The Darling Indian Princess Mystery
Once Upon a Time…I was chosen to be the Family Historian. My grandfather gave me the job when I was about five. He sat me in his favorite green La-Z-Boy and told me the wonderful fairy tale of the Darling Man Who Married An Indian Princess and that he wanted me to find out who she was. Shortly before she died my Aunt Marge made sure I was going to see it through.
I did my best. I traced one direct line all the way back to King Henry II…yeah, through his lover. Oh, the family secrets one digs up when doing this are truly priceless!🙂
My online databases have around 6,000 people in them. 4,000 who ARE related to me in some way and another 2,000 I came across with such frequency I had to sort them out and keep track to be sure they were not in my line.
I tracked my direct line all the way back to George Darling b. about 1615 Midlothian Region of Scotland and d. 1693, before October 9th. He was captured at the Battle of Dunbar by the Oliver Cromwell’s troops. He and the other 30-40 prisoners captured were first taken to Durham Castle Scotland and then sent to London England for trial. After trial they were sent on the ship ‘Unity’ to the British Colonies with about 30-40 being sent to parts of MA. He was sent as to the Massachusetts Bay Colony as an indentured servant to the Lynn Ironworks in Lynn Mass. His services were purchased by John Bex and Co. George worked at the Ironworks from 1653 to 1661.
There’s A LOT more but…that’s not bad, right?
But, yeah…no…in all of my research and all of the lines I have not found a single Indian Princess. Believe me I have dug because my grandfather charged me with this job and I want to do the best I can for him.
One of the first things you pick up when you start your job as the Family Historian is that you should take all oral family stories with a grain of salt. The older they are the more salt you need. Time and memory blur things when things get retold, more often than not, they don’t get retold the right way. Ever play a round of Post Office? It’s the same thing only stretched out over a couple of hundred years.
I started my little website and it gave me a place to share the information I was compiling and hoping would be of use to someone out there. After a while, as the site grew and queries came in and I played detective, I let the story go. I concentrated my efforts on filling out my lines more completely and even got fully away from tracing the DARLING surname as I dove into lines with names like MUNSCH, KING, CLARK, BRYANT and BLOOD.
But, every now and then, I’d get an email; Do you know anything about the Indian Princess who married into the Darling Family? or Do you know anything about the Indian blood in the Darling Family? or My grandfather told me a story one time about some daughter of an Indian Chief who married a Darling man, do you know anything about that?
The stories varied on the tribe–mostly the tribe in any given story came down to whatever tribe was well-known or prevalent in any given neck of the woods. (Hummmm….no pun intended) Some said Mohawk, others Pequot, others Mohegan, and so on but basically the stories were all the same.
Baffled, I would have to reply; No, sorry.
Then they would exchange their lines with me so I could investigate for them and over, I’d say a good 85% of them all eventually trace to my direct line. Some are very close–2nd cousins–others are more distant. Within my direct DARLING line at the farthest point of convergence of all of these Indian Princess stories is the ONE woman I can find no family for whatsoever. The ONE and ONLY woman I can’t place in the line. Every other female before and after her that married into my direct Darling line I can at least give you her mother, father, and siblings…bottom line least. Most I can trace their lines back to the 1700’s and past. But here…here lies a True Mystery.
It has recently resurfaced due to the excitement and enthusiasm of a someone I’m emailing with and who is confident she will solve the mystery. I hope she does! I pray she does! I’d love to put this to bed once and for all.
Once Upon a Time…a woman named TABITHA JOHNSON was born on July 29, 1763 and she died on July 9, 1795 giving birth to her last child, Joseph Darling. She married BENJAMIN DARLING on November 12, 1783 in Ludenberg, Massachusetts. He was born October 6, 1757 in Ludenberg, MA. They moved around between Ludenberg, MA, Jaffrey, NH, Madison, NH and Vermont. I can give you his lines back to George Darling, I’m happy to swap info if you want!
As you can probably guess, researching the surname JOHNSON is as difficult as researching KING or BROWN but not nearly as difficult as SMITH. There are a mass of Johnsons in this area at this time. The first name, Tabitha, is very rare at this time period and within the local Johnson lines, yet I can’t connect this Tabitha Johnson to any one of them.
Over years of hearing this story and using my best detective skills I finally came upon Sir William Johnson who was one colorful character! Oh my! We won’t get into all of that but he was the founder of Johnstown, NY which, if you look on a map is near to the borders of MA and Vermont. Among other things, he married the SISTER of a well-known Mohawk Chief, Molly Brant and had several children with her. He had several children with lots of women and seemed to had a preference for Native American women any of which could have been Tabitha’s mother. The problem is there’s no real detailed list of all of the children he had just those mentioned in his will.
In the alternative, Tabitha could easily have been a granddaughter of Sir William through his oldest son…depending on how far the apple fell from the tree😉
Anyway, it took me ages just to piece that much together. It’s all conjecture and I have no facts to support my theory.
Still, it’s the only thing that even remotely fits in the empty puzzle slot which would solve The Darling Indian Princess Mystery.
So if you’re related or interested or have any information I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d contact me.🙂