seven-year-old daughter of the local militia captain. It would burn forever in her memory as that “treacherous day”.

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