Frances Slocum and Adoption

The grave of Frances


Slocum was a white child captured by Delaware Indians in Pennsylvania in 1778. A Delaware couple adopted her to replace a dead daughter (see also Shenandoah) and renamed her Weletawash, later Maconaquah (Little Bear Woman). She lived with the Delaware and Miami people for the rest of her life.

She first married a Delaware man and then a Miami chief named Shepancavah. When he became deaf, he resigned the chieftainship and they established a trading post called Deaf Man's Village. Her birth family always believed she was still alive, and in 1835[!] she was discovered living happily in Indiana. She remembered enough of her background to be positively identified but she had forgotten how to speak English. Two years later she was visited by her surviving siblings, but she had grown to distrust white people, was happy in her life, and refused to leave her adopted tribe and family.


Dictionary of American Biography Meginness, John Franklin. Biography of Frances Slocum, the Lost Sister of Wyoming. (Jersey Shore: Zebrowski Historical Services, 1991)) "Frances Slocum." Formerly available at: