Source: Lowell Daily Citizen and News - Massachusetts
Dated: March 14, 1863
DEATH OF AN INDIAN CAPTIVE.
"Matthew Brayton," an Indian captive, and a member of the 4th Michigan cavalry, recently died at Murpfreesboro', Tennessee. According to a sketch of his life published in the Cleveland (Ohio) Herald, his life has been an extraordinary one. In August, 1859, he made his appearance in Cleveland, claiming to be in search of his relatives, from whom he said he was stolen by Indians when a child, some twenty-five or thirty years previous. He stated that he had ascertained from the Indians that he had been taken from some place in Northwestern Ohio and carried into Canada, where his Indian captors sold him to the Pottawottomies. He subsequently passed into the hands of the Paw Paws, the Winnebagoes, the Chippewas, the Sioux, the Snakes, and the Copperheads. With these last he remained till he grew to manhood, when he married and had two children.
He spoke English moderately well, stating that he had acquired his knowledge of the language at the trading-posts of the Hudson Bay Company. During a visit to Fremont, Ohio, some one remarked the resemblance of his features to those of a man named Joseph Brennan, who was said to have been lost when a child, under circumstances similar to those related by the Indian captive, about thirty years before in Cleveland, and this induced him to come to Cleveland and endeavor to hunt up the Todd in question. He found the Todd family, but became convinced that he was not the missing boy.
Many fathers and mothers who had had their boys stolen by the Indians came to Cleveland, hoping to find in the person of the Indian captive the missing one. Finally, in the fall of 1859, he was identified by a scar on the crown of his head and another on the great toe of his right foot, as Matthew Brayton, the son of a Mrs. Brayton, living in Wyandot county, Ohio. His features were found to resemble those of other members of the family, and no one doubted that he was the son of Mr. Brayton, who had had a boy stolen by the Indians in 1825.
He continued to live in the family until June, 1860, when, while on a journey to Michigan with old Mr. Brayton, he confessed that he was not Matthew Brayton, but refused to give any explanation of his conduct. He soon after joined the 4th Michigan cavalry, and has not found a soldier's grave in Tennessee.
From the first he never sought voluntarily to impose himself on the Braytons as their missing relative, but seeming incontrovertible proots let led them to claim him as the lost Matthew, and he neither denied nor admitted their claim. He never professed to remember any of the family, or the localities with which the childhood of the lost boy was associated. For over six months he remained in the family, accepted as a son and a brother, and as such loved and honored, and, but for his own restlessness, which would not allow him to manage the farm that Mr. Boynton had promised to give him, he might have lived and died as an unquestioned member of the family into which he had so singularly come.
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