The Story of David Ogden and the Iroquois
by Jack Harpster and Ken Stalter
July 2010, 195pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38565-0
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38566-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

At age14, David Ogden narrowly escaped the Iroquois’s notorious Cherry Valley Massacre by crawling through a small firewood passageway and slipping away. As an adult, he survived the brutal Battle of Queenston Heights, in which 500 of his comrades died. But Ogden was more than just lucky—he was also extremely resourceful, tough, and determined.

This book recounts the amazing life story of a 16-year-old American Revolutionary-era soldier, including his captivity, adoption, and eventual flight to freedom from the Iroquois Six-Nation Indian tribes. The story is retold with historical accuracy and an even-handed treatment of the conflicting interests of the loyalists, Iroquois, and Patriots.

David Ogden was born into an unusually tumultuous time in America—the colonials were struggling to throw off the yoke of British rule while also battling the Iroquois tribes for control of their ancestral lands. The bibliography of anyone who survived a life in the late 1700s frontier days of New York would be a great tale, but David Ogden’s story stands alone, even within historical context of his times.

Captive! The Story of David Ogden and the Iroquois is a compelling true adventure story of one young colonial soldier’s bravery, choosing a daunting 126-mile race to freedom fraught with the risk of death over being assimilated into an alien society. This story is told with all the factual historical information that was missing from all the original captivity narratives, but accurately retains the flavor of the period and the voice of the 18th-century protagonist.


  • Includes portraits of Iroquois chief Joseph Brant and Sir William Johnson, photos of tools, equipment, and personal belongings of the book's two primary protagonists, Ogden and Brant, and images of prominent buildings featured in the story
  • Maps of Ogden's escape route and the New York frontier clarify the 18th-century world for modern readers
  • Bibliography includes 20 sources for original manuscripts, diaries, collected papers, and official government documents, 18th, 19th, and 20th century scholarly studies, and many original Indian captivity-narrative books
  • Extensive endnotes give further historical information
  • Josiah Priest's original 1840 narrative of David Ogden's story, A True Narrative of the Capture of David Ogden among the Indians in the Time of the Revolution, and of the Slavery and Sufferings He Endured, with an Account of his Almost Miraculous Escape after Several Years' Bondage, is also provided
Jack Harpster is the author of King of the Slots: William "Si" Redd; The Railroad Tycoon Who Built Chicago: A Biography of William B. Ogden; John Ogden "The Pilgrim" (1609 - 1672): A Man of More Than Ordinary Mark; as well as two institutional biographies. Harpster resides in Reno, NV, and has retired from a 43-year career in newspaper business management.

Ken Stalter, MD, is a general surgeon in Franklin, NY, and is a fourth-generation descendant of the book's hero, David Ogden. As an elite endurance athlete who has summitted Mt. Everest, Stalter's interest in his ancestor and his amazing 126-mile race to freedom was initially spurred by marathon running. After years of research, Stalter and two running friends recreated Ogden's three-day run in 2002.


"Spurred by curiosity and compassion, with extensive historical research and some imagination, Harpster and Stalter place a once-sensationalized captivity narrative on solid ground. They help us enter a world very far away from our own, and at least begin to understand."—Ray Raphael, author of Founders: The People Who Brought You a Nation, A People's History of the American Revolution: How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence, and a number of other noteworthy books on American history

"Jack Harpster and Ken Stalter provide a vivid, fresh look at a familiar genre, the 'Indian captivity narrative' through David Ogden's experiences with the Iroquois during the Revolutionary War, with historical context lacking in the original account, published in 1840. This book is a treat to read that also makes compelling history."—Bruce E. Johansen, Professor of Communication and Native American Studies, University of Nebraska at Omaha

"Jack Harpster's and Ken Stalter's Captive! is a rich, thorough, and riveting retelling of David Ogden's Harrowing capture by the feared and fascinating Iroquois chief Joseph Brant during the Revolutionary War. Ogden, a sixteen-year-old American woodsman and Patriot soldier, who was captured in three feet of snow next to a soldier who had been shot and scalped, was mocked by the British, stoned by the Iroquois and adopted by the Senecas. His ordeal and escape--an unmatched run for freedom--will keep you on the edge of your seat."—Dean King, author of Skeletons on the Zahara and Unbound
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.