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Redeemed captive begins trip home


On this day in 1866, Elizabeth Ann Carter Clifton finally began her six-week trip home after being a captive of Plains Indians for two years. Her capture in the Elm Creek Raid in Young County was just one of a series of tragedies she endured during her life. Born in 1825 and married at age sixteen, Elizabeth and her first husband, Alexander Joseph Carter, a free black, started a ranch near Fort Belknap in Young County. Carter was murdered in 1857, and Elizabeth was married twice more in the next five years. Her second husband disappeared, and her third was also murdered. Nevertheless, she successfully managed the Young County ranch and operated a boarding house. During the Indian raid and subsequent captivity, Elizabeth also lost her daughter, son, and two grandchildren. She was finally rescued in November 1865, but had to wait many more months at the Kaw Mission at Council Grove, Kansas, as she cared for other released captives and fought to make arrangements for transportation home. Eventually she was reunited with her surviving granddaughter, who had also been a Comanche captive.

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