(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
Baskets were decorative and essential household objects in the 18th and 19th centuries. For many whites, buying Native-made baskets was their only point of contact with Native people. The narrow splints of this square covered basket are typical of many Native baskets of the late 1800s. However, family history connects the basket to a visit to Deerfield, Massachusetts, by a group of Abenaki from St. Francis, Quebec in 1837. The Basket was made by Marie Saraphine (Sophie) Watso Denis-Paul, an Abenaki descendent of Eunice Williams (Kanenstenhawi). Eunice was one of the many Deerfield inhabitants taken captive in a French and Indian raid over a century earlier. Her subsequent refusal to return to Deerfield grieved her father and gained her everlasting notoriety in Deerfield as an unredeemed captive.