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Not a True Story
on March 14, 2017
While it may be true there was a missing boy in 1825 named Matthew Brayton, the person who did show up claiming to be Matthew after living for over three decades as an Indian (but speaking proficient English) eventually admitted to being an imposter. He gives a passionless, improbable account of traveling coast to coast on foot from the Midwest across the Rockies to San Francisco, then to New York. He supposedly learns to speak English while occasionally visiting trading posts, and then he inexplicably walks away from his Indian wife and children. Some people cut his long hair, scrub his body paint, and give him white people's clothes while he's comatose with illness when making his way back to his white family. Ok, so that's why he shows up back in Cleveland looking and speaking like a white guy. How convenient.
One has only to read a few verified captivity accounts to notice from the start this is fiction. The details, while interesting, are very vague. The Snake and Copper Head names were purposely used since those could represent a large number of tribes. Whoever did write this (it was first published by a newspaper) certainly did know details about Indian customs, but the story doesn't come near to the one a person living decades with Indians would be writing. It's a short book because there isn't much to say.