History of Frances Slocum State Park
The history of Frances Slocum State Park, including how it got its name, dates back to the 1700s.
The park is named for Frances Slocum, a young girl who was kidnapped by American Indians. Frances was one of ten children of Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Slocum. This Quaker family lived on what is now North Street in Wilkes-Barre.
On November 2, 1778, a small group of Delaware Indians entered the Slocum home and carried away Frances, who was five years old. The first night after her abduction was spent in a crude shelter under a rock ledge along Abraham Creek, believed to be within the state park boundary. She tried to escape during the first night but was quickly recaptured. Frances was taken along as the Delaware Indians moved westward and spent the rest of her life with them.
Her brothers never gave up the search. Fifty-nine years after her abduction, they found her living on a reservation near Peru, Indiana. She had been married twice and had borne four children. Frances refused the pleas of her brothers to return to Pennsylvania. The brothers wrote to her and learned many of the details of her abduction and life with American Indians.
Frances Slocum died in Indiana in 1847, at the age of 74. Mississinewa Lake in Indiana contains the Frances Slocum State Recreational Area and Lost Sister Trail. Along the Mississinewa River in Indiana, there is a monument that marks the final resting-place of Frances Slocum, also called Maconaquah, the “Young Bear.”
Frances Slocum Lake was created to control flooding. Picnicking areas and the dam were constructed and opened in the spring of 1968.
In 1972, Tropical Storm Agnes devastated large areas of the adjacent Wyoming Valley. Frances Slocum State Park was closed to the public, and 280 families moved into temporary houses in the park until their homes were restored. After the last family moved out, the park reopened to the public in June, 1974.