Hannah Duston statue.
"I'm gonna get you, suckah!"

Hannah Duston: The Mother's Revenge

Field review by the editors.

Haverhill, Massachusetts

Every town wants its own champion, and Haverhill has Hannah Duston, the frontier fury. Her monument in the city park tells her story: how she was captured by Indians, how her husband blasted the "savages" who tried to grab her children, and how she later massacred ten of her captors with their own tomahawks (and the help of two fellow prisoners). Dubbed "The Mother's Revenge" (the Indians had killed her baby), it happened in what is now New Hampshire, and when a statue of Hannah was erected on the site, her home town in Massachusetts soon followed with one of its own. She had been dead for 143 years.

Unlike the statue of Hannah in New Hampshire, which depicts her in a post-massacre pose with scalps in her hand, the one in Haverhill captures her at the moment of attack. Hannah grips her hatchet, her eyes set in a deadly glare, and her finger pointing toward the traffic on Main Street. The pose of the statue is reproduced on a small plaque on its base titled, "Her slaying of her captors." It's only when you see the embossed plaque that you realize Hannah is pointing at the sleeping Indians she's about to whack.

Relief of sleeping raiding party.
Tired from a day of baby smashing, the Indians are caught off guard.

Hannah's Haverhill statue has been co-opted for numerous political agendas over the years, from Manifest Destiny in the 1880s to Indian oppression in the 1980s (when it was splattered with red paint). Historians say that Hannah did nothing noteworthy either before or after her kidnapping (we've heard that gripe before with another axe mistress). But Hannah's one burst of activity was enough for Haverhill, which has dodged the sharp edges of conflicting passions and maintains the monument with great care.

Hannah Duston monument.

The Friends of the Library gift shop across the street still sells Hannah Duston t-shirts, and refrigerator magnets of the statue.

Also see: Hatchet Hannah Bobble Head | Hannah Duston Massacre Site

Hannah Duston: The Mother's Revenge

River St., Haverhill, MA
I-495 exit 51. Drive east on Hwy 125/Main St. for 2.5 miles. Statue on the right, in GAR park between Winter St. and Bailey Blvd. The Library is on left side of Main St.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Muffler Man with AxMuffler Man with Ax, Groveland, MA - 4 mi.
Graves of Betty and Barney HillGraves of Betty and Barney Hill, Kingston, NH - 11 mi.
America's StonehengeAmerica's Stonehenge, Salem, NH - 8 mi.
In the region:
Jordan's Furniture - Water Show, Reading, MA - 18 mi.

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